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I’m Not Cheap, I’m Frugal!

They say you will eventually turn into your parents.  Well, it’s true.  This economy has turned me into my dad, the cheapest person you’ll ever know.  I remember as a child my mom always complained that my dad was cheap and his response was, “I’m not cheap–I’m frugal!”  Now I find myself saying the same thing in response to my husband complaining about generic groceries.

I admit, I am one of those annoying people that is always in the way at the grocery store because I read the tags closely for the price per ounce to see which product is a better deal.  It’s even worse when one product has a price per ounce and the other a price per pound or unit; then the calculations in my brain start reving up.

So what’s the difference between store brands and brand names?  A lot of the time both products are produced in the same plant, just with different labels, maybe the store brands are allowed a few more errors in the packaging, but they are basically the same.  Some things are not the same though and it’s just a learning process.  The only thing that I have come across so far that I will not buy the store brand of is ground coffee.  I bought Hytop coffee and I had to double check my coffee pot because it tasted like it was brewed in a boot, a very smelly boot.

The Dollar Tree can have some great deals, but it also can be misleading because you are expecting to get a great deal.  I thought I was getting a great deal on the mega cup of soups and my frozen three pack of tacos.  I went next door to Winco and found the same products for 78 cents.  I find that you can get a better deal on sandwich bags at Walmart if you buy their store brand and the aluminum foil can be a good deal if you use it just for covering up casseroles or lining the BBQ.  Food sticks to it and it rips very easily since it is so thin, so I buy the name brand for putting food on and the dollar store brand for everything else.

My husband may laugh at me for being able to find the weirdest of products in generic form, but I have learned to eat somewhat ok for just $20 a week so who’s laughing now?  His biggest laugh was from the generic peanut butter, but then I found that the fresh ground peanut butter at Winco was actually less expensive.  The switch in mentality from going grocery shopping to going on a money saving mission wasn’t easy.  For the first time in my life I look at the price of vegetables and buy the least expensive alternative, like how zucchini is less expensive per pound than yellow squash.  Now that I have acclimated, grocery shopping is like a conquest–how much can I save this week?  I budget $25 a week for food and anything I don’t spend goes into my savings.

There seems to be a social stigma over “cheap” people, people who pinch pennies, use coupons, buy generic products, etc.  There is nothing wrong with saving money, but to those nay-sayers, I say, “I’m not cheap–I’m frugal!!”


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