Does This Mean I’m Cheap?

I have never been rich. I only know what that’s like through Robin Leech and MTV Cribs. Money was always tight when I was growing up. This is not to say that we were dirt poor. I do not want to paint the picture of my brothers and I all sleeping in one bed, huddled together to stay warm because we couldn’t afford to pay the heating bill… again. We did okay.

slumdog kids
My brothers and I when we were little. 

My father used to say that we did alot with very little. When people came over our house they often had the illusion that we had money. This is because my father has always been a master bargain hunter. As a result, I was taught how to be a frugal shopper from a very young age, starting with playing the “find the cheapest brand” game at the supermarket (Supermarket Sweep was one of my favorite shows back in the day!). Being a frugal shopper has become a part of the very fabric of my being.

I cannot pay full price for certain things. Clothes for instance. If they are not at least 20% off (BARE MINIMUM), I am not interested. Also I will never pay for a name. The fact that a t-shirt says “Ed Hardy” on it does not make it worth 90 dollars. Consequently, the fact that you just got an Ed Hardy t-shirt for 50% off does not make it a bargain. You still just paid 45 bucks for a friggin t-shirt! (This is a concept that my girlfriend usually does not grasp.) I have always taken pride in this mindset. Finding bargains has always been fun to me. I’ve never considered myself cheap, just smart. 

ed hardy
Hey douchebag! It’s still just a t-shirt!!! 

The other day I had a dream that made me second guess my non-cheap status. Actually it was more of a nightmare than a dream. It scared me that much. First let me set this up for you.

For a while I had wanted to buy Guitar Hero Aerosmith, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay too much for it since I already have a few Guitar Hero and Rock Band games. I recently saw the game for 20 bucks at blockbuster and decided, eh what the hell. While making the purchase, there was still this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“What if you find it somewhere else cheaper? I bet you you see it somewhere for cheaper as soon as you leave here!”

“Shutup gut, it’s just twenty bucks!”

So I left blockbuster game in hand and went home happy… or so I thought. Here is where the dream comes in;

The dream starts off with me back at Blockbuster. I am looking at the game, mulling over my options. Same battle going on in my mind. “$19.99. Do I pull the trigger?” Just as in real life, I purchased the game.

After making my purchase I hopped in my car and ended up at Toys R Us. As soon as I walked in the store there was one of those bins full of used games. There was no avoiding it. I felt my stomach quiver a bit at the sight of it.

As I began to look through the bin a small bead of perspiration formed on my brow. I was so nervous! I looked and looked, and at first nothing. Just as I was starting to feel a bit of relief set in I saw it. Right at the bottom of the bin. I read the sticker in horror:

Three bucks cheaper? NOOOOOOO!!!!

At this point, no lie, I woke up from my dream in a cold sweat. My heart was pounding and I was breathing heavy. My girlfriend woke up terrified, asking me what was the matter.

She had a good laugh when I told her.



  1. I’m a cheap-skate too. Generally…nothing over $10. That goes for everything other than a utility bill. If it’s not under $10…I don’t buy.

  2. LOL! – I was never that girly and trendy like girly girls should be, so I have never paid that much for a T-shirt either. I don’t even buy name-brand shoes most of the time. Heck, the white sneakers you get at the dollar store for 10 bucks are just as comfy as the 80 dollar Nike’s. The only time I ever pay more than a few bucks for a t-shirt is either when it is a special occasion… like a rock concert… or it’s a “liquid blue” shirt. Like this one, isn’t it cool? And only 25 bucks plus S&H. Still a better bargain than 45 dollars.

  3. I never understood the obsession with brand names.  Clothing is clothing.  It all covers up our bits that can’t be seen in public and it all goes on the same way!  Macy’s or WalMart, it’s all the same shit.  I’m currently teaching my son the finer art of frugal grocery shopping.

  4. Supermarket Sweep! Oh man, throwback — I’d always shout at them to go for the detergent and the meat in the final round when they’re trying to rack up points 🙂

  5. Hahaha… yeah, you’re cheap. But it’s the smart kind of cheap. I could never pay more than $10 for a T-shirt. As a matter of fact, the extent of my T-shirt purchase is 3 for $10 at the T-shirt warehouse. lol Still, $20 for a game is a good buy for a popular title like Guitar Hero.

  6. Wow, we really ARE cousins, aren’t we? Well, we were raised in the same family, anyway. Honestly, that is NOT a bad way to live. All the stuff in the world–whether designer, brand-name, or highly desired video games–is still just STUFF in the end. Why not put it in its proper perspective and get what you want/need as cheaply as possible? In my opinion, the things you SHOULD spend money for (although not necessarily full price!) include vacations with family, meals with friends, and activities for your kids. These are things that later in life, when you’re looking back over the years, you won’t regret having spent real money on them. You’ll enjoy the memories, the photographs, and the relationships that were built with those “expenses” and smile. 

  7. LOL…. you sound like you have crossed the borderline between obsession and reasonable thriftiness when you start having nightmares about spending.  I do get the t-shirt thing though, I have never understood paying a lot of money for a t-shirt with someone elses name on it. If I am going to pay a lot for a t-shirt it should at least have my own name on it.

  8. I’m cheap,  it’s all  good.  I work in retail and our discount is 40%.  But once a month we go to 55%.  There’s a lot of times I still won’t buy anything from there because even though the price is  decent, I feel like at 55% off, it should be cheaper.

  9. I think you are putting too much in this, 1.) Dream and 2.) the wondering of being Cheap! I often read your blogs but I don’t want to touch toes so I put a smile 🙂 and go on…I can’t help but say that…As fast as you spend the twenty you can make it right back…Things you might not want to do … Like … Fast food..or Wally World…or something even more Hollywood like Stand Up…Either way..It is easy go..easy come…I think the big picture is being able to show what you spent your money on. Besides the game you bought that could have been cheaper doesn’t mean it was when you bought it…it just is now!! So at that time…You got a deal!! PS: Ed Hardy 45 bucks….WHERE!!!!!!! @_@ LOL

  10. When I go clothes shopping I ALWAYS go to the clearance rack.  Jeans for 4 bucks from Old Navy fill an eighth of my closet.  The brand name should not matter at all.  It is simply another superficial gimmick to get people to spend more cash on something that only costs a little to produce.  Sometimes the quality of clothes from Wal-Mart or another similar place is drastically lower, but really, who wants to wear a character tee for more than a few months?  Who doesn’t get tired of their shoes after a few months or so? 

  11. You could pass for a cheap Mennonite… that is if you didn’t ust the word “fuck” .”I went through Feb and March w/o spending a dime, it was hard but I enjoyed the challenge!

  12. the rest of the stuff doesn’t make you cheap, but waking up in a cold sweat because something was three dollars cheaper?!? I don’t know, thats way past frugal!! too funny.

  13. i’d be upset if i found the same thing for a lesser price… so Back for a return and buy the cheaper one haha but then what about the gas i just used up to go to one store to the other? hm.

  14. lol i’ve had these dreams before too..  and i do the same irl, i ALWAYS try to find the best bargain..  but then you also have to consider the distance between different locations that carry the product you’re looking for..  gas is expensive these days

  15. I’m with you on not paying big bucks for clothes just because of the name on it, but having nightmares over paying $3 more for a game? You’re going to have to admit it, man. You’re cheap!

  16. I have been reading the posts avidly so just wanted to express my thanks for providing me with some very good reading material. I look forward to more, and taking a more active part in the discussions <a href="Jordan Sneakers

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