cheap versus frugal

Cheap? Frugal? Why Is There Even A Debate?

With a blog called Yes, I Am Cheap, you can bet that I get a fair bit of e-mails comparing cheap and frugal.  I’ve been asked many times if frugal is better than cheap and I’ve answered this question the same way every single time – there is no difference.  It’s what I told Harvard Business Review years ago and it’s what I told Experian last week.  Frugal used to have a better connotation than cheap did only because a cheap individual was often viewed as miserly, but ask yourself how many times you’ve said, “Man, that’s cheap” as you hopped onto a deal.

Back before the Great Recession, I’m sure that people looked down their noses at people who actively sought deals.  Rap stars were talking about how they pop champagne and flaunted all of their bling, designer and celebrity endorsed everything ruled the airwaves, restaurants outdid themselves with who could create the most expensive burger…Hold on, this deserves a sidebar.  Seriously people?  Who in the hell is spending $295 for a damn burger?  And it doesn’t include fries? For $295 the burger should not only jump into my mouth and chew itself, it should massage my feet and serenade my wallet too.  Speaking of rappers and burgers, you have to watch the video below which features this damn burger. […]

no apple

Get A New iPhone? Heck No!

Every Fall a strange phenomenon happens within the U.S; hordes of people with money to burn line up outside of their local Apple store days ahead of a potential announcement to be the first in line to toss money at a “genius” before scurrying off with the latest gadget.  This year my friends, the latest gadgets are phones from Apple.  Before I go on, I have to make a full disclaimer that the only Apple product that has ever entered my home came off of a tree, and unless they were in a pie I wasn’t too fond of them either.

I have the pleasure of working in Manhattan some days and get to pass by fanatics who camp outside of the Apple store for two weeks at a time.  It’s not that I begrudge them sticking with a company and products that they love, but I often wonder where these people get the money from to buy these products because they are clearly not going to work any time soon.

We get so wound up in having the latest, brightest, most whiz-bang thing what we hardly stop to ask if we actually need the thing that we are buying or if it makes sense to replace a perfectly good phone with another phone that you really don’t need.  If the iPhone was the official phone of heaven and Jesus herself came floating down from fluffy white clouds to encourage me to purchase the iPhone so that I could live with Her for eternity, I would seriously have to ask Jesus if she was getting kick backs from Steve Jobs – and could I have a piece of the action. […]

say no

Want To Help Someone? Let Them Fail


That’s the sound of some people who I know falling flat on their faces.  It’s also the sound of a lesson learned the hard way.  And, in some ways, it’s the sound of a fair bit of guilt, but that too shall pass.

I’ve been sharing the stories of friends and family on this blog for years, as long as there is a financial lesson to be learned.  I’m trying very hard to keep the anonymity of my friends and family going, so pardon me if I slip into third party jargon here.

It all began long, long ago.  Some friends who I’m pretty close with have been helping their family members out financially for years.  I’m going to say that this stretches back over twenty years. The parents had been financially supporting their grown daughter’s family – constantly bailing them out of financial woes time after time. […]

dont believe the debt hype

Don’t Believe The Debt Hype

First, it’s about two o’clock in the morning and I’ve been struck by lightening.  At this time in the morning I have very little filter left and the part of my brain that usually censors what I say is drifting to sleep.  This is my way of apologizing up front.  I’m going to stand by whatever I write after this paragraph, but if you’re sensitive and if you’re a blogger, you might need to turn away.

I’m a debt and frugality blogger.  I hate to put myself into a box, but, it’s what I do and have been doing for nearly five years.  At this point I have seen just about everything related to debt.  I also read quite a lot. In fact, I might read too much because I sometimes suffer from analysis paralysis. […]

bullshit degree - College Degrees

College Degrees Are Sometimes Bullshit

I’m going off the reservation again.  This is all stream of consciousness, so, I’m apologizing up front.

