Who else here is frugal?

If I had to describe myself as an audiophile in one word, I'd like it to be frugal. Iconoclast may also be right, but if I'm different it may be due to being frugal.  There used to be a TV show called The Frugal Gourmet. To paraphrase him, the food he cooked wasn't necessarily cheap, but he'd get as much value as he could out of what he was doing.

Being an iconoclast doesn't hurt either. Listening for yourself and buying what you like, regardless of what reviewers say and how expensive something is also points us towards this.

What about you? Do you feel better saving money than spending it? Then tell us about yourself. :)
Do you remember erik_squires the one time I came here asking for help? My integrated had no pre-out, and I wanted to add one to run my sub amps. Do you remember? Let me refresh your memory some more. I thought it could be done with a simple mod using a pair of existing unused RCA inputs. A simple mod. Just wanted to know if anyone had any experience or ideas.

Now do you remember? Because I sure do. Your answer was to sell my amp and buy one with a sub out. Spend thousands of dollars. Your knee-jerk reaction. Thousands. Even when I said hey I like my integrated, this mod will be cheap. (Wound up being $1.54 with tax.) No you said spend thousands of dollars.

You are a lot of things Erik_squires but the last thing in the world you are is frugal.
I listen to everything, recognize what I hear, then work to spend the least I can to get that sound. 

Hey @millercarbon

Yeah, sometimes I suggest that preserving the value of what you have is a better idea than hacking it, especially if the poster doesn’t seem to be very technically inclined.

Since you are in my grill over every single post, tell us how you suffered. Tell us what great big trauma my suggestion caused you.

I mean damn, this is right up there with "I went to the doctor and he failed to diagnose my cancer so I am now in hospice" type of grudge. Tell us all how hard this was on you. We’re listening.

I've always found it easier to spend someone else's money,rather than spend my own. 
I've always found it easier to spend someone else's money,rather than spend my own.


Excellent.... << taps fingerips together >>
Hi Erik,

I don't by any means consider myself to be frugal. But when I consider making a purchase involving what to me seems like a significant amount of money I try to make sure that it will provide me with commensurate value and commensurate enjoyment, over the long-term.

And I make changes to my audio system relatively infrequently, mainly when something comes along that I find particularly exciting. The most recent example of that was a Pass XA25 amplifier, and before that a Herron phono stage, and before that a DEQX HDP-5. An Audio Technica AT-ART9 phono cartridge was in there somewhere as well.

I'll add that experiences reported by Audiogon members were certainly helpful in focusing my attention on those products.

Best regards,
-- Al
when I consider making a purchase involving what to me seems like a significant amount of money I try to make sure that it will provide me with commensurate value and commensurate enjoyment, over the long-term.


I think those are great guides. I think it's easy to hear something better, but we fail to weigh that "better" with value. Is the delta with this purchase equal to the delta in money I won't have in my wallet.

Too often I worry audiophiles see "better" as "worth any amount of money."
Hopefully, the bitchyness done for the thread.

@erik_squires ,
I, too, am one to try to spend as little as I can on the best equipment I can afford. Unfortunately, stereos have to come after things like mortgage payments and taxes.

I feel a bit guilty when I buy something used after hearing it at my dealer, but there is no way I could afford such equipment new. Though I do buy as much as I can through him.
Spending not enough money usually results in more unhappiness than spending a bit too much. Of course spending way too much makes me unhappy as well.

I definitely consider myself frugal w.r.t. audio equipment, but frugal for 1 person is 1K, someone else 10K, and someone else 100K. I don't think I can say it better than almarg,
I try to make sure that it will provide me with commensurate value and commensurate enjoyment, over the long-term.

Like everyone else I get the upgrade bug, but I feel I have a firm foundation to build on, and don't feel like I am on a quest for nirvana. It is a happy audio place to be. I do find it is good to watch used prices. Buy used and sell used and you can upgrade regularly without extensive outlay.
Long ago, a friend of mine advised for me to wait a day, maybe more before I bought something. As you can already tell, I was willing to spend money faster than I could think. I have gotten better, but quick decisions for spending, well it is more of a crap shoot.
 One thing that I have won with is to buy used equipment, build my own speakers (from a reliable source of engineering), and not try and buy any fix it all products.
I would consider myself frugal,not cheap though. Almost all my gear was purchased on the used market. Not that this is some secret,more value for my money. This has allowed me to possess some different flavors of gear,that I can swap in when the spirit moves me. If I had purchased new,this would not be possible. 

