While financial prudence is essential, a clear distinction exists between frugality and stinginess. A user asked “when does “frugal” cross the line to “cheapskate”?” and here are the best picks for you.
1. Not Picking Up Your Bill
Frugality involves making conscious choices to save money sustainably and responsibly. On the other hand, cheapskates prioritize short-term gains over long-term consequences and often shift the burden of their choices onto others.
“When you avoid your share of the bill. When you inconvenience others to save money or go to even moderate lengths to justify either of these behaviors, frugal folks make PERSONAL consumer decisions with long-term money-saving benefits. Cheapskates pass their bill on to others.” said one.
2. Overburdening Others With Your Thing
While being frugal can be an intelligent financial decision, it can backfire when it inconveniences or harms others.”When your attempts to be frugal end up somehow negatively affecting others.” said one.
“if I suggest to one of my frugal friends that we go to a bar and they don’t feel like spending money, they’ll suggest another activity instead. “Why don’t we drink at my house/hang out and watch a movie/go for a walk?” If I suggested the same thing to my cheap friend, his response would always be I’ll go if you buy my drinks.” another said.
3. Unhygienic Compromises
“Frugal is compromising and cutting out extra things in your life. Cheapskate is squeezing pennies on things you need.” said one.
“Washing all your clothes at once, once or twice a week, and using a dollar store detergent is frugal. Wearing your clothes into the shower to wash them and you simultaneously is a cheapskate.” a user added.
4. Recognizing The True Cost Of Cutting Costs
While frugality can be beneficial, it’s essential to recognize the hidden costs of extreme penny-pinching, including wasted time and a lower quality of life. Learn to balance saving money with maintaining your well-being.
“When the time you waste or the quality of life you lose is worth more than you save in money, it is a cheapskate.” said one.
“I am cheap when traveling…but occasionally, I need to put things into context. For example, I can pay 30 dollars for a bus or 90 for a train. The bus takes 10-12 hours; the train takes less than 2. I spend another 60 bucks by taking the train, but I gain half a day to do stuff. Being on vacation, I have a fixed amount of time, and that half a day is a large portion of it.” another said.
5. When Cost-Cutting Measures Become Embarrassing Or Unethical
“I knew a guy that, while ordering in line at Chipotle, would ask for “extra chicken but just enough where it’s not considered a serving of double chicken.” Come on, man.” said one.
“Yeah, can I just have more food for no extra cost?” another said sarcastically.
6. Being Too Stingy
“I know it’s 90 F outside, but the air conditioner costs money to run, says my roommate/landlord who makes six figures living in a ranch house.” a user said.
“I didn’t have AC growing up. My parents were frugal, bordering on cheap in many cases, and even though they now have ac, they rarely turn it on.” another added.
7. Spending But Cutting Corners With Others
Frugality requires balancing money-saving measures with respect and responsibility toward others. Cheapskate habits that involve flouting social norms or hurting service workers are unacceptable.
“Frugal: not eating out at a restaurant. Cheapskate: eating out at a restaurant, but leaving $0 tip because they can’t afford to tip.” said one.
“I appreciate the reminder to balance our desire to save money with our responsibility to treat others with respect and consideration.” another said. “Cheapskate behavior that involves stiffing service workers on tips is never acceptable.” a user added.
8. Always Opting For Cheap Products
While frugality can be beneficial, weighing the cost and quality of options before deciding is essential. Blindly choosing the cheapest option can lead to poor outcomes.
“When you ignore a cost/benefit analysis and always opt for the “cheaper” option, it is cheapstake-ism.” said one. “Sometimes that results in costing more.” another said.
9. Not Understanding The Difference Between Smart Spending And Penny-Pinching
Knowing when to be frugal and when to splurge wisely is essential. Frugality involves monitoring your spending and adjusting accordingly, while being cheap means focusing solely on the most affordable option without considering long-term costs and benefits.
“Frugal is watching what comes in and adjusting what goes out accordingly. Cheap is squeezing nickels while dollar bills fly out the window.” said one
“My company fits this description. We’ve always said they would spend a dollar to save a nickel. They would rather have people quit and have to go through the hiring/training process with someone new than realize that the annual 3% merit increases aren’t keeping pace with the market and making appropriate salary adjustments to retain their talented people.” a user shared.
10. When Splitting The Bill Becomes An Unequal Burden On The Frugal
When dining out, being frugal means ordering affordable items, and being a cheapskate means not paying the total Bill or suggesting to split it unequally after ordering extravagantly.
“Cheapskate: Ordering expensive things on the menu when I order cheap, then suggesting we just “split the bill down the middle.” You spent $60 on food and drinks, and I had a $9 sandwich and water. No, I’m not paying for your gluttony.” a user said.
“Frugal: Ordering cheap items on the menu. Cheapskate: Ordering anything on the menu, then purportedly claiming you forgot your wallet, you’ll pay me tomorrow, your credit card doesn’t work, your puppy ate your money.” said another
In conclusion, being frugal and cheap are two different things, and knowing the difference is essential. While frugality involves making wise spending decisions, being cheap often involves inconveniencing others or sacrificing the quality of life to save money.
What are your thoughts on this topic? What other cheapskate behavior have you noticed?
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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.