Are You Ever #FrugalByAccident?

by J. Money on Friday, February 19, 2016

oops - britney spears

If you save money by accident, does it still count?

I was at a meet-up the other day for entrepreneurs, and upon plopping down my laptop and plugging my mouse into it, I immediately felt a pat on my back and hearty chuckle.

“Dude – what is this, 1998?” – a friend blurted out.

“Hah, I know – it’s weird using a mouse w/ my laptop huh?” – I shyly shot back

“Nah man, I’m talking about how OLD your mouse is. Is that a ball at the bottom of that thing???”

<insert even louder laugh>

“What, are you on AOL dial-up too????”

<others start coming over to join in on the fun>

I’ll admit it was all pretty funny (and don’t you dare tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about with those ball mouses – you youngins!), but it had never crossed my mind just how strange this is in a world where everything’s so brand spanking new all the time. And since it’s been well over 5 years since I last worked in any real office, I guess I just got used to it all as “normal.”

But while everyone assumed I was just way too cheap (or broke) to go out and get a new mouse, the truth is I’m just way too busy to be bothered by it. And the thing works just fine anyways, so why go out and waste both time and money? Even if I have to take it out every now and then to blow on it and get rid of those dang dirt lines around the wheel thingies, haha… I didn’t even get a chance to explain why I use a mouse in the first place – the track pad on my laptop broke 4 years ago :)

I started wondering if there was other things I do that accidentally save me money in the process, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

I haven’t bought clothes in like a year. I used to be obsessed with new tees every couple of weeks, but over the years both time and desire have drastically reduced since I got into the whole minimalism craze. While it still sucks to have my clothes wear out and get holey all the time, I have to admit it’s nice having a small wardrobe of only stuff you LOVE to wear every time you get dressed.

I cut my own hair. Most people do this purely to save money, but for me its more out of the annoyance of not wanting to take an hour out of my day to sit and watch someone do what I can do at home in 5 minutes. Now granted the requirements of my hair style is fairly simple – shave both sides and leave the part in the middle! – but I do have to say I’ve gotten pretty good using mirrors to keep the ‘hawk’s lines fresh ;) It works on facial hair too!

half beard j. money

I still eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch. Not only do I still enjoy the taste after all these years, but it’s so nice to be able to make your lunch 1-2-3 without waiting for anyone or getting into the car. I’d eat them even if they cost $5 a sandwich! (And I have two almost every day!)

I choose “walking” anytime it’s an option. I don’t care if it’s 1 block or 1 mile, if time permits I always prefer to walk to events/bars/houses when the weather allows. Walking is one of the best things in the world to do, for both your sanity and your health!, and it pains me whenever friends want to hop back into a car/uber or are just plain lazy. If walks cost money I’d be broke!

I only drink tap water now. Years ago I wrote a post about how I drink bottled water and I didn’t care how much it costs me (which, not surprisingly, got me into a heap of trouble with the Earth lovers), But at the time it was the ONLY thing that got me to actually drink water and so the hydration trumped the costs. A few years later a friend then turned me onto those gigantic bottles that are meant to hold all the water you need in a given day (8 glasses), and I haven’t stopped re-using it since. It’s one of the best $6 purchases I’ve ever made and saves tons of money and potential health issues in the process!

They also sell mini-bottles for kids too – my little ones LOVE being like dad :)

h20 on the go water bottles

I’m sure there’s a host of other things I could come up with, but hopefully you get the point…

So does saving money still count even if it’s by accident? You bet your sweet ass it does. In fact, I’d suggest it’s even BETTER since many people save just for the sake of saving and are miserable! If you’re enjoying your life and not happening to spend money in the process, you’ve figured out something most of the country has not. And we need to be doing more of it in all areas of our lives!

What are some of the ways you’re #FrugalByAccident?

If you’re wondering about the hashtags, it’s my lame attempt to see if we can make this go viral on Twitter :) If you’re on there, share your answers there too using #FrugalByAccident!

[Photo cred: Stephen Harlan]

{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris @ Flipping A Dollar February 19, 2016 at 5:07 am

Ignorance is bliss! But I’m sure just how you’re frugal by accident, there are a lot of times when people are a spendthrift by accident. “I though I needed to have a new car every two years!”

Ok that just sounds dumb after I read it.


2 Ramona @ Personal Finance Today February 19, 2016 at 11:36 am

He he, hope they don’t buy cars by accident :D

I don’t purchase clothing too often, I work from home and don’t need fancy stuff. I do have a ‘wire’ mouse since I hate wireless versions. It’s an old one, I think 7 years old or something like this. I still have old gadgets that are in perfect order and I use them.


