Author Topic: When frugality becomes frupidity :)  (Read 3740 times)

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« on: November 04, 2021, 12:50:22 PM »
I haven't found a single mention of the word "frupid" on this entire forum, so I figured I'd start the discussion. :)

I've recently blogged about this topic - frugality vs frupidity. If you ever worked in some large bureaucracy (military, government, large corporations, etc) then you've probably encountered frupidity before. It's a mix of frugality and stupidity, an unholy abomination that appears to save money but ends up backfiring on you.

Neither "frupid" nor "frupidity" appears in any official dictionaries, which is a real shame... Here are a few examples:
Frugal: learning how to cook, making cool new recipes out of basic food staples (mmm, omelets…), eating whatever healthy delicious food is on sale (this week, it’s $1 for 1 lb of grapes!), and giving up expensive junk food (and soda) in favour of cheaper and healthier options.

Frupid: eating ramen noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can buy 10 servings for $1, sure, and your grocery budget will be impressively small, but you’ll end up sabotaging your body with all that sodium and lack of actual nutrients.

Frugal: figuring out what exactly you need from a cellphone, then shopping around, finding a good deal on a good model (I use an Android Motorola phone with a fingerprint scanner, and I love it), and then sticking with it. Insure it or just use it until it breaks, then buy another one for ~$300 or so.

Frupid: buying a new version of iPhone every single year (what are they now? $700? $1,200?) even though a) the one you already have works perfectly fine, and b) the new model’s improvements are minimal. Ditto for all the other shiny consumer gadgets with huge PR campaigns, unless they’re legitimately necessary for your life, work, and/or business.


If you're a fellow Terry Pratchett fan, then you're probably already familiar with his great description of frugality vs frupidity:
Quote
The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.

What about you? What examples of frupidity can you share so we can laugh with you and learn from you? :)

Fish Sweet

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 518
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2021, 03:02:03 PM »
I don't know that constantly buying new iPhones really counts as frupidity... just stupidity lol.  That said, I do have a story.

This instance of frupidity actually worked out for me in the end, but I would NEVER do it again, nor would I recommend anyone else doing it.

When I first moved out of college dorms and into my own apartment, I didn't realize how many furnishings and the bits and bobs of daily life I'd have to purchase for myself. On the plus side, as a cheap and broke college student living in a college town, there were always students moving in and out, and furniture left on the curb for anyone fast enough to nab it.  And that, my dear MMM friends, is how I got a desk, deskchair, two shelves, a great shoe rack aaaaand.... a fancy mattress!

In my 19 yo self's defense, mattresses are really expensive and this one didn't look like it'd been left out for very long - a day at most, covered with nothing but the lightest dusting of leaves. I figured, well... why not brush it off, check for bugs, wipe it down really thoroughly with Chlorox, and bring it home?  And so I did, and I slept great on that free mattress for a solid 7 years.

In retrospect, I was lucky I didn't end up with roaches, bedbugs, or fleas.  Or all three at once!  This isn't to say that one should never pick up random furniture off the sidewalk, mind you. (I still have the desk, chair, shelves, and shoe rack.)  Just... be wary of anything involving cloth.

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3886
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2021, 03:15:55 PM »
I like the word!!! I've never heard that term before but mmm had an article on frugal vs cheap that touched on the same concepts.
I once flew from Chicago to Orlando via Denver because it was cheaper.  It might have been a faster connection,  I can't remember now. If it took more time then it could be classified as frupid. I also took amtrack from Minneapolis to Chicago to avoid driving a second car (husband and I left on different days but would be driving back together) It took at least twice as long and left me with a ripping migraine, but was probably more eco friendly at least.

ChickenStash

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 319
  • Location: Midwest US
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2021, 03:29:08 PM »
Never heard of frupidity before but I like it and have fallen into that trap more than I care to remember. Tools and replacement car parts are where I often go wrong. Buying the cheapest version of a tool to save money only to have it fail in some way. Same with certain car parts, mainly alternators for me.

On one car I thought I'd be frugal and buy the cheaper but still warrantied house brand rebuilt alternator instead of the OE replacement that was 2x the cost. After replacing the alternator three times I wished I had just done the OE version. I still saved money but wasted a lot of time. On the plus side, by the 3rd alternator I could swap them in less than the length of one song on the radio (4min +/-).

American GenX

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 948
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2021, 03:59:01 PM »

It's easy to cherry pick extremes that are frugal vs. frupid, but here are many gray areas.   And you will get a lot of different opinions.  So do you and don't worry so much about other people's choices that don't affect you.

GodlessCommie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
  • Location: NoVA
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2021, 04:13:51 PM »
It's easy to go overboard both ways. Tools are a great example. I both bought cheap tools that failed, and expensive tools that I didn't use much if at all.

