The Average Day of Frugal Dude

So I was just on my way home from work and realized how much of what I was doing at that one moment, even though I was just “in transit,” was influenced by my frugal philosophy:

  1. I was riding a bus. Duh. I’ve given up driving a car to work and paying for a parking spot. The bus is much cheaper and less stressful. I can read a book or even watch tv, while someone else deals with the traffic and the ice on the roads. This particular bus ride cost $1.30.
  2. I was reading a used book. As a member of PaperbackSwap, I get free books in the mail in return for sending people books of my own. On this day I was reading a very old copy of Michael Lewis’ “Liar’s Poker.” I requested it through PaperbackSwap for $0.49.
  3. I was listening to a used iPod Touch. I love the maligned iPod Touch. It does everything a smartphone does, but without the monthly bill. I bought this on eBay for $74.
  4. I was listening to free mp3s. I like to pay for my music. I believe in supporting the things you like, because if you don’t, those things will die. But I like to listen to electronic music while I read, so I was listening to some Boards of Canada demos. Since these were never officially released, they are free online.
  5. My bag had my lunch container in it. Not only do I make my own lunch and bring it every day, but these were actually leftovers from Christmas. My mom had made it (eggplant parm). So even though bringing your lunch is always cheaper than buying, in this case the food was actually free.
  6. As to winter accessories I was wearing: My gloves? A gift. My coat? Another gift. My winter hat? Cost $1.50 at Old Navy.


These are all just little things, but every little thing adds up.

  • $13.50 saved on parking every pay period comes to $351 per year. If you think a car costs 59 cents per mile to operate, then by taking a bus instead of driving the 11 miles each way, I save $10.38 per day or $2,595 a year.
  • A 49 cent copy of “Liar’s Poker costs $8.50 less than a new or e-book version. My reading goal is 24 books per year, for $204 a year.
  • A $74 used 32gb iPod Touch is $176 less than a new 32gb iPod Touch.
  • Free mp3s obviously don’t cost anything, and don’t need a Spotify subscription for $9.99 a month ($120/year) or any kind of data plan if you were listening to that on a phone.
  • A typical homemade lunch costs $1 to $2 and is $5 to $8 cheaper than a bought lunch of $6 to $10. Based on 250 work days a year, that comes out to $1,250 to $2,000 per year.

It just goes to show, frugality is a set of learned habits, or something. It’s not something that you can just turn on and off, I guess. It’s a lifestyle or whatever. Huh!

What kind of healthy frugal habits to you partake in without even noticing anymore?


  1. My first thought is: Wow! Your bus fares are cheap! I think it costs twice that to ride the bus here in Denver without a monthly pass or something like that. But I’m very impressed that you commute that way. I never worked a “normal” schedule – and since riding the bus home at midnight… having to make two transfers… all to get a measly 8 miles across town sounded like a really bad idea, it’s not something I ever toyed with. But in the right circumstances I think it could be a great solution.

    I’m trying to think what my frugal habits are… actually I think my whole lifestyle is set up to cost very little so it’s hard to call them habits per se. But working from home, cooking all my own meals, and buying all of my clothes used (except for bike shorts!) come to mind.

    Happy New Year to you!

    • Norm

      January 4, 2017 at 7:00 am

      Yeah, it is strange how a little move can have a big effect on your public transportation. I used to live somewhere else and work somewhere else in Albany, and it would’ve taken 1.25 hours to do the 6 miles on a bus. Now it takes me 35 minutes to get 11 miles just because I’m on an easy route. I know someone in Boston who takes 1.5 hours to get 10 miles, and I think, isn’t Boston supposed to be a big city with better public transportation? Only if you live and work on the same route, really.

      Happy new year to you too!

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