Unfrugal confessions of a normal spender in the PF blogosphere

It’s no secret I’m one of the least enthusiastic PF bloggers when it comes to early retirement or achieving other monetary milestones. My only real redeeming habit that puts me in the above-average category when it comes to financial management is that I love the stock market so freakin’ much, I gladly curb my spending on shoes to invest. If it wasn’t for that, I’d have practically nothing to my name.

In all honesty, I’m a pretty average consumer that just happens to have a personal finance blog. 

Mikhaila and I regular joke about our we-just-won’t-tell-the-blog buys and Daisy wrote an awesome post about how there seems to be a general  atmosphere of “money is not supposed to be spent” in the PF blog community.  Well, I’m here to tell you some of the things I normally do on I-just-won’t-tell-the-blog days.
  1. Sometimes when I am too lazy to do laundry, I just buy new clothes.

  2. I know I can wash some things by hand in cold water, but I take them to the dry-cleaner anyway.

  3. I regularly contemplate subscribing to the wash & fold service offered by my dry-cleaner, especially because it includes pick-up and drop off.

  4. I think seriously about hiring a house cleaner for my 1-bedroom apartment.

  5. Leftovers that have been forgotten in my fridge for an extended period of time, get thrown out — container and all.

  6. I have spent over $100 on coffee in a single month before.

  7. I don’t cut long-distance calls with my parents short even though it’s expensive. I just pay the extra $15 or whatever on my next cellphone bill.

  8. I could probably change my cellphone plan to include long-distance, but I’m too lazy to find a more appropriate plan.

  9. Even after more than 2 years writing about my finances on this blog, I still don’t make budgets or stick to them.

  10. I routinely look at purchases on my credit card and forget what I bought, then begin an enthusiastic receipt-hunt around my home to find out what it was.

  11. Sometimes when I pay the bill for a group dinner at a restaurant and take cash from everyone for their share, I spend the cash instead of putting it right on my credit card.

  12. I pay for music, movies and TV shows I know I could obtain illegally for free.

  13. If I’ve been over-charged any amount less than $20 for something, I usually let it go.

  14. I occasionally do not return library books on time and incur late fees.

  15. I frequently avoid the purchase of necessary items like lightbulbs or printer ink so I can use my money to go out.

  16. I find the subject of saving for retirement extremely boring.

  17. I bought Coach sunglasses this summer on a whim.

  18. I sometimes use ATMs that charge withdrawal fees when I’m out and my local bank machine isn’t close by. I accept the $3 charge as a “convenience fee”.

Readers, tell me your sins.


  1. mochiandmacarons

    #12 –I pay for music, movies and TV shows I know I could obtain illegally for free.

    ….. is not really a sin. It’s what I do too…..

    I have a habit of mostly buying things on impulse, but I’ve gotten good at returning them if they aren’t perfect for what I want or need.

    • Bridget (Author)

      I’m a compulsive returner too haha saves me so much money!

    • I pay for music and online media too. Getting it illegally is stealing. NOT STEALING is nothing to be ashamed of. =/

    • I am so tankful to the return policy in United States. Not all countries around the world have such friendly return policy. I have had to return or exchange things that I purchased under influence of a good sales person only to later realize, I did not actually need it.

  2. I do so many of these things as well. I am constantly paying for convenience, such as more expensive parking.

  3. Very cool that you wrote this list up. I don’t think you should feel guilty. As long as you have a plan and are aware of your priorities and how you want your future to look I say do what you want.

  4. SWR

    I’m pretty positive I’ve one-upped your coffee spending, more than once. I spend way more than I need to on food at school, because I don’t want to look like the high schooler with the huge backpack, which is what happens when I bring two meals and all of my books…

    I’ve also been known to pay extra for certain classes at my gym (which is expensive already) because they are in the ‘nicer’ rooms or are less crowded.

    • Bridget (Author)

      hahaha well done! Though my coffee + alcohol is a frightening total to be sure =\

      I buy food at work a lot too, particularly breakfast and an afternoon coffee.

  5. John S @ Frugal Rules

    I agree with Lance…awesome that you did this list & I don’t think you should feel guilty either. If you’re not racking up all sorts of debt, then how you spend you’re money is up to you and should not be judged. We all have our ideas of why we spend on what’s convenient for us and that’s ok.

  6. LOVE this. I’m always honest on my blog, but I don’t spend the best either. At least we don’t preach what we don’t practice 🙂 This is why we are besties.

  7. Shame on you~! Just kidding. Hey, it’s your money. You can waste it if you want to. Just don’t waste mine, ok?

  8. Erin

    Oh thank god. As someone who wants to start a PF blog in 2013 (should we all survive the apocalypse 😉 ), I keep thinking, “Yeah, I’m probably not frugal enough for that.” And I am SO GLAD I’m not the only one who has thrown out old leftovers, container and all, because I didn’t want to deal with the nastiness inside.

  9. The beauty of blogging is honest accountability, I’d never want to read a blog if the voice was coming off as fake- this is you and that is just fine. The PF community needs to be well rounded and have voices they can truly relate to which comes in the form of bloggers like you! It’s your money and people shouldn’t judge you on that!

