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Divergent Views on Frugality

When being inherently frugal as I seem to be these days (do not get me started on buying the parts for my computer, talk about a mix of dread and joy), you’ll often run into opposing viewpoints of those that disagree with you for one reason or another. This is where things get a bit murky in the finance world, and often leads to arguments that don’t need to happen.

One such situation is collaborating with your siblings to buy your parents a gift. My mom wanted the DVD collection of Jonny Carson, which I was all for. After deciding on this gift however, my brother determined that this was only 20ish dollars per sibling, and that we better get her another gift. I was a little confused about it and said if she wants something else let’s get her that, whatever the price tag may be, but why tack on another gift for the sake of increasing the dollar value? Apparently this got construed as me being a miser who didn’t want to spend money on gifts.

Now, it should be noted that I am firmly in the camp of “don’t sweat the small stuff.” I run a tight but flexible budget, and when I go out to eat you’ll never find me thoroughly examining the check and saying “I owe $4.52 with tip” because I hate when people do that and I don’t feel the need to, since my going out was budgeted in the first place and I rarely go over that limit for discretionary money. In this way I don’t have to fret and worry and analyze because for the most part my finances can and do run on autopilot at least some of the time.

Now, back to my story, in the end we decided that we’d focus on a gift she would really like and use, and no feelings were hurt. But it’s an important lesson regardless. When it comes to spending money, especially splitting costs with others, be flexible. Don’t try to force your own views of money on others. Always be willing to work out a compromise, and let things slide where you need to. Things like a little extra money for Christmas gifts really aren’t worth arguing for as long as it’s not really breaking your bottom line (aka going into debt). Pick your battles carefully.


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