5 For Friday: How Frugal ARE You?

(***Warning*** Do not blast video at work – unless it’s okay to scream “bitch” a lot? ;) Also don’t watch if you get offended easily by being frugal. Which we all are to some degree!)

It’s Friday, homies!!  Rejoice!  I thought we’d get back to our 5 For Fridays again, with a focus this time around on frugalityRamit from I Will Teach You To Be Rich played that video up there at our conference this weekend and I was freakin’ dying w/ pleasure :)  Not that I think it’s crazy to be super frugal or anything (I get in that phase too sometimes) but that usually going to any extreme over the other opens the doors to issues.  And apparently, getting poked at ;)

I think it’s important to concentrate on both saving money, as well as MAKING money – something that can def. be done at the same time. And also something we’ve been blogging about a lot here on Budgets Are Sexy ;)  As evidence on my latest obsession with slimming down my lifestyle, while at the same time getting my side hustles on too! But we’ve been talking a lot about that lately.

Today, we focus on being frugal. Or “cheap” as some people prefer to call it (I’ll ask for your opinion on it in a sec, don’t worry!).  Here are your 5 questions for Friday — remember to answer them as honestly as possible!

  1. On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
  2. Do you ever get made fun of for it?  Do you care?
  3. Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
  4. When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
  5. What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”?  IS there a difference?
  6. *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?

You ready to take them one?  Should be really interesting to see, I think.  Love getting to know you all more! :)  I’ll go first, as always:

  1. SCALE:  Hmm… I would venture to say I’m somewhere in the 6-7 range.  I def. have my moments where I’m constantly thinking of ways to save money (specifically when it comes to buying clothes and stuff online (Yeah Amazon!)), but I also buy things w/out even looking at the price tag sometimes.  Those things that I value quality over price on – say, with food or things that are important to running my biz and stuff like that.
  2. MADE FUN OF?  Sometimes :)  But more back in the day than I do now cuz the only people I really interact with now are my close friends and family, and then of course you guys. If we time traveled back to 6th grade or any time leading up to that year, I’d say I was made fun of 99% of the time.  Stupid bullies!
  3. WISH: You know, I did wish I was better at it when starting this blog 3 and 1/2 years ago, but now I’m totally content w/ the way I spend my  money and my rationalization behind it.  I don’t want to be extreme in my frugality or saving money – I enjoy the  mental escape of shopping when I do it.  I don’t think there’s anything wrong w/ always being “on” all the time, but for me – I want to be good *most of the time*. Not EVERY time.
  4. LAST TIME: Hmm… these are tough! Haha… I guess the last time I was frugal (for good measure!) was when I changed my last night at the Marriott this weekend to the La Quinta Inn instead.  Our $85 rate for the conference only extended 3 nights, so when I wanted to stay one more I had to cough up $200 instead.  NO WAY!!!  I just Expedia’d for the next closest hotel, and best rates, and ended up catching that one for around $70 I think after tax and fees and all that.  I knew I’d be hanging w/ my friends till it was time for bed anyways, so I could “slum it up” for one night, haha…  actually it was a fine place to stay, just not *as* sexy as the Marriott of course ;)  I don’t even know if this qualifies as being frugal, over being SMART though?
  5. FRUGAL VS. CHEAP:  These are always tough ones for me cuz I never really have an opinion either way.  I feel like I just “know it when I see it” if that makes sense.  Kinda like porn :)  A naked body being painted with oils to reflect the 17th century or something is totally fine by me.  But a naked girl bend over doing…. well, you know what, probably shouldn’t be painted and hung over my mantle anytime soon.  That’s how I feel about being frugal over cheap.  Saving money at a hotel, or on food or clothes or whatever to me is being frugal as well as smart. Not eating at all or sleeping in a car I think I’d consider being more cheap?  In both cases though, I don’t think have a problem with it.  Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do to save money ;)  Though you should def. keep eating, that’s kinda important.
  6. *EXTRA* A frugal tip.  Hmm…  I usually default to my normal “beer tip” – which is drinking at home first before going out to the bars or clubs/etc.  I still always have a beer or two while out and about cuz I freakin’ LOVE the atmosphere (!!!), but rarely do I START drinking there.  When you have a good group of friends hanging with you, it’s always fun anyways doing a little pre-partying action at someone’s place or hotel.  Along w/ some fun card games ;) (Every time you mention “budget” take a shot!)

Your turn!  Whatcha got for us?  Regardless of your answers, just now that *ANY* of these are perfectly fine if that’s what works for YOU.  We’re not trying to crack the secret frugality code here or anything. We just wanna hear some good ideas and reasons for acting the way we do :)  At the end of the day, you’re the only one who cares about your money, so spend it (or don’t spend it) however it is you want! You know we got your back here.

PS: Remember that guy who used to be hardcore about his popcorn?  That was interesting ;)

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  1. suzanne October 7, 2011 at 5:53 AM

    On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you? These days, about a 7.

    Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care? Used to be made fun of all the time, especially by my sister and one other friend. I stayed the course and only spent money when I HAD it; now one is divorced from her high earning spouse and has no career (and no money) and the other has a massive amount of debt from the items that were “needed.” I have lots of financial security and no debt!

    Do you wish you were more or less frugal? I am trying to enjoy my money more, while still saving. I want to replace an 18 year old car…but I want to pay off my mortgage too! Always a choice.

    When was the last time you did something considered frugal? Ummmm…..about 5 minutes ago? We cook at home a lot, and eating out is a TREAT and not an all-the-time thing. I make coffee and lunches at home, so a rare trip to Starbucks is also special. I call it creative deprivation. When the kids were babies I used cloth diapers and made my own baby food (I don’t eat out of a jar, why should they?) and that DIY ethic continues. I think being frugal stretches your creativity!

    What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference? You gotta share the love. With two incomes I donate more. I pick up dinner checks and give of my time. And if doing something makes you REALLY unhappy (like growing your own food) you gotta stop. As I said before, frugal should be fun.

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be? Pack your lunch. We save thousands and eat better…and laugh at the families who run through the drive-through and then cannot understand why they have no $$$. Make it a habit!

  2. Niki October 7, 2011 at 7:28 AM

    Fantastic 5 For Friday and I love the video! No one should be offended it is brilliant.

    On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
    I am probably around a 7 or 8.

    Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care?
    I haven’t really gotten made fun of it for it. But I somewhat hide my frugal nature.

    Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
    I am very comfortable with my level of frugality. I feel like we spend money on what is important to us and try like hell to save on the things that aren’t.

    When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
    I am in the process of making three Halloween costumes. I think that is frugal.

    What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?
    Yes, there is a difference. I use my frugality for good. Cheap is when you use your frugality for evil. As in being miserly in splitting checks, tips, charity and gift giving.

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?
    I think making a meal plan and a list every week makes a huge impact on grocery spending.

  3. Erin October 7, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    1.On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you? 6.5ish? I’m frugal sometimes, but I buy Red Bull & 5 Hour Energy which is clearly a waste of $.
    2.Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care? No, and if I did, I wouldn’t care. I would assume the people making fun of me for being frugal were the type of jacka$$es that were frivolous with their $$, therefore I’d have no respect for their opinion on my financial behavior.
    3.Do you wish you were more or less frugal? More. The energy drink thing. Dumb.
    4.When was the last time you did something considered frugal? I coupon and I read the website http://www.bargainstobounty.com which matches up the coupons with the stores having the best sales (in Michigan – no clue if this applies to any other states). We also eat lots of venison that people kill on our farm. Come hunt for free on our property, we want half the meat. I’m OK with the taste of venison and having free jerky (instead of paying $3-4 an ounce) is awesome, but we do it more to save $$ on grocery store meat (and to avoid mean animal treatment) than anything else.
    5.What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?I think there’s a huge difference. Frugal is being smart with your $. I think cheap has the connotation of being cheap all the time, even when you should be spending $$.
    6.*EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be? Don’t drink energy drinks.

  4. Sarah Fowler October 7, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    1 – I’m probably around a 9. I don’t enjoy shopping so I mostly only buy things I need (and I shop around for the best price). For things I want (and we’re talking items under $30) I budget for them months in advance, find the best price, and usually wait for a better deal. I can’t be a 10 because I *do* sometimes buy things I don’t *need* (books mostly).

    2 – All the time! My response is to remind people that I’m debt-free, and that shuts the majority of them up pretty quick!

    3 – I’m pretty satisfied with my spending habits, though if I was strong enough to eliminate cable, Netflix, once a week lunch out and bimonthly Kindle books I’d be doing even better.

    4 – I put every bit of my side hustle ($100-$800/month) directly in savings. My birthday’s coming up and I plan to use birthday money to stock up on bulk household items (toilet paper, cleaners) and buy one pair of shoes (at PayLess!) to replace a pair that has holes in the sole.

    5 – Frugal people are careful with money. Cheap people hoard money and buy inferior products and/or skip necessities to keep their money.

    6 – Ask yourself how many clothes you really need. I have about 8 days’ worth of business casual clothes, one pair of jeans, one suit, and five pairs of shoes. “Just one more thing” or “Just this thing that’s on sale” can be a huge money pit.

  5. Jeffrey Trull October 7, 2011 at 8:49 AM

    I’m a huge fan of Ramit, and I love his video. Some people do go to extreme lengths to be frugal and to the point that it gets a little absurd. I hope no one is actually using their dryer link to make a blanket, though!

    1 – I would say I’m about a 6
    2 – Not really, and I wouldn’t care.
    3 – I wish I was slightly more frugal with some things, like groceries
    4 – I rode my bike to work this morning since I don’t own a car (because I don’t wanna pay for one).
    5 – There’s DEFINITELY a difference. I think Caleb’s post here sums it up perfectly: http://www.pocketchanged.com/2011/08/30/frugal-vs-cheap-which-one-are-you/
    *EXTRA CREDIT* Nothing very original is coming to mind here, but I’m always a fan of keeping utility costs down by keeping the heat low and lights off when I’m not home.

