Ok, I’ll admit it, I made that word up. Well, at least as it would be a name instead of an action/habit. It occurred to me while watching an episode of Wife Swap on Friday evening. You’ve seen it, or a show like it, I’m sure. They take the wives from two families and then the wives swap families. The producers make sure that you get maximum drama by making sure that the families and wives are polar opposites.
In the episode that I watched, the one family lived in Florida and basically partied all the time. The other family, however, was a different story. They were “Sweepers”. No, they don’t use a broom or even a swiffer. A “sweeper” (article on sweeping) is someone who devotes a large block of time on a regular basis to entering sweepstakes. And this family was nutzo about it. They claimed to spend 8-10 hours a day on sweep related tasks. From sending letters off to entering them online, they had made it a full time job. They even went about collecting pop tops and candy bar wrappers for chances to win those contests. Crazy, right?
Sure, but maybe not as crazy as you think. In the end, the “sweepers” agreed that they maybe, might, kinda have a bit of an addiction. And the cut back a little on the “sweeping”. Nearly happy endings for all involved. The husband still gets antsy when the mail truck doesn’t stop with new sweeps to enter.
This all led me to think about things that can become just as much of an addiction. Actions for making a quick buck or getting something for much less than normal. That’s what “sweeping” is. It’s the action of entering contests and sweeps in an effort to win things that you couldn’t normally buy. Something for nothing, or little to nothing after you figure in stamps. We won’t talk about the time spent.
You know what else that sounds like though? Frugality. Being “frugal” is the action of finding the best/easiest ways to save oneself some money. To get something for much less than normal. It’s the action of using coupons and sales and saving methods in an effort to pay less than retail for an item or service. Something for nothing, or little to nothing is the goal.
Does that sound familiar to you? Do you spend time on a regular basis surfing through the deal forums in search of a great deal on something you need? Do you clip every coupon you get in case you need a Belgian Waffle Maker someday before the coupon expires? Or, do you clip every coupon you get for the purpose of trading them with others for coupons you need? Or, maybe you refinanced your $300 loan for that 0.25% rate drop to save the $1 in interest. (that’s not a scientific calculation, please don’t try and correct it. It’s for dramatic effect.) You just might be (gasp!) a “Frugaler”.
Them “Sweepers” don’t sound as crazy now, do they?
I started this blog to share what I know and what I was learning about personal finance. Along the way I’ve met and found many blogging friends. Please feel free to connect with me on the Beating Broke accounts: Twitter and Facebook.
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[…] about towards savings is one that I’ve noticed in myself and others who have gone the way of the Frugaler. He calls it an addiction. I think it’s something a little more sneaky. Something that […]