Are you a non-consumer? A conscious consumer? A Frugalista?
Or do you prefer another name, or no label at all?
Joining The Compact this year has made me somewhat of a non-consumer, but even that is relative since I still consume food, services like haircuts and an occasional pedicure, and dinners out. Also used items and wine. Oh, and I "consume" a weekly yoga class by paying the studio that runs it for the opportunity to be there.
I like the term conscious consumer, which implies a careful consideration of everything one purchases. Maybe you buy from a local bookstore instead of amazon, go to the Farmer's Market instead of the supermarket, or support a family-owned business rather than Wal-Mart. You make mindful purchases that support your values.
Another type is the Frugalista, who wants to live a fun and fabulous lifestyle, but without breaking the bank. A Frugalista, according to the Oxford University press, is "a person who lives a frugal lifestyle, but stays fashionable and healthy by swapping clothes, buying second-hand, growing own produce, etc." This type loves deals and freebies, and lives in a manner that bears no resemblance to deprivation.
Still others refer to themselves as frugal, thrifty, or resourceful. Some aren't ashamed to be called a cheapskate or a tightwad. They consider their habits a badge of honor, and think of themselves as smart.
This year I'm a non-consumer, and a bit of a Frugalista as well. If I'm frugal, it's to support a lifestyle where I can work less and by choice, and do things I love like travel and enjoy a nice dinner out. This article about a group of Maine residents for whom being frugal is nothing new was interesting. But a lifestyle that includes saving up for an Olive Garden dinner for your 50th anniversary 2 months in advance is frankly depressing to me. If you don't have the money, then that's fine. I'm not a believer in debt. But there are all kinds of stories of people who were stingy with their friends and relatives, not to mention themselves, their whole lives and left a pile of cash behind. I don't see that as anything to strive for.
I'm curious: how many of you are non-consumers or Compacters? Frugalistas? Are you unashamed to call yourself a tightwad? Or do you eschew labels altogether? Let me know in the Comments section.