  6. Uncle El October 7, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    1- I think Im an 8 but my family might say im in the 10-15 range, haha.
    2-Only by my sister since she knows me pretty well. I dont really care what anybody thinks as long as Im satisfied.
    3- Probably More Frugal. Dont really know why.
    4- Didnt buy Coffee for a year because I drank the free cup at work. On the weekends I would go through withdrawal. lol.
    5-No Difference until you hit the extreme then your considered Cheap.
    6-Pregaming is a good one! But my tip that I would like to share is before buying anything check the once a day online sites they usually have great deals up to 50% off.
    Tip 2- To Parents-Only buy target diapers at Target, pampers and huggies are a rip off.
    Tip 3- Have a veggie dinner night two times a week to save on the cost of expensive meat. Be creative and the meal can be delicious.

  7. Alexa October 7, 2011 at 9:12 AM

    1-I would say I am around a 6 or a 7. When it came to pinching pennies to get out of dept I didn’t shop for 4 months, we didn’t go out to dinner and we certainly didn’t go to any parties or bars. But now that we are out of debt I like to indulge a little at the mall and we have a trip to Hawaii planned later in the year!
    2-I get kind of laughed at a little at work and people say, “why are you acting like a grown up?” I may only be 24 but living debt free and on the way to own our own home is something not most 24 year olds can say. And I would much rather meet Dave Ramsey at a book signing on a Friday night then go out to a bar and drink my money away.
    3-I don’t think I wish to more or less frugal. I have always had a good sense of when to splurge and when not to. I prefer to live a frugal life and pinch pennies day to day and save to pay off our home and pay for my hobby and other love traveling.
    4-Last time was yesterday! I always have meetings of training classes at work and they provide food and drink and always have extras….and I take those extras with me! I always grab a few cokes and keep them in my desk for the days I need an energy boost and yesterday I took an extra boxed lunch and that will be my husband’s lunch today! People kind of chuckle at work but hey, a free meal is a free meal!
    5-I like Sarah’s response above.
    6-Tip: Sell your unwanted stuff on eBay! I have sold 3 pairs of shoes and made $125!

  8. Melissa October 7, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    1. I would probably also put myself at a 6 or a 7. I’m pretty conscious of all the money I spend, but not at ALL to the point of some people. Sometimes I’m kinda jealous of the super hardcore frugal crowd. I wish I had that self control, but you know, sometimes I just want Starbucks to make me a pumpkin spice latte, stat.
    2. I get teased a little bit for being generally quirky with money, but never actually made fun of. I don’t think I would care. Though I think I would be very upset if someone accused me of being cheap, instead of thrifty or frugal.
    3. Not really. I’m pretty satisfied with where I’m at. I don’t want to become one of those people that essentially stops living in her 20s, with the goal of having saved a ton of money for retirement. I work hard for my money, and I do want to enjoy it. Just responsibly.
    4. I don’t even know! It’s such a habit, that I don’t even really notice it anymore! One thing I do is that I make a few days worth of lunch/snacks and store them at the office, so I’m less tempted to buy lunch on days when I’m too lazy to pack it. I’ve also started leaving a few days worth of muffins (homemade!) at the office for days when I forget to eat breakfast
    5. There is definitely a difference. I consider being frugal to be more about being intentional conscientious of your spending, and trying to save money in areas that don’t matter to you so you can spend money on things that do. A cheap person just tries to avoid spending money, no matter what, and is usually pretty greedy and thoughtless. For instance, a frugal person would go out to dinner and save money by ordering water, instead of pop, skipping dessert, etc. A cheap person would go out to dinner and save money by stiffing the server on the tip.
    Bonus: When cooking, make larger batches and freeze the extra in individual servings. So like, one single serving (in a mason jar) of soup or chili, one serving of lasagna, etc. It’s cheaper and healthier than buying frozen dinners or eating out for the days that you can’t be bothered to cook!

  9. Brian October 7, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    1. On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you? 5 – 6. I have my moments, but I am definitely not extreme about it

    2. Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care? Never been made fun of (that I know of) and even if I was I wouldn’t care.

    3. Do you wish you were more or less frugal? I’m pretty happy where I am now. I could probably be a little more frugal, but there is no way I could do anything too extreme like live off my wife’s salary only and save mine so we could retire at 45.

    4. When was the last time you did something considered frugal? I pick up all change I see on the ground all the time and put it in a jar. Also I just picked up a side gig doing taxed for people to make some extra cash.

    5. What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference? I generally think cheap is kind of derogatory sounding and personally feel it refers to quality. Frugal on the other hand makes it sound like you have some sort of plan for not spending all your money.

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be? Take all the change you pick up off the ground and donate to a charity of your choice. Personally I like the Ronald McDonald House (I also take them all my soda/pop can tops as well).

