bad en-US When Being Frugal Went Wrong – Tales From The Cheap & Nasty <p><img src="" alt="boo hoo" title="boo hoo" width="243" height="183" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I love a bargain. We all do here at Wise Bread. But after a few personal disasters from being cheap, I opened up the topic to some of my fellow Wise Bread bloggers. What did they do to save a buck and how much did it cost them? If you have a story too, it could win you a $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. So on with the madness, starting with my own clash with frugal fate.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>CONGRATULATIONS TO HANNAH, OUR WINNER FOR THE $25 AMAZON GIFT CERTIFICATE DRAWING. THANK YOU TO EVERYONE FOR PARTICIPATING.</strong> </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Ugh" title="Ugh" width="251" height="188" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>PAUL&#39;S CURIOUS CURRY.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Paul Michael" title="Paul Michael" width="85" height="85" align="right" />When I was a college student I was always looking for ways to save money. As you know tuition and housing isn’t cheap, so after the bills, books and supplies I wasn’t left with that much extra cash for food and nights out.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">However, my friends and I always managed to save 5 pounds (around $10) for a Tuesday night curry-fest at the local Indian restaurant (I’ll refrain from using their name as it’s now under new management). For the silly sum of $10 we each got:</p> <p class="MsoNormal">3 different servings of curry – Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Bhuna and Beef Vindaloo</p> <p class="MsoNormal">2 servings of rice – White and Pilaf </p> <p class="MsoNormal">2 naan breads – plain and Kulcha (a naan filled with spicy meat)</p> <p class="MsoNormal">2 onion Bhajis with dipping sauce</p> <p class="MsoNormal">1 plate of poppadoms with mango chutney</p> <p class="MsoNormal">1 pint of ice-cold Carling Black Label lager</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It was a mountain of food. We’d starve ourselves all day and pig out on Tuesday night, not needing to eat again until Wednesday evening. It was terrific, we’d take over 2 hours at the restaurant eating and drinking and taking time to let the food go down. We loved it.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Of course, we always got what we called “The Japanese Flag” the next morning, which is a completely non-PC way of saying we got diarrhea. But we figured it was all the spices. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Then, one Thursday morning we were reading the local newspaper and the story on page 5 turned us all white. Our favorite curry house, which we had been going to for 1 year, had been shut down because they had been serving dog and cat in the curry. Not all the time, but enough that we knew we’d eaten our fair share. They also had some serious sanitation issues, including cross-contamination, out-of-date food and some personal hygiene issues (I can&#39;t mention them here, but we all felt sick for days). I assure you this is no urban legend, my folks still have the paper-clipping to prove it. I can eat curry again, I still love it, but the flashbacks come and go. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Moral of the story: A cheap meal may contain a nasty surprise.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Tired" title="Tired" width="226" height="169" /> </p> <p><strong>WILL&#39;S HOTEL HORROR</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Will Chen" title="Will Chen" width="85" height="85" align="right" />The California bar exam is the most grueling test I have ever taken. It is a three day test of your endurance as well your legal knowledge. I knew it was going to be rough ride. That&#39;s why when I found out the exam was being held at a Sheraton hotel, I promised myself I would get the best room possible.</p> <p> The Sheraton, of course, was counting on this. They knew most law students would pay almost any price to get a room there so they jacked up their prices accordingly. When I called for a reservation, they only had two rooms left: one ridiculously priced suite on the top floor and another room on the second floor that was $150 cheaper. Although I had promised myself to get the best room possible, I just couldn&#39;t pass up the $150 discount. It&#39;s only a room right? What could possibly go wrong?</p> <p> Big mistake. It turns out no one took that room because it was right next to the elevator. Every five minutes I was treated to either the screeching sounds of elevator gears or the drunken tirades of hotel guests who got off on the wrong floor. I did pass the bar despite not getting any sleep for 72 hours. But till this day I still kick myself for risking so much over a relatively trivial amount of money. That was the worst $150 I have ever saved.