Can We Take Frugal Too Far?

I’ve been hitting the bitty birthday circuit hard this month. We’ve attended a first birthday bash, a four year old swim soiree, a bounce and jam fest for a five year old, and we have plenty more to go in August alone. In addition, WonderMan and I celebrated 13 years of wedded adventure this month. Let’s just say – we get our celebratory mood on in August.

I love getting together with friends and family. It’s a great reason to prioritize fellowship. However, the expense associated with celebrating milestones has my personal finance mind in overdrive.

 Frugal or Cheap?

I’ve suggested ways to keep the cost of party planning down in Budget Friendly Baby Birthday Bashes.

But what about the gifts?

When dumping debt was a priority, we made the decision not to buy gifts. That was an easy sell. We didn’t buy Christmas and birthday gifts for each other. We also tended to pass on visiting family during those times (we can do that because we live in separate states from our folks) when gift giving was customary.

When budgeting to be more responsible with spending, gift giving should still be done with a plan.

I like giving books, flash cards, and other educational gifts to little bitties.

  1. My kids tend to like them more than the other toys they have.
  2. Those toys generally require parent involvement and I’m less willing to give unfettered access to them in order to keep them in good condition.
  3. They make learning fun! My kids think we’re playing games while I’m secretly training them to be Mensa candidates. No pressure.

Since I like them personally, I tend to give those as gifts. I’ve also found that I can get great educational tools rather inexpensively.

  1. Once Upon a Child (my favorite new-to-me kiddie clothing depot) has a wonderful assortment of books, puzzles, and other mentally stimulating edutainment-type toys for rock bottom prices. They are just sooooo far from my house. Popping in to peruse is out of the question.
  2. Aldi. Yes, the low cost food chain has a shelf or two of great gift ideas for $5 or less.
  3. The dollar store. True dollar stores (where everything is $1) is my new go to spot for gifts and gift accessories.  When I’m not recycling gift bags or breaking down to actually by cards or tissue paper (an uncommon occurrence for sure), this is where I’ll be.

So I titled this post as is because I wondered if I was being frugal or just cheap when limiting my gift selection to educational tools from deep discount stores. I guess I’m leaning more towards “don’t care”, but it’s still a valid question.

What do you think? Can we take being frugal too far? If so, is it just plain old cheap when we do?

 

Frugal or Cheap?

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4 Comments

  1. No way! I think the only way to save money and pay off debt is to adopt a frugal lifestyle that is radically different from the lives of people around us. If you buy into the ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ attitude, you won’t reach your financial goals. After you have hit some of your goals, you will be able to afford to give more expensive gifts.

    • Debt Free Divas says:

      LOL! I hear you Nicole. That is definitely a great perspective to keep in mind. Stay frugal my friend!

      Toni

  2. Keebler50 says:

    When you are buying for little kiddos, they usually like the box better than the gift anyway. A book usually outlasts toys by far. So I think we just have to asks ourselves, “who are we buying it for? The child or the parent?”

    • Debt Free Divas says:

      Ha! That’s funny…yet so true. Isn’t it?

      You’re right. Our kids don’t ask for all the things we buy at all.

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