  10. Jeff @ Sustainable life blog October 7, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    1) I’d probably say that Im an 8. I do spend a lot of money on some things, but I make a lot of my own cleaners and can a lot of my own foods. I try and save as much money on purchases I have to make (Like toothpaste) as possible, so I buy a lot of that at a time.
    2) Some of my friends make fun of me, others dont really care. I dont mind either way, I’ll still keep doing it if I enjoy it.
    3) I probably wish I was a little more frugal to be honest, I think there’s always something more I can do.
    4) the last time was probably this morning, when I used some homemade deodorant. Ha, make that 4 seconds ago. I jsut went to some pretty extreme measures to get the very last of the lotion out of the bottle
    5) totally a difference. frugality is about value, being cheap is just about being cheap.

  11. BT October 7, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    I don’t think I am that frugal because I spend like $3,000 a month on housing, food, etc.., but people call me cheap all the time because I don’t like to spend money on the same stuff they do…

  12. Sarah October 7, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    1. I would say I’m like an 8 or 9. My husband and I budget very carefully and we have no debt except for a whopping pile of student loans (yuck…). Currently we are funneling all our money to pay down our student loans. We pay $1500/month (almost all our income)! We also clip coupons, cloth-diaper our baby, and are always looking for ways to cut out spending. But every once in a while we “splurge” on some takeout or a DVD or something, so we are not as tightly-wound with our finances as we COULD be — which is fine with us! You have to reward yourself sometimes, right? :)

    2. Made fun of? Yes, definitely! Most of it is in a joking/teasing manner, and some of it is just pure bewilderment (people act like you’re the Unabomber if you use cloth diapers instead of disposables, and it’s really NOT a huge deal at all). I also make my own laundry detergent and that really freaks people out for some reason. I don’t mind either way, though. At the end of the day it’s OUR money we’re spending, not theirs, so we get to decide how to spend it :)

    3. I don’t wish I was more or less frugal, because I LIKE being frugal. I think it’s smart! But I do wish that we had more income so that we didn’t HAVE to be frugal all the time if we didn’t want to be. It’s fun to splurge every so often and that is hard to do when you have a ton of student loan debt.

    4. The last time I did something frugal? I try to be frugal ALL the time! :) I just put a cloth diaper on my baby’s bottom instead of a disposable — does that count? :) One good example I can think of is the other day I saw a friend’s purse that I thought was just darling and I mentioned it to my husband since my birthday is coming up. Well it turns out that darling purse was a COACH purse and there’s no way in hell I’m spending $400 on a purse. So we are currently looking for one on e-bay and trying to find one for $60 or less ($60 is the magical number that I picked out of the air when my husband asked what was the absolute most I would feel comfortable spending on a purse). We’ve bid on one but were outbid quickly. We might not find one at that price, and if we don’t we’ll move on.

    5. I don’t remember where I heard this, but one blogger I read has a great distinction betwen frugality and cheapness; I’ll try to pilfer it here: Frugality is being mindful with your resources, while being CHEAP is being stingy or not generous. My hub and I try to be frugal by packing lunches, cloth diapering, couponing, etc., but we DONT want to be cheap so we tithe to our church and give clothes away and try to be as generous as we can on a very tight budget.

    6 Extra credit! — Measuring time as well as money is one of the best pieces of advice I have heard as far as being frugal. Many people tend to think of frugality as something you have to actively do all the time, and you can actually waste money or time this way. (A good example — one time in college I washed all my clothes in the bathtub for a week, thinking this was a great way to be frugal. However, the TIME it took me to wash and hang all these clothes was so much more than the time it would take to just put the load in a laundry machine and pay the 0.50 cents. Or if you spend all day clipping coupons and you only save a dollar or so, you are probably wasting time and therefore money. Just my two cents though.)

    Great five for friday! :) always fuN!

  13. Sarah L October 7, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
    Probably like a 7. I’m a college student so I’m very careful with how I spend my money. However, there are a certain areas that I’ve already decided are worth splurging a little on. But everything else is pretty much cut to the bones.
    Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care?
    No, because all my friends are college students, too. We get each other haha.
    Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
    Meh. Nahhh. The only major area of spending that I have is on food, which is okay because I don’t mind paying a bit more to buy healthier food. And going out to eat with people is categorized as entertainment as well as for ministry purposes.
    When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
    A few days ago, when I brought my lunch? Is that frugal? To me, that just seems normal.
    What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?
    Frugal is being smart/wise/intentional with how you spend your money. Cheap is being penny wise and pound foolish.
    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?
    Umm. Write down all your “necessary” expenditures and see how long you can go without it or find a cheaper alternative. I used to think that an expensive face cream was a “necessity” because I have eczema on my face, but I have since run out of it about a month ago. Instead of going to replace it, I’ve been trying a drugstore cream and it works maybe not as well, but still well enough.

  14. Carol in Mpls October 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    I’m thinking about frugality quite a bit these days, as I’m in job hunting mode. I am working on getting a clear handle on my costs/expenses (“the budget & spending plan”), and then want to be able to negotiate (hopefully) a salary that will help me achieve my goals in life.

