Early readers of this blog will remember that I had a car accident last year and that my car was totaled (which is American for ‘smashed beyond repair’).
We subsequently got a new-to-us car, a Toyota Corolla 2010 model. That’s pretty new for us. Our old car was a 2002 Mazda Protege and we also have a 1990 Toyota Corolla left over from when we were students. Yes, we are that cheapskate Indian couple!
|Counting our pennies (freedigitalphotos.net)|
So, anyway, presented with a practically sparkly new car, I reveled in the amazing, shiny interior and soft, comfy, light grey seats, and then immediately freaked out at the prospect of my terrible two climbing into the car with their chips packets and gooey snack bars and wrecking havoc! And, they will climb in with their snack packets because apparently they’re bottomless pits who will writhe and complain of starvation if the ride is more than five minutes long!
“We need to save those seats!”, I told The Husband; so we browsed Amazon and got removable, wipeable seat covers delivered pronto. They fit okay; they looked okay; and my main concern was addressed. It was in this state that I proudly took my shiny car to my office and magnanimously offered to drive people to our lunch place one day.
Everyone was mostly polite and congratulated me on my purchase. My Vietnamese friend though, would have none of it and laughed at my cheapness! She said I reminded her of her dad who used to wrap everything in his house, including the remote, in plastic. I almost choked because that was exactly what my grandfather used to do to! We then had a wonderful conversation discussing cheapness and how it was manifest in other cultures too (check out the video below from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’, which is about a family of Italian origin).
Okay, let’s call it ‘frugality’; it sounds so much better! Of course, it’s a habit of yesteryear’s. I’ve personally retrieved perfectly good lamps and side tables from the recycle unit that needed just minor repairs, and those now reside my house with a fresh coat of paint and bulbs replaced. Yes, I’m a dumpster diver as well. My kids frequently tell me to just toss out stuff that has broken, and I always counter that it can be fixed.
I guess my frugality comes from my dad, who in turn had the experience of going through period during World War II where his family had precious little that they had make do with until relief efforts brought more. The Husband comes from a family that had to wait for the dad’s annual bonus in order to buy school text books; they definitely did not have disposable income.
This behavior, no doubt, encourages hoarding, but I’ve delighted in using a very American trait of donating. Since I know that my ‘trash’ will be treasured by someone else, I gladly give. That definitely has helped prevent my home from becoming one for the ‘Hoarders’ show. I still hate paying full price for anything though.