I guess it all depends on where your from and how you were raised that determines if doing something is an embarrassment or just plain natural.
I was raised with old school pride, simple as that. We had what we had, dealt with what we didn't have and never asked for anything. Dad slaved away his youth to provide for his family while mom kept the home front and us kids in order. We were frugal, simple homesteaders that cared for ourselves and others.
I am fortunate enough to say even though I could have qualified for most of the programs, I have never eaten a free government meal, took free government money or had the government provide for me in any way.
I understand those programs are in place for the people who need them and I do not look down at the ones who get that assistance if needed. I may one day have to as well.
A lot of that old school environment I was raised in rubbed off on me. I know it sounds silly but Goodwill and the Thrift stores were places I would not show my face, I had too much pride. It wasn't that I was any better than the people who shopped at those places, it was that I worked for a living and thought I needed to fend for myself. I was extremely poor just starting out in life as an adult and I felt those places were for the more needy than me.
It wasn't until just a couple of years ago I felt comfortable even being in Dollar General or stepping foot in Goodwill. If you have been a reader for awhile you also know just last year I had big issues on dumpster diving doing it only at night and without anyone watching.
I was still frugal though. I built what I needed, repaired what was broke and scavenged whatever I could find. I kept piles of junk around just in case there was something I might need in the future because yuo just never know.
Where I am going with all this talk is this, the lifestyle I have lived my whole life is now the new cool. I see people who once called me names like white trash, uneducated hillbilly and the armpit of humanity living the same lifestyle. The last time I was at Goodwill looking for deals I noticed several very expensive cars out front. Upon entering the store it was easy to see who owned them. These were the people who dressed in expensive clothes wearing expensive jewelry yelling at the store clerk to give them a better deal like this was Walmart or something.
They have infiltrated all aspects of frugality. You see them at the storage auctions running the price up just hoping they find a buried treasure like they do on the TV show. You see them in the thrift stores haggling with the price so they can brag to their friends on how they bullied the sells guy into a lower price. You see them at the trash dump loading more into their Cadillac Escalades than they brought with them.
This in turn has started driving the price of junk up, but it is not about the money to them. They would spend twice the amount on a older item than buy a new one and call it antique even though it is junk.
A new kind of second hand store just opened up close to where I work and they cater to the new movement of the frugal rich. It sure does not look like any second hand store I ever been in before that is for sure. I could not even afford the broom they sweep the floors with at that place.
So when did this movement start? Maybe you have seen it and maybe you haven't, but I sure have.
When standing in line behind a chick that has more plastic body parts than my truck and she is bragging to the cashier on how she is screwing the man by making the government buy her food, something ain't right. Or this high kept lady at Dollar General haggle over fifty cents then walking out and getting into her new Bentley, something ain't right. Or the guy in his business suit at the restaurant throwing a fit over his 3/4 eaten, slightly undercooked steak and when the manager takes his plate and says not to worry about the bill, he winks at me and says "That's how you get a free steak", something ain't right.
All I can say is they are giving me a bad name. The next time I am asked if I am frugal, I don't know if I want to admit it or not.
You might say these people are not frugal, they are just being jerks. The problem is, they are calling themselves frugal and they think it's cool. Maybe it is as simple as they were once like me and being frugal got them where they are today and by keeping up and expanding their practices into "Jerkhood" they are able to maintain their lifestyle.
If this is the new cool then I don't want any part of it. I need to come up with a new name, maybe "Cheapo" will do for a few years. But I know deep down I was frugal before frugal was cool.
If you have seen it, what is your take on the new cool movement of the frugal rich?