3 Emma | Money Can Buy Me Happiness February 19, 2016 at 5:19 am

I wish I had one of those old mouses that plug in to your laptop – it drives me crazy when the batteries on my wireless mouse run out all the time. Hmm I think I’m pretty #FrugalbyAccident too. I walk everywhere, make my own coffee (with my most treasured possession – a $15 second hand espresso machine), always run a cold wash and line dry my clothes. We actually don’t even own a tumble dryer. I really enjoy standing bare feet (it’s summer here) in my backyard and hanging up each item. It’s glorious. Sometimes I just gaze out at my washing, getting dry for free (!!) and I do a little happy frugal dance and salute the sun. Like you, I have my favourite clothes that get worn pretty much every day. One of the perks of working for yourself is not needing a corporate wardrobe! Or fancy mouses (mice??).


4 J. Money February 19, 2016 at 6:59 am

I feel like you need to be in The Sound of Music – prancing around the mountains smelling your sun-dried clothes! Haha…. Sounds rather marvelous :)


5 G Woltmann February 19, 2016 at 6:06 am

Gustavo Woltmann thinks this is a fantastic blog! – Gustavo Woltmann


6 J. Money February 19, 2016 at 7:09 am

Thanks Gustavo Woltmann! – J. Money


7 Brian @DebtDiscipline February 19, 2016 at 6:28 am

Sounds more intentional than accidental. Either way if it saves money I’ll take it. My wife and I brown bag our lunches everyday and skip the $8 lunches. Saves us a ton each month and we eat a whole lot healthier.


8 Sarah Noelle @ The Yachtless February 19, 2016 at 6:46 am

I accidentally saved thousands of dollars in my 20s by being too shy and nerdy to go clubbing.

Also, walking is the BEST.


9 J. Money February 19, 2016 at 6:58 am

HAH! Love it.

(And your liver does too)


10 Dan@Budgetnerds February 19, 2016 at 7:18 am

Haha I do a lot of the same things you do, although I have my wife cut my hair and I think it’s been a few years since I bought a new shirt as well. Usually I would just get my shirts when I’d go to concerts or something, and after 10 years, they’re still awesome!

A few things I do to stay frugal (or cheap?):

– I don’t drink alcohol (no, seriously, not even wine), anything with carbonation, and I don’t smoke
– My lunch at work (after exercising for free at the work gym) consists of: a can of tuna, crackers, string cheese, granola bar, and protein shake).
– Breakfast consists of toast, eggs from a neighbor’s chicken, and oatmeal.
– Dinner is usually whatever the wife wants to make (crockpot meal)
– Drive a work vehicle to my job an hour away from the house (got lucky on that one).

I think it’s the little things that make the biggest differences, like staying with an old computer for a while, taking advantage of free internet, and just being OK with what you have.


11 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:25 am


Also added benefit of health too w/ no drinking/smoking!


12 Roy Largo @ Band of Savers February 19, 2016 at 7:30 am

Scored 6 for 6 on your list above. I’ve fount that there are a myriad of things that we do every day that we never even think about until someone looks at you with that blank stare of “how could you make such a huge sacrifice” and then we start to realize that there might be another option that might have been more convenient but would cost a lot more.

I’m going to add to the list that – Neither of us have ever drank alcohol – and saved a ton because of it.

P.S. My wife and I are teaching a class of personal finances to a group of 16-18 year olds tomorrow that is suppose to focus on teaching them the importance of budgeting and living within their means when they go off to college. When my wife was asked to teach it the person who asked said “I thought of you since you’re the only person that I know who actually follows their budget.” :)


13 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:26 am

Haha nice..

I hope you read this post first on how to make $$$ interesting to kids before you jumped in! :)


14 Latoya @ Femme Frugality February 19, 2016 at 8:01 am

It’s pretty easy to be frugal by accident if you’re not into what everyone else is doing. Every time someone comes over to our house and waste or eat something they always head to the kitchen in search of a paper towel. I kindly advise them to grab one of the re-usable cloth napkins out of the drawer. They look at me as if I’m crazy. They always ask why I would rather wash these cloth napkins over and over when I could just use paper towels. I always ask them why they would rather pay money on something that’s going to the trash for something as simple as wiping up a spilled drink when they could use a napkin or kitchen towel to wipe stuff up multiple times before washing it…All a matter of perspective I guess…


15 Pengepugeren February 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Is it really cheaper to use cloth napkins?
I never did the calculations, but paper towels are dirt cheap (pun intended :-) and you have to use water and electricity to clean cloth napkins. Not to mention the hassle of hanging them on the line to dry.

Sure, I pay several times more than you do in the US for water and electricity, but I’m still not sure it makes financial sense.


16 Debbie M February 22, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Do you really think you’re going to do more loads of laundry? I guess if you have to leave a shirt out of a load so you can fit in some napkins, eventually you will have done an extra load over some long period of time. But probably you just throw them in to your normal loads of laundry.

