The Stupid Things People Do To Save Money

Bubleride Deluxe Baby StrollerI was driving Moose to the local Chevron station to put air in his 18 inch beasty tires when I came across this picture to the right.  Study the picture carefully, what do you see?  What you see are two lovely moms trying to figure out how to use an industrial powered air pump to inflate their baby stroller!

The stroller was the deluxe version, with nice visor, four off-road looking tires, and space for two babies.  I looked it up online and it says I can buy the “Bumbleride Indie Twin Double All” for only $800.  Wow!

Anyway, I told the moms to be careful, because the industrial power air pump is meant for tires 100 times the size and they could literally blow up their stroller tires.  They brushed me off, and said “Oh not to worry, we’ve done this before.”  Hmmm, OK!

10 minutes later….. seriously, 10 minutes later, they are screaming at each other!  “WTF is wrong with this thing!  Ugh, how come I can’t the nozzle to fit?!  We need to get a hand pump next time!”  For someone who has “done this before“, they sure are making a fuss and taking a damn long time!

I couldn’t help giggling like a school girl and started taking a couple pictures.  It was seriously the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while.  When I first arrived, they were standing behind another car who was getting its tires pumped.  It’s like waiting in line at the McDonald’s drive-through in your spandex behind a fuming exhaust pipe!


I was trying to figure out why these women would not want to just buy a $10-$15 hand pump to inflate their overpriced super stroller.  The only logical conclusion I got was they there were being cheap.  Seriously, who spends 10 minutes and all that frustration and embarrassment to try and pump their stroller wheels at the gas station!

During my 10 minute wait, I also reflected on what type of cheap bastard things I’ve done.  Nothing at all!  Just kidding, I’m thinking things over now.

A List Of Things That Might Be Considered Cheap

* Haven’t bought a new pair of jeans in 8 years because I think nice ones are a rip-off.  $200… really?!  Besides, the Diesel jeans I bought 11 years ago for $120 still fit me.  Cheap bastard?

* I saved years and years of living expenses by the time I turned 30.  Could have spent like Snoop Dogg, but didn’t.  My reasoning was I needed to save because I was whipped so hard at my first job from ages 22-24, that there was no way I could survive if I had to work more than 20 years.  Cheap bastard?

* When I was in college, I bought my girlfriend an awesome fake Prada wallet when I went to a night market in China.  I didn’t tell her it was fake, because it looked so real.  Besides, I didn’t have money to spend $300 on a real one.  I think she finally figured it out, but im not sure.  Cheap bastard?

* When I go to one friend’s tennis club, I’d rather drive around the block a couple times than pay the $3/hour parking fee.  If after 5 minutes, I will quit.  The club is in a sparsely populated area, so I feel bad paying for parking if I don’t need to.  Cheap bastard?

* Even though it’s 8pm, I’d rather wait 15 minutes for the bus to come, go on a 25 minute ride, and use my pre-paid monthly bus pass than pay $15 for a 10 minute cab ride home.  Frugal or wasting precious time?

* Rather starve than spend $13 on an over-priced sandwich at the airport, even if I know it won’t be another 3-5 hours before my next meal.  Cheap bastard?

* Rather continue watching my 7-year old TFT-LCD TV with faded color than spend $800-1,200 for a new one because it is such a pain in the ass to change systems.  With new technology, I need to buy a new receiver and cable, leading to another $600+ in expenses.  Frugal?

* My furnace is around 13-15 years old, but still works.  It costs about $3,000 to replace with a more energy efficient, better looking, new one.  I don’t want to bother until it breaks, unlike a water heater, where I highly recommend one change once the recommended shelf-life is over.  Frugal?

* Decided to put black tape on Moose’s dashboard, rather than fix the traction control and ABS lights because it costs $1,500+ and my mechanic says don’t fix it because the functions work, just not the useless circuit board.   I do feel a little embarrased if I take someone I don’t know for a ride.  I hope they don’t notice the black tape.  Cheap bastard?


People do stupid stuff with their time, all the time in order to save money.  As I’ve said before, there’s no point making money if you don’t spend your money!  As I get older, I realize this more and more.

After experiencing the Asian crisis in 1997, the dotcom bust in 2000, and the economic Armageddon in 2008-2009, it’s very hard to change my cheap bastard tendencies, but I’m trying! It’s 2015 now and the economy has fully recovered. Stocks are close to record highs and the real estate market is strong.


Manage Your Finances In One Place: One of the best way to become financially independent and protect yourself is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize your money. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances on an Excel spreadsheet. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how all my accounts are doing, including my net worth. I can also see how much I’m spending and saving every month through their cash flow tool.

The best feature is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer, which runs your investment portfolio(s) through its software in a click of a button to see what you are paying. I found out I was paying $1,700 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was hemorrhaging! There is no better financial tool online that has helped me more to achieve financial freedom. It only takes a minute to sign up.