    1. On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
    I’m at a 5 at the moment, working on some improvements, though certain things really push my buttons (paying for parking in a ramp or lot – grrrh, don’t know why).

    2. Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care?
    Don’t believe I get made fun of, as many friends are in the same boat, trying to cut expenses, save, etc. I usually don’t care, but certain friends don’t seem to invite me to outings that might cost a good chunk (dinner, play, drinks, etc.). In that case, the rub is not getting invited, that the presumption is I won’t want to go or pay for it. I try not to let that sting, but sometimes it just does.

    3. Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
    I want to be more thrifty, and I know where it starts – less eating out, more eating in. Get the new job, take my lunch to work, pocket the savings. Eat better, lose weight, feel better, sleep better. This is a strong connection for me, and the area I most want to improve.

    4. When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
    Not proud, but sometimes I just don’t have the energy or desire to cook dinner, so I make popcorn. Shades of the old college days.

    5. What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?
    Definitely a difference. I think frugal is about picking and choosing the things that are of value in your own life. Some things will demand more time, some more money. When you are choosing based on your values, you’re coming from a place of enough, not a place of sacrifice. Cheap is the person always trying to cut it to the bone, sometimes just for the sake of saying they got something cheap. As if that’s a value everyone shares (not necessarily). Years ago I had a co-worker who would always try to get out of paying a tip, wanting to only paying her exact amount of the meal, and nothing more. I think she did it intentionally, knowing the group would be embarrassed and cover for her. Needless to say it was a running joke, one that wore thin. That’s cheap, and tacky to boot.

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?
    Spontaneously pay for your friend’s coffee when you’re out. Just to be nice. It doesn’t save you any money, but you’ll feel good. I always treat my cat sitting friend to coffee after she’s taken care of the fur ball for me.

  15. Jennifer Lissette October 7, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    1) On a scale of 1-10 I’d put myself at around a 6, but I have the feeling those around me would put me closer to an 8.

    2) I do get made fun of for it on occasion. It doesn’t bother me a bit. I tell those around us that we save 50% of our salary, but it’s really closer to 70%. I feel like if I told them the truth, that I’D be making fun of THEM.

    3) Sometimes I wish I were more frugal, like when it comes to food. I wish I could care less about quality (organic, grass-fed) and more about price, because it would bring my grocery bill down. Other times I wish I were less frugal, for instance, I lost twenty pounds this summer and none of my clothes fit but I’m having a hard time pulling the trigger on buying myself new clothes.

    4) This week I have cleaned my kitchen with vinegar, put my younger son in my older son’s hand-me-downs, composted my kitchen scraps, bought Halloween costumes with a coupon, cloth-diapered and breast-fed my baby & used my public library. Frugal is just status quo over here.

    5) Frugal vs cheap, to me, is all about intent. Do you intend to get the best value for your money or do you intend to just save money? If you’re giving someone a present and you find something they’ll really love at a second-hand shop or on sale, that’s frugal. If you re-gift something just because you have it lying around and don’t want to spend money on something they’ll actually enjoy, that’s cheap.

    6) With a two dollar paint bucket for your countertop and a $6 outdoor bin drilled with some air and drainage holes, you can compost your kitchen scraps. It’ll reduce your garbage output significantly, reducing the amount of trash pickup you have to pay for. The finished product can be used in your yard or garden, or given away to the gardener in your life. Compost is surprisingly expensive if you buy it from a nursery.

  16. jesse.anne.o October 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

    1. Scale – probably between a 5-6. Sometimes I’m great at consciously managing my money and other times, not so much. I also spend $$ on things others wouldn’t consider important like salon hair dyes, mani/pedi, eating out, etc.

    2. Made fun of? I don’t think so.

    3. Wish you were more or less frugal?
    Probably more. Not hardcore frugal but I wish I would spend less impulsively sometimes and more consciously.

    4. Last frugal thing done?
    I was over budget last month so this month I tried to save money on food and used the ol’ slow-cooker dry beans thing in addition to making some bulk meals for each week, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to cook and would end up eating out if I didn’t.

    5. What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?

    OMG YES. As some other people have mentioned, I see frugal as consciously spending within your means and according to your values. I see cheap as having “saving money” as your top value, and your interactions with others (as well as how you treat yourself) show that.

    6. *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?

    I think the biggest thing that saves me money is being organized and proactive re where costs might pop up so I can plan to mitigate them.

    Also keeping a running grocery list so it’s obvious when I’m food shopping that if someone isn’t on the list and I want it anyway, it’s probably an impulse buy (which is okay sometimes but I tend to overbuy food). Oh yeah, and knowing how much I can physically eat within the week so I’m not buying 2x the amount of food for 1 person.

  17. Ashley @ Money Talks October 7, 2011 at 5:39 PM

    1.On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you? I’d say a 6
    2.Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care? Not that I can think of… no, I wouldn’t care
    3.Do you wish you were more or less frugal? No, I’m comfortable with my frugality
    4.When was the last time you did something considered frugal? I used a coupon today… and I wanted to hit the drive thru but came home for lunch instead.
    5.What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference? I think it’s cheap when you hurt someone else with your frugality. Like take advantage of a situation or not pay your fair share.
    6.*EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be? Buy used

  18. LG October 7, 2011 at 6:32 PM

    HAHAH.. I love how your frugal tip is to pre-game!!

