Sin at the Clearance Rack
Materialism. Those gorgeous dresses I had to buy (such a good deal!) but have no place to wear?
Aceticism. My holey-soled shoes and soggy feet because I just can't bring myself to pay full price for a new pair?
Pharisaism. That $9 Nordstrom's jacket?
I think pharisaism is what my friend Jessica understood. She's 5'2" and barely a size 0; finding great fashion bargains is not usually an option. And the attitudes of her Proverbs 31-quoting, ebay-shopping Christian sisters had left her feeling unfairly judged.
Some women, because of time constraints or professional expectations or body type or location, or whatever are unable to score the deals that thrill the rest of us. Do I really expect the Obamas to scour their local Salvation Army thrift store for their inaugural duds?
Plus, I have to acknowledge that my own thriftiness is often inconsistent. I'd never pay full price for a pair of shoes, but I can be a reckless grocery-shopper, throwing expensive items into my cart when I'm short on time.
Part of the seduction of the bargain is the fact that it's so quantifiable. For example, when I shop at Kohl's, my cashier always circles the number on the receipt that shows, not my total bill, but my total discount. My mother-in-law and I have been known to call each other from the parking lot: "Guess how much money I just saved?"
Pride loves anything it can put a number on.
But ultimately it's not money itself, in any quantity, which is the problem. It is, as 1 Timothy 6:10 says, "the love of money." This temptation can be found among rich and poor, extravagant and thrifty.
The teaching of the Bible about money is less about the amount and more about the heart. Certain principles are given in Scripture: to provide for our own needs and the needs of our family (1 Tim. 5:8, 2 Thess. 3:10), to pay taxes (Matt. 22:21), and to support the work of the church (2 Cor. 9:7). Additionally, God commands generosity toward the needy (Romans 12:13). How we accomplish these ends, and what we do with the rest of our money, is largely a matter of wisdom. A hundred Christians will have a hundred different ways to save and spend.
The much-admired Proverbs 31 woman "perceives that her merchandise is profitable," but she also dresses in "fine linen and purple." She might have been a frugalista, but, then again, maybe not.