Frugal? Cheap? Which are You?

( – In a world of rising inflation, global conflict, and post-pandemic uncertainty, many people find themselves being more mindful when it comes to their finances. This results in some adopting frugal habits, allowing them to save more money and better live within their means. Coupon clipping, discount hunting, and cutting back on too many subscriptions and unnecessary expenses let people find the most creative ways to enjoy a frugal life.

However, this healthy financial habit can become excessive, some say, which leads people to sacrifice life changing experiences and quality of life in the name of being frugal. This leads some people to label their frugal friends more negatively, using the word “cheap.”

Frugal vs. Cheap: What’s the Difference?

A frugal person is prudent and economical with how they use resources, such as money, without sacrificing value or quality. Frugality is usually considered a positive trait, because it demonstrates good management of finances and the ability to be resourceful.

Being cheap, by contrast, is more about being stingy, overly concerned with prices to the point of neglecting value and quality. Being cheap is considered a negative thing because of the prioritization of price over other things.

Are You Frugal? Check These Characteristics

People who are frugal tend to avoid being wasteful with their money and are good at living within their means. Frugal individuals:

  • Save money by lowering spending and cutting costs.
  • Are mindful of spending habits. They minimize waste and prioritize their expenses.
  • Have practicality, valuing functionality more than luxury, usually picking the option which is most costeffective.
  • Are resourceful, finding fun and creative ways to save money, like bartering or coming up with new solutions to problems.
  • Avoid debt, paying off all debts as soon as possible, and not taking on new debts unless they absolutely have to.
  • Value money and get the most out of their dollar.
  • Embody long-term focus, worrying about the future rather than spending impulsively.

Are You Cheap? Check These Characteristics

Cheap people are often excessively focused on avoiding spending. Cheap people often:

  • Exhibit frugality to the extreme, feeling that they shouldn’t spend even on their basic needs.
  • Show a tightwad mentality, never wanting to part with money even if it’s for a very important or meaningful reason.
  • Skimp on quality, always preferring to save money rather than have a good item.
  • Really don’t want to spend, making them seem selfish when it comes to showing affection towards others.
  • Lack generosity, even avoiding an inexpensive, simple gesture if it costs money at all.
  • Hold grudges, as they feel that they have been swindled when that is not the case.
  • Neglect their own self-care, foregoing products like shampoo and deodorant to save money.

Frugality: Is It For You?

Frugality is a way of life that requires some discipline. It’s a responsible, smart way of managing money, but being rigid and refusing to deviate from a plan can lead to missing out on spending time with family and friends or treating yourself to something you deserve. People who are too frugal might miss out on vacations or buy foods that cost less instead of foods that they want to eat.

While frugality is a positive trait, it’s important to avoid letting it rule your life. Otherwise, you could miss out on valuable experiences and life-defining adventures.

Financial responsibility can lead to wealth-building and freedom, but overdoing it can feel more like being trapped in a prison of over-discipline (and that’s what can make you cheap). You can always create an “impulse fund” (so you can plan to be impulsive!) or create a savings account just for those spontaneous vacation plans. Be responsible, have fun, and grow into your financial future with confidence.

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