A new iPhone every year is not fru-anything. It's just straight up consumerism. But keeping a cheap Android phone long after its useful life, miss important calls and get lost on the way to important appointments because of it is definitely frupidity. I may or may not have been guilty in this exact case.

Ozlady

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1739
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2021, 05:28:02 PM »
When a person concentrates so much time and effort  on being Frugal and cutting expenses in his life that he has no space in his brain to work out how to Increase his Income....

Until one day he wakes up and it's Retirement Time...and all those beautiful potential Compounding Impact is gone:(...and all you have to show is a lifetime of Frugality!

That to me is Frupidity!

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2021, 05:49:46 PM »
It's easy to go overboard both ways. Tools are a great example. I both bought cheap tools that failed, and expensive tools that I didn't use much if at all.

A new iPhone every year is not fru-anything. It's just straight up consumerism. But keeping a cheap Android phone long after its useful life, miss important calls and get lost on the way to important appointments because of it is definitely frupidity. I may or may not have been guilty in this exact case.

Yeah, that's a good point re: phones. A different and better example, then. :) The people who drive around for 20-30 minutes just to find the cheapest gas in town and end up saving $0.03 per gallon? Sheer frupidity - good motivation, but they just don't think it through.

AccidentialMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 741
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2021, 06:07:38 PM »
Yeah, that's a good point re: phones. A different and better example, then. :) The people who drive around for 20-30 minutes just to find the cheapest gas in town and end up saving $0.03 per gallon? Sheer frupidity - good motivation, but they just don't think it through.

I did the math once, for my Honda Fit, and concluded it wasn't worth driving a half-mile (one whole minute at 30 mph, no lights) to a cheaper gas station. 3 cents * 6 gallons (half tank; prepping to head home) = 18 cents. Operating cost of the Fit is 17 cents per mile (gas, repairs based on new to 11 years) and 6 cents per mile (insurance). 23 > 18. Pay 3 cents more per gallon, save a few minutes and a nickle.

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3886
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #9 on: November 04, 2021, 06:17:11 PM »
Yeah, that's a good point re: phones. A different and better example, then. :) The people who drive around for 20-30 minutes just to find the cheapest gas in town and end up saving $0.03 per gallon? Sheer frupidity - good motivation, but they just don't think it through.

I did the math once, for my Honda Fit, and concluded it wasn't worth driving a half-mile (one whole minute at 30 mph, no lights) to a cheaper gas station. 3 cents * 6 gallons (half tank; prepping to head home) = 18 cents. Operating cost of the Fit is 17 cents per mile (gas, repairs based on new to 11 years) and 6 cents per mile (insurance). 23 > 18. Pay 3 cents more per gallon, save a few minutes and a nickle.

How much of that is sunk cost thinking though? "I've already driven 10 minutes,  so what's another 10?"

Jack0Life

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2021, 12:16:06 AM »
Here's my frupidity.
I decided to trim all 3 palm trees to save money because they quoted my too much.
The palm trees are a bit high for me but I tried anyway.
I ended up falling down and missed 2 days of work. Probably cost me $1000+ of income loss and I saved $120.

vand

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1859
  • Location: UK
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2021, 03:46:20 AM »
I love the term, though I'm not sure your contrasting examples are the best, as others have commented.

The Ramen one yes... though some people are just philistines that has nothing to do with frugality.

But there's nothing wrong with putting in a bit of elbow grease to pick up a nice 2nd hand piece of furniture, and it can be done in a dignified and safe manner. A lot of Ikea furniture is crap btw, and a case could be make of it being the other way round, that the frugal is picking up a quality 2nd hand piece, while frupid is buying chipboard cupboards that fall apart over time.

And buying a newish phone every year is neither frugal nor frupid, just spendypants :)

GodlessCommie

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
  • Location: NoVA
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2021, 06:17:00 AM »
A lot of Ikea furniture is crap btw

Yes, junk, but also... I needed an aquarium stand. All purpose-built in pet stores were expensive. So I got a generic Ikea piece and put the fish tank (30 gal, IIRC) on top. The piece fit the definition of junk, being built not even from particleboard, but from honeycombed paper (as I later discovered). But it served as long as I had the fish tank, and survived countless spills and abuse.   

Over the years, I had a lot of other Ikea furniture that I loved to complain about, but none that wouldn't do what I needed for as long as I needed. The only real problem was that the resale value was lower than zero - I couldn't even give it out for free, and it pains me to throw it away.

2sk22

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1020
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #13 on: November 05, 2021, 06:23:46 AM »
A lot of Ikea furniture is crap btw

Yes, junk, but also... I needed an aquarium stand. All purpose-built in pet stores were expensive. So I got a generic Ikea piece and put the fish tank (30 gal, IIRC) on top. The piece fit the definition of junk, being built not even from particleboard, but from honeycombed paper (as I later discovered). But it served as long as I had the fish tank, and survived countless spills and abuse.   

