Being frugal really isn’t that hard

This reader story comes to us from Bill Fay, who is a writer for Debt.org, where he is known as The Most Frugal Man in America. He spent 21 years in the newspaper business and eight more in television and radio, dealing with college and professional sports, then seven forgettable years writing speeches and marketing materials for a government agency.

Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income.

I took my wife to a local diner the other night, and things got a little cranky on the ride home. She had a Cobb salad and a Diet Coke. I had the Classic Chicken Sandwich and water. We split a dessert. The bill came to $11.51.

“I think they overcharged us,” I said as we got back in the car.

No response.

We don't go out much, and complaints about how much it costs are the primary reason. I don't like restaurant prices, and she doesn't like hearing about it. As we pulled in the driveway, she glared at the recycle bins and garbage can she asked me to take in before we left, and decided she had heard enough.

“Who cares about the bill?” she asked, slamming the car door. “Just get that stuff in off the driveway.”

Translation: “You got off cheap. Again! Give it a rest.”

Frugality comes naturally

I do get off cheap and always have. It comes naturally. I've never taken a finance class. I don't clip coupons. I have never — EVER! — made out a budget, but I am frugal. I get more with less than anybody I know.

I do it primarily with the barter system. I was a sportswriter in a previous life, which gave me access to tickets to a lot of events people were dying to see. When word spread that I could get someone in to see games all over the country, a bartering business was born.

I sat in the lower bowl at Super Bowls, Final Fours, national championship bowl games and NBA Finals — all without ever paying for a ticket.

I skied for a week in Colorado — airfare, boots, clothing, room, food and lift tickets included — for under $750. Three times!

When I would come home from a week-long fishing vacation at a beach-side condo in Florida that cost me under $300 — gas, food and bait included — my neighbors would scream: “YOU ARE SO CHEAP!”

My response? “Thank you!”

I provided a service that didn't cost me anything and got rewards that would have cost me plenty. Calling me cheap was a compliment for what I was doing.

Unfortunately, most people don't see it that way. They hate being called cheap. It is an insult to their financial standing, not to mention a stain on their social reputation. They like being in the race to keep up with the Joneses. They like bragging about it even more.

I have a neighbor who boasted about the five grand he spent on his last vacation and the $500 anniversary dinner he and the Mrs. had and the 800-square-foot addition he put on his house a year ago — and then a “For Sale” sign went up in his yard. He lost his job and the next thing you know, the bank was foreclosing.

Scrimping is my specialty

He was not alone. Keeping up with the Joneses can be costly. RealtyTrac, a company that tracks foreclosures and defaults, says there have been 14.4 million foreclosure filings since 2007 because people at all ends of the economic spectrum couldn't make their mortgage payments. Since 2011, RealtyTrac says there have been 231,000 foreclosure filings for homes valued at more than $500,000.

Missing a few mortgage payments isn't the only place in the economy where we're still courting financial trouble. A survey by the American Payroll Association said that, in 2010, 72 percent of Americans report living paycheck to paycheck. Back then, the recession was the biggest factor. But now it seems that credit card debt and student loans are the primary reasons. We get by, until something unexpected comes along.

What happens then? You scrimp … or they take your home.

Scrimping is my specialty. I was so good at it in college, they nicknamed me “No-Pay Fay.” I'm a little older and more refined now, so I prefer being addressed as “Frugal Man.” In fact, my friends at dictionary.com identified me perfectly when they defined frugal as: “… prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.”

I definitely am sparing and seldom waste anything. It's how I can live in a neighborhood full of Joneses and smile when they make fun of my “sparing, not wasteful” ways. It's also how I can take Mrs. Fay out to dinner for $11.51 and think I overpaid, which I did.

Food was half off at the neighborhood diner that night, but when I checked the receipt, they had charged me for a Coke. I never order anything but water when I eat out. That was $1.50 that shouldn't have been there.

Normally, I get mad and go back to raise hell, but it was cold that night. And I still had to get those recycle bins and garbage can in, so I did as asked and gave it a rest. Sometimes it's more prudent to make Mrs. Fay happy than try to win a frugal fight.

