When Appropriate Behavior Yields to Stinginess

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I try my best to save money.  In any way I can.  Most of the time my rational self lets the rest of my brain know when being “frugal” isn’t in my best interest.  But sometimes that rational part takes a nap and I do inappropriate things.

My friend’s son was turning three.  We went out and got an appropriate present for his birthday.  I have a stash of gift bags and tissue paper in my closet. I save them from gifts we receive.  So I never spend money on gift bags.  And most of the time I’m able to dodge wrapping things.  It’s great.

But this time as we were heading out the door, I searched my stash and all I could find was a Victoria’s Secret bag.  I shrugged, wrapped the present, and got ready to go out the door.

The boyfriend saw me.  “You’re wrapping it in that?”

“Yeah.  It’s no big deal.  It’s pink, but he just cares about the gift.  And he’s three; it’s not like he can read.  He won’t even know what it’s from.”

He looked at me funny, but gave it up.

We went over to the birthday boy’s house, ate cake, played with balloons, and gave him his present.  I was right.  He wasn’t really concerned about the wrap job.  He tore through to find the present.

Now, a year and a half later, I’m looking through some old pictures.  And realizing what an idiot I am.  “Look, here’s the birthday boy opening his mother’s friend’s underwear bag!”  I can only imagine what Momma was thinking.  I don’t know what I was thinking.  Reason and rationality were taking a nap.  I should have just gone to the dollar store and picked up a blue bag.  Or something pink that didn’t advertise where I had most recently bought underwear.

Do you have an experience where your stinginess led to inappropriate behavior?

53 thoughts on “When Appropriate Behavior Yields to Stinginess

  1. Mrs. PoP @ PlantingOurPennies

    Haha – I love this. I’ve found that since my friends have started having kids, I need to keep a roll of cheap dollar-store wrapping papers around for all the little gifts. I try to go with animal prints so it’s vaguely gender/age neutral… but when the kids start to get old enough to have preferences and care about this kind of stuff I guess I’ll have to readjust.

  2. Daisy @ Add Vodka

    LOL. I don’t think that is inappropriate – he’s a little kid I highly doubt he knows. Plus, just because it’s pink doesn’t mean it can’t go to a boy – you could have just been defying gender stereotypes!

    1. Michelle @ See Debt Run

      No, I’ve got the right blog! You asked if stinginess ever led to inappropriate behavior. And yes…I’ve stolen jelly before! Lol. Sorry, I don’t have anything else more inappropriate. I’m a fairly appropriate person. :p

    2. femmefrugality

      I totally get it now! Sorry…was having a blonde moment there! My FIL does the same with sugar packets…they put so many on the table I don’t know how they can expect to NOT lose money! 🙂

  3. nicoleandmaggie

    Or just used the tissue paper. 🙂 (I have been known to do that for last minute wrapping… also brown paper from amazon packages… also I try to buy Christmas wrapping that can be used for other occasions, like red or red and green plaid.) For me it’s not so much about the frugality but about not having to make extra trips 20 min before we have to be at a party.

  4. Modest Money

    lol too funny. I could just see the other moms eying that bag when you show up with it. I think little kids probably enjoy ripping apart wrapping paper more than digging through a gift bag. Plus it’s pretty cheap considering how many gifts each roll can be used for.

  5. Kim@Eyesonthedollar

    That is pretty funny. I wonder if they thought you bought him panties when the bag was just sitting there? I just keep a roll of orange paper from the dollar store in the closet. I think it’s stupid to buy birthday cards for kids that can’t read, so we just have our daughter draw a card. We actually started doing this for other holidays also. Everyone thinks it’s cute, or at least they say they do!

    1. nicoleandmaggie

      We have DC make a card too. Honestly though we’re not being stingy! (Just me being lazy…) And it seems like most kids make cards in DC’s set (though now that we’re at private school there’s a small subset of crafty moms with free time who make very elaborate cards instead). The kids really get a kick out of making birthday cards.

  6. Mo Money Mo Houses

    Oh yes! There are quite few times that I’ve realized after the fact that I was just being stingy, like all those times I refused to take a cab or bus home and decided to walk because it was great exercise and free. My feet sure weren’t happy afterwards and my BF wasn’t very impressed.

  7. Unknown

    I had to laugh, I love your honest candor on this. Have done something similar, but used a black sharpie to try to block out the VS LOL. Like you can’t tell!

    1. femmefrugality

      Haha! I’d be afraid the black sharpie would make it all the more obvious…but at least it shows you’re aware of your level of inappropriateness! I couldn’t even give them that.

  8. Meredith

    Oh gosh, this is too perfect…! This sounds like something I would have done. I have gotten a little better, but I could pinch a penny with the best of them. Used to wrap gifts in newspaper for years, would make friends meet early for early bird specials and would try to rinse jelly out of plastic bags so I could reuse them for pb&j. I sound like such a loser, I know…

  9. canadianbudgetbinder.com

    Ha! That’s hilarious and oddly enough Mrs.CBB likely would have done and said the same thing. I on the other hand would have stopped her. She simply would think, who cares it’s a bag..where I would say, go buy one bloody hell, they’re a buck. LOL… I’m frugal when I need to be frugal but not stingy at all. Cheers Mr.CBB

  10. Nurse Frugal

    That’s awesome! So funny!!!! I totally feel you…..sometimes I think about the time I spend with friends in the equivalent of how much money I would be making if I was working! Terrible and inappropriate! I know ;(

  11. Janine

    Hahaha that’s an awesome story! Sometimes, it feels like I’m not thinking either. I definitely re-sure bags for gifts because they are so expensive, I probably would have done the same thing!

    1. femmefrugality

      They are! I think if I went to the dollar store I could find something workable, but I always end up looking for them at Target or something where their prices are inflated. So I psych myself out and hoard them.

  12. Miss Caitlin S.

    that is really funny- to be honest, I wouldn’t have thought much of it either. But I totally see where you’re coming from.

    I can’t think of a time off the top of my head but I’m SURE there’s been many.

  13. Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter

    I think this is pretty funny. I wouldn’t read too much into it.

    I have regifted in all a sorts of packaging and it has never bit me in butt later on. In fact, it seems make it more fun for the person opening the gift. They get confused with what they are getting.

  14. Monique Seibel

    I’ve not very skilled at wrapping presents so usually I can get out of it. However, my mom always uses old shoe boxes and bags for our Christmas presents, so I know not to expect anything related to the store packaging. However, I don’t know if she does it for company. But your not an idiot! I would have been tempted to do the same thing.

  15. Christa

    LOL — this is me! I wouldn’t think twice about doing this myself…until I saw the photos later of the kid opening the “last-place-that-I-bought-underwear bag”!


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