OurNextLife.com // Confessing our most cheapskate habits // Saving for early retirement, focusing on happiness, shaping a life of adventurewe've learned

Fessing Up to Our Most Cheapskate Habits

Before we dive in today, a quick shoutout to those of you who read on your phone or tablet. If you read on mobile, you don’t see the sidebar links to our Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest accounts. So consider this a formal invitation to follow us in those places, and join in the conversation fun. We’re especially active on Twitter and Instagram and would love to chat with you there!

We’re huge believers that there’s no one “right way” to do personal finance. We’d never preach total frugality or conversely argue that FIRE success is all about increasing your earnings. Instead we’d say you should figure out what makes you happy, and let the rest follow from that. If that means working a low-paid job you love that puts you on a slower timeline to FIRE, great! If it means you get super stoked about pinching your pennies and fast-tracking it to financial independence, awesome! You do you.

But sometimes we all just have quirky habits that don’t jive with the rest of our personal finance philosophy, and today we’re fessing up to some of ours.

OurNextLife.com // Confessing our most cheapskate habits // Saving for early retirement, focusing on happiness, shaping a life of adventure

When Our Philosophy and Habits Don’t Align

In general, we follow the “don’t be cheap” rule. We believe in paying for quality over junk, in prioritizing environmental concerns over the bottom line, in giving generously, and in tipping well (because people working for tips usually rely on them and make less than minimum wage — by the way, minimum wage in most U.S. states works out to a below-the-poverty-line $15,000 per year). We also value our time, and have dropped a lot of frugal habits that weren’t worth the time they consumed.

BUT. There are certain areas where we are just unrepentant cheapskates through and through. Where we cannot make ourselves pay more or pay for something period, no matter how much we try to rationalize with ourselves. (I know — that sounds like a ridiculous problem. But you’ll see what I mean in the list below.)

Our Secret Cheapskate Tendencies

Clothes — We have different habits around clothes, but we’re cheap in our own ways. If you look through Mr. ONL’s wardrobe, you’d be forgiven for thinking, Everything in here looks a bit threadbare. Because it does. He buys clothes, like, never. He still somehow manages to look presentable at work meetings (which are rarer than mine), mainly because menswear all kinda looks the same, not because he actually updates his wardrobe. In my half of the closet, you might not have the same threadbare thought, but if you saw price tags, you’d see that I won’t buy something unless it’s at least 80 percent off. I skip all the H&M and other fast fashion retailers that sell their stuff for super cheap (not a fan of their labor or environmental standards), and so on those occasions when I do buy clothes, it’s on the TJ Maxx clearance rack or, more likely, online from Sierra Trading Post when I have a 30 or 40 percent off coupon. But even then, I’ll probably return two-thirds of what I buy. And I’m sure I’m the only person at my level in my company who has never spent $100 on a pair of shoes.

HaircutsWhen was the last time I got my hair cut? Hmm… it’s gonna take me a minute to remember that. I get my hair cut like once a year, and only bite the bullet when it looks so unacceptable that I can’t possibly face coworkers or clients without a cut. I’d love to rock a more stylish ‘do, but I just can’t bear the thought of paying someone to cut it more than once a year or so, which means I go for easy-style cuts that grow out really well. And yeah, I know lots of y’all are cutting your own hair these days. I’ll try that after we quit, but not risking it right now. After we quit, I am also going to try out every color in the rainbow, so you know all bets are off.

Medical/Dental/Vet Care — Have we been to the doctor this year? Not once. And why not? Because we haven’t met our deductible. Deductible not met = no doctor visits. Unless something urgent happens that forces our hand on the deductible, we probably won’t go get our preventive stuff done. I know exactly how bad this is, and I want to punch myself in the face for thinking this way. But even I, a health-obsessed mid-30s woman, a person who is demographically most likely to overuse health care, can’t shake the aversion to paying out-of-pocket for this important stuff. [UPDATE: We checked, and everyone with health insurance gets a preventive check-up paid at 100% every year, with no copay and no deductible, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. So we have no excuse, and we’re going to get our check-ups taken care of! Thanks to the commenters who pointed this out!] We do take care of our dental and vision checkups since the basic visits are covered 100 percent, but I’ve been stalling on a filling until the dentist agrees to lower the price some more (I’ve already negotiated it down once). On vet care, of course we take our beloved dogs to the vet, but I have definitely been known to ask how much things cost before agreeing to tests or treatments. Fortunately, vets are used to this type of thing and are happy to provide estimates, unlike human doctors who look at you like you’re from Mars if you inquire about cost before agreeing to something — and most likely they have no idea the answer.

Utilities* — You may already know that we keep our house super cold in the winter because we’re too cheap to turn up the furnace or to pay for enough fire wood to keep our wood stove burning hot. Well we’re equally cheap with our other utilities, practicing the if it’s yellow, let it mellow rule religiously, only watering our outside vegetation enough to keep it barely alive, and taking every measure we can think of to avoid using electricity. I have definitely turned out the lights on people still using a room because the turn off the lights when leaving the room rule is so ingrained in my brain. And back when our shower was leaking? We collected all of that water in buckets, and used it to flush the toilets and to fill our drinking water filter.

*This one is a semi-exception because consuming fewer resources does align with our environmental values. But sometimes, when I’m dressed head-to-toe in fleece and still shivering, I question our sanity.

Housecleaning — There is no world in which I’d categorize housecleaning as a “need.” But given how much we currently work and travel for work, having our house cleaned by someone other than us would give us a huge sense of relief. I even promised Mr. SSC a few months back that I’d do it. But we can’t bring ourselves to pay for something that we should be able to do ourselves — sort of like our struggle with recent home maintenance issues. We pulled the trigger on those, but just can’t do it with cleaning. Even though it’s exactly the same thing on the time vs. money scale:

Time Vs. Money -- Prioritizing Decisions According to Which We Have More Of // OurNextLife.com

Bottled water, car washes, soda, holiday decor, tourist mementos, and other things we never, ever buy — Bottled water is probably the worst modern invention — it’s a huge waste of money, it contributes enormously to the plastic gyres in the ocean, and the water itself is no cleaner than tap water. So we never buy it. If we’ve forgotten our water bottles when we’re out somewhere, then we make do with water fountains, like everyone did before bottled water became ubiquitous. We also don’t buy soda or car washes, and we don’t buy any sort of seasonal decor. The most we do is try to find the cheapest Christmas tree each year, and use the ornaments we’ve had forever, but you’ll never see decorations for any other holiday around here except the actual feast at Thanksgiving. We don’t even buy Halloween candy because we’re terrible people the lack of street lights means we get very few trick-or-treaters each year, and so instead we just keep our lights off and the small handful of them pass us by. When we travel, we inadvertently practice Leave No Trace ethics, leaving only footprints, taking only photographs — with the exception of maybe a little chocolate. We’re not monsters. :-)

The Ridiculousness of It All

I want to cringe when I read through this list, because if you tally up all of what we could spend on these things, it’s nowhere near enough to meaningfully hurt our savings rate. I’d still never, ever buy bottled water or fast fashion clothes, but spending a little bit on some of these things — especially the things like medical care and housecleaning that would improve our quality of life — would certainly not kill us. If I got my hair cut more like twice a year? That would not break the bank. Same for hiring a cleaning service once a month, or actually going to the doctor. Given all the things we do choose to pay for — organic veggies and travel come to mind — the list of verboten items feels incredibly arbitrary and ridiculous. But we humans are imperfect beings, and we make decisions as much based on emotion as on logic, and this is definitely an emotion over logic moment.

