Last week, I was paying for purchases at a store I frequent in my neighborhood. Routinely, the sales clerk asked me if I'd like to sign up for a store credit card. It wasn't the first time she'd asked me; thus, it wasn't the first time I scrambled for a polite way of saying no. I've been on the other side of the counter - it's not like you want to ask this question. On this particular day, for some reason, I decided to say: “I don't do credit cards anymore.” “I had a bad experience in college,” I joked. (Of course, I kind of do still do credit cards, but this was a quick and easy answer.) Instead of following up with an “are you sure?” in hopes of fulfilling her quota, this time, the sales clerk responded, “Oh my God, I know. I'm in so much credit card debt right now.” She knew where I was coming from. When I visit that store now, the sales clerk no longer asks me to sign up for a store credit card, and actually, we're kind of retail-buddies now. I've realized that there's one easy tip that's helped me tremendously in my frugality: telling people I'm frugal. It's not rocket science, but it often gets overlooked. In all of its simplicity, this is one of the most effective frugal living tips I've ever utilized. There are several ways in which being blatantly honest about my financial situation has worked in my favor. But first, a couple of reasons why I might have shied away from proclaiming my frugality in the past:
Honestly, for a while, it never really occurred to me to tell a friend, “I can't afford to do this.” I felt like if they invited me out, it was rude to turn down their invite by telling them their plans don't fit within my budget. Unless they were a close friend, I didn't feel like I could be honest about this.