Frugal Frauds Revealed

I was recently accused of being a Frugal Fraud because of some of the things I do.  A Frugal Fraud is someone who talks about ways to save money but then is not implementing those changes in his or her own life.

I noticed that a few other bloggers were also revealing the less than frugal things they did in their daily lives and this gave me the idea for a roundup.

Now we all talk about being frugal and finding ways to save money but as personal finance bloggers we are not the die hard frugalists who make their own soap and cut dryer sheets into 4 pieces to save money.

Here are some of the ‘Frugal Frauds‘ I have found lately. Now I use this term in a joking way so I hope no one gets offended.

Clever Dude dry cleans his clothes because he hates to iron. He believes that there is a benefit to getting someone to take care of that job so that he does not have to and the benefit outweighs the cost.

drycleaner(image from

I hate to vacuum so I can understand trying to get around a task you hate. I bribe bless my friends with food so they will vacuum for me so I don’t have to do it.

Frugal Fraud…… or not?

GLBL won’t give up Starbucks coffee. Dude!!! You are contributing to the Latte Factor that is making the economy go bad. No but seriously, if you love something I think you can splurge sometimes.

Frugal Fraud…… or not?

Kim at Blogging For Change is Going Broke On Groceries. She makes many ‘small’ trips to the grocery store, sometimes going every day for the week and only spends a small amount, until she realizes that the small amounts are adding up. I used to make several trips to WallyWorld like this and saw that I was spending way too much in addition to the gas cost. I have cut my WalMart trips down to Wednesday and Sunday and everything has to wait until those shopping days.


I just got started with Kashi cereal which is expensive but I don’t eat it every day so I can make the sacrifice there. I recently bought three boxes at over $3 a box just so I could have it because the WalMart in my town does not sell it. I am going to buy some every time I go out of town so that I do not run out.

Frugal Fraud….or not?

My Dollar Plan Will Not Bring A Bagged Lunch To Work because it is worth it to get away from the desk and relax with friends. Hmmm. Now this one goes against one of the cardinal rules of saving money…which is to always bring your own lunch.

paperbag(image from

I bring my lunch to work in my adorable lunch bag that I got for FREE from my LASIK company….but sometimes I understand the need to get away from the desk.

Frugal Fraud…….. or not?

J. Money of Budgets Are Sexy (yes they are) once Spent $40 on a bottle of water. I don’t even know what to say to this one. Frugal Fraud!!!! On a serious note….I do understand that some things are worth the price..but bottled water? Really. Sorry J. I am laughing here……

bling-bubblybolla-6-series-001(image from

$40 on a bottle of water? Must be from the fountain of youth.

Frugal Fraud…… or not?

I call Frugal Fraud on you for this one buddy!

Kristy at Master Your Card comes up with Six Ways She Does Not Set An Example. No need to beat yourself up about the reusable green bags. I got a cat as well (Dinero waves his paw) and I am scooping up cat poop ALL the time. I love the WalMart shopping bags because they are an easy way to dispose of the litter.

Frugal Fraud…… or not?

The Happy Rock writes “although I am out of debt – here is a post on my rationalization for buying a $400 stroller.”

It seems the pebble does not fall far from the boulder because here is a post from DD who writes for The Happy Rock who recently caught a lot of slack for spending $140 on Pearl jam Fan Club memberships.

Frugal Fraud…… or not?


Are we Frugal Frauds for talking about ways to save money and then going out and spending money on the things we slurge on or are we just normal people who manage budgets so we can enjoy things in life?

Author: Lulu

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  1. Hi There! I cannot believe someone accused you of being a Frugal Fraud!!! That is absolutely crazy!!!!!!! You share the best tips that I currently use to this day.

    Keep up the good work!

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    • People come here and say things all the time….but it is funny how the ones who say the most negative things are ‘anonymous’.

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  2. Nope you are not a Frugal Fraud. What makes personal finance personal is how we tailor it to our personal lives! You admit you hate to vacuum, I personally like to vacuum and would not do a swap or pay someone to do it. I prefer to pack my lunch and eat leftovers, My Dollar Plan likes to get out of the office and buy lunch. I totally get that too, being “stuck” in the office or at your desk all day can stink, but lunch out everyday? In my area that can run up to $65 a week. I can buy a lot of groceries for $65 a week

    I think too many PF bloggers get caught up in the whole frugal mindset and don’t take into account the personal finance aspect of personal finance. I know I read some PF blogs and am a bit surprised at both the level of frugality (almost bordering on the cheap) andwhen I read that someone dropped $150 on a weekend socialize and partying with friends at the same time complaining about their debt. But, hey, it’s their money and how they spend it is their business.

    Personal finance is just that, personal! Keep up the great blog. I enjoy reading it.


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    • Thanks for the great comments Betty. So I guess you forgive me for only using Oil Of Olay lotion on my face…since I use a coupon to buy it? 🙂

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  3. We all splurge every now and then, so it’s hard to skewer somebody over a single purchase or slip-up.

