Frugal thrills are cheap, but don’t be too stingy


I enjoy the thrill of a deal as much as the next person.

Don’t you just love finding the bargain, getting something for nothing at Younkers when you find something for $10 and then use a $10-off coupon or finding a cashmere winter coat in great condition at a rummage sale and paying $3 for it or coming across something you really want and will use in the 80 percent-off bin?

I know I do. It’s thrilling to think that you’ve gotten a deal, that you’re a smart shopper, that you’re frugal with your money.

Years ago I was eating out with a friend and her aunt. The aunt enjoyed cocktails with her meal and then left no tip for the server. My friend called her aunt out on this and suggested that she should have skipped one of the cocktails and instead used that money as a tip for the server.

I agree. The place to cut back is not on the tip for the server who is living off those tips — and serving you. Instead, you should order water or order a cheaper menu item or go to a less expensive restaurant or go to a place where tips are not expected or use a coupon — but don’t enjoy a meal with cocktails and not tip the server.

I recently had to ask myself whether I might be enjoying a meal with cocktails and not tipping the server.

I get daily emails of headlines from both the New York Times and the Washington Post. The Washington Post allows me to read as many articles as my heart desires. The New York Times limits me to 10 articles per month and then politely suggests I buy a subscription. But I don’t buy a subscription. I just wait ‘til the calendar rolls over to the next month, and I have 10 more free articles.

More locally, I pay for a print edition of the Sunday Des Moines Register and online access to their coverage. I also pay for a print delivery of the Perry Chief.

But is my go-to source for local, timely, accurate news. Its two-person staff brings quality news reports to us but does so without a guaranteed, stable compensation package of salary and benefits from a parent corporation.

If I spend more time in a week reading than I do the Perry Chief or the Des Moines Register, then I most certainly am enjoying my meal and cocktails without tipping the server — a disturbing “Aha!” moment.

The Register and the Chief demand subscription fees from me while does not. But it hardly makes sense that I am willing to pay for some of my Iowa news and yet not pay anything at all for the news source on which I’ve come to rely the most.

IMG_2450 theperrynewsIt’s great fun to feel that you’re smart by finding a deal and being frugal but not so much fun to bump up against the realization that you’re being stingy and not supporting the ones who are providing you a service you enjoy, value and have come to expect.

I’ve remedied this by clicking on the “donate” button. Will you? If you can’t imagine your day without, then click on the donation button now and support your only locally owned news provider.

Even with your donation, you’ll be a consumer who continues to get a really great deal — timely, accurate, comprehensive local news. That should make you feel pretty smart.

Please help me support the local news source we’ve come to count on: I recommend a $5-per-month donation.


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