More about...Frugality

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Dave @ The New York Budget
Dave @ The New York Budget
6 years ago

I don’t mean to sound harsh at all. I am definitely frugal and love saving money, so this comes from a place of empathy for my significant other. Sometimes, when you make the choice to go out to dinner, you shouldn’t bring up minor charges like that. It devalues the $11+ dollars that you spent by annoying your wife. The experience changes from being an incredible deal, to a waste of $11 just because it’s not worth it to go out with someone who is going to ruin the fun by complaining.

getagrip
getagrip
6 years ago

I’m sure part of the wife’s anger is the implied impression that taking her out isn’t worth $11 dollars. IMHO the point of being frugal isn’t to be cheap, it’s to have money to spend in areas that mean a lot to you and give you value. Showing my spouse that I appreciate her is one of those things I am willing to spend money and/or effort on. For me, an occasional nice meal where I’m not sweating the cost is part of what I value because it shows her I appreciate her. I could alternately cook or have catered… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago

There is a lot of judgement out there, but I think we bring a lot of it on ourselves. Bragging about how little we spend on something or how frugal we are is about as attractive as bragging about how much we spend on something. We can be show-offs about the stuff we buy, or show-offs about how little we buy. I think we need to ask ourselves why we’re telling others about our spending. Are we doing it for approval? (Why do we need it?) To make ourselves feel better? (Who actually likes other people’s self-righteousness?) To justify our… Read more »

AMW
AMW
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Beth, I like talking about money for several reasons…learning from others, celebrating financial victories, etc. I am careful, though, whom I chose to chat with. Only certain people get specifics. The rest of the time it is more general because there is a lot of judgement that comes along with it. Some assume that if you use coupons you are poor and don’t have the intelligence to learn about higher order finance. This sort of judgement makes me laugh. I don’t care what you think about me and my coupons. My husband has a good job that comes with a… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  AMW

I think you and I sound a lot alike 🙂 I have a few people with whom I can frankly talk finances, and I’m incredibly grateful my parents were able to teach me so much! (And that I have a few like-minded friends.) Unfortunately, I tend to get a lot of “must be nice to be single and have so much disposable income” attitude from people, so that makes me hesitant to ask for advice. I don’t want to be praised or dismissed. I just want to learn and help others if I’m able. Unfortunately, not having a family of… Read more »

KSK
KSK
6 years ago

I wouldn’t go out to dinner with you, either, if I was your wife. The next time you and your wife go out to dinner, enjoy the experience and the food, and be happy that you have the money to do so. Or, make your wife a lovely dinner at home, and don’t let her clean up afterwards. I’m sure she’d appreciate it.

Vanessa
Vanessa
6 years ago
Reply to  KSK

Or maybe she should go out by herself, or with a friend since it’s obviously something he doesn’t enjoy.

Jessica
Jessica
6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Yes, the best way to share a life together is to never acquiesce and compromise on doing something your partner might enjoy more than you because they would do the same for you and it makes them happy. Just lead separate lives and don’t spend time together, I’m sure she won’t come to realize she enjoys her time the most without you.

Vanessa
Vanessa
6 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Yes, Jessica. That’s exactly what I meant. Exactly.

*sigh*

Joshua @ Natural Alternative Remedy
Joshua @ Natural Alternative Remedy
6 years ago
Reply to  Vanessa

Ha! So true. A man who takes pride in being frugal needs a wife who loves that part of him. Sounds like she doesn’t. Wonder how that’s going to work out…

Matt YLBody
Matt YLBody
6 years ago
Reply to  KSK

Ugh I agree. Next time take your wife to the dollar menu at Wendy’s. What good is having money if you are so anal you can’t enjoy it? Instead of being so tight why don’t you look for ways to add assets to your financial statement. I feel bad for your wife.

Waverly
Waverly
6 years ago
Reply to  KSK

Exactly. How has this guy never heard “Happy wife, happy life” before?

Cynthia
Cynthia
6 years ago

I am curious. How do you implement bartering now that you no longer (I am guessing) have access to sporting event tickets? Also, I heard that bartered items are still taxable. Is this correct? I can totally understand feeling rankled with a 1.50 overcharge. It would bug me, too. I can also totally understand now wanting to hear about something sort of trivial like that.

cybrgeezer
cybrgeezer
6 years ago
Reply to  Cynthia

I spent 47 years in the news media, mostly in newspapers, the rest in radio and TV. This activity is a gross violation of the ethics policy of every news organization I worked for, and is probably forbidden by the team involved.