What are your worst cheapskate tendencies?

Okay, we’ve unloaded our cheapskate confessions, and you know you’ll feel better when you get yours off your chest! ;-) What are things you just can’t bring yourself to spend money on, even if you know you should? Let’s chat in the comments!


Don't miss a thing! Sign up for the eNewsletter.

Subscribe to get extra content 3 or 4 times a year, with tons of behind-the-scenes info that never appears on the blog.

No spam ever. Unsubscribe any time. Powered by ConvertKit

124 replies »

  1. Those birthday and Christmas and wine gifting bags that are so overpriced and another way of being Eco-unfriendly…..yep, I recycle them all the time. Mrs. PIE finds this very amusing. I am sure I have had one or more gift recipient say that a bag looks very familiar…….

    On travel within the US to corporate headquarters, I stay at a low key hotel just because it is enough for my needs. Could be living it up a bit larger on the company dime but choose not to . Helping the company be a bit cheap, I guess.! Travel overseas, it is a little different. I like a little bit of added comfort after those long flights.

    • Wow, so you’re a cheapskate even with the company’s money? Impressive! (Though I might try to sway you to go for something more middle-of-the-road so you can add more points to your retirement travel portfolio.) ;-) And haha, yeah, we absolutely reuse gift bags. No shame!

  2. Ha! I feel like you are my lost sister :) “Bottled water, car washes, soda, holiday decor, tourist mementos, and other things we never, ever buy” – yep, we don’t do this either and our street doesn’t have street lights either, so why buy Halloween candy to eat ourselves? That just requires more working out… Here’s a great one. We buy 12 oz. bags of a “specialty” coffee at a discount store for $3.86 and we cold press. I just looked the coffee up on Amazon to see if we could save money there and it was $12.00 for the same bag. We had to look twice at the bags (and the expiration dates!) Ours is “good” until late 2017… We’ll take the cheap coffee. It tastes great and we don’t add much to it, so the taste matters.

    • Haha — a fellow holiday scrooge! :-) Your coffee example is a perfect case study for why our cheapskate list is so arbitrary and dumb! We totally shell out for the $16/lb shade grown fair trade organic locally roasted coffee, and think it’s worth it… but it only takes a few weeks of that to equal a doctor visit copay or a haircut, or any of the rest of this stuff. So clearly we’re still kinda dumb on some money things — haha. :-) But good for you guys for finding coffee you’re happy with for such an awesome price!!

      • I totally get where you are coming from with the fair trade coffee. With two kids drinking it now too, it has become one of those areas we cut back on. When it is just the two of us, we’ll likely do the same as you just because doing what is right is important to us too!

      • That makes total sense to me! I think if we were drinking more than one cup a day each, for just two of us, we’d for sure reconsider the expense! (And I’ll confess — if we have guests in town and know we’ll be going through more coffee, we’ll buy cheaper stuff. Shhh! Don’t tell.) ;-)

  3. Nice list. I am with you on the once-a-year, low maintenance hair cut. A friend cuts if for me and is great at making it so I don’t have to style it. My cheapskate habit is pre-gaming when I go out for dinner with friends. Unless it is somewhere I really want to eat I will eat dinner first and just order something small (and tip well!). I hate “wasting” money on restaurant food when I could eat a healthy meal at home for way less, and at a time of my choosing. We’re early dinner eaters around here!

    • Ooh, I need a friend who cuts hair! Think it would be too creepy if I just starting hanging out at salons, trying to make friends?? ;-) Haha. And that is a great habit for dining out — I don’t think I could ever get Mr. ONL on board with that, but just last night I had a pre-dinner snack before meeting friends out, and then had dinner part two after we got home because I just ordered two little tapas-sized veggie dishes. I still got the experience of dining out, but didn’t have to pay the big bucks!

  4. I have a really tough time spending money on clothes. My one and only pair of jeans have become a smidgen too short, one of my work shirts has a small hole in the sleeve, and the pair of undies I’m wearing today has a 4″ rip. Eventually I’ll replace these items, but I know there’s still a lot of life left in them!

    • LOL — We totally know that “there’s still a lot of life left in them!” sentiment. :-) I am not joking about this — recently a chipmunk chewed holes in my favorite pair of socks (I’d taken them off after cycling to dinner and didn’t want to wear bike shoes into the restaurant), but they’re my FAVORITE SOCKS, and so I’m still going to find a way to wear them. :-)

  5. We are super cheap with clothes. My husband hates shopping so much that he will avoid it for years and wear things until they are literally falling apart.

    We do have someone clean our house once a month. I have to say, it’s totally worth it!

    • Glad I’m not the only one with a husband wearing clothes that are falling apart! Haha. (And truly, it’s not THAT bad. He does a good job of maintaining his things.) ;-) But yeah, I know that a house cleaner would be totally worth it — just can’t make ourselves pull the trigger! :-S

  6. I have a hard time spending money on clothes, as in, I don’t unless it’s on sale, and like TJ Maxx 50% or more off type sale. I just can’t force myself to pay full price when i know I can get the same thing for 1/3 of the cost somewhere else. If I need to get new workshirts (it’s been about 2 yrs now) I usually wait until Men’s Wearhouse or similar chain has a buy 1 get 3 free sale so they average to ~$20 each. :) My older work shirts are wearing out, and I haven’t replaced them in at least 2 years, and now I think that if I needed to replace any, I’d want dual use, like, could I use this for a “going out shirt” as well in another 2 years? Haha
    I actually did let Mrs. SSC give me a ear/neckline trim last week since that is usually my main haircut trigger. When it starts tickling my ear, the inside part, not the outer part, I go get it cut. Even then, I stick to Supercuts or similar, because I don’t have a fancy style. I did go to a stylist place when I went from usual cut to a different cut but then back to the cheaper place after it was set.
    We do the “If it’s yellow let it mellow” not for $$ reasons, but just a resource conservation deal.

    • Thank you for not giving me crap on the house cleaning. :-) I really want to do it! Maybe one of these days I’ll actually find the courage to make the call. Haha.

