Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Sins of the Frugal

Bless me, frugal friends, for I have sinned.

This Monday, I went to Target and I... I... [sobs] I paid full price for everything.

Actually, I don't feel as bad as all that about it. Everything we bought was something that we definitely needed: some long johns for me, socks for Brian, and a bag of coffee. None of these is an item that we were very likely to find secondhand, and the prices for all of them were reasonable. It's conceivable that we might have been able to find all three for less online, but we might have had to pay for shipping and would definitely have had to wait for them to arrive, rather than being able to use them right away.

So this was not what most people would consider a wild, heedless shopping spree. In fact, it's exactly what most people would consider a perfectly normal, routine shopping trip...which is precisely what makes it so unusual for us. Because we almost never buy anything, aside from groceries and other consumables, without carefully researching it first: comparing prices, looking for sales, and finally making our purchase only when we feel pretty sure we've found the best deal. So when I waltz casually into a big box store and just toss the things I need in my basket and swipe my card and walk out again, I feel like I've just done something terribly reckless—perhaps even a little bit wicked.

All of which, I guess, is simply proof of how close I live to what Amy Dacyczyn (all hail the Frugal Zealot) called "the edge of the great abyss of skinflintian compulsion." And that's okay—it's good that I make it my normal practice to be mindful about spending, and I don't make a habit of running out to the store every other night for something that, upon further consideration, I might be able to do without. I just need to remind myself every once in a while to stay on the sane side of the line.

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