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Cheap versus frugal

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Everybody knows a cheap person, and probably hates them. But I think we often mislabel frugal people cheap. These are just my opinions, but here’s what I think differentiates the two:

Cheap people care about the cost of something.

Frugal people care about the value of something.

Cheap people try to get the lowest price on everything.

Frugal people try to get the lowest price on most things, but spend a lot on items they really care about.

Cheap people are inconsiderate. For example, when getting a meal with other people, if their food costs $7.95, they’ll put in $8.00, knowing very well that tax and tip mean it’s closer to $11.

Frugal people won’t order a Coke if they’re on a budget, so that when the bill comes, they don’t look cheap.

Yes, being cheap and/or frugal can be a cultural quality. I won’t spend much more time on this one, but it is an important topic in personal finance.

Cheap people keep a running tally with their friends, family, and co-workers. Some frugal people do this, too, but certainly not all.

Because of the fear of even one person suggesting they spent too much on something, cheap people are not always honest about what they spent on something. Neither are frugal people.

Cheap people are unreasonable and cannot understand why they can’t get something for free. Sometimes this is an act, but sometimes it’s not.

Frugal people will try as hard as cheap people to get a deal, but they understand that it’s a dance and, in the end, they don’t intrinsically deserve a special deal.

Cheap people’s cheapness affects those around them. Frugal people’s frugality affects themselves.

Both cheap and frugal people will be more assertive than most people when trying to get a deal. Over the long term, they’ll both save more money. But one has a cost, while the other pays dividends.

Cheap people think short term. Frugal people think long term.

 

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63 Comments

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  1. Webster’s defines frugal as “economy on the use of resources” and cheap as a synonym for “stingy”. Seems a bit biased to me, but I think the bigger difference is that people call themselves frugal and others cheap. I am frugal, but my employer, based on my measly paycheck, is definitely cheap.

  2. Well said, I know some people who have running tabs on their friends and it seems like too much of a bussiness-like way to live life.

  3. What a great post. I know one family whose daughter is constantly comparing what she got to what her sister got – she lives in a constant state of anxiety. Not a very fun way to live.

  4. Cheap is so tacky!

  5. Frugal is the difference in attitude about money, spending, saving, and more precisely, where saving makes the biggest difference.

    Frugal people know how to do the math, and know when to skip nickels and dimes for bigger savings (like cars, jewelry, home prices, etc.).

    Cheap people are cheap all the time with everything, because they’re in a constant worry about money and where it goes. They’re willing to forego quality and durability for price–in effect, they are prey by price alone.

    Frugal people get more for their money by being alert to scams and marketing gimmicks, astute shopping and price comparison, and negotiation for a lower price.

    Cheap people are always in fear over losing money or getting ripped off, because they don’t know basic money defense tactics. “Poor” people are poor for the same reason.

    They all need a good fishing teacher.

  6. “Cheap people’s cheapness affects those around them. Frugal people’s frugality affects themselves.”

    The above statement from your post is exactly how I’ve always destinguished between cheap and frugal.

  7. Well, I consider myself a frugal person but then again I’m cheap because of limited income I have. Sometimes I think that that your income determines whether you can be frugal or you have to just buy what you have to. I don’t regularly come to the website if you would like to email me with advice please do so. Merry Chrismas!!

  8. “I am frugal, but my employer, based on my measly paycheck, is definitely cheap.”

    No, he is frugal. Since you’re working for such low wages, he gets a good value from your employment. If he were cheap, someone else would be doing your job… in addition to their own.

  9. i know a man-83 yrs old is so damn cheap he maked you sick, he says cause he went thru the depression its instilled in you, B.S. i know a lot ofdepression people that arent like that.if something cost 20 cents more in a grocery store he wont buy it.he has sooooomuch money. he worked 2 jobs all of his life and he wont let go. it makes a person sick to be around him.

  10. Cheap people are
    a) “penny wise pound foolish”.
    b) don’t value time. They will spend 5 hours to save 2$.
    c) don’t value people. Will destroy the goodwill they have developed by diplaying the cheapness brazenly.
    d) Loose sight of the big picture. Spend 5 hours every week cutting coupons when they time could have been devoted towards family, career or leisure.

  11. I work part time for a person that is so cheap its pathetic.

    1 He will hang on to things that are junk and think he can reuse them years later.
    2 Will only get the cheapest product he can get.
    3He has money but wont spend it.

  12. Is my husband frugal or cheap? We had a pot of left over rice last night and I suggested mash potatoes for dinner, he insisted we use up the leftover rice so that he doesn’t feel like his money was wasted. Is

  13. Cheap people who have the money to spend really sicken me.and are selfish punks.poor people have the right to be cheap but are not because they have more class.