Updated on 2/3/2015


Financial Samurai – “Slicing Through Money’s Mysteries”


Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship. Sam focuses on helping readers build more income in real estate, investing, entrepreneurship, and alternative investments in order to achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

Subscribe To Private Newsletter


  1. says

    Haha Love this! I recently went cheap and hired cheap plumbers. Boy was that a mistake! I had to pay a better plumber to fix everything they broke

  2. says

    I take the 15 or 20 mins to return beer bottles anytime I have a larger than normal get together. I then save the coins in a water jug.

    I will wait in line for much cheaper gas even though I don’t really drive that much

  3. says

    – Have Mr. LH squeeze his hands into small, rubber gloves to color my hair since I just won’t spend the $85 on a salon coloring. Cheap Bastard? Yes.
    – Park far, far away to avoid parking fees (and door dings). Frugal I say.
    – Duct taped the floor of our new-ish tent. Again, Frugal considering the tent was $400.

    I like keeping my money in the bank, so most of my spending habits I consider frugal -yet others might consider it cheap bastard. ;)

  4. says

    – make Mrs. RB40 cut my hair…
    – wear clothes with holes in them. my sock collection is not in good shape
    – drink water instead of buying drinks at restaurants
    – I hate paying for parking too
    I’m pretty cheap in general.

  5. says

    Dont mind be considered a cheap bastard especially by those who don’t save a dime and will be working until they die.

    The cheap wallet is too funny Sam! I’m thinking it clearly wouldnt work with my wife. I might try it just to see the look on her face. Priceless.

    Airport food is just a waste of money in my opinion just give me a soda and nuts on the plane I wont starve.

    I also saw your comment on PPG site I am waiting to see if she gives you the amount of money she makes online.

  6. SwearJar says

    That stroller is a great example of why you should consider NOT buying over-optioned products. Why they hell does a baby stroller need pneumatic tires anyway? (Because that makes it “the best”). Maybe for a jogging stroller but for a traditional stroller it seems ridiculous. The same thing applies to everything from washing machines to cars. Remember that BMW 6 series you were eying? That thing is awesome, but also has a space shuttles worth of technology in it. Imagine how much black tape you would need to cover warning lights on one of those things in 20 years!

  7. says

    I think you need a third choice, just stupid. I hate paying for valet parking, if I have a choice. I hate any kind of fee and will always ask to avoid it. I hate paying retail so I shop discount stores or online.

  8. says

    Sam, one thing I’ve learned about you is that you can easily afford to do whatever you want.

    And the reason you can do so, is because of these kinds of decisions you’ve made in your life.

    The maxim: “no point making money if you don’t spend your money”, may be true, but why spend money on stupid stuff that you’ll end up regretting?

    That’s why I find myself more and more making more home-cooked meals. I’m just getting tired of eating sub standard food and paying top dollar.

  9. San Diego says

    Sam isn’t your frugal mentality what allowed you to be in the position you are in now and achieve financial freedom? Don’t be ashamed of your frugality, embrace it! My grandmother who lived through the depression taught me to value what I have and to use it to its fullest extent. Its like that Sheryl Crow song Soak up the Sun goes… “It’s not having what you want. It’s wanting what you’ve got”

    • says

      Maybe! I’m not ashamed of my frugal tendencies, I’m just not proud of them. They are what they are!

      The folks from the great depression really have a lot to teach us big spenders!

  10. Kris says

    I never pay for parking f I don’t have to, which means if I need to walk a half mile to my destination so be it (time permitting). I also will wait for the bus rather than take a cab – the exception is when I was a waitress and I would get off work at 3am.
    I think everything you said us frugal, not cheap!

  11. says

    I probably would have done most things on your list – except the fake Prada purse; I will either have the genuine article or nothing (I don’t go for labels and don’t think it is cheap). As to still wearing your jeans from 11 year ago I am thinking ‘lucky’ rather than ‘cheap’ bastard – I wish I could fit in anything I used to wear so long ago.

    On your list, the one that gets me most is Airport food – and it is hardly edible anyway.

  12. Mike Hunt says

    Taking an empty water bottle to the airport and filling it with water fountain water instead of paying for bottled water…

    Preferring to walk instead of taking the subway for 1 or 2 stations.

    I’m sure there’s plenty of other things…


  13. says

    I think the things on your list make sense, except the fake Prada. But when younger, it’s all good right :)

    As for the rest, I’m on board though I might say that time can be more valuable than money in some circumstances, and there’s a tradeoff point. Why save a few bucks and spend a lot of time trying to do it?

    Overall, trying to save money is a great thing, and nothing to be ashamed of. As long as it’s not hurting or deceiving somebody else, wasting your own time, or putting your own (and/or family’s) wellbeing at risk, might as well lockdown that money and keep it. Those who call it cheap might be working when 80 years old, while the previously frugal person might have lived the last 30 years traveling and enjoying life.

    • says

      Nothing wrong with fake Prada! Now that I’m older, I think fake Prada for $30 instead of $300 makes more sense than ever, especially if it’s just a wallet or bag!

      That said, I’m not into any of that stuff at all.