At the paper I retired from three years ago, one sportswriter did something just like this and has since been an EX-sportswriter.

Brian
Brian
6 years ago
Reply to  Cynthia

You are correct about that being a taxable event. The way that the code is written is something to this extent. Everything is taxable except: (the rest of the pages). I can assure that this would not fall into one of the exceptions.

NicoleAndmaggie
NicoleAndmaggie
6 years ago

I hope.you have separate accounts and don’t nag and nitpick her spending or read through her credit card statement. Yes, being frugal has benefits, but you can also hit your 70s with a huge amount of wealth not knowing how to do anything but complain. At least she gets to have a soda if she wants one.

Though if you were my father you would have checked the bill at the restaurant before leaving. (Heck, lots of ppl do that even if not particularly frugal.)

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
6 years ago

I always check the bill before I pay. Occasionally I find mistakes and that makes me glad I checked. I’m extremely frugal — in fact, I make a living writing about it. But I’m working hard NOT to tell relatives and friends How They Should Do It. Sometimes I’ll bring up an option they might not have known about (“Just FYI, you can pay for that cat food/movie ticket/new sink with a discounted gift card and save 10% or more every time you shop”), but always as a “just FYI,” rather than a mandate. (More often than not, people take… Read more »

Bethany V.
Bethany V.
6 years ago
Reply to  Donna Freedman

I don’t know about that, at our Sam’s Club shredded cheese is cheaper than block. I’d rather have the block cheese.

Ivy
Ivy
6 years ago

You have to decide how small an amount is not worth the hassle to argue and the annoyance your wife was feeling. For me a Coke would definitely be under the bar, but then I would probably feel that $11 “date night” expense is not exactly a treat. We go out very rarely since we like to cook, but when we do go out we pick a place we would like and don’t grumble about the charge. Yesterday I took my 5 year old to the sushi place in town, a rather cheap and run down place, but very convenient.… Read more »

Laura
Laura
6 years ago

$11.51 for dinner for two is amazingly inexpensive; around here, the only place we get that is Taco Bell.

Did you leave a decent (18%) tip? If not, then the extra $1.50 accounts for that.

Michele
Michele
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Except that that the person who the tip is for won’t see that $1.50.

My guess is that the author of this post tipped a small amount on the actual bill.

Adam Hagerman
Adam Hagerman
6 years ago
Reply to  Michele

I believe she’s referring to how he probably “cheaped out” on the tip and it serves him right.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

That’s not how it works. If it’s a line item on the receipt, the money goes to the restaurant, and the server has to hand it in if the bill was paid in cash. Padding the bill and pocketing the extra stopped working when businesses started using computers.

Honey Smith
Honey Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

And hopefully the 18% tip was on the amount before the 50% discount was applied…

cybrgeezer
cybrgeezer
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

This sounded like a fast-food meal, with no “waiter” involved and no tip expected or given.

Emmy
Emmy
6 years ago

I think there is a difference between being frugal and cheap. Cheap implies that you care about money (and, well, yourself) more than you care about other people. Frugal people don’t have to ruin their fun by worrying about money all the time. Cheap people fixate on money. They can’t let it go. I think that you have to look at the big picture and weigh your happiness over money. If bringing up the charge gets you your $1.50 but creates conflict in your relationship, that might be a net loss. Case in point: my sister and I are roommates.… Read more »

partgypsy
partgypsy
6 years ago

This reminds me of the Oscar Wilde quote where (paraphrasing) a (cheapskate) knows the price of everything and the value of nothing. Don’t get me wrong, it is a pet peeve of mine to be mischarged as well. If you checked the receipt before leaving I would have (politely), brought it to their attention. But as you said you were already getting the meal half off, and didn’t mention anything about tip (typically you tip on the value of the meal before discounts) I would let it go. To complain or return to the restaurant and ruin the experience of… Read more »

Raghu Bilhana
Raghu Bilhana
6 years ago

Dear Fay

Is there a way I can contact you? I want to befriend you.

Thanks.

Brent
Brent
6 years ago

I hope Bill reads all these comments and takes note. I would not want to go out to dinner with him either and I pick up pennies on the street. Being frugal can also mean picking your battles. I recently went on a vacation with a couple whose male complained about every bill and service attentiveness we received in almost every restaurant. Sometimes he was correct. Let me correct that, one time he was right about a small amount. And another time time he found after we had left that they didn’t charge us for a bottle of wine. So… Read more »

Ben
Ben
6 years ago

I like being frugal and saving money as much as anyone, but I find people like you to be very annoying. I second one of the earlier comments – if I was your wife, I wouldn’t want to go out with you either.