 And E,nice Montgomery Burns reference!!
 And E,nice Montgomery Burns reference!!

Thank you, but lets give credit where due, Monty was riffing on the Star Trek pilot with Captain Pike.
audiozenology310 posts01-05-2020 2:26pmSpending not enough money usually results in more unhappiness than spending a bit too much. Of course spending way too much makes me unhappy as well.
+1 audiozenology
I have found spend enough to keep my enthusiasm for this hobby. But definitely not spend on and on and on. A lot of equipment I get with the thought to have it give me a good go for many years. So I try to get something, really good for me, that I won't get tired or tempted for something else easily to soon. I buy with quality in mind also.
There was a conflicted audiophile who was so chintzy that he played Lotto to fund a state of the art system. He died unfulfilled.  ;) 

Ha Ha

+1 to @douglas_schroeder

I could not shell out 90K$ for Scaena 3.2.

Thus I saved some money going for used one.

If I can get jackpot, then I may go for new one.

My frugality leads me to buy way more stuff than I need because “it’s such a good deal”.
My frugality leads me to buy way more stuff than I need because “it’s such a good deal

This was almost me over the holidays.  I hardly ever take photographs, but Amazon kept showing me these camera kits that were $1,000 off!!
I am basically frugal,but also not happy unless I buy n try several of whatever I'm upgrading.How else to know which thingy is exactly the right one?
A friend of mine was possibly the second coming of "The Audio Cheapskate". He was constantly, and I mean constantly like every hour of every day looking for that one "giant killer". I helped him haul more speakers, amps, speaker stands, cable etc. in and out of his house. And all of it was stuff he had bought, and then had to sell later to help fund the next project. One night over a few beers he and I added up all the money he had spent, regained (somewhat) and lost on just speakers alone and we figured he could have bought some speakers in the $6K-$8K range. And he was "frugal" in his expenditures all the time prior to us doing the math. So, does it make more sense to spend a lot wisely the first time around, or nickel and dime one's self and find that you spent more being "penny-wise"?
There was a time when I was quite frugal.  Now, my approach is pretty close to that articulated by @almarg.   I'm not afraid to spend some bucks, but I am very careful and usually do so after a good bit of research and thinking about the purchase for several months.  I hang on to what I purchase for a long time, which results in an acceptable value proposition in my estimation.   I'm not one who chases after every tweak or the latest and greatest new piece.  You can spend a lot of money on stuff that results in little to no improvement if you are not careful.  I caught the bug while I was still in my teens and now, 50 years later, I've got a system that really sings.  Upgrades from where I am now are going to be infrequent, because stuff that is better than what I currently own won't come cheap. 
Frugal is my middle name. But not too cheap. It's important to be able to discriminate between what is excellent and honest and what is designed to rip you off. This goes for everything you buy. I do detest wasting money though.
Ah the mysterious utility function in economics, where just like in audio ( the ear brain interface ) we have the $$$$ / gratification curve.....

guess which are common between the two ??? The brain :-)

no two alike, so no common definition of value either....

value can also be situational...

a guy I love and fish with recycles my used fishing hooks, they are chemically sharpened and dull up and rust after a few days or fish... yet he recycles them anyway...
I don’t fish his tie ups when on his boat...
why ? Lost fish, especially trophy fish....

false economy is no frugality

have fun, enjoy the music
I am one big time. It has allowed me to enjoy this hobby on a beer budget but has enabled  me get the best sound out of both my HT and stereo rigs for thousands less.

Refurbished is what I have taken full  advantage of for years. I love it when I see the word "discontinued" too.

What a pitch!

I also have pursued vintage equipment with the same fevor and it has paid very enjoyable dividens.

I also check out the deep discounts, open box specials, demo, on the popular websites too.

Just yesterday I picked up a pair of Audioquest CV4 cryogenic speaker cables for 40% off retail.

Of course if I had an extra $10 k I would have no qualms paying full retail.

I do the same with music as well.

Best regards in stereo.
I comb these pages and the auction sites/classifieds for equipment I may want while attempting to make good choices. Have neither the time or inclination for diy. Many times I've waited for long periods to see a bargain for what I'm interested in. I guess that's the extent of my frugality. 
“Spending not enough money usually results in more unhappiness than spending a bit too much. Of course spending way too much makes me unhappy as well.”