      We’re with you on clothes, though have now reached the crossover point where we proclaimed, “No more work clothes!” But your point about “dual use” is a good one. Still, I think we’ll just stick to technical outdoors clothes for anything we buy from here on out. ;-) I trim Mr. ONL’s ears and neck often, too. Definitely a great way to stretch out his haircuts, which are definitely more than once a year, but still not as often as he could get it cut.

  7. My daughters cut my hair once a year… and I do my husband’s every fortnight.
    Also, we bought a Toyota Camry from 1994 for 2000.00, which we are very proud of! Then we bought a Lexus with leather seats in really good shape, from 1998, for 3700.00. Both of them are amazing and we get a kick out of how well they work for so little money! We sold our newer cars and put that money towards a rental unit. I find that so exciting :) my old self from 20 years ago would think I’m crazy!

    • Nice! You’re winning at the game of saving money, for sure! :-) With both you and Kalie saying you have friends who cut your hair, I’m realizing I need some new friends with hair skills. And wow — nice job on stretching your dollars with your cars!

      • Haha! Yes, in fact my mother was crazy enough to tell me one day when I was a teen: “Okay so you’ll cut my hair today” and after me being shocked that she would ask me that, just like that, she actually said “Don’t worry, just don’t do it very short, if you ruin it I can still go to the hairdresser…” and so my haircutting “career” took off; now my daughters do the same :) you may have friends who secretly do that at home too!
        For the cars, it’s amazing because we actually are still giddy with excitement (we bought the Toyota 2.5 years ago and the Lexus a year ago), so at least as long as the time it takes to get “used to/bored with” a new car… It’s just discovering how amazingly well they work for such old things that keeps us pretty much in love with them! I just can’t believe it myself… I NEVER thought I’d react like this :D

      • That’s a good way to get over the haircut hump, I suppose! I love that story. I know I’ll get over it one of these days… just not today. ;-) And I agree with you on cars — I never understand getting bored with a car. I can see wanting newer features, and I can for sure understand wanting to trade up when maintenance issues start getting overwhelming, but our little old Civic has been going and going and going with no trouble, and I love it for that! Glad you’re enjoying your bargain vehicles!

  8. Count me at the person begging you to pay for maintenance health care. So many friends have died terribly young because they did not do a yearly appointment and notice the cancer or dangerous heart condition until it was too late.

    My cheapskate tendency is making my own shampoo and conditioner and pomade and face wash. It is better for the world due to less plastic and packaging, and it is cheaper for me. I’m with you on TJ Maxx, I can’t pay full price for clothes, but I will baby them so they last for years and years. My drying rack gets most of my laundry. I think the dryer is jealous.

    • Fortunately we’ve only slacked off on health care for the last year or so, and were always diligent about it before. But of course you’re right! It’s so important. I love that you make your own personal care products — better for you, better for the planet, better for your wallet! I do the same thing. :-) And your point about the drying rack is a super good one, too. We use our dryer for most things, but really should knock that off and start air drying more of our stuff so it will last longer.

  9. You know when you go to a hotel, and they have all the mini shampoos and shower gels? Well, my fiancee and I will take them all home with us! Whether it be a holiday or for work, we’ll always take them home. And you know what, we’ll even ask for more when they change the room haha! My fiancee was in a hotel quite a lot towards the beginning of the year for work, and so we ended up with literally tonnes of bathroom amenities, we haven’t had to buy anything since haha!

    • Haha! Thanks for your cheapskate confession! I definitely have colleagues who make big bucks who still take all those little bottles, so no shame. ;-)

  10. If I had it my way we wouldn’t own any seasonal decorations! I also get my hair cut every 9ish months (that is a financial and hate getting it done combo)

    I go a little food wasting crazy, where if we wasted it once I always buy less and less.

    Also haven’t been to the doctor (outside the minute clinic) in multiple years. I don’t even have a general Doctor anymore.

    • I think aiming for less food waste is super admirable, and not just a cheapskate quality! But read some of the other comments here for the proper smackdown on not going to the doctor. Bad us, bad us! Let’s all go get checkups! :-)

  11. I’m kind of surprised by this list as you guys tend to send the vibe that you’re not very frugal, when in fact it looks like you are (in some aspects at least).

    I rarely buy clothes (maybe once a year). I want my GF to cut my hair but she’s too afraid of messing up. I’ll eat the same leftovers days in a row so that I don’t have to make/buy more food. I try to insource as many chores, maintenance, etc. as possible. But other than that, I’m not exactly a frugal person.

    • Your overall sense is right! We are definitely not the model cost cutters. That’s why this list is so crazy to us — normally we wouldn’t scrimp on important things, but these are just areas where something in our guts says, “Nope, not worth it.” And I decided to confess to it all to show that we aren’t all perfect, rational beings when it comes to money, as some economists would have us believe. We can be pretty unfrugal on some things but then staunchly cheapskate on others. :-)

  12. Your excuse (being a cheapskate) is better than mine (being lazy) for some of these things. I really dislike getting my hair done and going shopping for clothes or shoes(last month I finally had to buy new shoes because the sole of one of my shoes FELL OFF).

    One thing that we would totally do in the future is hire a housecleaner. With both of us working, I really want to spend every non-working minute with my kiddos or doing something I enjoy, not worrying about toilets or the state of my shower. Our house isn’t very big, so I can’t imagine it’d cost very much, but since we’re in hardcore debt payoff mode, it’s not something we’re doing right now. But a girl can dream…

    • See, this is why I wrote this post, to talk about the irrationality of some of this stuff. Like if we’re talking about you, it’s easy for me to say, Yes of course you should replace your shoes that need replacing! And yes of course you should pay a housecleaner so you can have more time with your kids! But then when I’m talking about myself, it’s Nope, not worth it! :-) It’s like how we’re compassionate to others but mean to ourselves. We are generally not cheapskates at all, but just have a few of these weird hangups. :-)

  13. I think we share similar cheapskate items. I rarely buy clothes. If I look in my closet now I think 90% of the clothes are from over 5 years ago. Funny you mentioned doctors/dental. Here in Canada, doctors are covered by health insurance. We don’t go to doctors that often but when needed, there’s no question whether we should go or not. Similarly, dental is covered by my work’s extended health insurance so we do a checkup every 6 months. There are so many “extra” things you can easily buy to make your life easier… but are they really necessary?

    Our current “dirty” cheapskate? (literally!)

    Avoid flushing the toilet unless you go for #2. Some people may think this is totally gross but hey it does save a lot of water, considering it’s 1.5 gallon (6L) per flush, and it’s also good for the environment.

    • Oh how we wish that we could have Canadian-style health care! There is something deeply flawed about a system that disincentivizes people from getting the preventive care that could prevent much more serious and costly care down the road. Maybe one day…

      And yeah, no shame in not flushing #1. :-) Saves money, and saves water. Win-win!

  14. I am very similar to Mr. ONL in basically never buying clothes. I think I’ve revealed before that I still had boxer shorts *last year* that I had worn in high school. Since I don’t make it a habit of defecating in my pants, the boxers were still good, so why switch? Finally, Courtney made me update my underwear situation. TMI, yet?

