Monday, February 2, 2009

Autumn Asks: Are You a Frugal SNOB?!?!

Besides the fact that all my cool friends have blogs....the reason I started reading them was to get idea's on how to be more frugal.

Our frugal journey began before the economy started tanking... but after the housing market downturn. Knowing we were only going to be here 3 more years and seeing housing values drop, we started thinking ahead to when its time to sell and move on. Add to that our huge credit card debt....for the first time ever....and two car payments, and we were so far out of our comfort zone that we got serious.

So I have my favorite blogs that I follow that are based on living simply and frugally.

Recently, there has been a rash of rude comments on these blogs.

Yes, step away from the mainstream and here it comes. But say it wasn't from people that aren't from other frugal people? What?

So did I miss something? Are there some written in stone frugal LAWS that these people are breaking? I had no idea there were frugal police lurking out there just waiting for you to make a mistake.

Please people. So Jr. High. SO Jr. High. SO JR. High. SO JR. HIGH.

Some recent examples:

On one of my favorite blogs the author was blasted for using name brand food and personal items. Nope, I'm not kidding. Like you can't be frugal if you touch anything name brand. Well, I'm here to tell you, I'll use John Wayne toilet paper (rough and tough) before I replace my Coke with generic cola. So what if someone has a favorite brand. If they are sticking to their OWN food budget, who cares? Ever heard of personal likes and dislikes? We are allowed. Even if we are "frugal". And the author was NOT whining are asking for advice on how to cut her grocery bill...she was just sharing what her list looks like.

And lets face it...some generics are gross. Why buy something your family won't eat? How frugal is that?

Another author was questioned for her excessive purchase of non-disposable water bottles. She stated that they wanted to get out of using the packs of water from the store and start carrying their own. That's frugal and eco freindly. But a reader had to question her on the AMOUNT of bottles she bought (which are the newer, safer bottles without the poison plastics, etc). Now, it was done in a respectful manner - except for saying how she couldn't help but think that was excessive - and her budget looked aweful high this month. Why not just ask in the comment how she came up with her number? The author did do a post on the answer - and part of the answer is she ended up with more than she went in for as it was cheaper to buy in a family pack so she has 3 more than she calculated she needed. And yes - she had a formula and good reasons for her number. Commentor - it doesn't matter how respectful you're saying you are being if you use inflammatory and accusory words. It's much more polite to just ask the question why instead of adding the judgement in.
Another woman felt the need to explain to a nasty commentor about their trip to Disney World. A trip paid for in cash. A trip that was greatly reduced in price as the husband had returned from serving in the desert, away from his kids and wife, for an extended length of time and Disney has special deals for these Vets.

I'm sorry - why aren't you allowed to take a vacation if you are frugal? When did this become outlawed? Why should this woman feel guilty for providing a cash vacation of pure fun for daddy and his kids?

I recently came across a blog of a family that moved into Amish country and are living off the grid. As in NO electricty. As in an outhouse. As in a gasoline powered washing machine. As in a windmill to pump the water into the house. Fascinating reading!!!!! Yet, you would be surprised at the verbal attacks on their family. Some say this is abusive to their children even!

Now, you are not going to find me going electricity free (I sure wonder how she charges her laptop!!!). And indoor plumbing is a must for me...especially the bathroom part. But I'd rather cheer for this family for being self sufficient that blast them for it. No, they are not hurting our economy by not having a elecricty or water bill. They are polluting less and relying on themselves more.

Why do people feel the need to tear down others that take a different path from them? Is it jealousy? Is it to make oneself feel more superior to the other?

And where is this elusive set of frugal rules we are supposed to follow? Apparently following your own families needs and desires is not allowed.

Another of my pet peeves...the people that make nasty comments about buying new clothing. If you have a clothing budget, and you stay within it - who cares? Now, if I'm complaining about not having money to buy groceries and I'm spending too much on new clothes...that's a problem. But if you have a set clothing budget and you stay within are being frugal. And trust me, I'm an expert on finding new clothing at thrift store prices...I have a talent for it. I don't know why. Actually, I think its something my mom passed down to me. And having said that - I do buy things at thrift stores and have no problem buying used clothing.

Then there are the coupon people. As in, the coupon haters. Ok - so don't use them. I'm here to tell you that I use coupons on some things. And GASP, I will buy something I don't normally buy with them. So am I kicked out of the frugal club?? You see, with a teen that wakes up 22.5 seconds before she needs to run out the door to catch the bus, and only gets enough lunch money to buy about half her lunches a month...if I find an amazing coupon for some quick trash that I know she will eat, I will buy it. Now, I have rules. The item cannot cost over $1 after the coupon(and I can't be able to simply make it for less). They must be used for school breakfast and lunch...not snacks or weekend fare. This means she gets alot of one time things. Most really good coupons are for a brand new product they want you to try. And yes, I know this is not good healthy food. The alternative is that she doesn't eat at all. And I also have to admit this is not a weekly kind of thing. AND I still stay within my grocery budget.

I could probably go on at least this much more, but I think you get the point.

Being frugal is good.

Frugal is personal and defined by each person/family. It is not a one size fits all thing.

Unless someone is complaining or asking for help with their frugal methods, don't make negative comments -- but do ask sincere questions if it helps you in some way (like you'd like to do this but don't understand everything). Leave the judgement at the door.

And back to my New Years Resolution -- Love and support one another. We are all trying to do better with our finances or our resources or be more eco friendly. It's a journey. A PERSONAL journey. Let's build each other up - not tear each other down. Someone doing things differently is NO THREAT to you.


  1. Very good post Autumn! We all have our favorite name brand items, there are some products that a generic just will not do for our family. For those products, I usually wait until it goes on sale and stock up then. By the time we run out it's on sale again and I rarely break my grocery budget.

  2. I got started reading frugal blogs too! And I haven't seen these attacks, but I'm not surprised. Frankly, I'm surprised I haven't been attacked:)

  3. Autumn, thank you for coming to my defense, my sister!

    As you know, I TOTALLY agree with you. I think it's absolutely ridiculous when people concern themselves with such trivialities. What are they trying to prove?

    As one of my readers said,

    "Hey anonymous commenter - get a life!"

  4. This was a really good post Autumn and I completely agree with everything you said.

    I think the problem is that people just want to judge regardless of, if people would just mind their own business and stop trying to control how others live, it would be so much better.

  5. the final line of your post- someone doing things differently than you is not a threat to you-- is a great theme for life! whether is being frugal, parenting issues, whatever, if we could all remember that we don't have to do it all the same to all be "right", we'd all be better off! Great post!

  6. Hey there just popped over from Down To Earth blog (rhonda), and I love this post.

    Thank for this. I too have had negative comments. I just post it for a day or 2 and then delete it. My blog my rules! LOL

    I will be back to read another day!!!

  7. I really identify with this post, and I think I can recognise at least two blogs which we both follow!

    I'm lucky in that I don't get many negative comments, and generally true friends leap to my defence if I do. There are obviously a lot of judgemental people out there who genuinely can't see that they don't always know what is best for everyone!

    Now that I've found your blog, I'll be adding it to my google blog reader - another interesting read for me!

  8. Very well said!! Just because someone else does something differently than you do doesn't make it wrong. Sheeesh!