This resonated with me. After years of ignoring higher end audio due to life I recently got back in. I started off buying too cheap on the used market and I ended up with really good items that didn’t scratch my itch. I finally spent some cash that made me uncomfortable- not because I couldn’t afford but because I was basing prices on equipment I had in the early 80’s. I haven’t fully let go of my yard sale mentality- but I am being very careful about what I buy- and making sure it is going to satisfy whatever void I am looking to fill. 
With all the money I've saved on getting good deals, I'll be able to get a...

Yeah, I'm pretty frugal. Not by choice, but rather by circumstance. The past 5-8 years have been "challenging". Prior to a major change in my life, I don't think anyone would have described me as frugal. Times were different then and I no longer have access to the same resources I once had. 

Not complaining, just being clear in replying to the post. Spend my time on forums reading about peoples systems, what gear has what properties, what tweaks do what - basically trying to educate myself so when the day comes when I have reclaimed my life, I wont be chasing the dream more than necessary. Guess that means I am a changed person, and will not move forward with the same fervor I once did. Thats a good thing :)

So now I build/modify my gear and play with tweaks to see what works, what helps and what doesn't.

I'm so very grateful that I had the opportunity to rediscover my love of music, something that was lost for a very long time. And, I have discovered how much I enjoy adjusting my system and hearing the results of my oh so very frugal efforts.
You mean cheap!! I have bad news for you.. you’re in the wrong hobby.. unless you want cheap crappy music.. to each his own.. 
@millecarbon @erik_squires  I like both of your advices. Y’all should team up and get a review show. 
You have to drop some Serious coin in this hobby in order to learn how to be frugal.
As many said here, it’s a matter of perspective. I just returned from an evening at one of my closest friends which has a system I estimate in the $250k to $300k. Great system, great listening session. It’s given me a benchmark. I will never spend that kind of money, but I will spend some (probably 1/20) and looking to get to 80% to 90% of his performance. Is that frugal? That’s in the eye of the beholder. 
PS: new speakers and amp arriving Wednesday! Let’s see how close I get to the grail!
What do you call a person who rarely buys things, keeps them for a long time, mostly ends up with relatively inexpensive items, but never asks about the price and does not take price into equation when deciding about the purchase? Frugal? Iconoclast? Something else?
What do you call a person who rarely buys things,

Happy?  Satisfied? Content?

"Funny"...well, amusing @ times, but most of the posts seem fairly straightforward & rational to some extent...
What do you call a person who rarely buys..
...Things? First, let us define ’Things’, Friend Eric. ( No, I’m not trying to be snotty...just Serious. *S*

We (spouse & self) have owned 2 homes, currently working on acquiring the 3rd. This is to be placed on a 1/2 ac. we purchased 7ish yrs. ago.
This is Priority 3.

Priority 1:
Some 14 yrs. ago, we purchased a business. Having diligently worked since to turn it into an entity that now has a ’rep’ not only for doing excellent work, but is actually pleasant and nearly fun to work with.

We spend $....$K on lumber, materials, wages, taxes, utilities, rent, all that. New tools when necessary, but I keep eyes peeled for the used (but not abused) items that may not be needed immediately. But, if one wants Growth, the means to do so are worth the investment. Carefully regarded used equipment is one means of keeping the ROI high..

Priority 2 is keeping ourselves healthy and happy while making #1 do more than pay the bills; making #3 a reality is part of that.

All else is Optional.

My audio endeavours is an adjunct to #2, but an extravagance. My approach to my version of it isn’t quite what most would deem ’normal’. I’m reasonably certain that any of you watching me take a nice new speaker and cutting the cone out of it would disturb...

...and what follows That...is what amuses ME.

I’ve owned ’nice things’ audio in the past...Really!  I can ’hear’ most of the characteristics y’all banter about; even now, old, looking in the mirror & annoyed at what I’m seeing....("Good morning...you look like hammered sh*t...oh, well....off into the day..."). ;)

In the mid ’80’s, it became very apparent that ’hi-end audio’ was continuing to head towards the stratosphere. ’ROI’ vs. Obvious Improvement would narrow such that only +$ would entail ’details’ that would require +$ in the environment placed to appreciate such.

So, I quit. Not the hobby, but the pursuit of Perfection.

(kenjit’s forum on the Perfect Speaker comes to mind in this quest...
"What?! Huh?!" *L* He’d really be better off getting a trophy wife to find Nirvana...Speakers? No...)

