Thursday, August 10

Beware the Anti-Frugal

I'm guessing that not everyone on the planet is a frugality wizard. I know I have a few readers, particularly some other frugality bloggers, that probably are much better at this than I. However, today's post is for all those people that happen by who may or may not have gotten beyond the "frugality might be a good idea" phase.

  Umm, yeah, so, just what is this Anti-Frugal thingy anyway?

Our society has been shaped by the Anti-Frugal for many years now. You see, frugality and mass consumerism are sort of at odds with each other, which results in one of those epic struggles that you might see in those old black and white movies on public television. The Anti-Frugal is a series of choices presented to us by society to take advantage of our moments of weakness to relieve us of our earnings.

  Yeah, ok, that's a little out there, you aren't serious are you?

Well, only a little. Now hush up, it's more fun this way. Let's talk about convenience. It's friday night, you've had a long and hard work week, you've brought home the family bacon, you are tired, you need a break. What does the Anti-Frugal tell us to do? Many of us will stop by a fast food joint and pick up some food or order out for dinner after we get home. It's something of a ritual, at least it was for me. This, this abomination of throwing good money at bad food, this is the Anti-Frugal.

  Oh yeah, I love when we order out, pizza is my favorite on
  Friday nights!

Hmm, are you sure you are listening? Convenience is one of the biggest tools of the Anti-Frugal. It sits in waiting until we are exasperated, tired or flush with cash and then offers us an easy way out for a price. We are perennially suckers and we fall for it more times than not.

  Okay, I see what you are saying, but I still think you are a
  dingbat. What else have you got?

Yes, well, you stew away on the convenience factor concept, you'll see. Anyway, another tool of the Anti-Frugal is outright deception. See, if you buy this blender today, for only $49.99 we'll throw in two free bars of hand soap and a second lid, free, for a savings or over $9,933.22! Act now, quick, a steal like this won't stick around very long...

  Omg, I have to get one now, while it's on sale, I'll be saving a ton,
  where is my purse? Oh, I hope they aren't sold out.

You can't be serious. Relax, it's a made up sale. The savings are false. The silly thing is overpriced and the junk added to the sale to make it such a big deal is just that, extra junk. Besides, they'll never sell out of the silly thing, there is no big blender shortage and if you've lived this long without a blender what makes you think you suddenly need one anyway?

Anyway, I'm talking generalities here. If I want to be charitable about the situation it's all a magic act. Shiny special lighting, fit happy people, great looking food professionally prepared, and it's all just props. Of course, they presumably can't outright lie, but they sure can stretch that truth an awful long way, can't they.

  Shoot, it was such a good deal too.

Uh-huh. Oh, here's one I've bet you've heard a few times. Howabout those great credit deals. Switch your debt over to brand "Imarippoff" credit cards pay no interest for six whole months. Think of the savings!

  Yeah, that's exactly what's in my wallet...

Sigh. Look, unless you are going to pay off those cards, the interest after the initial six months is usually astronomical. If you are routinely paying off your credit cards, then you won't have any debt to transfer to a new card anyway. Credit is a big game where everybody is having a great time stealing your money from your pocket and you sit there happy about it. Credit combined with convenience combined with deceptive advertising is the unholy trinity of the Anti-Frugal.

  Dude, like, you are frothing at the mouth, take it easy!

Arrrrrrgh. Bleah. Cough. Yeah, anyway, so it's the weekend and you are bored and your friend calls you up, hey, let's go grab some chow, hit a movie and then go shopping at the mall. Of course you squeal, say it's a great idea, and rush off to check your bank balance to see whether the day will be funded by debit or credit.

  Yeah, totally, my friends and I do that every weekend, it's
  really fun.

Yeah, whatever. I know it will strike you as odd, but you or your friends could visit each other, perhaps taking turns, and you know, prepare some food at home and share it. Heck, it might even be a bit of a social event, you bring this, I'll make that, maybe drop by to rent a movie and hang out at the pod for a bit. See, the Anti-Frugal throws boredom at us to push us out of our own financially controlled habits into the realm of paid activities as a social tool.

  I have no idea what you are talking about at all.

That's okay. I'll be here waging an eternal battle against the Anti-Frugal for as long as I can. Think about this stuff and come on back if you need some more pointers or advice, okay?

  Ewww, that sounds like homework!


Frugal Guy said...
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Jenn said...

GREAT!!! :)

Frugal Guy said...

Thanks Jenn, I was having fun...

Anonymous said...

My kinda girl.
consider yourself bookmarked.

Pat said...

Somehow, I just found this post. What a great way to make a point!

Frugal Guy said...

Pat, thank you for the kind comment. I wish I could come up with creative ideas like this more often!

Jen said...

i know.
i think that too.

Anonymous said...

it was so fun to sail along in the same boat with you .....screech! until you got to the swearing....that really turned me OFF.

"thou shall NOT take the name of the Lord thy GOD in vain for the Lord will NOT hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." 1 of the big 10 C.s.

Frugal Guy said...

Hi Anon,

You are welcome to your viewpoint, but the only examples that I could find in the post are "omg" and "heck".

It seems a stretch to call either of those examples of inappropriate language.

However, as someone who purports to be devout, you may wish to consider that proselytizing online without explicit permission is akin to theft, which is also not looked upon very highly either.

petey said...

Hi Guy, I would just like to point out you and your friend could've borrowed a movie from the library, instead of renting.

Anonymous said...

love your frugal tips; however, I was already known as a tight wad with all my money saving ways. Now, with the economy really bad, I don't have as many ways to save, since I already followed that lifestyle. woe is me

UWF student said...

Unfortunately, I was definitely everything the Anti-Frugal is all about. After every example you gave, I shook my head because I was that wasteful and so far from the life of frugal living; I just squandered my cash like it grew on trees. This provided me with some comical relief and I can definitely say I will be frequenting this blog more often. The concept of frugality has always been there, but until recently I never paid much attention to its importance even during hardships such as this recession. Thanks for the laughs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comments!


As long as you have a decent library nearby that is great idea. Hey, people could actually read a book once in a while too!


I know what you mean. Once you are living frugal, your next real option may have to be to figure out how to earn more income. That's not easy -- but it usually isn't impossible.


It's my pleasure to spread a bit of laughter or perhaps in other posts a bit of useful advice.

Francesca said...

Fantastic post! This really sums up what I've been trying to get across to people. It's great to come across like-minded bloggers.

Frugal Guy said...

Francesca, thanks for leaving a note. This has to be one of my favorite posts...