Showing posts with label frugal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label frugal. Show all posts

Is it Frugal or Cheap?

Another blogger recently wrote about this subject and I thought it fitting since we just spent a week travelling to visit family out of state, and there was mention of how "You're from the cheap side of the family". I prefer to believe that my lifestyle and money management behaviors are frugal, rather than cheap. Sure we live in an older home, but everything works as designed and besides it'll be paid for in three years, less time than a car loan. We travel more than anyone else in our families, and have more toys like motorcycles, a boat, swimming pool, tractor, trailers, power tools, hot tub, nice bicycles, and cars than most. All of these things are paid for too. To me, Frugal is getting the most for your money, Cheap is being frugal at the expense of others.  Using this definition, we are not cheap.
 
Recently on our trip up North, we asked our families if they could host a party for everyone to get together in one place rather than us making individual plans to see everyone. We sent envelopes of coupons and a check to cover BBQ expenses, and even paid for more stuff when we found out several more people would be attending. We left a thank you cards with more cash to cover the incidental expenses and hassle of having us stay and drink their coffee, break their furniture and mess up the place. We did not want the hosts to feel like we were cheap, and expected them to cover the costs of our visit. When we visit family, we rent our own car rather than borrowing one from someone, which we could - but that's cheap in my opinion. We wouldn't dream of staying at someones house and not offering or insisting on compensating them for the trouble. We also appreciate our neighbor watching our pet and home while we were away and give a generous gift card to let her know. To not do this is cheap.
 
We know people who stay at others houses and just because they are family, its okay to not offer up any thank you gift or cash. We also know people who travel and expect to be picked up at the airport by their friends or family, chauffered around town and delivered back - just because they are too cheap to rent a car.
It's cheap to eat at someone's house without providing for a part of the meal. Its cheap to drink all your hosts beverages without chipping in, or bringing your own.
It's cheap to eat at a restaurant and leave too small of a tip because you don't have change, even though the service was fine. It's cheap to bring your own lunch to work and use someone else's salad dressing or mayo, or worse yet to store your condiments or beverages in their small fridge so that they don't have room for all their stuff. Its cheap to go to a potluck lunch empty handed and yet eat all you want. Its cheap to split the bill at a restaurant when you ordered drinks and your friend ordered tap water to go with the meals. Get it? If saving your money doesn't cost anyone else their money - its frugal, not cheap.

The Accompanied Minor

Many years ago we moved out of state, across the country from our families, and my husbands child from a previous marriage. When we moved, his child was 9 years old and had never been on a airplane. The first experience was for visitation at Easter break and the child was boarded on a direct flight from Minnesota to Florida. Back then, the whole unaccompanied minor situation was not so common, but it was common enough that the airlines accomodated worrying parents by escorting children from the gate into the airplane, and then from the airplane to the gate for pickup by the other parent. Remember, back in the day when you could actually sit and wait with someone until their plane came in? Anyway, there were no extra charges or fees for this service, or even any forms to sign.
 
We did this for many years for spring, summer and winter break without any troubles. But times have changed and they will never go back to the good old days. These days to send a child across the country on an airplane unaccompanied costs a few bucks. I'm not sure how much, since I don't do it anymore.
 
Today a woman at work was there earlier than usual (which is early!) and she mentioned it was because she had to take her husband to the airport. I inquired where this retired gentleman was off to now, and she said he was flying with their grandson (who is 10) back to Newark, and then flying back. Tonight. Yes, he is flying to escort their grandson up North, and then immediately turning around and flying back to Florida. I couldn't believe it. What a way to not be frugal. Granted its not the same as it was fifteen or twenty years ago, but airlines do offer escort services for children for a fee and I'm thinking its pretty safe. The lady at work wouldn't even hear of doing that, what if her grandson ran into some turbulence and got scared? I asked if he's like that, scared of things. She said no, but she just wants the peace of mind. Apparently, her husband agrees with her too, since he's the one spending ALL DAY in an airplane, even transfering in Baltimore for a layover. I didn't ask how much his plane ticket was, but it was regular price she said.
 
Just another example of how hard it is to be frugal when you're a worry wart.