Now you have jumped on the bandwagon and have become more frugal and want to spread the gospel of frugality around to others, sharing your joy of saving containers, growing tomatoes and cutting your own hair with others. Welcome to the new country of creativity that lays before you, however in this new country, like all other countries, there are a few rules of social etiquette whereby you don't want to beat someone over the head with the Tightwad Gazette.

1. Giving unsolicited frugal tips while in someone else's home
Unless you have been brought in as a thrifty consultant and have been paid well to tell them where they wasted money, keep quiet. Making "suggestions" about loading the dishwasher up fully or declining a bottle of water and giving the economic reasons why will keep your phone very quiet when it comes to the next invitation. Just enjoy the company, and if they ask how you are handling the economic downturn, then take your queue and be gentle.

2. Hoarding in an attempt to cut back household waste
You absolutely want to try to make use of items in your house in multiple ways, if you can. But holding onto the box the package of donuts came in isn't a great way to start. Sometimes there just aren't multiple uses for things. True you want to try to reuse containers and boxes where possible but keep only the best and only a few or A&E will be knocking on your door for their show "The Hoarders" next.

3. Being the frugal office police
This primarily goes for the office but could also impact others you know or even meet on the bus. Sitting beside someone who always buys their lunch and telling them how much money they waste in a month or year will get you a table all to yourself. Use your energy in other ways, if you see people wasting their money on soda at the office, see if you can set up a recycle bin and use the money from that towards a monthly office party.

4. Conserving utilities and becoming a health hazard
Twice yearly the manager at my office sends out an email to everyone on the floor to remind them that they need to shower and that body odor does affect the productivity of those around them. Sad to say saving money on the water bill by not showering is not healthy nor is keeping the heat so low that the abominable snowman would think you were a distant cousin.

5. Mistaking gag-inducing refrigerator odors for the sweet smells of left-overs
It is definitely cool when you can take your left-over vegetables and dump them in a pot in the freezer for a home-made vegetable soup and it is wonderful to see that  you can put those brown bananas and hard bread to use for banana bread and croutons. But don't hold onto food beyond it's smell test in the hopes you will be able to use it for later. Even brown bananas and rotten tomatoes have a "death by" date.

6. Ungraciously refusing gifts that aren't frugal enough
So what if your birthday comes and your brother gets you a super expensive latte maker, don't take the time to share your indignation with all present. If you will never use it, consider the gift as a re-gift for 'just the person' or donate it. Consider next time to make your gift desires known ahead of time to others, telling them that you would be very happy with garage sale finds

What other ways have you found that don't bring people into the fold of frugality and are poor frugal etiquette?


  1. Daniel // Monday, September 21, 2009 9:45:00 AM  

    This is hilarious!

    And totally agreed that giving unsolicited advice--especially in any way that's even slightly passive-aggressive--is a perfect way to piss off your friends. Like most situations in life, it's better to wait until *asked* for advice.

    Casual Kitchen

  2. Dawn // Monday, September 21, 2009 11:47:00 AM  

    Family might be different but even there one has to tread lightly since we don't see our family as often as we use to.

  3. splendidcakes // Monday, September 21, 2009 5:35:00 PM  

    You are right on the money, and I see one or two areas where I need to watch my step-one thing though, freeze those bad bananas right in the peel, they thaw perfectly for banana bread :)!!

  4. David@DINKS Finance // Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:06:00 AM  

    Yeah number one is a BIG ONE. I would also say "all financial advice." If the subject comes up or if someone asks you questions about finance, give them. Otherwise keep quiet or people will get annoyed with you pretty quick, even if you are making a heck of a lot of sense (trust me, been there done that).

  5. Anonymous // Wednesday, September 23, 2009 1:51:00 PM  

    I always give unsolicited advice freely. That in-itself is frugal ...isnt it?

    Ok but mostly I just tell everyone what I paid and what I saved. They get sick of this too and usually just roll their eyes.

    Still you begin to wonder is it frugal if you really didnt need it to start with.
    That brings me to The show on A $ E
    IT is difficult to watch for sure but an interesting peak into the thrifters mindsset

    Imagine, we are all just one collection away!

    Check out also
    Frugal in the City
    on facebook

  6. Dawn // Wednesday, September 23, 2009 2:00:00 PM  

    One collection away... say it ain't so!