Do you pinch pennies until you bring tears to Honest Abe's eyes? Being cunning with cash is swell to a point; point being when you start acting more squirrelly than savvy when it comes to saving cents.
If thrift is a virtue, this quiz will tell you if you're really, really, really virtuous. By the way, the quiz is free.
We know a woman who never, ever bought perfume -- all right, she's our mother -- because every day she passed a department store filled with free-spritz-and-sample-laden fragrance counters. You think she's:
You answered: Smart! (1 pt.)
A number of years ago, Oprah had a beauty expert on her show offer this tip: When your hair frizzes up or otherwise misbehaves midday, casually stroll through a nearby drugstore, take a bottle of hand cream -- or was it hair cream? (whatever) -- and surreptitiously work a smidge of it through your tresses. Oprah looked ever-so-slightly horrified at this pro's petty-pilfering pointer. You:
You answered: Are tempted by the tip, but just don't have the chutzpah to pull it off. (2 pts.)
It's Halloween and your candy cupboard's bare. The neighbors' kids are coming calling, so you:
You answered: Let 'em eat cake. Literally. You must have some sweet around, even if it's boring old tea biscuits. (2 pts.)
A waiter gives you substandard service. Your tip is:
You answered: ''Thunderbolt in the fourth.'' (1 pt.)
Your favored type of dining situation when you're footing the bill is a:
You answered: Place where they pamper you with plenty of frills and options. (3 pts.)
Continuing in this culinary vein, you're at a nice restaurant with a first-time date (if you're married, just pretend your spouse lets you date -- OK?). After your nice meal, said date pulls out a coupon for said meal. You think:
You answered: ''Hmm. OK.'' (2 pts.)
You're at your favorite gift store, where everybody knows your name. If you asked to be shown ''something cheap,'' the clerk would most likely show you:
You answered: Appropriate items priced under $10 or $20. (2 pts.)
Rumor has it that a fruitcake received by an Alabama woman last Christmas was originally given by Mary Lincoln -- yes, Abe's wife -- to her church's pastor. Just kidding with this one -- but, hey, it could be. We know true fruitcakes-that-wouldn't-die stories that are just one notch less amazing. Anyway -- do you recycle gifts?
You answered: Did Elvis love his mama? (1 pt.)
Ever steam an uncancelled stamp off mail you've received?
You answered: Of course not. That's just pitiable. (3 pts.)
Waiting to make reduced-rate late-night calls is:
You answered: Something that doesn't even occur to you to do -- your mind doesn't work that way. (3 pts.)
Speaking of early birds, what do you think of eateries' early-bird specials?
You answered: They're for the birds. You eat when it's convenient for you. Period. (3 pts.)
When do you pay full retail price?
You answered: When it's the only, or best option, after all factors are considered. (2 pts.)
You've got your wily ways, but you're not wackily withholding. You're practical, and interested in saving a few pennies -- but not to the point, say, where you'd risk a trip to the pokey (far as we know, grooming your hair in-store with said store's unpaid-for products is petty pilfering -- though we doubt Death Row would be the end result).
You also wisely weigh all factors in making monetary decisions -- i.e., if it saves you a sou or two, is it worth the time, trouble or perhaps loss of your good standing with others? Your final decision may not always be 100 percent on the money -- but 100 percent is neither a necessary or obtainable goal.
You embody an admirable balance between living large and living lean -- living la vida in-between.
-- Updated: Jan. 23, 2004