Frugal. Prudent. Shrewed. These, among so many other words, are terms people who would ordinarily be referred to as ‘cheap’ use to describe themselves today. And can you really blame them for using these fancy words? There is a sort of negative connotation to the word “cheap”. Actually, some would refer to the word as straight-up offensive.
It is such a dirty, disgusting word because, somehow, being cheap automatically means the person is not very successful or the person is stingy “aka gum” …and if we are being honest, we hate such people in this country.
An undeniable norm in our society, most people can no longer be cheap and have peace. We tend to purchase and consume things for the benefit of our social status. We constantly pretend we have more money than we actually have in the bank just to impress onlookers. And even when we want to accept our fate, humble ourselves and cut our coat according to the material we have earned, the banks tell us it’s okay to buy now and pay later. You disregard the responsible plan you made to save money for the professional courses needed to climb higher on your professional ladder; instead you take a loan to buy a Hyundai and rent an apartment at Chevron.
Even more, you are already in a tight corner trying to pay off the loan, yet you say “yes” to friends when they call and invite you to expensive restaurants or bars. You imagine them shaking their head and laughing at you when you refuse or go out and refuse to eat or drink insist and you cringe. The way you see it, you cannot afford to humble yourself and opt out, even if you wanted to. They wouldn’t get it. They would just assume you are being completely unreasonable … or worse, they label would you cheap and ostracize you. And God forbid you exist in a world without lavish friends.
There is a secret which people who avoid being labeled “cheap” do not know: being cheap is not as bad as it seems. Actually, the ‘cheap” people you know and berate, essentially, have more money than you (that is patching a fake life) do, and they are probably happier as well. Yes. The ones, who only buy items when they are on discount or close to expiry date, wear the same wig for a year and a half, and ‘codedly’ earn 500k a month but still jump bus. Those ones. They are actually living a better and more enjoyable life than you are. Sucks, right?
Believe it or not, there is absolutely nothing wrong with being openly selective about what you spend your money on. If anything, being cheap is amazing! It grants you a lot of freedom. You are free from the exhaustion that comes with living a fake life or having to keep up appearances, and you do not suffer the heartburn that comes from comparing yourself with peers or trying to meet up to standards. You can boldly go to Yaba, bend down, pick clothes and take selfies while you are at it. That way there is no need to claim you bought it from a boutique or look for a lie to tell when it so happens there is a small discolouration on the shoulder. You are not bogged down by the fact that your friends traveled to Dubai just to shop for your own wedding. You can’t be bothered about what they do their money. You quit caring about such things a long time ago. In the end, you are the one getting married and more, you will all look fabulous anyway…cloth is cloth…no headaches allowed.
If you even think about it, being fashionable and following trends is time-consuming, it goes against your mission if you are keen on making the things that you do have last longer. Also you could invest the extra time spent on shopping an all that on other things that really matter like building your career, starting that business e.t.c.
It is no wonder cheap people actually get out the rat race faster than others. Their ‘cheap’ habits allow them to save and start their own business, chase their passions or just change fruitless careers quickly with little consequence. They understand the value of money. They know how to make a budget and stick to it. They always have money left over from earnings for savings, so their financial well-being is usually tight. They are first to know where the good sales are. In fact, they hardly every pay full price for anything because they are good negotiators, and can get fabulous for less.
Cheapskates may seem tacky and possibly even come off as gauche, but at the end of the day, they are the ones who really get the happy ending in life. Being cheap may not be trendy, sexy or even brilliant, but it could be the difference between the life you have now and the life you want. If you can find a way to embrace being cheap, your problems are half solved already.
Photo Credit: Racorn | Dreamstime