Author Topic: Cheap vs frugal  (Read 7317 times)

Potterquilter

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Cheap vs frugal
« on: July 27, 2015, 04:37:08 AM »
where is the line between cheap and frugal?

Would you borrow someone's truck, use half a tank of gas and not refill it?  If you went to a BYOB party and alcohol was not in your budget would you go and drink water, or just drink someone else's? 

Jappe

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2015, 05:43:42 AM »
I think the difference is that being cheap means that you're just leeching of others and having a (possibly small) financial of mental impact on them. Frugal meaning cutting the costs where possible when it only impacts you. It can mean that when two people are doing the same action, one is considered frugal and one is rather cheap because of why and how they 'work around it'.

Example:
Frugal: Not having cable cause you don't want to watch the stuff they show, Not having a car cause you can bike everywhere, watching what you buy in the supermarket cause you like to get the best price/quality or spend less on groceries.
Cheap: not having a car but borrowing it from your friend all the time and not even refilling their gas. Not having TV but inviting yourself to your friend's house to watch everything you want to see and eating/drinking his crisps/beer, going through the trash at the supermarket cause they might be throwing away stuff that is still eatable.
The two examples you gave are rather cheap. It's okay to borrow a friend's truck, but refill the tank or buy him a couple of beers as a matter of thank you. Or if you have something going on where you borrow his car and he borrows your toolbox every month...
Bringing the cheapest bottle you can find to a BYOB party and then drinking all the expensive alcoholic ones is rather cheap as well. Unless you brought some nice freshly squeezed orange juice, ...

nereo

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2015, 05:45:08 AM »
I don't believe there is any definitive line here.  It's subjective.  Personally, I think the line into 'cheapville' is crossed when a person's actions to save money negatively and directly influences another person.

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Would you borrow someone's truck, use half a tank of gas and not refill it?
Of course not.  That would be an a**hole thing to do.  If I can't afford the gas I can't afford to borrow someone's truck.

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If you went to a BYOB party and alcohol was not in your budget would you go and drink water, or just drink someone else's? 
Sure.  I've forgone alcohol at parties on many occasions, for reasons ranging from designated driver to solidarity with non-drinking friends. I think there is no shame in not drinking at any social gathering.  If I show up with no beer and someone offers me some, I make a mental note to get them back or pay it forward later in the week.

MLKnits

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2015, 06:52:36 AM »
There's no easy line, but taking money out of your friend's pocket (drinking their alcohol, burning their gas) is shitty behaviour. I'd rather crimp something in my own budget. For instance, I went to a party this weekend, and brought alcohol. That alcohol would have been what I'd have had at home, so I just won't have alcohol at home for a month or so. Was it worth it? Absolutely. Great party, great friends, great memory--much better than having a drink while I skim tumblr.

In fact, I think I'd say that's my basic line: frugality is being cheap to yourself, cheap is being cheap to others.

I think everyone on this forum is generally okay with the basic concept of being cheap to yourself when there's a reason for it (to be able to retire early, to be able to buy more stock in a down market, etc), and most of us are not so okay with being cheap in a way that impacts our friends/family/people in need (never reciprocating favours, going to the food bank when you have a $500K stash). We draw each of those lines in different places, but I'd say that's my basic distinction.

forummm

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2015, 07:15:58 AM »
where is the line between cheap and frugal?

Would you borrow someone's truck, use half a tank of gas and not refill it?  If you went to a BYOB party and alcohol was not in your budget would you go and drink water, or just drink someone else's? 

Both these examples are using your friends to take what's theirs. Those are jerky things to do and will end up leaving you with no friends. I want to encourage the behavior of lending me their truck, so I would at minimum fill their tank, AND offer to pay them $20. If they don't want the money, I would do something else nice for them. And I personally would drink water at the party. If I did want to drink, I would BYOB.

music lover

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2015, 09:38:36 PM »
Everyone is your friend if you own a truck. I know....I used to own one, lol. One advantage to selling it was that the people who only called you because you had a truck no longer called.

Cheap is taking financial advantage of others by not paying your fair share, buying low quality things that always need to be replaced or can't be enjoyed because they're junk.

Frugal means minimizing expenses by doing without for a while, finding an alternative, getting a good deal, etc. But, it's not done at the expense of others.

willow

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2015, 10:52:10 AM »
where is the line between cheap and frugal?

Would you borrow someone's truck, use half a tank of gas and not refill it?  If you went to a BYOB party and alcohol was not in your budget would you go and drink water, or just drink someone else's?

I would bring a case of water.

Mrs.LC

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2015, 09:22:28 PM »
Your two examples are just plain rude! BYOB doesn't need to be alcohol. Bring a bottle or two of water and call it good.

mandy_2002

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2015, 06:30:50 PM »
Your examples are good examples of pretty crappy ways to treat friends. 

