Frugal Vs. Cheap: What is the difference?

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When saving money, every penny counts and you start to wonder what the real difference is when it comes to frugal vs. cheap. However, there are just those things that are worth an extra dollar or two.

When it really matters, you don’t want to be cheap and cut corners in an effort to save.

There is certainly a difference between being frugal vs. cheap.

In this blog post, I’m going to sumaraize.

Frugal Vs. Cheap: What is the difference

The bottom line is savings. But the simple fact of the matter is one is worse than the other. 

Frugality is about finding ways to avoid spending unnecessarily. Those with a frugal mindset spend wisely in order to maximize the value of each expenditure. 

Frugal individuals use strategy in order to save money. A simple example of this is waiting for items to go on sale to score a better deal.

A cheap person would simply purchase a used, worn-down version of something just to have access to it immediately and at a lower cost instead of simply waiting. 

Those who are cheap are also willing to save their own money at the expense of others.  

Have you ever been out with a group of friends eating dinner and conveniently, someone just so happens to forget to bring money for their part of the meal?

Now, if you’re all friends it’s not a problem to pick up the tab but if this is something that happens consistently…might be a good idea to stop going out with that particular person. 

Below is the key difference between frugal vs. cheap

  • Frugality – spending sparingly and making smart economic decisions to save 
  • Cheapness – holding on and being unwilling to spend money

Examples habits of frugal people

1. Preparing your own coffee at home

2. Meal prepping and cooking meals instead of eating out

3. Not upgrading your phone every time a new one comes out

4. Purchasing the generic version of items like condiments, seasonings, etc.  

5. Strategically using credit card points to earn rewards and cash back

6. Doing your own beauty maintenance such as hair, nails, waxes etc.

7. Purchasing pre-loved gently used items at a thrift store 

Examples habits of cheap people

1. Eating out and not leaving a tip

2. Regifting used items that are completely worthless 

3. Purchasing something for use/wear then returning it to get your money back

4. Wearing worn out clothes instead of purchasing new items that fit 

5. Consistently using product free samples instead of actually purchasing the product 

6. Constantly asking others for a ride so you don’t have to spend your own money on gas 

7. Skipping out on essential expenses like renters’ insurance 

Related Content: Is Renter’s Insurance Really Worth it

Tips to help guide frugal living

There are several reasons to live frugally, mainly so you can stay within budget and know exactly where your money is going. 

Overspending happens to the best of us – I don’t know about you but I feel like it costs money just to breath outside.

According to CNBC, Americans overspend by $7,400 a year. Below are three straight forward tips that truly do make a difference.

Meal prepping and budgeting

The best advice for living frugally is by sticking to and following a budget. When it comes to being frugal vs. cheap having a budget is likely one thing these two types of people have in common.

There are different methods of budgeting, therefore you’ll need to find the method that works best for you. 

I personally like the cash envelope method of budgeting. I’ve written a blog post about this method, so if you’re interested in learning more check it out! 

Related Content:

How to create a budget

How to use the cash envelope system

Budgeting appropriately for groceries and planning your meals ahead of time will also help save money.

Grocery shopping is a huge budget buster so taking the time to plan your meals for the week will prevent you from overspending. 

Eating out and food delivery

Being mindful about where your money goes when it comes to dining out is the third tip I’d like to share. 

Don’t feel guilty for spending money eating out with friends but maybe skip the drink and appetizer. 

Ultimately, you have to really monitor your money when you’re living frugally and this means paying closer attention to any discretionary spending when eating out or having food delivered.

So tell me, which side are you on when it comes to being frugal vs. cheap?