The other half and I got into a discussion the other day about college degrees.  My contention was that college is not for everyone, and for many people it will just be a waste of time.  He thought that I was being disingenuous because I hold two degrees and fully expect my younger sister to attend college, yet I deigned to say that everyone shouldn’t attend college.  We won’t see eye-to-eye on this subject but, I thought that it was a good idea to flesh out this thought online. […]

Stop Paying So Much For Quality

Stop Paying So Much For Quality

I’m currently typing this post on the cheapest laptop I could find back in 2009. It was $449, and came with decent specs, the only thing I really sacrificed is my screen is only 14 inches, while the standard screen is 15 or 17 inches. It’s a good machine, it’s served me well over the years, even after I’ve filled it up all all sorts of junk and pictures of scantily clad ladies. Sorry about that, old girl.

Let’s take a look at what it would cost for me to replace this current laptop, since I’ll probably feel forced to do it at some point next year. I live up in cold, cold, Canada (so cold) so laptops are a little pricier up here. I just took 5 minutes and looked online, and I found a Lenovo laptop for $370. Future Shop (one of Canada’s leading electronics chains) will even ship it to me for free. That’s a decent price. […]

You're Getting Government Subsidies & Entitlements Too

You’re Getting Government Subsidies & Entitlements Too

Hey, you there.  The one who said that about 47% of the country,  “are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.  That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.” I’m talking to you and others like you who look down your noses at poor people thinking that they they are just lazy moochers sucking at the government teat like a new born baby.

I’m the first to point anyone who is ready to defraud America’s social welfare systems when they should not be on a particular program.  And I’ve put my money where my mouth is, turning away potential renters who were defrauding the system into having their rent paid.  But I’ve seen people literally resort to stealing food because they were hungry and did not qualify for the safety nets that exist for some.  For everyone who has ever irresponsibly had children knowing that they couldn’t afford them, I’ve also seen people who never thought that they would need governmental assistance have to depend on those programs because they have lost their jobs.  I know poverty very well, because I’ve lived it and I never, ever expected the government to support me. In fact, I pay a higher tax rate than you do. […]

females - Stay Out Of My Uterus

Stay Out Of My Uterus

I know that this is not a political blog.  Occasionally, there just happens to be so much going on in the political world that I feel compelled to make a comment or two, especially when the possibility for an impact on our finances exists.  So let’s talk.


Man, oh, man what a landmine these days.  Personally, I ever thought that I would see the day when politicians would be engaged in an argument over a woman’s right to access contraceptives, but there they go and here we are. […]

TLC's Extreme Cheapskates Is Just For Show

TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates Is Just For Show

I’m going to get right to the point with this one. I watched TLC’s new train wreck of a show called Extreme Cheapskates last night. Or. I watched as much of it as I could stomach, and it’s just 100% trash television meant to shock you into watching every week.

Now, I don’t get to watch much television because (1) I work late and have a 1.25 hour long one way commute, and (2) my boyfriend usually kidnaps the remote control. I’ve learned to live with Youtube and Hulu or whatever when I feel a need to watch something.

Anyway I got home last night close to nine, made myself a ham sandwich and settled in to write the announcement for my massive giveaway (coming soon). Lo and behold, my boyfriend was in a brutal online card game and actually gave me the remote. So, I flipped through the channels to see what was on and landed on the show, Extreme Cheapskates. Anything with the word ‘cheapskates’ in the title will catch my eye for obvious reasons. I’m pretty open minded, so I actually put the laptop aside and started watching the show.           […]

Bank of America representative

F*ck You, Bank of America

As you guessed from the title, this will be a not so safe for work article. You might want to bookmark it and come back later when your boss is away so that you can shake your head in disbelief.

I have the occasional rant. I mean, who doesn’t right? But I’ve been holding off on this one for MONTHS to actually give Bank of America the chance to make things right. I’m just at a point where I can’t take this shit anymore so I have to share it with you.  It all started with a mortgage. […]

Tax Refund - Don't Have Kids If You Can't Afford Them

Don’t Have Kids If You Can’t Afford Them

You might be tempted to send me a scathing e-mail after this one.  DON’T HAVE KIDS IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD THEM.  Having kids is not a right, it’s a privilege, and if your financial situation doesn’t support you having that cute little offspring running around your ankles, then you should have planned better and you should not have had a child…or two…or eight.  Yes, I’m talking to you Kate Gosselin. […]