I’m a Cheap @#$… and Proud of It!!!

I'm a Cheap @#$... and Proud of It!!!When I was a kid, I was a good saver.  Every penny I got was definitely a penny I saved.  I wasn’t necessarily cheap and still bought candy and toys, but I was just good at saving.  As I got to high school, the trend continued and I continued to be careful with my money, especially once I got my first job and learned the importance of hard work.

Then things changed.

That’s not to say that I didn’t have a reckless period.  You might be familiar with the Credit CARD Act of 2009.  It was legislation that helped protect consumers with some rules of fairness.  It was also designed to protect college-age kids with several provisions to help kids from getting a credit card too easily and then racking up a ton of debt.

Yeah, well, they didn’t have that rule when I was in school.

And when I got my first credit card (they probably gave me a free T-shirt or something stupid for signing up), the fun began.  For example, I would go out to dinner with a group of friends and just pick up the check.  Yes, I was working (part-time), but there’s no way that I could have afforded to do this, particularly on a regular basis.  I paid for everything all the time… but boy was I a fun guy to hang around with!

Then I got another credit card.

The best part about getting another credit card was that it was in the days where the banks would give you a rebate for transferring balances over to them.  I wasn’t very good at knowing when to stop buying stuff, but I was sure organized enough to pay off one credit card with the other!  And I did just that – pretty much every month for over a year.  Maybe if I had kept that up for a few centuries, those rebates would have eaten away all my debt.

Shortly thereafter is when I discovered Quicken and then had a better picture of my finances and thought “oh crap – I actually owe close to 30 grand!”

I immediately buckled down and became the cheap @#$ you know today.

This was also about the time I met Mrs. R2R.  She still jokes that she didn’t get to have any fun – I was the life of the party right up until we met… at least I think she’s joking when she says it.

I was now determined to get back on track and I went all-in on this mission.  I was fresh out of college and was now a cheap $%^&*#$.  I no longer picked up the tab for anyone but myself (and Mrs. R2R).  In fact, I was so happy when someone else would pick up the tab or buy me a beer that I would have a nice little high-five in my head.

My determination paid off and I not only got out of debt, but I’ve helped to steer our ship toward financial freedom at an early age.

The thing is – nothing has changed since my transformation.  I’m still a cheap @#$ and hate spending money.  One thing I really hate is spending money on over-priced food and restaurants.   But don’t worry, that’s not the only thing that bugs me – I just told my wife that I’ve had undershirts sitting in my Amazon cart for about a month because I just didn’t want to pull the trigger on it.  I tried to rationalize that the holes in my current t-shirts were so small that it would make more sense to wear them out a little more first (yes, I can be that pathetic!).  I’m starting to think that Mr. 1500 and I might be two peas in a pod – check out his sandals in this post!!

Until recently though, I was afraid my smart spending would actually make people (including friends and family) look down on me.  I actually used to be low-key and try to downplay how I hate much to spend money on things… doo-dads.  But the more focused I’ve become on financial independence, the less I really care.  And now I’m finally to the point where I’m actually proud of how cheap I am!

Now before you tell me that I need to enjoy life, please know that we tend to spend money more freely on experiences.  I’m cheap, but I’m not dead!  We like to take nice vacations once or twice a year, particularly cruises.  I still look for good deals on the trips and we don’t start spending a lot of money while on the vacation, but we do enjoy the time we spend together making memories.

Bonus Story

When my brother and I were in college, he lived with a buddy of ours.  Now, let’s be honest, being cheap while living on campus is usually the norm.  And he likes to tell me the story about how he used to shop at Aldi for groceries.  If you’re not familiar with Aldi, they pretty much only sell generic products and they’re cheap, which is perfect for the college kid (and also where I now shop!).

So every week he would go to Aldi to and then he would get to the Mac and Cheese section.  There he would always see two different kinds – a blue box and a red box.  The blue box was 5 cents more than the red box, but hey – they’re both cheap so why not splurge?  So every week he would spend the extra 5 cents and buy the blue box.

