It's easy enough to think frugality and cheapness are the same thing, that we should strive for the lowest cost. I do it myself sometimes. Sometimes, I have to resist the lure of the low price.
It is not worth it to drive to even a nearby grocery store to buy apples that are 20 cents less a pound than usual.
I have been engaged in grocery resistance for a while now. As of this year, I am trying to get to the next step and here are my first projects.
1. Beauty in my Surroundings. Susan Heller, my mother's decorating pal, suggested a fabric for my living room. Two, actually. I already bought one. It was easy because I found it on sale somewhere or other and the site had free shipping. There it sits, 4 yards on the bolt. The other one is more difficult. It is almost $40.00 a yard and all polyester. Yuck. The pictures do not show how good these fabrics look together and how the blue matches my newly painted walls AND picks up a tiny spot of blue in my grandparents' old rug.
Of course, I could go to a fabric store and look. Last time I did that, it took about two hours (of driving and looking) and none of the swatches ended up working. I was also depressed and covered with a film of sweat! Stress does that to me. The total savings would be at most $40, since I need two yards for a few pillows.
So I should JUST DO IT. Then, of course, I have to have the pillows made, since I can't do even the most elementary sewing.
2. Satisfying Miss Em's Material Desires. And she has many, being 20 years old. She is not as dementedly frugal as I can be, but she has some moments. I got a glimpse of myself (the dark side of frugality) when I witnessed Miss Em trying to get some make-up at Ulta: it was BUY 2, GET 1 FREE and she had a $3 coupon. She went crazy! That is because there were only two of the face powders she wanted. Finally--partly because I find make-up stores rather boring and poor Mr FS was waiting in the car--I said: JUST BUY ONE. She did, with gratitude.
The other thing Miss Em wants is camisoles from Banana Republic. They are $25! So, while I was having my nervous breakdown, she sweetly asked if she could use the $15 birthday coupon they send me every January. Sure. Sometimes it's not worth the time to find a SINGLE item you want on sale.
Of course, once you relax in the demented frugality department, you receive karmic rewards. I was getting something at a drugstore, when I saw some face powders marked down to 75 cents. They were a Paula Begoun recommended brand, so I got three for Miss Em. Now she won't need face powder for at least a year.
Then, when I was creating the link to the overpriced Banana cami, I saw that they were having a 30% off sale. Better than nothing. I think I will get Miss Em 3 or 4 (4 will get free shipping too), so we will not have to think about that for a year.
OK karmic forces: where's the fabric?
Seriously, for what kind of things do you "pay the price" because seeking out a bargain will cost too much in time or end in failure anyway?
See Funny About Money's related post on having a hated tree cut down.