Being Frugal vs. Being Cheap

Posted on Jan 3 2017 - 1:14pm by Mary G.


While I am obviously a big advocate for living a frugal life, it is often times looked down on as being a waste of time or even as being too extreme. I think the real issue at hand here is that people tend to confuse being frugal with simply being cheap. While there may not be any groundbreaking differences between being frugal and being cheap, there is definitely a big distinction.

The heart of the frugal vs. cheap battle is simple: value. Those who are cheap are not necessarily concerned with value— the only concern here is the price. Those who are frugal stop and think, “Which item will give me the most bang for my buck?” while those who are cheap think, “Which item has the lowest price?” So, while it may not be possible to be too frugal, it’s definitely possible to be too cheap.

For example, someone who is “cheap” might water down their soaps in order to make them last longer. Someone who is frugal is simply going to find the best deal on soap, perhaps purchase it in bulk, and use it as it was intended.

Again, someone who is “cheap” might only purchase bottom-dollar items when they’re grocery shopping, but someone who is frugal considers others things: expiration date, flavor and variety, and even things like additives they may want to avoid. They won’t sacrifice the value of their food to save a couple bucks.

People who live a frugal lifestyle are not strangers to splurging. They simply adjust accordingly, and make sure that it’s something they’re able to do financially. They want a product that will last and give them their money’s worth, which is why sometimes big purchases are necessary— if you are an avid runner, your shoes may be expensive, but its worth it if they will last longer!

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