Thursday, March 9, 2017

Borderline Cheapskate or Something Else?

The Krazy Coupon Lady website had this article about someone who considers themselves a Cheapskate and the 20 bullet points/examples that prove it.
I got to tell you that this person isn't Borderline Cheap.  Some of what they do is down right unethical if not illegal.

Go HERE to read the article yourself.

Here are the 20 bullet points and my thoughts--

1. I dumpster dive for coupons. As long as the dumpster isn't signed No Trespassing or padlocked I don't see a problem with this.

2. I break off broccoli stems to reduce weight.  Tough one-if they are advertising "crowns" and there are large stems still attached I might be tempted.  But then again, stems are edible and taste the same and can be cut up small and/or put into soup.

3. I split the cost of wi-fi with my neighbor.  Not sure on the legality of this but if your neighbor and you agree to this, go for it.

4. I only go to Costco for the free samples.  While not illegal it is smarmy if you ONLY go there for samples.  And really, how sad is your life if you do this. lolz

5. I rub myself with magazines.  Ok, no problem with this, I say go for it!  Except it's not something I'd do personally as I don't like being drenched in fragrance.  Heavy scents give me breathing problems.

6. I ask for ugly produce for the "chickens".  If you do not have chickens or are not going to give foods given to you under false pretenses you have ethical problems.  This is lying plain and simple.

7. I pull Catalinas out of the wastebasket at the self-checkout. This is a brilliant hack and if I think to try it I will peruse the self-checkout wastebasket.

8. I always reuse my Ziploc bags.  Why not reuse something you had to buy if it's feasible and you didn't contaminate the bag with raw meat.  All for it.  Or better yet, find a non-disposable alternative to plastic bags, like reusable glass containers.

9. I find other customers' receipts in parking lots and shopping carts and use them to redeem rebate app offers.  You might think that why not? since the item was purchased, if the buyer isn't going to avail themselves of the rebate, you should and you aren't stealing from the company really.  This smacks of unethical though in my head.

10. I only go to the movies if I have a free pass.  Only going when you have free tickets?  Knock yourself out.  As long as you don't cheat or steal to get that free pass.

11. I use free gym membership trials to stay fit.  Again, like the Costco samples question, you are setting forth from the start to "use" a free offer with no intent to buy.  Smarmy.

12. I ask other customers to use my loyalty card. First off, I am not so bold that I would ask a stranger to use my loyalty card just to get points for myself for some future reward.  But if I was in line behind someone and they were purchasing items that would be cheaper for them if they had a card then I will offer my card for use.  Maybe it comes down to your intent when you do this.....or maybe it's wrong no matter the circumstances.

13. I water down my husband's body wash.  I would do this in a heartbeat, especially with College Boy(who has been known to use half a bottle of shampoo to wash his hair once).  No problem stretching out product as long as it still gets the job it's suppose to do done.  Good hack.

14. I furnish my home for free.  Again, I have no problem hauling used items home if they are free for the taking.  Why spend money when you don't need to?

15. I hide products so I can run home and get my coupons.  Not very sportsman-like of you but not illegal.  A bit self-centered and unethical.  Why did you not have your coupons with you, hmm?  And think of the extra time people working there will have to put in putting your hidden things back in the proper place if you don't come back and purchase them?  This costs the store/employer wages in the end.

16. When at the movies, I grab popcorn bags out of the trash to get free refills. BIG PROBLEM with this one!  Free refills are for the folks who purchased the food.  You did not.  Even if the purchaser does not avail themselves of refills, you don't have a right to trash dive and get their refills.  Period.

17. Or I just bring my own snacks from home.  This is a bit unethical.  You risk getting kicked out of the movie if caught.  And secondly, the movie house makes NO profit on the film ticket sales.  That purchase barely covers the cost of rental to them from the film company of the movie.  Their profits come solely from the snack bar purchases.  Personally, I think this is a terrible system and the cost of food at the movies is ridiculously high.
If you are this tight just don't buy food when you attend the movies.  