    • Bridget (Author)

      That’s true thank you! I definitely appreciate a variety of voices in the PF community too.

  10. I guess I don’t read enough pf blogs. I didn’t realize pf bloggers weren’t supposed to spend money. Who cares if you spend $100 on coffee? I thought pf blogs only talk about cutting out things like Starbucks when you’re $50K in credit card debt and regularly spend more than you make every month. I assume you an afford the $100 you spend on coffee? I assume you’re not charging each coffee purchase on your credit credit, not paying it off, and collecting 30% interest on a $3 cup of coffee? Right. You’re responsible. These are all responsible purchases. I love the list, I assume you don’t feel guilty for them, but really there is nothing wrong with any of these. We all make money and should spend it/use it how we want.

    Also, #11, for example. I didn’t know you were “supposed” to put it back on your credit card. I mean, you’re going to use that cash for purchases that you would use your credit card for anyway, right? So it comes out to the same thing.

  11. I can relate. I took a vacation when I could have just as easily saved the money in my IRA or something. You have to find a medium or you will go insane!

  12. Melanie

    I generally always agree to go out for lunch when invited by a coworker…even though I have a perfectly good lunch sitting in the fridge.

    and just today I bypassed “super saver free shipping” and paid $8 because I couldn’t stand to wait two more days to get my purchases…

  13. #13 If I’ve been over-charged any amount less than $20 for something, I usually let it go.

    I can relate to this one. Sometimes it’s more effort to go back to the store and deal with it.

  14. Thank you, Bridget. This is very refreshing to read.

    I admit I have done a few of these things, though less so now since I have no job. : (
    Nobody’s perfect and being ultra-frugal all the time…I actually find it pretty scary. Money is meant to be spent. Even if you’re saving, it’s being saved to eventually be spent.

    As I’ve heard some say, you can’t take it with you. I feel that enjoying life more is a very worthy cause for money to go to. : )

  15. *faints* No, I tease. I do do some of these (coffee, leftovers, avoiding necessary purchases).

  16. I do some of these as well. Money is to be spent 🙂

  17. As someone who just wrote a post that is kind of the opposite of this (lol!), I have to say, I USED to be WAY more like that. Although I would never advocate locking yourself up in your home and NEVER spending your money, I write about saving as much as possible because I have lived with the consequences of spending mindlessly. With just 10% more effort my entire life, I could have avoided some of the jams I’m in now. I think you have to find a balance. 🙂

  18. My favorite part of this post is how you characterize us as normal spenders, because it’s not often talked about in the PF blogosphere. So many PF blogs are there to encourage frugal spending (lord knows they practice what they preach), but for me, being frugal is too much damn work! Plus I like expensive well made name brand bags. Sue me!

    I’m “guilty” (air quotes because I really don’t feel that bad about it) of #5 too – it’s more worth it to throw the whole thing out then to gag at the stank while you clean out the icky container.

  19. Koala

    #10 – Especially when you have a joint credit card.
    I had a conversation that went like this once:
    WTF is Poon Corp? What on earth are you putting on the credit car- err wait never mind that was me.

  20. I’ve definitely done $5. I just hate gross smelling anything! Plus the container would probably still smell like it even after being washed.

  21. I love your list! I think I beat your spending over $100 in a month on coffee though…I might have managed to do that in the last ten days when I was away lol! Now I like to save money, but I also will gladly pay convenience when it suits me. In NY, many people would travel 2 hours using public transit in order to get to one of the airports…ah…not happening. I’ll happily pay $40 (fare & tip one way) to rid in a nice tinted Suburban with a driver in a suit from home all the way to the airport. I will not give up my love for Starbucks or Second Cup when I feel for it. I don’t feel badly about my spending because I know that if I had to reign it it for whatever reason I would. I’m still saving a very respectable portion of my income and very close to being debt free so I have nothing to feel remotely guilty about.

  22. Definitely agree with #1, #14, and #16. I also like that you characterized these as “normal” spending habits; I think that sometimes we get so nutty about frugality in the PF world that we start to lose touch with what most people are doing with their money.

    I do have to say that the PF blogger in me really comes out when #13 happens to me – I HATE being overcharged sooooo much. I make a fuss over even $5…but I’m always kind of embarrassed about it – does that mean that, deep down, I’m “normal”? LOL

  23. #5 – Leftovers that have been forgotten in my fridge for an extended period of time, get thrown out — container and all.

    I did this 2 weeks ago. pandora’s box, man. You just don’t want to open some tupperware after too long…

    #6 – I have spent over $100 on coffee in a single month before.

    Mr PoP totally tops you on this. His “normal” coffee budget is $80/month – and going over to $100+ has definitely happened more than once. =P

  24. I <3 <3 <3 this post!

    1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, variations of 17….. all 100% applicable, lol.

  25. studentdebtsurvivor

    I’ve been eating out a lot lately which is frowned on by the pf blogosphere, but I’m OK with that. I really need to cut back. #11 and #2 ring true to me as well.

