Apparently Reader’s Digest thinks I’m an ass. In May, they did an article and survey entitled Frugal or Tightwad? As a society we have this image of a tightwad as some geriatric jerk, huddled in a homemade shanty, figuring out how he can screw the Care Bears out of Christmas, all because he wasn’t hugged enough as a child; now every time he pays a penny out of his misshapen hands, it destroys what’s left us his hollow soul, as money is all he has left.
Seriously, if that’s what you truly believe, you need a lobotomy. A tightwad, by definition, is tight with their wad/wallet! (Stop giggling, please.) Tightwads identify places where they don’t have to spend, where as frugalists work to identify places they can save. In truth, both philosophies must work together for a fiscally sensible process. There is no reason to spend money you don’t have to, and there is no reason to spend more money than you have to.
I get tired of this idea that to be a thrifty person, you have to be unethical or disloyal. Yes, I’m a horrible person. Since we can’t go out to bars and clubs with our friends, I invite people over for barbecues and pot lucks. For shame! I can’t afford to give much to charity, so I try to click on sites that get donations for clicks. Dear god, I’m evil!
People who are willing to violate laws and generally accepted ethics (trying not to impose my own here) are not frugalists or tightwads, they’re poor human beings. There are people who are willing to do unkind, or spiteful things to save a dollar. They will sit and complain about how all the entitled people have caused these horrible economic situations we’re in, and then sign up for multiple e-mail accounts to receive as many discounts as possible (ignoring that whole one per household rule). I start to laugh when they justify it with their own twisted sense of entitlement as a “little guy sticking it to the man.”
You can be a jerk or have an open heart, no matter what fiscal sensibility you subscribe to. I get tired of these articles that identify those who are thrifty and happen to be rude, discourteous, unethical, or criminal as “tightwads.” I am a tightwad. I don’t like spending money, but I love to be helpful, try to be compassionate, and above all, I’m not a jerk.