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I’m not going to lie. I’m a judgy person. It’s not a quality I’m proud of, but it’s true. I judge people who walk too slowly. I judge the rude kids at the grocery store. I judge mouth-breathers.

I hate that I immediately skip to judgment mode without realizing it. The world can already be a stressful and negative place—why contribute to that?

That’s why today’s post is devoted to knocking me down a few pegs. I need to practice more humility in my life, particularly because I’m not a perfect person and have no place to judge other people.

When you make the transition to living frugally, it’s easy to think, “Oh my goodness, I can’t believe Fergus just got a $40,000 car loan. What an idiot!” While maybe Fergus is an idiot, that’s not for me to decide. His life is his life and we live differently. I don’t want to be judged for my choices and I’m sure he doesn’t want to be judged for his.

Anyway, today I’m focusing on being more humble by focusing on my mistakes. And most of my mistakes are damn funny (at least in hindsight…).

Here’s how I’m putting the humor in humility.

Frugal Fails Abound

Here are just a few of our hilarious moments of humility—reminding us that everyone is human. We all make mistakes—even when we think we’re being super-careful!

Our Library fine

I’m lowkey obsessed with libraries. Our local library is the number-one reason we were able to eliminate our $50/mo movie rental costs.

It was the summer of 2016 and we were at the height of our movie-renting frenzy. We checked out the 007 movie Skyfall and it was pretty darn good.

That is, until the library called. They demanded $10 for the movie being late. What the whaaaat.

As it turns out, the movie was a new release at the library and had a two-day rental period instead of the standard two-week rental. And that’s how we shelled out a whopping $10 to our library for the privilege of seeing Daniel Craig kick butt.

The fee went to a good cause, but we’re much more mindful of due dates now.

a lipstick replacement

I’m on a never-ending journey to find cheap and healthy alternatives to storebought cosmetics. I thought it was high time to replace my Revlon lipstick for something that had less suspicious ingredients.

I tried Burt’s Bees lipstick, which tasted like delicious berries. No luck! This stuff rubbed off as soon as I opened my mouth. I even tried frozen beets. These were weird and did not work.

I finally bought a lip stain that was allegedly organic (I don’t think it was) and promised to stay all day. This stuff burned like a motha! They said I’d feel a “tingling” sensation but that was a lie, ladies and gentlemen. To top it off, this $25 lip stain rubbed off after a few sips of coffee.

After spending at least $40 on “better” replacements, I came full circle again and still use my Revlon lip stick.


Our concrete counters


We thought our concrete counters were the bees knees while planning our kitchen. We figured we’d save soooo much money since we could DIY it for $500 and professional quotes started at $3,000.

We should have gotten the professionals. We purchased a kit made specifically for concrete counters, but something went awry. The counters came out rough and jagged on top, even with five coats of sealant. We now have a bumpy-as-hell counter that stains easily.

It sucks.

We’ll get about a year of use out of this counter before removing it and having professionally-installed counters. Oops!


*shudder* This was a gross one, y’all.

Mr. Picky Pincher and I made steak fingers for dinner one night and realized (gasp!) we were out of milk to make gravy.

As a gravy-lover, Mr. Picky Pincher would not eat steak fingers without gravy, so we improvised. I was at the height of my yogurt-making fanaticism and tried to make gravy with whey instead of milk.

The result was a tangy, horrible concoction we’ve named “gwheyvy.”

It’s not good. Don’t do this.

Dulce de lechwhey

Don’t worry, after the gwheyvy incident I still tried to use whey in other “wheys” (eh? eh?). I attempted to make a whey caramel after sampling some at a farmer’s market. I was sure I could crack the code and make my own version that didn’t cost $8 a bottle.

I tried and failed three times. The first two times the caramel turned glasslike and stuck to the pan. After the second attempt and vigorous pot-scrubbing, Mr. Picky Pincher forbade me from making whey caramel again.

Naturally, I made it a third time anyway. The consistency was correct this time but something went very, very wrong with the taste. It was like tangy old socks. It was so bad.

The flaming smoker

Mr. Picky Pincher’s dad gifted Mr. Picky Pincher with a badass homemade smoker for Christmas. We were super duper pumped for all of the smoked meats in our future, so Mr. Picky Pincher quickly got to work smoking some chickens.

But then something went wrong.

Mr. Picky Pincher was working in the shed and I was in the kitchen. I saw a plume of smoke coming from the smoker and investigated.

“Hey! … Is it supposed to be smoking that much?” I asked Mr. Picky Pincher, coughing.

“Well yeah,” he said, “It’s a smoker.”

I couldn’t argue with that logic, so I went back inside. And that’s when he opened the smoker and the whole damn inside was engulfed in flames.


We successfully put out the fire, but it was scary/disheartening.

P.S. We did grill the chicken successfully afterwards, so no food went to waste. 🙂

Homemade perfume

This was a good one, y’all.

I was sick of spending $40 a year on my Noa perfume. While I love my perfume, I don’t love the price. I was determined to make my own perfume at home for pennies on the dollar.

It’s super easy to make homemade perfume. You just need a combination of a carrier oil, 100-proof vodka, and essential oils. The perfume cures for a week before it’s ready to be used.


I am clearly not a fragrance professional. I loaded the perfume with jasmine and frankincense.

First of all, frankincense smells like old people—it seriously does. Second, it turns out I’m allergic to jasmine and wheezed all day. So I smelled like a geriatric asthmatic the one day I wore this perfume.

The bottom line

It’s easy to feel high and mighty when you’re surrounded by people who live differently than you. It’s easy to think you have all the answers and you’re so badass.

But we all make mistakes! It’s important to remember and learn from these mistakes, especially when we’re tempted to judge others. Everyone has different goals and lives their own lives. Frugality takes so many shapes and forms; it’s not up to us to judge. What matters is that everyone is doing their best.

In the meantime, I’ll eat a nice slice of humble pie when I’m tempted to judge.

We want to know: Do you have funny frugal fails?

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