  14. Cheap people vs Frugal people:

    I must say from 1st hand experience being called “cheap” ambushed by your (alleged) friends and labelled as such is very damaging. I think calling someone Frugal even if you think and know they are cheap is the best way to go.

    How can you label someone as “Cheap” when they share almost everything with you? are they cheap when they put in a $10 bill for a buger and fries and the bill is $20 but the other guy had 3 beers as well as his burger? Are they cheap when they are out of work, unemployed and sent into the beer store, after commenting, to buy beer for those who are working? give me a break.

    Damage is done, and scaring remains.

  15. I have always received the reputation as being cheap…but I knew in my heart I was just being frugal. After reading this, I am convinced I was right.

  16. Frugal people are often more than willing to pay for hidden value. We think in terms of the ability to resell the item at a later time. It is long term thinking. If someone substantially underprices an item we generally will immediately pay what is asked thus realizing the bargain and make the seller happy by paying the asked for price. A cheap person will even attempt to undercut the asked for price. This, in turn, will make the seller unhappy and unwilling to sell in some circumstances. Therefore the cheap do not realize the bargain at hand and lose out in the long run.

  17. What a great article! I always felt that you can learn a lot about a person by how they act while dining out and this article parallels many of my beliefs on this topic. I was very impressed by the comparisons listed throughout.

    Value is more important than cost, as you stated very nicely, but try telling that to someone who is cheap and you’ll be met with defensive conversation.

  18. I am frugal but cheap people often pay more for things in the long run with not only friendships but can go broke on bargains that fall apart and replacing it over and over again for the cost of one good item.

  19. dumpster diving Link to this comment

    cheap is when you dig through the garbage behind wendy’s for cups to redeem for free airline tickets.

    frugal is when you dig through garbage for free airline tickets–and then give them away to others who really need them.

    long live 20B!

  20. great article, however i think the fundamental difference of the two is knowledge, people can’t be frugal if they don’t know exactly what they are getting, not to mention any ideas of future reselling values or appreciation protential.

  21. “Cheap people’s cheapness affects those around them.”

    I wud say dont be near cheap ppl then!

  22. my husband, after 22 years of marriage and two brushes with death early last year (I saved him), still keeps a running tally of the household expenses which we split. As a favor, I schlepped my laptop home -he said he’d pay for my cab. When it came time to bring it back to the office, instead of giving me the cab money, which I asked for, he said he put it in the accounts book.

    And he can’t understand why I want a divorce.

  23. You can call me Mrs. Frugal if you want because I am. I’m proud of it and so is my husband. I have made this a money game for most of my life and now it has become a way of life for me.

    People who know me often comment on my frugalness but also tell me how generous I am with others.

    I have started a blog to share my money saving tips with others.

  24. “Cheap people’s cheapness affects those around them. Frugal people’s frugality affects themselves.”

    I would add that a frugal person’s frugality affects those
    around them as well, but in a positive way.

    A cheap person is a drain on the emotional, financial and ecological environment around them (Wal-Mart)

    A frugal person utilizes resources as best they can so as to have more to offer themselves, loved ones, and the community.

  25. My Mom raised me with a sense of financial responsibility, I thank her for that.
    When I got laid-off, I adjusted the expenses to the lower income. The not understanding of people around me (including my wife) was the hard part.
    I watch for the best deal whenever I can. The lowest price is not always the best deal.
    I learned to tell myself: You want this, but you don’t need it now. Enjoy dreaming a little longer
    I enjoy the small things in life, it doesn’t take much to have fun.
    I had to teach my wife that credit cards are NOT additional financial resources.
    Things are going really well now, we handled unexpected set-backs in a decent way.
    In just a few months, we will be debt free, except for the mortgage. I need to decide what to do with $1000/month, pay off the mortgage or save it in a reasonable way.
    Cheap or frugal, I feel good about my financial management.

  26. Your example of dining out with friends is spot on.
    I truly understand when someone doesn’t want to split the bill when there might be big differences: even if you’re on a budget, you should be able to go out with friends!
    But, I can’t stand when the ones with bigger bills end up paying the taxes, tip and maybe drinks for the cheap ones. (I’ve seen that recently)

    The worst thing I have seen in that domain was for a goodbye party. We wanted to pay for the one leaving the country as a gift. One refused. (it was about $2 each) There’s being on a budget, and being cheap…

    I’ll finish with my two advices for cheap people when splitting the bill:
    - always pick amongst the most expensive entrées: if you don’t split, you pay for what you had; but better, if you split, you pay less than what you should!
    - pay for the whole thing by card and get the cash left by people: usually, people give a little bit more tip than necessary in order not to have to ask for change (leaving 20 when 19 would be enough). If you pay by card, you can put the “exact” amount of tip and pocket the difference!