Jeannine
Jeannine
6 years ago

I actually thought differently about your post than some of the others who commented. To me it’s a lesson in paying attention, getting full value, taking advantage of all your opportunities, and not trying to keep up with the Joneses. I once was charged $17 for brussel sprouts in the grocery store, when I didn’t
purchase any brussel sprouts. It pays to pay attention. Contrary to others I would be your friend and go out to dinner with you. I’m sure I could learn from you.

Brent
Brent
6 years ago
Reply to  Jeannine

Jeannine it certainly does pay to pay attention and I applaud you for that. I like Brussel Sprouts but 14 bucks is really a lot. Anyway there is a lot we can all learn from a guy like Bill but I think someone like him takes the bloom off the rose of frugality and all the comments here from fellow frugarians (is that a word?)attest to that.

lvg
lvg
6 years ago

Most of us don’t have access to the kind of perks you had in order to barter.

Amy
Amy
6 years ago
Reply to  lvg

Thank you for saying that! I’m not really sure what the point of this post was except to point out how other people are wasteful, herd-following jerks. People lose their houses for all sorts of reasons, not necessarily because they overspend. And bartering is not frugality, nor is it something most people can do: “I saw the Superbowl for free! I’m frugal (even though someone just handed me a ticket I in no way earned). I win, suck it all you losers who had to pay! Next time you should just be me!” If that wasn’t the author’s point, he… Read more »

Drey
Drey
6 years ago
Reply to  Amy

Aww c’mon Amy. It is just his sharing his experiences with us. Why so serious?

Jarrod
Jarrod
6 years ago
Reply to  lvg

I knew this post was coming. The point should not be “I need exactly what he had or I can learn nothing from this.” The point should be “Can I find some way to apply that principle to my life?”

lvg
lvg
6 years ago
Reply to  Jarrod

My point wasn’t the tickets exactly – but that most of us, even if we want to barter, don’t have access to high end, scarce resources that are just handed to us for free. Sure, I have skills to barter, but on a much smaller scale.

cybrgeezer
cybrgeezer
6 years ago
Reply to  lvg

See my earlier comment (#67).

Andrew
Andrew
6 years ago

I hope you didn’t stiff the waiter and not leave a tip, because you seem the type to do just that.

Terri
Terri
6 years ago

I know a lot of restaurants near me have 1/2 of specials, but require two meals and two drinks. Maybe they had to charge you for a drink even if you only had water.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago

I actually enjoyed the article this morning, I thought it was funny, and I find that a lot of judgment is not in the article but in the comments–looks like it touched a nerve. I don’t mind the countercultural perspective– I mean, most people these days celebrate ostentatiousness and waste, and admire conspicuous consumption as some kind of great achievement. We get that in the fake morning news shows, we get that in magazines and tv and movies, we get it in commercials, we get it in social life everywhere. The decks are stacked in favor of overconsumption. So if… Read more »

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I wonder if the tone of the article put people off? I found myself rolling my eyes at the humbragging and hyperbole — it’s a personal preference, that kind of writing doesn’t engage me. The argument meshes with everything else we read here on GRS though: do what works for you, not to please your neighbours.

I’m all for counter-culture, but I think he’s preaching to the converted here.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Beth

The tone? I thought it was hilarious! He made fun of himself above everyone else. “No-Pay Fay,” ha ha ha ha. There was an underlying sense of humor pervading the whole piece– maybe it’s just in my head, but I still think so. There was also interesting info peppered here and there, like how 1/4 million foreclosed homes in the last couple of years were valued at over 1/2 million bucks. Dang! He was also brave enough to share a bit about how his idiosyncrasies cause tension in his marriage– but every married couple has this one way or another,… Read more »

Jeannine
Jeannine
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I agree, El Nerdo.

Renee s
Renee s
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I agree, too 🙂 I think it was nice to read about his idiosyncrasies because I know I have them, too. My boyfriend has to put up with mine just like the author’s wife puts up with his. This article is just someone’s story and I don’t know why GRS readers get so mean in their comments. I don’t see the judgement and cruelness on ANY other PF blog, but this one.