If you really want, you could calculate how many napkins would fit in a washer load and how long it would take to use that many napkins. Then figure out how much it costs to do a load of laundry (which depends on your washer, etc.).


17 Donna Freedman March 1, 2016 at 7:24 pm

I bought six cloth napkins for a quarter at a rummage sale in 2004. Still using them, so I’m pretty sure they’re cheaper than paper towels since they take up practically no room in a load of laundry.
And hey J$, a frugal tip: If you use a paper towel to wipe up spilled water, don’t throw it away. Unfold it and put it on the counter to dry, and it will live to fight another day.


18 J. Money March 2, 2016 at 9:57 am

Hah – smart!


19 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:28 am

I’m still struggling with using cloths vs paper towels and i’m totally using my kids as an excuse cuz they spill stuff literally every 30 seconds of eating! :)

I’m trying to do it all more for the mission of that “no waste” challenge I came across months ago… I’m not sure how much we’d save or not though I’d bet it would be cheaper if we tried to analyze it.


20 Eric February 19, 2016 at 8:05 am

All of the things in your list ring true for me, except the PB&J. Yuk! Still trapped-by-choice into my cubicle job, so I bring leftovers every day if possible. As far as water bottles, This one time use cup from Del Taco has been my water jug at work for over 5 years and is still fine, even though the logos have long since worn off.

I can’t even begin to fathom how wasteful we are as a culture with our plastic everything that goes mostly to landfills. It’s truly ridiculous.


21 Eric February 19, 2016 at 8:06 am

A picture of the 5 year cup:


22 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:29 am

That is awesome :)


23 Still at work February 19, 2016 at 8:14 am

When i was 24, i earned 23k a year (early 2000s) and lived quite easily off of it entirely independently because i wasn’t a party person and didnt eat out much (i loved ramen too!) I drove a 10 year old car from my grandmother and thought my friends who drove nicer cars must be supported by their parents. When i went to renew my car insurance, the woman ran my credit and was shocked that i had a score of 795. I remember asking if that was good.


24 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:30 am

Haha – beautiful.


25 Retire Before Dad February 19, 2016 at 8:32 am

Ha ha, I cut my own hair too. I haven’t had a professional cut since 1999. For me it’s about never being happy with the way the barber/stylist cut it. There’s a “professional” way to cut hair that I think is too clean cut for me. I use scissors and/or clippers. I’ve never had a bad cut! I’ve spent about $30 on two sets of clippers in the last 17 years. Now I cut my son’t hair too.

Makes up for the RIDICULOUS price of women’s hair cutting/coloring/styling.


26 L Adams March 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

Hey, some of us women do our own hair, too!

I cut, color, and highlight (foil) my hair. I get supplies from a beauty supply store. Learned from a random stranger in a church bathroom about cutting a gypsy shag by flipping and twisting hair and lopping off the end.

Hate making and keeping appointments. Hate spending that RIDICULOUS $ to get my hair done. And I’ve gotten as many compliments on my hair when I do it as when a stylist does it. –LA


27 J. Money March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

That’s bad ass :)


28 Justin February 19, 2016 at 8:52 am

Old tech? Check.
Walk everywhere? Check
Drink water all the time? Check
Cut own hair? Check
Don’t buy clothes? Check (do new socks count if you wear out all the old ones with all that walking?)
Eat PBJ’s for lunch every day? Okay, I fail on this one point but the meals I eat are pretty cheap (<$100 per person per month for food in our house).

I do like PBJ's though, however those are what we pack when picnicking at the pool, park or hiking trail and we don't have any meat for the sammiches. Ever tried ripe bananas instead of jelly? Mind blowing.


29 Gwen February 19, 2016 at 11:16 am

Peanut butter and banana sandwiches are the bomb! I’m also fond of pb and honey sandwiches. I highly recommend it!


30 LIsa O February 21, 2016 at 2:48 pm

I like my toasted…


31 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

I have not tested w/ bananas!!! WILL NOW THOUGH!!

(I do toast them when I’m at home every time though – def. adds to the experience :))


32 Donna Freedman March 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Little kids (and some big kids!) like a PBB done in this way:

Split a hot-dog roll.
Spread with peanut butter.
Put the banana in whole.
Pretend you’re eating a hot dog.


33 Amy @ DebtGal February 19, 2016 at 9:08 am

My husband and daughter take PB&J sandwiches for lunch every work/school day. (Oops, my daughter buys pizza on Fridays. Not especially frugal, but what kid doesn’t love pizza on Fridays??) I LOVE how quick and easy it is for me to make their lunches!! Neither one of them likes cold cuts or anything fancy, so I think that definitely counts as being accidentally frugal.

I switched to using cloth napkins in our house about seven years ago, in an attempt to be green. I’m sure this has saved us quite a bit of money over the years.


34 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:47 am

We make homemade pizza on Fridays here now – kids def. love it!


