I've written about the difference between being thrifty, frugal and mean before. In the scheme of things I love to think that I'm thrifty, spending my money with forethought and wisdom. However, Lovelygrey Villas stays warm in winter and I am too easily tempted by new clothes for the frugal label to be attached to me. I try to nuture the spirit of giving myself, money and possessions too. Hopefully the M word couldn't be used about me often either.
But 'mean' is a term that some people find complimentary. Take my inspirational blogging friend, Meanqueen, as an example dressed up in her finery to speak about money saving at a posh do. She's wearing a twenty year old dress, £2 boots and secondhand pants(!). Her jewellery, visor and bag are all homemade. Although she admits herself that her outfit is rather mismatched it serves as an excellent illustration of frugal living at its finest!
Meanqueen takes penny pinching to its limits and she will be my guru if ever I have to live on a restricted income. Lots of the moneysaving tips, listed permanently on the right hand side of her blog, are worth mulling over even if you have cash to flash. After all, there's a lot of be said for good stewardship. I'm seriously considering her boys undies idea when I eventually get round to revamping my underwear drawer. A friend was also quite taken by the idea as apparently, her husband's Sloggis are so much more robust than her own girlie knickers!
Meanqueen is a superstar as she's appeared on 'The Hunt for Britain's Tightest Person', a programme recorded in 2008. Channel 4 still allow you to view it now on their website which is an amazing act of non-mean overwhelming generosity on their part. After seeing this, I pondered over the differences between the people taking part and came to the conclusion that, for me, meanness to me conjures up an idea of adversely affecting other people because of tightness. The bloke in the pub who drinks with others and never buys a round is a classic example. There's also those that see splitting the bill in a restaurant as a profit-making opportunity! Watch the programme yourself and spot how the impact of one chaps behaviour on his wife causes him to fall into this category.
The term also might apply to those people who pursue saving money to a level where they are sitting on stacks of the stuff but who compromise their own wellbeing by their extreme reluctance to spend. An recent article on the excellent Motley Fool website serves as a helpful check to see if frugality is being taken too far!
So, Ilona, I think you're going to have to think up another pseudonym. Meanqueen is a misnomer as you don't impose your spending habits on anybody, give time to your friends, some of whom seem to be furry and look after your mind and body admirably. Just go careful on those £1 roller blades!