But, El Nerdo,you are always there with a kind, insightful comment and for that I thank you!

BWrites
BWrites
6 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

I think sometimes we’re too anxious to make that double-check of the bill–we don’t want to seem rude or obnoxious. But I also wouldn’t want to be the person who drove everyone around me crazy over $1.50 – I want to be financially comfortable so I can enjoy my life and enjoy my time with others. I think that’s where the tension lies.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  BWrites

Yeah I wouldn’t get mad over $1.50 either, maybe I’d point out the error with a smile, but I didn’t get the sense that he was claiming people “should” get mad over $1.50. The inclusion of his wife in the tale makes this much clear– she disapproves, and he surrenders.

I suppose I’m reading this as a personal essay rather than “advice.”

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
6 years ago
Reply to  BWrites

The other day I went to a lunch place I visit often. I usually pay in cash, but this time I paid with a credit card. It’s a very fast-moving place, so when they didn’t give me a receipt, I didn’t want to hold up the line by asking for one. Today when looking at my credit card statement, I saw they had overcharged me by $2.00 (it’s a final charge, not pending). I am not going to go back and dispute it, but next time I will pay cash or make sure I ask for a receipt.

E.D.
E.D.
6 years ago

How did your neighbors know how little you spent on your vacation? I agree with the poster above (#10) that you seem to care more about money than people.

Humble-bragging is annoying and earned you those unflattering nicknames.

Jane
Jane
6 years ago
Reply to  E.D.

I liked this and then had second thoughts, because I think you are being harsh. It is very exciting to get to go to such events or on a fun vacation for cheap. Would it be better if he told people about going to the Super Bowl and didn’t tell them that he got the tickets free? That would imply that he is a wealthy man and a big spender, which is misleading. Basically the only option you leave him is to not tell anyone anything at all, which doesn’t seem very fair to him. My step father in law… Read more »

Alice
Alice
6 years ago

I think there should be a follow up article with more depth. You could tell us if you still have access to a of those tickets. Tell us if you took your wife on those vacations and let her enjoy some time away from home too. If you did take her, that would be even more amazing for the price you paid. You didn’t seem to mind spending the money on yourself then to end up haggling over a charge of $1.50 for a meal now. Also, you did not tell us how you bartered and/or what you bartered for.… Read more »

MamaMia
MamaMia
6 years ago

To echo others here, there is frugal, and then there is cheap. It’s worth learning the difference, because to be cheap is to pay extra costs –- socially, emotionally, physically, even financially (in a roundabout way). If your friends find your boasting tiresome, then consider that your cheapness may be costing you in social capital. A damaged or broken friendship means fewer opportunities to advance your career, develop your business, invest, or barter/trade. In today’s world, a strong social network can make or break you. Much better that your friends, colleagues, and “the Jonses” perceive you as frugal than as… Read more »

Woodstock
Woodstock
6 years ago

Bill forgot to include another very important factor in not going back after that $1.50: the gas for the roundtrip back to the restaurant would surely be more than that. And how much did the gas cost to get there in the first place?

Tonya
Tonya
6 years ago

I didn’t really find anything helpful in this article. The writer is obviously a natural cheapskate, but I’m not. Some of us really NEED to make budgets and get ideas and reminders from other people. Some of us have nothing to barter (I’m a public schoolteacher; no free perks there!) and have to pay for everything we want. Some of us would be thrilled to go out to eat for $11, though I would be peeved if they’d charged me for a drink I didn’t have, too. I finished the article thinking, “Good for you, but how does this help… Read more »

Will S.
Will S.
6 years ago
Reply to  Tonya

It seems like I am seeing more and more of this “anti-budgeting” thing on personal finance websites. Okay, so the writer doesn’t budget; is that really something to be proud of? Yes, some people NEED to budget, and some people don’t. Budgets are kind of like maps. Can people get to where they want to go without them? Sure, but it might take longer.

Samantha
Samantha
6 years ago

This story was originally published on the website for which he writes: http://www.debt.org/blog/bill-fay-most-frugal-man-in-america/

And for some reason, it seems the actual overcharge was for cheese, not for a Coke. What a weird change?

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
6 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Haaa haaa haaa haaa! See? I knew I was right reading it as literature!

I feel vindicated now.

