Frugality: How Low Would You Go?
You may have heard that green is the new black. This can be associated with the intention of being more eco-friendly, and that defines a trend towards watching our pennies. Money, or lack there of, is driving many people to become more frugal. For whatever the economic reason, frugality has become a way of life for some. Is it possible to be too frugal?
Being frugal is not a new concept. My husband’s family had a saying, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” My mom used to squirrel away what she called, “mad money”, for times when money was tight and we wanted to do something fun. This type of frugality seems within the “normal” realm for most folks.
For someone like me, who has been championing eco-friendly DIY projects and has also forayed into dumpster diving on the rare occasion, being frugal has more to do with making wise and ethical financial decisions. Rather than saving every penny and missing out on all the fun, I like the old adage of “making do” and tucking away a little “mad money.” It’s a fine balance that allows for options.
This is all fine and good, but at some point, will some of us migrate over the line towards obsession? The New York Times addressed this recently in an article about what happens when frugality crosses the line:
“One way my husband and I save a little money is to use the shampoo, conditioner and other products we’ve collected from hotel stays. During the depths of the recession, when we stayed at an apartment rental, we stocked up on the hair products the owners had left for us to use. Still, I couldn’t help wondering whether we were being frugal or we were stealing…”
Do you think this is crossing the line? When does being frugal turn into being a cheapskate?
The Money Crashers believes that it is crazy frugal behavior if you’ve ever considered doing these tasks to save a buck:
- Cutting dryer sheets in half.
- Cutting Post it notes in half.
- Got a run in your pantyhose? Wait until you get a run in another set. Cut each in half and use the two good “legs”.
- Splitting two-ply toilet paper.
Are these questionable frugal tactics? Is it possible to be too frugal? What do you do that is acceptable or not acceptable in the name of frugality? Share your stories of being frugal.