Of late, I do what I do on a shoestring...because I can, and I know what I want...and I know what I’m trying accomplish.

I’m so used to doing the improbable with next to nothing that it’s entertaining to Me to do so.

I’m actually looking forward to having the opportunity to have a bit of ’hi-end’ linked to my ’lo-rent’, just to see what happens.

If I can startle you enough to drop your jaw....*L* Nirvana Achieved. *S*

It’s good to have goals, I hear...;)

I really want y'all to know and accept that I do respect & admire the commitment to everyone's pursuits...even if I don't agree with everything applied in that process.

We all have our visions of Heaven.

Your local brick & mortar dealer depends upon you, if you choose.  Support him/her if you care.

We all have our own 'means to our ends'; follow such as you see fit.

If my means seem quixotic, and lead straight up without handholds....

Be happy in knowing I am doing (nearly) Precisely what I want to do.

Y'all do that too. *S*  (Like you need permission...right...*L*)

I don’t think anyone can take your post in a negative light. It was one of the most "honest" posts I have read in my limited time on these forums.

We sound like we are in similar places. Priority #1 being the business, both the daytime one that has allowed me to be deeply involved with many technologies that I find very interesting, not to mention all the people I have met, and the "night-time" hobby one of spending other people’s money on fun stuff.

I would call maintaining the families health also Priority #1, and a little bit of heaven on the water #3.

Spending other people’s money satisfies any "gotta have it" urges I may have. For my own stuff, these days, I am far more focused on what --I-- can do w.r.t. my audio system. I like nice things, but the ability to purchase "things", long stopped contributing any sense of self worth. Having a fellow audiophile positively comment on the sound of your system before knowing you designed and built a good portion of it yourself ..... you can’t put a price on that.

I've found that spending is easier than being frugal. It's much easier to hit "Add To Cart" or run the debit card and get the purchase over with but spending the time and effort to find the bargain can be way more rewarding. I still get the sound I want and as a bonus I get to see the difference in my account.
I find it really annoying reading about a $54,000.00 amplifier (that's right, 54 grand) in stereophile magazine.And the reviewer waxed poetic about the sound of it employing the most absurd superlatives and mind bending descriptions of the sound that it has to be read to be believed. It was featured two months ago. If any ones interested I can find the review online and post it here. Same with Robert Harleys review in TAS of an astronomically priced digital interconnect. It was over 10K. A digital interconnect! What are these guys smoking????? My entire system cost about 2500. Oppo cdp, Schiit Vidar amp, Maggie LRS speakers, B&W powered sub.

I find it really annoying reading about a $54,000.00 amplifier (that's right, 54 grand) in stereophile magazine'

Why would that annoy you do alll expensive things you find annoying?
Not at all. Some expensive things are worth the money. Some aren't. It only requires the intelligence to make the distinction.
Good thread, Eric.  A lot of thoughtful posts here.  I particularly appreciate the posts by audiozenology and almarg.  I will say that a few years ago I realized that the quest for perfect sound reproduction is ultimately pointless, because whenever I attend a Symphony Concert I realize that no  home system could ever reproduce the sensation of being in a large hall .  Ultimately home listening is an illusion,albeit a potentially very satisfying one.  Different equipment highlight different aspects of that illusion.  Once a satisfying recipe is found, stick with it until your preferences change, but accept that reproduction of music is inherently limited.
When one of my non-audiophile friends had an idea of how much I spent on my music audio system, he referred to me as someone who had "more dollars than sense".

Of all the comments in this thread, this one hit home the most (to me):
"Nothing wrong with carefully spending your hard-earned money."

I have made lots of "investments" in my life, financial, marriage, our kids, our home, etc. and when I experience the joy of having an audio system that I really enjoy, I'll add that to the list of "money well spent".

The one thing I'd add...I have a relative who trades cars very frequently.  I don't remember him owning one for an entire year.  He's never "satisfied".  So no matter how much he spends, his "investment" never seems to pay off.
"Nothing wrong with carefully spending your hard-earned money."

Love this sentence.  I love supporting brick and mortar stores too.

Why would that annoy you do alll expensive things you find annoying?

I don’t subscribe to Stereophile in large part because they don’t cater to my price range or home type. To compare it to car magazines, at least Car and Driver spends as much time on vehicles I might buy as they do on super cars I never will.