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LF on being cheap

It has been discussed time and time again, but recently it has been bugging me: being cheap.  Here in the PF community, I like to think we’re a frugal bunch – not a cheap bunch. This is why it bugs me when people can’t make the distinction and plague society with their flat-out cheapness. Wtf?

Just don’t.

…on going out to eat

At the restaurant where I waitress on weekends, there is a young family of four that comes in every Saturday. I always get stuck with this group and I hate them for a few reasons:

  • Our receipts have a survey link at the bottom that you can fill out for a free appetizer on your next visit. This is fine and a great way to enjoy a free app, but they do it EVERY SINGLE VISIT. The point of the survey is for us to assess the quality of our food, service, etc. Having the same people critique the same food and the same service every week does us no benefit beyond the first, I don’t know, 100 times? This is purely exploitative of the system, I think.
  • They order three waters and one pop. The pop is bottomless. Enough said?
  • They order one kid’s meal for TWO KIDS. The kid’s meal is tiny. Why are they making the poor kids share one?
  • The woman works for the same chain of restaurants so she uses her discount card, which gives her 20% off. Of course this is fine as that’s what it’s meant to be used for. But between exploiting the survey and using a discount card, a meal that would easily be $45 ends up being $25.

I don’t know about you, but when I use any sort of discount at a restaurant (coupon, group deal, etc.) I make sure to tip on the entire amount. I think it’s embarrassing to go into a restaurant, exploit every type of discount, and tip a whopping $4 for a table of 4. I understand that some people don’t have an abundance of disposable income, but if I don’t feel like I can afford to go out and enjoy a meal, then I don’t go out and enjoy a meal.

Of course after working in a restaurant for two years, I can write a whole blog post on cheapness in restaurants but I’ll leave it at that for now!

…on shopping

I love me a good sale!

I know a few people that do this, but to me buying a dress and wearing it to a party and returning it the next day is cheap.

A coworker of mine told me that her mother uses appliances from department stores until they’re completely worn down and then exchanges them for new ones. She gets away with it. This is cheap.

Bargain hunting (even if it takes you hours!) is frugal. It doesn’t involve wasting people’s time, scamming the system, or generally being a burden to the world in order to save a few bucks.

…on being social

Going to a potluck and bringing a bag of chips when everyone else has made extravagant salads, dips, pastas, etc. is cheap. There is nothing wrong with bringing snacks but I try to ensure that the price will roughly match what everyone else is bringing (i.e. a bag of chips with a homemade taco dip…yum!)

Going to a potluck and bringing nothing. Ummm! Cheap and awkward.

Allowing a friend to cover a meal and never reciprocating. Cheap.

I invited a friend of mine over for dinner and she insisted on contributing to groceries. I did not allow this because to me, inviting someone over for dinner means I’m treating him or her to dinner. Allowing her to bring groceries would have been cheap in my opinion!

Overall, I think the distinction between cheap and frugal is tact. I am all for going on a coffee date instead of a dinner date to be frugal. I am all for waiting for a dress to go on sale before buying it. I use group buy coupons. I walk instead of taking a bus or cab. None of these activities are exploitative or tactless. They don’t make a mockery of the system and they aren’t disrespectful to the people you care about. That’s where I draw the line.

Where do you draw the line between cheap and frugal? Do you have any cheapo stories? I’d love to know!

Spending habits that make me say ‘waaa?’

There are a few things that people spend money on that make me scratch my head. Also, I like lists.

Top spending habits that make me say ‘wtf?’

Bottled water

People, it comes from a tap. Abundantly. For free.

Okay okay, perhaps you come from somewhere that doesn’t have great tap water but here in TO and I’m sure where you’re from, it’s pretty decent.

Waxing

Boys, you can scroll down (or prepare to cringe) riiight around now. Paying astronomical amounts to rip hair off myself is absolutely silly to me because I can go to the drugstore, pick up a bottle of Nad’s or Alexandria and do it myself in all of 10 minutes. I remember my roommate getting a horrible wax job at a fancy salon back in university. I ended up busting out my bottle of wax and giving her a live tutorial of how to do it yourself.

High-end mascara

Out of curiosity, I’ve paid about $30 for Diorshow mascara. I thought it was great but I’m pretty sure if you gave me a bottle of Maybelline and slapped a Dior sticker on it, I’d think it was pretty great too (read: psychological!). A ton of people swear by the Maybelline stuff and its something like $8. There is no way any mascara is going to actually lengthen or miraculously twirl your lashes so grab the cheap stuff and go!

Tea

I love tea as much as the next uppity tea drinker. But unless I’m having a ‘coffee date’ (I don’t drink coffee so I grab tea), I don’t see the point of buying a tea when I can drop a bag into water. Water, bag, insert. Tea!

Designer clothing

Uhhh, enough said. I’ve been a sucker for this in the past but no more. NO MORE.

So, that’s my piece. What say you about things that are a total waste of money? Please share!

Say no to shoes

I said no to shoes. Are you proud of me? Well you should be because I’d be proud of you if you said no to shoes.

Just do it!

