Since we’re all friends here and I’m really good at confessing secrets now, I’ll let you in on another one: I’m a supremely awkward human being. Just last week, I was sitting in a work meeting with my boss and my
coworker best friend former best friend. Midway through the meeting, I swatted stray hairs from my forehead. Or I thought that’s what I did.
In fact, I managed to drag my nails across my temple and scratch myself. Then, unbeknownst to me, I proceeded to bleed for the remainder of the meeting. As we left, said coworker handed me a tissue and said, “You’ve been bleeding.” Just another glorious day in the life of Penny.
Since laughing at myself brings me great joy, I thought I’d share some fun little moments of awkwardness that have cropped up as of late. Whether it’s the food we eat, the way we live, or the clothes I keep, it seems everyone has an opinion on our frugality. And it makes for some delightfully awkward personal finance moments.
“The good food is over there.”
One of my favorite ways to cut back on our grocery bill is to shop the “cast offs.” Dented cans of diced tomato, granola bars that are knocking on the door of their expiration date, and fresh fruit and vegetables that are not long for this world. I really value fresh produce in my diet. But I also have no delusions about needing the most pristine vegetables to make a killer stir fry. I mean, they get all soft and steamed up anyway, right?
Last week, I scooted my cart over to the imperfect bell peppers. As I sorted through the pile, a fellow shopper approached, paused, pointed, and said, “The good food is over there.” Normally, awkward silence is my home-run swing in these situations. On a bad day, I fumble for words, turn tomato red, and stand mouth agape as the person shuffles away. Silence really is golden for me.
I’m not sure what came over me, but I held up a bell pepper and actually spoke: “This will do fine for tonight’s dinner. And they’re only 29 cents a pound.” The good food? Yeah, those bell peppers were priced at almost $2 a pound. That shopper scurried away, but I was all smiles when another person approached, nodded, and scooped up a handful.
“You know, you don’t have to be cold.”
We keep our house at 66 degrees in the winter. In the personal finance world, I live in a veritable furnace. However, according to most real-life company I keep, our house is exactly six degrees too cold. I try to be fairly cognizant of this when company comes over and will kick it up a degree or two if it’s really blustery out.
When discussing home temperatures, a friend once remarked, “You know, you don’t have to be cold.” He was right. I don’t. I choose to live at this temperature not only as a cost-saving measure, but as a planet-saving measure as well. Our carbon footprint still looms quite large, but if I can take small measures to reduce it, I will. And our heating bill can hit triple digits at this setting. I have no desire to see what happens with an added six degrees.
In the wintertime–let’s be serious, in the Midwest that’s October through May–when we have guests, I make it a point to serve tea, coffee, and cocoa. I also entertain in our family room. It’s one of my favorite rooms to begin with, but it’s especially cozy in the winter since it is directly above our furnace and Mr. P and my dad built doors for our fireplace last winter. I can’t say that we’ve ever had a complaint.
“Oh my gawd? Did something happen?”
Since last summer, I’ve been on a mission to declutter. Some of that has gone documented on the blog, at least as far as the first floor goes. But much of my closet is still a work in progress, so nothing has been posted just yet. If you follow me on Twitter, though, you’ve probably seen my virtual happy dance when I land a sale on Poshmark or Tradesy.
In fact, in a few short months, I’ve sold over fifty pairs of shoes, several handbags, and other clothing items and accessories. My virtual personal finance buddies have been incredibly supportive. My real-life friends? Not so much.
After our recent trip to Vegas, a friend commented that we sure do travel a lot and noted that has to be quite expensive. After explaining how we used My Vegas Rewards to keep our lunches down to $20 for the whole trip, I also explained that I paid for my portion of the trip by selling stuff. Panic-stricken, she asked, “Oh my gawd? Did something happen?” Something did happen. I told her I realized I value experiences–seeing one of the gaudiest cities all decked out in her holiday party clothes and ice skating on top of the Cosmopolitan overlooking the Strip–over things. That concept makes perfect sense to me. It netted a polite nod from my friend.
So Tell Me…Any awkward moments as of late? How do people react to your frugality?