Hello again, my lovelies.
Sorry I didn't write the last couple of days. Sleeping plenty. Tuesday night, though, I was outside mowing the lawn when I took a bad tumble and landed on my rear end. I also managed to sprain my left wrist. Today, it is very sore and I cannot achieve a full range of motion. Hurts like a bugger even today.
But that is not what I want to discuss with you today.
Rather, I want to mention someone's comment on my Facebook from a few weeks ago. A friend said I was cheap. I should ask him why, and will, but I want to defend myself.
I am not sure what is wrong with being frugal with money. Plenty of times I have been a spendthrift, throwing money around with abandon. A few times, it lead to some embarrassing and even humiliating financial issues that took years to recover from. It was really only 2018 when I took a payout on my long service award and used a big pile of it to pay off a couple of debts that I felt some breathing space. That space grew in 2020 when I sold the Valley house.
In the last few years it has been all about doing everything I can, not to acquire debt. I have two credit cards, with small limits, and use them, but pay them off in full every single month. If I cannot buy something and pay it off that same month, then I don't get it.
The home improvements made to Casa Bevboy in 2020 and 2021 were paid for out of the proceeds of the Valley house. It shrank my savings, but it was money well spent and I have quite a bit to show for it.
For years, initially out of necessity and now because I want to, I buy my shirts and pants at thrift stores. I wear them until they become threadbare, at which time I either cut them up into rags or wear them when I am staining the deck or veranda or side steps. If I do the former, make rags, I remove the buttons from the shirts first and put them in a jar so I can use the buttons on other shirts where the buttons have worn out or fallen off.
Shoes. I buy a few pair a year and wear them until they are no longer wearable. I strip off the laces and throw out the shoes. Used men's shoes are barely a thing. I buy them new.
Socks. I buy them and use them until they wear out. I do not darn them like my grandmother did. I just throw them out.
Foundation garments. I buy them new and wear them out, at which time I throw them in the garbage.
Coats. Usually buy them used and wear them until they wear out, which takes a very long time. I have one green Fall jacket that I have worn for a good decade now, and I love it. I am pretty sure I got it used. Why would I get rid of it?
We take great advantage of discounted food products. Superstore sells a lot of meat at 50% off, for example. We call it "used meat", or "previously enjoyed meat". We cook it as soon as possible and then freeze what we will not consume right away. We have a Foodsaver machine that sucks the air out of the bag the food is in, so we can freeze it for months. Last night's salmon was prepared in that way, and tonight's haddock was, too.
I have only bought a few new computers in my life. The last one was in 2009, and I still have it. It kept freezing on me, so I no longer use it, but I will remove the ram and the hard drive from it before I throw it out. Otherwise, I buy a refurbished computer from a reputable dealer in the city. I know that the computer will last me for years.
The same goes for peripherals like printers and scanners. I bought a bag of computer mice this Winter for $15, I think it was. There were at least ten of them so do the math. The laser printers were purchased used and I got them working myself. The toner is not fun to pay for, but I don't print that much, so I can get years out of a printer. One of them I bought in 2012 and it still works perfectly.
I hate going downtown now, so I take the bus when I go to do research at
the archives or the library. Why pay the money to drive there and park
using that ridiculous new parking scheme they put in place last year? A round bus trip costs me $5. Cheap, cheap, cheap. And I usually take my own lunch and eat it in the park, to boot.
I have no idea what is wrong with any of the above procedures. You try to save money where you reasonably can. Have some fun with your money, but pay your bills and don't spend yourself into a flurry of debt. Try to have something left over at the end of the month.
I realize during the pandemic that plenty of people who otherwise have been good with their money, exhausted their resources and are having a hard time. They have my full sympathy, and empathy. This post is about me and not them, though.
My question to you is simple: what is the reasonable cut off between being a thrifty person and being unreasonably parsimonious?
I look forward to your thoughts. You know how to contact me.
My dad’s favourite saying is “mind the pennies, dollars take care of themselves”. I’ve always taken that to mean save where you can and you’ll have the money to put towards what you want without doing into debt. Some of my friends think I’m cheap because I don’t buy a new car ever 4 to 6 years - I owned 1 new car and it broke down the same as a used model. They mock me when they see me coming out of Value Village. The poke fun when I speak of sales at grocery stores. But it’s all ok because I’ve got a big smile on my face when I see my debt is more than manageable and oh yeah, me and my lovely missus are spending 10 days in the sunny Caribbean each year again without worrying how we will pay for it! So I say, to heck with what those who know you think or say. It sounds to me that you are doing it right.
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