Frugal is the new pink?

Screen shot 2009-12-17 at Dec 17, 2009, 11.14.55 PM

One of the more common characteristics amongst fiscally responsible individuals is frugality, the innate desire to be thrifty. While some take this to an extreme (I’m talking to you, extreme couponers), I like to consider myself moderately frugal. There are some things I will always spend a little more money on; electronics, deodorant, and cereal to name a few. Likewise, there are a million things I will always cheap out on. Here are a few of those things.

Fancy Clothes. Nordstrom Rack and Ross are my best friends when it comes to any type of business apparel. I can’t believe people will pay $300+ for a pair of dress shoes. Do they really feel $250 better than my shoes? Me thinks not. I’ll never spend more than $20 for a tie, $40 for pants or a dress shirt. My outfit might not be as expensive as yours, but it looks just as good.

Beauty. I totally cheap out on the shampoo I use. I’m rocking a $0.99 cent bottle of V05 that should last me about six months (love short hair). I understand for a girl you might need some high quality shampoo/condition, but when my hair is less than a quarter-inch long I’m not price, not perfection.

Movies. Girl Ninja and I have been together for six years. During that time, I’ve taken her to three movies (Shrek 3, Taken, and Tangled). She would probably like me to take her to the theater every couple of months, but I just can’t bring myself to spend $12 to watch a movie I probably won’t like that much. I’ll wait for it to come out on Netflix. Admittedly, This kinda makes me a sucky husband.

Cable. We are spoiled now because our rent includes cable/internet in the bill. But you better believe if I had an option to have save $50/month by canceling cable I would do it in a heartbeat. In San Diego, Girl Ninja and I had an antenna that picked up about 12 channels and it worked like a gem. Cable is cool, but with the internetz, most things are online within just a few days of air time.

Drinks. I buy one liquid and one liquid only, Milk. As much as I love me some Dr. Pepper, Mountain Dew, Apple Juice, Lemonade, and Arnold Palmer I never buy the stuff. I can’t justify paying for a drink that a) costs me more than filtered tap water, and b) is pretty terrible for my health. I love you Dr. Pepper, but until you are free, I’m afraid we can’t be BFFs. Oh and it doesn’t hurt that I naturally hate the taste of alcohol and coffee. That’s a big cost cutter right there.

I shall end my list there, but believe me, I could go on for days. DAYS! What are some things you always cheap out on? Where are you most frugal? Anyone out there Uber-frugal and do things like reuse zip-lock bags and hang used paper towels to dry?


18 thoughts on “Frugal is the new pink?”

  1. For me it’s toys, gadgets and clothes. I do have an iphone but it’s my only phone and since I’m a freelancer I use it for business as well. I have an old boxy TV (that I bought used 10 years ago for 100) that I refuse to give up because it works. And I buy most of my clothes from Ross, Target and Kohl’s.

  2. Hubby and I cut our cell phone bill. We both had blackberries on spring – unlimited talk, text and data and it was running us $140 a month. We switched to Straighttalk phones. Bought 2 phones, both refurbished for $25 each. Straighttalk has 2 plans: $45 unlimited everything, or $30 for 1000 minutes, 1000 text, and 30MB of data. We both went with the $30 plan and our cell phone cost is only $60 a month now. Downside is that we actually have to connect to the internet, and retype in or passwords to check email/FB stuff like that, so it’s kind of a pain in the butt, but as a result, we just don’t use the data as much as we did when we were glued to our blackberries. It’s actually quite nice.

    I also buy ALOT of household stuff at Big Lots. Paper towels, toilet paper, dish washing detergent, etc. Their regular prices are usually still cheaper than what I can buy at a regular store even with coupons. They have a Buzz Club rewards program where once you spend $20 or more 10 times, you’ll get 20% off your next entire purchase. The cool thing about that is you don’t HAVE to use the 20% on the next visit – you can save it and use it later if you knew you’re going to have a big shopping trip later on that you want to use it for.

    We also cut cable and have an antenna and netflix. We haven’t had cable in over a year and we don’t miss is at all.

  3. Here’s my frugal list (it’s eerily similar to yours, Ninja!):
    1) Clothes – very rarely will I buy something that is not on sale; I really don’t like clothes shopping, either, so I only shop for clothes and shoes when it’s absolutely necessary.
    2) Landline: Got rid of out landline over a year ago… don’t need it… don’t miss it!
    3) Shampoo and Conditioner: I have better luck with shampoos and conditioners that cost under $7.00 than I do with the expensive brands, and when my fave 2 brands go on sale (for as little as $1.99/ea), I’ll stock up. Hubby shaves his head; shampoos and conditioners last a long time in my home
    4) Movies: We go maybe, MAYBE once a year, and it’s gotta be something we REALLY want to see… and we hit Bulk Barn beforehand for snacks and sneak ’em in via my big purse… concession prices are outrageous!!
    5) Upgrading our gadgets: We don’t upgrade when the newer phones come along; anything electronic (TV, iPOD, smartphones…) has to die before we replace it. My iPOD is about 6 years old; still looks brand new and isn’t anywhere near capacity.


  4. Although frugal is popular now, I have been frugal my entire life. I don’t think I have bought clothes at full retail in many years. Frugal is a way of life and I made it into a game.

