I didn’t mean to be frugal, honest!

When people start budgeting to pay off debt or save up for a goal, they generally try to “frugalize”. They cut back on things they don’t value and sometimes they even cut back on things they do value in order to reach their goals quicker. That sounds like it sucks.

Crying money gif

Obviously if I had led a more frugal life, I probably definitely wouldn’t be dealing with so much debt. But what’s done is done. I eventually figured out that instead of being frugal, I could be minimalistic. That’s way cooler and sucks way less.  That being said, I do have some frugal tendencies that are completely accidental. Because god knows I would never be frugal intentionally.

I didn’t mean to be frugal, but:

I don’t buy coffee out.* I have a Keurig at home and a Keurig at work. There is absolutely no reason for me to be later in the morning than I already am by stopping for coffee. I’m also frugal because I drink my coffee black, so I don’t buy creamer or Splenda.

I don’t have expensive hobbies. I like watching TV, reading, the Internet, and writing. Watching TV is $15.98/month (Netflix & Hulu), reading is free (library & blogs), Internet is free (our 4/20 friendly neighbors haven’t figured out how to put a password on their Wi-Fi yet), and writing is either free (this blog) or I get paid to do it (Money After Graduation & Careful Cents). I actually net a profit from my hobbies. Holla!

I don’t buy pajamas. Okay, get your heads out of the gutter. I steal Steve’s shirts to sleep in because they are comfy. He hates it, but that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.

 I don’t have pets. Am I afraid of the costs of Fido or Fluffy? No, I’m just not an animal person. Not only do pets cost a ton, but they are destructive, dirty, and only cute for a few months. Sacrilege, I know! Oh well, that’s how I feel. (P.S. When I have children someday, the very first lie I will tell them as a parent is that Daddy is allergic to animal hair. And so is Santa.)

I don’t waste gas. I hate driving. Hate it. I am the most anxious driver ever so I only drive when absolutely necessary. Come to think of it, I’m a pretty anxious backseat driver as well. If I ride with you, I WILL check your blind spot. I can’t help it.

Are you accidentally frugal? Or are you frugal on purpose? Or YOLO, so screw frugality?

*I do buy coffee out for road trips home or out of state. But those don’t happen very often, just ask my mother. I also buy the occasional pumpkin spice latte during the fall because pumpkin is the greatest thing ever in life and I don’t care that my $3 latte could have been $614,754.71 in 80 years** had I invested it.

**I didn’t do the math on this, so there is no need to check my figure. It’s 100% wrong.

[Image from Buzzfeed]


  1. Is that gif from zombieland (I love that movie!)? I don’t buy pjs either nor does my wife. I just wear old t-shirts and boxers and she wears old sundresses. I don’t have a gym membership because I just run outside (this is a new habit because I actually hate running, but I hate paying for the gym even more).

    • Yes, it is!

      I give you props on running even though you don’t like it. I’ve tried running before, but I can’t breathe correctly? I think I just overthink things. But I’ve also learned to stop paying for gym memberships. I never get my money’s worth. I just walk now :).

      Thanks for reading, Brian!

  2. I’m usually frugal on purpose, but like you I have some cheap habits that help out. A love of TV is one and I dislike coffee so yay for pinching pennies there. I also have an intense dislike of shopping so I pretty much buy new clothes twice a year.

    • You dislike coffee? How do you stay awake!? 🙂

      I’m not a big fan of shopping either but that’s because I’ve put on a few (more than a few) pounds as a cubicle jockey. Also, I lack style.

  3. I’m frugal because that’s how I was raised so it just seems normal to me and not like a big sacrifice. Everything in your list applies to me as well.

    • That’s great that you were able to stay frugal as an adult! I was raised in a balance of frugal and not frugal. I tend to lean towards not being particularly frugal, but pretty damn minimalistic. Thanks for reading, Sweta!

  4. I didn’t mean to be frugal but…I’m an enviro kid. So I don’t feel the need to own a car, large house, excessive (anything), and I never waste food.

