Proposal: Frugal

I'm not convinced that Frugal could be a viable Stack Exchange site. Its description is:

for frugal people. Not interested in new gizmos and marketing spam. Happy with low budget living. People wanting to share tips such as low-cost cooking, cheap domain registration, clever cut-the-cost ideas and analysis of things. Is it good to save here?

The more interesting parts of it might fit into Sustainable Living:

for questions an answers about a sustainable lifestyle. Anything and everything about living green and living with the long view in mind, ask here.

Most of the questions proposed so far have serious issues:

  • Shopping questions:
    "I rent my apartment and move to cheaper apartment during vocations. Should I make some sort of special insurance for such periods?" (sic)
  • Opinion:
    "College is expensive. Should I skip it and get a full-time job instead?"
  • Discussion:
    "What's the best way to save money at the grocery store?"
  • Trolling:
    "The Olive Garden down the street routinely discards uneaten breadsticks. Should I intercept them and feed them to my daughter?"
  • Translation problems: (Or maybe ESL?)
    "I am happy with my bsd and very old computer. Actually, I love to sense slow coding. Good ways to say "I am not interested." about the 'new' comps?"

As it stands, it looks like it should be closed as Not a real proposal (This proposal will not result in a useful, productive, or viable Q&A site). Can it be salvaged, and if so, how?

  • What are you meaning with "Shopping questions" and "(sic)"? How is "sustainable living" related frugalness? Sorry I find this confusing amount of issues jammed together, -1.
    – user25333
    Jul 25, 2011 at 12:10
  • 3
    @Jim G. - I see you grossly modified Dori's question instead of addressing each of those points in an answer :(
    – warren
    Jul 25, 2011 at 21:20
  • @warren: Duly noted.
    – Jim G.
    Jul 25, 2011 at 21:47
  • 3
    Sustainable Living seems far more of a 'Green site'.
    – user179700
    Aug 3, 2011 at 13:07

3 Answers 3


Per this discussion, economic sustainability is explicitly on-topic on Sustainable Living. However, I'm not sure that's what this proposal means by "frugality".

If it means things like:

  • "what's the cheapest X?"
  • "where can I find great deals on X?"

Those are both too localized and not particularly frugal (being frugal would seek the lowest TCO, not aimless "bargain hunting"). I'm not sure these questions could fit on the SE network at all.

If it means:

  • "how can I do X more affordably?"
  • "are 'budget' energy plans that level my utility bill for the year based on projected average consumption really tools for saving, or do they just rearrange the costs so we don't realize how much we really spend?"

that might be on-topic on personal finance.

If it means:

  • "How can I make my supply of X last longer?"
  • "Is there a way to do X without lots of specialized equipment?"
  • "What would be involved with making X at home instead of buying it?"
  • "At what point is the savings of making big batches of perishable foods outweighed by the cost involved in freezing/refrigerating it?"
  • I've heard that companies that don't treat employees in third-world countries "well" by first-world standards are creating economically unsustainable conditions, but how does it actually work? Is there evidence that such actions create economic instability, and if so what components of "treating the employee well" are relevant?

These things are all already covered by the Sustainable Living proposal.

Even if all of the above weren't true, we're left with the fact that this proposal isn't proposing something that the Stack Exchange format is particularly suited to:

Stack is great at collecting communities of experts to answer questions in ways that create an enduring reference. However, "frugality" is not a specific discipline, so there are no experts to collect. The information will have an extremely short shelf-life, so it will become full of cruft rather than a useful enduring reference.

Finally, while brainstorming the arbitrary-constraints types of questions may be interesting, it's discussion and thus not suitable to our format.

  • I considered this answer a lot but there is one flaw: it does not grap the idea about innovation, splitting frugality into three such categories is misleading. I hate localized shopping questions but I do love ambitious questions such as "with XYZ resources, you have this challenge. What is the most efficient way to produce it?" (often challenges encountered by start-ups/innovators or people challenging themselves), "Here you can see my balance for XYZ activity/task, I can now produce this for X price. How can I get it even lower?", "How can I fire up my car to consume less fuel?", etc
    – user25333
    Aug 1, 2011 at 19:27
  • "I do a thing (a bit bike related) and I want to do it more efficiently, how?" -- look you cannot grap such creative questions to sites such as bicycle.SE or anything like that. Themes such as "low budget living" and "clever cut-the-cost" are themes on their owns, currently mocked in other sites. They may be risky but the reward on other side. I am sure frugal site would complement well other SEs. Most people cannot do two things at the same time. Letting frugal style -questions to be the spaghetti currently is miss to everyone. Neglecting frugal questions is a harder part to accept. -1
    – user25333
    Aug 1, 2011 at 19:40

It also looks like a possible duplicate of Personal Finance.

  • 1
    If I ask a question how I can cut costs with bone heating, does it belong to PF? No. Does a question about "cutting costs with domain registration for the next 50 years" belong to PF? No. Does the latter question belong to Webmasters, yes to some extent but my frugal view was totally removed in the question there. Does the penultimate question belong to Food.SE, yes to some extent but it is called "budget-cooking" there --confusing like hxll? Frugal questions in bicycle.SE are labelled with frugal but some closed. It would be useful to move frugal slanted question to frugal.
    – user25333
    Jul 25, 2011 at 12:17
  • There is a huge amount of frugal questions over SE but with different phrases. The current situation is short-sighted. We have already "hidden frugal" site but users must obfuscate their questions to other sites (or they become closed or discriminated). Sometimes frugal questions in other sites are good but then again it takes too much time to play with mock-fun frugal opposition -- is frugal question a question? Sure it is like any other but some practionars are not interested in at all so it would clean other sites a lot if frugal topics were moved to frugal.SE.
    – user25333
    Jul 25, 2011 at 12:19
  • 2
    @hhh - and now you're going to try to cut across scores of otherwise-independent topics just for "frugality" questions on those topics? Seems like a Bad Idea(tm)
    – warren
    Jul 25, 2011 at 13:07
  • Opinion: "College is expensive. Should I skip it and get a full-time job instead?"

Trust me, over time, many middle-class families are going to ask this question. Objective answers would be very helpful.

  • Trolling: "The Olive Garden down the street routinely discards uneaten breadsticks. Should I intercept them and feed them to my daughter?"

This isn't trolling. Freeganists are frugal people by their very nature.

  • 1
    The first question requires a spreadsheet, some accounting skills -- to answer, it is has nothing to do with subjective opinions, there are statistics for sure how your expected income is going to change with education and in which area. Good Example. I did not understand the second question at the first glance but good example, such issues are raising every day like "can I eat a car-droven animal on the road?" (an issue raised in Bicycle.SE -relating to travelling). Many people do not like such topics to discuss in such sites so it would be useful to move them to separate site.
    – user25333
    Jul 26, 2011 at 14:58

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