Obstacle to Frugality: “Rabid” Stereotype

Frugality’s bad reputation

In her post “You Won’t Get Hit by A Comet” this week, Abigail from I Pick Up Pennies laments the poor reputation that frugality suffers in our culture. In reference to reality TV shows about frugal people, like Extreme Couponers, she says, “These shows are hurting the frugal cause more than helping it . . . And they also reinforce the idea that you have to be rabid to be money-conscious.”

I liked her use of the word “rabid”. It did the trick in summing up the way I used to feel about money-conscious people, and it gave me pause for thought: Why did I think so negatively of frugal types? There were two parts to my answer, and I shared one of them in the comments section after Abigail’s post:

Part I: “I don’t want to be this person I’ve become!”

“When people who aren’t frugal first start trying to be frugal,” I wrote, “there’s an awkward learning curve. We do think about money too much; we do sweat the small stuff – all of the time; we’re not as relaxed as we used to be (when we were spending freely) because we’re in constant, intentional decision-making mode. And if we don’t recognize this state of being as the temporary pain of transition, we say, ‘I don’t want to be this person I’ve become!’ and we revert back to our happily-spending selves – even more convinced that frugal types are ‘rabid’.”

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