Sunday, August 25, 2019

Misconception about couponers and frugalists

Hi everyone

I'm sure that some of you have been judged by society for being a couponer and/or frugalist. To me, it seems that most people look down on those who try to save a dollar or few. I just don't understand why some people act like this. Maybe it's because I was born and raised in a different country with a totally different lifestyle. In South Africa most people live simple lifestyles and not everyone tries to keep up with the Joneses (and NO we are not poor people. I know that tv gives people the misinformation about 3rd world countries). People are just much more content with what they have.

So let's start with couponing

Couponers are poor or struggling financially

In most cases this is not true. The majority of couponers just know that you don't have to pay full price for almost anything. Companies issue coupons to get you to try their products (especially new products). So why pay full price, when you can save quite a bit of money on your grocery bill. Money that can be used for something else.

Couponers are hoarders

I can't speak for everyone but in most cases this is not true. Many who have big stockpiles, have it for a reason. I for one, do not like to run out of anything or have to run to the store for just one item. Many have big families that they have to plan for, special occasions that they're stocking up for or just plain prepared for an emergency (job layoff, recession, natural disaster etc). So, please don't judge people with large stockpiles. They have it for a good reason.

Also, many couponers are extremely generous. Look at Sluggy who holds giveaways on a regular basis. It's not something she has to do. She could easily just keep those items for herself or sell it and make extra money for her family. Instead, she pays postage OOP (I know it's not cheap) to make someone else feel special. My hat's off to Sluggy

Many people must wonder why I keep buying more and more of a certain item or items that my family doesn't need. Those close to me know that I'm a big giver. I never talk about my giving. I come from a well respected church family (not going to go into detail) and my parents have always drilled it into us to give, give, give and to never ever talk about our giving, because it's a personal matter between us and God. We don't give to get a pat on the back. Also, I'm extremely private so I don't share many things. It's just the way I was raised).

I'm not a shelf clearer (that TLC show definitely gave most people the wrong impression about couponers. I hate that damn show). If there's a good sale somewhere, I buy enough to last us a long time (because it save us money long term).

You probably don't have much money if you don't drive a fancy or latest model car

We live in the Motor City. My DH is a mechanic. We both know that buying a brand new car is pure foolishness, since that car starts depreciating the minute you drive it off the lot. Why waste good money on something that continues to depreciate over time. We're better off investing that extra cash, than buying a new car. Most people have flashy, luxury vehicles to show off with. In many cases, they have to take out a loan to pay for those fancy cars.

Which brings me to the other foolish car point. A leased car. I have never, ever heard of leased vehicles until I moved to the US. This is even worse that buying a new vehicle. You are throwing away money on something that you won't even own at the end of the day.

What is wrong with buying a nice little used vehicle? That's what we do. We've never leased a vehicle. I've had my car for 9 years now and we didn't even pay much for it. It's a 2005 model and still going strong. Now, I do have the added benefit of having my own personal mechanic (DH). So when we purchase a used vehicle, he can easily tell if it's worth the money or not. My car hasn't had much problems over the years. I recently had an alternator problem, that was fixed in no time.

Can we afford a new vehicle? Absolutely. We are financially independent. We are not trying to impress anyone with what we have. We love our used vehicles. They are in great condition inside & out. Would I like a new car? Yes. But I also know it would be dumb to get rid of a perfectly good vehicle just because I want something else. It's not a need, so I can wait.

Look at my big fancy house. You probably can't afford it.

Why would anyone want to buy more house than they can afford? If you can't afford to pay cash for that house or have a huge down payment, then you're gonna end up with a hefty mortgage. Then there's property taxes. Not to mention high heating/cooling costs. Why pay so much more, when a simple, smaller house will do. Look at Europeans. They live in small, simple homes. We have the same concept in SA. People are happy with having simpler, smaller things. There's less to maintain and you definitely don't have to work until you fall over, to pay for it all.

You must be poor if you don't wear fancy duds

Let me start off by saying that I'm a bit of a fashionista. No shame in my game. Again, it's how I was raised. DH says he feels like a farmer whenever he's in SA, because everyone's always well dressed. It's a way of life, so I make no excuses.

However, he prefers to dress simply here. I too, have some items (not fancy) that are old and worn, but I still love them, so I wear them. I have 2 pairs of jeans that are so worn, they're gonna get holes soon (that I love to wear). So people judge you based on your appearance. There's nothing wrong with simple styles, if that's your choice. Nobody works for your money or pays for your clothes. So wear what makes you feel good.

I remember when I went for my immigration interview in SA years ago. DH had flown to SA to attend it with me. While at the consulate, a man in a very nice suit and big case/briefcases (he was either a lawyer or CPA. I know this because I worked for a prestigious accounting firm back then and knew that there's only 2 kinds of people who used those cases) started talking to DH. He took a look at the Rolex (not fake) on DH's arm and asked DH what he did for a living (my Farm boy wasn't dressed fancily enough by SA You should have seen the look on his face when DH told him that he's a mechanic. It was So yeah, you should never judge a book by it's cover.

Now, I'm not saying everyone should just be cheapskates and hoard all their money. Absolutely not. If you have they money and can afford a bigger house, a brand new fancy car etc, then go for it.

We choose to live below our means. There are certain things that we splurge on. We can afford to because we are frugal.

We have all our needs met and more (I seldom buy store brand) thanks to couponing. I also had bad experiences (food poisoning) from Meijer store brands, so I absolutely avoid their stuff. We save thousands per year and live very well, all because I take the time to plan and clip coupons. Y'all know I don't just coupon for groceries. I can't see myself NOT using coupons. It would feel like throwing away money, if I had to pay full price for anything. DH does the same with big ticket items. We search for the best deals on things we need.

To quote Nene Leakes of RHOA "I don't keep up with the Joneses. I AM the Joneses" (I'm not saying we are the Joneses. Just sharing some food for thought). So instead of trying to impress others with what you have and living way above your means, how about being the Joneses instead. It will surely give you peace of mind in the event that any kind of disaster should strike.

or as Dave Ramsey says "Live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.

Don't worry about others judging you for being frugal. Just know that most of those people can't even afford half the things that they 'own'.


  1. I dislike those couponers shows also. So unrealistic. I also know that Sluggy donates so much to her local food bank.

    1. I stopped watching TLC after that show. I belonged to a huge national couponing message board at the time and I knew that many of those couponers were just trying to get out of debt, support their families & when the recession hit, help support extended family & friends. TLC ruined all that for us.

  2. Thanks for the shout out. '-)
    I am a women of a certain age and I no longer care what society or anyone thinks about(judges)me. We all need that mindset. And we'd all be a lot happier and better off financially if we lived below our means and did what made ourselves happier.

    I've always said if you use a credit card/payment plan to buy something(that you can't afford to pay off right now)you don't actually own it.

    Well said.

    1. You're welcome :) Well said Sluggy! I too don't care what people think. I know that we are far better off than those who question us about not being flashy or not spending money on certain things. We do what makes us happy.

  3. I cannot remember the last time I bought clothing that was not on sale or greatly reduced! I did make everything i wore, even panties and bras. My house was destroyed along with food and clothing and antiques bought so cheaply. I intend to start sewing again since my machine is now where i can even get to it.

    We bought a new car and sold it seven years later with 7K miles on it. It was exhusband's idea. The dealer was shocked to know the odometer was correct. We usually bought used car. Having a mechanic in the family is really great. Well, the car was not new. It had 1K miles on it as a demonstrator or something.

    I have been able to give away food because i do stockpile.

    1. I'm sorry to hear about your house Linda. I commented on your blog when it happened. I hope things will get better for you soon!


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