Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Difference Between Being Frugal And Being a Tight Wad

Earlier this month we attended a graduation party at my brother's home; his youngest finished school and they were launching him out into the world. We don't attend many large events these days; with 2 small kids and 2 businesses, we keep it simple. But this was important, so we went.

It is always an interesting visit; they live in a small town, a very small town. Their home is on a hill, overlooking the highway that runs through the town. A bonfire is almost always going, lawn chairs circled around, guests watching the "traffic", enjoying various kinds of Wisconsin beverages. The language is also quite colorful. On this particular visit my brother and his friends were discussing another person who had lived in town, but recently passed away. The man had apparently built quite a nest egg, and my brother referred to him as frugal; said with just a hint of annoyance. Another individual responded "there's a difference between bein' frugal and bein' a tight ass". At this point I chimed in and asked, "what's wrong with frugal?" The conversation quickly dwindled.

My husband and I had several things in common when we met: attended First Unitarian Society; born in Madison; Swedish heritage; relatives who thought our financial habits were bizarre, too strict, crazy, etc. The only thing more odd about our financial habits was that we'd found each other; both frugal. Nothing underscored this more than our wedding, a.k.a. the marriage proceeding.

June, the month for weddings. Our anniversary falls on June 21st, the summer solstice, the first day of summer, but we did not have a traditional wedding. This year marks our 5th anniversary. In salute to five years of marriage, I will be writing five posts about frugal approaches to weddings starting tomorrow. I'll share tid bits from our wedding as well as others I have attended. As wedding debt continues to mount and divorce rates stay about 50 percent, it might be worth it to buck cultural norms and take the frugal approach -- you just have to be willing to let some people refer to you as frugal or if they are brazen tight ass.

1 comment:

  1. I don’t see myself as frugal because we make earn decent money and spend over half of it. What makes people frugal: a) what they buy, b) how much of their income they spend, regardless of what they spend it on, c) whether they’re generous in spending their money on others vs themselves, or d) something else? We spend over two thirds of our after-tax income. It’s hard for me to imagine that going from 70% to 90% spending makes that much difference.

    I think you said earlier frugal is not about not spending your money but rather spending it wisely. Maybe it's all about being deliberate.