Over the years, I had a lot of other Ikea furniture that I loved to complain about, but none that wouldn't do what I needed for as long as I needed. The only real problem was that the resale value was lower than zero - I couldn't even give it out for free, and it pains me to throw it away.

A lot of Ikea stuff is frupidity.

Back when we started buying Ikea furniture in the early 1990s, it was decent quality apart from being all we could afford. A lot of solid wood options where available in addition to particle board. Nowadays, they still have a few decent items but most of their stuff is only good for a few years of normal use.

I just took apart an Ikea bed as we had to finish the floor in a bedroom. I think this is the last time I will be able to dismantle it - screw threads are almost stripped and particle board is chipping.

bill1827

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2021, 07:04:10 AM »
A lot of Ikea furniture is crap btw, and a case could be make of it being the other way round, that the frugal is picking up a quality 2nd hand piece, while frupid is buying chipboard cupboards that fall apart over time.

Ikea stuff is generally extremely cleverly designed, accurately made and very affordable. Even the stuff that's corrugated paper works. It goes together well, it's light and it's usable. You aren't going to be able to dismantle it and put it together again but you can't do that with extremely expensive solid wood cabinetry either.

When we moved here we had a lot of books and not many bookcases. I wasn't going to make them myself as I have done before, nor spend many thousands on solid wood bookcases (most of the wood is invisible) so I bought 8 Ikea Billy shelving units. Yes they're veneered particle board and the shelves sag slightly, but they hold the books and will do for many, many years. And they're dirt cheap.

Yes the odd piece from Ikea is rubbish but on average it is adequate utilitarian stuff and quite often excellent.

The resale value may well be minimal but that is true of almost all furniture these days.

economista

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 907
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Colorado
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2021, 07:24:40 AM »
One thing I've learned with Ikea furniture is to use wood glue when putting all of the wooden pegs into place. That makes a HUGE difference on how sturdy and long-lasting it is.

kite

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 797
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2021, 07:52:01 AM »
Fast food coupons.

Every week, with the grocery adds, a raft of fast food coupons is stuffed in the mailbox. Using would save $1 or $2 or $3 or whatever on the Subway, Dunkin', Burger King or McDonalds whatever. Definitely healthier, but also usually more frugal to eat food prepped at home.   

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2021, 07:56:24 AM »
I ut there's nothing wrong with putting in a bit of elbow grease to pick up a nice 2nd hand piece of furniture, and it can be done in a dignified and safe manner. A lot of Ikea furniture is crap btw, and a case could be make of it being the other way round, that the frugal is picking up a quality 2nd hand piece, while frupid is buying chipboard cupboards that fall apart over time.
I was mostly referring to cases where you don't have a car (or access to a friend with a truck haha), so picking up a piece of furniture from even just 2 miles away becomes virtually impossible. In my case, I could've tried (and mostly failed) to lug separate bookshelves, a dresser, a bed, etc home from different craigslist ads and such - or I could just rent a Uhaul for a few hours, drive to Ikea, and get everything in one place. :)

My apartment looked pretty ugly with all the Ikea boxes lying around, as well as all the cardboard afterwards, but I valued my time (and my back!) too much to hunt down and drag every piece of furniture separately.

RWD

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5379
  • Location: Mississippi
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2021, 08:01:36 AM »
The word "frupid" may be new but MMM himself made a blog post on Frugal vs Cheap nine years ago.

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2021, 07:29:06 PM »
The word "frupid" may be new but MMM himself made a blog post on Frugal vs Cheap nine years ago.

Yeah, but there are different degrees of "cheap" - the word has many connotations aside from merely frupid. (As in, "wow, cheap T-shirts!" when people merely compare prices, not value.) "Frupid" is a much more precise term (imho) because it isolates a very specific overlap of cheap and stupid. If you mention frupidity in a conversation where others are familiar with the concept, they'll immediately get it, as opposed to possible confusion when you use the vague word "cheap."

Source: I spent 11.5 years at Amazon. "Frupid" and "frupidity" are really, really big concepts there LOL. For example, one time someone in central Finance decided that Seattle HQ spent too much money on peripherals like headsets, keyboards, mice, etc. They put them in vending machines, and you had to scan your badge to get stuff. There were quotas: for example, no more than 1 mouse every 3 months, etc. So, incredibly highly paid coders (think ~$200K a year in total comp) would have to waste their precious time going to the IT desk, standing in line, signing a form for an extra gadget, etc. Aside from being more than a little demeaning, it was demoralizing, and also took up more time than the gadget itself was worth. Just one of many, many examples. If you mention "frupidity" in the tech circle, people will nod and smile and groan, because they know exactly what you mean. :)

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3886
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2021, 08:14:16 PM »
The word "frupid" may be new but MMM himself made a blog post on Frugal vs Cheap nine years ago.

