By – Lois Peters
I love this theme so much because, it reminds me of a dear sister of mine and the ordeal she experienced.
My dear sister (name withheld) is a classic example of this topic.
Yes, she was a student who hadn’t enough money to fend for herself or to throw around, but I didn’t quite understand her actions with money or even her philosophy about it. Every day, I’ll come back to meet her with an empty stomach. She never ate or maybe, did, let’s say, a little too sparingly. Sometimes, she could have N1000 but will not eat. Why? Because she’s saving for tomorrow. And you know what? She became an ulcer patient. This turned our silent restful nights to nights of horror and pain. I’d be awake countless nights trying to comfort her. She finally did spend much more than she had to treat herself. This is self-stinginess.
Not to forget or feign perfection, I too had similar issue. I’d prefer to have the money in my hand than spend it on even myself. So as a young teen, I looked haggard and all, just because I felt I was being frugal with cash. It was not until my elder sister confronted me and told me I was very stingy to myself. I didn’t take her word for it at first instance, but after moments of thought, I realized I was actually being stingy to myself. But in changing, I went to the other extreme of spend thrifting. I was a spontaneous spender too and this duo, is never a good combo.
Now, I have this other friend who is quite frugal or what we call economical. Chai! This girl economical die! I dey fear her sef. If it’s not important, it’s not important. She is quite logical and can logicalize everything. She has an authentic reason for buying anything. In fact, she plans to spendthrift a certain sum. Nne, everything is planned and factored in not to say that she’s stingy oo but speaking from my own perspective as a very spontaneous spender, she too frugal…wetin happen sef!
Yet, being around her has taught me to spend wisely on things I need per time. In fact, she manages my money. It’s not been funny oo but it’s kind of helping me.
You see, there is a difference between being stingy and being economical or frugal. Just like the examples stated above, one thrives by total deprivation of needs, at the expense of the person or people involved. Whilst being frugal thrives on the basis of priority of needs over wants.
Another side of Stinginess is miserliness. And it is not healthy, as it deprives people of basic needs which can in some ways be risky to our health, as expressed in the story about my sister’s friend. It’s often a product of greed, selfishness and in the extreme, wickedness. This people believe they should have all the world has and never let anyone compete with them, hence, they don’t nurture the idea of giving.
Frugality is completely a different mindset. People are thrifty with a goal in mind. The idea of frugality is to stretch a meagre income to cover necessities and save up for something. It always works with a plan or goal in mind.
And people should be advised to be more frugal even in this changing times. Make plans around their cash and not go on a spendthrift. That doesn’t also mean that one must be stingy or miserly but to make adequate plan to spend and also, to have a plan to increase channels of income.
You see, life is too short and you better not spend it without a plan. Because like they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail! So you must be intentional, even with your finances. But above all, give generously as you can carry, for givers, never lack!