Cheap Takes a Back Seat

Bunny-Saver Kyla --->

When you have money for gifts but you avoid giving, that's cheap. When you invite people out to dinner but you make them pay, even if you invited them and you know they can't afford it, that's cheap. Everybody knows cheap when they see it. It's hard to be around cheap people, and eventually cheap people end up alone.

Being thrifty, being frugal, that's different. If you're frugal, you put off buying something now so you can have something better later. You don't do it by avoiding people during the holidays just so you don't have to buy them gifts. I learned that from "A Christmas Carol."

Frugal is definitely more fun. And fun is better than sitting in a cold condo with the lights off, saving money, being cheap. So for a day filled with fun, we went to Eugene to visit Sean, Kyla, and Kyla's mom Cecelia. They have lots of ideas for fun, and they're funny, too. We leave happy every time. If loving life made you rich, they're all Bill Gates.

The rain and traffic were heavy all the way down I-5. Charlie drives, so my job is to keep him from getting angry at stupid Oregon Duck fans driving down for the game. (Those car flags really set him off for some reason.)

We met Cecelia and Sean for breakfast at the Keystone, our traditional way of starting our day in Eugene. You can pour your own coffee refills, as much as you want -- no wonder Eugene seems so exciting!

We visited the cute kitties and dogs (and Kyla) at the Greenhill Humane Society where Kyla works, and we surrounded ourselves with more books per square inch than anywhere I know at Smith Family Bookstore. We had crazy-good beer and nachos and cake at Cornucopia and got to meet Momo, Kyla's perky and smart grandma. We tried to see a $1.50 movie but we took too long in getting there. Instead we saw Kyla's adorable brother and Dad at the mall, and hung out watching half a bad movie back at Cecelia's.

We probably should have left earlier, as we (Charlie, that is) were going to have a hard time staying awake on the drive home. Saturday night is a good night for bad radio and Charlie needed more than that to keep him alert. I didn't need to stay awake as the Ducks fans and their cars with the annoying flags were back home already. I just needed to get Charlie on I-5. My day would be done.

We drove by a Dutch Brothers Coffee Kiosk, well-lit and open, there was no choice: I felt destined to drink. "Turn here," I said. "It's not a choice."

Charlie doesn't argue when I'm being the opposite of cheap, particularly when it comes to hot coffee drinks.

"You get one, too," Charlie said. "Okay?"

Yeah, I could have said no. Yeah, the $8+ we spent on large hot soy/espresso beverages could have been better spent on, well, anything else. But anything else would have felt cheap. At 11:30 at night, with two hours of driving to go, it felt great to be able to afford this. I got the biggest size and enjoyed every sip. I never felt richer.