Yeah, but there are different degrees of "cheap" - the word has many connotations aside from merely frupid. (As in, "wow, cheap T-shirts!" when people merely compare prices, not value.) "Frupid" is a much more precise term (imho) because it isolates a very specific overlap of cheap and stupid. If you mention frupidity in a conversation where others are familiar with the concept, they'll immediately get it, as opposed to possible confusion when you use the vague word "cheap."

Source: I spent 11.5 years at Amazon. "Frupid" and "frupidity" are really, really big concepts there LOL. For example, one time someone in central Finance decided that Seattle HQ spent too much money on peripherals like headsets, keyboards, mice, etc. They put them in vending machines, and you had to scan your badge to get stuff. There were quotas: for example, no more than 1 mouse every 3 months, etc. So, incredibly highly paid coders (think ~$200K a year in total comp) would have to waste their precious time going to the IT desk, standing in line, signing a form for an extra gadget, etc. Aside from being more than a little demeaning, it was demoralizing, and also took up more time than the gadget itself was worth. Just one of many, many examples. If you mention "frupidity" in the tech circle, people will nod and smile and groan, because they know exactly what you mean. :)

Oh, just like states requiring drug testing to get snap benefits. I think Florida implemented this and they spent more on the testing than they saved by denying anyone benefits.

Government does a lot of this actually: for example lots of people end up on dialysis because they cannot afford to manage their chronic health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes. Once they are on dialysis, Medicare takes over, regardless of age. It would be much much cheaper to just give people insulin and blood pressure medicine before their kidneys fail, but that's not how it works.  We also have many tragic incidences of young people dying from not being able to afford insulin and other medicines. The US is frupid for not having national health.

Also dental care: I have seen otherwise able-bodied productive tax paying citizens turn into completely dependent nursing home residents because of brain abscesses that started in their teeth. Hospitalization costs for one of them was over a million dollars, including extra time spent in the hospital because it was hard to get nursing home placement because of no insurance. (In my state they have to stay in the hospital for 90 days in order to get Medicaid to cover a nursing home if the patient is under 65). I have seen this happen many times. We could have instead subsidized basic dental care for our citizens and avoided these kinds of tragedies.

partgypsy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4791
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #21 on: November 06, 2021, 05:46:10 AM »
There was a blog I followed for entertainment value years ago, that his whole existence were one example of frupidity after another. Still don't know if real or someone trolling, because people posted in the comments how counterproductive his actions were, but he never changed.
.he was married with kids, some flavor of christianity. He would set timers so everyone had to take extremely short showers. Set the thermostat ridiculously low. Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars. But then loan money to inlaws who would gamble it away
.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2021, 08:17:23 AM by partgypsy »

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2021, 10:34:27 AM »
Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars.
Ugh, the lemon cars... That's the worst part of being broke. Sometimes, a dirt-cheap car is all you can afford - and if you don't have the skills, the tools, the time, or the space to fix/maintain them, you're screwed. Especially when there's no public transit or Uber to your workplace. (I used to work at a warehouse 35 miles east of Reno. O_o )

I know MMM has publicly questioned why poor people buy brand new cars instead of certified pre-owned, and it comes down to genuine rage, essentially: you have a little money saved up, and if you're buying a car, you don't want any chance of anything breaking again, even if it's certified. In 2013, I was making ~$13/hour in my warehouse (this time in Las Vegas), and my lemon car kept breaking down so much, so often, that it'd cost me about $400 a month in repairs, and a few hundred $ in lost wages for missing work. (Plus the constant possibility of losing my job if I missed it too many times.) It's pretty ironic, but after I bought a brand new car (with a $3K downpayment lol), the monthly payment was actually less than the "lemon-car fee" I used to pay, and the peace of mind was simply divine. :)

partgypsy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4791
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2021, 11:33:37 AM »
Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars.
Ugh, the lemon cars... That's the worst part of being broke. Sometimes, a dirt-cheap car is all you can afford - and if you don't have the skills, the tools, the time, or the space to fix/maintain them, you're screwed. Especially when there's no public transit or Uber to your workplace. (I used to work at a warehouse 35 miles east of Reno. O_o )

I know MMM has publicly questioned why poor people buy brand new cars instead of certified pre-owned, and it comes down to genuine rage, essentially: you have a little money saved up, and if you're buying a car, you don't want any chance of anything breaking again, even if it's certified. In 2013, I was making ~$13/hour in my warehouse (this time in Las Vegas), and my lemon car kept breaking down so much, so often, that it'd cost me about $400 a month in repairs, and a few hundred $ in lost wages for missing work. (Plus the constant possibility of losing my job if I missed it too many times.) It's pretty ironic, but after I bought a brand new car (with a $3K downpayment lol), the monthly payment was actually less than the "lemon-car fee" I used to pay, and the peace of mind was simply divine. :)

yes. I remember being in that spot. There was one point our paid-off vehicle, was costing us an average of 400/month in repair bills. That's when I was, we need to get a different vehicle.

