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Is Being Frugal the Same As Being Cheap?

As we search after the great deals, incessantly cut and organize coupons, and shop the sales, the question comes to mind … Why? Are we coupon queens just cheap? Don't we have "anything better" to do with our time? Are we never satisfied? Is there no method to our madness?

Does any of this sound familiar? Well, if you are as "in to" coupons as I am, it does! You know, you get those looks from "ordinary" people in the grocery store who basically stand and gawk at your coupon organizer. Or, you get those heavy sighs from people who unfortunately for them get behind you in the check out line.

By definition according to Webster's dictionary, another word for cheap is stingy. On the contrary, being frugal means is to not be wasteful or to be thrifty. There is a huge difference is these two words. I think back when my husband and I were first married (20 years ago!). We both had good-paying jobs. It was nothing for me to go to the grocery and spend $ 200 a week for just the two of us. I cringe now at how much money we wasted, for I did not use coupons nor did I shop sales.

But as for me, there are good reasons for what I do. First and foremost, I want to be a good steward of what God has given me. Using coupons is just one way I strive to do this. Shopping the sales, using rebates, and looking for the best deals all go hand-in-hand with using coupons in order to efficiently spend the money God has blessed me with. Now, there are limits here. I do not believe in doing anything unethical or illegal in order to get a deal. I believe that if I deal honestly at all times, then God will bless my efforts.

Another reason that I use coupons and shop wisely is so that I can help others. The Bible says in 1John 3:17, "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?" God expects us to help those in need. One way we can do this is by donating to local pantries food, health and beauty items and even clothing. For example, recently I was able to "purchase" 4 blood glucose monitors at no cost to me. Now, thankfully, no one in my family needs these; so, I donated them in the hopes of helping someone who does.

Another misconception is comparing stockpiling to hoarding food for fear of what tomorrow holds. For me, this could be nothing farther than the truth. I believe that as Philippians 4:19 says, "And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." God is able and will supply all that me and my family need. Stockpiling is a way for me to buy the things that my family needs at the lowest price. Why should I pay full price for something when I know it will go on sale soon? And when it is on sale, why should I not buy as much of the needed item as I can at this low price combined with a coupon? It just makes sense to do so! And for me, stockpiling is just another way of being a good steward.

So, I hope that through this I have dispelled all ideas that I, or other coupon queens are cheap. It's frugal. I strive to spend my money wisely and in a way that will honor God.

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