I cannot tell you how many times people have commented on my frugality; some meaning it as a compliment and others being sarcastic and meaning it as an insult. For the record, I am never offended by being called frugal. But what I am offended by is the underlying thought by the majority that frugal means self-deprivation.
First and foremost, I'd take frugal any day over the lifestyle I see many others living. But, I wish (or maybe not) I could get people to realize that my life involves no scarcity. For example, I once had a conversation with a friend who is also a co-worker. We were talking about how we spent our extra paycheck (we are on the 26 paycheck pay cycle). She proceeded to explain all of the wonderful things she did and bought with her "free" money, but then she turned to me and said, 'I bet you saved your whole check, right?". To that question I responded, "No, I saved half and spent half". What confuses me is, I don't even know how people develop their opinion of my lifestyle because I never talk about it. The conversation about the extra paycheck was initiated by my girl friend, not me.
Any-who, I do not deprive myself in anyway--which is the main reason why I will never give up my handbag collection. It is my one indulgence and I would feel like "not me" without it. But, I also know the difference between frivolous spending or spending because of peer pressure. I cannot begin to tell you all of the crazy excuses I've heard from friends to justify their ridiculous spending--'But if I use my debit card, I have 'keep the change' and the change goes into my savings account'; or 'See, it was on sale, so I only spent $8 dollars for it (an item she bought solely because it was on sale, not because it would serve a purpose in her life).
Being frugal to me means evaluating whether or not I really need an item, will it serve a definite purpose in my life and how much use will I get out of it. Also, would I be better served borrowing the item if I would have limited usage for it. Additionally, when I do choose to purchase an item I will never spend more than I feel it's worth; whether the cost is $7 or $200. You see, for me, it is not about the cost, per say, but the value. I will definitely pay what an item is worth, even if it's an expensive item (even though I may be inclined to wait for it to go on sale). I've found that most people don't understand this concept--which is fine for them, I guess. But what bothers me (and I will admit I am bothered by this), is the underlying judgment that others have about people who refuse to spend their money mindlessly. It was part of my motivation for starting this blog.
So, what do you think? Do you sometimes feel judged by others for your frugal ways?