  14. Untemplater says

    Hahaha this post made me laugh so hard. I do stupid things to save money all the time. Duct tape, super glue, and dark markers are my staples. I fixed my mom’s cracked trash can with duct tape. It looks so ghetto but it doesn’t matter cuz it’s a trash can right? Lol and I haven’t gone to the salon for a haircut in 7 years (and I’m a girl!). So yes I’m guilty of being cheap but I prefer to call it savvy frugal. ;)

  15. James Brian says

    I have a 9 year old Land Rover with a symphony of leaks and squeaks, to avoid expensive parts & repairs, I:

    – Superglue the wiperblades back together, this gets another year out of them
    – I Haven’t replaced the front wiper fluid motor for 3 years, 2 east coast winters showed it wasn’t that necessary
    – I’m ok with the constant dashboard lights, but turn up the stereo to cover all the minor drivetrain noises
    – The electric rear tailgate door lock motor has failed, I open it with a hanger from the drycleaners I’ve fashioned into a hook (I used the cardboard part for a handle) to grab the latch from inside

      • James Brian says

        It still hasn’t presented me me with a big repair yet in 99000 miles so far.

        If it makes it til next year when I buy a new daily driver, I’ll probably have it for another 10 years for an expedition vehicle.

  16. says

    I never pay for water – water bottle. I never pay for airport snacks or food – bring my own. I don’t pay for TV – only Netflix. I don’t buy books – use the library.

    And like others have mentioned, parking. I have a sickness where I can’t pay for it! I will drive in larger and larger concentric circles until I find a spot rather than pay parking garage fees!

    I make financial sacrifices today for a financially independent future. We can do that, most people can’t.

    Mr. Everyday Dollar

  17. says

    I do frugal/cheap stuff all the time. Before I bought the $13 (including shipping) eyeglasses that I’m wearing now, my old ones were falling apart. The earpiece would pop off and I’d sew it back on with dental floss. I think my television was manufactured back in the year 2000. I got it for free from a fellow freecycler. It must weigh 200 pounds.

  18. Steve-O says

    – No smartphone
    – Dropped my XM subscription
    – Cut my own hair (which unfortunately I use as justification for other purchase)
    – Learned to work on my own vehicles. Typical trade-off is a $37 part vs. $500 at a shop. I do minor car repairs for others as well, and relish in saving THEM money too! I DON’T believe in sacrificing safety or more costly repairs down the road by being TOO frugal.
    – Same goes for home repairs. You can find parts and instructions for fixing ANYTHING on the web.
    – Share meals out with my wife. Typical american portions are usually enough for 2.

  19. says

    * I drive the main route through a buh-gillion villages as opposed to paying tolls on the thruway.
    * I don’t have a land line to my home
    * I refuse don’t have cable, not one of those converter boxes for digital signals, because I refuse to pay any money for any TV when the quality is questionable to begin with

  20. says

    I can be cheap as well. I think it runs in the family. Both my parents are pretty cheap even though they can afford to live better. I think spending habits are just that, habits. We develop these habits and they stay with us unless something changes in our lives.

  21. Bret @ Hope to Prosper says

    Last weekend, I almost built my own filter for my wife’s turtle pond, because that’s what my brother (Cheap Bastard) told me he did. After whatching several How To videos on YouTube, I realized that it would take a lot of time and cost $30-40 for the parts. Or, I could buy a nice commercial model from the store for $69. So, I bought the commercial model and hooked it up in about a half hour. I asked my brother how long it took him to build his pond filter and he told me six hours. That adds up to $5 an hour and it didn’t sound like much fun. I’m glad I skipped it.

  22. Money Beagle says

    I’ve always heard about the appliance replacement and how you’ll make your money back if you replace it. First, many don’t have the cash on hand to replace the furnace, dishwasher, washing machine, and fridge, and second, the savings might not materialize under actual usage conditions (like opening the fridge door which is probably something that eats into your savings). Third, even if they do materialize, do people really take the 40 bucks a month that they save in their utility bill and save it to replenish their cash fund? Most likely not. And fourth, right after you go ahead and kill your savings to replace something that was still working, you’ll have something go out that you weren’t planning on replacing that now requires a bunch of cash.

    In other words, I’m all about trying to make appliances and such last, not just replacing them because that’s what the appliance companies tell me is a good idea. It is a good idea. For them.

  23. says

    – Always split meals on dates (my wife and I don’t eat a lot)
    – Never order a soda because I get them free at work, how could I ever pay for them?
    – Only buy clothes and shoes once a year with Christmas/Bday gift cards
    – Wife cuts hair (with clippers, no bowl ;) )
    – Cloth diapers for baby
    – Ride bus instead of driving to work

    I guess this stuff isn’t cheap for the sake of being cheap. My parents did a lot of that growing up:

    Got mad because they didn’t have money to pay bills. Ate out 3 times a week as a big family.
    Got mad because we drank the juice too fast. Bought cheapest food possible. Always broke. Always had new cars with car payments.

    I could never understand the logic, but it’s part of my motivation to get people on a budget. It’s eliminates the excuses and stops you from always feeling like you need to save a penny, but have no clue how to get ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *