Are We Trying to Guilt People into Frugality?

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined. 

Aimee and I are known around town a bit for our frugal lifestyle, so we got to talking about how people react around us when we are behaving somewhat frugally. Sometimes, there’s a shroud of guilt that comes over people when they sense our presence! 

Though we had always hoped to inspire others, it turns out we are inadvertently and unintentionally guilting people! But we all need to remember, as Aimee has written so eloquently about here regarding Theodore Roosevelt’s quote–“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

When Aimee pulls out her cloth napkin with her homemade lunch at work, she regularly hears comments such as, “You are so good, Aimee!” “I should do that, too!” Sort of speechless, she’ll just say, “It’s easy,” and leave it at that.

Then there’s the issue of bringing coffee from home or buying coffee. She hears it all the time at work–everyone wants to stop the habit of buying coffee and start the habit of brewing coffee at home. In reality, those complaints about the expense of store-bought coffee and the long lines are just difficult habits to break.

It’s hard to resist take-out coffee treats. Have your darn latte :)! Photo courtesy of Starbucks

When I am grocery shopping, I tend to see people I know. Maybe I’ll be holding three or four coupons in my hand—most of which I just tore from the grocery store circular, one which may be from the newspaper—yet just seeing one coupon in my hand tends to send people into a guilty tizzy, like they’ve just committed a crime of not using coupons! I hear apologetic comments such as, “You are so good, Marilyn!” “I should do that, too!” Sort of speechless, I’ll just say, “Er, uh, these are just from the store circular . . .” and leave it at that.

It’s all a choice; Aimee’s choice to use cloth napkins, my choice to grab a couple of circular coupons, other people’s choice to bring home-brewed coffee, etc. No guilt, no apologies . . . please!

However . . . whenever I see friends who work out daily, I’ll say, “You are so good!” “I should do that, too!” But of course I don’t really mean that I should do that as well. But they say, “Come to the gym with me!” I wish they would instead remain sort of speechless . . .

~Marilyn, TFF