Dreamer40

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 199
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2021, 03:06:29 PM »
My former fed office was frupid about office supplies. They bought cheap off-brand stuff like white board markers that were all dried out when brand new. Or fake sharpies with tips that smashed up after 5 uses. I threw away so many pens that had leaked all over my documents.

Many dollar store purchases are also frupid. But it can be hard to know ahead of time which ones. Dish gloves for a dollar seems great, but not when they crack and leak after only a few weeks of use. But sometimes the cheap stuff is just as good as all the other plastic crap out there.

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2021, 04:46:27 PM »
Many dollar store purchases are also frupid. But it can be hard to know ahead of time which ones. Dish gloves for a dollar seems great, but not when they crack and leak after only a few weeks of use. But sometimes the cheap stuff is just as good as all the other plastic crap out there.

Good point. I view dollar-store stuff as if it was an obsidian blade, aka only good for the first time, and after that you just take your chances. Obsidian, when sharpened, is the single sharpest thing in the world - it can be 10 times sharper than a surgical scalpel. But after the first time you use it - to cut something, or for self-defense - it loses its edge, and becomes duller with every use.

Dollar-store stuff is great in case of an emergency, but it'd be foolish to rely on it for long-term performance. (Though to be fair, some of my best cables and noise-cancelling earbuds also came from a dollar store. YMMV ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )

Rusted Rose

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 185
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2021, 06:04:57 PM »
It used to be that dollar store things were all substandard, but now that everything comes from the same factories, it's pretty remarkable what you can get for $1 that is just as good as something $4-$12 somewhere else. Of course, some things are overpriced at $1 and you get to know what to avoid.

Dish gloves for a dollar seems great, but not when they crack and leak after only a few weeks of use.

Maybe I should be glad that I can't buy them there, because they simply don't carry anything smaller than a size M. :P Which is also the case at some mainstream markets. Damn that is frustrating. So I order mine from Tarzhay.

Thankfully the "everything has to have Triclosan built in" fad has passed ... at least there's that.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17510
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2021, 06:35:53 PM »
I find all sorts of goodies at Dollarama.  You just have to be picky.

Knitting needles, on the other hand - start good or knitting is a chore.  I'm sure that is true for lots of things.

Morning Glory

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3886
  • Location: The Garden Path
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2021, 06:52:08 PM »
It used to be that dollar store things were all substandard, but now that everything comes from the same factories, it's pretty remarkable what you can get for $1 that is just as good as something $4-$12 somewhere else. Of course, some things are overpriced at $1 and you get to know what to avoid.

Dish gloves for a dollar seems great, but not when they crack and leak after only a few weeks of use.

Maybe I should be glad that I can't buy them there, because they simply don't carry anything smaller than a size M. :P Which is also the case at some mainstream markets. Damn that is frustrating. So I order mine from Tarzhay.

Thankfully the "everything has to have Triclosan built in" fad has passed ... at least there's that.

That's because all the bacteria are resistant to it now,  so it's useless.  I worry about what happens after chlorhexidine. We put that stuff  on everything.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4884
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2021, 07:03:59 PM »
I think this is pretty much the same as "penny wise, pound foolish", which is certainly not a new concept.

I don't think the boot story is intended an example of "frupidity" at all, and I think it's pretty judgmental to include it in that category, as written and especially because it includes a strong implication that it's not referring to stupid choices, but to desperate ones.  The point of that story, as far as I can tell, is that you first need to actually have $50 to buy the nicer boots.  But if you need boots to wear to work tomorrow and you only have $10 in your pocket, you have no choice but to buy the boots you can afford.  You can't go barefoot to work for a year until you've saved up the $50.  So you buy the shoes that cost more in the long run, because you can't afford to make the better decision, even if you know it is the better decision.  No different than not being able to buy products in bulk in order to get down the per-use price, because you don't have the money up front.  You could buy a year's supply of laundry detergent for half the per use price, but then you wouldn't have money leftover to buy food.  So instead you buy the smallest (and cheapest total, but most expensive per use) container of laundry detergent, so that you can also afford to buy the smallest packages of diapers, toilet paper, rice, and beans.   That's not Frupid; it's practical and shows how--as the boot story mentions--sometimes you need money to save money.

It would be frupid if someone had a choice--had access to the $50--and still bought the $10 boots.  But much of the time, that's not the case.  If someone is eating ramen for three meals a day, it may be because they are cheap and 'frupid'.  They could afford to add in some salads and rice and beans and fresh fruit, but they choose not to because they can save an extra $1/day.  But it may also be that in order to get enough calories, they eat the cheapest option they can find, even though it is worse and ultimately more expensive in the long run.  Because they need to eat *today* so they can't really factor in their blood pressure and future medical costs.  That's not a luxury they can afford.