    The sad thing is that I have seen that done…

    So, thanks for this post, I’ll know what to say when it happens again.

  27. It is interesting to read some of the comments. You can hear the actual spite some people have for others who feel that some people “have money, but won’t spend it.” This suggests that the people writing these posts think that they know exactly how other people should spend their money, how much, on what, for certain reasons, etc.
    The use of money is as personal as a choice in music, movies, food, and so forth. To have disdain for someone because they don’t spend as you do is utterly ridiculous.

  28. Frugal vs. cheap…. Of course cheap is nasty… Nobody wants to be around people who look after every penny when they have plenty to spend… I for one, I’m not even frugal…. I sometimes spend too much and then can’t afford other things… But I’ve never kept lists of what I spend or receipts from stores, and I always tip even more than necessary… Needless to say, I’m the type that loans you money and forgets to ask them back – maybe I have too much faith in people…
    However, the discussion is well met… It’s nice to cut a difference, though sometimes it is hard to do so…

  29. I consider myself a frugal person because I tend to scrimp and save for the really important things – trips, electronics, furniture – things I really value highly. Alot of people think I’m cheap because along the way I turn down high priced nights out because they are too pricey. I think spending $8 on a 6-pack of good beer is justified, I don’t just grab the cheapest 6 pack on the shelf. I spend the $8 because there is a much higher priced option of spending $30-40 at a bar, not including food.

    I also work for tips and see my type (and the opposite) all the time… Waters all around and the cheapest menu items = CHEAP. Waters all around and a good variety of our specialties, no matter the price = FRUGAL.

  30. I grew up in poverty with parents who only bought me used clothing. Didn’t have a new dress until I was twelve. When I was of age I declared I would never be poor again. I am now successful, own my own home, nice car and I buy what I want. I didn’t get that way by nickel and diming myself to death. Money karma goes a long way. Not only can a tight fist not give, but it can’t recieve anything either! Striving for value is more important than striving for cost. By freely giving, I find, I will freely receive and have been blessed ever since having that thought. Cheap people are usually poor because they don’t see the value in giving. Even when you pay taxes you are giving to others. Life is about giving…take care of the giving and with karma, the giving will return to you. What goes around…comes around.

  31. Right on Barbara! I have the same philosophy. I wish everyone thought like that!

  32. Cheap is absolutely when money affoects your relationship with others. Frugal is when you watch your money for your self.

    Brian, people myself included are mad at cheap people. Becaues they short you on the bill when you go out. I had friends like that and they are no longer friends. They never tip when they go out to dinner, but DH and I have to tip extra to go out.

    EVEN when we ask for seperate bills! So we’re shamed into tipping for them. They are just being cheap, and that has sort of ruined the relationship. Also we always invite them over to our house, they never invite us over, instead we go out. Is that cheap? Yes we are always paying and pay when they come over, but no reciprocation. So I do feel somewhat taken advantage off and why our frienships has gone down the tubes.

    So yes people do resent Cheap people because they don’t respect you. They only respect the almight buck.

  33. Livingalmostlarge, sometimes people don’t invite people over not because they’re cheap, but because they’re ashamed of their homes or don’t feel competant to cook a good meal. Of course, you seem to have other evidence that they’re just trying to take advantage of you.

    And those of you who think people are cheap if they have money and don’t want to spend it, you might consider, that’s probably exactly why it is that they do have money. A dollar that you don’t waste by spending it on something you don’t need is just as good as a dollar you earn by working more. Personally I’d rather spend less and be able to work less than spend more and have to work more.

  34. Very well written post.

    I know often people who don’t know me very well will label me as cheap because I buy one new purse every few years and drive a very old car, etc. Eating out is not in my budget at all – though I might meet someone and order a soda or salad for chit chat on occassion.

    But I think your last point nails it on the head. We think very long-term about everything. I know my more cheap friends think it is terrible we have such a big house, enjoy so many electronic toys, and send the kids to preschool. My other friends just think I am rich and stingy. Most can’t seem to figure the 2 go hand in hand. We just don’t spend money on a lot of stuff we don’t value, so we have more for the stuff we do value. & if we wait and save up the money and shop carefully we will buy something that should last a long time.

    Anyway, overall I find we don’t spend a lot on repairs around the house, cars and such, not a lot of unexpected expenses, because we shop so carefully for value. & we are not cheap in the least when it comes to important things – like regular maintenance to avoid bigger repairs down the road. Choosing electronics we intend to enjoy for a long time and not upgrade, etc.