    We keep it insanely hot in the summer time, but only because cooling the home to a more normal 75 degrees would add around $100 to our monthly electric bill. We usually set the thermostat at 85 during the day, then bring it down to around 78 at night so we can actually sleep. Neither of us can sleep when it’s too hot. This will be the last year that we’ll need to worry about this, though. Nobody willingly stays in the southwest during the summer unless they have to. :)

    A couple years ago before Obamacare, I spent a year and a half without health insurance, which was an *amazing* savings. I almost never go to the doctor, so health insurance has primarily been a waste of money all my life – and continues to be. Of course, I understand that we never know when we’ll need that insurance, so I’m compelled to keep it around now especially with the penalty that’s in effect, negating much in the way of savings any longer. Ah, the good ol’ days.

    Other than that, I basically reuse things until they are virtually unusable…like, even paper towels. I hate cleaning up the smallest of messes with an entire paper towel sheet because I feel like I’m wasting a good 2/3rds of the towel. We now buy the paper towels with more frequent perforations, but still, sometimes messes don’t even require an entire *smaller* sheet – and once again I feel wasteful.

    Sigh… :)

    • LOL — I am totally that person who tears off a tiny corner of the paper towel sheet to clean something up, even if it’s a big spill. So I understand! And I’ve been known to gape at people in public restrooms who take three sheets of paper towels to dry their hands and then barely touch them. (Really???) Recently we switched to washable microfiber cloths for kitchen messes, fwiw, and we’re down to using essentially zero paper towels. Food for thought. :-)

      On the health insurance stuff, let’s all resolve to at least go get checkups before we quit. Better to get the all-clear while we still have company health insurance, right? It really is the most important thing we should be focusing on, and I’m not proud that I haven’t been to the doctor in a little while. :-(

      The temp you live with sounds hellacious to me, but I’m sure our cold temps would be unbearable to you guys! It’s all about what you’re adjusted to. :-)

      • Yup, both Courtney and I are planning on a doctor’s visit before we lose our health insurance through our companies…even to just get some blood work done to ensure everything is normal. Dentist, too…but luckily, dental work tends to be made easier with quick trips across the border after retirement. No need to pay for dental coverage, thankfully!

      • Good plan! Glad to know you guys are doing to get a clean bill of health this year. :-) And yeah, we’ll probably do the same thing with future dental care!

  15. I hate clothes shopping! I purged an entire closet full of expensive work clothes after I retired, and now live in Costco or Marshall’s shorts and tee shirts in the mild weather, and Levi’s and tee shirts in the winter. Panties and bras from Costco work fine, and if I like something I buy several different colors on sale. Consequently I have the same cargo shorts in six colors! I really don’t care about such things anymore, so I paint in them, boat in them, shop in them, whatever. I don’t sleep in them, but that’s about it! I stopped paying for salon cuts and color, I’m growing out grey and I hit the discount haircut place every six months. I don’t skip medical appointments and I learned the hard way not to skip dental checkups, but I have been known to keep eye glasses way too long! I’m on the if it’s yellow, let it mellow team, and recently decided to increase the paved area around the sides of the house to ease maintenance and cut down on watering even further. One thing I’d love to do is pay for a full house cleaning monthly (including windows), since this big house is such a monster to clean, but I can’t bring myself to do it since we’re retired and can certainly do it ourselves. That doesn’t stop my bitching and moaning when I’m scrubbing the toilets, but I just can’t justify it (at least not yet).

    • My biggest lesson so far today: None of us are flushing the yellow stuff. Hahaha. I love it!

      I was nodding along to everything you said! I do plan to cover the gray, but not with salon color by any means — we’re talking drugstore color all the way. :-) And do you know about EyeBuy Direct? We recently learned about them for the best possible valuable in glasses, and now there’s no more excuse. They will send you a coupon, too, if you leave things in your cart without checking out, so you can save even more. :-) (Not an affiliate! Just a fan!) And same here on the monthly house cleaning — I’d love to do it but so far can’t make myself!

  16. I found a hole in my shirt I’m wearing today to work, might be time to buy a new one. I think I had this one for about five years. I’m not a big spender on clothes in general.

    I’ve been considering the cleaning house issue. We tackle the chore ourselves, but I really like to have that time back. I have yet to look into the cost of having someone else perform the task, but may consider it. It’s the internal fight I have every time I’m cleaning the toilet bowl. :)

    • The fact that you ever actually do clean the toilet puts you ahead of a lot of guys — haha! :-) Yeah, getting the house cleaned does seem so worth it, but it’s hard to actually make the choice to spend the money. And we find holes in our shirts all the time — not good! But we’re close enough to be done with working that we don’t worry about it. :-) (Though we do try to patch the holes!)

  17. I’m surprised that your annual check-up isn’t free. Ours is free (by federal law in the US under Obamacare laws) *and* if we don’t get it, they charge us extra in monthly premiums (because the insurance company thinks they’ll save money giving our population preventative care).

  18. You’re one of those yellow mellow people? Ick! Doesn’t the pee smell get bothersome or do you guys “brown” frequently enough that it doesn’t sit for that long? Haha.

    My cheap habits are definitely when it comes to eating and drinking. Cheap frozen shit with preservatives or take out, probably also with preservatives…it would cost more to eat healthy, but probably cost less in health costs in the long run. if i go out, i’ll definitely eat a lower-cost food because the tip is a smaller % of the total. I’ll predominantly order water for the same reason. :)

    • LOL — File this under “things I never thought we’d discuss on the blog.” I’ll just say briefly that the pee smell usually isn’t too bad. ;-) I understand eating the cheap stuff, and we did that for a while, during our coupon phase especially, and it really did make us feel worse. So I can say from personal experience that buying healthier food is a good investment!

  19. None of this seems very ‘cheapskate’ to me, so I guess you’re preaching to the choir with this one!

    I shave about 6 times per year and probably cut my hair half as much. I sold my car and bus it to work (I’ve a got 4 kids, so being a one car family is definitely inconvenient at times). I too rarely buy clothes, but somehow it hasn’t impacted my career growth. My grossest (?) cheapskate habit is that I reuse my bath towel a lot. I figure that I’m stepping out of a shower all clean, drying off with a clean towel, so why use only once?

    • I never understand people who wash their towels after every shower or even every few showers! Like you said, you’re only using it when you’re squeaky clean. So yeah, same here. I’m impressed that you have four kids but make it work with one car — so awesome!

  20. I’m going to tell you to get to the dentist ASAP and deal with the filling. Painful (literally and financially) learned that one the hard way. I will never skip a 6 month cleaning again and neither will any of my family members. Trust me, go.

    I second the checking into a yearly checkup- I believe under Obamacare you shouldn’t be paying a deductible for that (although you will pay for bloodwork).