I think it's important to make the distinction.  The same act may or may not be "frupid" depending on the context and underlying factors.

All that said, I'll nominate my landlords.  They made their brand new tenant deal with a broken stove for a couple months--until it reached the point where I was making very pointed calls to the PM and mentioning setting up an appointment for legal aid.  They burned up a great deal of good will, and now things that I could probably fix but would be a minor headache, I'm unlikely to do when I can just submit a work order and not have the headache.  And, once I applied enough pressure, they finally ended up repairing a 23 year old stove rather than replacing. A new stove as soon as it was clear that a fix wasn't going to be fast would have made their tenant far more inclined to be patient, help out, give them the benefit of the doubt, etc., and likely they are going to have to replace the stove soon anyway.  Similarly, they know the french door seals have failed.  There is evidence of past damage--repaired badly--so this is not new problem but of course it gets worse over time.  They had told us they would replace this summer.  But when the time came, the PM told us they are no longer going to replace them because they priced out replacements and they were too expensive.  So water will continue to leak, ruining the trim and potentially more--the door frame, the floor boards, the carpet and padding, the wood floors in front of the other set of doors.  Because they don't want to spend the money to fix what they know is broken and have known for quite a while is broken (giving them time to save).  And given the rent we pay and what we know about their work situation, these are not people living paycheck to paycheck just covering basics.   

Fomerly known as something

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1325
  • Location: CA
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #30 on: November 06, 2021, 09:08:10 PM »
Yeah, that's a good point re: phones. A different and better example, then. :) The people who drive around for 20-30 minutes just to find the cheapest gas in town and end up saving $0.03 per gallon? Sheer frupidity - good motivation, but they just don't think it through.

I did the math once, for my Honda Fit, and concluded it wasn't worth driving a half-mile (one whole minute at 30 mph, no lights) to a cheaper gas station. 3 cents * 6 gallons (half tank; prepping to head home) = 18 cents. Operating cost of the Fit is 17 cents per mile (gas, repairs based on new to 11 years) and 6 cents per mile (insurance). 23 > 18. Pay 3 cents more per gallon, save a few minutes and a nickle.

How much of that is sunk cost thinking though? "I've already driven 10 minutes,  so what's another 10?"

Not on gas, but I did have a conversation the other day explaining why I won’t live 20 more minutes away from the office.  I already live 20 minutes from the office.  There is a big difference between 20 and 40 minutes.

badger1988

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
  • Age: 34
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #31 on: November 06, 2021, 09:36:24 PM »
As of today I've decided to start self-insuring my house. I consider it a calculated risk, but I'm sure many would label the decision "Frupid"

LetsRetireYoung

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
  • Location: Quebec City
  • Earn more. Spend less. Invest the rest. ;)
    • my Let's Retire Young blog
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #32 on: November 06, 2021, 09:38:14 PM »
Not on gas, but I did have a conversation the other day explaining why I won’t live 20 more minutes away from the office.  I already live 20 minutes from the office.  There is a big difference between 20 and 40 minutes.
Hmm. Depends on the kind of commute, though. I would rather spend 40 minutes on a bus than 20 minutes driving during the morning/evening rush hour. When you're on the bus, you can do some reading, maybe take a little nap... Can't exactly do that while driving hahaha

bill1827

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #33 on: November 07, 2021, 02:51:43 AM »
I don't think the boot story is intended an example of "frupidity" at all, and I think it's pretty judgmental to include it in that category, as written and especially because it includes a strong implication that it's not referring to stupid choices, but to desperate ones.  The point of that story, as far as I can tell, is that you first need to actually have $50 to buy the nicer boots.  But if you need boots to wear to work tomorrow and you only have $10 in your pocket, you have no choice but to buy the boots you can afford.  You can't go barefoot to work for a year until you've saved up the $50.  So you buy the shoes that cost more in the long run, because you can't afford to make the better decision, even if you know it is the better decision. 

I'm afraid that you've taken that too seriously. It's a joke extracted from a comic novel by Terry Pratchett. (The joke has an element of truth, of course, which is why it's funny.)

Road42

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #34 on: November 07, 2021, 03:43:33 AM »
I don't think the boot story is intended an example of "frupidity" at all, and I think it's pretty judgmental to include it in that category, as written and especially because it includes a strong implication that it's not referring to stupid choices, but to desperate ones.  The point of that story, as far as I can tell, is that you first need to actually have $50 to buy the nicer boots.  But if you need boots to wear to work tomorrow and you only have $10 in your pocket, you have no choice but to buy the boots you can afford.  You can't go barefoot to work for a year until you've saved up the $50.  So you buy the shoes that cost more in the long run, because you can't afford to make the better decision, even if you know it is the better decision. 