18. I only buy clearance meat.  Best hack ever!  I personally mostly only buy discount sticker meats and/or meats on sale at the very least.  This goes for fresh produce and fresh baked goods as well.  It's a great way to lower your food bill.  If you have a freezer it's a great way to eat well for a lot less money.

19. I rarely pay attention to the best by dates on my food.  A good hack but one which you have to be careful about.  There are "best by", "sell by", "use by" and "expiration" dates and depending on the type of item and the store you frequent they can mean vastly different things.
You really need to read up and know your foods.  Many "best by", etc. dates are put on items by the manufacturer so they can sell more goods.  Really!  The faster they make you think you have to use up something or trash it, the faster they can make you buy another.  This means more sales over time and more profits for the company.
Go HERE for a handy guide to how long you can safely store different kinds of foods.
Remember that once frozen the clock stops on fresh foods rate of decay.  I "heart" freezers.  ;-)

20. I buy my bread at the dollar store.  Another good solid hack.  If you have a dollar store that carries fresh bread/baked goods it just makes sense to buy your loaves there.  As long as it's a brand/type/quality that you prefer to use.  It's the same as going to a company's Bread Outlet like I do buy bread.  Day old bread is fine.  And bread can be handily frozen too if you can't use it up before it gets hard/mold/etc.

So would you/do you follow any of these suggestions to save money?
Do you feel any of the above 20 items are good practices or not-so-good?
Do you have any other hacks you partake in that make you a cheapskate?



  1. I agree, hiding products and going to costco only for the freebies is very smarmy. In Canada they ask for your card at the door, even if you have to use the pharmacy (which in Canada is illegal to make you have a card for that) you have to specifically tell them you are only going to the pharmacy and they will let you in. Plus, there have been a few times there have been very few if no product samples going so a complete waste of time. Using products for free without even considering buying the company/product is what gives frugal people a bad name. This person does not sound like they have principles. The other things are relatively harmless and common practice in the average frugal household. Here broccoli crowns are usually sold by the item not per pound therefore being an idiot and breaking up veggies at the market would only get you thrown out here.

  2. I totally agree with you sluggy there is frugal then there is cheap then there is illegal.

  3. Some of these things are not right. A free refill on something I didn't purchase? Not happening. I think that using other people's receipts to get rebates might be illegal.


  4. Considering there is a membership fee to join Costco going there just to eat freebies doesn't really make sense. As far as groceries go I always buy the day old, 50% off artisanal breads and immediately freeze them. Same goes for meat. There are lots of apps out there too that are helpful - I use Flipp which compares prices in all the local flyers so I can find out who has the best price on coffee, olive oil, toilet tissue, etc. I just used it yesterday to find a good deal on grapes.

  5. I pretty much agree with you except I feel breaking off stems on broccoli to pay less is damaging property that you don't own yet. What's next? Peeling bananas?

    I know for a fact that #3 is illegal.

    Why would anyone pay $50. for a membership to eat free samples? (4)

    I believe that 16 is stealing!

    Nice post Sluggy!

  6. I think there are a lot of people who believe it is fine to take whatever is offered for free with little regard for what is the right thing. For example, this weekend we went to a fundraiser and many business were giving away samples of items. In the kid zone one business had frisbees and large Tootsie Rolls for the kids. Many adults were grabbing handfuls even when the owners said they were for the kids. They had to change their set up and put the Tootsie Rolls behind their table to hand out to kids walking by so the adult "grabbers" couldn't get to them. Illegal? No, but___. I am a little alarmed at what some people will do to save a buck, and do so proudly. Refilling a popcorn bag you did not purchase is stealing, even though it is a small theft. I am with you, if you don't want to fork over the concession stand cash, do without eating. Most movies are under 2 hours and no one is going to starve in 2 hours time.
    Getting rebates on something you didn't purchase smacks of unethical behavior but ultimately not my problem, since I am responsible for only me now that all kids are legal adults!
    Reusing bags, buying discounted items, questioning use by dates are all fine and a matter of personal choice. I will use most out of date things (with exceptions of course) but TheHub will not touch them. Since he doesn't cook I am not telling!

    1. My sister in-law is like your Hub in that she won't even think of using something past the use by/sell by date on it. I took home 3 bags of perfectly fine groceries from her house last Summer.

