This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Article: Conspicuously Thrifty

Posted By Paul

There was an article today on the Dollar Stretcher that really resonated with me because it reminded me of one of my very first Frugalize posts (here is the post from several years ago):

Conspicuous Consumption Gone Wrong

I still struggle with the idea of trying to wave the flag of frugality in a world that seems to focus so much more on showing off what you have (whether or not you can actually afford it).

One thing I have noticed is a definite change of attitude since our economy hit a slump. There seems to be a greater appreciation for stretching your dollar. However, I'm disappointed to see a focus on ways to still have a luxurious lifestyle while stretching your dollar, as opposed to the idea of trying to live a simpler lifestyle in general.

I suppose that's no surprise since the most common way I hear about the economic slowdown is in ads that are trying to encourage me to keep spending lavishly despite the situation.

The Dollar Stretcher article was great in that people suggested ways to be proud of their frugality without being overbearing. Several people said how frugality goes hand in hand with modesty, which I thought was a very nice point.

I liked the idea of being 'transparent' where you don't shout your accomplishments from the rooftops, but you do discuss your choices honestly when they come up in conversation.

Also, one of the comments specifically mentioned the book: "The Millionaire Next Door" which I read and reviewed in one of my first posts here:

Review Part 1: The Millionaire Next Door

One thing I have noticed that makes conspicuous thriftiness much easier is having a peer group that also views frugality and savings as something to be admired. I have two really good friends and we're all very practical when it comes to money and spending. It's great having friends who also consider living within your means to be a virtue. We don't try to "out miser" each other, but we also don't enable bad financial behavior.

I've seen people whose peer groups are all terrible with money, and they constantly encourage each other to overspend. It's like each person in the group serves as the "devil on the shoulder" for someone else. Always ready to provide a handy rationalization for a bad financial decision.

I'm sure that if you surround yourself with people who overspend it must feel very awkward to be the one person trying to live a frugal lifestyle.

Anyway here is the full article:

Conspicuously Thrifty

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Saved Some Money on a Keyless Entry Remote

Posted By Paul

We have a car with keyless entry, and the remote started to wear out (not just the battery, but the actual buttons). It still worked, but you really had to push hard on the worn out buttons and it would often take two or three tries, so I decided to replace it.

I called the dealership to see what it would cost to get a new one, and I was told they cost about $150 each!

That seemed like a lot, so I decided to look around on the internet. I ended up here:


It said that they could send me the correct remote for my car along with instructions on how to program the car to accept it. Since the price was much better than the $150 I had been quoted from the dealer, I decided it was worth a try.

I felt a little more confident when I entered the year/make/model of my car and the web page brought up a picture of a device that looked EXACTLY like the remote I had. I ordered one and received it fairly quickly.

The instructions had quite a few steps (a lot of insert the key, remove the key, etc. to put your car into 'learning mode'), but they were clear and also included tips in case you have trouble. I had my new remote programmed in just a few minutes.

I was even able to keep my old remote valid so now I have a spare. So instead of $150 the new remote was about $40. I will DEFINITELY use them again the next time I have a worn out remote and need a new one.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Article: Confessions of extreme penny pinchers

Posted By Paul:

There was an article on CNN money that I thought was interesting. Here is the link:

Confessions of extreme penny pinchers

In particular I was intrigued by the 8th entry in the article where parents have their 3 kids taking turns picking the restaurant and paying for the half the meal while on vacation.

On the one hand it seems pretty extreme, on the other hand it is a great way to make the financial impact of eating out seem real to your kids.

My parents did something similar to me when we went on vacation. I had an allowance when I was pretty young, but sometimes for vacation my folks would give me a little extra spending money. They gave me the extra money at the start of the vacation with the condition that it was for the WHOLE vacation and it was mine to spend on any souvenirs or snacks that I wanted. I didn't have to pay for meals, but snacks and treats came out of my own money. Any money I didn't spend was mine to keep.

A similar idea, and overall I thought it was a good thing. It kept me from constantly having to beg my parents to buy me a churro/soda/balloon and I remember feeling very grown-up about being able to pick out and buy my own souvenirs. I remember that it was fun trying to find that "perfect" souvenir to buy, plus I think it was more pleasant for everyone to not have me running up to my folks every 10 minutes to beg for a quarter for a video game, or to buy me a lemonade.

I even remember once at a fundraising school fair when that I went to that my mom gave me $3 to buy "tickets" to play the different little games. At one of the booths they were selling plants for a dollar each. I remember thinking: "Wow, a dollar for a plant seems like a good deal, and I can plant it in the yard and enjoy it for a long time." so I bought one.

I remember my Mom being surprised and amused to see this 8 year old coming back with a potted plant and saying how it seemed like a much better deal than the carnival games.

Anyway, the article is worth a read.