35 bpcomp February 19, 2016 at 9:14 am

For the longest time I didn’t have a cell phone. I’m a tech guy and people looked at me like I’m crazy. Now I have a cell phone but only pay $25 a month for me and my wife (Republic Wireless). We don’t choose to have mobile internet and people look at me like I’m crazy when I can’t look something up on the internet if there isn’t a wifi signal. On the other hand I look at other people as crazy when I hear of phone bills in the neighborhood of $100 per line.


36 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:49 am

Yeah Republic Wireless! We use them too.

I guarantee at some point people will start breaking away from all the information overload too – it’s starting to become a bit too much w/ access to it everywhere you go. So in a way you’re more like hipster trend setters ;)


37 BeachMama February 19, 2016 at 9:22 am

My 5 year old laptop is about to die any day, but I refuse to get another one until it’s really and truly dead. I might just switch to using the library computers for a while.
I still use a 10 year old MP3 player and headphones to ignore my boss :)
Our microwave died in 2010 and we just never bothered to replace it.
One of my dogs ripped a hole in the couch recently so I just whipped out a needle and thread and sewed it back together. It’s not pretty but who cares!
We don’t even bother with haircuts in our house – my 5 year old son has longer hair than me!
Yay for accidental frugality!!


38 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:50 am

“Libraries??? What are those?” – almost every young person these days ;)


39 Savvy Shopper February 19, 2016 at 9:40 am

I talk myself out of hitting the drive-thru on my way home from work. It’s late, I’m tired & I’m hungry….I want food now! But that means going out of my way, waiting in line and more than likely having cold food once I get home. So I just keep heading home where there’s always PB&J :) or grilled cheese.


40 Samantha February 19, 2016 at 9:55 am

We are definitely frugal by accident. We have spendy friends and whenever they come over are like “I just don’t understand how you have an entire second floor you don’t use!” And in my mind, our house is already HUGE, and it’s just the two of us! We already have two bedrooms – that’s one more than we need! Why finish the upstairs to have THREE MORE EXTRA ROOMS?! Plus it would uber-expensive to furnish and heat, and time consuming to maintain and clean (double the time every month to clean the house?! No thanks!) I guess we are frugal by accident in that regard. Plus the house is paid off, so many people think we should “upgrade”. Why get into another mortgage?! I don’t get the appeal.


41 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:51 am

Mmmm… $0 mortgages…..


42 Lindsay @ the Notorious D.E.B.T. February 19, 2016 at 10:01 am

I don’t ever buy makeup. In fact, I’m not even sure how to put it on.

I also wear my clothes until they fall apart – I once had a pair of shoes that was so worn, the soles were coming off the shoe and I could flip the toe of my sole back to the heel. My husband stole them one day and threw them out – I was so mad, they were so well-worn in that they fit my feet like a glove! I’m 28 now, but I still have clothes that I wore in high school! :D


43 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:53 am

Hahahhah…. you win for comment of the day, my dear.

“don’t even know how to put it on” – hilarious!


44 Alyssa February 19, 2016 at 10:14 am

We share a lot of frugal by accident traits, my friend. I now hate shopping after I realized how much it was costing me. I am not afraid to use a safety pin or at-home sewing kit to save some of my favorite clothing items so that I don’t have to buy new.

“I still eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch.” HOLY CRAP ME TOO. that’s my favorite lunch in the world. And everyone @ my office looks at me like I’m a child, but really they wish they had one too.

I’ve also never been one to drink bottled water. I think it’s a serious waste of money considering you can filter/drink it for free at home. I bring my S’well bottle everywhere. It’s practically another limb now. This made me laugh this morning.


45 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:54 am

I have a safety pin in the jeans I’m wearing right now :) because the patch that was in there got re-opened and now it’s cold again, arghh….


46 Abigail @ipickuppennies February 19, 2016 at 10:35 am

I don’t really like soda much, so other than the occasional soda when we’re getting fast food, I only ever drink water. Neither Tim nor I like coffee or wine. As far as I can tell, that saves us an unimaginable amount of money!

And of course, my chronic fatigue keeps me in the house more. We’re not going out all the time, spending money.


47 rachel February 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

Do you filter your tap water? They have filters you can attach to your sink and or refrigerator. There is a BIG difference in the taste. If you drink filtered tap water for a week and then go back to just tap water, it taste disgusting. They are relatively inexpensive and I highly recommend it. It seems like a frivolous item, but I assure you the taste is significantly better.


48 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

We do use one of those filter pitcher things that we keep in our fridge. I usually fill my jug up with that half-full and then tap the other half and tastes pretty decent :)


49 Hannah February 19, 2016 at 11:13 am

I married an introvert with a sleeping disorder. It turns out that leaving the house for any reason after 7PM is on the list of things he does only to please his wife. Saves us a ton of coin. #FrugalByAccident


50 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

Oh my gosh haha… def. frugal by accident!


