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How Frugal Are You?

Nancy Trejos

Since starting this blog, Ylan and I have thought about what it truly takes to be frugal.

I used to go to Starbucks or Caribou Coffee every morning before work. Now, I usually make coffee at home and drink it as I write a blog post or get ready for work. This morning, however, I was in a hurry to get out of my apartment and decided to buy a latte on my way to the office. I reasoned that it was okay because I made my own lunch today and the only meal I paid for this weekend was a bagel on Saturday afternoon. Did I fail at my attempt to be more frugal or was it okay to splurge on the latte?

While trolling through the blogosphere just now, I came across one blogger’s definition of frugality. She describes herself as “a girl trying to find the balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver.” (And can I just say, I know where she’s coming from?) In doing so, she has come up with three levels of frugality: the Hardcore Frugal, the Urban Frugal and the Un-Frugal.

Read the definitions at and tell us which one you think you are!

By Nancy Trejos  |  June 15, 2009; 12:40 PM ET
Categories:  Nancy Trejos  
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Well, based on those definitions, I'm afraid I'd have to say I'm "Un-Frugal." But I would have added another definition, which maybe is more applicable to the male of the species (which has, under close scientific observation, been known to be less influenced by impulsive shopping tendencies and on-line buying binges than his female counterpart). That new definition, maybe Urban Un-Frugal, would say something like:

"You continue to spend to have a good time -- dining out, drinking with Trejos at Soho House -- and you continue to be unfazed by the recession. But you don't go into debt to do it; in fact, you only have two credit cards and pay them both off monthly, so there's no balance. You're not exactly saving, but you're not going into debt either. And you attitude is, 'what he hell, we're all going to be dead at some point anyway, so why not splurge now on that lobster roll and the good champagne?'"

Anyone out there with me on this one?

Posted by: richburgk | June 15, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

The point of being frugal is doing so most of the time - it's the everyday little splurge which drains the finances not the occasional latte. Otherwise you're just being cheap. What's a couple of dollars rather than beating yourself up psychologically for an occasional exception?

Posted by: cmecyclist | June 15, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I vote for "ok splurge." It's the same as dieting -- 100% denial inevitably causes abandonment of the plan. No one is ever perfect; the only thing that matters is that you don't use the occasional brownie as an excuse to stop trying.

Then again, I'm apparently only "urban frugal," so perhaps my views don't hold as much weight as the frugal perfectionista's. Though I do make my own jam from the blackberries in my backyard -- do I get bonus points for the whole canning thing? :-)

Posted by: laura33 | June 16, 2009 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Even the most frugal among us sometimes slip up. You apparently need coffee to function, so you'd be being cheap if you denied yourself this fuel. You're frugal because you save money in procuring it most of the time.

Posted by: Lindemann777 | June 22, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

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