Thursday, June 16, 2011

Frugal with other people's money

Do you find that being frugal at home makes you frugal with money belonging to other people as well?

Mostly this extends to things like not wanting other people to buy me extravagant (or any) gifts, or spend money taking me out for dinner or buying me drinks. Things like that. But I find that it also carries over into work.

In my previous job, I managed a multi-million dollar marketing budget and regularly purchased advertising and promotions that cost hundreds to thousands (and sometimes, tens of thousands) of dollars. But I always asked for discounts and deals, and I did smaller things like re-use paper when possible and pick out the cheap pens and Staples brand post-its when I needed to order things. I brought in my own water glass and coffee mug and silverware so I wouldn't waste paper or plastic. I tried to bundle shipments and send them the cheapest method rather than the fastest whenever possible, and I emailed rather than made overseas or long-distance phone calls.

I wasn't told to do any of this - in fact, sometimes I was told specifically to send something overnight, whatever the cost, or otherwise spend money that I thought was unnecessary. I can't seem to help it though; finding ways to save money seems to be in my blood.

One of the perks Peanut gets from his job is a free parking spot in a commercial parking structure downtown. We live close enough that he can walk to work (or I can drop him off on my way) so we don't NEED the parking spot - but it's sure nice to have for when we go out late, or need to pick something up from a store, or eventually to put our car when we have people visiting who are using our spot at our apartment complex. But since we don't need it, Peanut is going to tell his boss so that if it's costing the company a lot of money he can cancel it (we think it's a couple hundred bucks a month, but we're not sure if the company got a bulk discount or if it's included in their rent or something).

Some people might think this is crazy, but to us, it doesn't make sense to spend money on unnecessary things - even if that money's not coming out of our own pocket.

(We'll see if we regret this decision later on when we have visitors in the winter and have to find street parking!)


  1. It does become a part of you. Without even noticing I do things like turn off all the lights and wash only full loads of laundry just to save electricity and just like you where possible I try to avoid people spending extra money on me, I usually spring for the cheapest drink where possible and while I am at work I try to do little things as well to save money.

  2. I cringe when I see a huge waste of money at work even when it's not my money.

    You should get Peanut to try to negotiate for a bonus or something instead of the parking spot. Phrase it as a win-win. If the parking spot costs XYZ per year then maybe Peanut can get 50% of XYZ as a bonus and it's a win-win. That way if the spot costs the company nothing you can keep it.

  3. I ordered a bunch of 60" tv's for work and I totally asked for a discount for buying more than 1. It's not my money however, I would ask for a discount if I was buying them for my house (not sure why I would need multiple 60" tv's but it's just an example)with my own money. Even if they say no I am still happy I asked.

  4. I can definitely relate to this! How could frugality not carry over from your own money to others'?

    I do this at work by ordering the cheapest office supplies possible and just by avoiding expenses that I don't believe are necessary. Almost every year we order brand new Christmas cards to mail out. This year, I counted up our stockpile and was able to use a variety of old cards instead of buying new ones.

    This has also carried over into my family. For instance, I made sure to get deals and scrimp wherever possible on our wedding, which my parents were paying for. For my trip to NYC in May with Mom, I've been thinking up all kinds of ways to save her money - like renting an apartment from an individual instead of using a hotel or taking the Megabus instead of flying.


Thanks for commenting!