Frugal By Any Other Name Is . . .

. . . . parsimonious.

Parsimonious [pahr-suh-moh-nee-uhs] is an adjective that means frugal, stingy, or miserly.

The Christmas season is upon us.  I know that it is only November 9 but radios play Christmas music (not the stations I listen too . .  .) and stores display Christmas decorations and TV commercials have holiday themes.

If you have children, this is the time of year that their wish list grows ginormous.  Taller than the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower.  And this is the time of year that parents eye their shrinking paychecks (if they are lucky enough to have one) in comparison to skyrocketing prices.  While parents want to give their children a good Christmas, they also want to keep their spending within a budget.  (Or at least I hope they do.)

Parents call this being frugal.  Parents are cautious spenders.  Gone are the days of impulse buying. They plan what to purchase and then stick to their plan.  They are the nicer side of parsimonious — meaning that they are frugal.  Which is good.

On the other hand, children (if their vocabulary is sufficiently large enough) call this parsimonious.  They think their parents are being stingy, cheap, miserly.  They think their parents are mean when they refuse to buy them all of the latest toys, video games, gadgets, or clothing.  Parents are not with it.  They are not cool.  They are fuddy duddies.  Their parents exhibit the ‘bad’ side of the word parsimonious.

I like the word parsimony because it sounds more elegant than words like cheap or stingy.  It has a certain ring to it, the sound of grandeur, of high society, of being a mover and a shaker.  At least it does to those who are vocabulary-challenged.

So the upcoming holiday season is a perfect opportunity to teach children a vocabulary word.  Teach them the ‘frugal’ part of parsimonious.  Teach them to think of others more than of themselves.  Teach them to give to the less fortunate so that THEY (your children) don’t grow up parsimonious!

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