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Being Too Frugal Almost Got Me Arrested

Frugal During College

Sometimes, I was too frugal back in my college days.

Since money was tight back then, my friends and I were always looking to do things on the cheap!

Back then, my friends and I all worked out regularly.  My best friend (at the time) and I were especially into fitness and our appearance.  We routinely worked out and not to brag, but we looked pretty good.  Well, one year along came spring break and neither of us can afford to go.

Since we didn’t want to look like we didn’t go somewhere, we decide to try and get a tan during spring break.  There were three of us that couldn’t afford to go anywhere that year.  Well, my one friend Matt decided that he wanted to sunbath on the roof of the dorm that we were staying at.

So we strolled up to the door, and it was locked.  Now, that was enough for me to start back the way we came, and that’s what I started to do, at least until I heard the loud crash.  Lo and behold, Matt (who is build like the comic book version of the juggernaut) kicked the steel door open. Both my best friend and I looked at each other, shook our heads, then went through the door to the outside with Matt.

Being Too Frugal Did Get Other Friends Arrest

While neither my best friend nor I was into the stupid act of kicking the door open, we figured, hey we’re here…  So we all went out in 40 to 50 degree weather to sunbath (we just took off our shirts, we were already wearing workout short).  After 20 minutes, I wimped out and went back to my dorm room.  We did this for the entire week, with me going out the least.  My friends, while freezing out on the roof, managed to stay out in the cold for 45 minutes sessions. 

At the end of the week, then they told me something interesting.  After they were done and coming in out of the cold, they saw some other guys coming up.  Matt told the other guys what we were doing but obviously didn’t tell them he kicked in the door.  The other guys were friends with us too, but not very close.  Well they decided that they liked the idea too, and got towels and a radio so they could sunbath too.

Unfortunately, the security guard came around, and they left the door ajar slightly and with a small portable radio playing… well he caught them, and they got busted.  I’m not sure of the exact details, but I think the police were involved, but the boys that were caught were just made to pay the damages to the door.  My friend that kicked in the door also payed a percentage of the cost of the door, but he wasn’t arrested, he just felt guilty.

If we just went to the tanning beds, it would have been the safest route to get a tan so that we wouldn’t be outcast in our social group, and looked good for those tanned girls coming back from spring break.  Ironically, the door upstairs was never the same and could be opened with a bit of work.  I didn’t want anything to do with that door after the sunbathing session on the roof, but that didn’t stop my friends…

If I were one of the boys caught it would have been a large expense that I didn’t want to pay, not to mention potential vandalism charges!

Have you ever done stupid things to save a buck?



40 Responses to Being Too Frugal Almost Got Me Arrested

  1. Great story. Can’t really recall that I have done anything that stupid. I did sneak into a public park with a friend when I was 12 years old because we didn’t have a quarter. There was a sheriff who followed us after sneaking back out through the woods but it was because we didn’t turn off the fire hydrant all the way when we were done getting a drink.

    • Yeah, peer pressure won that day (this rarely happens, mostly I do what I think is best or at least safe).

      At least it makes a good story 🙂

    • Yeah, I’m glad too, I didn’t want to deal with that, and was done. I’m surprised that my friends still did it after the fact though… At least they were quiet about it, no radios…

  2. Hahaha, great story. I went to school in CA and it was pretty nice year round. Most of my friends didn’t have money to go on a spring break trip so I didn’t feel left out or anything. 😉

    • Yeah, living in CA, everyday is like being on vacation in some ways 🙂

      I’m sure the drive to a beach or a scenic area wasn’t far 🙂

    • Ah, surprisingly, I like the music that the goth girls listened to and occasionally I would to to a bar that was alternative. I stuck out like a sore thumb, not to mention my friends. Great music though, and I always had fun there.

      • My circle of friends included punks, mods, and goths. All good people, and interestingly music was the common thread we could all relate to. Just the other day I was listening to Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth, and others. It took me straight back to that pivotal time.

        • My friends were pretty diverse too. At one time my buddy was a theater major, so we would hang with him and his buds. Very interesting and dramatic bunch 🙂

          I find that I miss those guys…

    • It was pretty cold, I’m sure I would have went out today. My friend that knocked down the door had no fear of anything. He lived an Animal House like existence (perhaps he thought it was an instructional video) lol.

  3. Great story, MR!
    Guilty on several counts myself, but I’ll hold off on confessions for now.
    A milder offense in my college days was to sneak down to the good seats during the 8th and 9th innings at A’s games.

  4. I worked during spring break so no tanning for me. However Michigan State was on trimesters so we went to the lake all the time during spring semester.

    I have bought lower cost, cruddy products to save money. I can’t think of a specific incident like you mentioned, but I am sure I have plenty of them to choose from if I could think today!

    • This was one of the milder things that my other buddy Matt did. He truly lived the saying “No fear”…

      Now he owns a small business (it was in his family for generations).

  5. I’m pretty cheap, but definitely not cheap enough to kick down a door for some UV rays.

    My frugality stops at damaging other people’s property. Although don’t say that to Juggernaut… tell him I agree with whatever he wants!!!!

    • Wow Sam, I would have never guessed. I know you had a stint in your life where you were a bit more rebellous, but I never would have guessed that you had been arrested. What a great story to write about that will be someday 🙂

    • lol, I’m just glad I we were smart enough to not have a little party on the roof. We were pissed that the other group brought a radio. Matt said that the security guard told the kids he wouldn’t have even known there were there if it wasn’t for the radio blaring…

  6. Good question! The funny thing is that most commenters are agreeing, but not owning up to anything:).

    Here’s mine: when I was living in London for a semester during college I had no money to spare. So, I took advantage of McDonald’s supply of ketchup packets, napkins, and other condiments by stocking up for home each time I ate at their restaurant. I justified that I was buying something from their place, usually small fries…but wouldn’t do it now!

  7. Hi Amanda! Great Confession!!!

    I actually blogged about doing something similar in an article I wrote called dark side of frugality.

    In my articles I also mention getting free refills using the McDonald’s cup for long periods of time!

    As you college student, anything goes and we save a buck where we can. So I applaud you frugality, even if it is a but in the grey area 🙂

    Thanks for the confession, and kudos to you for being clever enough to do that when you were so young!

    I hope London was as awesome as it would seem!

  8. Hmm. Can’t think of anything I’ve done that’d put me at risk of getting arrested. Well, nothing related to money anyway. 🙂

    I can’t imagine sitting outside in 40 t0 50 degree weather for 45 minutes or even 25 minutes just to get a tan. Then again, I’m really sensitive to cold weather and, well, I’m black. *shrugs*