    I haven’t been to the eye dr. in some time, and I know I NEED to go soon. I have decent eyesight and can get away from general reading glasses, so I just put it off. I need to just make an appt and go.

    • We *do* go to the dentist (that’s fully covered!) and the one filling I haven’t dealt with yet is a non-serious one. BUT, your point is a good and important one! Thank you for the nudge! :-) I’ll in turn nudge you back about the eye doc. I recently learned that my prescription got a lot worse without me realizing it, and there are lots of super inexpensive online glasses sources now, so glasses don’t have to cost a fortune like they once did!

  21. This is a tough question for me – we’re constantly trying to come up with new ways to save money. We have quite a few threadbare items in our own closets, but don’t see the need to get anything new. We don’t buy bottled water or go out to eat. We cut our own hair.
    One thing I somewhat regret is not spending money on a week or two of summer camp for Goofball. He is spending many days of his summer vacation with Grandpa and Uncle. I wanted to sign him up for something fun, but they all cost at least a couple hundred dollars. I just try to keep him engaged and doing fun activities as much as possible when we’re together. We are going on a vacation to Maine in August, so that should be a good experience. And, we signed him up for T-ball.

    • I think summer camp is super valuable, and was one of the most formative experiences of my life — but I also didn’t go until I was like 12ish. So maybe it’s something you can do in future years! It sounds like he’s still getting lots of great time outside this summer and getting to play t-ball. And your vacation sounds wonderful!

  22. We do pay for car washes – but only in the winter when the car gets so dirty, you can read the license plate (and three kids somehow don’t know how to get in the car without making a complete body print in the dirt… and thus, on their clothes!). I find my worst frugal tendency is babysitting. The kids actually LIKE being babysat (someone comes and plays with us?!). But I can’t bring myself to pay for it. I realize it would only be like $10/hour and it would be really worth doing sometimes for work (even the cost tradeoff makes sense if I work during that time), but I just can’t do it. Call it frugality. Call it Mom Guilt. No idea. I only trade babysitting. :)

    • Haha — We don’t even wash the car then! Instead (and unnecessarily) we do this awkward dance around the car in our small garage, trying (and usually failing) not to get all the winter road yuckiness on our clothes. Sometimes being stubborn is just dumb! :-) And I get it regarding babysitting! I know I babysat lots when I was a young teen, but looking back, I was SO YOUNG. I can’t believe people let me stay with their kids unsupervised!

      • That’s part of it… the last babysitter I had put my baby’s jammies on top of his daytime clothes for bed… ? I didn’t know I needed to specify: take off his clothes, THEN put on his jammies. But mostly I just hate spending $10/hour to NOT spend with my kids!

      • What?! How crazy. You’d think “change his clothes” would be self-evident! And yeah, I can for sure see not wanting to pay money to have to be away from them. :-)

  23. I love the TJ Maxx clearance area. It’s the only place I ever shopped when I needed to buy clothes to look passable at work. Just negotiated a dental cleaning for $100 too without any insurance. Who needs it if you have enough money saved?

    • I admire people who can scour those clearance racks and find the best deals — part of why I don’t shop often is that I get overwhelmed at those chaotic racks! :-) And nice job on that dental cleaning! We will definitely get creative with dental and vision care after we no longer have that insurance (though we’ll for sure have health insurance in ER!).

  24. We haven’t purchased new clothes in a year and half. I’m down at least one size, which means I employ a belt or the “roll over the waistband” technique. LOL. Also, I don’t wash our cars–they just keep getting dirty, so it’s kinda pointless. :)

    • My version of the roll over the waistband technique is just to buy everything stretchy. Then it fits no matter what. Haha. (Not the best for looking professional in work settings, though, I admit!) And hooray for dirty car drivers of the world! :-D

  25. These comments are awesome — I feel like I have a much closer relationship with everyone now that I know their bathroom habits. Ha! As someone who lives alone, flushing less often isn’t a big deal but I don’t know how I’d feel if I had to share a bathroom with someone else….

    I’m with you on haircuts. I have a basic one-length cut, about 6 inches past my shoulders. I used to get it cut at any nearby discount place (Fantastic Sams, Cost Cutters, Great Clips, etc) so it was never expensive and I’d only go twice a year. But I hopped onto the DIY haircut bandwagon this year and I’m really happy with it. I’ve cut my hair twice and no mistakes yet. You should definitely try it — I think you’d be surprised how easy it is :)

    • Haha — Things we thought we’d never be sharing here! :-) Good to know that you’ve had good luck with cutting your own hair. Do you have straight hair? I feel like everyone who says they do it and it has gone well has straight hair, which I do not… so I’m definitely game to try, it just feels safer to wait until I’m done working. :-)

      • I have VERY straight hair so my concern was that it would be obvious if it wasn’t cut perfectly straight. That doesn’t seem to be the case, though. I’m sure I’m not quite that good!

        Here’s the site I used for instructions: http://feyeselftrim.livejournal.com/1827.html#cutid1

        I took pictures during my first cut and can email them to you if you’d like. Not sure how helpful they are since I was by myself and had a hard time getting the right angle. I also cut less than an inch so it wasn’t a huge difference. I wrote about it in my blog so you can read more about it there if you’d like.

        Definitely check out the instructions. You can have Mr. ONL help :)

      • This is awesome! Thank you! I don’t know if I will grow the cajones anytime soon to do this myself, but I will let you know if I do. :-)

  26. We went on a cruise this summer and didn’t spend a single dollar extra: meals were free. We skipped the fancier restaurant meals (sushi, steaks, etc.) which would have incurred extra charges in favor for the all-inclusive meals, which were still very, very nice (sit down dinner in dining room with lots of tasty options and superb service)
    We skipped the expensive WiFi package and stayed offline the whole time to not be bothered by work emails.
    We skipped the drink packages and gave our livers (not to mention the waistline) a one week vacation as well.
    We skipped the cruise line organized land excursions and booked our own excursions for less than half the cost.
    We skipped all other for-pay activities in favor of the numerous free-of-charge activities, including zip-line, wake boarding, surfing, swimming, free shows, etc.
    We resisted the siren song of tax-free/duty-free shopping for things that we don’t really need and that don’t really make us happier.

    Not sure if we will be be marked cheapskates and never be welcome on a cruise ship again. ;)

    • It’s so funny how relative everything is, because as you’re talking about all the things you didn’t buy, I’m thinking, “But you went on a cruise! You can’t be cheapskates!” Hahaha. Aside from not buying the wifi, all the other choices you made sound completely smart and reasonable. You still got the full cruise experience and you got to do excursions (just different ones), so your “cheapness” didn’t result in you missing out on anything. And you’re clearly not a full-on cheapskate, because that would have meant staying home altogether. :-)

      • Well, the cruise itself was paid by the in-laws, Mrs. ERN’s parents, as a part of a family reunion. So, we might still qualify as cheapskates, haha.
        We did pay for the flight, which was a relatively inexpensive domestic flight. But I completely agree, cruises are expensive. Not sure if we had gone without the subsidy from the parents. Once we’re retired we might take that same money and spend a whole month somewhere via AirBnB.
        But I have to say, with the constraints of limited vacation time while still working, the cruise was a fun vacation. Very relaxing, seeing different Caribbean islands without packing/unpacking each time, tons of activities and quality family time.