    Anyway, of course I take offense to being called cheap at times – there is no comparison.

  35. LeslieT, I save a lot of money, but I’m not cheap. One other piece of evidence is people who split the bill equally but have ordered the MOST expensive items on the menu and Alcoholic drinks to boot! Then expect people like me who don’t drink to pay for their drinks EQUALLY! That is CHEAP!

    I’m sorry I have no qualms about paying for what I owe and I’m a very frugal person. I have lots of money, we drive old cars and make a six figure income, live with a mortgage debt only, and have quite a lot of luxuries.

    And yet I’m never called cheap though we max out our retirement 100%, save into extra accounts about 40% of our gross income.

    But I take huge offense at cheap people. I will always ante more money than I should because I just get frustrated. I like making money and I like saving it and I like enjoying it. But why can’t others get I don’t like for them to spend MY money because they are cheap?

  36. I totally agree with Brian.

    People are always on the look out to label someone cheap. I do not want to split the dinner bill with the guy having 3 beers/wines regularly. Once in a while, I can understand. But if it happens everytime and if I request the bill to be split as per our consumption, I get labeled “cheap”. And by the very same people who want to have that extra alcohol at my expense every time.

    I wouldnt be asking for the extra hassle of splitting the bill unevenly, if everyone was trying to fair. Everything that goes around come around – usually.

  37. Also, LivingalmostLarge makes agood point. I may not make as much money as a person X but probably save as much as person X does.

    I may be frugal or I may be cheap. I dont care what people label. All I am aiming for is to not be dependent in retirement. I am being cheap now so I dont have to be cheap later. Unless of course, someone else promises to pay for all of my health care when I retire.

  38. The only problem I encounter is when I realize that I really cannot afford and/or do not want to spend what little discretionary money that I have on eating out often or buying things (at convenience stores) just to “go with the flow.” I’ve been with others who think that I’m cheap because I don’t want to buy a 16 oz. bottled water for $2 and prefer to buy it at the grocery store for much less or even God forbid, drink a glass of tap water. I mean, where do you draw the line? If you’re friends with people like that, you are going to be perceived as cheap. Maybe the answer is that I can’t have friends until I’ve paid off credit card debt. Is that the solution?

  39. I’m a painting contractor and my good friend asked me to paint his home. He asked if we could barter and he would let me sleep in his home for free while I painted it!

  40. I disagree with this article. Look closely at a “frugal” person, and you find somebody who is selfish. Some people are givers and some are takers.

  41. I see everybody talking about cheap vs. frugal. How about the author or anyone else suggesting things to help those of us that are stuck in this dilema. So I may be cheap, or frugal for a better word, but how did I get here and now that I’ve landed here, how do I get out?

    Any psychology help is well appreciated.

    James

  42. Intellectual_Jane Link to this comment

    Yes, there are some really cheap people out there, I used to be one, then became frugal. There is a big difference in being frugal; when I was cheap, I used to care about the price in terms of money. Now being frugal, I care in terms of happiness and dreams. I think about how much more distance I put between myself and my dreams for every penny I spend on unneeded items. However, one does need to splurge every once in a blue moon on something we really enjoy. I sold my car two months ago and bought a bike, (that’s bicycle) and have joined a cycling group; lost 20 lbs., and made quite a few new friendships. Being frugal is about doing something you love, for the greater picture, although at first we might not like it all.

  43. Cheap people only spend money on themselves and make others pay for their goods and services. For example not tipping or paying the proper tax and ordering the most expensive things on the menu knowing the bill will be split.

    Frugal people: Will spend less on themselves in order to help friends and loves ones receive what they need.

  44. This is absolutely the best definition of Cheap vs. Frugal I have ever heard. I literally have the $ to pay for everything I need. And I never hesitate to spend $ when I need to. Notice the word “need”. I forgo things I don’t need and people sometimes perceive that as being cheap. But it has completely liberated me to live my life and I have everything I need and a lot of things I want.

  45. Darrell Patrick Link to this comment

    One thing funny I noticed about every post that did comment on it; Cheap people do have money.

  46. Yeah, but frugal people sometimes have money too… ;)

    Frugal is cool, wise. Check Warren Buffett. He’s a Coke (soft drink!!!) addict, but probably buys were it’s cheaper, when his wife goes to the gas station.. ;)

    Cheap is nasty. Check Scrooge and Uncle Scrooge.

