Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Embrace Your Inner Cheapness

It's okay to be cheap. If you walk up to the counter and find that something is just too expensive, put it down and walk away. It's your money, you have a right to say no. Embrace your inner cheapskate. I had a friend once who was literally homeless. She was sleeping on my living room floor. She finally gets a job downtown. I tell her save every penny for a deposit for an apartment rental. She gets her first paycheck and comes back to my place showing off a pair of gloves she bought. That wasn't bad in itself, but her reason for buying the gloves was that she didn't want to leave the store without buying something. Personally, I thought that was crazy. I can walk out of a store without buying a thing. Hey, I can leave a garage sale without buying anything at all. My husband used to have trouble doing that but he has since learned to embrace and nourish his inner cheapness. The first time he did it, he felt a little bad for the people. In some ways garage sales are tragic events. People spend money on junk which has to be gotten rid of at any cost. I ofter see $10 and $20 candles unused with the price tags on the bottoms not selling for a dollar. It's kinda sad to see what folks throw money away on. But if I don't need it. I don't buy it. I don't buy something out of pity that I don't really need. My strong and nurtured inner cheapskate won't allow it. I'm cheap and I'm okay with it.
I'm not okay with credit card debt or past due notices. I'm not okay with debt of any kind. I have an old TV and that's just fine until I have the cash to buy a new one. Being cheap keeps me grounded and makes me feel safe. I have an emergency fund which makes me feel safe. I know that whatever happens, I have enough to make it for a year or more. When I was young I didn't have that security and life was pretty scary. My emergency fund gives me freedom. It means I can splurge if I want to or need to. Savings mean the ability to grab opportunities that come along. One day I was in a big department store, JCP or Macy's, when they were having a sale. They had end of the season rock bottom prices on some really nice cashmere sweaters. I grabbed one in each color in my size and an extra for a Christmas present. I got to the counter and the sales girl was amazed and said. "If I had the money, I would be doing the same thing." And she would get them for even less with her employee discount, but she couldn't afford it. I felt sorry for her, but happy for myself and all those lunches I packed for work. For me, it was the best payoff. Don't worry about what people think. Worry about what's really important. A clean, warm, safe place to live is important. Having security is important. What the sales girl thinks is not important.

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