  26. James @ Free in Ten Years

    I freaked out a bit reading this list. It’s very refreshing compared to normal personal finance blogs. I love my containers too much to throw them up just because I can’t be bothered cleaning them though – haha!

  27. Ooo good confessions! Way to bare all and just put it out there. I have a few slightly embarrassing ones:

    1) This past month I’ve spent over $500 on running gear, clothing, and home furnishings.
    2) Instead of finding the time to design a new blog layout, I’m hiring Andrea to do it, even though my career is marketing and website design AND I’m currently designing/maintaining two other WordPress sites for freelance clients.

    I think that no one is perfect, and to pretend to be will just make your readers hate you for being so perfect. Good job on being honest!

  28. mycanuckbuck

    Awesome post! Hmmm… Chocolate. Seriously, the amount of impulse chocolate I buy is ridiculous. And it’s not the cheap stuff either. I also probably go out to dinner way more than I should..

  29. I am so guilty of #1 on that list, even though doing that is compounded by the fact that I know I’m supposed to WASH new clothes before wearing them, making me feel lazy AND wasteful. Also, I have a Target debit card which can take several days to show up on my account online, in which time I forget what I purchased in the first place and do the receipt-hunting thing, too, somehow convinced that I just don’t make THAT many trips to Target (I do).

    I do totally put up a fight if I’ve been overcharged for something. Not a big fight, but I’m willing to mention it to my customer service representative.

  30. Very refreshing post. I can only take so much of the frugal type, save money blogs. I skip over most of that stuff these days. Your title caught my attention though. Good job!

    One thing I will say though about your retirement perspective… I don’t want to hear you complaining when you’re struggling to survive on Social Insecurity.

    • Bridget (Author)

      Over 20% of my gross income is being saved for retirement. I didn’t say I didn’t save for retirement, I said TALKING about it was boring.

  31. huh… All my unfrugal confessions involve food. I guess I know where my priorities lie, haha.

  32. You and me both, girl. I sometimes feel like I shouldn’t call myself a pf blogger because I’m spending/saving bipolar. I love shopping (I’m totally not going on a shopping trip this weekend *wink wink nudge nudge*) but can be super cheap at times too and hardly ever talk about long-term saving goals on my blog.

    I bought coach sunglasses this summer too.

  33. Embarrassed

    Wow, good post. I have been frugal for most of my life but I recently overcame some issues and I am happier than I have been in years. The down side is I have been spending money like it is going out of style. I’ve spent about $12k on “fun” things in the past four months (vacation, a new wardrobe, and home decor were the biggest offenders). How’s that for a confession?

  34. Ha! This list is refreshing. No one is perfect when it comes to money; that would be boring.

  35. hahaha I have done just about everything on that list. I’m currently paying rent for an apartment I’m not living in, but that’s for my sanity until I can get my name off the damn lease.

  36. THANK YOU for posting this. As someone who can afford life, I’m glad to see you do. I buy what I want… that’s probably my sin. I spend a lot on groceries. Seriously, donno how some people have the discipline to spend less on their whole families than we do for two. I love me some good cheese! We go on vacation. We buy expensive presents. We have over 12 cases of wine in the house. We have multiple $100 bottles of scotch. We spent nearly $2K at Home Depot on a hobby project. (Which I still having effing finished and I’m starting to hate!)
    I’ve done the bulk of the things on your list.

  37. very well said. no judgement here, and i have “frugal” in my url!

  38. Great post!. I am definitely guilty of throwing out leftovers. I get sick of eating the same thing over and over again. To make things worse I’m a pretty picky eater and will sometimes throw food out just because I don’t “feel” like eating that particular food. Phew. Glad I got that out.

  39. Never feel guilty about #14, that’s like a donation to the library and you’ve probably saved way more by not buying the book anyway. Also? I admire #12, especially with music.

    #15 – Who HASN’T? Hello. I put off renewing my passport for MONTHS until I needed to. That was $87 I could use for something else.

    #18 I dislike but I would rather incur a fee and pay in cash than use my credit card for something like a bar tab.

    I COMPLETELY disagree with #13 though. I hate being overcharged. HATE IT.

  40. Count me in for printer ink funds going to “going out” funds instead. Also, socks.

  41. Nat

    I love this list! I look at PF blogs and think is this a REAL person, how can you be happy NEVER spending money on nice things.. I don’t even know how to have a dinner out for 2 for 40$.. unless its donairs…
    My confessions…
    1. My boyfriend and I will go out and spend ALOT in one night on a nice restaurant, tons of alcohol and going to the bar
    2. I will buy clothes and be too lazy to return them when I find I don’t like them. I will give them to a friend or donate them when I clean out my closet.
    3. I most often buy at least a new shirt before going out on the weekend..this has been going on for years…
    4. I go to a gym that charges 150$/ month when I could go to one that is only 60$, because it is just….nicer.
    But I do try to keep this in check by not going out every weekend and limiting my eating out.