  47. I like nice brands (not designers!) and quality clothing, therefore some people see me as a sort of snobbish squanderer. :) But hey, I like nice things which I can enjoy year after year. I like a good bargain, but if I find something really great for me I buy it even if sales are months away (I’m not sure I can find the same item/size then). I don’t spend so much money, totally, and I’m becoming more and more frugal – and pleased with this. It’s a rewarding journey.
    It is especially a relative of mine who thinks I’m the squanderer. She only buys really cheap things, at markets, season sales etc and is addicted to discount prices – over the years she has piled up a lot of stuff, so much that sometimes she has to give away some to people. She has lots of products in her home, of the most diverse brands but usually very cheap. I wonder if she will *ever* finish them…

  48. Ben Theredonethat Link to this comment

    1st time I have ever read a BLOG…Came here from/while trying to learn the new Quicken software I purchased…

    I read several entries…and then ended up here.

    I had to stop reading this list after @25% of the comments!

    I feel that I saw a pattern developing:
    some trying to explain or justify…
    MOST seem to be bitter, envious, angry, JUDGEMENTAL, & grotesquely CRITICAL JERKS.
    a very few honestly expressing themselves in a positive manner.

    I grew up in a large family…living “stretching a dollar”!
    and as many others…eating far too many CASSEROLEs…
    LOL!…My new wife wouldn’t even allow any tuna in the house (I love tuna salad & sandwichs) due to her mother’s routine use (weekly) of Tuna casseroles.

    I grew up resentful… of everything we had to do without and what everyone else seemed to take for granted or wasted!

    But in the long run it was a hidden lesson in strength!

    I spent 24 years as an enlisted military man…raised 3 children and put myself and spouse through college!

    To succeed, we had to make many choices and sacrifice many things…many times OTHERS made misinformed judgements & criticisms of “CHEAP”…It was choices we made (“BY OUR DETERMINATION & WITH OUR VALUES”)
    To achieve success in areas of neccessity/importance.

    I became a single dad.

    I WAS MORE RESENTFUL!!!

    I never quit…I provided for my family…I did without and went CHEAP on me(less or nothing at all), to make sure everyone got what was needed for success…without excess! … I would have rather had new uniforms rather than the base’s thriftshop, etc…I hated the rude comments, but I loved my sons!!!

    I have been angry…but not envious!

    NOW you are saying,…hhhmmm another poster trying to justify…WELL!

    My point is life, decisions, choices can be their own trap!

    AND THERE ARE MANY PAST ISSUES IN PEOPLES LIVES…most are “PAINFUL” & “CATASTROPHIC” that tend to make people the way they are!

    It is very easy to classify, categorize, & condemn their behaviour! …and as someone early on posted…it scars and is a negative contribution to the situation rather than one that leads towards a positive change!

    What many of you see as the problem…is really just a syptom of the problem(s)! … More importantly, why is someone else’s issues… such a problem for you?

    If it is really someone you care about or should care about…You need to do 2 things…
    ask:
    “What is really hurting this person (these people) that is causing this?”

    What past issues are hurting me, that makes this such an intense issue for me?…!!!

    {{{Do you really care or do you just wish you had their money to spend!}}}

    I have done without for so long…but now my obligations have been met…
    There is income availble to me…
    Some good choices/minor investments have come to fruition…

    But having done without for so long &/or always putting myself last…I find it difficult to change… or even feel guilty for spending money on myself on things that had always previously been categorized as EXCESSIVE & unneccessary!!!

    My point is nothing is ever what it appears…
    and maybe many of you should heed the old quote,
    “… walk a mile in their shoes…”
    (and maybe…”forgive them, they know not what they do”)

    Best regards,

    Ben
    (A reforming critical judgemental A$$h01e work in progress)

  49. My husband and I grew up poor and when I got married, my husband and I got into debt(keeping up with the Jones). We ended up in Credit card debt 4 times amounting to almost 120,000.
    In the last 4 years we are out of debt, no car payment, no mortgage and NO credit cards. We drive used cars, bought a house we could pay for in cash and are now on a GOOD budget. We are not cheap, just frugal, BUT WE LEARNED THE HARD WAY. We are in our 50′s now, but we could have done this years earlier, if we had stopped the spending on,what we “wanted” and not what we “needed”.

  50. My husband grew up all his life with money. I grew up poor but never really knew until I was older how poor we really were. There is a huge difference on how my husband and I look at the words frugal and cheap. The meaning of these 2 words take on different meanings depending on your past history, how you were raised and other factors that have impacted one’s life.

    I was a single mom of three very young children. I gave up ALL the “extras” in life to provide for my children. I met my now husband and his view was that I was just being cheap by thrift store shopping and generic food shopping when I had enough money to buy a brand name of something.
    My view was that extra money was going to be needed next week for fresh milk and veggies and his view was, there will always be more money coming in so dont worry about it.