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Moral of the story: A cheap room could cost you a good night’s sleep.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="sad kid" title="sad kid" width="252" height="189" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>JULIE&#39;S BIRTHDAY BUNGLE</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Julie Rains" title="Julie Rains" width="64" height="85" align="right" />The birthday-party goody bag for my children and their friends has been my nemesis. The concept is not so bad: give partygoers a bag of small treats. But if you have 10 kids and each trinket costs 50 cents to $1.00, it adds up and is an unreasonable amount to spend on a bunch of junk. </p> <p> When my youngest turned three, he invited three friends to his birthday party. I decided I’d get one big item for the goody bag (these kids had limited experience with parties so I figured I could get away with giving one large item), which was a toy fishing pole with magnetic fish (the fishing line caught the fish with its magnet) available at a very inexpensive price at the grocery store. So I saved on the goody-bag items and avoided a drive to Toys R Us or Party City. </p> <p> I bought four fishing sets so I’d have a back-up if one broke. Only one child could come to the party, so I had three back-ups. Just as the party ended and in the presence of the friend’s mom who had arrived to retrieve her son, I presented the token gift to the innocent three-year-old. He played with it briefly but the fishing pole broke immediately; the magnet on the line came loose upon contact with the magnetic fish. So I retrieved another set, and then another, and, then, the last one. All broke. </p> <p> My frugality with goody bags and gifts ended that day, almost. </p> <p> This year, many birthdays after the fishing-pole incident, I spied Matt Christopher (sports series for kids) books for $1.00 at the outlet store of an early-education catalog company, whose main office just happens to be a couple of miles from my house. The prospect of filling a goody bag with something inexpensive and somewhat valuable was just too much to resist. So, I collected several copies, added a few pieces of chocolate to each bag, and reached goody-bag, frugal-mom nirvana. </p> <p> Still, I have learned my lesson not to be ultra-frugal when the consequences of frugality impact someone besides me.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Moral of the story: Saving money on gifts may not help you save face.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Boat repair" title="Boat repair" width="270" height="184" /> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>ANDREA&#39;S DIY DAD</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Andrea Dickson" title="Andrea Dickson" align="right" />My dad is a great guy. He&#39;s a very smart man, a hard worker, and completely dedicated to his family. He really is the essence of frugal, a guy who is pretty much content with the same wardrobe for 20 years at a time, the guy who relishes leftover food and cheap wine.</p> <p> He is not, however, a mechanic.</p> <p> Dad&#39;s always been fond of buying used, and slightly obsolete. Cars, computers, whatever - if Dad can buy something that&#39;s cheap and out of style (but still useful), he will.</p> <p> Now, we&#39;re not a big boating family, but we had a house near a lake and we all agreed that buying a boat was a great idea. So Dad went out and found the ugliest mustard-yellow boat available. There is no describing how hideous that boat was. Fugly from top to bottom. But it ran fairly well.</p> <p> Until it didn&#39;t.</p> <p> Dad, being Dad, decided that he would crack open the inboard/outboard and give it ago. Several days and a few more broken parts later, Dad asked a neighbor for some repair advice. Upon hearing that Dad was attempting to fix the motor by himself, our neighbor Gus, probably wiping away tears of laughter, said, &quot;You get to break three parts during the repair, and then you have to take it to a mechanic.&quot;</p> <p> Classic boat-owner&#39;s mistake, apparently.</p> <p> Now, I have faith in Dad&#39;s abilities, to a point. We once fixed the bumper on my Honda Civic, which had been lowered considerably in a rearend collision on the 101 outside San Mateo. The mechanic guesstimated that the repairs (lifting the bumper back up into place) would run about $700. Dad wasn&#39;t having that. </p> <p> For $4 worth of screws, that car looked as good as new. </p> <p> But boats are a different beast, and a motor is more complex than a bumper.