    I think the thing that makes you a “frugal fraud” or not is the overall picture. Are you telling people to get out of debt… while you are falling deeper into debt? Are you preaching budgets… while you refuse to create one for yourself?

    So it’s less about individual purchases as it is your habits and the overall picture — at least for me.

    Now… eating lunch out everyday? Is that really necessary?

    You can pack a lunch AND still socialize. The two are not mutually exclusive. I’d have to call frugal fraud on My Dollar Plan for that one. 😉

    Debt Reduction Formula’s last blog post..Ideas for an Affordable Valentine’s Day

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  4. “It seems the pebble does not fall far from the boulder ” hahhaha….that is awesome 🙂 Great roundup here LuLu! I’ll be linking back to it.

    And i’d like to second Bouncing Back Betty’s comment – it’s all “personal” finance for sure, so keeping it real is def. what makes reading all this stuff interesting! Plus, none of us is perfect, and if we were we’d be boring to the max.

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    • @ J Money…..I agree with you on that one. BTW where do you keep the Bling H20?

      Can’t wait to see your link..and thanks for letting me make fun of you. You’re a great sport.

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  5. I don’t think any of these things are Frugal Frauds. Good personal finance is mostly about education and awareness…if you make the conscious decision to eat lunch out every day, and you know where the money is coming from and what other things that you could do with it, then that is good personal finance. (Says the girl who is trying to convince herself that it would be OK to take the kids to Friendly’s for dinner.)

    I find the “I never spend one cent more than absolutely necessary” lifestyle isn’t for me, and I don’t think I’m alone on that one 🙂

    Kate’s last blog post..Game Review: Wizard 101

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  6. I don’t know if it’s frugal fraud when you make a conscious decision to splurge on one thing or another, because an important aspect of personal finance is to conserve your money in order to allow yourself more freedom to spend the money you have how you want. If financial freedom means sending out laundry for one person or being able to take 50 cent sips of coffee for another, it doesn’t really matter what their personal preference is, because it’s their frugal mentality that gave them the ability to splurge where they see necessary and make the most out of life with the money they have. Now, what really irritates me personally is when I discover I could have gotten a better deal elsewhere or I didn’t quite make the most out of my money in any given situation, then I feel like a frugal failure.

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    • @ Maximizing
      Hmmmmmmmmm failure is such a strong word. How about saying you had a frugal slip….that way you know you can recover from it. Yeah you made a silly mistake but you recognized it and I am sure you will work on it for next time.

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  7. We love to save money and share how we accomplished it. It’s a choice and it makes for a great hobby. (Shameless plug for a new article on our site. sp:)

    We attempt all of our strategies however, we may not choose to maintain them indefinitely. I am confident we could be classified as “Frugal Frauds” if the definition is talking about ways to save money and then going out and spending money on the things we like to splurge on. (Like more books to read and review?)

    Keep up the good work and spend how you please!!!!! ~ Solid Planning

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  8. Great post, and I guess to some I would be. I believe their is a balance in life and I’ve also found that different peoples definitions of Frugal are VERY different.

    I enjoy Starbucks, but I do buy it and brew it at home. I sacrifice in other areas in order have it.

    For me as long as you are spending less than you earn and making smart debt and savings choices, you’re doing great. Personally I couldn’t be super frugal. I’d rather spend the time it takes to “make my own xyz” doing things online to increase my income rather than reduce my expenses by a few dollars. I can literally spend 1/2 an hour optimizing an article or adding a new advertiser and make up for the few dollars spent 10 fold.

    Love the post though, very unique. Giving it a Stumble.

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    • Thanks for stumbling and thanks for being a great sport and allowing me to make fun of you in the post. I think we all cut down spending in some areas so that we can splurge on the stuff we like if it costs more.

      I absolutely REFUSE to use anything but my semi expensive Oil Of Olay on my face because I have sensitive skin and I know it works for me. Yet I will buy the store brand of milk….because it has the same nutrients as brand name milk and tastes the same. Store brand face lotion makes my skin flake….just does not work the same.

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  9. LOL! Yesh…I felt like a Frugal Fraud when I hired cleaning help, justifying it with the “I’m too old to do this scutwork” excuse. But what goes around comes around: took about two visits to reveal what an expensive, hugely work-making fiasco that turned out to be. A month later, I’m STILL trying to scrub off the gallon of concentrated Simple Green they smeared on 1,860 square feet of tile flooring.

    Hafta agree with GLBL, though: if you’re living within your means, you’re the genuine frugal article. You don’t have to live like an anchorite to live within your means. Depending on what your means are, of course….

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    • Sorry your hired help did not work out. I agree that once you are living within your means you can afford to splurge every now and then in order not to lose your mind.

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  10. That post makes me laugh, I love the topic. I know it is not easy to practice what you preach and it seems that so frequently we put our silly purchases out there for validation.