I like the coke version better because a “classic burger” does not have cheese– that would be a cheeseburger. The cheese story has an explanation for why they went to the diner, but the coke draft proves the background was not necessary.

Okay! I think I’m laughing harder now than before. Good one!

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

That explains a lot, actually — like why there wasn’t a lot of “meat” to this post 😉

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
6 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Hmm…any comment from the editors on this?

Ramblin' Ma'am
Ramblin' Ma'am
6 years ago
Reply to  Ramblin' Ma'am

Replying to myself two days later to say…I guess the answer is “no.”

Sunny
Sunny
6 years ago
Reply to  Ramblin' Ma'am

This is the type of crap we have to deal with since JD sold this blog.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago
Reply to  Samantha

Interesting that response among debt.org readers was generally positive — unlike the response here.

Crystal
Crystal
6 years ago

I’m frugal now but have cheap tendencies once it a while…the difference is that when I’m being frugal, I only spend on what we really want and find great deals when we do. When I’m being cheap, I lessen our experiences by trying to save every last penny. It’s important to remember that frugality is a blessing but cheapness is a hindrance to all sorts of relationships.

That Career Girl
That Career Girl
6 years ago

I check the receipts as well, it’s almost a matter of principle than anything else. But perhaps you could have been more discreet and casual about having the bill corrected. It happens sometimes, I find in most cases the establishment are fine about correcting it.

And then you wouldn’t need to complain to your Wife at all since you know it annoys her. 🙂

superbien
superbien
6 years ago

Boorish behavior happens at every price point. And divorce is costly too.

Marie
Marie
6 years ago

I hope the writer remembered to tip on the full value of the meal. People who use coupons and discounts, then cut the tip as well, are jerks. Restaurant.com is the devil as far as servers are concerned.

Brent
Brent
6 years ago
Reply to  Marie

Very im portant point Marie. A lot of people forget to do that.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

“Next time you should just be me!”

I don’t know why but this just made me laugh for like 5 min.

lmoot
lmoot
6 years ago

Just how spending becomes a problem when you move from splurging on a select few meaningful things, to needing the best and newest and most expensive of everything, it can be just as much of a problem to be so indiscriminately CHEAP. I am pretty damn frugal…about stuff I don’t care all that much about in the first place; electronics, big house, trendy city/neighborhood, new/nice car, clothes and shoes, movies etc. But I won’t hesitate to drop dimes on things that are important to me. Also, I will spend on things that are not important to me, if they are… Read more »

Rosemary Partridge
Rosemary Partridge
6 years ago

Good on you nothing wrong with being careful with your money but what amazes me is the cost of you diner meal! I live in Australia and eating out costs heaps more!

Carla
Carla
6 years ago

I can’t think of any place in the States were a meal would be that cheap besides fast food. My husband and I ate at a Portland food cart Saturday and our bill came out to $15 combined.

Davis
Davis
6 years ago

I’m not even that frugal but I refuse to be charged for something I don’t actually ask for. In this case I would haggle over the buck fifty. This isn’t a first date or something where she’s gonna think you’re broke for haggling over a coke.

Davis
Davis
6 years ago

Seems weird he’s published the same story on another site about pepper jack cheese on a burger they charged him a buck fifty for

Laura
Laura
6 years ago
Reply to  Davis

Maybe getting overcharged on meals by the magic number of $1.50 is a common occurrence with the author. Perhaps that’s why it was so irritating to him, because it occurred yet again.

Beth
Beth
6 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Funny how it always happens on a night when he forgets to bring in the garbage containers too… 😉

Jacq
Jacq
6 years ago

Bill, two articles back is an article entitled Big Wins: The quickest way to wealth. Maybe you should read it.

I’ve never known anyone in real life who focused on this little stuff who ended up wealthy and happily non-neurotic. I’ve known a few that were very minutiae focused and got rich through super saving and they were not people that most people wanted to be around.

Brent
Brent
6 years ago

Jacq- Great comment. You’re absolutely right. A good life is a balanced life in finances and everything else. Here’s the article I believe you were referring to. Very good. Well worth the read. https://www.getrichslowly.org/big-wins-the-quickest-way-to-wealth/

Denise
Denise
6 years ago

This article has got to be a joke, right?
I mean really, if he is that “frugal” he would have checked out the bill when it was put on the table.
On the off chance that this article is “real” then I have another comment. I don’t think that his pals that called him “No Pay Fay” did so in admiration.

