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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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Don’t Judge People by How They Spend Money

Image of pink piggy bank and stack of dollar bills

Do you buy generic because you want to or because you have to? This got me thinking. While checking out at Aldi last week, I spent $98.61 and made the comment that my husband is going to wonder what I bought. The young cashier quickly said you would’ve spent three times as much at Wegmans. I replied, “Yes, I know, and that is why I am here.”

Rewind to 2009 when Wegmans opened in Fredericksburg. I used to call it my Disneyland because I liked the store décor and its one-stop shopping experience. As I found less expensive alternatives over the years, I must admit I like the smaller store format. I also found it easier to get in and out of the store quickly and as a huge bonus my two growing boys like the taste of their no-frills private labels.

I don’t shop at discount stores or buy no-frills brands to save money. I shop frugally because I choose to spend my money on other things. I’ve always made savings a game so why would grocery shopping be any different? I used to clip coupons and use the Ibotta app, but I bought stuff that I didn’t need just because I had a coupon. I was spending money unnecessarily, and this was silly. Shopping smarter makes my frugal-minded shopping heart happy.

“I shop frugally because I choose to spend my money on other things.”

Our income puts us in the middle class, but we shop and drive the cars we do because we want to be debt-free. Meanwhile, I splurge on things like good quality workout clothing, a new pair of designer sunglasses or family vacations. I don’t have to worry (much) if I can afford it or not. Why you ask? I’ve had good experiences with certain brands/labels. Shopping high-end brands and living it up on luxurious vacations are good escapes from our everyday simple lifestyle.

All the while, we own our cars—cars that are 10-plus years old and would be considered beaters by most. We live in a modest 1150 sq. ft. house where our boys share a bedroom, and it too is paid off. We don’t carry credit card debt, and we have a healthy retirement nest egg. But to the outside world, we may look to be lower class because of the way we choose to live. That’s by design.

I feel comfortable with my lifestyle and don’t feel the need to keep up with the Joneses, No one should make you feel inferior because you choose a lifestyle that’s counter to cultural norms. It all comes down to what you choose to spend your money on and what matters most to you. Is it worth forgoing that daily latte so you can sit oceanfront with me for a week? The choice is yours.

Nikki Ducas
Nikki Ducas is a freelance writer and for the past 8+ years writes the money column for Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine. She has lived in Fredericksburg for 16 years with her husband and is a homeschooling mom to their two boys. Nikki enjoys hiking, knitting and her other side hustles of pet sitting and event management.

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