      • Ah, gotcha! That’s a completely different story. Okay, you get your cheapskate label back, haha. :-) It definitely seems like lots of people love cruising, and I assume that’s for good reason — but like you, we’d probably choose to spend that money on a month somewhere.

  27. It is great to hear other people fess up about their most cheapskate habits. We still cut our dryer sheets in half, don’t buy trash bags (except for yard work)-we re-use grocery bags, my husband and son cut their own hair and I paint my own nails. I am still wearing the same 5 pairs jeans I have had for the past 8 years, I just recently purchased 2 pairs of jeans to trade out the 2 most tattered pairs. I have 10 short sleeve shirts and 20 long sleeves that I rotate and only replace when needed. I actually love living the simple life. My husband and I love when people judge us based on our appearance because we know the truth-we can afford so much more but I love my little secret!

    • If you divide your dryer sheets, then you might love knowing about dryer balls. Have you heard about them? They’re just pure wool and you can use them in place of dryer sheets — we switched, and will never look back. Dryer sheets are now something permanently crossed off my shopping list. :-) Your approach to everything sounds pretty reasonable to me, not cheapskate at all! Just simple living at its best. :-)

  28. I’d say my biggest cheapskate things are driving an 11 year-old car (woo hoo!) and wearing clothes into the ground, holes, rips, and all! :) Oh yeah, and I tear dryer sheets in half.

    • Awesome! I’m just imagining all of us wandering around in ripped, holey clothes, like a more lively version of the walking dead. Hahaha. And since you stretch your money on dryer sheets, I’ll offer you the same tip — do you know about dryer balls? They’re balls made of wool about the size of tennis balls that replace dryer sheets forever. They’re more expensive than a box of dryer sheets, but they last YEARS and they avoid putting the weird anti-static chemicals on your clothes. We’re big fans!

      • You could buy a <$5 skein of yarn (sweater wool) and make 8-10 balls:) It's mindless busywork to sit one evening and wind yarn. I don't use dryer sheets (or many other chemicals for that matter.) Make my own cleaners, soap, toothpaste, etc. Also no cling wrap and try to avoid plastic all around. We are on roll 2 of our 6 pack of paper towels purchased 3-4 years ago – get an old sheet and tear into 12" squares. No garbage service – we make about 6 bags of garbage per year so haul it in about twice per year. A funny side effect of being eco-friendly/ natural is saving $$$ Yes!!!

      • That’s awesome that you’re so committed to living so close to zero waste! We do our best not to create garbage or demand for disposable things, but find that it’s much easier when we have time on our hands, much tougher when work travel gets too busy. (Like right now!) We definitely do the washable kitchen rags, napkins, nose wipes, etc., and like all of those better than flimsy paper products that just get tossed!

  29. I’m pretty similar to Mr. ONL when it comes to clothes! I maybe buy something once a year if I find it cheap but normally I can make due with what I have for a very long time, which is nice since I hate shopping! haha

  30. I love our dryer balls!
    Have you tried Darn Tough socks? They’re absolutely amazing and last forever. If you wear them out, the company replaces them for free. They’re great for backpacking when you have to wear the same thing multiple days in a row.
    I also used the CreaClip, or at least the $5.88 version that Amazon sells. I have thin straight hair, so layers just make me frizz. I turn it upside down (think rainbow rather than smile) and it’s so easy my husband will actually trim the back for me!

    • I tend to get whatever outdoorsy brand socks are cheapest (not the absolute cheapest white crew socks or anything), but it might be worth investing a little more to get socks that will really last. Thanks for the recommendation! And that CreaClip looks pretty convincing! I will add that to the post-retirement DIY list. :-) (So jealous of you straight-haired ladies who can cut your own hair!)

  31. Jon is more naturally cheapskate than I am. On my first trip to his house when we were dating, he fixed me a lunch soup of Top Ramen/Canned Tuna/Texas Pete. Must have been love, because I ate it that one time. He drives a 14 year old car and keeps his 30 year old pickup running himself.

    I used to do my own hair, until it went really gray and I developed a dye allergy. Now I get it dyed and cut every 7-8 weeks, because otherwise I look more like our 6 year old’s grandma than her mother.

    I used to have a bottled water habit, but we’ve managed without for almost a year except for my daughter’s birthday party and a trip to the family lake house (where the tap water is problematic.) It’s not a habit I miss. We also all wear clothes until they fall apart and buy a lot of them secondhand.

    • LOL — What a romantic first mean he cooked you! ;-) I had to look up what Texas Pete is, so thanks for educating me today. Haha. And I understand on the hair dye — I’d probably shell out for that, too, if I had to — I have ZERO intention of going fully gray, at least anytime soon. Do what you gotta do! And I’m glad you’ve cut back on the bottled water — it’s great for your wallet, of course, but I don’t think people realize that virtually none of that plastic gets recycled, so it’s just going straight into the landfill or ocean after a few little swigs. High five for cutting out that habit! :-D

  32. I last got my hair cut in September 2015. People see me and they’re like, “Gwen! Your hair is getting so long! Are you growing it out again?” And then I tell them, no, I just haven’t gotten around to making an appointment and getting it cut! haha!

  33. I absolutely hate paying for haircuts as well. I don’t know how much your 1x/year haircut is, but my secret is that I hair model a few times a year to maintain my basic style at least 3x/year. This cuts the price down significantly as the service is typically free and all I pay is gratuity. I am absolutely with you and believe in tipping well.

    I acknowledge how ridiculous I am though – my hair is SUPER THICK. The whole time vs. money argument for the effort and recourses it takes in maintaining my think mane still does not win over how much potentially less maintenance there’d be if I went more often, ha!

    • I love that you found a solution to keep your hair well maintained without spending a lot! I might explore that option if we didn’t live in a teensy mountain town with fewer options for that kind of thing. But to your point, yeah, it’s completely ridiculous how cheap I am on this, especially given that I won’t hesitate to spend in other categories!

  34. I’m with you on just about all of these! Completely cheap on clothing, unless it’s one of the few pieces of merino wool stuff that we carry when traveling with just a backpack for months or other outdoor gear (then money is no object!).

    You know that Facebook “On This Day” feature that reminds you of memories and photos from years past? Lately, I’ve been seeing pictures of myself from seven or eight years ago and thinking, “Huh. I’m wearing that shirt right now!”

