Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Am I really a TIGHTWAD?

According to the dictionary a tightwad is a parsimonious person, in other words thrifty, frugal or sparring. And that tightwad is me. When Daniel and I changed our spending habits, I thought the word tightwad described our newly found lifestyle perfectly. Daniel began to ask me if I had a coupon for every item that he was interested in purchasing. And I…well I became a drill sergeant. Every time Daniel would open a fridge door, I prepared my speech on how he was wasting electricity. What I mean by that is when he stands in front of the fridge with an open door for 10 minutes trying to decided what he wants to eat, he sees food in front of him, while I see dollar bills flying out of the fridge as the electricity bill creeps up.

One may observe my money saving ways and calcify me as a tightwad right away. However several weeks ago I learned that there are several levels of a tightwadness. My co-worker shared with me an article that she read about tightwads and I was excited to read it for more frugal ideas. Instead I learned that there are extreme tightwads and mild tightwads, which I fit the latter category.

As I was reading the article, I was shocked what people are willing to do in order to save a dollar or two. For instance, a man bought a meal from McDonalds to enjoy for dinner. At first, I didn’t think much about his trip to McDonalds because the article didn’t say anything about him using coupons to save money on food. But as I continued to read the article it said that the man goes home, washes the plastic cup and then casually stops by McDonalds through out the week for free refills using the same cup. The sad part about the story is that he does not pay for his refills.

Sadness continues through out the article. That same man apparently loves red peppers seasoning that you top your pizza with for a “kicking” taste. When he visits pizza parlor he empties the whole pepper shaker into a napkin and takes it home for later enjoyment I guess during his late night pizza parties.

The story does not stop here. Half way through the articles I started to question if I really fit in with tightwads. I mean seriously, making frequent trips to fast food restaurants for free refills and emptying pepper shaker were not part of my changed lifestyle. Personally I think the described tightwad behavior is unethical and can be classified as stealing.

The article also mentioned that people take 20 or more napkins home from fast food restaurants in order to avoid paying full price for a pack of napkins at the store. Ok…I admit that I have grabbed 2 or 3 napkins before from a fast food restaurant, when picking up to go order. But 20 napkins, never?!?! I don’t think my conscious would allow me to take more than 5 napkins per visit. And my visits to fast food restaurants are few and far in between.

So as I questioned myself if I can join the tightwad ranking after reading the article, I finally made the decision that yes I can! However, I do not believe I want to be labeled the extreme tightwad or engage in emptying a pepper shaker at a pizza parlor or grabbing 20 napkins on my way out of the restaurant.


  1. Wow! That is crazy. I agree with you that the behavior you described is pushing unethical and sounds a lot like stealing to me. How strange. You're definitely not like that! You just watch how you spend your money and that is smart.

  2. I prefer the term "frugalista" and there's certainly a difference between what the people in the article do and wanting to spend and save our money wisely. :)