Coupon clipping, bargain hunting, and saving money for a rainy day are all good habits, but there’s a fine line between being frugal, and being a cheapskate. Frugal people understand the value of the things that they’re paying for, while cheap people care more about cost than they do about quality. If people make jokes about moths when you open your wallet, or roll their eyes when you pull out yet another two for one coupon, then maybe you should think about your spending habits. Are those jokes all in good fun and out of respect for your frugal nature, or are you being cheap?
Frugal People Appreciate Quality
A frugal person is willing to pay a little extra money for a Barbour jacket that will last several winters. A cheap person buys all of their menswear from the bargain bin in a deep discount store. There’s a good chance that the cheap person will end up spending more on clothes in the long term because they have to replace their menswear frequently because it falls apart at the seams. Mr Frugal, on the other hand, can enjoy his timeless Barbour jacket for many, many years.
Frugal People Understand Needs and Wants
A frugal person knows that they need to pay for their home insurance, and they’ll put that need above their want to take advantage of the mega sale on at the local department store. A cheap person might balk at paying their insurance, after all “it’s so expensive, and there’s hardly any chance of someone breaking in”, but they’ll buy things in the sale because they’re cheap.
Frugal People Can Spot a Good Investment
Imagine you’re planning a holiday. A cheap person might look for a budget hotel, and the cheapest flights they can possibly find. A frugal person will consider the hidden costs of the cheap hotel and budget airline, and could well end up getting a better deal by staying in a hotel with free breakfast, and flying with an airline that doesn’t charge extra for checked bags and meal service.
Frugal People Value Their Time
A cheap person will go to great lengths to avoid paying for things that they think are a waste of money. A frugal person will pay for things that will save them time, and, if they think something isn’t worth their money, they won’t waste time worrying about it. Being willing to do without something is frugal. Attempting to freeload because you don’t want to pay for something, but want the benefits anyway, is the lowest form of cheap.
It’s possible to be frugal without depriving yourself. If you’re on a tight budget, then the first thing you should do is prioritize your spending. You may need to give up some luxuries, but that doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice everything. If you look forward to having a pizza with your favourite sports pay per view, give yourself that luxury. If wearing a Barbour jacket or a pair of Levis makes you feel good, save up for a new pair. Cut down on extra nights out, unwatched cable channels and lazy takeaways in order to control your spending, but don’t give up everything you enjoy.
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