How Frugal Is Your Hometown?

If you’re from Atlanta, get ready to break out the Champagne — or, rather, the cheap sparkling wine. According to, Atlanta is the most frugal city in America, based on usage of online coupons. Other frugal towns include Tampa, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Minneapolis.

This is Atlanta’s second year atop the list, as reported by Forbes:

According to, the city of Atlanta is the most frugal city in the nation. Although Atlanta topped the most frugal city list in 2009, coupon use by city residents almost doubled in 2010. In 2009, users in the city printed out about $531 in coupons. This figure jumped to about $1,000 in 2010. …

Tampa, Fla., came in as the number two most frugal city in the nation with an average of $863 in coupon savings during 2010, quite a big difference from the average savings in Atlanta.

If your city didn’t make the cut, you can always check to see how well it ranked in another recent list: America’s Rudest Cities, from Travel & Leisure. Los Angeles and New York topped that list, and none of the most frugal showed up in the top 10. Does that mean you really can be cheap and cheerful — or just that cost-cutting and politeness are strong values in the mostly southern and midwestern cities atop the frugal list?

What is the most frugal city in the United States? [Forbes]
America’s Rudest Cities [Travel + Leisure]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sian says:

    Tampa: because retirees love coupons

  2. duxup says:

    How about the most transparently lazy survey disguised as an advertisement?

    • nbs2 says:

      I guess Phil has admin privileges. This time he’s posting as Marc instead of Ben.

      Going back to the “article” we don’t get our coupons online – we use the ones in our newspaper. The paper comes with the funnies and news. The site comes with registration and wait times.

  3. Etoiles says:

    Being a dedicated coupon-user takes time, right?

    So a city where a huge percentage of households contain two adults working full-time is probably going to have a lower percentage of high-volume coupon users?

    Anyway we stopped getting the local paper and most of the coupons we come across these days are for things we’ll never use (4 boxes of Lucky Charms or some such). We have the hand-held scanners at our Giant, though (same as Stop & Shop in the northeast — they’re the same store really) and some of the scanner savings we get through that really is awesome, because it’ll be on things we’d never find coupons for and that the machine already knows we buy.

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      It doesn’t take that much time if you don’t go crazy.

      We get the sunday paper. I go through the coupon section and cut out anything that I may use. I then split it into three groups – reg groceries, cold groceries and household. I have an envelope for each group and I quickly go through each envelope and throw out the expired coupons, making a mental note what I have. Each week when the grocery store flyer arrives, I go through it and circle everything I think I have a coupon for and want to buy that week.

      I also get the old coupon inserts from my parents and grandmother, so I’m able to get doubles and triples of some coupons. It adds time going through theirs, but its not really that time consuming. I work 40 hours a week, and don’t have kids. It probably took me more time to write this post than it would to go through one sunday’s worth of coupons and cut out what I want.

      • Kate says:

        Our grocery store circulars rarely have coupons in them any more. I just started paying attention and it was a bit weird – none of them do. Is this a regional thing?

        • RandomHookup says:

          Very few circulars have coupons anymore. The coupons are usually found in a separate insert in Sunday papers in most major cities. Each city gets different coupons based on buying patterns and how many stores double.

        • wrjohnston91283 says:

          Ours have “dollar doublers” maybe once a month. When I said I went through the circular, I meant I looked at what was one sale and tried to match it up with a coupon.

      • Etoiles says:

        It’s the Sunday paper part I don’t bother with anymore. Especially since trying to buy more ingredients and fewer foods, there’s almost nothing in there for me.

        I do grab the “dollar doublers” when they come in the circular once a month or so but that’s about it. Handy on some of the frozen veggies though.

  4. Kate says:

    Out here in Northern California, they don’t publish coupons hardly at all and the grocery stores don’t ever do double coupons days. The last coupon circular I found in the mail had no grocery coupons and was limited to pretty much direct TV ads and pet grooming offers.

    • webweazel says:

      Same here. Double coupons I last saw advertised at a supermarket about 20 years ago. Coupons here are usually only good for about 1 month. They’re great if you can entirely survive on canned refrigerated biscuits, air fresheners, makeup, household cleaners, and “magic” anti-aging skin lotions and potions.

  5. George4478 says:

    So, frugality is defined by how many coupons you use? I must be considered as throwing away cash willy-nilly since none of the hundreds of coupons I use each year come from there.