</p> <p> In any case, Dad learned at that point that there are some DIY projects that really shouldn&#39;t be DIY. Oil change? Sure. Transmission rebuild? Not so much. His little repair project cost him an extra few hundred bucks. </p> <p> We still have that God-awful boat, though. It still runs, except when it doesn&#39;t.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Moral of the story: Do-It-Yourself can easily turn into Do-It-Twice.</strong></p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Hair" title="Hair" width="271" height="203" /></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>JESSICA&#39;S HAIRCUT HELL</strong> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><img src="" alt="Jess" title="Jess" hspace="2" vspace="2" width="85" height="84" align="right" />One frugality tip I often see repeated is to take advantage of cheap haircuts at hair dressing academies. Every time I read said tip, I cringe. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">See, I was your classic broke college student, living on ramen noodles and cheap beer, when my friend decided she was going to have a lavish Christmas party. This party was to be a dress up affair which was not the norm in the rock&#39;n&#39;roll circles in which I hung out. A date, I needed a date! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I worked up the courage to ask a gorgeous guy I was crushing on, and he said yes. The week prior to the party, I was in full-on girlie grooming mode, slathering my face with Clearasil to avoid any pesky zits. I also decided that I should get my hair trimmed, but my wallet said otherwise. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I decided to walk up to the local hair school to get my Louise Brooks bob neatened up. Everything looked fine and dandy when I walked out the door, but when I got home that was not the case. I had sideways and crooked bangs! Upset, I trudged my way back to the school. The instructor, who was a 90s version of Maynard G. Krebs , told me I was full of it &quot;We cut with the shape of the head.&quot; Well I knew my head was not crooked! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">His turtlenecked and goateed highness summoned all the nearby students to watch his corrective actions to my bangs. So now I did not have crooked bangs, I had no bangs. Mind you this was before &quot;baby bangs&quot; were a common sight. With no solution in on the horizon, I decided just to deal with it. The next morning I woke up to not only bang-less hair, but a face that was peeling like a lizard from the large amount of acne products I had put on my face that week. No amount of exfoliation would correct it. There was no way I was going to miss this bash, hair and face be damned! </p> <p class="MsoNormal">I ended up having to put Vaseline on my face in order to even do my make up and managed to work some magic with a bottle of Aqua Net to my poor hair. Luckily, the drinks were flowing, the lights were dim, and my crooked haired, scaly faced self still got a kiss under the mistletoe. After that experience, I will never put my hair on the line just to save a buck. </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Moral of the story: Cutting costs with your hair can leave you red-faced. </strong> </p> <p class="MsoNormal">Got any stories even more disastrous than these? We’d love to hear them. Remember, it could win you a cool $25 Amazon Gift Certificate. One commenter will be randomly chosen and contacted through email. Deadline to enter is 7/20.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>THE DRAWING HAS ENDED. CONGRATULATIONS TO </strong><strong>HANNAH</strong><strong>, OUR WINNER OF THE DRAWING!</strong> </p> <p class="MsoNormal"><em>All photos courtesy of <a href="">The Stock Exchange. </a>Many thanks. </em> </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">6 Signs You&#039;re Not Frugal — You&#039;re Cheap!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">10 Wasteful Things That Frugal People Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Cheap and Romantic Ideas for Valentine&#039;s Day (And Any Other Day of the Year)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">One Pot Roast, A Week of Cheap and Delicious Lunches</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living bad bargain cheap decision frugal mistake stories wrong Mon, 16 Jul 2007 04:21:53 +0000 Paul Michael 842 at The Good, The Bad and the Ugly - What Kind Of Blog Commenter Are You? <p><img src="" alt="line up" title="line up" width="375" height="281" /></p> <p>As a writer for a blog that’s growing in popularity, I’m noticing that several different types of blog commenters exist. And not just on Wisebread, but also on every other blog I read. Some are great, some are good, some are bad and some are, well, just plain mystifying. Do you know what type you are? I have compiled a list of the main ones, not just for the sake of everyone who reads and writes for this blog, but for every other blog out there. If we all know what type of blog commenter to be, maybe we’ll all achieve blogging nirvana. </p> <!