Many frugalists are looked down upon for their choices. They’re told: “Coupons? Recycling? Used clothes and furniture? How embarassing?” Trust me, I went to a school where if the tag sticking up out of the back of your designer shirt had the tell-tale slash of the outlet mall, you might as well homeschool.

But lately, there is a mass backlash against those who have spent in a way that many think lacked common sense. This can cause many of the frugalists to look at their retail-paying counterparts with disdain, something that really has no place or purpose.

We all make choices every day, some we may not even realize. We choose how long we spend in the shower, if we recycle, if we buy new or used. However, those who buy used should recognize the “retailist’s” place in the frugal cycle. If it weren’t for a “retailist” buying a garment, piece of furniture, etc., then donating or selling it to a second-hand store, the frugalist would be forced into the retail world, or have to make their own products (easier in some cases than others).

A mutual respect for people’s choices may not be easily attainable in this lifetime, but it’s extremely important to recognize that we are an interdependent community.

For example, I shopped in my aunt’s closet, and she shopped at Nordstrom’s. I’m glad she was able to buy things she liked, and I’m glad she was gracious enough to give me first choice at her beautiful hand-me-downs. When I tried to shop like she did, I ended up with credit card debt, and donating clothes that still had the tags on it (something I can’t stand) because her lifestyle doesn’t work for me. I know that when she thinks of living in the multi-family situation Mr. MT and I do, it makes her feel a little claustrophobic; my lifestyle doesn’t work for her. But we’re happy that each is satisfied with their own choices, and understand each other’s place in the cycle.