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Meet the Columnist

Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the Columnists.com, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
Humorists.com
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com

    To carry her weekly column in your newspaper, or to republish an article, please contact her. It's that easy. 

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Cheap vs Thrifty...
 


Cheap vs. Thrifty

I've watched several episodes of a TV show called "Extreme Cheapskates." Cheapskate is hardly an adequate word for people who are so cheap they find a way to reuse bath water to cut down on the water bill.

Now, who doesn't like to save money or find a bargain? We all do. I sometimes say my favorite word is "free." But I am not willing to embarrass myself to get something free.

Often free simply means you are paying for it in another way. For example, on BOGO products you are usually charged enough for the first product to receive another item free and still create a profit for the seller. Or the item may be bait to get you into the store where you will buy full-priced items as well. If you buy more than you need and do not use it, what have you saved?

To me there is a fine distinction between being "cheap" and being "thrifty." Cheap is saving dryer lint to reuse it in the place of cotton balls. Cotton balls cost about $1 for a hundred balls or about a penny a piece. Not worth the trouble in my book to save on an item that inexpensive.

Thrifty people look for bargains, shop at thrift stores, garage sales or dollar stores to save a buck or two. Cheapskates dumpster dive. They are not willing to pay anything at all and will reuse what most of us consider garbage. I am not willing to dig through garbage or scavenge through trash cans to find something free. You have to draw a line somewhere, and that is it for me.

A frugal person may buy gasoline at a station with lower prices, but does not run all over town looking for a gas station to save a penny per gallon. The frugal person will try to combine trips or errands and do several at a time to cut down on gasoline expenses. A cheapskate will hitch rides from friends or relatives.

A thrifty person will take advantage of sales at the grocery store, use coupons, or in some cases, shop more than one store to take advantage of advertised prices. A cheapskate is apparently willing to risk health and food poisoning by buying expired items, dented cans, and old meat packages. They bargain for everything, even food, trying to get a better deal.

A frugal person might use generic or store brands of household cleaners. A cheapskate uses vinegar, baking soda, or plain ammonia. One extreme cheapskate was so cheap he made his own deodorant with coconut oil and corn starch.

While most of us would be embarrassed to ask our neighbors for any extra food they have, cheapskates have no pride. They will beg, borrow, or do anything necessary to save a few pennies, even when they have sufficient income to easily afford what they need. They are not embarrassed but are actually proud of their cheapskate ways.

A frugal person might try to save on the electric bill by having energy efficient appliances or lowering the thermostat at night. The cheapskate never leaves on a light in a room not being used and has only one light in each room. One cheapskate baked lasagna in the dishwasher while the dishes washed to avoid turning on the stove.

Well, you get the idea here. There is a fine distinction between cheapness and thriftiness, at least in my vocabulary. Maybe I am splitting hairs between cheap and frugal. Maybe it is my Scotch-Irish blood telling me to be thrifty.

Are you willing to pinch a penny until it bleeds or would you rather not be inconvenienced even if you pay a little more?

 


Copyright 2015 Sheila Moss
 
 



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