Brooklyn: most frugal ‘city’ in U.S.

Photo by Rupert Ganzer
Photo by Rupert Ganzer

What a month for Kings County tightwads! First we learn that Bro-ke-lyn is the original Dutch pronunciation of our borough’s name, and now this (after the jump), a map showing cities with the greatest drop in discretionary spending from 2008 to 2009. Click on it twice to enlarge, and you’ll see that Brooklyn (a city? finally!) is the least spendiest of all because we’ve been doling out 28 percent less this last year than last for non-essentials. The map is from the personal-finance site,, which said the chart is based on data from its million-plus users, but didn’t go into much detail beyond that. We’re not going to either because we’re thrilled with the results, cause they make us feel superior to people everywhere, particularly those in St. Paul. So congratulations, esteemed skinflints, and do tell: how did you personally contribute to these findings? What did you buy less of this year? What thing almost made you pass out you wanted it so much but you summoned all of your strength to put it back on the shelf? Share your cheapskate victories here!


[via Lifestyler]


  1. Gosh, okay, thanks for asking. I’ll start! A few weeks ago I saw these sick square mirrored bracelets with big fat crystals all over them at a store called Maryam Nassir Zadeh in Noho. They were $200 a piece and I wanted both of them. Of course that wasn’t happening. I still think of them everyday. Maybe they’ll take barter. But what?

  2. Given Mint’s audience, I dont’ know how valid this data is. isn’t used by a wide array of people from different socio-economic classes.

  3. three words: Brown. Bagging. It. Whereas in flusher economic times, I would feel obligated to at least buy a drink or two even at the most blatantly overpriced bar, last winter found me huddled in the corner of a bar sipping furtively from a brown paper bag of brandy. Then one time I got off the subway and saw a homeless guy sitting on the bench doing the same thing. I felt immensely validated.

  4. Tim — brown bagging is a good way to save some cash but brown bagging in a bar is an absolute prick move that would/should get you permanently 86ed. You think bar owners aren’t having financial worries too? If you can’t afford to at least nurse a drink, don’t take up the space and stick to that bench with the homeless guy (or your home). If the bar is blatantly overpriced why not just go to one that isn’t?

  5. Tim Donnelly

    dude, I feel the pain of bar owners too, and I hardly wish to rob business from all my hard working, drink-slinging friends. I should have mentioned that the brown bagging mostly comes into play during bar outings of obligation: a birthday party at the Bourgeoisie Pig, for example, where I want to go to wish my friend a happy day, but can’t be dropping Jacksons on a martini. If caught with brown bag, I will not protest a decision to evict me from said bar. I am aware of the risks of drinking like a homeless person.

  6. shahnaz

    When I think of the good old days pre-recession, I remember eating out much more. Just popping into a restaurant because I was already out or because it looked good. Doing take out at least once a week. Getting lunch outside two or three times a week. Now, it’s a special occasion when we do take out from the corner Thai… More cooking at home.

  7. Largest decrease in discretionary spending does not necessarily make for “most frugal.” (a 28% decrease in $100/month of discretionary spending would is still more spending than a 2% decrease from $20/month of discretionary spending in some hypothetical other city)

    Statistical education for Americans now!

  8. just adding my vote about the bogosity of the data. This implies strongly that it’s across the whole population. A city is not just the internet-enabled people who track their finances using free software. Other segments surely have different behavior

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