51 Lee S February 19, 2016 at 11:14 am

I would love a minimalist wardrobe. Problem in my house is neither of us like to do laundry. On a bright side, if we do a minimalist wardrobe and don’t like to do laundry a naked laundry day may happen. I’m not sure however if this will motivate laundry being done or if it’ll motivate other things to be done instead.


52 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:57 am

I think it needs to be tested out to see :)


53 Kalie @ Pretend to Be Poor February 19, 2016 at 11:41 am

We also have a lot of accidental or naturally frugal preferences. I cut my husband’s hair because he doesn’t want to spend the time going somewhere, too! And I love peanut butter sandwiches, tap water, and walking–though it’s been a bit too icy to to do so with the kids here, lately. And old technology…our friends joke that we prefer things that are free and broken. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!


54 Nate February 19, 2016 at 11:51 am

I don’t buy new furniture because the cat’s just gonna scratch it up anyways.

Speaking of youngin’s not knowing about ball mouse, the other day I had an 18 year old ask me about those “giant cassette tapes they used for TV”.

I’m just surprised he knew about cassette tapes. He knew about cassette tapes because his parents had so many cassettes they never fully switched to CDs.


55 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 11:59 am

Hah! The other month our nephew asked what a “dial tone” was… Didn’t even realize we don’t use them any more with cell phones until then!


56 Amanda S @ Passionately Simple Life February 19, 2016 at 11:54 am

College taught me a lot of frugal ways that I’m still chugging along with! Unique ways to make food last the whole week, or make a meal enough for everyone on the floor. Resteeping tea bags so a box lasted twice as long. Bringing a lunch and snacks in a bag everywhere and anywhere. In a way, it saves so much time and energy because they are already normal habits.


57 Christine @ The Pursuit of Green February 19, 2016 at 12:35 pm

I looovee that you still use a roller ball mouse!!!! I work in a pretty techy industry so I have lovely fun gadgets like a tablet pad where I use a pen with a chip in it to work. Hey if it works keep it!!! I feel like that’s pretty ingrained in my life so I try my best to not buy new stuff all the time.

My latest was keeping my Samsung Galaxy S3 for 3 years. I was intending to keep it longer but there was a BOGO free Samsung Galaxy S6 deal. My mother-in-law’s phone just broke and so we went for it. Though I think this was intentional money saving!


58 middle class February 19, 2016 at 12:46 pm

I have a roller ball mouse at work! However, I’m fine with it because I don’t like needing to change batteries all the time.

I’m sure I’ve been #FrugalByAccident many times but the one I’m going to tell you about is probably the biggest one. When I was getting my student loan/grant package, I only accepted the free grants because I thought getting the loan would mean too much paperwork and I hate paperwork. I did not think about interest rates, how to pay back, etc.. so it wasn’t a decision drive by financial savvy!


59 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Haha love it…


60 Kate @ itsakatelife February 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm

I’m eating PB&J right now! So easy and cheap, with the added bonus that it doesn’t need to go into the office fridge.

Being lazy definitely pays off. I don’t bother to walk the entire grocery store, when everything I truly need is in one area. Shopping for clothes is so time consuming, since everything has to be tried on or risk going back to the store for returns. It’s easier to just use what I have.

Hoping to learn how to cut my own hair someday. I have a really basic cut (long and all one length) but I’m never all that happy when a professional cuts it.


61 Lola February 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Google “cosmo cut” for a do it yourself method of cutting long hair.


62 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:02 pm

I’m about to grab my sandwiches from the fridge right now actually – not needed but does taste great! and a nice change from toasting it too, like the complete opposite – haha…


63 Joe February 19, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Hey, if it works, why buy a new one. Actually, the new light (?) mouse is much nicer than the old roller ball type. I think it’s much more accurate, but it breaks every few years. Anyway, I do all the things you listed above. I drink coffee and tea as well as water, though. :)


64 Stockbeard February 19, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Wow, I’m so aligned with some of the stuff you do, I was nodding all the way through the article.

I found that there’s lots of money I save because I’m such an introvert that try to avoid social situations. It’s a mix of procrastination and feeling very uncomfortable around people I don’t know. As a result I:
– rarely buy clothes (I hate it when a seller asks me if I need help)
– cut my hair myself (can’t stand the interaction with the hair dresser)
– Will do everything I can to avoid riding a taxi. This means walking as much as possible, sometimes taking the bus.