Jessica
Jessica
6 years ago

Your pals don’t call you “No Pay Fay” because you are frugal; they call you that because you can’t mention a vacation apparently without detailing exactly how much you didn’t spend. You are the exact same person as the person who details every expenditure of a very expensive vacation and makes people roll their eyes. Your relationship with money is getting in the way of your relationship with life. The value of experiences over things has always been a big theme here; you’re not getting or sharing the value of your experiences. It’s personally very awesome that you were able… Read more »

HKR
HKR
6 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Or they could call him “No Pay Fay” because he’s that guy that tags along when your group goes to the bar and everyone takes turns buying pitchers, but somehow he seems to disappear right when its his turn to buy…

Edward
Edward
6 years ago

Getting a bill corrected (i.e., it was an accident by the server and not the universe out to personally ruin your day) at the time of sale is generally accepted as normal human behaviour. Bitching and complaining ad nauseum to a friend/wife/significant other about it *after the fact* is not. There’s absolutely nothing worse in the world than someone who goes on and on bellyaching about some trivial matter even after you tell them several times to “Shut the F up.”

Definition of whine (v): whine [ wīn ] 1.complain peevishly: to complain in an unreasonable, repeated, or irritating way

Sam
Sam
6 years ago

There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal. We are frugal in our day to day lives so we can splurge on great experiences. Sure, I don’t want to overpay, but complaining about the cost of a Coke is a sure way to ruin an evening as you found out.

Amber
Amber
6 years ago

I understand. I like to think I’m frugal now. The other day my daughter and I happened to be out around dinner time ( she’s 9) and I thought it would be fun to eat at one if those bakery type places. I got super pissed when I saw a sandwich that was $8! Oh, I bought her the meal which came to $11 total and got just a half sandwich for myself. Later I felt bad because I never would have thought twice at spending over $20 on two people. :/. PS I cook 99.5% of all meals we… Read more »

chris
chris
6 years ago

WoW I cant believe how CHEAP you are. Being frugal is one thing, but being a cheapskate is another. The whole point of being frugal is so that you can splurge once in a while on a night out on the town.

Jason
Jason
6 years ago

Glad others mentioned tipping on the full pre-discounted amount. There’s no point to being frugal if we forget generosity.

It’s also worth noting that “No Pay Fay” enjoyed premium seats and practically free vacations because many others paid regular price for their share.

Amy Castillo
Amy Castillo
6 years ago

What a charming story. As both a super frugal person myself and the wife of a super-duper frugal person, I can relate to both sides! Well told. Thanks for sharing!

James Petzke
James Petzke
6 years ago

I’ve always naturally been a very frugal person myself. It definitely makes saving money literally effortless. Because of the way I was raised, I analyze the prices of everything I buy and very rarely buy something that isn’t a true need.

superbien
superbien
6 years ago

@ James Petzke – out of curiosity, and a genuine question – if you are so naturally frugal, what do you get out of reading finance blogs? For me, it’s a struggle ALL the time to avoid the shiny and tempting, and PF blogs give me ideas and community to help me get/keep on track. If it’s not a struggle for you, why read this kind of blog, instead of say an investing blog like Bogleheads? Again, not being snarky, I’d like to understand where other people are coming from.

Diane C
Diane C
6 years ago

Superbien – I’m not James, but I’ll take a swing at your question. I am FIRE and read PF blogs daily. First, my investment accounts are boring and I like them that way. They don’t need a lot of input from me. Most portfolios benefit from less stirring, not more. Assuming you’re well diversified, and well balanced, of course. I read PF blogs because it is a good habit I developed before FIRE and it’s helpful to maintain good habits. It’s inspiring, it’s a source of good ideas and it offers a sense of community. It also makes me intensely… Read more »

Davis
Davis
6 years ago

This story is a lie. If you go on debt.org this guy writes the same story about his wife being mad about garbage but instead of cokes at a diner it’s pepper jack cheese at his burger joint. I think the article’s entitled ” why are burgers so expensive?”

Doug
Doug
6 years ago

C’mon, I just can’t believe you can get a salad, a sandwich, a soft drink, and dessert for $11. Where are you dining? Honduras? Prove it!

Angela
Angela
6 years ago

This article was smug and obnoxious. And I don’t see how anything in this story will be helpful to anyone…?

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