    Just a different view from a different upbringing.
    Now?

    He shops beside me in the thrift stores and he is a yard sale junkie, BUT he also has a feeling of need for brand new things like furniture and vehicles. One step at a time I guess, one step at a time.

  51. I try my best to be frugal, since my hubby and I live on one income. And I make sure my frugality doesn’t impact other people. It’s my choice not to go on tropical vacations and to only eat out once or twice a month; I don’t make my choices into a burden for other people. A former friend (keyword “former”) was cheap — her stinginess bordered on criminal. It got to the point where no one would invite her out even for an inexpensive bite to eat because even at a budget restaurant, she’d never never pay for the tax or tip on her meal. One summer, she made sure everyone knew she had no money and was living on ketchup soup, so friends dropped off a few extra canned goods, invited her over for dinner to help her out or arranged potlucks that would stock her fridge with leftovers for a week…and then a month later, she announces she’d saved so much money recently, she just bought a new premium brand stereo. And once, she wound up being given a set of china that had been lying around in someone’s basement for a few years…and she actually took it to the store, claimed she was returning “a wedding gift” (she was single) so she didn’t have the receipt. And the poor store clerk believed her and refunded the money for the china. She was actually proud of herself for pulling that maneuver. I call it fraud. She’s the reason why cheap people have bad reputations. We’ve all known or heard of that one person who goes too far with saving their pennies and starts being a burden or a cheat.

  52. i consider myself more frugal than cheap… married to a man that is neither lol. I grew up from the age of 8 with a single mom working 3 jobs, not to mention 2 sisters who i call ‘Want & Gimme.’ As the middle child, i do believe its inherent to want to be the one to ‘save’ the others. I would get into moms purse not to steal money, but to make sure she had a dollar before I asked for one because I didnt want her to feel bad if she didn’t.

    These days, I have a good job as does my husband. We are sometimes good at saving, but usually use the savings to pay off something that is a monthly payment. My husband is very very generous.. almost to a fault. He will give anything to anyone.. if we go out to dinner, he will always pick up the cheque, though i have to say, most people we go to dinner with will pay their own tip, usually ending up in a very generous tip for our server.

    Some people genuinely dont reaize that they should tip or how much. Personally, until one of my best friends became a hairdresser, i didnt know you were supposed to tip them! Now i tip very generously.

    i have a friend who is VERY cheap.. so much so, people ask me frequently how I can be friends with her. She will spend 100 bucks on used clothing rather than by a few items of good quality that will do her a long time. She has a good job, but grew up very poor, so i just accept it as learned behaviour. The only thing she does that bothers me is when she fusses about 5 or 10 dollars when we (we have a circle of 4 or 5 best friends) decide to buy a gift for another of our friends… we usually end up giving up and paying the rest of her share because she ‘can’t afford it.’ Though she makes more than a couple of the other friends.

    I just try not to worry about what other people do. Taking inventory of friends or family takes too much energy, and affects relationships. Money just isnt worth that price.

  53. Cheap people will do things at other’s expense to save themselves money, like not put enough money in to cover their actual meal at a restaurant.

    That is not being frugal, that is stealing from your friends. I have no problem with people counting their portion down to the last penny, but I won’t go out with people that don’t cover their own share.

    Frugal is ordering a water with a lemon slice to drink for free. Cheap is asking for extra lemons to make lemonade. Just because the restaurant will give them to you to keep a customer, doesn’t make it right.

    Frugal is requesting a discount if merchandise is slightly flawed. Cheap is pulling the button off the shirt yourself before taking it to the register.

    Frugal is negotiating, Cheap is being dishonest or cheating.

  54. wow that one about the cheap person ordering 7.95 meal and putting in 8 bucks is so close to home.

    one time me and my b/f went out with this couple, even though they insisted on ordering wine (which is not in my budget) which was 50 dollars, they still made me pay for a 1/4 of it which i didn’t want to do and told them i didn’t want to do because I didn’t drink any of it!

    but when the bill came they made the waiter split it exactly before i could remind them that i didn’t drink the wine so i shouldn’t be charged for it, but they didn’t make any moves to try to pay me back the 15 dollars I had put in for the wine (because of the extra tax and tip it also cause me to pay). cheap jerks. I decided never to eat out with them again.

  55. frugality is simply getting the most value for your $ whether you have a lot or not; it means stocking up on items when on sale, because why pay full price if you don’t have to; why pay full price for toilet paper? why not stock up on it when on sale, have on hand, and have the $ next month to buy ribeye steaks to last you 6 months buy buying them in a bag & have cut to size? It means buying clothes/shoes/at 70% off the lowest marked price. Then not only will you live well on less, you can also have plenty to spare to help others with always, even living on disability. Cheap means skinflint who screws everyone over for their own benefit, and never giving anything to anyone because they are stingy, selfish folks; and MOST people who have a lot of money are CHEAP.

  56. I definetly consider myself frugal. I tend to disagree with some of the thing you listed above as your pet peeves with regards to things you don’t like to spend money on.

    But then again, I have my own pet peeves myself LOL. Here is a tip about dry cleaning use the drycleaning products you can buy at rite aid etc. they are about 50 cents per item.

    Restaurants, check out restaurants.com it’s a great site they have special deals and you can get a great meal for a lot less money (e.g. bought a 25 dollar coupon to a restaurant for 3 bucks) they have a huge selection in NYC. The catch is you have to charge up to 35 dollar on food, but its definetly worth it.

    Parking and transportation, I live in NYC and don’t have to worry about that. But every know and then I like to treat myself to cabs, its totally worth it to me.

    My pet peeves paying too much for a haircut and dying my hair but I am single and I should change that if I ever want to meet anyone LOL. Have a great day :-)

  57. my sisters used to laugh at me, cuz I would never pay full price for anything like toilet tissue, toothbrushes, paper, envelopes but get them on sale & store them for use; I bought beautiful things at consignment & thrift stores, most brand new, tags still on them; then they said what the heck, can’t change you I will join you! one for Christmas told her husband he had bought her a beautiful leather jacket for Christmas; he guessed $300; or higher once he saw it; she finally put him out of his misery by telling him she actually got it at Goodwill for $30.00!!!! Frugal does NOT mean doing without at all; it realizes everyone is out to take your $ & doing all they can to get you to spend it THEIR way; one man loved 501′s but hated to spend $50 on them so got cheaper ones & every time you saw him he complained; I found them brand new for $29 & bought him 2 pairs; I explained to him THIS was something HE truly wanted & when you understand the life length of the jeans for 5 years it was less than 1 penny a day; so it WAS worth it for what he really cared about; THIS is the difference between frugal & cheap; frugal doesn’t run out & buy a “playstation” because it is new; rather rejoices when finds a mint one for $14.99 at thrift store cuz someone else had to “upgrade” & it was “obsolete”; rejoices when they find Lena Liu’s framed paintings for $3 & $5; whom they truly love but just could not justify $100 up to buy one new; they never buy things just to “have” them; even a lamp if not a thing of beauty would rather read by flashllight than have ugliness in their home for years, until they find a matching set of 2 table & 1 standing lamp, complete with shades, things for beauty for $60.00. Most folks do NOT understand frugality at all; to me, it is just common sense.

  58. I’m definitely Frugal, reason being ::Frugal people don’t mind spending money, they just don’t like wasting it…and they think its a good idea to try your best to live within your means. They know that saving money and investing it is the key to a steadily improving lifestyle. They are creative in finding ways to enjoy life that don’t cost a lot of money. They set financial goals and work to achieve them, whether its sending the kids through college or saving for that trip around the world. They make purchases based on the true worth of what they’re buying, not on status or hype. Thanks for raising such a topic.

  59. Since very few of us has unlimited amounts of money, we have to prioritize, we have to save. Everyone says that saving is boring. In this society spending is “fun”!
    I don’t agree. Saving is only boring when you have to say no to things that means a lot to you! Spending is only fun if you buy something that means a lot to you! It’s all about knowing yourself enough to know what makes a positive difference in your life. The thing is that you can’t follow other people, because we are all different! What is essential to you might not mean anything to me! If an expensive line of skin care, the latest cell phone or tropical vacations are important to you then go ahead. If a specific kind of toilet paper, cereal or cappuccino are important then spend your money on that.
    You probably already know what is important to you. But, do you know what is not? Stores, restaurants and service providers all want to sell as much as possible. They spend a lot of time, effort and money to convince you that you have to buy their products!

    I have been called cheap and I have been called frugal. Usually because I didn’t want to spend my money on the same things that other people did. Other’s bought coffee drinks with alcohol and I bought a cup of black coffee, for instance. They never stopped to consider whether I liked coffee drinks with alcohol or not. They assumed that it was about the money. I was labeled “boring”!

    If a friend is important to me a gift to him or her will be prioritized. If a restaurant meal with a couple of friends is important to me of course I will find the money for that. I might order something cheaper from the menu if my budget is tight but I will definitely pay for my own part of it.