    We can always rationalize any bad habit / purchase that we want to and blogging about it gives us a chance to get validation back from readers.

    I know I frequently say one thing then do something else but now I think I will be more careful about writing about it.

    Matt’s last blog post..Update On My Current Financial Situation

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    • Matt, the purpose of the post is not to get you to hide your little splurges…it is to make you see that we ALL have little slipups from time to time. 🙂

      I think it is less about validation than about saying I am human and being frugal does not mean you go completely off the grid and make your own bread and kill your own meat and cook it over the wood fire from the logs that you cut.

      You can save money and still enjoy certain things in life.

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  11. I think it’s funny that someone would accuse you of being a frugal fraud. How ridiculous is that? Just because I have great ideas to help people in dire need to save money doesn’t mean that I personally have to implement those ideas. If I’m personally doing well financially and don’t have to cut back on certain things, then I don’t have to cut back on everything.

    That doesn’t mean that you or I am a fraud. It just means that we are doing so well financially that we definitely know what we’re talking about and are in the position to give others advice.

    Jennifer @ Money Saver 101’s last blog post..Want your FICO score? Sorry, you can’t have it!

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    • Reading your comment made me think of Suze Orman. She gives tips on how to save money but I am sure she does not cut HER dryer sheets into 4. I love the part where you talk about being stable so that you do not need to do all those extreme things..but you can still pass on the wisdom.

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      • I totally did a post on how Suze doesn’t always practice what she preaches! Hers I consider a wee bit of frugal fraud because she does the opposite of what she says all the time. But then again does she need to be frugal/ The woman is rich.

        Sandy’s last blog post..Snowflakes Are Falling

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        • Those tips are for people who are really struggling financially. If you aren’t struggling, you don’t have to budget as much.

          When my husband and I were living paycheck to paycheck, we bought cheap food at the grocery store, didn’t eat out hardly at all, worked extra shifts where we could, didn’t fly anywhere, etc…

          Now that we’re more financially stable, we can order out more often without worrying too much about it, spend more on higher quality foods at the grocery store, and I don’t have to work at all!

          We budget according to our needs, not according to some frugal fad.

          Jennifer @ Money Saver 101’s last blog post..Save Money with Discounts – The Container Store

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  12. Exactly. Why else are we even saving money? To see who has the most when we die? Hardly. We save money on the silly stuff, so that we can spend it on the stuff that we really want. Its all about the choices. I would rather turn my thermostat down two degrees so that I can have a datenight every week. or I choose store brand cereal, so that I can afford the good ice cream.

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    • Exactly! Being frugal is all about choices. You’re frugal about what’s less important to you, so that you can save your money for more important things. Personally, I try to save on all the little everyday things, so that I can save that money for traveling, something that’s definitely expensive–even if you do it on a shoestring like me. But if I spend $1000 on a 3 week trip to Thailand, does that make me not frugal? I don’t think so, anyway!

      Wren’s last blog post..Economical Tax Filing Options

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  13. I don’t think being frugal means you have to give up on some luxuries. Being frugal to me means that you can manage your money well and be able to afford some of life’s little luxuries and pay in cash! 🙂

    Saph @ Walk With Me’s last blog post..Won $20 Cash Card

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  14. It depends on what the person does afterward, if they realize it and learn the lesson.

    I got out of debt and almost went out to buy a 15K car despite the deal I got, it was eating me up inside and I backed out. Mind you, it took me about 7 months to pay of over 10K in debt

    tom’s last blog post..#1 Examine your network of friends

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  15. I agree that it’s all about choices. I prefer to save money on certain things so I can splurge on things that are important to me. Overall I am pretty frugal person, but I also have my weaknesses like everyone else. 😉

    Thrifty Momma’s last blog post..Feeling Overwhelmed with Vacation Plans

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  16. I think the whole Frugal Fraud thing is appaling and very judgemental.

    Isn’t the whole point of spending money wisely to spend it on things that add value to your life?

    Different people think different things add value, it’s not a one size fits all situation. You do what works for you, and what makes you happy.

    I know I’m not prepared to stop living my life because I’m in debt, I for one think money spent on travel & experiences is money well spent. I’m not staying home until I’m debt free, but I can pay cash for my holidays in the meantime and moving forward.

    debtdieter’s last blog post..Paying Stupid Tax

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  17. I thought the idea of being frugal was that we could afford our little vices and splurges. if not, then what is the point of living?

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  18. geez… there always ppl who would like to put you down…. I don’t know where it comes from… maybe it’s related to some kind of issues they have… maybe some complexes…

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  19. Very good advice. A lot of people still don’t realize that by making small, simple changes in their habits, it will affect their financial status in the end.

    A word of advice regarding bulk purchases though. There are times where bulk purchases are not always cheaper, so price comparisons need to be done.

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  20. We love to save money and share how we accomplished it. It’s a choice and it makes for a great hobby.

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