Frugal Asians

“You have a good head for matters of money.”

lucky money

I admit it, I’m frugal. There’s a certain stereotype that Asians are stingy with their finances. I’m not sure if that’s the most accurate descriptor, but we (at least I) do like deals.

There’s this great clip from the Fresh Off The Boat trailer where the mom of the family is shopping in the supermarket. She’s offered a free sample on a platter. When she finds out it’s free, she proceeds to take the whole tray.

As for me, I grew up with a family where we had a definite coupon drawer and an envelope with various compartments to separate them by category. Also, when my parents opened a savings account for me as a child, a bulk (and sometimes all) of my allowance went straight there. In addition to all of this, we were a family enamored with discounts (a big yes to child rates at amusement parks!).

Of course, the scrimping probably stems from the fact that my parents are immigrants. They value hard work and perseverance. They know about saving up (my dad worked all through college–and not just work study jobs) to pay for schooling.

So, as the end of this month approaches, I’m scurrying to save money on costumes. When did dressing up begin to cost so much? And there’s always some sort of costumed event for the kiddos to participate in (not including the school’s annual parade).

Thank goodness my older child is as frugal as me. Did she want a new costume? No. She’s going to use that cat one until it unravels. For my other child, she and every other little girl in the world (it seems) wants to be Elsa. Unlike one of my close and savvy friends, though, I can’t just sew up a dress (oh, Home Ec class, why didn’t I take you?). But you know what? I have an old Dora the Explorer Snow Fairy dress–take out the identifying Dora tag and presto!

Dora dress

Happy costume hunting (repurposing)!

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Foodie Friday: Chili Dumplings


  1. Being frugal with Halloween costumes is wise. They’re usually only worn once or twice. A few years back, we took an old pair of my son’s jeans and an old T-shirt, put a few more rips in them, rubbed them around in dirt, and bought some white and black face makeup and also some hair gel. He went as a zombie. It was a great costume and hardly cost anything. :)

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      What a great idea, Carrie! I have a face paint kit somewhere in our crafts box. Maybe I should use it, combined with old clothing, for next year!

  2. Veronica Roth says

    I’m frugal too! It makes the most sense to me because there’s too much waste out there already. I started a tradition of homemade Halloween costumes and the kids were always the proudest of their own creations (with a little help from me). Also, there’s always the thrift shops for fantastic $1 and $2 clothes to repurpose. You know, I couldn’t believe it this year, when I actually realised that the Store-bought children’s costumes have more material than the “sexy” adult costumes!

    • Jennifer J. Chow says

      If I were as artistic as you, I’d make fab costumes! Is that really true about today’s kids’ costumes having more fabric? That sounds ridiculous.

  3. Romelle Broas says

    That Dora dress looks beautiful! I see nothing wrong with repurposing. We are saving our environment! Or maybe that’s my frugality talking. Can’t help but love a good deal and get more bang for my buck! It just doesn’t make sense to may more for than we have to.

  4. I’m pretty frugal too or I should say that I favor homemade to store-bought for most things in life. I’m not exceptionally crafty so I have to get some help sometimes. But I made my kids their Halloween costumes, often purchasing small accessories. Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing some of your childhood memories with us.

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