On the other hand, my total lack of social skills has a cost too:
– I very rarely try to negotiate a price
– I very rarely complain about being overcharged, or a price being incorrect at the grocery store (although my wife does)


65 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:05 pm

Interesting set of pros and cons indeed – and I guarantee you’re not alone in that with this group too :) I don’t like salespeople coming up to me for anything either cuz I know the fake smiles and “desire to help” is all geared to just trying to sell me something… Very much like the flirts from waitresses and what not – you want to believe it’s sincere but nope! :)


66 andy smith February 19, 2016 at 2:01 pm

i guess this might be more of ”on purpose”, but if we go to a store or out to eat, i look around for signs about a text-for-rewards club. usually i can sign up my phone and get an instant coupon or something i can use before i leave. instant savings!


67 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm



68 Diane February 19, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Definitely frugal by accident tendencies here. We love PBJ’s and drinking water (mostly tap) as our main drink of choice. We like tech devices, but hate how quickly they become outdated, so we usually stick with what we have until it’s toast. Also, I think due to the fact that my husband and I work on somewhat opposite schedules, we are more frugal without realizing it. Since we are by ourselves with both kids for large chunks of time, we usually stick close to home during those times, which definitely saves money. We make use of our yard and we’ve realized that it doesn’t take a lot of cash to entertain little kids- but you do have to keep them busy!


69 Tonya@Budget and the Beach February 19, 2016 at 3:11 pm

ha I still have an old mouse! When my old shitty vacuum broke (that was a hand me down too), I was too frugal to even buy an old craigslist vacuum, so I borrowed my friend Dave’s since he is a slob and barely ever uses it himself save for once in awhile when I bring it around. Now I can afford a new vacuum now but I think, “why bother?” This system is not broke so don’t fix it!


70 Erin February 19, 2016 at 3:29 pm

Accidental frugality is the best! I also walk a ton because I don’t have a car, I drink tap water, I rarely buy clothes or jewelry or accessories, I don’t go to the movies, I own very little furniture, and I get my hair cut once or twice a year. None of this is me trying to save money (even the car, I hate vehicles with a passion), it just happens to work out that way. I spend a lot on health/wellness and travel/entertainment (including eating out and seeing shows) though. So it probably evens out :) But whatever, my budget, however flawed, still allows me to put thousands toward my student loans and hundreds toward retirement each month, so I’m good!


71 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:07 pm

Hi friend!!!

Miss seeing you around these parts!! I hope you’ll be at FINCON this year! :)


72 amber tree February 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

My haircut budget is really low: I do not like to go the hairdresser, have the small talk about soccer (I don’t like soccer, most hairdressers do). So, 7 years ago I bought a trimmer for 20EUR. Ever since, I went twice to the hairdresser.

I also take a brown bag for lunch to the office. The sandwiches available there are not my typeof food… It makes me save quite some money as well.

The tap water thing: we do it as well… The price difference is hugh


73 Thias @It Pays Dividends February 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm

I’m impressed with the ball mouse! I haven’t seen one of those in years! For me, I’m frugal by accident when it comes to coffee. I rarely drink coffee at home but will have a couple cups when I’m at work, when it is free. I just don’t seem to have the craving when I’m at home so it works out well for me.


74 Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank February 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

I am thankful that my cousin knows how to haircut and hairdressing. I think I haven’t spend on it for the last 5 years because he does it free for me. Frugal by accident.


75 Rebecca February 19, 2016 at 7:09 pm

My husband has had the same trackball mouse since we met 15 years ago. Who knows how long he had it before then.

Thanks for the post – I really enjoyed it! It is so easy to get hung up on all the shoulds. It is nice to think about all the stuff we are already doing.


76 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Glad you enjoyed it :)


77 Avia February 19, 2016 at 7:27 pm

My husband owns a flip-phone, and gets comments at work about it. It’s a conversation starter and fun to laugh about! It works and he does not care to do stuff on a phone other than talk. Smartphones are less convenient to carry. I upgraded my Droid Incredible 2 a few months ago to a different smartphone with a higher Android version – a TracFone; however, that was not an accident. We’ve had multiple cell phones on PagePlus for the last ten years, now have 4 in our household, and TracFone bought PagePlus a while back.

I do my own haircuts and pedicures. We have preferences and ways of living that happen to be frugal, and I see no reason to change when the less expensive way seems superior as well. Also, having more money is not a reason to spend it – it’s a reason to realize freedom and choice, and be thankful.


78 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:27 pm

flip phones – awesome!

i still miss the old candy bar phones too :) no more distracted people everywhere ignoring you for a screen!


79 Donna Freedman March 1, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Remember that cheap pay-as-you-go flip phone I was using when I wrote that “Living in the Quieter Spots of Life” post? Still using it three and a half years later. It costs me $2 a day if I use it and nothing at all if I don’t. Since I work at home, I can go for weeks without using it for anything except a timepiece.

Oh, and my partner cuts his hair too — with a Flowbee! Details at:

We are still frugal-with-a-vegeance, and still entirely stupid about each other. <3


80 J. Money March 2, 2016 at 9:59 am

Love to hear that, Donna :)


81 Heather @ Simply Save February 19, 2016 at 7:28 pm

For me it’s just that I’ve always done my own nails, never watched much TV to need a ton of channels, and have never been too into bars and drinking!


