Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Chris and I attended a wine tasting a few years back. It made us feel sophisticated and adult for the evening. The only drawback was that I had no idea what anyone was talking about. We spent the whole evening smiling and sipping while our table mates tossed out phrases like, “Tremendously complex finish lasting more than a minute,” or “Lightly floral notes.” If they would have asked me what I thought I probably would have smacked my lips and said, “Beats that last drop of grape juice that I drank from the kids sippy cups today.” The same goes with a visit to the doctor’s office. It took watching all 15 seasons of ER before I had a clue about what the doctor was saying to me at each visit. And I hate being the only one in the room that doesn’t know what’s going on. It seems that there is a special code language for nearly everything, even frugality. Since that happens to be something I speak fluently, I consider it my personal mission to make sure you don‘t find yourself in the same situation that I did. Here are some definitions to help you understand what in the world we’re talking about if you happen to come across a group of tightwads hovering over a 75% off rack.
Frugality, according to wikipedia, is the practice of acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal. I don’t know about the restrained part because normally we tend to get rather excited when we find a good deal or realize that we just fixed a broken appliance using a rubber band and a piece of chewing gum. MacGyver is our mascot.
A Frugalista is a step above. Not only is she resourceful and restrained but she does it with flair and fashion sense. The opposite of a designer-wearing fashionista, her outfit is more of a cross between Salvation Army finds, a great sale at Nordstroms, and a pair of used Jimmy Choo’s found at her favorite second hand consignment shop in the city.
Cheapskate can have a negative connotation but the frugal set wears the name with pride. It basically means someone who spends money only as a last resort and never at full price. Take note though that you can call yourself a cheapskate but never anyone else. Then it turns into an insult.
Tightwad is another one of those tricky words that you can attach to yourself but never anyone else. It’s a person who has trouble giving up their money. Isn’t that all of us to some degree? Isn’t everyone left with a feeling of loss as that phone payment drops into the mailbox never to gain interest in your savings account again?
Frugology, the study of all things frugal. This means searching for coupons, studying a money saving book or article, dreaming up new ways to save money and learning new skills to fix things yourself. It’s tantamount to a Masters Degree in Personal Economics.
If you slip a few of these words into a conversation with your frugal friends, you’re sure to blend right in.
For more WFMW go HERE.