How Cheap Is Too Cheap?

I might have passed over to the dark side. See Exhibit A, above, of my left-overs from the other day. I couldn’t bear to let those four scraps of toast and two jellies go to waste so into a to-go box they went along with an 1/8th of an omelette.

Awhile back I started to realize that there could be a little tooo much frugality going down. I started noticing this “dark-side of frugal-living” when I kind of got embarrassed for myself. There was that time that I asked our friend for his left-overs, and that other time where I suggested (and did) some on the down-low indoor office dumpster diving, and oh, that other time where  I did some run-of-the-mill dumpster diving, and then, of course, our beloved and hated “mooching” made an appearance for my dear husband early on in the start of my getting-out-of-debt mission. All of those things fall into the, ehhh… extreme cheapskate/what am I doing?/am I really doing this right now? category which is also know as: The Shamelessly Frugal Zone.

So how much is too much? Is it possible to be too cheap? And how do you know when it’s time to cut-back of the saving? Also, I’ve got to ask, what is the most shamelessly frugal thing you’ve ever done? Come on, spill it. 


9 thoughts on “How Cheap Is Too Cheap?

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  1. PersonallyFindNancys

    Ahahah yes I can relate to asking your friends for their left overs. I never actually brought myself to ask but I do remember several times thinking about it. I think that is my biggest too cheap transgression.

  2. Brittany

    I think there's nothing wrong with it if you ask in a way to not make it awkward, like keep it light-hearted. If you weren't making eye contact and said, "Soo. Are you going to take those?" and were weird about it, it would be weird. If you said, laughing, "Man, your food looked amazing! Are you not taking your leftovers? Do you mind if I have them?"

  3. kiki

    No way my friends and I always pack it up! Oh one chicken wing,half a steak ,two scoops of potatoes,bread from the table! whatevs! why waste food?

  4. Marissa B.

    Shamelessly frugal things I've done:

    -Found several pairs of jean shorts and pants on the side of the road. They were actually in great shape from American Eagle. I just took them home to wash.
    -At work I've purposely not brought or bought food hoping there would be some leftover from a meeting
    -Searched for coupons in recycling bins.
    -Lived off of beans, rice, oatmeal, and kale for very long periods of time.
    -Laundry in the bathtub to save money instead of the laundromat.
    -Gone on a spending fast.

  5. Meg

    If you switch your reason for keeping the final pieces from frugality to earth-friendliness or good for humanity, it sure sounds respectable to hang onto the scraps! (I'm all for it for frugality, too. And I don't mind going against social norms, but it's sure easier when you have a reason that's bigger than you!)

  6. Lauren

    At work I have often brought leftovers from meetings home..I'm a starving student so I guess that gives me a better excuse that makes me feel less cheap. I was actually at a conference for work recently and they had a ton of leftover chicken, I didn't have a container to bring it home in so I actually contemplated bringing some home in my Nalgene bottle..

  7. Courtney

    Yes, it is possible to be too cheap. If you do something cheap that kind of makes you an asshole, you're probably being too cheap. Examples: being really stingy when tipping waitstaff, filling your pockets with tons of napkins at a fast food joint (addendum: we all take extra to put in our car, purse, etc. every once in awhile. If all of your napkins you use at home have a fast food logo on them, you've gone too far.). Also, if you're mooching regularly or not contributing when everyone else is (there are exceptions to this too, but I think most of us know when it's getting excessive). Another example is if your frugality might be harmful to yourself or others–example: eating food that is clearly spoiled just to avoid throwing it away.

    I know someone who does all of these things (and more). He's not cheap in the good/practical way, but in an obsessive, annoying way.

  8. hailey

    I used to date a guy who would pick up half-full bags of popcorn from the trashcan on the way into a movie. THAT is the line. Right there.

  9. Michelle

    An ex of mine who was paying off law school debts would dumpster dive and sell his “winnings” on ebay. He actually made a great amount of money doing it, but I’m not sure I could ever get myself to dive in to trash bins.


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