82 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:29 pm

(for some reason I read that as “bras and drinking” and was like – good thing! that’s a world of trouble right there!” Haha…)


83 Kelly @ Brainy Chick Finance February 19, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Being frugal definitely can be attributed to your parents. When I was younger, my parents would use a coupon if they could for fast food restaurants. Now, I won’t do a drive-thru unless I have a coupon with me! Knowing your “money story” tells a lot about how you act and behave in your later years.


84 RJ February 19, 2016 at 11:09 pm

I feel sorry for today’s generation; if it wasn’t for the ‘mouse with the ball’ the ‘Zack Morris brick phone’, etc, they really wouldn’t have anything. When I read your post above, I don’t think there is definitely nothing wrong with that; in fact you are not only saving money for better things, but you’re saving Planet Earth in the process (tap water vs. bottled, walking vs. cars, etc.)

I can’t deal with IGNORANCE period, no matter how basic it is. In the case of that person that came up to you. In your case, his opinion (although valid) was not necessary. I think we all should live the way we choose to live and be appreciative of the bigger picture in our own lives. The term “MINE IS BETTER THAN YOURS” …. Aiint Nobody got time for that!!!!!


85 Michael February 20, 2016 at 5:33 am

I get my haircut at the barber about every six weeks. It’s $12 plus a tip. To me it’s worth it for the confidence boost. I have a set of clippers and have let my girlfriend cut my hair a few times when I couldn’t get into my barber. But a fresh cut by my barber is better and worth the cost to me. I realized recently that I haven’t had a beer in months. Not on purpose either. Need to get a case of Fat Tire soon to change that.


86 James February 20, 2016 at 7:20 am

Of course it counts! If you check your bank account and the moolah is there, it counts. I’ve had the same phone for years, love my fuel efficient vehicle, have a buzz cut (low hair maintenance), and all that good stuff. It definitely counts.


87 Kevin February 20, 2016 at 10:12 am

Yup, nearly everything on here rang true with me also!

PBJ – check
Reusing water bottles – check
Laptop – 10 years old later this year, still using XP (yikes!). – check
Clothes – Haven’t purchased work trousers since 2011 (double yikes!)
Laundry – Wearing clothes *at least* twice because “they’re not really dirty yet”. Okay this might be getting slightly embarrassing!

It’s just that my wife and I would rather spend my/our hard-earned funds on stuff that’s important to us, like paying down debt and travel! And as soon as debt is gone, travel and savings will take the top spot!

Great article!


88 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Gonna be a damn fun time traveling debt-free too – woo!


89 Threadie 55 February 20, 2016 at 3:45 pm

By “accident” I saved the price of a new refrigerator. I accidentally broke the frame of one of the drawers on my 20+ yr old refrigerator. I went to Sears Couldn’t find it there. I called the 800 # on the site; spent 40 minutes on the phone with a great guy named Chris.
He scored the part for $78 including shipping. Does that count as saving by accident?
Threadie 55


90 Jamie February 20, 2016 at 7:02 pm

I’d like to consider that I am frugal by purpose because because of some of circumstances, I gotta be frugal as I have financial goals to achieve. And, the only way to do it is to be frugal.


91 Stephen February 21, 2016 at 12:41 am

Definitely does count! Anything saved whether by accident or not is great. The key is to not spend by accident!


92 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:33 pm

Hah – Truth.


93 Elizabeth Vega February 21, 2016 at 7:21 am

I haven’t had a manicure or pedicure in nearly two years because we moved to another city, and I can’t be bothered to try and find a new place. Ditto with car washes: there’s only one place I like and we’re never in that area!

Lots of accidental frugality happening here in an effort to live more lightly on the planet: carpooling, avoiding disposable products, gardening, cooking from scratch.

Wouldn’t have it any other way!


94 Free Range Nation February 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

The more you can live off the financial grid, the more freedom you have. I cut my own hair also. I am a female and I have long wavy hair that is layered. I would get so annoyed at hairdressers not giving me what I want, that I started doing it myself and I love it! It saves a bundle of time and money.

I also love to walk everywhere. Walking is very underrated in the fitness world, but it is essential to our primal instincts, especially in such a sedentary world of cubicle/computer captivity.

Like you said, adopting a simple/minimal lifestyle is the quickest and most rewarding way to save money!


95 Brittney @ Life On A Discount February 21, 2016 at 11:56 am

I rarely buy clothing and haven’t both much in the past 3 years. I will pick up a shirt, a skirt or pants when I find them on clearance, but I don’t intentionally go out to buy clothing. Occasionally, I will swing by a thrift store and browse their inventory and it’s always the best when I find a brand name for $3-$4.