I'm afraid that you've taken that too seriously. It's a joke extracted from a comic novel by Terry Pratchett. (The joke has an element of truth, of course, which is why it's funny.)
Actually I’m afraid you haven’t taken it as seriously as Pratchett intended it. Yes, Discworld is all jokes, but it’s the rueful wry humor of truth-telling satire - it’s meant to be commentary on how our real world works. Villanelle has the meaning exactly right.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

bill1827

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #35 on: November 07, 2021, 07:06:23 AM »
We'll have to agree to disagree then.

Yes, his books have a tiny kernel of reality which is what makes his science based jokes funny, but they are entertainment, not a deep critique of society.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17510
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #36 on: November 07, 2021, 07:25:56 AM »
We'll have to agree to disagree then.

Yes, his books have a tiny kernel of reality which is what makes his science based jokes funny, but they are entertainment, not a deep critique of society.

It's there all right, but you have to dig a bit.

Just like The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a fun fantasy story until you see beneath the surface.

Sailor Sam

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5363
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Steel Beach
  • Semper...something
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #37 on: November 07, 2021, 07:40:47 AM »
We'll have to agree to disagree then.

Yes, his books have a tiny kernel of reality which is what makes his science based jokes funny, but they are entertainment, not a deep critique of society.

I pretty strongly disagree with you. The Night Watch books are pretty sharp commentary on society, and modern policing. Class, socioeconomics, identity, racism. All there.

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9856
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #38 on: November 07, 2021, 07:50:14 AM »
I don't think the boot story is intended an example of "frupidity" at all, and I think it's pretty judgmental to include it in that category, as written and especially because it includes a strong implication that it's not referring to stupid choices, but to desperate ones.  The point of that story, as far as I can tell, is that you first need to actually have $50 to buy the nicer boots.  But if you need boots to wear to work tomorrow and you only have $10 in your pocket, you have no choice but to buy the boots you can afford.  You can't go barefoot to work for a year until you've saved up the $50.  So you buy the shoes that cost more in the long run, because you can't afford to make the better decision, even if you know it is the better decision. 

I'm afraid that you've taken that too seriously. It's a joke extracted from a comic novel by Terry Pratchett. (The joke has an element of truth, of course, which is why it's funny.)

I'm not sure about that, Pratchett's work has been the subject of an enormous amount of academic analysis of the social commentary. Just because something is absurd doesn't mean it isn't serious.

I'm personally NOT a Pratchett fan, although I read tons of Discworld and other Pratchett one summer because that's all I had to read and my brothers had left it behind, but even at the age of 13 I could see the social subtext through the silliness.

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4884
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #39 on: November 07, 2021, 01:25:00 PM »
They are jokes in the same way that A Modest Proposal is a joke. 

Pratchett is widely accepted to be social commentary, not just "funny stories".

And even if that wasn't his intent (and I believe it pretty clearly was), my point stands.  Some people don't spend more on bulk laundry detergent--or better boots--because they don't have the money to make the up front investment.  Are you arguing with that, or calling that 'frupid'? 

(FTR, I'm not  massive Pratchett fan, and I haven't read any Pratchett on Pratchett, to allow me to speak with any authority on authorial intent.  However, I'd be shocked if he didn't intent his work to be taken as it very widely has been--as social commentary, wrapped in a bit of humor.)

carolina822

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 88
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #40 on: November 08, 2021, 10:10:47 AM »
Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars.
Ugh, the lemon cars... That's the worst part of being broke. Sometimes, a dirt-cheap car is all you can afford - and if you don't have the skills, the tools, the time, or the space to fix/maintain them, you're screwed. Especially when there's no public transit or Uber to your workplace. (I used to work at a warehouse 35 miles east of Reno. O_o )

I know MMM has publicly questioned why poor people buy brand new cars instead of certified pre-owned, and it comes down to genuine rage, essentially: you have a little money saved up, and if you're buying a car, you don't want any chance of anything breaking again, even if it's certified. In 2013, I was making ~$13/hour in my warehouse (this time in Las Vegas), and my lemon car kept breaking down so much, so often, that it'd cost me about $400 a month in repairs, and a few hundred $ in lost wages for missing work. (Plus the constant possibility of losing my job if I missed it too many times.) It's pretty ironic, but after I bought a brand new car (with a $3K downpayment lol), the monthly payment was actually less than the "lemon-car fee" I used to pay, and the peace of mind was simply divine. :)

Not to mention, most the proponents of the "drive a beater" strategy are men who don't have nearly as much to worry about if their car breaks down after dark. I'm not some delicate flower who freaks out if I see a man across the street, but it's objectively more risky for a woman to be waiting for a tow or uber in the dark than it is for a man. (And most, when asked if their wife should drive their kids around in a beater, say "no.")