  19. Trish @ Finances With Funk October 7, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    1) I would say I’m an 8 on average.
    2) I have been made fun of for it and it doesn’t bother me a bit since I know I have money in the bank and they don’t.
    3) No I am totally comfortable with my frugality and know that if I needed to step it up on some stuff I have the know how to do so.
    4) I walked into the office this morning and turned the lights off since it was sunny out and our front “customer” office is all glass. My employees just laugh. (But they are happy they still have a job!)
    5) I view cheap as definitely a selfish based perspective. A hoarding, all for me attitude.
    6) a)Don’t waste money by getting obsessed with saving the most amount of money. Skipping a sale one week will not hurt you and you will see those same products at their rock bottom price again in a few months.
    b) Maintain weekly and yearly goals that allow you to plan well in advance for expenditures so you have the means to take advantage of great discounts that happen. We saved $700 on a high end glass cooktop this year because we had the money saved for it and although we weren’t ready for it yet one of the local appliance stores that knew we were looking for one called us when they needed to move out the current model for the next years.

  20. Stephanie October 7, 2011 at 8:57 PM

    1. I think I’d say 4. I’m pretty frugal, but not to the extreme.
    2. Not really. Most of my friends are pretty frugal too, so we have the same mindset. If they made fun of me it would be a bit of a pot/kettle situation. ;-)
    3. I’m pretty happy with my frugalness level. Sometimes I wish I could be a bit more frugal with food, though it’s not like $250/300 for the month is that bad for two people, especially considering we buy an awful lot of stuff from the farmers market (or right at the farm!), including our meat.
    4. Hmm… Tuesday. $70 shoes for $24.50. :-)
    5. I think there’s definitely a difference. I’d say when you’re frugal it mostly applies to yourself, but you can still be generous with other people, whereas when your cheap it impedes that generosity factor.
    *EXTRA CREDIT* Budget spreadsheets!! I set goals and track my spending. It helps me figure out where it makes sense to try to be more frugal, and sometimes even shows me where it’s OK to spend a little more money.

  21. TeacHer October 7, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    1. I’d say I’m about a 5. I’m mindful of my spending, but I definitely don’t push myself to be as frugal as I possibly could be.
    2. No one really makes fun of me for the frugal things I do, but I don’t really talk about them much.
    3. Yes I do wish I was more frugal. Even more, I wish that I got joy out of being frugal the way that other PF bloggers do. I definitely like paying off debt, but I don’t get any real pleasure out of the sacrifices that have to be made to get there.
    4. I brought my own water in a reusable bottle to school instead of buying bottled. That’s a habit though, not really a big deal…I can’t think of any novel frugal things I’ve done recently….this is why I’m only a 5.
    5. Yes, there is definitely a line between frugal and cheap. Frugal is spending carefully, cheap is stubbornly refusing to spend on anything. I’m cheap a lot, but only to myself. Like, right now I have a cold, and my cold meds are all expired. But I really don’t want to spend $10 on new cold meds when I’ll probably feel better by Monday. So I’m suffering through my congestion and sore throat. That’s pretty freakin’ cheap. But if someone else needed cold meds, I’d never say no to going out and buying them. I’d never even THINK about saying no. So, I cheap out on myself. Not sure if that makes my cheapness any better….?
    BONUS – Check Craig’s List for the stuff you want before you buy new. I really wanted this new coffee table from West Elm and I found it on CL for about one-third of what it would have cost me to buy it new. The. Exact. Table. In perfect condition. Of course, this doesn’t always work out, but try! You’d be surprised at how much is out there.

  22. Crystal October 7, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
    I am probably around a 6…I used to be an 8…

    Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care?
    My friends and family tease me, but not too bad and I am proud of my money-watching ways. :-)

    Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
    I think I am just the right amount of frugal, lol.

    When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
    I only drank at The Financial Blogger Conference when I had drink tickets for free drinks (which meant I drank alot Saturday night) and I shared a cab back to the airport to save $15 even though it made me an hour earlier than originally planned.

    What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?
    There is a difference – frugal means looking for good values for your money usage. Cheap means concentrating on the amount of cash and that’s it. Cheap usually led to me buying crappy stuff that wore out and frugal has led me to find the brands of things I like that also last.

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?
    Google for coupon codes or great deals when you are planning to buy something specific, especially for big purchases where you can save some major cash with a 2 minute search.

    It was great to meet you at FINCON!

  23. Slackerjo October 8, 2011 at 8:15 AM

    1. I am a 7.5. I am still trying to cut my addiction to Diet Crack and I spend way too much money on it.

    2. The comments are usually thinly veiled comments motivated by jealousy. I don’t care because the people who make the comments are debt riddled idiots. I have offered to help the financially challenged by showing them the envelope system. I always say “just try it for 2 weeks and if you don’t like it, you can go back to your old way.” In 10 years, nobody has accepted my offer. I admit it, I smirk to myself as I watch my bank account grow and their debt rise.

