I like to think of myself as smart with my money. Not "cheap" or "frugal" just a smart spender.
I do have my indulgences (shoes for my 3 year old daughter, yarn, Starbucks mochas and a bi-weekly cleaning service) so I'm certainly not a diehard by any means. However, I admit to getting an abnormal amount of happiness from saving money - sometimes so much that it can make or break my day which I know is not good and is probably an indication of some sort of deep-seeded childhood trauma or other disorder.
In light of that admission I've noticed that it seems that being "cheap" is beginning to be popular. Recently I have come across several movements that are popularizing "cheapness" like "Freegans" http://www.freegan.info/ or "The Compact" http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thecompact/ . Actually, their purpose is larger - not just to be cheap, but also keep stuff out of landfills and be good to the environment.
I read about groups such as these with a lot of respect and admiration for their commitments to their beliefs and actually doing something to put those beliefs in action. I also recognize that these are two extreme examples and realistically I know my limitations. At this point in my life I probably won't be able to go quite that far, but it's encouraging to me to know they are out there, trying to counter some of the consumerism and waste.
Today I read an article about Jeff Yeager and his book "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches: A Practical (and Fun) Guide to Enjoying Life More by Spending Less".
I read the article with interest and even nodded my head in agreement a few times, especially with his suggestion that everyone have regular "fiscal fasts".
Then I glanced at the photograph in the article and he lost me.
It was a picture of the author holding a pastry syringe in one hand and a donut in the other. The caption read something like "To save money he buys day-old donuts and fills them with jelly himself".
My first thought is "another weirdo, making us smart spenders look bad" followed by "does he REALLY need to eat jelly donuts that badly??" to "hey, that is a donut with a hole in the center - how can you inject that with a filling and not have it squirt out all over the place?"
I don't believe that he really does that - buys donuts and fills them with jelly himself - I think that was a dumb publicity photo. Maybe the book is really supposed to be humor and not about smart spending.
Anyway, I won't be buying the book but I wouldn't have anyways since I prefer to borrow my books from the library. That's ironic, isn't it? If his target audience are really cheapskates they will all be checking this book out at their library or splitting the cost of the book with several friends and sharing one copy.