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Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 11:53 AM   #1
 
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Your Cheapness Threshold

I clearly remember a particular moment 10 years ago when I was putting money in a parking meter. I suddenly realized that I'd spent over two minutes deciding whether I should put in one quarter or two quarters. I was thinking things like "OK, let's see, I probably won't stay at the book store for more than 20 minutes, but I might stay longer, and the parking ticket would be..."

I suddenly stopped and thought "What the heck am I doing wasting this time over 25 cents?!" And I made a rule for myself that I am not allowed to spend any time, --not even a split second -- weighing the pros and cons of anything under $2.

Do any of you have a similar cheapness threshold?
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 12:28 PM   #2
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

No. I'll stand in the supermarket looking at the weights and relative quality levels of 3-4 similar products to pick the one thats 10c cheaper.

But I had no money at all as a kid. Not until I was in my mid 20's did I start making anything. I have a little of the 'depression fever' our parents have.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 01:05 PM   #3
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

I've already noted, ad infinitim, how poor I was. No threshold here. I'd probably put in the quarter, than run back outside and put in another dime to cover the last few mins. I also like putting my vehicle in your spot, if you left any time on the meter.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 01:18 PM   #4
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

There was a study by a Chicago economics professor that had the conclusion that people make very long, rational anddetailed analysis about small purchases trying to save money but do not apply the same process to larger purchases.

For example, your example about the parking meter woudl be the detailed analysis. On the other hand people shop for at a car dealler near to where they live not the one with the best price. - Note - all dealers can do warrenty work on the same brand of car.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 01:36 PM   #5
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

I try to avoid going to places that have parking meters, valet parking, and any other parking like garages that involves paying a fee.

Any restaurant or shopping mall I go to must have free parking.* This is one reason I don't go into Boston unless I absolutely have to go.

Sometimes you can't avoid it, but most people don't understand how much they are paying each year in parking fees when they could have gone somewhere within a similar radius and purchased the same thing without incurring the parking fee.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

I used to park at a parking lot four blocks further than my co-workers because it was one-fourth the price. When cars routinely began to be broken into, however, my cheapness threshold increased dramatically.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 02:04 PM   #7
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Does "penny wise and pound foolish" ring a bell?
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 02:07 PM   #8
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

I have a coworker that makes a significant amount of money each year. Nevertheless, he requests reimbursement for the quarter he uses to plug a meter when he is out on business. He also submits mileage claims even if he drives only a mile or two.

I always thought that was in bad taste.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 02:15 PM   #9
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zipper
Does "penny wise and pound foolish" ring a bell?
Does it ring the same bell as "Take care of the little things and the big things will take care of themselves?"
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 03:10 PM   #10
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Mine has a threadhold, depending on the effort needed to avoid the added small expense.* *

A great example;* I buy the groceries in our house and buy them from Kroger.* Kroger has a shopper's card that gives you "savings" on several items you buy, which usually 2/3rds of what i buy qualifies for these savings.* Invariably, when i'm at the checkout and watch the monitor that shows my "savings", I can always count on that "one" item that was supposed to have a savings, but I get charged regular price.* *This ends up costing me an extra 50 cents up to 2-3 dollars.* * I've decided instead of complaining, and making a scene in front of those behind me, I just eat the expense, and just assume i'll get screwed on one item or so per trip.* * I take a deep breath and forget about it.

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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 04:02 PM   #11
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Do any of you have a similar cheapness threshold?
On my bicycle rides I was usually stopped by the light at a particular intersection for 2-3 minutes. One day I noticed that a penny had sunk into the blacktop. Then I saw several more nearby. Unfortunately I didn't have an edged tool with me to dig them out.

Of course I raced home, grabbed a knife, and started to remount. Then I realized that I'd be riding five miles uphill to sit in a three-lane intersection digging less than five cents out of the asphalt (and doubtless the EMTs would soon be doing the same with me). Gee, good thing I was wearing a helmet.

We're regularly cheap at the grocery store to make our kid do the math, catch the store's pricing errors, and realize how to save on recurring costs. It also ticks me off that Kraft and P&G play with the unit pricing on their various sizes to trap the unwary (blissfully ignorant) consumer who's been raised to presume that bigger means cheaper. Our kid is also realizing that it's cheaper & healthier to cook whole turkeys/chickens than it is to buy the prepared stuff.

Hawaii just started a five-cent beverage container recycling program. So now on our evening walks we pick up HI-5 containers AND loose change. Our kid does the redemptions and she gets to keep the cash.

Have you seen the magazine ad of the guy in a wetsuit, mask, & snorkel retrieving coins from a fountain? I call it diversified retirement planning. Every time I pass by a coin fountain I must get a look in my eye-- my kid says "No, Dad, you can't do that!"

