Let’s shoot straight. If you had to choose between two friends—the first being one who takes you on exotic vacations and buys you lavish gifts and the other being one who takes you to CVS and gives you the free half of her latest B1G1 free deal—would it really be a toss-up? I think not.
I mean, who doesn’t want a friend with Oprah-esque generosity and wads of disposable income with which to buy your love? I’d be happy to sign up for that.
But we aren’t that kind of people, are we? No, we are the kind of people that count our money by the pennies and not by the millions. We are the kind of people that take great delight in scoring free Johnson’s Buddies soaps.
So, is it possible to be frugal and generous at the same time?
I say, “ABSOLUTELY!”
In fact, I think that we frugal people can actually enhance our generosity through frugality. Here are a few ways that I have learned how.
Share from your stockpile. I LOVE inviting others to benefit from the wealth of toothbrushes, deodorant, and shampoo in my closet. I’ve given away bundles of goodies to a friend who is moving into a new home, a friend whose husband is way on active duty, college students with a lack of cash flow, and to the local mission. The next time a friend is over invite them to go shopping in your closet. It’s so much fun!
Freeze up some of those $5 Dinners and pass them along when a friend is in need. They don’t need to know that most of the ingredients were free to cheap after coupons, rebates, and catalina deals!
Be on the alert for great deals that your friends will enjoy. I’ve signed friends up for free magazine subscriptions (using my personal information, of course!), sent them hot coupons, and scooped up free items in stores that I knew they would love. In fact, last weekend, I saved my family $125 on family vacation because of some great restaurant deals that I knew about. I’m pretty sure they love me a little bit more because of it too!
Share your knowledge. This is possibly the most fun. You know that old saying about teaching a man to fish and feeding him for a lifetime? I have a growing list of friends and family who thank me on a regular basis for teaching them how to CVS. Not everyone will jump on your offer to teach them how to coupon, but those who do will be changed forever!
Why not splurge a bit every once in a while? If you see a gift that screams your friend’s name and it doesn’t happen to be on clearance or free after ECBs, how about throwing caution to the wind and blessing your friend with it? Obviously, I don’t recommend spending more than your budget allows. But, with all the money you are saving elsewhere, I’m guessing you may have a little wiggle room for the occasional generous fling.
Ok, so maybe we aren’t Oprah. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be generous. Who knows—maybe with enough pennies pinched, we can actually save up for that girls’ getaway to the Caribbean someday!