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How to be an obnoxious money saver

If you aspire not only to save money but to aggravate everyone else in the process, today’s post is for you.

And if quietly living your frugal life is just not satisfying enough, never fear!   With these helpful tips, you can quickly alienate yourself from every single person in the world who spends more pennies than you.

Four glass Mason jars of dark brown chicken broth.


You may lose friends, but dear reader, you’ll make up for it with self-satisfaction and the knowledge that you are more frugal than anyone you know.

Or anyone you read about on the internet.


1. Overstate everything.

No price hike is too small to magnify.

Try phrases like, “Wow. I didn’t realize I’d have to take out a mortgage to buy a cup of coffee. It’s up $0.10 this month.”

And you have to deliver it with all sincerity, as if $0.10 hikes do indeed require a mortgage. Dimes add up!!

The struggle is real, and you have to make sure all of the people know.

2. Criticize people who are less fanatical about devoted to frugal living.

There’s no need to limit your criticism to easy targets, such as spendthrifts. Laser focus on people who are frugal, but not quite as frugal as you.

“I can’t believe how spendy Sophie has gotten. I saw she has her heat turned up to 59 degrees. I’m totally drowning in sweat when I visit her house. Seriously don’t understand why people can’t just put on a sweater before they crank their heat so high.”

(Notice the sneaky combination of tip #1 (ex.: totally drowning in sweat) with #2? Given enough practice, you’ll be able to do that without thinking.)

3. One-up All Of The People

Related to #2 but slightly different: if someone mentions a money-saving tactic or technique, never let it go without first mentioning how you save slightly more.

Does someone make tomato sauce using canned whole tomatoes?

Casually mention that you can your own tomatoes.

In glass jars from the thrift store.

With tomatoes you grew in your garden.

From seed.

In organic homemade compost.

Really, don’t stop until the other person feels completely inferior.

4. Die on all the hills with store clerks/waiters/anyone in public service.

Don’t let the small stuff go.

If you bought two identical shirts on clearance and one’s labeled $2.89 while the other is marked at $1.89, DO NOT LEAVE the customer service desk until the clerk has agreed to give you your dollar back.

Call in upper management, let a line form behind you…just do whatever it takes to get that dollar.

5. Ignore the details on offers/coupons, and complain if you get pushback.

It’s not your fault the expiration date was in such tiny print! And aren’t expiration dates really more suggestions than rules?

Pull in tip #4 by blame-shifting your erroneous interpretation onto the staff member, because obviously they are the ones who designed the ad and came up with the terms of the deal.

Persevere long enough and loud enough and you just may get what you want.

6. Ignore your family’s preferences.

Does your spouse have a favorite individually packaged treat? Squelch that habit immediately by offering up a homemade alternative that he/she hates.

Does your family particularly hate being cold? Turn the heat down anyway and hand out sweaters.

Does your spouse wilt in the humidity? Who cares? No A/C until the house is 85 °F!

And forget about A/C if the temp is reasonable but the humidity is high.

Humid air is good for the skin! And hey, this is totally arid compared to the rain forest. Why are you even complaining?

7. Be an ungracious gift receiver.

If you enthusiastically (or even meekly) receive gifts more expensive than you’d buy for yourself, you’ll just encourage the giver.

Instead, gently but firmly remind them that instead of a thoughtful gift, you’d prefer to receive six month’s worth of toilet paper.


I mean, basically, a gift is like money someone owes you, so you can certainly tell the giver how you want the money to be spent.

You may meet with some resistance at first, but just remind yourself how much you’d just hate to see your gift money spent on something that’s not practical.

With enough persistence, your family/friends should eventually get the picture.

8. When you splurge, complain about it. Out loud.

If you take someone to a nice restaurant for their birthday, be sure to comment on the outrageous prices.   Refer back to #1 (Overstate Everything) and invoke phrases such as “highway robbery”.

Bonus points if you make a habit of sharing how much money you could have saved by not splurging (“Wow. For the price of this restaurant meal, I could have fed us beans and rice for an entire month.”).

As a rule, this will make the people you’re splurging on feel so guilty and uncomfortable that they honestly will not want you to splurge on them in the future.

(Win for you!!)


I’m sure I’ve missed a few pointers key to obnoxious money-saving, so help a girl out and share your tips in the comments.


P.S. Don’t want to be an obnoxious money-saver? Focus your efforts on kindness, humility, and unselfishness.

(Plus a good helping of minding your own business.)

P.P.S. This is not directed at any of you lovely readers but is rather inspired by obnoxious frugal behavior I’ve observed online and off-line over many years.

P.P.P.S. Embarassing: The shirt example in #4 did actually happen to me recently, and I had to remind myself that a dollar is really not that big of a deal, and getting two button-down denim girl’s shirts for less than $5 was still a screaming deal.

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Thursday 15th of July 2021

I know this is an old post, but I needed this. I had grabbed Oreos today because the sign said 1.99 each when you buy three. When I checked my receipt, it was way off. When I ran back in, the signs had been taken down. I nicely went to customer service, and they checked it out. I was correct, however, I had grabbed the family size (which was on the display incorrectly). I decided to smile and politely let it go.


Saturday 30th of January 2016

I try to be a humble gift receiver.... Robin- I understand that some gifts are not quite what you had hoped for, regardless of how many times you told the giver that you had enough kitchen items.... Sometimes, you just bite your tongue and re-gift the thing...... My case was a bit different and similar in the sense that I got spandex for Christmas for 3 straight years. DH wanted to see me wear it at the gym and everywhere I went. I do not like public attention and refused. I promptly returned ALL OF IT. And it kept coming........I don't know that I could've re-gifted it but I made it clear that I DON'T wear spandex. It eventually stopped. Well, the spandex did. This year, I thought I received a long sleeve shirt. Upon closer look, it's actually a romper. Shorts sewn to the top. ::sigh:: At those moments, I remember the Serenity Prayer that starts out, "Lord, help me to accept the things i cannot change...."

Jan Elizabeth

Tuesday 14th of July 2015

How about when someone shows you something new they got, like a piece of jewellery or a car, look really startled and mutter something (like "good Lord!") Look disbelieving and appalled, but don't say anything else. Find an excuse to hurry away.

Condo Blues

Wednesday 11th of March 2015

I have one! #9 When you hear that someone used their savings or has different financial priorities than you do, criticize them loudly to their face along with statements such as, "I wish I was rich enough to do that."

I have someone in my family who tries to make me feel bad and acts like we are poor when we do things like use the program on our programmable thermostat during the winter and not keep our furnace at 80 degrees in the dead of winter snow. Then we use our saving to do something fun to treat ourselves like travel, we get it again because the person is jealous we went somewhere fun.


Wednesday 11th of March 2015

Just so you know after reading the comments section - I immediately put my food dehydrator in the the donate pile that goes to Goodwill tomorrow. Good riddance, and thank you! LOL

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