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December 08, 2010


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I'm always amused at the people who believe that they MUST have a cell phone.

From a strictly financial standpoint ... if you are going to miss out on a sale or other money-making opportunity if you do not have it, then yes, you should have one. Otherwise, you do not need it.

All of those apply to my father except the items about paying for college and credit cards. He never had a mortgage and I don't think he's bought a new car or had a car loan for over 30 years.

Dad had no problem with me taking student loans and my parents helped with my education costs to the best of their ability at the time. My dad does not think credit cards are a tool of the devil. He doesn't use them but there is no extreme Dave Ramsey style hatred of them. He bought a cell phone before I did.

I still get a kick out of these articles that think Plasma/LCD TV's and cell phones are bad.

Anyone who has bought a TV in the modern era has either a Plasma or LCD "flatscreen" -- and they are pretty affordable. The other option is not owning a TV at all for the most part.

Cell phones -- I have had a cell phone, and only a cell phone (no land line) for over 10 years now. Lots of people in the modern era are doing this. Personally, I consider land lines to be a waste of money.

My answers:

"Roughly 85 percent of cheapskates polled said they plan to pay off their home mortgages early or already have."

Well on the way, but not there yet.

"More than five out of every six cheapskates buy their automobiles used instead of new, often paying cash instead of taking out a loan."

I have never owned a new car, nor do I plan to. Way too much money "thrown away" in my opinion.

"They teach their children about money and frugality from a young age."

No children, but I teach everyone I know about money and frugality.

"They believe strongly in the value of a college education for their children, but feel equally strong about how to pay for that education: the kids need to shoulder much of the burden and don't even think about taking out a student loan."

I've commented on this in the past in other posts; I don't place as much value on a college degree than many do. But, I do believe that if you don't pursue the degree, you must still acquire the knowledge. Regardless of how/where you get the education, you still need to get it even if you don't want to pay for the degree.

"They spend considerably less than the typical American family on food, clothing, and recreation, and way, way, way less on dining out."

All of the above. I also have a well-stocked pantry that I replenish regularly with on sale items.

"They equate "debt" with "cancer," "imprisonment," and "death."

I never verbalized the feeling, but all three words describe how I feel about debt. Mainly imprisonment.

"They report throwing away only about 10 percent of the amount of food most Americans toss out."

Yep. We have little waste after a meal and rarely have something go bad on the shelf or in the fridge.

"They rarely replace an item unless it's worn out and can't be repaired."

Again, yep.

"Most of them still proudly wear a couple of pieces of clothing that they bought during the Carter administration."

I wish. Although, if I could, I would. I do wear ties and some clothes from the '90s, if that counts. And, yes, the fasionistas do give me the fish-eye when I do, but I don't really care.

"They are nearly one hundred times more likely to own a pet they found as a stray, or adopted from an animal shelter, than they are to buy one at a pet store or from a breeder."

I own a dog and two cats, and all animals are rescue animals. I even drove to a different state to get the dog.

"They're far more likely to own a Crock-Pot than a plasma TV, to have a clothesline than an iPod, and a good many of them are among the few non-cave-dwelling holdouts yet to own a cell phone."

Well, I fail at this. I do own a crock pot (3, actually) but I also own an LCD TV, don't currently have a clothesline (but have had one and would like one again - I have the same situation as FMF), no iPod, and both my wife and I each have phones (mine is provided by work).

9 out of 11 - I guess that makes me a cheapskate.

We are semi-cheapskate (mainly because of my hubby). We do like nice stuff and tend to buy bigger purchases (furniture lately) that is "top" of the line...but pay cash and know that it will last longer than paying less for cheaper quality.

We do own cell phones, but use them until they die or close to death(you don't need to replace them every year or two!!) We don't own a land-line though, so like many people, our cells are our home phones.

We do plan to start very early (before they even understand completely) teaching our kids about money (saving, spending, and sharing)...that's a good 2 years away though since baby #1 is still "downloading" until February. We actually talk about this subject on our first date...finances and kids, not having kids together.

I LOVE going out to eat, so that is one tough area...but we do go out less than we use to, and try to go "cheaper" at sit down restaurants (hubby don't like fast food.)

Still working on cutting costs, but I think we do pretty good for a young couple in late 20's/early 30's in that we don't have credit card debt, we do have one remaining car loan since hubby's car went caput 3 years earlier than we expected (we were saving up to pay cash...used that for a downpayment, now saving up again for when my car needs to be replaced), we follow a budget, don't own a house (pay debt and save up first), and we have been aggressive about paying down what debt we do have (student loans and one car), and work to not go further into debt.

- we plan to pay off our mortgage early

- we buy our cars new so that we know what their history is, but plan to drive them for 10+ years until they don't work anymore

- we will teach our kids early about money (once they are old enough - we only have one child now, and he just turned 1)

- I believe in kids shouldering a lot of the cost for college, however I have no problem with a student loan. I consider it like a mortgage.

- we probably spend less than the average family on food - i'm not sure what the average family spends

- I dont' have a problem with debt - i have a mortgage and student loans - and i use my credit cards and pay them off every month, which is revolving debt. I'd rather spread out payments on a 0% interest special than pay it off asap.

- we are bad with the amount of food we throw out. mainly because we get disorganized in the fridge and things go bad.

- We don't replace items very often

- i was only alive for 7 months of the carter administration, so this isn't applicable to me. but i do have some very old clothing.

- we bought our dog from a farm. way cheaper than a breeder or pet store, but not free.

- i own a crockpot, have a CRT TV that is laughable, have a clothesline, but also a zune.

I can't believe they are holdouts on the cell phones - usually the price for two cell phones is cheaper than for 1 land line.

@Bad_Brad - I think the cell phone thing is generational? I'm always surprised by people who think they need a land line.

No Ipods. No LCD TVs. Mortgage will be retired 10 years early.

Line dry, all the way. In the Northeast! I'm practically a fanatic about it.

My 92 year old Aunt, a millionaire, was forced by my cousins to buy a clothesdryer in her final year on earth, because she was getting live-in help on account of her frailty. "I don't understand it." she said, "Air is free."

Twenty-two years ago, as poor, college student newlyweds in a rental that included a clothes dryer, we could not afford the $6 belt that would make the dryer functional. The landlord's solution to a broken dryer was to simply remove it. So I traipsed accross the yard, thru what seemed like perpetually wet grass, to a clothesline 100 feet from the house. When we were in the market for a home and saw one with a pulley style clothesline attached to the deck -- I felt like I'd hit the big time. In the decades since, I've been offered free clothes dryers numerous times as people upgraded to a color-matched set. My income topped six-figures a long time ago, but still I line dry. So does a doctor buddy of mine who makes $250,000 annually.

It's quite simple and not at all time-consuming. Sheets and towels go onto the line. Small-goods go on a collapsable wooden drying rack and are never in view of the neighbors. All other clothing comes out of the wash, gets a good shake and is put onto a hanger where it will remain until worn. The hangers either go on the clothesline or stay on a rod suspended alongside the washer until dry. Drying indoors adds welcome moisture to the air during the winter months -- but where I live, most things will dry outside, even in winter, so long as it isn't raining or snowing. I have to wear formal business attire 5 days per week -- and an added bonus of line drying is that I can wash and hang nearly all 'dry-clean-only' clothing.

Clothes last longer when you aren't turning them into lint.

And I almost's greener, too!

@ Sarah - true enough. I guess my question would be, why does one need both?

There's an incredibly strong generational impact on one's "Cheapness".
My wife and I grew up in England during WWII and both experienced very severe rationing of almost everything, and being bombed by the German Luftwaffe every night at times.
There were years when my mother would take my sister and I to the "Clothing exchange" where we would hand in clothes of all types that we had outgrown and exchange them for larger sizes of someone else's hand-me-downs. Obviously with food rationing you couldn't just go to a restaurant or fast food place for a great meal. There was a system of so called British Restaurants where you could get a very inexpensive and very basic standard meal made from ingredients that were home grown. With German U-boats prowling the waters surrounding our island, imports were very scarce and were primarily limited to essential war items, many from Canada and the USA. There was no gasoline available for pleasure uses, you could only get a small allocation if your car was somehow an essential part of the war effort. All windows had to be blacked out at night to make it difficult for the enemy to spot targets and there were air-raid wardens that patrolled the streets to enforce the regulations.
The big slogan that we all lived by during those years was - "Waste Not, Want Not" which is why, in later life, I was very tough on my children when it came to wasting anything such as food, water, paper, pencils, electricity, clothing, money etc. These habits that are formed at an early age tend to stay with you your whole life and are very hard to change. I could go on and on about some of my very frugal habits but it would be quite embarassing for me and a shock to your typical modern young person that grew up after the war, especially here in the USA. Another example was that the weekly meat ration in the UK was just a few ounces per person but that "offal" was not rationed - that's why we developed a taste for liver, kidneys, tripe and tongue, but unfortunately our children born over here never acquired the taste and refused to eat it. During the very worst bombing my father sent my mother and my sister and me to live with an aunt & uncle in the country and life was a lot better there where you could hunt wild birds and rabbits and often buy milk, cheese, butter, chickens & eggs from a nearby farmer. My aunt & uncle kept chickens but it was hard to eat them once you had given them names and got to know them.

I guess I'm a cheapskate:

1. Home- live in the first home we bought, and it was paid for 100% in cash from day 1. Check.

2. I don't have a car - use a company car. My wife did buy her car new, check.

3,4. No children

5. I am not sure how much the average person spends dining out but we are spending a fair amount of money on that- at least $100 per week. Sometimes as much as $300. I guess we can afford to since there is no mortgage or car payments.

6. Have never taken on significant debt, consider it to be imprisonment.

7. Try not to waste food but some gets thrown out if it spoiled.

8,9. I normally save an item until it is well past worn out. My wife is more of the mindset of throwing or giving away something and buying something new but it is within reason so I have compromised. One thing- she usually gets a new mobile phone every 18 months - 2 years and I would tend to hold on to it much longer. Out here there are no subsidized phones so that amounts to about $700 each time a new phone is purchased!

10. No pets.

11. We have an LCD TV and an Ipod. Definitely have cell phones- I gave away my land line in 2000 only using DSL for the computer. We do have a crockpot but use it for making liquid soap and lotions!


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