I would never have thought this before I started this blog, but I’ve just come to the realization that I’m frugal.
After reading many outstanding personal finance blogs, I find myself doing exactly what other frugal people are doing.
I used to think that being frugal meant being cheap.
After pondering over my level of frugality for the past month, I’ve decided to create a frugal self-assessment to determine just how
cheap frugal I really am.
The Frugal Assessment
This is a simple 10 question assessment that will quickly show you where you lie on the scale of frugality. Print this out and write in the number of your answer next to each question or write your answers on a piece of paper.
For each question below, select the answer that best describes you.
1. ___Eating Out
- You’re a foodie and love eating at all the trendy restaurants.
- You only eat out when friends or colleagues invite you or it’s your wedding anniversary.
- Costco’s food court is your idea of eating out. Their hot dogs are amazing! For only $1.50, you can get an 8″ hot dog with all the condiments and a soft drink with unlimited refills.
- Eat out? What does that mean? Why would anyone eat outside?
2. ___Grocery Shopping
- Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and the local farmer’s market. Your family’s health is more important than price so you’re willing to pay a premium.
- Costco is your primary source for all food in bulk. Walmart, Safeway, or some other local grocery store is your source when you don’t want to buy palettes of food from Costco. You spend less than $200 a month per person in groceries.
- You meal plan and spend less than $150 a month per person in groceries.
- You’re a black belt in the art of coupon clipping. You spend less than $100 a month per person in groceries. If only your spouse would allow you to
wastespend the time, you could get paid to go grocery shopping.
3. ___Buying Clothes (and Shoes)
- All of your clothes were designed by people with Italian or French last names. You shop at Macy’s or Nordstrom for discount clothes.
- Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, Forever 21, Nordstrom Rack … you get the point.
- You shop at premium outlets, Ross, Marshalls, and TJ Maxx for name-brand clothes at a discount.
- Your wardrobe consists of clothes from thrift stores and garage sales. If you had the time and skill, you would make your own clothes.
4. ___Getting Your Hair Done
- Your hairdo is on the same level of importance as the quality of your designer clothes. You classify your monthly hair expense as a priority over fuel, housing, and utility expenses. Your hairstylist makes $40 a month from you on tips alone.
- In addition to your hairdo, you buy hair care products from your hairstylist. Your husband curses you out for spending over $150 to $250 a month in hair cuts, perms, treatments, other hair maintenance, and the hair-care products.
- You refuse to pay more than $25 for a haircut. You prefer barbers over hairstylists.
I cut myYou cut your own hair … or … you don’t ever cut your hair! It just falls out over time or gets pulled out when it gets snagged on cracks in the floor.
5. ___Car Buying
- You and your spouse upgrade your cars after each car note is paid off. Besides … you don’t like the hassle of buying used cars and you love that new car smell.
- You buy your cars brand new but keep them for at least a decade or longer.
- Used cars for cash. Period.
- Buy a car? Get off your lazy @$$ets and ride a bike! …or walk. Public transportation is a good thing. Mr. Money Mustache is your hero and you’re hoping he runs for POTUS.
6. ___Home Buying
- Your last name is Jones. You feel claustrophobic in a 3500 square-foot house. You need a bathroom for each family member. Your monthly mortgage payment could feed a family of four for an entire year.
- You look up to the Jones but can’t afford a house like theirs. Your mortgage payment, combined with taxes and insurance, is no more than 25% of your take-home pay.
- You bought your home to be close to work and/or the best schools for your children (future children). Your mortgage payment, combined with taxes and insurance, is no more than 15% of your take-home pay.
- You own your home free and clear. No mortgage, baby!
7. ___Remodeling Your Home
- As a Jones, you have an image to uphold and you can’t disappoint your minion-followers on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and all other social media outlets. You need a kitchen both indoors and outdoors!
- You remodel (upgrade) your home when you can afford to. Upgrading your home to include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and hardwood floors will increase the value of your home when it’s time to sell–you tell yourself.
- You watch HGTV for inspiration and YouTube for instruction. You’re a DIYer and pride yourself on remodeling your home for less than a third of the quoted prices from local contractors.
- “Don’t fix what ain’t broke!” is your motto. You love the look of oak cabinets and white kitchen appliances. Carpet can be steam-cleaned and will last decades with proper care.
- A vacation is a time to be pampered and relax. You stay at 5-star resorts and travel in first-class. Vacations are picture-perfect moments for your social media fans.
- Your ideal vacation is at all-inclusive resorts or cruises because the package deals are tough to beat!
- You use credit cards and reward points to travel hack. Your vacations are so well planned out and executed that you write blog posts to help others do the same.
- Your ideal vacation is driving to relatives’ or friends’ homes. An alternative vacation is to go camping or RV’ing to national parks. You cook while on vacation.
9. ___Cell Phone and Plan
- You have a cell phone subscription. Apple, Samsung, or [insert major cell phone manufacturer here] send you their latest and greatest top-of-the-line cell phones as soon as they’re available. Your talk, text, and data plan is unlimited because your cell phone is your everything. You never leave its side and even have it with you while you’re in the shower.
- Your monthly cell phone bill (including taxes and fees) is no more than $75.
- Your monthly cell phone bill (including taxes and fees) is no more than $40.
- You’re a Republic Wireless user. Your monthly cell phone bill is less than $20! You have a 500MB per month data limit but you still get refunded for having MBs left over. 😉
10. ___Gift-Buying for Your Significant Other
- Nothing’s too expensive for my wife, husband, fiance, girlfriend, boyfriend, or significant other.
- It pains you to buy that gift that your significant other wants, but that’s what love is all about. Sacrifice. “Hmmm … maybe something’s wrong with that one. Why don’t we see if this credit card goes through, okay?”
- You create PowerPoint slides and present a well-rehearsed argument on how to maximize investments in your retirement accounts by saving or eliminating frivolous gifts to each other.
- You don’t buy your significant other any gifts and hope you don’t get divorced. This won’t work for girlfriends or boyfriends because they’ll leave your @$$ets in a heartbeat!
Add up all the numbers for the questions above (minimum 10, maximum 40). Divide the total by 10 (minimum 1.0, maximum 4.0). That’s your Frugal GPA.
My Frugal GPA is 2.7. I’ve got a lot of room for improvement in frugality. I’m looking forward to Mrs. FAF’s (Frugal Asian Finance) future course, The Art and Science of Living Frugally.
What’s your Frugal GPA?
Please share with others and comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts.