Are You Intelligently Frugal or Just a Cheapskate? Take This Quiz if You Dare!
The past couple of years have been tough on many Canadians and for a brief period of time, frugality was the financial buzz word. I'd like to add the adjective "intelligent" preceding frugality (being smart with your money) as a trend I hope will stay.
But then there are those individuals, you know the ones (maybe intimately), that are just plain cheap.
Take this test to find out if you're fantastically frugal, penny-wise and pound-foolish or a killjoy miser.
Question #1: Have you ever been out with friends for dinner and excused yourself just as the bill came to avoid chipping in?
A: Never; I can't stand people that do that
B: I'll be honest – I've thought about it
C: Yes, and I can't count how many times (is that wrong?)
Question #2: The last time the Girl Guides or Boy Scouts came to your door fundraising, you:
A: Bought one of what they were offering
B: Told them you bought at the office
C: Shut the blinds and turned off the lights when you saw them coming
A: Downsized to one car and car pool
B: Take public transportation even if it means an hour plus commute
C: Bum rides from friends with cars (and never offer gas money)
Question #4: During this past Christmas, you:
A: Bought some gifts from the dollar store
C: I don't give gifts – my family got coal
Question #5: The last time you tipped:
A: Several times last week and usually 15 - 20%
B: Recently but the percentage depends on the service
C: I tipped my hat to a stranger once – does that count?
Question #6: When you buy your spouse a gift for your anniversary, you generally shop at:
A: Holt Renfrew or an upscale store
B: The Bay or Sears
C: Goodwill or a yard sale
Question #7: When was the last time you drove more than 30 kms to save a few cents filling up your gas tank?
A: Never, it's not worth my time
B: Occasionally; but only if the savings were steep
C: Always – I'll park my car before filling up at city prices
Question #8: You've brought home-made wine to a dinner party but only drank the hosts' store bought vino:
A: Never, who's that cheap?
B: Thought about it
C: Yeah, I'm that dinner guest
Question #9: Whenever you get a prescription, you always buy the generic brand:
A: Only if the pharmacist believes them to be of the same quality
C: I only buy generic; the cheaper the better
Question # 10: To save money in the winter, you:
A: Weatherproofed your home of drafts in the fall
B: Put on an extra sweater and socks in the house to keep costs down
C: You never keep your home warmer than 17 degrees and hand out slippers to guests
Question #11: When making a purchase for an item over $500, you:
A: Go online for the best deals and watch for flyers and sales
B: Negotiate on everything and have been known to hold up lines
C: Never buy anything over $500
7 or more "A's": Congratulations! You're thrifty; respect your time and others. You enjoy your money but have discipline over how you spend it.
8 or more "B's": It's a grey area. You may be economical at times or a boarder-line scrooge depending on the circumstances. Ask your friends and family; they'll be happy to fill you in.
Mostly "C's": You've earned the badge of official cheapskate of 2011. Make a goal this year to pry your wallet open and dust off the cobwebs – just a little. Life is short and you can't take it with you!
Tune in later this week for my follow-up article addressing this quiz by offering practical tips for being smarter with your money this year!
Kelley Keehn is a financial expert, author, speaker and host of W Network's, Burn My Mortgage. She's also a weekly contributor to the Globe and Mail. For more information, visit www.kelleykeehn.com.