--break--><!--break--><p><strong>The DO-GOODER (Nice people, never a bad word to say)</strong><br />I would put my mum in this one. When I was a kid, I tested her a lot. “What do you think of this sketch mum, is it good” even though I had done it badly on purpose. “Oh, that’s wonderful son, you’re so talented.” Do-Gooders are just nice folks in general, and want everyone to feel as nice inside as they are on the outside. They probably won’t help you build a better article or start a great debate, but they will make you feel warm and cozy. Do I like Do-Gooders? Sure, it’s great to feel loved! But when they say great things about everything, well, the comments never feel as special or as helpful as they could, know what I mean?</p> <p><strong>The BUILDER (Constructive Criticizer) </strong><br />I think these folks are up there as my favorites. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to get a nice remark, but I love it when folks put meat on the bones of a comment. For instance, I’ve written several posts that were not complete enough in either research or detail. The Builder has pointed this out, in a very well mannered and meaningful way, and also provided links to some research I may have missed. Builder’s will not simply say “That’s stupid, this post is dumb, you suck” and leave it at that. For a start, they’re way too smart and well behaved to do just that. They will point out a blogger’s misgivings politely and provide genuine helpful guidance. If you’re a Builder, I applaud you. Thanks for making the blogging world a much better place to be.</p> <p> <strong>The WANDERER (Always off-topic, sometimes nice, sometimes nasty)</strong><br />It’s difficult to know what to think of these folks. Some are very polite, friendly and helpful, some are just plain moronic. But the problem here is content. They’ll leave comments about space travel on a post about homemade fertilizer. They may well have a reason behind getting from point A to point B, but they certainly don’t share it with the rest of the blogging world. It’s ok to wander off topic if you start on topic and it’s a natural progression of the comment. But to just dive headfirst into a complete tangent, well, it just gives us all a headache. Thanks for commenting, but please let us know what your comment has to do with our article. We’d really appreciate it. </p> <p><strong>The ONE WORD WONDER (too short, too brief, seemingly pointless)</strong><br />I have to wonder to myself why these folks comment at all. I mean, why take the time and effort to comment if you’re going to say something like “Sweet” or “Good one” or even “Bologna!” Back it up please, either way. If we have in some way touched a nerve, let us know how and what we can do about it. If we have moved you, we’d love to know the background. We all know that life is too short to write book-length comments in blogs, but if you’re going to the time and trouble to leave your thoughts, can you elucidate please? We’d love you so much more for it ☺<br /><strong><br />The QUESTIONER (always probing, sometimes doubting)</strong><br />Questioners will have a question for every article. “Yes, but if I do that won’t it end up being more expensive in the long run?” or “Hmm, but did you check the Arizona Institute of Wiseasses for contrary information?” Questioners can often be helpful, starting bloggers down another path that will lead to even better articles in the future. Questioners can also be really tiring, because you sometimes get the feeling they’re only asking a question because they A) want to show you how smart they are, or B) are always asking questions. If your question is a good, relevant one, please ask it. I’m always happy to answer genuine inquiries. But if you’re basically finding another way to show off, or didn’t read the article correctly, then I’m sorry but I may not give you an answer. <br /><strong><br />The DEBATER (looking for a fight?)</strong><br />Some people have a natural gift for arguing. As a result, they will leave inflammatory comments or just pain outrageous remarks in the hope that a blogger or reader will bite. I have bitten that hook a few times, to my shame. Debaters never want to drop the subject either. If you see the comments area filling up quickly, you can bet there’s a debater with some poor sap on the end of the line, squirming and wriggling. Debaters are good at what they do, well versed, educated (most of the time) and will often leave you feeling week and feeble. And for what? Sometimes, it’s over important issues, and that’s a good thing. That’s healthy debate. But when it’s over the petty, off-topic subjects, it’s best just to let these people go. Avoid the bait bloggers. Stay away from their shiny lures. No doubt a debater is rubbing his or her hands with glee over this article, just waiting to pounce on me and start something. But I will be strong. </p> <p><strong>The CHAMELEON (hey, did you check out my site?) </strong><br />Many bloggers are split on this one. Some don’t have a problem with them (myself included) and some are irritated by them. Chameleons will disguise themselves as any one of the other blog commenters listed here, but they usually have just one goal…to get click-throughs to their own site. They will register their name as a hyperlink, or include various links to their own sites in the comments box. Personally I know just how difficult it is to get traffic and so if you are doing this in a good way, leaving good constructive comments, then I have no issue. If you’re being mean, it won’t reflect well on your own site anyway and thus is not really self-serving. </p> <p><strong>The JOKER (the comedian, not the super-villain)</strong><br />There’s one in every pack, right? (Although I always thought there were two in a pack?) Anyway, the Joker will comment just to make a funny. Sometimes it’s at the writer’s expense, and can be downright mean. Other times, the Joker leaves a lighthearted, on-topic chuckle that gives us all a smile. Personally, I’m no big fan of the first one (and I’ve been on the receiving end of a few cutting jokes since my blogging career began). The second type I can take or leave. It’s nice to have a laugh, so if you feel like you will just burst if you don’t leave your harmless funny then go ahead (but please, keep it on topic). </p> <p><strong>The NAYSAYER (also known as the “impossible to please”)</strong><br />If you’re a Naysayer, you’re already compiling a list of every single thing that you disagree with in this article. It will be a long list. You’ll dislike my tone, the subject matter, the categories will be all wrong, I’ll have left out the most important point, etc, etc, etc. Naysayers would complain if they won the lottery. Naysayers would have told Jesus he was doing it all wrong. Naysayers are a negative force on this world that suck the life out of you and drain your energy. Sure, their comments will be on topic, and often civil. But they’re so pessimistic that it’s hard to get through them all without chewing your own arm off. Think carefully if all you do is leave comments that disagree with everything the blogger says. If you have a genuine concern or problem, then that’s no problem. But if you spend your life bringing people down and naysaying everyone and everything, what kind of life are you living anyway? Something tells me you’re not too happy. <br /><strong><br />The FIGJAM (An English term meaning “F**K I’m Good, Just Ask Me)</strong><br />Also known by many as Trolls, comments from this particular blog reader are self-serving and patronizing. If you’re a FIGJAM, you’re probably already typing a nasty, self-promotional comment to this post right now. Although I’d actually be surprised if you had read this far down, as most FIGJAMs merely skim the surface of an article, think they know the score, and write a hefty response. FIGJAMs build themselves up by putting people down. They’re the bullies of the blog commentary world, and as a result will usually not leave their names or contact details (scaredy cats). FIGJAMs also have a tendency to be hypocrites, often pointing out spelling errors and grammar while making the very same mistakes in the comment box. All in all, a FIGJAM only serves to bring the whole blog down. If you’re a FIGJAM, I have a few pieces of advice for you. First, get in touch with your inner bastard and kick him/her to one side. Second, stop reading blogs. If the articles constantly annoy you, why keep reading them? You’ll be happier if you just go off somewhere and read a good book, and I’m 100% sure we’ll all be much happier without you. I thank you. </p> <p><em>Fabulous line-up photo by <a href="">Lamont Cranston</a> (sorry, I couldn&#39;t find a line up with good guys in it too) </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">A Little Light in Dark Financial Times</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Bit of fun turns into $10,000</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">How to travel to and from Canada</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">Giving is Better Than Blogging... or IS it?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="">22 Reasons to Write a Letter</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks bad blog comment commenter comments good negative positive ugly Wisebread Thu, 07 Jun 2007 23:07:51 +0000 Paul Michael 715 at