Frugality is being economical with the expenditure of consumable resources. Oddly enough, society has managed to put a negative connotation on the word frugal, by portraying frugal people as stingy, penny-pinching individuals who seek to save every last bit of money at the expense of everyone else. Despite the wide range of benefits to both the customer and merchant, some people still refuse to appear “cheap” through actions such as using coupons to buy products, fearing that everyone else will criticize their frugality. What those people don’t seem to realize is the various benefits frugality, and in particular the use of coupons, has for both consumer and producer.
The consumer benefits from thriftiness in many obvious ways. By buying a product at a cheaper price, they save money, which is used to either purchase more of the same product or a different product. Either way, the consumer gets more of the goods that they want or need. As well, coupons may enable customers to purchase goods that they could not afford before, once again allowing the customer to obtain more of what they want or need. Most people realize these benefits, but think of frugality as one-sided, where the consumer profits to the detriment of the merchant. You can get coupons from sites like Retailmenot, Groupon, Rebates zone etc.
However, many people don’t seem to realize the various benefits of frugality for producers. When consumers save money by being frugal, they have more money to purchase more goods. Let’s say jars of peanut butter go on sale for a dollar off. Instead of buying one jar of peanut butter for five dollars, customers purchase three jars at four dollars apiece. Though there is less profit per jar, there is more overall profit because the consumer purchased more. As well, by reducing the price on a product for a short period of time, producers can attract more customers. A frugal customer always picks the cheapest product, regardless of the brand. If a product is more effective, but more expensive to produce and therefore more expensive to buy, the frugal customer will never try that brand. However, if the more expensive brand goes on sale, the frugal customer will try the brand, realize it is more effective and worth the higher price. Therefore the customer will continue purchasing that brand at regular price because of its greater value, and the producer gains more customers and now has an increased profit on a regular basis. Despite what people seem to think, frugality has benefits for the producers as well.
If frugality is beneficial for both consumers and producers, why is there still a negative connotation on the word “cheap”? Frugality has no down sides for either party involved, so why isn’t it adopted by everyone? Misconceptions that buying the cheapest products is detrimental to economy still exist, along with the idea that if only inexpensive products are purchased businesses will suffer due to smaller profits. What needs to be realized is that in a capitalist society, frugality is essential. In an economic system regulated by competition, buying the best product at a fair price prevents companies from taking advantage of consumers by selling them lower quality products at an expensive rate. Frugality ensures that the best companies, who produce high quality products and sell them at a reasonable rate, prosper, while companies who only seek to pursue their own self interest by taking advantage of consumers fail.
Overall, frugality has many advantages, including allowing consumers to save money, providing larger profits for producers, helping to regulate the economy and ensuring that the best products remain on the market. With so many benefits and very few drawbacks, thriftiness is a practice that should be adopted by all of society. As well, the negative connotations and stereotypes associated with frugality should be eradicated in favor of the promotion of frugal practices.