  7. 7. What in the heck are Catalinas? Also, the grocery store I frequent sells so-called broccoli crowns; however, the stems on them are at least five inches long. Irks me like you can't imagine, but I swear I've never broken off a stem.

    1. Jeanie, Catalinas are coupons that come out of a machine attached to the cash register, called a Catalina machine. It's a special kind of Q and getting one is generally triggered by something you buy or a deal you fulfill the purchase for.

  8. We splurge on popcorn and usually beverages. Popcorn is a must and part of the movie going experience, which explains part of why we go so seldom! I did once have a lady ask for my refillable box on our way out. She asked, "are you going to finish that?" Odd! I think I am aligned with you. I've not looked for left behind catalinas, but I have passed them on to people, and have had people pass them on to me when they know it is for something I use. Don't get me started on the "freebie grabbers"!Who needs most of the crap anyway, and if you are so shameless to take handfuls of candy that clearly is meant for kids or to take a single piece, is just rude, not frugal.

  9. My daughter and I always rub the perfume samples from magazines on. I'm not sure if we are being cheap or if it's just something we do for fun and have always done. Asking for food for the chickens when you plan to eat is wrong. I would not pick up a popcorn container from the garbage to refill. Besides stealing, it's kind of gross. Something that I do to save money is cut up old tee shirts to use for rag curlers for my daughter. They work perfectly.

    1. The samples are meant to try out as different smells react differently on people. Just sniffing isn't enough. I think that is good, frugal fun, but also smart as I've had wonderful smells from bottles, smell overly sweet or musky on me(both a no), and its so expensive to waste.Tag curlers are a show choir staple!

  10. Using an old popcorn box is wrong...and disgusting. It is also wrong to take an old cup into McDonalds to fill up with Coke.

  11. There are people in this world that will take anything that is free, whether they need it or not, whether it is ethical or not and feel no guilt whatsoever. That being said, there are truly poor, truly needy people in this world and they may have to do whatever it takes to get by.

  12. Wow. There is a lot of sketchy/ illegal practices going on in that article.

    For the record some stores take those catalina coupons very seriously. Lets say I didn't work for a store, I would totally grab the coupons at the self check out that printed out before me (that the previous shopper didn't take), or coupons I found lying around and I sometimes find some pretty great ones in the parking lot. I can't say I'd take them out of the trash though... hmm. BUT currently we will get fired if we are caught taking any catalina that wasn't specifically printed out during our order. They're super serious about it too. The store I work for has a big union that represents the workers and it is honestly very difficult to get fired. Seriously you can do three no call no shows before getting fired (which I think is crazy) but they will fire you on the spot for using a catalina that isn't yours.

    The store TOTALLY considers it theft to use catalinas that didn't print out during your order.

  13. I have a friend who stops at a certain motel, goes in and fills his big travel mug with coffee and leaves. He carries an old key card on his key chain. Only a threat of jail made him stop.

    He has a back seat of coffee cups from all the fast food places. He just stops in an gets a free cup of coffee. He heard someone was arrested for this, so he stopped.

    Even though he has a great income from military and retirement, he goes to food banks.

    He eats the whole tray of samples! He went with me to a farmer's market where he ate hands of blueberries, dozen of strawberries. He is not a bf, but I was embarrassed he was stealing produce. He even grabbed a tomato and ate it like an apple.

    Same trip--he borrowed three tools from Auto Zone and returned two.

    When he does secret shopper trips to garage on base, he tells them what he is doing and suggests other things they can do for free in return for a good report.

    I gave him three out of six items in my car. When I looked, he had left me with one. I told him to bring the other two back to my car. He complied even though I called him a liar and thief.

    He never comes here for anything, but when he did, I watched him like a hawk!

    I would not use a empty popcorn bag from the trash or even one not in the trash...ewww.

    Once I hid something until the next day and did come back. It was nerve-wracking, like I was stealing.

    Catalinas not taken by a customer have to be thrown in the trash by the checker. However, if someone threw them down or lost them outside, they were perfectly legal to use.
    practical parsimony


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