    3.Sometimes I find it hard to spend even though I can afford to buy a lot of things.

    4. I made a nice chicken and vegetable stew yesterday. It made 3 servings and cost probably $3 per serving.

    5. I am still working out the frugal vs. cheap question. I tend to stray into cheap and regret it.

    Extra Credit: Learn from the past. Even when times are tough now, they are still pretty good. Think back to life 80, 100, 150 years ago and you will realize you really have nothing to complain about.

  24. Donna Freedman October 8, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    1. On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you?
    I’d say “10” except that I don’t make my own laundry soap. (I buy it just as cheaply with sales and coupons.)

    2. Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care?
    MSN Money readers sometimes poke fun. No, I don’t care. Super-intentional spending has made it possible for me to travel a lot (home only about five months total since January 2010), not have to take a day job, help a couple of relatives who are struggling, donate to emergency pantries and give money to various causes.

    3. Do you wish you were more or less frugal?
    What I’m doing now works for me.

    4. When was the last time you did something considered frugal?
    Every morning, when I’m awakened by my 99-cent clock radio (St. Vincent de Paul, baby!). This morning I get extra credit because the sheets currently on my bed were free at a yard sale (the folks holding it started just giving everything away in late afternoon).

    5. What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference?
    Frugal behavior is something I take on myself, e.g., shopping at a thrift store. Cheap would be if I bought thrift-store clothes that were less than pristine and forced my kid to wear them to school. When money-saving behavior has a negative impact on someone else (or on you), you’re being cheap.

    6. *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be?
    Every time you need something, ask yourself these questions: Do I really need it? Do I already own something that would work just/almost as well? If I really do need this item, how can I get it cheaply or even free (e.g., thrift stores, Freecycle)?

  25. Elle@Odd Cents October 8, 2011 at 4:08 PM

    On a scale from 1-10 (with 10 being extreme), how frugal are you? I would say that I’m a 7. (There are some things that will NOT get my money, but it’s usually because they’re over-priced and I’m inwardly protesting)

    Do you ever get made fun of for it? Do you care? Yes, but I know that I have a few goals that I’m working towards, and one of this days I will be able to breathe a little easier.

    Do you wish you were more or less frugal? Both! If I was proficient at a lot more things, I would be more frugal. But I’m not, so I have to pay for things that I can’t do myself.

    When was the last time you did something considered frugal? I take lunch to work everyday :)

    What’s your opinion on being “frugal” vs. “cheap”? IS there a difference? I think both of them mean the same thing. Frugal just makes it sond nicer and cool. lol

    *EXTRA CREDIT* If you could share 1 frugal tip with us today, what would it be? Use baking soda to give your teeth a frugal dentist clean ( I try to do this every week).