I limit how often I pay to have my eyebrows done to every 4 months. It’s more because I maintain the look right after getting them waxed by plucking. It saves about $60 a year and it saves the time of having to set up an appointment and going to get them done.


96 Christine February 22, 2016 at 11:07 am

About 20 years ago, my husband & I bought a special promo cup at a Regal Cinema which can be refilled for $1. We are members of their Crown Club (free to join) and regularly get free popcorn when we go. So even though we splurge on a theater movie, we snack for free and still use that 20 year old cup for a $1 drink which is plenty big to share. My husband still uses a flip phone with no data package. We buy good quality used cars and drive them for at least 10 years before replacing. We have friends who like to tease, but we’ll see who is laughing when we retire at the beach and they are working forever! #FrugalByAccident


97 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:37 pm

20 years old?? That’s older than some people on this blog reading right now, haha.. AWESOME.


98 Cheryl February 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

I save a good chunk of money as a result of just hating to get bad haircuts. I let my new boyfriend (now husband) give me a haircut after we had just started dating. I had gone nearly a year without one, because my last one was way too short. He did a great job, so I told him he was now my stylist. I liked that haircuts were now free. I got him to do my two boys haircuts after they got a couple really bad ones at the barber. I asked him to help me, but the boys fired me and insisted he cut their hair. I figure having him be the family barber and stylist easily saves me hundreds a year. And no bad haircuts.


99 Sarah February 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm

I have shoes from fifth grade. No lie. If I likes it, I keeps it.

– #hartzogswag
#allthehashtags #frugal


100 J. Money February 23, 2016 at 1:39 pm

#haha…. #Love it


101 B.C Kowalski February 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm

I totally know what you’re talking about with everything being so brand new all the time. I was watching Mork and Mindy the other day, a show from the late 70s early 80s. One particular episode centered around Mindy’s difficulty getting a record player fixed, and the rich, ditzy character on the show said “Oh if something’s broken I just throw it out and get a new one.” They all looked at her as if she were insane. I laughed because I thought, wow, that’s exactly what most people do now days! How things change in 30-some years…


102 AMW February 23, 2016 at 8:02 am

The most ridiculous thing is how many times it is actually cheaper to buy new than to fix….I have had every appliance in our house break in the last 2 years and only one time was it cheaper to fix than to buy new. Especially the fridge…$650 for a new one or $1000 to fix. I wish it made financial sense to fix stuff instead of just replace every single time!


103 J. Money February 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Good to research and make a more conscious decision though than just going out and replacing without even looking fixing :) Though I agree it’s crazy sometimes…


104 Lady FruFru February 23, 2016 at 7:52 am

I make my own lunches–because they taste better and are more nutritious than eating out every day. I would probably do this regardless of the cost. Food and nutrition are important to me. But still, I’m probably saving at least $9 a day.


105 SavvyFinancialLatina February 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

I am frugal by accident and choice, but must admit I do splurge on items. I’ve been spending more money on quality and making the house look nicer. We don’t have cellphone bills because both my husband and I have work phones.
I do pay for my parents’ cell phone bill but it’s on Lyca Wireless and only $17 a month. I do it so it’s easier to stay in touch with them and for them to communicate much easier.


106 J. Money February 29, 2016 at 4:03 pm

I like that you do that :)


107 Nathan February 27, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I love this topic.

I do the pb&j for lunches too. I prep the week’s worth on Sunday and freeze them. Then each morning I take one out. By the time lunch rolls around they are defrosted. Sometimes in the summer I’ll make my own jelly from farmers market berries as well.

I also prep healthy breakfasts for the week. We use a pressure cooker to make a batch of mixed beans (bought dry so they are super-cheap). I’ll divy this up into reusable containers and add either brown rice or pasta to each one. I’ll add extra flavor with spices (often alternating Mexican and Italian weeks), sauces/salsas, and veggies. It really doesn’t take much prep time on Sundays and it’s a breakfast that keeps me full until lunch. I find that since going vegetarian we’ve saved a lot of money.


108 J. Money February 29, 2016 at 4:04 pm

Woahhhh look at that system you’ve got sorted out there! Would love to see that working in real-time, haha…


109 Tiffanie @ SimpleWifeSimpleLife March 5, 2016 at 5:24 pm

You prompted me to come up with my own list and write about it haha. Mine were very similar to yours, with a few added (like accidentally-on-purpose never getting around to getting cable again once we moved this past summer…lol) but it was fun to look around and see the ways that we don’t even REALIZE we are saving money just by habits we’ve become accustomed to. (My hubby would live on PB&J as well…but only if I make them. He says he can taste the love in them and they’re better than the ones he makes lol)


110 J. Money March 16, 2016 at 5:31 pm

They DO taste better when other people make them! Haha… I believe him! :)


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