Squirreling Gone Wild #34: Punished for Being Frugal

If you see a shiny new penny on the ground, what would you do? Pick it up, right?

Since frugality has its merits (and I’ll put picking up coins into the frugal category), I would do it.  Many people would. After all, it’s there for the taking! Never mind that time is money, and the economic value of picking up pennies isn’t exactly a slam dunk.  If it’s right in front of you, just take the free money and move on.

Well, I may have been “punished” for not exactly following my advice on when not to be frugal.  If you recall from that post, within the 6 situations I mentioned was a theme surrounding the idea of not sacrificing health for money.  I noted food as well as health care specifically, as 2 of the 6 situations.  So despite some the antics from the Squirreling Gone Wild series that I’ve shared, I actually do believe it’s important to not go to far just to save a few dollars.  Or pennies.

Or, in my case, penny.  That’s right, I inadvertently made a trade-off with health, just for a penny.

So there it was…a semi-shiny penny sitting in the parking lot of the local library.  Actually there was another one that was more dull right by it, but I never tried for it. Anyway, I just walked out when I stumbled upon the coin.  Immediately, I made a quick lunge for the coin, not even completely stopping my stride.  That’s when I felt a slight twinge in my back.

Now, I have had a few bouts of back soreness and worse over the years, so this was very mild compared to those episodes.  Actaully, it was really an tiny aggravation of recent back soreness (which I felt a little bit in the morning anyway), so I don’t want to make it seem like picking up a coin was the source.  But anybody who has had such issues in the past should know that you just have to make some good decisions, such as bending at the knees when picking something up.  Not that you’re going to necessarily get hurt otherwise, but it’s just one of those little things that we do to avoid any unnecessary issues.

It did freeze me for a few moments, but I made it to my car without a problem and then went home and stretched out my legs and back – having learned from past experience.  Things got back to normal later.  No long-term damage, so don’t worry:)

But still, why deal with any consequences just for something that’s not that important! It could have been anything – this happened to me once when quickly bending to simply check tire pressure on a cold morning, and the result was quite a bit worse than this.  However, it just seemed like maybe some type of “justice” being served upon me this particular time, given that it was a coin involved, and that I’ve penny pinched in quite a few instances.

Moral of the story: a little extra money isn’t always worth it.

Apparently I needed to be reminded :)

My Questions for You:

Have you ever gone too far to save (or make) a little money, or do you know anyone that has?

What was the situation?


  1. says

    Interesting story. I am glad your back is better. I had a herniation a few years ago and it was really painful. I had to do everything differently . What a pain.

    Interesting that you were getting a penny though. Karma has sense of humor I guess.

    • Squirrelers says

      Miss T – I can understand how that would be really painful. I’ve had a few bouts that were really bad, as in missing several days of work. I recommend that everyone do what they can to avoid such problems!

  2. says

    In your case, your back likely would have given you a twinge the next time you picked up anything off the ground, so it probably wasn’t really directly tied to the money. Just bad timing.

    I think there’s a limit on what I would do. I wouldn’t go into the road and pick up a quarter if there was a chance I’d get hit by a car. There are times when getting it just isn’t worth the risk.

    • Squirrelers says

      Money Beagle – you’re right. Actually, the last time I had a severe problem I literally just bent at the waist to check my tire pressure. And that was it for me. Thankfully, this was nothing like that.

  3. says

    I agree with Money Beagle — if your back was due to hurt, it would have hurt if you sneezed hard, even. A guy I worked with threw his back out reaching for a can of soup on a shelf. Ouch.
    Hope you’re feeling hale and hearty now.

    • Squirrelers says

      Donna – I totally believe that someone could do that. Injuries like that are more common than many think. As for me, the back issues have reemerged since the post. Looks like time for a Dr. visit.

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