    And I live in an Atlanta suburb too.

    How much does Forbes charge for advertising-disguised-as-news? And can you use a coupon?

  6. AllanG54 says:

    Hell, I use coupons like crazy….from groceries to dining out. It’s just as easy for me to hand the cashier some slip of paper that I cut from news as it is to hand her a dollar bill. I figure I save well over $1000 a year. Certainly enough to make it worth my while.

  7. sonneillon says:

    How did Washington DC make the list?

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It was a pretty big list. If counted the surrounding counties in VA and MD I could see it being a reason. There are a lot of families in those areas. I clip coupons because I like saving money, but I don’t have any kids so we don’t have to buy a ton of food. Families are probably more motivated to use coupons because they have more food to buy.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    I think any city who isn’t “frugal” according to is just smart enough to know that requiring a coupon printer to get a coupon is idiotic, and refuses to use because of it.

    • Outrun1986 says:

      Um I use my regular printer for coupons from You don’t need a special one or anything. I buy remanufactured ink which costs very little and my printer is like 5 years old so I am sure it has paid for itself many times over by now. A black ink cartridge costs about $7 from ebay and lasts me at least 6 months if not more, a color cartridge costs me $12 and lasts me 2 years. My printer takes one of each. For me I use $7-10 of coupons or more per grocery trip so the ink cartridge pays for itself in just one trip not counting any use I get out of it after that, which is a lot.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        ….you’re kidding, right? Seriously, I have to know if you’re kidding. requires a software download (a coupon “printer”) to give you access to its coupons. It’s very common naming. I can’t believe you thought I meant an actual printer.

  9. Audiyoda28 says:

    HA! West Michigan – specifically Grand Rapids. Nothing like Dutch Christian Reformed with a little German Lutheran and Polish Catholic spiced in to make for a frugal city. Not trying to pick on any of those nationalities or faiths, but when I went to college a mere 60 miles away it was like moving into another state. People around here are more than frugal – they’re cheap!

    I’ve been an optician for nearly 20 years and often offer my friends and family wholesale prices on new glasses or replacement lenses. But no…that’s never go enough: “Can you do a little better?” “Let me shop around, I’m sure your price is the lowest, but I need to be sure.” I’m offering new glasses AT COST and that’s not good enough???

    And it’s not just my friends and family – every day a patient will ask for a discount or if that’s the best price I can offer. I would love to respond that ‘sure, the doctor loves to provide free services to everyone as do I, as well as the optical lab that does our work and all their employees – it’s our only desire to provide YOU our professional services for FREE’.

  10. segfault, registered cat offender says:

    I make my own frugality at home by bathing Coupon Cat (above) myself, using shampoo that I bought with a coupon.

  11. yessongs says:

    Yeah, Atlanta is cheap…. Try working for them. Low pay few benefits Layoffs and furloughs. Atlanta is a cheap city for a reason.

  12. FrugalFreak says:

    invalid report. It all depends on where the manufacturers release the coupons. I want to use more coupons in Alabama, but the coupons in paper are low and for multiple purchases. Increase them in Alabama and it’s use will increase. Here food is high with little savings.

  13. LastError says:

    Having lived and worked in Atlanta, and in particular for a while in a service business that catered to end consumers in their homes, I can totally back this up. EVERYbody and I mean everybody we served wanted discounts, freebies, extras, money back, or some sort of “deal” on their bill.

    They’d refuse to pay until the bill was cut somehow, or they’d argue that the service wasn’t perfect and demand a discount.

    That particular company eventually relocated out of state where the customers were apparently far less difficult.

  14. BuffaloGal says:

    Those who are truly frugal wouldn’t be shopping. They would be re-using. Or buying from thrift shops, right? Just sayin’.

  15. PortlandBeavers says:

    No surprise Cincinnati made the list. There was a show on TLC about extreme couponing the profiled four extreme couponers. One of the four was from Cincinnati and another one was from a Kentucky suburb of Cincinnati.

  16. CoastalCowboy says:

    Rubbish. I have found that I spend less on groceries by avoiding the big brand-name products entirely instead of buying these products and using coupons for them. These cities are not “most frugal”, they are “most fooled” or “most deluded”.

  17. physics2010 says:

    In other news…. Atlanta…highest rate of coupon fraud.