Finally, one week he decided that he might as well save the 5 cents and get the red box.  How much of a difference can 5 cents really make?

He said that was the most disgusting thing he every ate.

The moral of the story is that it’s good to be cheap, but if it’s only saving you a nickel a week for you to be in complete misery… spend the extra 5 cents!  🙂

So am I the only cheap @#$ out there?  And, if you’re not a cheap @#$, do cheap guys like me get under your skin?

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

20 thoughts on “I’m a Cheap @#$… and Proud of It!!!”

  1. I think it is easy to become cheap – especially in categories that you don’t value that much. One thing I have found is that I hate spending money on expensive (but good quality) items. I have to get past the initial cost and realize that they are likely to last a LONG time (my kids still have their LL Bean backpacks from Kindergarten and my daughter will be 20 soon… no – don’t worry, we use them to store things – but they were used for many years and still look great!) The one thing I don’t want to be cheap on is tipping. I know this can become an area where people try to save money. Folks in service professions deserve a fair wage too.

    1. I’m definitely with you on the tipping thing – for the most part, I’m a 20%+ guy unless the service is exceptionally horrible, which has probably only happened once or twice.

      I’m kind of the opposite on spending money on quality items. If it’s something we need (key word), I’ll exhaustively research things to make sure we’re getting a rock solid item and then throw the dough at it without much hesitation.

      — Jim

  2. Haha! I love the side story! I’ve definitely had those moments in which saving a bit of money backfired in the food department.

    I don’t think you’re necessarily cheap, you just have priorities – not to ruin your awesome headline. I grew up around an uncle who I think epitomizes being cheap. For example, the other day, I saw him eat HALF of a hot dog for dinner and save the rest for his dinner the next day. Granted, this uncle is a millionaire, but I still had to shake my head at him.

  3. I consider myself frugal NOT cheap. Often these get used interchangeably. The fact that you are willing to spend on experience leads me to believe you may have mislabeled yourself on this one 😄

    1. Well, I’m with you on being careful on buying some things too cheaply. Health is most important so shoes that hurt are definitely not a good thing! I’ve made the mistake of buying some things too cheap and regretting it later as well.

      — Jim

  4. Yup, I’m totally cheap on the stuff that impacts only me (my clothes, my food…). when it comes to stuff impacting my wife or children, I try to be more reasonable.

    Yesterday I found a 1 cent coin on the road. It was completely beaten up, I don’t think any store will ever accept it. I still picked it up. Does that count as “cheap”?

    1. Haha, I’m a penny-picker-upper as well! And I hear you on the clothes cheapness – I see pictures of me from 10+ years ago and think “hmmm, is that bad that I’m still wearing that shirt?”

      — Jim

  5. Jim,

    There’s a time for cheap and a time for frugal. We also like going on vacations and did a Disney Cruise a few years ago. It was about the time that the cruise lines were having a PR problem with people getting sick. Disney didn’t have a problem, but they were still forced to drop their prices. We wound up getting a great room at a price that’s probably 25% of what it’s going for now.

    Timing is everything when it comes to big-ticket purchases. You can still be cheap. But also be smart.

    1. Agree 100% – we love to cruise, but only if we can find a fantastic deal. Haven’t done a Disney cruise yet, but I hear they’re awesome for both kids and adults… nice job on the deal!!

      — Jim

  6. Frugal, cheap, whatever you want to call it, it’s all good. The people who would look down on it are probably the same people who are spending more than they earn and don’t have two nickels to rub together. I’m not as frugal as I could be, but I’m definitely proud of the money saving I do and you should be, too.

  7. Cheap is definitely good. I rather be cheap but not worried about my finances than to splurge and having to keep working to pay off debts!

    Besides as long as we know how to give ourselves a nice treat every now and then, it’s fine to me!

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