    Totally cheap on work clothing, too. I rotated between just two suits and a couple ties, and I always wore the cheapest plain black leather shoes. Never shined; usually with a bit of dirt or mud on the sides. I went to a dinner at a coworker’s house where they asked us to take off our shoes, and mine were pretty obvious next to the immaculate Ferragamos. I was just lucky I happened to be wearing socks without holes in them! ;)

    • LOL — I’m remembering the time when George W. Bush went to the national mosque in DC right after 9/11, and in his ignorance didn’t realize that you have to take your shoes off in a mosque, and it just so happened that he had on mismatching socks that day — not the best moment to have thousands of photos taken of you. Hahaha. Yeah, I’m always the one with the crappiest shoes, too. Mr. ONL will actually shine his dress shoes, but they are definitely from ages ago, not some fancy pants brand. :-) And your point about outdoor gear is exactly the point of this whole confession. Like how much did I spend at REI last year? And I won’t pay for a haircut? ;-)

  35. Love reading the comments. We’re pretty much all these. We rarely buy new clothes, wash cars about once a quarter plus a natural wash when it rains, cut our own hair, and generally gather several kids to pee at once before we flush. I’ve also been a slacker on the medical care since leaving active duty. Really need to schedule a dental appointment before heading to England!

    • Oh I love natural car washes — but that’s the drawback of living in the west. Not much rain! :-) Definitely get your dental check-up before you go!

  36. My boyfriend also absolutely hates clothes shopping. He doesn’t even want to replace his old socks that are full of holes. I also have a hair cut once a year, usually before winter. I let it grow out since I can tie it during warmer days and cut it really short when it gets colder so it takes less time to dry.

    But my worst this year, so far, was refusing to replace my dying phone. It took me getting “lost” in Ikea to realise I need a working phone. My excuse was ‘it’s still working, it’s just the battery’, of course I knew it was more than a battery issue. I did let go of my phone but I didn’t buy a new one, my boyfriend gave me his phone as he wanted to get a new one himself. But guess what, it turned out he was also to cheap to buy a new one and decided to use his old phone. Ha! We’re hopeless.

    • Haha — It’s so funny the things we choose to cheap out on! Like I would draw the line at holey socks, and either replace them or at least sew them up. :-) But I understand not wanting to deal with that or spend the money. And I think we need more info on your “Lost in IKEA” saga — sounds like quite the survival epic! :-)

  37. You guys are so brave to admit some of these and I couldn’t help but smile because we DEFINITELY “if it’s yellow let it mellow”, mostly because in Australia it’s just programmed into us not to waste water, we’ve had some insane drought/water restrictions over the years. Never run the tap when brushing teeth either.. and you know on those drama TV shows they go into the bathroom for privacy and turn on all the taps? I want to yell at them how much water they’re wasting!

    Haircuts – I have exclusively been the one to cut Tristan’s hair for about the last 5 years. Last weekend I was giving him a haircut outside (in the cold, winter here) and we discussed that I’d probably still cut his hair when we reach FIRE – so it’s a habit that’ll probably stay with us. I also cut my own hair for quite a few years, the hair I had on our wedding day was a self-cut! (and self style.. and I did my own makeup, frugality didn’t leave me even on our biggest day). I’ve gotten my hair cut at the hairdresser the last year or so because I’m rocking short hair and it’s very difficult to cut short properly on yourself (can’t just pull the back around to the front).

    We also keep the heater down (would rather wear some slippers and warm layers than burn our money) and turn lights off when we leave the room – we actually use LED bulbs in lamps as our source of light at night – people think it’s way too dark when they see our house at night, but we like it, we even have a lamp in our bathroom, it’s cosy!

    Thanks for sharing this extremely relate-able post :)


    • Haha! I have the same thought when I see people turn on the taps for privacy! We hate wasting water, even when it’s not a drought. And you chiming in on the DIY haircuts makes me realize that we just need to figure out how to do this ourselves — if you can have self-cut hair on your wedding day, then I need to stop worrying about it and cut my own hair! :-) I love that you guys conserve energy, too — I probably care more about natural resources than I do about saving money, so I love that you take that approach.

  38. One day, I would like to see a pic of the wardrobe… You got me curious now.

    We follow you on the bottled water…it is just not needed. On top of that, in our area, water is so hard (do you see that in English?) that we have a softener that acts as a filter as well… And it saves me a lot of kilos when shopping fro groceries…

    My wife goes to a hairdresser. I don’t. My wife cuts my hair with an electrical cutter I bought in 2006 for 20€… Best ROI ever!

    On doctors visits, we do not save. In Belgian, it is only 10€ (or so) out of our own pocket for visit. So, when the kids are not feeling well, or we doubt on something, we just go.

    With the first kid born, We had a few times a gardener… It felt bad to spend 800€ on that. Then again, I lacked the energy. We are now back in DIY mode!

    • Haha — the wardrobe isn’t *that* bad! And yeah, we have hard water, too. We don’t use a softener, but do have an industrial strength filter to take out the arsenic especially. That’s great you have a good experience with your wife cutting your hair! I’m sure we’ll try that after we quit — for now I will clean up Mr. ONL’s hair between official haircuts, but we’ve never tried the full cut. And don’t remind us of how much better and more affordable your health care is — it’s one of the worst things about the U.S., that we can’t seem to figure this out, and it is such a politicized issue now. Such a shame!

      • Okay, wow, that’s much higher than any tax bracket in the U.S. That DOES put things in perspective! You’d be hardpressed to ever hit 50 percent at any income level, including with state and local taxes added — maybe seven-figure earners in New York pay that, but no one else does. (And yet we wonder why we can’t give the people good health care and education… or, wait, maybe it’s because we spend trillions on the military… hmm…) ;-)

      • Yes… I also come from Belgium so my parents have always paid these huge taxes, but with one of the best health system in the world (which we criticise anyway, of course but that’s another debate).
        Now I live and work in Australia, where with a 5 figure salary I pay 37 percent in income taxes and 10 percent in Goods and Services Taxes – GST. Less than in Belgium but a lot more than in the US. And the health system is also not as good as in Belgium but much better than in the US still. However, there is a tendency to americanise it and I am crossing fingers and toes they won’t be able to do it…

      • I’m so glad you chimed in, Anne! I think most people in the US have *no idea* how much more in tax most people in other developed nations pay. I think if more people knew this, they wouldn’t complain about taxes or the cost of health care so much!

  39. My husband and I never buy each other gifts. No BDay, no Christmas and no anniversary gifts, my girlfriends always ask me what I got from T. and I laugh when I say ‘nothing’. They think he is a scrooge, and I know they feel bad for me sometimes. The truth is I do NOT want any gifts, they come from our mutual budget and T. knows better not to buy anything. He would get in trouble haha. Instead we go out and get sushi or something that we don’t know how to cook. This is our splurge.

