Frugal or Cheap ?

I have asked this question before, with a similar photo, but I ask again, is this cheap or just frugal.

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Is this being cheap or just frugal ??

A post shared by Alan Whitton (@bigcajunman) on

Yes, I did buy a special implement, to make sure the transfers went well, but is it frugal? It works very nicely for HP Sauce bottles as well. When I start mixing the cereal (i.e. putting “the bottom” of a box of old cereal into a newer box), then I will know I have become my mother.

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Entitled or Mistreated Consumers ?

An interesting comment on one of my older posts (the script for customer retention) stated, “…  you’re bottom feeding scum that try to bully everyone for nickels and dimes when you aren’t a top shelf customer to begin with…”. I am assuming that if the writer is an actual call center employee, they do not speak for their employers (officially).

I’d also like to point out that throughout that article I stressed the importance of being polite with folks on the phone (my daughter works in a call center and I know how crazy some people can get).

I am glad that this one article keeps getting folks reading, and hopefully getting better deals, but, things are changing out there. My inability to get to the Customer Retention group to get a better deal (Cable and Phone service), I will be trying again, but there is hope.

Media Maven Preet Banerjee says he has had an interesting “deal” proposed to him. He set up Rogers Internet in his new Fortress of Solitude in Downtown Gotham (North), and realized two weeks later that he might need a higher monthly bandwidth limit. Did this cause him to give up? NO! He called and he must have used one of his Jedi mind tricks because they gave him a higher monthly limit and they charged him less for it? (This was not the deal you negotiated).

We Deserve Better Deals

I realize that not all of us have a Fortess of Solitude or Jedi mind tricks to fall back on to get a better deal, but Ellen Roseman wants us to get those better deals (and wants to make sure we don’t get ripped off). If you have a chance to listen to this up beat lady talk, do it! She told some scary consumer stories, but she also gave me hope that we can all get a better deal (if we just stay persistent).

It is your right as a consumer to get the best deal that you can get.

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Personal Auditor General

Another blast from the archives from the year 2008 (just before I was laid off), note how critical I was of the government. Do you have your own Financial Auditor General?

The Canadian Government is a mega-business in terms of size and jurisdiction, and to keep this monster organization in line there is the Office of the Auditor General. Yesterday the Office of the Auditor General put out its 2008 Annual Report, and as usual it is full of many interesting issues with the Government specifically in the area of spending. There are some very interesting comments on User Fees in general and how they have been arbitrarily added by many government agencies without a specific accounting of what the “fee” is for. Interesting reading.

The concept of the Auditor General got me thinking about whether I could stand an audit of kind by a 3rd party of my finances. My answer is I don’t really think so, however it might actually be a great idea to force me and my family to explain some of the purchases and financial decisions that have been made over the past little while. Think of having to explain to someone why I held on to my High Tech stocks for so long? Makes me cringe just thinking about this whole idea, but to me it sounds like a good idea.

I have previously written about the Quarterly Financial Review (which we are almost half way through the second financial quarter) and also about your Financial Resume, and these ideas are great concepts to help families communicate with each other about their current financial status (especially once you have a few reviews under your belt so you can actually compare and contrast quarter to quarter), but I am thinking that maybe these ideas aren’t quite enough. If you add more accountability (pardon the pun) to your Personal Financial Life you may be forced to make more informed decisions (i.e. you are less likely to rely on your “gut” or impulses, if you know you have to explain later to someone why you did what you did).

Any ideas where this kind of “Personal Audit” could be implemented are welcome.

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Thrifty, Frugal or Cheap?

This one is a fun old post that I did about 5 years ago, and I must admit I still do this with Ketchup, Softener and even Cereal Boxes, but is it thrifty, frugal or cheap ?

Is this thrifty? Frugal? Cheap? A while ago I wrote about how I had become my mother and yet I continue to do things like pictured above. What is this a picture of?

thrifty, frugal or cheap
Thrifty , frugal or cheap ?

When you have bought a new bottle of Fabric Softener but there is still a little left in your old bottle, what do you do?

  • Throw the old bottle out and don’t even think about the small amount left because it is insignificant and unimportant?
  • Keep attempting to use the old one and then throw it out?
  • Do what this picture shows, descanting the remnants of the old bottle into the new bottle?

Do you do this for Ketchup and other condiments?

I have even found a cool universal connection contraption that makes this whole thing much simpler when working with condiments.

Have you ever seen there were only a few Cheerios left in the box so you just dumped them into the new box of Honey Nut Cheerios (thus creating an amalgamation)?

Is this being thrifty, frugal or cheap ?

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The Seduction of Spending

I like that title, in fact that could be the entire post, I like that title that much, but I will elaborate on this provocative statement, about the seduction of spending.

Today’s consumers (myself included) love of things and what money can buy has turned into a full-blown obsession with money and it’s trappings.

Are you a victim of the seduction of spending ? Ask yourself these question:

  1. Does anyone really need to spend $8.00 on a cup of coffee? In my mind if the beans were picked my Marilyn Munro in the nude (and she delivered it to me in that same state), then I might think that coffee is worth the money I spent. Starbucks has seduced you to spend that money with its cache and marketing.
  2. Can you hear the difference of $10,000.00 speakers for your stereo over a cheaper set of speakers? I can’t, but I am also fairly deaf from younger days in printing plants and rock concerts. If you feel it is really important and you can tell the difference, you have been seduced into hearing something that may well not be there (except for your dog).
  3. Why would you pay $16,000.00 for a Toyota Corolla when you could pay $80,000 for a BMW or Mercedes-Benz? Do you live in your car? For that price, in some places you could get part of a house for the Benz. If you think people will be impressed by the Mercedes name you have been seduced into thinking people care what car you drive (I might care if you drove me to work).
the seduction of spending

Must You Spend This ?

These are pretty crass examples of the seduction of spending that we all fall for (I am not portraying myself as being lily white in this, I have bought things that afterward I have asked, “Why did I do that?”), but this is one of the hardest things to control, the urge to spend money.

We can stop ourselves from walking up to an attractive member of the opposite sex and introducing ourselves, simply by rationalizing the embarrassment we might feel and the fear of rejection in that situation, yet we can’t stop ourselves from spending money when we know we shouldn’t (and worse we know we can’t afford the thing we want to buy).

Should we all be taking Prozac or some other psychotropic drug to curb our spending urges? I don’t know, I don’t think they would stop us (they might make us so stoned that we might not do much of anything), so how can we stop ourselves?

No Credit Therefore No Buy

The idea I have is so simple but also very hard to do, for most of us, since we feel naked without a wallet full of credit.

If you go out with no credit cards and no money, you are going to be hard pressed to buy something, aren’t you? Yes, I know with instant credit it’s not impossible, but it will slow you down a fair amount. If you are going out to look at a high priced item or even just going “shopping” with friends, don’t take your credit cards, and maybe bring enough cash to buy a coffee (not a $6.00 one either).

If you are someone who can control your impulses to spend, I applaud you, and strongly suggest you should write a book about it, I’d buy it on the spot (anyone see the dichotomy of me impulse buying a book that is to stop me from impulse buying).

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