    Thinking about this and reading some of the previous comments I realize that how other people prioritize apparently stir up a lot of emotions. I can understand the frustration when irresponsible people force other people to pay for them. But why is it so frustrating when someone chooses to spend (or not spend) differently from what you do????? It doesn’t automatically mean that he or she is cheap it just means that he or she prioritizes differently. What difference does it make to you if your friend chooses to use cheap skin care? It certainly doesn’t give others the right to label him or her as cheap!

  60. I have this running discussion with a friend. Said friend thinks I am unrealistic because my income goals (pretty moderate in the scheme of things) are significantly larger than his. However, the income he says he can live on excludes things like paying child support, saving for retirement (he assumes parents will leave $$), and tipping (at all). And still it means spending sometimes 24 hours to be able to afford a $100 item that I’d rather just pay $100 for, even if that’s a splurge.

    I think cheapness, more than frugality, goes along with persistent underearning. E.g., it’s one thing to make the choice to buy an expensive car and not have money for a house; another to buy a less expensive car, bank the difference, and use it for a downpayment; and still another to earn just enough for a junker car and have no house either!

  61. Cheap people are inconsiderate. For example, when getting a meal with other people, if their food costs $7.95, they’ll put in $8.00, knowing very well that tax and tip mean it’s closer to $11.

    Usually when I am dining in a restaurant with others, I, as well as others in my party, would ask for separate checks. This eliminates the problem of trying to divvy up the costs of one check with different people, everyone would know exactly what they ordered, and, in case the bill is divided evenly among the party, it eliminates the person with the $5 order subsidizing the person with the $15 order (like, if one person only ordered a side salad, and another person ordered a steak dinner.) Separate checks makes paying a group’s tab at a restaurant simpler.

  62. I also notice that when the economy is in decline, instances of both frugality and cheapness increase…typically frugality would involve buying secondhand “quality” items from flea markets, garage/yard/rummage sales, or thrift shops as opposed to buying brand new, but cheaply made, comparable items from discount, closeout, or dollar stores. That secondhand Craftsman tool from the flea market will outperform that cheap tool from Big Lots. That secondhand Tommy Hilfiger shirt from the Goodwill store will look better and hold up better than the cheap shirt from Wal-Mart. Buying a brand name cleaning product will, in many cases, be a better value than buying a cheap knockoff product from a dollar store. You typically would need less of the brand name product to do the same job as a large quantity of the cheap product. Once I bought shampoo from a dollar store; I had to use nearly half the bottle to get enough lather to wash my hair; also the product appeared watered down. Most brand name shampoos are thick, and need only a quarter-sized dot to produce enough lather. And dollar stores also sell counterfeit and knockoff versions of brand name products, anything ranging from Colgate toothpaste from South Africa (not made for the US market-too much fluoride, which can harm teeth) to “Dinacell” batteries (a cheap Duracell ripoff that tends to last a short time and leak big time.) Dollar stores are the cheap person’s paradise. I admit being cheap at times myself, and I have been burned as a result. Thinking about what you buy, if you really need it, and considering value vs. just price is the sign of a frugal person.

  63. Ok so I feel I can be a bit frugal sometimes but most of the time I am an impulse buyer (which proves to be no good either!). I have recently been introduced to save.ca which helps me save money, and not spend five hours looking out for coupons. I use these and sometimes if I don’t need it, but it’s on sale I will buy it knowing it will save me money when I don’t have it. I really enjoy treating myself once in a while but I do look at the long term aspects of it. Is this really important to me? Can I afford this? What am I going to have to give up to get what I am looking forward to? etc. With my husband been laid off this year, I’ve been scrimping and saving more than usual. I believe with a 50% wage loss, we have actually saved more this year than we ever did before. It’s amazing how much can be cut back when needed!! In a few months, we’ll have all our debt paid for besides our vehicle and we will be able to purchase our first home together. As for the dining out with cheap people, I have a few friends like this and just pay for their meal before taxes and tip! I have learned how to get these people back at their rudeness in the past- you give them the amount your meal cost exactly like they did to you the last time…then maybe next time they’ll get the hint. Either that or don’t be embarassed to ask for separate tabs and deliver your tip to the waiter to make them feel the shame (if they have any). I work as a nanny for two kids. the family I work for expected me to take their kids everywhere and just pay for the kids admission (if that). I was put in the position to pay for gas, my admission and generally a snack. By the time I was done, I didnt make a penny! To fix them, I started to carpool, only bringing my car when I truly needed it, I stopped taking them on outings and using nature/toys as entertainment, and then the kids would ask the parents to go out. I hate working for cheap people so much, that it is making me cheaper myself. I hate being cheap..but sometimes you got to do, what you got to do. Don’t me so willing and kind, or else sometimes it bites u in the tail!