Sunday, July 24, 2011

Are You Really Frugal Or Just An Old Cheapskate?

International Money Pile in Cash and CoinsImage by via FlickrI have been called cheap and I have been called frugal, what's the difference, is there a difference? Maybe people are just being nice when they call me frugal. Cheap has such a negative connotation, maybe they just don't want to hurt my feelings.

What is frugal? 

Frugal is that you are making definite choices to save money. You are spending money in the most wisest way with a dignity and respect. Also no one is getting harmed or losing in the process.

What is cheap? 

Cheap is more akin to being a hoarder of money and things. You have something and just don't want to part with it on principle. Also when you are being cheap, someone or something is being hurt or losing in the process.

So what separates "frugal" from "cheap"? Here's a list, culled from several blogs: "Frugal for Life," The New York Times' "Your Money," and

Frugal: Taking home those tiny hotel shampoo bottles.

Cheap: Taking home the hotel-room light bulbs.

Frugal: Sneaking a snack into a movie theater.

Cheap: Sneaking into the theater itself.

Frugal: Accepting "free samples" at a grocery store.

Cheap: Accepting a free continental breakfast at a hotel where you are not staying.

Frugal: Buying artificial sweeteners in bulk from a discount store.

Cheap: Pocketing sweetener packets from a restaurant.

Frugal: Ordering only free water with your meal at a restaurant.

Cheap: Bringing your own drinks to a restaurant.

Frugal: Eating at less-expensive restaurants.

Cheap: Being a poor tipper at less-expensive restaurants.

Frugal: Finding stray golf balls in the rough at courses and using them.

Cheap: Selling those golf balls.

Frugal: Having dinner at 4:30 p.m. to get the "early bird" special.

Cheap: Eating a meal at a soup kitchen if you can afford to buy food.

So what's the verdict? Are you cheap or frugal. If your frugal, feel good about yourself, you are saving money and helping yourself get ahead. If you are cheap, rethink your motives and move away from the dark side.


  1. That's a fun list that you did. I think that I`m frugal :)

  2. I love this list. It really shows the difference between the two.


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