We grow a lot of our own fruit and we've just started tiptoeing into vegetables.

But whenever a kid is fundraising, we buy $10 worth. Everything else covers that cost.

And in deference to Cut-Throat's "What are you saving it for?!" I only buy 100% Kona.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 04:05 PM   #12
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

I am penny wise and pound foolish, but if it is going to raise my blood pressure, I find it easy to be penny foolish, too. Anyone who owns a boat has trouble justifying any other description.

I think for those of us who watch our pennies it is a habit or part of our personality, not the money itself. The feeling of being frugal and getting a good deal is worth much more than the actual savings. And by getting that feeling on lots of little things, you can go around feeling square with the world more often.

I never submitted tiny expenses to my firm, though. I agree with Martha that it is in bad taste.

Not completely pound foolish, though -- still like to keep our sensible cars for ten years. But one boat, managed frugally with almost all work done by me, still blows through all those savings and more. Sometimes though, you just can't try to justify everything. It's in the realm of psychology, emotion or something like that. Not compleely rational. Cost of a gallon of good antifouling paint? $189 plus tax. That is more than I spend on diesel fuel all season.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 04:14 PM   #13
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha
I have a coworker that makes a significant amount of money each year.* Nevertheless, he requests reimbursement for the quarter he uses to plug a meter when he is out on business.* He also submits mileage claims even if he drives only a mile or two.

I always thought that was in bad taste.
I'd call it personal corporate vengeance...
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 04:34 PM   #14
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by th
No.* I'll stand in the supermarket looking at the weights and relative quality levels of 3-4 similar products to pick the one thats 10c cheaper.
. . .
Ahhh . . . another manic comparison shopper. So let me ask you a question . . . How do you decide what toilet paper to buy?

Seriously, have you ever tried to comparison shop for this? There are approximately 4,376 different name brands of toilet paper as nearly as I am able to tell. Each name brand comes in at least 6 different sizes (2 roll, 4 roll, 6 roll . . .) Each brand is different ply, different thickness, different number of sheets, different width of sheets . . .

You can compare on basis of number of sheets. You can compare on basis of sheets*ply. You can compare on total area of sheets. You can try to compare on softness.

Comparison shopping for this stuff requires a staff of investigators and a small workstation performing complex numerical calculations.

I gave up and make my wife decide.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 05:00 PM   #15
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

SG,
Toilet Paper? That's an easy one. Go to Costco and get their huge case of house brand tp. Good stuff, no ads, no outrageous markups.

That or bring your laptop and fill all the prices into a model every time you shop for TP-- even then you'll probably end up with something scratchy! Some things aren't worth saving on. I remember the TP in France when I was a kid -- it was shiny surfaced brown paper. You had to rub it vigorously between your hands to rough it up a bit so it would actually be absorbent.
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 05:10 PM   #16
 
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
You had to rub it vigorously between your hands to rough it up a bit so it would actually be absorbent.
Whoa! - Way too much information
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 05:41 PM   #17
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by ESRBob
I remember the TP in France when I was a kid -- it was shiny surfaced brown paper. You had to rub it vigorously between your hands to rough it up a bit so it would actually be absorbent.
Ouch....

I have a set price for ice-cream. I will not pay over $2.99 1/2 gallon.

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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 05:46 PM   #18
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Quote:
Originally Posted by LovesLife
I have a set price for ice-cream.* I will not pay over $2.99 1/2 gallon.* LovesLife
But it has to contain chocolate!

Where do you find half-gallons? I've only been seeing 56-oz containers...
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 05:56 PM   #19
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

Nords,

I just checked my freezer. Yup, it's a half gallon. I like Blue Bunny ice cream. I can always buy the cheaper store version for less and most of the time I do buy store brands, but not for ice cream.

Maybe your 56 oz. has to do with inflation in your area. You know that trick, same price smaller package.

LovesLife (and ice cream, too)
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold
Old 05-12-2005, 06:04 PM   #20
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Re: Your Cheapness Threshold

OK I admit it. I am penny wise and try to be pound wise too. Ever notice that the cheaper stuff is on the bottom shelves in the grocery store? I constantly fight the banks on service fees and usually win. I don't leave battery chargers for cell phone etc plugged into the wall (did you know that those things suck electricity?), I walk to work often to save gas and go to the cheaper gas stations - around here the price fluctuates significantly at different times of day and at different stations (what's up with that anyways), I never buy books/magazines - always go to the library or read the magazines at the bookstores or online... but I won't reuse plastic bags etc. like those Your money or your life folks did - that's my limit.

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