My favorite cheap vs. frugal distinction is your are frugal if you use a tea bag twice, you are cheap if you give the second cup to a visitor.  I agree with the treatment of yourself (since you know what you're doing) vs treatment of others (since they are just going to call you cheap, or never call again)

soccerluvof4

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2015, 05:35:03 AM »
I agree with most that to me the difference is how it affects oneself. I can do without alot of things to save money BUT not at the expense or embarrassment of my friends. I like to keep my lifestyle more to myself and not push it on people. I dont think anyone looks at me and says I am cheap or frugal because i Just take care of things and am not pushy. If they ask then sure I will offer up how to save a dime.

deborah

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2015, 06:05:04 AM »
There's more to it than this.

Sometimes I think we are cheep to ourselves rather than frugal. Cheap is often unsustainable. Frugal is sustainable.

For example, minimalism is frugal. Cheap may be keeping all the paper old bags because they may come in useful someday (I've just persuaded my mother to throw out a lot of old paper bags that were STILL going to come in useful some day).

Dumpster diving, or living in your car may be cheap (you wouldn't be still doing these things when you are old and decrepit), whereas living in a small house and buying from costco may be frugal.

choppingwood

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2015, 08:22:52 AM »
There's more to it than this.

Sometimes I think we are cheep to ourselves rather than frugal. Cheap is often unsustainable. Frugal is sustainable.

I agree with you. My sister went around for several years with her glasses taped together, because she felt like she couldn't afford to replace them. Her income had recently decreased, but in fact she had lots of money in the bank. She only replaced them when they really wouldn't hold together. Fear of being poor sometimes shapes her decisions more than the actual amount of money she has.

eyesonthehorizon

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #12 on: August 06, 2015, 11:10:18 PM »
... Cheap is often unsustainable. Frugal is sustainable. ...

This.
I think cheapness often occurs when you don't consider all the possible costs of a choice, but rather just the financial aspect. Mooching off your friends as the OP cites, hoarding too much of a useful resources as in Deborah's example or not caring for yourself via the things which affect your wellbeing as choppingwood mentioned a sister doing are all great examples of valuing money too dear and quality of life, relationships, or virtue too cheap. You can be cheap to yourself or others when you unsustainably overvalue money.

terran

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2015, 08:37:37 AM »
I totally agree about all the comments saying it's about the effect on other people. The other thing that is cheap instead of frugal is buying the least expensive option despite the fact that it will cost you more long term. This can be hard to figure out though -- if whatever you're buying is seldom used then it doesn't make sense to buy the top of the line.

TheFrugalFox

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2015, 11:01:38 PM »
If you stealing/ mooching of anyone/anything - you being cheap. So it's cool to sleep on your friends couch as long as you buying the groceries or paying it back in kind like doing the cooking and cleaning. I am being cheap in that I stream (the free way) most of my TV. I could rationalise it by saying I do give the satellite company some money - I pretty much have their smallest package - but at the end of the day, someone/something is loosing out on a little bit of cash. Which makes me, in this regards, a little bit cheap. At a saving of $50 p/m I can handle being a bit cheap - I make it up by being a good tipper! :)




mandy_2002

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 09:35:57 AM »
I am being cheap in that I stream (the free way) most of my TV. I could rationalise it by saying I do give the satellite company some money - I pretty much have their smallest package - but at the end of the day, someone/something is loosing out on a little bit of cash. Which makes me, in this regards, a little bit cheap. At a saving of $50 p/m I can handle being a bit cheap - I make it up by being a good tipper! :)
I would say most people here would call this frugal, not cheap. The cable companies and networks have set up ways to make money on this type of consumer. I've witnessed it first hand, with commercial breaks on line going from 30 seconds when first introduced to 2-3 minutes now. It doesn't matter if you actually watch them, the company is being paid. If they weren't, it wouldn't be an option.

Helvegen

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2015, 01:21:16 PM »
I'm trying to teach this difference to my 9 year old. At her summer care, local supermarkets donate day old bread. My daughter learned that it is free and anyone can have it. So now she annoys us to take it when we pick her up in the evenings. We tell her, we don't eat that bread, we don't need that bread, and just because it is free isn't a reason to take it, especially when there are people that need it way more than we do and that is the probable intention of it being there in the first place. I think that would be cheap.

BigBigote

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2015, 12:08:07 AM »
I agree with what everybody has said about cheap vs frugal except one point - why is dumpster diving considered cheap? I don't see how saving items that are still in good condition from ending up in a landfill and instead using them is anything but positive? Of course, there's a line of what's acceptable to take, but people throwing out canned goods just because they're dented or supermarkets throwing out baked goods just because they sat on a shelf for a day... why would anyone want for those not to be eaten? Same goes for furniture, etc.

Of course, if you're taking those items over someone who really needs them, then that would be cheap. But it's worth considering the environmental benefits of dumpster diving to reduce wastefulness in general!

Tom Bri

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Re: Cheap vs frugal
« Reply #18 on: September 18, 2015, 02:22:08 PM »
Interesting. I have some very wealthy friends who have a lot of parties. I go and drink their beer. On the other hand, I give them fresh veggies from our garden, and other little things. I hope it evens out...I tend towards cheap, so have to be careful not to push it onto others.