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Is it Strange to be Frugal?

by Andrea Hermitt
I did an interview this morning on Living without credit cards. It was on The Take Away, an early morning National Radio Show. Myself, a man in Los Angeles, and a financial expert Beth Kobliner were interviewed on life without credit cards and how we cope with them.

During the radio interview and also during the pre-interview, I was introduced to the possibility that people look at the frugal, and especially those who live without credit cards as being a bit strange, and definitely off the mainstream. It never occurred to me that having good financial sense was odd.

I do know that when I was first introduced to the frugal lifestyle, that the books I read were a bit extreme. Amy Daczyn’s books The Cheapskate Gazette suggested doing things that bordered on unsanitary in order to cut corners financially. I could never see myself recycling tin foil and plastic wrap… I just avoid using them. I would also never use a reusable Diva Cup, a tampon replacement. But outside of these things, most things us frugal people do aren’t really that strange, are they?

I was really blown away by the notion that the interviewers asked if we (those who don’t use credit cards) had received any social issues by not using credit. I couldn’t imagine such a thing. It is not as if every time I go to pay something, wave my cash around and shout “I am paying cash now and you should too”. I just plunk my cash or debit card on the counter when I shop and no one seems to give it a second thought. Sometimes I even write a check… but never in the supermarket… people get upset when you take more than 10 seconds to pay your grocery bill.

As for the one person on the radio interview who had never used credit, the interviewer joked about him living in a yert of the grid because he did not have credit. It was not the case. I guess that is what credit card companies want you to believe. You can however, survive, purchase a home, and rent a car without credit cards. All you have to do is save your money. If you plunk down a large enough down payment, you will get a car loan. If you have cash in the bank that can be put on hold, the car rental company will loan you a car. You can pay for dinner at that fancy restaurant with cash. Life will continue to go on as normal.

Source: Frugal Families

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