    • Ah, of course SimpleIsGood4U, that’s great! We do that too and I completely forgot to mention it above, as it is so natural to us :)
      People also look at me in a weird way when I say that!
      Apart from this being a frugal/cheapskate habit, I think it helps reducing the stress a great deal in relationships, when I see women being “frustrated” when their other half tried their best to buy them xyz and it’s not the right one etc… So much expectation and feelings of entitlement every christmas, valentine, birthday, leaving so much space for deception and hard feelings…
      We also go out, it’s the perfect excuse :) but we never go out on Valentine’s day as we hate being surrounded by just couples who are there because they have to be there, so we go just a few days before!
      Also, not frugal or cheap, but we have a good laugh when one of us forgets to say “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” etc; we would never feel “forgotten” or anything like that – we know how we feel for each other due to the way we treat each other everyday and we don’t need these occasions to prove it, instead we make a joke of it and spare each others hard feelings.
      This said, he did give me one beautiful pendant, once for mothers’ day, because he wanted to, and that’s the exception confirming the rule. I wear it almost everyday because I think I shouldn’t keep beautiful things in the drawers, and I don’t expect anything else at all, I am perfectly content like that.

      • You make a strong case for no gifts, to avoid hard feelings or dissatisfaction. We used to give quite extravagant gifts, actually, and while we’ve scaled back a bit, it’s something we still do. But this is good food for thought. And I’m happy you got that surprise pendant that you love and wear every day! :-)

      • You know what, now that I think of it… For Christmas we actually wrap all the little things that we need or like (or even joke ones such as a bag of rice since it is his favorite food – yeah we’re crazy) and would buy anyway, so that we have lots of things to unwrap: socks, Toblerone (one of our indulgences) etc. The kids do get things they have been asking for or dreaming about for years, finally heehee… Anyway, my husband had the very first iPad 1 (so heavy!) that was a second hand “present” from my uncle who had bought himself the iPad 2 back then. He had it for years literally, as we didn’t want to spend on such an expensive item – not that we couldn’t :) he was sometimes complaining it was slow, but being who we are, he just “dealt with it”. So at Christmas last year, AND for his birthday that comes in January AND for our 20th anniversary that had been in September before that (see? ;) ), I actually bought him secretly the new large iPad… Well he got so shocked, he actually refused it, for a few days, and the kids (who are all teenagers) had to beg him to keep it.. Hahaha talk about cheapskate! The first iPad was a secondhand one and he thought he was very lucky to have that one, and he could not accept the thought of getting a brand new one, as he was guessing how much I had spent on it!

        So, it’s not that we never spend or buy anything new or expensive, but it’s really a special treat when we do. Again, we have the money to spend more, but it’s a choice that feels good, in itself.
        Then, of course there is the whole saving for FIRE aspect.
        Finally, we think we actually teach our kids a lot; they see how we value the – sometimes second hand – stuff we have, and how we can express our feelings on all those important dates in other ways than with bought stuff (not that it is wrong at all, but being able to do it without money is a great skill to have)…
        So there, I was going to talk about the iPad and got sidetracked! Sorry for monopolising your comments section!

      • I love that — your rare gifts really do feel like a special treat, which is what gifts *should* be, not an expectation. For a while there, we had a bit of a gift arms race, so it’s nice to think about gifts being a true surprise and special treat. :-) (And I’m glad you do little gifts like Toblerone for Christmas! I love giving edible treats as gifts since it won’t go unused or contribute to clutter.) And I LOVE the example you’re setting for your kids. That’s so great! (And never apologize for long comments — comments are the best part for us, and we love them all!) :-)

    • Wow, that is hardcore! But I have to say, I was relieved when I read that you do go out to sushi or some other nice meal — it’s nice to celebrate occasions even if you do so in a non-materialistic way. :-)

  40. This reminds me that I haven’t had a haircut since January. I wonder how much longer I can get away with this! That said mine only cost $30 a pop…

    I actually used to water down the milk when it got to the end (because T guzzles it like nobody’s business) but I’ve given that up.

    • I have totally watered down the milk (shh! don’t tell Mr. ONL!) ;-) but mostly because I didn’t have time to go to the store. And I think if your hair still looks workable, then see how long you can go! :-)

  41. I use the word Cheap in my blog name because that’s how I feel I’m viewed by the outside world when I think the word frugal is a better description of me. It’s like saving money or not spending money on stuff you don’t care about is a bad thing! In my department we have a Keurig in which we take turns buying a box of individual coffee pods. I’m thinking of opting out since the kitchen has perfectly fine free coffee. Peer pressure I tell you.

    I think I go cheap whenever it comes to name brand or off brand stuff. I think for the most part off brand stuff is good enough, but there are times when a name brand would be better. I bought Costco shoes and they felt like running on cardboard. I also bought some Target trash bags that are pretty easy to tear. I figure it doesn’t hurt to try it! If anything you can return it ;)

    • I think the trick is knowing the difference between being cheap and being frugal. :-) I’m sure some of our friends (especially work friends) think we’re cheap, too, even though I’d say that we’re not especially frugal. I mean, we comparison shop and try to get things for the best price, but we buy some things we definitely don’t need. :-) And I say opt out of that K-cup coffee at work! It’s not only expensive, it’s SO bad for the environment! But opt in to better shoes next time so you don’t hurt your back or knees… none of us are getting any younger. ;-)

  42. So comforting to see so many like-minded people here, can we all just form a town somewhere?
    Yes to many of the cheapskate tendencies. With just under 3 years to go for us, I’m not planning on buying any more work clothes. We have a fairly liberal dress code now which will definitely help but I have multiple items with a hole or two. When they’re too holey for normal work, I’ve even demoted some to my Winter Test wardrobe where I work for 50-ish days each year where management is scarcely seen. It’s bad, but as long as I’m halfway presentable to my customer it’s fine.
    I can’t make the Yellow Mellow rule work here as my wife has a very strong sense of smell but our water usage is very light regardless- we even use a 60 gal rain barrel for the garden. Partly for conservation, partly for water quality/temperature when watering.
    We started hanging the laundry instead of using the dryer but we wear that one with pride and have even inspired a neighbor to start hanging a few things.
    We’ll sometimes go out of our way to avoid paying for parking. When in Chicago this week, on the way out we wanted to park on the south side to avoid massive rush hour traffic but instead of choosing the Park and Ride lot for a fee, we chanced a strip mall lot in a rather sketchy area while we took the L into town for the day. Thankfully it worked out perfectly, though I always get that pang of nerves as we’re approaching the lot and don’t see the car yet.
    I even started growing my hair out mainly because my wife wanted it, but when I realized I could skip haircuts for a couple years I figured I’d turn it into a hair donation- it’s been a bit of a race between the length meeting the minimum and the % gray staying under the maximum but I think it’s time to cut it soon so we’ll see how it goes.
    Thanks for exposing the hidden kinship!

  43. I don’t know what your income is but missing medical appointments or dental work should not happen to anyone except the most destitute – and social services should cover those – same goes for freezing in winter