Tightwads feel guilty spending money, Frugal folk have fun saving.” says psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo via the May issue of Reader's Digest.

I thought I would see how you all compare to the reader's of Reader's Digest in their Frugal or Tightwad survey on a couple of situations. The situations are below and the majority answer per RD will be at the bottom. See if you agree or disagree with them.

flickr/CC - indi.ca
Frugal or Tightwad?

1. “We used to frequent a diner where the owners were very hard workers but very, very cheap. They would wash the foam cups and reuse coffee filters. Fine, if they stopped there. But they would also wash and reuse their sandwich toothpicks! Come on-how much money could they be saving? To this day, when I eat a club sandwich in a restaurant, I snap the toothpicks so they can't be reused.” - Greg Livadas,Rochester, New York

2. “My grandparents gave me a gift. I tore off the wrapping paper and was thrilled to find a blue Tiffany's box! When I opened it, I found a hair scrunchie inside. That's it. A scrunchie.” - Michelle 

3. “I sign up for e-mail newsletters from our local movie theaters using different e-mail addresses. That way, I regularly get coupons for a free large popcorn, with unlimited refills!” - Jay Koebele, Winfield, Kansas

4. “My kids love oatmeal, so when I saw a sale, I got a year's worth for $5. It was the high-fiber kind, though, and a wiser mother probably could have warned me-they got terrible diarrhea. I thought, What am I going to do now? And I was so cheap, I kept giving it to them for about a month, because I thought maybe their bodies would adjust. They didn't.” - Joanie Demer, Eureka, California 

5. “My sister would save the candy canes from her Christmas tree and reuse them, for years. Who knew you could do that?” - Sarah Wiles,Skaneateles, New York 

6. “My husband videotaped the contractor who cleaned our furnace so he could do it himself the following year by consulting his very own DIY video.” - Joanne Rock, Peru, New York 

There are more but I listed a few that caught my attention. Below are how the above were rated. How did you do and what do you think of some of these situations? Were some unethical or extreme in you opinion?

1) 92% said Tightwad
2) 80% said Tightwad
3) 52% said Frugal
4) 73% said Tightwad
5) 66% said Frugal
6) 78% said Frugal


  1. a.b. (Mrs. Modern Tightwad) // Wednesday, July 07, 2010 7:39:00 AM  

    Wow. That psychologist has the very worst definition I've ever heard. I would probably say that any person who is frugal has elements of being a tightwad and vice-versa; it's all about where you choose to spend money. In my experience tightwads don't feel guilty about saving money, they just don't like to spend. In fact, most people I know don't like tightwads because they feel the tw is oblivious to being "so cheap" because it just seems to come natural to them. Regarding the list I thought:

    #1: Unsanitary and a health code violation (so neither, just plain wrong)
    #2: Happened every year, I think it was even the same box that floated different people's presents
    #3: Generally violates terms of service and is unethical (also, just plain wrong)
    #4: Frugal
    #5: Frugal, but risky

    It seems there is this feeling that if you're willing to do something unethical, unsanitary or rude to be a tightwad. I really hate that.