I grew up with a single mom who clipped coupons religiously. When the Sunday paper arrived, out came the scissors. Scouring for sales meant we sometimes ended up with strange foodstuffs in the cupboard, items we bought only for the discount. I dutifully absorbed these lessons. To this day, I don’t like shopping, but I love a sale.
Financial prudence has made my marginally-employed existence here possible. Paris is expensive; being a cheapskate serves a bohemian writer well.
Pinching pennies does mean I lack social graces at times, however, as I often turn down invitations if I think it will cost too much (though truth be told my hermit tendencies are as strong as my cheapskate ones).
I’ve been wondering lately if this really is the way. I’m in my mid-30s and I still approach life like a starving student? Should I buck up and spend more? Prioritize differently?
For the moment I’ve decided that in daily matters I’m fine with sticking to my cheapskate routine, but that I’ll make concessions as I go.
I was at Biocoop (the organic store! costs more!) this week picking up some dessert for dinner with a friend in the evening (at home – cheaper!)
My eyes lit up when I saw the word “promotion” on the chocolate mousse. Not only was chocolate mousse exactly what I wanted, but it was on sale. Score!
I readied my coins (the French love exact change), but the higher, standard price appeared when the cashier rang it up.
I dig into my purse for some extra coins, then say as I hand them over, “It’s not a big deal, but I thought that was on sale.”
Instead of being annoyed, the cashier smiles and studies the receipt.
The woman behind me is not smiling, however. She’s throwing daggers with her eyes. “35 cents?” she asks, not even pretending to mask her disdain.