Which One are You, Frugal or Just Plain Cheap?

I have always thought of myself as a very frugal person. I grew up in a home run by a mother who was also frugal, never forgetting to remind us to save things for later, keep the lights off, and throw on a sweater instead of turning up the heat. More importantly, she showed us how to avoid careless spending habits.

Thanks to her, I always ask myself a couple of questions before making any purchase. “Will it improve my life?” and “Do I really need it?” Knowing when it is smarter to say no to a purchase, learning to spot discounts on drinks or food using apps such as CheckoutSmart, and snapping up bargain 99 pence auctions on sites like eBay are great ways to save money on many of the most common aspects of life

When my co-workers head out for an expensive lunch outside the office, I stay behind, enjoying my sandwich from home. Here are some simple, affordable, and tasty ideas for homemade sandwiches. While my friends opt to spend loads of their cash on pricey designer duds, I head for Oxfam.

Frugal or Just Plain Cheap

That all sounds great, doesn’t it? I simply exercise some self-control, and as a result save hundreds of pounds every year. I considered myself someone living a thrifty dream. Or at least, that is what I used to think. Unfortunately, I have noticed that more and more often, my thrifty habits have begun to shift to simply being “cheap.”

You might be wondering why I have decided to tell you this. Well, winter is on its way and recently I noticed that my trusty boots and favourite hat were looking a bit worn out.

I have started feeling an emotional attachment to my items. It is preventing me from tossing them and spending my money on newer, expensive replacements. This is not being thrifty. This is more like being cheap.

So, what exactly is the difference between being cheap and being frugal or thrifty? Someone who is thrifty has savvy when it comes to finding great deals and is someone to be admired. A thrifty person is chic, hip, and always enjoys a feeling of financial stability.

However, a cheap person is often desperate, unhappy, and seen as at “rock bottom.” Someone who is cheap isolates themselves and is selfish in their habits.

Someone who is cheap also often finds themselves cheating. A cheap person will begin attempting to cut corners whenever they can. They will buy clothes that fit poorly just because they are cheap, and often winds up the victim of false economy fraud nearly every day.

It can be difficult to know the difference, especially since most people try to save every possible penny, especially with the cost of living at an all time high. However, some items are worth your hard earned pay. If you find yourself on the cheap side of things, you might want to reassess how you look at your purchases.

If need help figuring out whether you are cheap or simply frugal, or you just want to have a healthier way to view your spending habits, here are a few ways you can spot the difference.

A thrifty person knows when it is worth paying for something.

Frugal or Just Plain Cheap

A cheap person will simply look at the price, instantly making their decision on whether this purchase will ensure they pay the lowest amount possible. Someone who is thrifty knows that some items are worth spending a little more on, and can see a higher initial price tag as an investment. They also keep their spending in line with their budget. Loot is a great way to keep a close eye on your disposable income.

Spending a few extra pounds on a pair of jeans that are higher in quality may result in less overall spending as time goes on, as the better jeans will outlast several pairs of cheaper jeans that need frequent replacing.

If you opt for too cheap of a car, you will often find yourself spending much more on maintenance and repairs as time goes on. Paying a bit more for a newer or better car or opting for a better insurance policy can give the thrifty person much more peace of mind, not to mention a better deal overall.

Someone who is thrifty will buy a whole chicken to use for several meals throughout the week. You can see excellent examples of this in an article published by Self Magazine on easy chicken meals to last the week.

Someone who is thrifty will research potential purchases, taking advantage of any sales or special offers available.

Someone who is cheap often looks like they have their finances in order, but frequently they aren’t as well researched as someone who is thrifty. For example, imagine that a thrifty person and a cheap person are each looking to replace their washing machine.

The person who is cheap will often simply look for the model with the lowest price. On the other hand, the person who is thrifty will also take into consideration gas vs electric, energy efficiency, and customer reviews. They will also know to apply any loyalty cards that they are eligible for.

They will research each model’s features as well as read reviews written by consumers. Before making a purchase, someone who is thrifty will check online for rebates and comparison shop at several stores to find out where they can get the best deal. So, the smarter purchase might be a higher-priced washer that is on sale instead of simply the cheapest basic model that the cheap person finds themselves in front of.

A thrifty person will also check out other options like articles on Thrifty Vacations.

Someone who is cheap automatically assumes that everything is already overpriced.

You probably know someone who constantly complains about how much everything costs. If not, it might even be you. Someone who is cheap thinks everything is always overpriced.

A thrifty person my think some things are also overpriced, but is also aware that constant complaining can make them look cheap. Instead, they simply don’t purchase the overpriced item.

Someone who is thrifty isn’t afraid of the occasional dinner out with family or friends as they know that it is associated with positive memories that are usually worth the cost.

Using a coupons, vouchers, or even checking UK free stuff sites when dining out is thrifty. However, not leaving your server a tip is cheap.

Do you have trouble knowing how much you should tip or when it is appropriate? Check out Lifehacker’s great article that shows you when tipping in the UK is appropriate.

You can also view Restaurant Vouchers and Offers to find a great deal to use on your next dinner out.

A thrifty person knows that people are more important that simply saving a few pounds.

My spouse has a lot of back pain, so we bought a special orthopedic mattress. It was expensive, but we viewed the expense as an investment.

This mattress will last much longer than basic models, saving us money over time, the hallmark of a great investment.

The buying process might not have gone as well if either I or my spouse was cheap. For someone who is cheap, saving money might be seen as more important than having a healthy relationship.

Someone who is thrifty, on the other hand, always thinks about others before scrimping when it comes to the basics.

If you plan on splitting the cost of a purchase with family or friends, consider using Payfriendz. You can use it to easily and safely send or request money.

While there may not be a scientific way to prove whether you are cheap or thrifty, you can usually tell by your attitude and view on values. If you think you might fall into the category of “cheap,” don’t worry. Often whether you are considered thrifty or cheap can be altered simply by changing your state of mind.

If you think that you are starting to slip into the mindset of a cheap person, remember that it is also important to be kind – both to yourself and to others, don’t settle for something less than you deserve, and some purchases are worth the extra cost.

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