The Principle of Frugality

frugality, frugal living, principles of frugality

My wife is a money saving machine, willing to go to great lengths to save a few bucks. But as much as she loves to find ways to save money, ensuring she’s not overcharged and that she gets exactly what she paid for is an obsession. I witnessed this twice over the past week.


My wife saw a Facebook ad for a sale on cookies at the grocery store where our son works. Our son happened to be working at the time, so she texted him requesting he bring some home. When he got home, she handed him the $2 they were supposed to cost. He looked at her a little funny and stated that the cookies cost $4.

He had been overcharged.

The next day, my wife was driving in the area and stopped in with the receipt to talk to customer service. The customer service representative stated that they were supposed to show the cashier the Facebook ad to get the sale price. My wife whipped out her phone, showed the customer service representative the ad, and asked where that was stated. It wasn’t stated in the ad, and my wife was refunded $2.

Subway Soda

Our family was out doing some last minute school shopping and stopped at Subway for lunch. During checkout, my wife stated all three sandwiches would be combo meals with fountain soda and chips. My wife and son went to sit down while I paid for the meal. As the transaction completed, she came back to the register and handed one cup back because our son wasn’t thirsty. She explained to the cashier that we wanted a bottled soda instead so we could take it with us for later.  The cashier nodded his head, and watched as she put the cup back and took a bottled Sprite. He rang up the bottled soda for $2.15. I knew that wasn’t right, as he charged me for an additional soda when it should have either been an even exchange, or only a small upgrade charge.

At the table, when my wife realized what had happened, she was shocked I didn’t say anything. For me, it was an effort vs reward situation. The restaurant was busy, and the people working didn’t seem to be their “A” team as we had several issues with speed and accuracy while our sandwiches were being made. I knew it was going to be excruciatingly painful to try to explain to the cashier what had happened, and for him to figure out how to do the refund.

After stewing the entire time we were eating, my wife asked for the receipts and marched up to the cash register. Listening to the conversation, I was correct in how painful the effort to get the refund was. It didn’t take much to explain the error, but in the course of trying to figure out what to do about it, three different employees got involved. In the end, they just decided to refund the $2.15 cost of the extra soda.

For my wife frugality and ensuring that every transaction is done exactly correctly is extremely important.  Whether it’s $20 or $2, she’s going to ensure we pay exactly how much we’re supposed to and not a penny more.


Image courtesy of graur razvan at

Have you ever gone to great lengths to correct a minor error in a transaction? How much was the error?

About the author

Brock Kernin


  • I hate whenever this happens to me! Usually I just suck up the cost because the gas isn’t work it for me (I work from home so I don’t usually happen to pass the same places often).

  • If I’m there and notice the mistake at the cash register, I’ll ask them to fix it. Or if I’m still in the grocery store when I notice the discrepancy. But if it’s only a couple of bucks and we’re already home…

    Granted, I think I’d be more like your wife if I were healthy. So take what I say with a grain of salt.

  • @Michelle – I agree….and the cookie thing definitely wouldn’t have been worth it if my wife hadn’t been nearby the store for a different reason that day. Again, it’s an “effort vs reward” situation for me…

  • @Abigail – I’m with you…once I’m at home it’s a done deal. I tend to pay very close attention at the cash register – I noticed the mistake at Subway, but the effort just wasn’t worth it to me.

  • @Sylvia – my mom is actually even more hard core. She doesn’t care what the amount, or what the effort it takes to recoup. it MUST be right…..she’ll go back no matter what!

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