  26. J. Money October 9, 2011 at 8:10 PM

    @suzanne – Oh man, crazy about your sister and your friend! Sad too :( Maybe they’ll be following your habits now? I’m glad you figured it all out :)
    @Niki – “I use my frugality for good. Cheap is when you use your frugality for evil. ” haha… never heard that one before ;)
    @Erin – Haha, you and your energy drinks! I love them too though – but usually only buy them w/ vodka ;) Coffee and Diet Coke do me fine on non alcohol days.
    @Sarah Fowler – Love that you’re debt-free!! That’s quite the ammunition when people are hating. As soon as we get rid of our mortgage we’ll be the same ;) Congrats! (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve told you that over and over again, haha…)
    @Jeffrey Trull – Nice work on the biking! I always admire people who do that. I always get too sweaty and can’t keep my hair up due to bicycle helmet and all, but I always wanted to do it ;) Though now, I just walk downstairs and I’m at work, haha… (glad you liked the video too — did you see it at FINCON during his speech?)
    @Uncle El – I like the Target one! I dont know $hit about diapers, but I’m a huge fan of Target so I’ll have to make a mental note of that once the Lord above blesses us ;)
    @Alexa – I love it! I used to hoard sodas and snacks all the time until I needed them :) Def. a good idea if your work does that.
    @Melissa – I like your answer for cheap vs. frugal ;) And I have a feeling waiters/waitresses get stiffed a LOT more than they do tipped, even just normally.
    @Brian – I really dig that tip man, a lot. There used to be this blogger who counted everything he found, and would then blog about it and update his totals, and it was always cool to see how much of an impact it would have once it crossed into the hundreds of dollars :) I don’t think he gave it all to charity, but either way it’s a great concept. Thanks for telling us about it, bro.
    @Jeff @ Sustainable life blog – You make your own deodorant??? Crazy!! And I’d also like to try it one day, haha… though I find myself to be super picky w/ stuff like that. I bet I could get used to it though if I liked the smell :)
    @BT – Huh. I guess it would depend on where you live, and where exactly your money is going. $3,000 a month for us would be incredibly frugal!
    @Sarah – Yes!!! You 100% have to take into accountability the time vs. money saved for sure. That’s one thing I’ve been learning a lot too about myself. Already working 16 hours a day on average, I’d gladly pay more for certain things than to swap MY time for it when it could be used doing something better. So yeah, great one! (and I’m glad you like these 5 For Fridays :))
    @Sarah L – Good idea w/ writing that stuff down — I don’t think many people even *know* what they categorize as “necessary” – I don’t even know if I know! haha… well, I probably do, but I think I need to write it down anyways just to make sure ;)
    @Carol in Mpls – Thank you for being so honest!! For whatever reason it really shines through here. Really like your tip too in buying coffee for friends — it’s such a small way to tell someone you care about that, and it really makes everyone happy :) Just the other day a random stranger actually bought me a free coffee at our conference, and it totally set the mood for the rest of the day! Even when we had free regular coffee there, haha… she hooked me up with Starbucks, and said everytime we run into each other at conferences we’ll be coffee friends – I loved that :)
    @Jennifer Lissette – Congrats on losing so much weight!! That is awesome!!! And almost as awesome as saving 70% of your income! Haha…. wow. You’re like double rainbows up in here ;)
    @jesse.anne.o – Oh man, the worst is when you go shopping while HUNGRY too!! My wife hates it when I do that cuz I just buy everything my eyes want!! haha… so hard to resist ;) (And also? I freakin’ LOVE your outfits on your blog! I’m in awe of some of you fashion-like bloggers — so creative!)
    @Ashley @ Money Talks – Awww, yes – that is a good distinction there: “I think it’s cheap when you hurt someone else with your frugality. Like take advantage of a situation or not pay your fair share.” – that’s a no no for sure.
    @LG – Well it’s true, isn’t it? ;)
    @Trish @ Finances With Funk – Wow, good work on that cooktop! I can’t believe they called you?? Haha… do you live in a nice town where everyone’s happy? I dream of those sometimes ;) Not like that much in the DC area, haha…
    @Stephanie – Yeah budget spreadsheets!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
    @TeacHer – Yes! Craigslist is dope for getting huge deals on the stuff you already want to buy. I was on there 5 hours ago looking for furniture oddly enough ;) A lot of our stuff came from there, as well as yard sales. I even sold (and bought!) my car off CL. Crazy deals there.
    @Crystal – Lovely meeting you too, finally! Really admire your hustle – keep killin’ it my friend! (Also, I, too, drank way too much at FINCON, haha… a perk of having non-drinker friends ;))
    @Slackerjo – Oh that’s for sure. Everything always looked more rosier X years back ;) We always push through and keep doing the best we can! Hopefully building on all those experiences so far in life. And I literally just finished a Diet Crack! Haha…
    @Donna Freedman – I still want to try Freecycle!! But from what I recall the last time I went on there I had to follow all these rules and it just got super annoying and I flaked out. I bet if they made it easier for those of us with A.D.D. they’d get more lovers ;) And I’m pretty sure you qualify as a “10” my friend, which is pretty impressive.
    @Elle@Odd Cents – Baking soda? Really? I’m kinda sorta tempted to try that one night :) Though that would require me to go out and buy some, haha… good work on the taking lunch to work route – I was never to good at that.

  27. Trish @ Finances With Funk October 10, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Haha! Yes as a matter of fact I do live in a nice town in Northern California where everyone is happy! But it also helped that I communicated with a local small business owner my needs told the sales person to keep in contact with me and I would promise the purchase to him when they had what I needed at a great price. ;) As a small business owner myself I would much rather support them.

  28. J. Money October 10, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Gotta love that! I much prefer to work with more local biz as well :) Thanks for responding back!

  29. Jane Levesque February 24, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    From 1-10. How frugal are you? I’d say a 6. I look for deals but don’t stop myself from buying that special item that cost more, but is really what I want. I figure quality over cheap quantity is where I stand.
    Do you ever get made fun of for it? No.. Because I hang around with like-minded people and why would anyone make fun of you if you end up without debt and with money in your bank account? Makes them look pretty stupid I think.
    Do you wish you were more or less frugal? No not really I find I found the right balance of saving and then rewarding myself by getting what I really want instead of over spending on everything.
    When was the last time you did something frugal? Every day I look for the best deal on all things. Grocery shopping I always look for ways to stretch my dollar.
    Is there a difference between being frugal and being cheap? YES…most definitely. I find that there are extremes. Like a family member of mine who hates paying his heating bill that he sets the temperature so low that everyone freezes in he house. There is a happy medium. Especially if you have guests. I would never subject anyone to being that cheap.
    Frugal Tip: In Canada, we have the “Dollarama” stores. I say go there for everyday items first. You will find “most” things at a cheaper rate and will save yourself lots of cash when grocery day comes around.

  30. J. Money February 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    Haha… I like that name – “Dollarama” – sounds like a good blog name ;) Thanks for stopping by and sharing with us – forgot I did this post!