economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful (as defined by Dictionary.com). In order to be a stay at home mom, frugality has to be a huge part in our family's life and, if I was honest, is probably my natural instinct. My parents love to tell the story of how they sent me, a freshman, on a week long choir trip with spending money and I came home with more money than I was sent with and had souvenirs and receipts for everything. Now the choir tour was one of those trips that had the food budgeted into the cost. The chaperons would give us $5 to $10 depending on the restaurant and I never needed all of my money for food, hence the reason I had extra left over. But as I've grown up, I've still gravitated towards being a saver and, especially now that I am a parent, being frugal tends to be an automatic reaction.
Today, we took a spontaneous family shopping trip because Buddy and Sweetpea needed clothes for spring and summer. We were able to hit a few sales and clearance racks for their play clothes but then it was time to shop for Easter outfits. I love to have new outfits for all of the family for holidays because it makes times like Easter and Christmas even more special in my mind. This will be Sweetpea's second Easter but her first "real" one since last year she was still in the NICU and was only wearing diapers. I've really been looking forward to buying her an Easter dress and having cute family photos taken so I was excited to shop. After looking through all of the store, I chose an adorable dress and looked at the price tag and almost choked at how expensive it was. I decided to put it back and try another store. The next store had an even more adorable dress but I still felt like it was out of my price range. Jon noticed what I was doing and quickly pulled me aside. He then reminded me that we didn't have to be stingy but could afford to buy an outfit that was not on sale especially for church. We bought the dress and a cute suit for Buddy to wear as well.
Stingy -- reluctant to give or spend; not generous (Dictionary.com). Ouch, what a difference in definitions. I had taken frugality a little too far and was acting stingy. There is a fine balance between being frugal, a good steward of money, and stingy, hoarding money. While I do think there is a time and place to saving money on food or clothes, I think it all comes down towards my attitude. Examining my heart response to parting with money is essential in determining the difference and I had to admit, today, I was being stingy.
Frugality is clipping a coupon for an item I will purchase, eating meals at home, and making home cleaning supplies. Frugality isn't hating to pay full price for something or driving myself crazy to find a bargain. While I do still want to be frugal, I do not want to be stingy.
As adults, let us all examine our hearts and determine if we are being stingy with the money God has blessed us with or if we are being frugal. Are there times that you've noticed yourself being stingy and how are you frugal with your money? I'd love to know that I'm not alone in this struggle!