How Far Do You Go To Be Frugal?


I was reading this article on Readers Digest about the lengths some people go to be frugal. I’m pretty frugal if I do say so myself, but I don’t do half the things those people do. I just tend to choose the cheaper alternative to something like Netflix to going out to the movies. If something is frugal but it makes me feel weird (in a bad way) I definitely wouldn’t do it. Doing the thing in this part of the article would make me feel weird for sure.

For instance, before interviewing several dozen cheapskates, I had no idea that there are legions of people who keep an empty McDonald’s coffee cup in the car. That way, they can run in and get a “refill” anytime they spy a golden arch.
Janet Hinz has a dad who’s one of them. An ethics professor in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, Hinz uses him as an example with her students: Yes, she posits, McDonald’s does offer free refills, but for life? And how about people who go to the pizza parlor and empty the red pepper flakes into a napkin to take home (another trait of Papa Hinz), along with most of the rest of the napkins? Is that ethical? Do you ever take an extra napkin, or two, or 20? she asks her students. Where do you draw the line?

It’s just hard to believe that some people go to these lengths to be frugal. I just want to know what the thought process is when you do those things. I’d imagine it something like this “What’s one cup of coffee. They sell millions of them.” And I could agree with them but if everyone thought like that then they wouldn’t be selling coffee anymore. I think it’s stealing but I can understand being able to justify it.

I’ll admit I used to sneak into movies with friends when I was younger. My thought process was “I’m not actually taking anything and if i didn’t sneak in I probably wouldn’t go to the movie anyway.” Was it wrong? Of course, but I could justify to myself so it wasn’t wrong to me. I would never do it now since I’m more aware of the consequences.

Have you ever done anything over the top to be frugal?

Comments (4)

  • I always have a garden planted to eat better, fresher, and in a budget friendly way; although, this is a benefit of living in California that others in the rest of the nation may not have.

    • Very true. I live in a apartment, but I thought about setting up a little garden and save grocery money.

  • I am an avid couponer but I DO NOT empty the shelves and I DO NOT buy anything I cannot use. I have to confess, I have tried every sample at Target or Sam’s Club to skip a meal. lol

  • […] Poor – How Far Do You Go to Be Frugal? As Kevin notes in this article, the lengths some people go now to save a few bucks can be really […]


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