I was thinking about past instances of frugality, and I came up up with one example that I found particularly interesting that would be fun to share. It’s an example of extreme “squirreling”, going to micromanaging levels of saving, good in spirit but executed in a way that it’s hard to recommend to any adult. That said, it does reflect a true commitment to actively looking for opportunities to live within one’s means in a creative way, which as I said has something of value to take away.
My example is actually about a friend’s behavior. And yes, it was really a friend, and not me🙂 This friend, with whom I am still acquainted, had some very frugal habits back in college about 20 years ago. I could go on and on about the interesting things this guy did.
One that I will share now regarded how he purchased gas at the station. He would always pay in cash, but would always make sure that he stopped the pump when he was $0.01 over a whole dollar amount. For example, instead of stopping at $10.00, he would stop at $10.01. Then, he would pay $10.00 in cash and take a penny out of the little dish at the register – you know, the one where you take one if you happen to be short. Well, he planned to be short.
He would stop for gas twice a week, partially fill up, and rotate gas stations so they wouldn’t catch on. The stations were close to each other and on his normal drive, so it didn’t take him out of his way to do this. His thought was that if he filled up 2 times per week, over the course of the year it would give him $1.04 in free gas. At that time, way back when, that would actually buy you a gallon. So, his thought was that for very little effort he could get a free gallon of gas over the course of the year.
As a grown adult, I can’t imagine doing that. Self-respect is infinitely more important to me. Does that cross the line from being frugal to being bit crazy? Maybe! I would say its nuts, but that would not be such a bad thing, as us squirrelers have to be a bit nuts :)!
Interestingly, this guy has done very well for himself since then – financially and otherwise.
This post was featured in the 224th Festival of Frugality at Frugal Upstate.