  5. I’m accidentally frugal in that I don’t drink coffee or have pets, and additionally I hate wasting food so I always make use of anything edible I buy. However, I do like “nice things” which often come at a price, but it’s something I’m working on reducing (or finding cheaper alternatives).

    • I’m with you on the “nice things”. Not with you on the coffee thing. What is up with people who don’t drink coffee? 🙂

      Thanks for reading, Anna!

  6. I don’t mean to be frugal… but I re-use my Ziploc bags for my lunches every day at work. Actually, everything about my lunch is frugal. I refuse to ever get food for lunch I always pack. I pack the same thing every day: PB&J, 3-4 big carrots, 2-3 stalks of celery, and an apple. Each thing goes in it’s own little Ziploc bag and then I re-use those bags the entire week, I throw them away on Friday haha! My lunch costs somewhere between $1-2 every day, but I love it- I look forward to it every day and it fills me up! I suppose it would only technically be frugal if I did it just to save money but I genuinely enjoy it and I save the bags because I hate going to the grocery store just to buy Ziploc bags, I did it once and decided never again what a waste of time!

    • I need to try and reuse plastic bags. I pack the same thing every day too, so there really isn’t a reason why I can’t. Glad your lunch makes you happy :). Thanks for reading, Steph!

  7. I am so accidentally frugal. I prefer minimalism, too. Sounds better than frugal.

    Pets are so expensive. My building doesn’t allow them. (People think I am cruel when I say I don’t want them though so I will say “allergic” at times.)
    I need coffee. I was thinking of getting a Kuerig. How do you like yours?
    I bring my own lunch, just cause I like it better. Love riding the bike, taking transit, except in snow, hate driving, especially in snow. I swear I am the only under 35 over 12 year old person at my library. Love it! Shopping? Hate it.
    But travel? My weakness.
    Spending time with friends over dinner and/or wine? Priority.
    Gym? Necessity (weather is too crazy in my part of the USA)
    Ah. Part-time minimalist it is for now.

    • I LOVE my Keurig! I highly recommend them.

      Wow, you are exceptionally accidentally frugal! And you seem to have the same priorities as me (except for the gym – keep your eyes peeled for next Wednesday’s post on working out for free!). Part-time minimalist, I like that :).

  8. There are some things that I’m accidentally frugal on and some things that I’m not.

    I choose to workout at home and have many DVDs from many different instructors. I can go months without buying a new workout because I have many but it’s still hundreds of dollars cheaper.

    I gave up the home line years ago because I thought it was single. Always had the cheapest TV/internet service available till they did away with that plan. Drink coffee from home 99% of the time. Gave up Soda sort of because I had to for an eye problem and that’s where the coffee addiction came in to play.

    I don’t like going to the movies, never really have because people are slobs and theaters really don’t clean up after each movie like they used to…and there’s nothing worse than sitting in your seat with your shoes sticking to the floor. That grosses me out and apparently saves me lots of money.

    I do have pets but do everything but vet work myself and it keeps me from wanting to hit places where I might spend more money that I don’t have.

    I find a lot of cool stuff at the thrift store and find it kind of like looking through someones closet (which I used to love doing when I’d go to friends houses) and I’ve found some fantastic deals on name brand items for just a couple dollars.

    Do a lot of my own home maintenance but know my limits and so far….the condo has been good to us. Everything but the dishwasher has been fixable (and we’re washing dishes right now by hand because I haven’t really had the time or money to find the best deal – paying of debt is the priority right now.

    I also love a deal….hate to overspend and will over analyze a purchase.

    The things I gave up on purpose are Cable, expensive contract cell phone plans, foods not on sale and only buying if on sales and will seriously stock up if I have a coupon, eating out (we still eat out once in a while).

    • Wow, CJ! You are super frugal — both intentionally and accidentally. Sounds like you will have no problem tackling your debt :).

      I have some serious issues with the thrift store as I always saw it as a place to get costumes for Halloween and school productions when I was young. I’m not great at putting outfits together, so thrift stores really stress me out. I should try to go again though, it’s been years.

      Thankfully, I don’t have to deal with home maintenance in an apartment (which is great as this place is always having problems).

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