  5. Frugal:
    1. I don’t carry a cell phone.
    2. 90% of my beach-bum wardrobe comes from Goodwill. Maybe 95%.

    1. We don’t use paper towels– we use rags and keep washing them until they’re only good for car oil changes. Of course I have to make sure I wash them separately from my wardrobe or it’s difficult to figure out which item goes in my closet and which goes in the rag bin.
    2. We re-use (clean) ziploc bags for spare parts, storing things in the car, and stinky trash.

    1. Good-quality splash-proof surf cameras.
    2. Airline seats with extra legroom…

  6. Just curious as to why you almost never answer your reader comments? You obviously read them because you will answer a comment or 2 (mainly if they disagree with you or call you out). I just think it’s kind of crappy that people take the time to comment on your forum and you can’t be bothered to acknowledge them. Just something to think about….

    As for cheating out..I’ll wait until my electronics are falling a part before replacing it.

    • I’ve mentioned many times before why I don’t respond to 95% of comments. This blog is a hobby for me. I refuse to let it take up more time than it already does (about an hour a day). Most of my articles average between 20-40 comments each. For me to write a thoughtful (non generic) response to even half of the comments I get, I would have to spend at least an hour each day responding.

      I appreciate every comment left and I DO read every single one, but i just don’t have the desire to spend two plus hours a day on PDITF. I know that will bother some people, but with the growing popularity of my blog and the amazing reader engagement I have, it makes things even harder. Double edged sword I suppose.

  7. Considering I also have a life..I haven’t been hanging on to your every word and article to read the “many times” you’ve mentioned this. Anywho, your reasoning makes sense. I don’t usually comment on your blog because I know it won’t get a response, but I do appreciate you taking the time to explain why you don’t comment back.

    • No condemnation was intended in my tone. I was simply saying that I had addressed in the past the reasons I don’t respond to blog comments. You aren’t the first, and won’t be the last to ask the question since it is a little odd that I don’t respond. Hope you put in your two cents whenever you want around here. May or may not get a response but I can promise thousands of people are at least listening to what you say.

  8. My bad…sometimes we tend to read more into a comment when we read it than what the author actually intended. Two comment replays in one post? Guess I can stop feeling butt hurt for two seconds 😉 thanks…hope you enjoyed your long weekend.

  9. I’m the same way with shampoo, movies, and cable. We just cut off our dish service, Instead of paying the 60+ bucks a month for satellite service, we pay 18 for hulu plus, and netflix through our Roku box. Love it.

  10. The majority of groceries I buy are store brand. Some thinks like ketchup and toilet paper I just can’t do store brand. Luckily my grocery store Pubkix will take back any store brand that you don’t like. Only time I did that was w mouthwash.

  11. I just shut off my cable last month! Saving $40+ a month now! I switched to netflix and hulu online! They have most everything I want and got an antennae for local news and sports.

    Budgets Suck is getting ready for the switch over to the new site in August and the big reveal of my true identity, bum Bum BUM!

  12. Great post ninja!

    I always save money on food by buying bulk meat at the local butchershop. Not only is it usually half the price of the local supposed “discount” grocer, but the food is much high quality as well! i see them grind up my ground beef so i’m certain there’s no pink slime!

  13. We use old and stained clothes for rags. I wash and rinse all plastic baggies that did not previously contain raw meat. I save plastic grocery bags for kitchen trash liners…we have a teeny tiny one b/c the smell of kitchen scraps make me want to vom (I’m 3 months pregnant). I save celery, onion, and carrot peelings plus chicken or beef bones in the freezer to make homemade broth. We juice apples that were too mealy for eating raw. I make my own laundry detergent (sometimes). We shop only at Volunteers of America or on the sale racks at every store you can imagine. We buy gas on Wednesdays because it’s cheaper. We have netflix in lieu of cable. I pick up free stuff off the curb to fix up or sell in my yearly garage sale. I never, ever turn down an opportunity to dig through someone’s trash or take hand-me-downs for my daughter or myself.

    BTW – I love the concept of punching debt in the face. I’m punching my 8 year old Visa in the face this year. We had a lot of fun but it’s time to grow up for realz this time. $6K down! $6K to go before December when the baby arrives.

  14. Shoes are an interesting one for me… I’ve spent way too much on shoes in the past 5 years – only replacing them because they wear out – I blow through the soles from lots of walking.

    If a $300 pair of shoes lasts as long as everyone says they will, it will be much cheaper than a $50 pair of shoes in the medium term. It may look just as good as yours, but will last waaaaaaay longer. Hopefully, cost me less time too – I hate shoe shopping. Too many choices.

  15. Clothes – though I will say I oscillate between extremes on this one. Brooks Brother’s through to Liquidation World, thrift shops and consignment, though most are on the super cheap end. Shirt I’m wearing now was $2 new. heh. (yes, there are ethical implications to consuming this cheap stuff.)
    Movies – rare
    Makeup – the stuff I have is good, but aged and I never wear it. I probably spend $30/year, mostly on mascara because you have to throw it out after 3 months (which I rarely do).
    Activities – we try to go big on capital, low on operating. ie road bikes. They were freakin’ expensive, but now that we own them, they’re super cheap entertainment that takes up hours. Plus, we get free lifetime maintenance where we bought them. Ditto skis. Ski passes are ~$800/yr ea and that’s the majority of winter activity spending for us. [In our circles, that’s not much spending.]

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