Compulsively Frugal

by Chantelle Hosner

Hello, my name is Chantelle Hosner and I am compulsively frugal. I haven't always been this way. It took time to transition from brand name jeans to clearance racks. I slowly got hooked on saving money. A couple of rebates here and there, a seemingly innocent coupon, buying items on sale. It all snuck up on me. Then it was too late. I couldn't bring myself to buy coffee unless it was on sale and I had a coupon.

I was doing a great job hiding my problem by stocking up on the really good deals (like free soup, 20-cent toothpaste) until this morning. My husband was going crazy. He was stomping around, slamming cupboard doors, and screaming about sugar. He yelled, "We've been out for two weeks!" "But, it's $1.69," I explained. "When it's on sale, I can get it for 99 cents." I magically pulled a gas-station packet of sugar from the canister. He was not impressed. "You need help," he said and grabbed the packet from my hand.

When we're in a store, my children no longer ask, "Can I have that?" Instead they ask, "Is that on sale?" My frugal ways are affecting my sanity. You'd think because I manage to get shaving cream for free and there's two more cans on the shelf, I could lather without guilt. But no, instead I explained to my husband that he can make it last twice its lifetime by shaking the razor off in his hand first and then rinsing the razor. I do that, and at the end of the first calf, I have enough lather in my hand to do the other leg. I am used to his sideways glances now.

I am working towards a self-cure. I figure the money I save on counseling I can use to stock up on canned vegetables and Jell-O. They're on sale this week. Next week, if sugar is not on sale, I am going to buy it anyway. Well, I will if the gas-station packets are all gone.

Chantelle Hosner is a freelance writer and professional clearance rack shopper.

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