There are two possible outcomes of frugality. One is to stretch your dollar so that you get a lot more in purchases. The other is to stockpile cash from all of the scrimping and saving. Let me give you an example. I have $50 to spend on gifts and scour the web /ads for deals and coupons. Through my frugal efforts, I am can either A): purchase a stellar gift for $25, a gift for another person for $15, and spend the remaining “saved” $10 on toiletries I need, thus stretching that original $50 that was earmarked for one gift or B): purchase a stellar gift for $25 and deposit the extra $25 into my savings account.

                It makes sense to invoke ‘A’ in certain situations. Around the holidays, stretching your dollar opens up the opportunity to purchase more gifts for your money, which is a higher priority because of the sheer number of people to buy for (at least in my family). If you do not make enough income to meet your needs and basic wants, then stretching your dollars may be the only option there is in order to make it in-between paychecks.

But don’t make the mistake that stretching your dollars alone means you will accumulate savings in a bank account. Whatever the reason is for stretching your dollars rather than banking them, your frugal efforts will never stockpile into an account if you keep purchasing more with your money rather than banking your frugal efforts. For all the scrimping, clipping, and strategizing you do, your bank account will be stunted. For me personally, I know that cash is liquid. Other than inflation whittling away at its value, I can count on cash being there. Cash can be used for anything; however, an extra lamp or a room full of books is more difficult to liquefy when you need money. And aside from this, stockpiling cash and investing it has the potential of growing passive income in the form of interest, dividends, and capital gains. You won’t ever squeeze a penny out of that new set of sheets.  

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Frugal Sinks

I enjoy stockpiling cash from my frugal efforts so much that I refer to some objects around our home as “frugal sinks”. While looking at them, I calculate the amount of frugal “savings” that went into these objects. It seems particularly painful to me when I remember the frugal efforts leading up to these particular purchases, like the time when I saved $20 on new pillows at Marshall’s that we needed for guests coming into town and then I immediately fell in love with a half-off, gorgeous dress. Heck, it even happens at the grocery store. I retrieve a $5 off $50 HEB coupon from Recyclebank and end up taking those “savings” and purchasing a tub of Blue Bell ice-cream (chocolate chip cookie dough, of course).  

There is a frugal gremlin out there that likes to eat up the cash surplus from our frugal efforts: our self. If we aren’t careful, we could be the little old lady who lives in her clearance-marked-down-from-half-price shoes. We can stockpile things, or we can stockpile cash. If we’re lucky, we’ll find a happy medium and meet both our needs and our wants at the same time.

 

10 replies
  1. Sean @ One Smart Dollar
    Sean @ One Smart Dollar says:

    I agree there needs to be a happy medium. I will be the first one to admit that I will fully take advantage of the deals at Walgreens every Sunday and stockpile. I only stockpile the stuff my wife and I always use though (shampoo, body wash, razors). I am not anything like people on Extreme Couponing.

  2. Shannon-ReadyForZero
    Shannon-ReadyForZero says:

    Your mention of “frugal sinks” reminds me of how I felt when I was packing to move across the country. I remember looking at so much stuff (mostly clothing and books) and thinking, “how much money could I have saved if I didn’t buy these things” (except for books, I can’t get myself to feel guilty for buying books no matter how hard I try). After donating at least half of my wardrobe and moving, I’m now much more focused on not buying things just because they are a good deal and only shopping for something if I really need it (ie: a good hoodie, the wind in San Francisco is chilly!). Plus, I got a library card. I really need to break the book buying habit…

  3. Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter
    Crystal @ Prairie Ecothrifter says:

    I am not really a pro at stretching a buck, so I am more of a cash-hoarding squirrel. If I simply choose not to spend at all, it is way easier to redirect the cash to savings. So during great months, I will buy whatever it is we had been wanting. But all other cash is piled into ING or used on our current mortgage…

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  3. […] L Grossman @ Frugal Confessions writes Is Your Frugality Invoked to Stretch Dollars or to Stockpile the Savings? – There are two possible outcomes of frugality. One is to stretch your dollar so that you get […]

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