Malcat

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9856
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #41 on: November 08, 2021, 10:24:09 AM »
Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars.
Ugh, the lemon cars... That's the worst part of being broke. Sometimes, a dirt-cheap car is all you can afford - and if you don't have the skills, the tools, the time, or the space to fix/maintain them, you're screwed. Especially when there's no public transit or Uber to your workplace. (I used to work at a warehouse 35 miles east of Reno. O_o )

I know MMM has publicly questioned why poor people buy brand new cars instead of certified pre-owned, and it comes down to genuine rage, essentially: you have a little money saved up, and if you're buying a car, you don't want any chance of anything breaking again, even if it's certified. In 2013, I was making ~$13/hour in my warehouse (this time in Las Vegas), and my lemon car kept breaking down so much, so often, that it'd cost me about $400 a month in repairs, and a few hundred $ in lost wages for missing work. (Plus the constant possibility of losing my job if I missed it too many times.) It's pretty ironic, but after I bought a brand new car (with a $3K downpayment lol), the monthly payment was actually less than the "lemon-car fee" I used to pay, and the peace of mind was simply divine. :)

Not to mention, most the proponents of the "drive a beater" strategy are men who don't have nearly as much to worry about if their car breaks down after dark. I'm not some delicate flower who freaks out if I see a man across the street, but it's objectively more risky for a woman to be waiting for a tow or uber in the dark than it is for a man. (And most, when asked if their wife should drive their kids around in a beater, say "no.")

Ooh, this is very true.

I had a Sunfire that had a leaky windshield washer fluid tank, and the tank was stupidly wrapped around other major structures, so they had to do something insane like remove the entire engine to replace it. So I just opted to more frequently top up my fluid because I was young and broke.

This meant I was more often in public standing in front of my car with the hood popped. Because I was a young female, it almost never failed that men would stop their cars, get out, and physically approach me while I was alone in a parking garage or pulled over on a road to offer their "help."

Which I get seems nice to them, but to me was *highly* dangerous, especially since a more than ridiculous number of them became hostile when I politely declined needing help.

Him: "hey, you need help with anything?"
Me: "nope, I got it"
Him: "whatever you stuck up bitch, I was just trying to help"

OtherJen

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5255
  • Location: Metro Detroit
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #42 on: November 08, 2021, 12:51:06 PM »
Buy a cheap car or delay repairs so it would break down add he'd miss work and kept pouring money into crappy cars.
Ugh, the lemon cars... That's the worst part of being broke. Sometimes, a dirt-cheap car is all you can afford - and if you don't have the skills, the tools, the time, or the space to fix/maintain them, you're screwed. Especially when there's no public transit or Uber to your workplace. (I used to work at a warehouse 35 miles east of Reno. O_o )

I know MMM has publicly questioned why poor people buy brand new cars instead of certified pre-owned, and it comes down to genuine rage, essentially: you have a little money saved up, and if you're buying a car, you don't want any chance of anything breaking again, even if it's certified. In 2013, I was making ~$13/hour in my warehouse (this time in Las Vegas), and my lemon car kept breaking down so much, so often, that it'd cost me about $400 a month in repairs, and a few hundred $ in lost wages for missing work. (Plus the constant possibility of losing my job if I missed it too many times.) It's pretty ironic, but after I bought a brand new car (with a $3K downpayment lol), the monthly payment was actually less than the "lemon-car fee" I used to pay, and the peace of mind was simply divine. :)

Not to mention, most the proponents of the "drive a beater" strategy are men who don't have nearly as much to worry about if their car breaks down after dark. I'm not some delicate flower who freaks out if I see a man across the street, but it's objectively more risky for a woman to be waiting for a tow or uber in the dark than it is for a man. (And most, when asked if their wife should drive their kids around in a beater, say "no.")

Ding ding ding. And then you hope the Uber driver isn't a creep.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17510
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #43 on: November 08, 2021, 01:00:05 PM »
^^^ And this is why I now have a CAA membership.

DadJokes

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2260
Re: When frugality becomes frupidity :)
« Reply #44 on: November 08, 2021, 01:18:03 PM »
This is a trap I've fallen into far too many times in my life, but here's one:

I attended basic training for the Army back in October 2009. Christmas occurred during our training, and we were strongly encouraged to use up 18 days of leave we didn't have (basically starting our job with negative leave days). I would have preferred to just finish the training as I didn't have family that I cared to see, but drill sergeants made it abundantly clear that anyone who chose not to take leave would have a very miserable 18 days on base.

We had the choice to fly or take the bus. Being young and dumb, I went with the cheaper option and took a Greyhound bus halfway across the country. It was basically 24 hours on a bus each way with stops and bus changes throughout.

In hindsight, I wish that I had just taken an actual vacation to the beach instead of visiting family (and flown instead of taking the bus).