I love shoes as much as the next girl so when I walked into the Bay, I think this was a sign from heaven:

CLEARANCE SALE

I walked towards the light shoe racks and perused for a good hour. A lot of the stuff was picked over, as I think they’ve been marking their winter stuff down since January, but I still managed to find some really cute stuff in size 6. The one pair that I really liked was a pair of kitten-heeled, slingback Anne Klein shoes in gold alligator print. They were marked down to $70 with an additional 50% off!

Found them! Cute right?

I stared at them on my feet for several minutes and finally said NO. Luckily this was a mental NO or the outburst would have surely warranted a few stares.

So why did I say no besides the obvious frugalista reasons? I’ve been inspired by a few bloggers to adopt a more minimalist approach to my wardrobe. The reason I have so much stuff is not because I go shopping all the time now but because in the past, I said YES to anything and everything that was on sale. This has led to a very full wardrobe and a very empty wallet. I really think I was more excited by the sense of accomplishment of finding a great deal than owning the product itself.

And that, my friends, is how I’ve accumulated so much random crap. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure all the random crap can be pieced together to make a lovely quilt one day…I would name it the Quilt of Crap and it would most definitely keep me warm at night.

Here are the questions I ask myself when contemplating a sale purchase:

Is this something I would buy if it weren’t on sale?

Is this something I will get a lot of wear out of?

Will this go with many items in my wardrobe?

Is this similar to anything else I own?

Will this do my taxes and keep me warm at night like my Quilt of Crap?

(Correct answers: heck yes, you betcha, ohhh ya, gosh no, and a resounding YESSS!)

The moral of this story is not to stop buying clothing or shoes – because come on, we may be frugal but we’re not hobos – but to shop for classic yet modern quality pieces, not just cheap thrills. Now if something happens to be all of the above, then congrats – you’ve struck shopping gold!

So tell me, are you a sucker for bargains? Do you have a closet filled with random crap you bought on sale?

The one about gift giving

I love gifts as much as the next girl. I especially love them when they come in a nice…turquoise…little box!

Hello, lover

I digress. I love gifts but since this Little Frugalista became, well, a Little Frugalista, she was more than happy to learn that a good friend did not want to do gifts this year. Basically my friend (let’s call her La Fawnduh) thought it would be a better idea for us girls to just have a nice dinner together sans gifts.

La Fawnduh, you are so wise

I probably sound like a cheap #$#(% for not wanting to get my childhood friend a gift, but hear me out! For as long as I can remember, five of us girls have been rotating gifts to each other. And when I say rotating, I mean just that. All of our birthdays fall within the first half of the year and what ends up happening is we pool our money and get the birthday girl a gift card because apparently we can’t think of anything more creative than…a gift card. I feel like over the years, it has just become a ritual and we’ve just sort of kept it up for the sake of keeping it up. I used to love getting the gift cards because they gave me an excuse to shop. Now I despise them. Why? That question can easily be answered by going through my wallet. And since none of you will have the pleasure of going through my wallet, let me just tell you. I have a Banana Republic gift card that dates back to a year ago. I have an Apple gift card that dates back to two years ago. I have a Sephora gift card that’s also about a year old. I sometimes go into these stores but immediately become discouraged when I realize nothing at Banana can be purchased with my measly $25 card. And I’ll take 1% of a computer at Apple with my $30 card, please! Gift cards make me spend more money. 

So thank you La Fawnduh for nipping that in the bud. Well, I suppose more like nipping that in very full bloom? Weeeird but awesome.

Now insert friend two. I assume upon fear of a similar predicament as La Fawnduh, when mentioning friend two’s upcoming birthday, classy broad that she is exclaimed, “Presents please.” Wtf?! Asking for presents may go down in history as the tackiest thing of life. She requested a specific book so that will be easy enough, but I sure am dumbfounded. It’s funny how my various friends approach gift giving.

I’m all for giving gifts when they mean something to you and person you are giving them to, but when it becomes a rush job because everyone’s birthday falls within two to three months of each other and ends up being The Great Big Gift Card Exchange, what’s the point?

My birthday is creeping up on me as well (not for another four months) and I’m sure you can all guess what I’m going to do. No presents please. And I mean that.

Shopping across the border, yay!

After a pretty long day of serving yesterday, I am definitely looking forward to heading across the border to shop in Buffalo today. To all you Americans out there, you are so lucky! The States has the best deals and I always find I get more bang for my buck. Everything here is just too pricey that I can’t even justify shopping in Canada when I can simply hop over the border and buy better stuff for less money. So, what’s on my shopping list?

  1. One pair of work pants
  2. Two to three work tops (winter appropriate)
  3. Underwear
  4. Socks
  5. Long yoga pants (maybe)

My budget for all of this is $150. Yikes! I’m hoping not to go over this as this is how much USD I bought. It pained me to trade over my tip money but my new finds will be worth it! It has been ages since I’ve done a big shopping trip and now with my new job coming up, I will definitely be needing some new work duds as my current job is pretty casual and I usually just throw on some jeans and a sweater.

Fingers crossed for a productive trip! Talk soon 🙂

LF