If you are reading this post, you probably a frugal person or a frugal-person-in-training. Perhaps your frugal ways have been called “cheap” or caused embarrassment. This article clears up any confusion between the two terms.
Per Webster’s dictionary:
frugal: characterized by or reflecting economy in the use of resources
cheap: stingy (not generous or liberal: sparing or scant in using, giving, or spending)
These two definitions do not mean the same thing. Here are five examples that make the difference very clear. (Bargain Babe provided her own definition of being frugal versus being cheap more than a year ago).
- If I buy a designer dress for $20 at a yard sale, I am frugal. If I try to talk down the price to $2, I am cheap. I mean, come on! Let the yard saler make some money for goodness sakes. You are already saving at least 90%.
- If I make my own deviled eggs to take to a potluck, I am frugal. If I grab a bag of out-of-date crackers to take to the potluck, I am cheap. The difference? I am putting my time and talents into making the economical deviled eggs. By grabbing some tasteless, possibly stale chips to bring as my contribution, I am degrading the meal.
- If I score tickets to a free screening of a new movie and share them with my friends, I am frugal. If I try to sell them tickets, I am cheap”¦ and I will most likely be kicked off the list of people who get screening tickets. This is a big NO-NO.
- If I want to take my friends out to eat and go to a restaurant where I’ll get a discount, I am frugal. If I decide to save a few bucks by leaving a 5% tip, then I am cheap. No comment necessary to explain this one.
- If my neighborhood is a great “trick or treat” street that attracts tons of families and I buy big bags of candy at the 99 Cent Store to satisfy the hordes, I’m frugal. If I turn off my porch lights and hide in my den, I’m cheap (and not much fun.)
What do you think? I’d love to hear your examples.