My youngest granddaughter is turning 3 this month. When I asked my daughter what would make a nice present, or what did she need, she gave me two links to Amazon. One was for barrettes and the other was for girlish play butterfly wings. The grand total for both items came to $24.89. Amazon popped up a notice and told me if I spent .11 (eleven cents) more, I’d get free shipping, thus ‘saving’ $6.99, but in reality I’d be ‘saving’ nothing, because I’d be ‘spending’ more than I anticipated just to get the free shipping.
Other than a pack of needless gum (@$4.97) I searched high and low to see if there was anything I either needed or wanted in order to spend the eleven pennies. Well, yes there is one thing that I need, and that’s a bra BUT I’m not buying a bra on Amazon (plus their prices were higher than what I would pay in a discount chain) I really didn’t need nor want the pack of Wrigley gum, so after two days of endless searching on Amazon, I declined to buy anything.
Which brings me to my point: I really only buy what I need. I don’t spend my money mindlessly. I really sit and think about it. That, to me, is the true/real meaning of someone who is frugal. We buy what we need AND it has to be at a discounted, more realistic price. I knew if I got in my car and drove to Wal Mart I could buy those things my daughter wanted me to get for my granddaughter cheaper, and that is exactly what I did. Plus, I got a discounted, brand new bra for only $9. Not the $24 Amazon wanted, just to get the ‘free’ shipping. I would have spent an additional $23.89 rather than the eleven cents to get the $6.99 free shipping. NOT a good deal IMHO.
Which brings me to my second point. At the beginning of the new season, I sat down and wrote a list of all the things I needed or desperately wanted (within reason, such as a pedicure and a eyebrow shaping). Every week I’d check off what I bought from the list. Every week I’d accomplish something off that list. It was a slow-moving process. It gave me time, however, to calculate what I really wanted vs what I really needed. Eventually, I didn’t get that pedicure nor my eyebrows shaped. I did the work myself. But I did get that haircut. And I did get myself some brand new beauty products that I had been longing for. The only thing I had left on my list was buying a necessary new bra.
So, when I was faced with that choice on Amazon, to spend an additional eleven cents in order to get free shipping, a $6.99 value, I realized the spending trap outside forces can put upon us. No matter which way I calculated it, I was going to be forced to spend more money than I needed to. And a true frugalista will not do that to him or herself. I just emptied my online cart and shopped retail instead. Thus ‘saving’ myself from spending more money than I needed to.
And that, my dear friends, is what it is all about.