Financial Literacy Guide: Are you a cheapskate?

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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.

  1. 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:




  2. 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:

    Are horrified, too: This guy’s shameless!

    Are tempted by the tip, but just don’t have the chutzpah to pull it off.

    Have been doing it for years. (Yawn) Next beauty tip, please.

  3. It’s Halloween and your candy cupboard’s bare. The neighbors’ kids are coming calling, so you:

    Darken the house and shush the dog.

    Let ’em eat cake. Literally. You must have some sweet around, even if it’s boring old tea biscuits.

    Give coins — big bunches of them. You feel bad enough disappointing the kids with your lack of candy.

  4. A waiter gives you substandard service. Your tip is:

    Less than the usual amount: You don’t want to totally stiff the server, but good tips must be earned.

    The usual 15 to 20 percent — substandard or no, the poor schlub has to earn a living.

    ”Thunderbolt in the fourth.”

  5. Your favored type of dining situation when you’re footing the bill is a:

    Big all-you-can-pocket … er, -eat buffet.

    Place where they pamper you with plenty of frills and options.

    A cozy bistro with a BYOB policy.

  6. 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:

    ”I’m in love!” (or: ”Am I in one of those quickie-divorce towns?”)

    ”I wonder if I could fit under the table?”

    ”Hmm. OK.”

  7. 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:

    Appropriate items priced under $10 or $20.

    A shocked expression.

    A mirror.

  8. 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?

    Did Elvis love his mama?

    No — it’s the height of tackiness.

    On rare occasion.

  9. Ever steam an uncancelled stamp off mail you’ve received?

    Of course not. That’s just pitiable.

    No. Does that really work?

    It’s been your vast experience that snip ‘n’ save works best — especially with those newfangled self-sticks.

  10. Waiting to make reduced-rate late-night calls is:

    Something that doesn’t even occur to you to do — your mind doesn’t work that way.

    A root cause of that kith-and-kin class action lawsuit against you.

    An occasional occurrence — but you’re really careful not to disturb your early bird pals.

  11. Speaking of early birds, what do you think of eateries’ early-bird specials?

    They’re for the birds. You eat when it’s convenient for you. Period.

    They’re handy when you’re really watching your budget.

    Heck, you’d show up for dinner at 3 a.m., if the price was right. You can nap before and after.

  12. When do you pay full retail price?

    When it’s the only, or best option, after all factors are considered.

    Almost always — it’s the easy, no-hassle way to go. You get what you want, when you want, how you want.

    What eez zees — how you say? — ”full retail price”?