Perfectly Practical #93 - Frugal vs. Cheap

Frugal is not cheap.  There are huge differences.

Here is my break down of Frugal vs. Cheap to illustrate the differences:

Frugal cares about value vs. Cheap cares about cost

Example:  If a frugal person was looking for a sofa, they would look for quality at a reduced price so that it would last.  If a cheap person was looking for a sofa, they would only look at the price tag - even though that would mean they would have to replace it sooner.  They don't want to spend the money now even though it means they will have to spend more money over time.

Frugal's actions affect themselves vs. Cheap's actions affect others

Example:  In Harrison County, it is a law to have your pets vaccinated for the safety of not only the vaccinated pet, but the people and pets in the area as well.  A frugal person will find out when a local vet's office gives reduced price vaccinations and have their pets vaccinated.  A cheap person won't get vaccinations at all for their pets because they don't want to spend the money. (Do you see a pattern?) 

Frugal provides for themselves vs. Cheap leeches off of others

Example:  If a frugal person wants to go out to eat, they plan for it in their budget. A cheap person also decides an amount they want to spend before they go out to eat.  The difference is that if they both have settled on say, $10 total, the frugal person will order something less than the $10 so that they can cover tax and tip.  The cheap person will order food up to the $10 amount and leave no tip.

Frugal is industrious vs. Cheap is lazy

Frugal finds the best ways to get the most out of a product or situation whereas cheap will wait for someone else to provide for them.

Frugal has concern for others vs. Cheap is selfish

Example:  Frugal couponers know that if they have no room for or cannot use an item they don't buy it even if it is free.  Cheap couponers will clear a shelf of an item if it is free whether they can use it or not.  Leaving nothing for another person who may actually use or need that product. 

Frugal is efficient vs. Cheap is idle

Frugal will work smarter, not harder, whereas cheap just won't work for something at all.

Has the frugal mindset penetrated your whole existence by now? No? That's okay, you'll get there. :) Set a goal of frugality. The lovely Kristin from Fiskerelli Bellies recently wrote about setting goals. I love what she said:
If you don't have a good reason to live frugally you won't do it. Period. End of sentence. The goal needs to:  "Be specific.  Be achievable.  Be agreed upon."
I couldn't have said it better myself.

This is the second in a series on becoming frugal in the New Year.  Here is the first post So, You Want to Be Frugal.

Thisis part of We Are That Family's Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Very good and valid points! This is what I have been trying to explain to people on why I stopped couponing. I still use them, but they are no longer my shopping strategy if that makes any sense ;) Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Good points! That's why we do cloth nappies - more work but saves money, which means I have to earn (and therefore work) less. Lovely to read your blog!

  3. Ms. Erika, I can understand about the coupons. You have to weigh up the cost to benefit ratio. Plus, coupons are a tool among others for a frugal lifestyle not a frugal lifestyle itself. Thanks for dropping by!

    Ms. Bugs, we did cloth nappies for a while but in England, we couldn't keep up with drying them. :) Too rainy to hang out and there is only so much radiator space. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Love this article! especially since I was trying to explain the differences (with no luck!) between cheapskate and frugalista just a few days ago.
    One of the big things IMHO is that the frugal person doesn't just get the best price possible, s/he takes care of those things to make them last!

  5. Exactly right Ms. Elise. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Hi Pary Moppins - how I adore your name! Thanks for participating in ~SASS this week! We are so happy to have you!

    Two questions for you:
    1) How do I contact you? I can't find your email address anywhere and I wanted to respond to your wonderful comments on my blog.

    2) Are you on Twitter?

    3) Your wall is closed on your FB Page, I assume you're aware of that, but I wanted to leave you a nice comment to say that I liked you!

    Hugs~SASS (Host)

  7. Please email me (use contact form on my site)

  8. P.S. I consider myself FRUGAL but definitely not cheap! I love a good deal when I find one.

  9. I use to be cheap, and when I said to people I was cheap they would say no frugal. But nope I was cheap. I would buy the cheapest thing. Sometimes I still do if it is something that is "disposable" anyways. But there are certain things you need to pay more for because of the quality. I now am frugal for sure.

  10. Very well said! Just because you are watching your spending does not make you cheap!
    In mu university days I would say that I was more cheap than frugal. But hubby has taught me that quality matters too. So now I would say we are frugal with certain purchases.

    Thanks for taking part in SASS, hope to see you next week!

  11. I love, love, love this!! This is why I don't understand why people coupon. Most of the time the coupons are for stuff I don't want to buy anyway. I would rather group buy, wholesale or go in on something of value with a friend rather than just buy junk. I'm bookmarking and sharing this post as I know many of my friends will love it too! (#SASS)

  12. I agree. I am very frugal, but not cheap. I look for deals, but dont want to waste my money on garbage as I want to make sure i get my moneys worth!

    Thanks for linking up -SASS Host

  13. Howdy Ms. Multi! I am not on twitter and my email is on my about me page. Thanks for dropping by!

  14. Howdy Ms. Shari! I think we have all been cheap at some point on our journey to frugal. THanks for stopping by!

  15. Howdy Little Miss Kate! I totally agree, in my college days I was more cheap than frugal as well. Glad you stopped by!

  16. Howdy Ms. Robin! Couponing can be a great tool but as you said, you can end up with junk or stuff you don't need. You just have to temper the "coupon high" with common sense. ;) Thanks for stopping by!

  17. And that's the bottom line Ms. Jayda, getting your money's worth! Thanks for stopping by!

  18. Love this post! I think I definitely tend more towards frugal then cheap, but I can think of a few people I'd like to send a link to this to... - SASS

    1. Thanks Ms. Deanna! Glad to know you live the frugal lifestyle as well. :)


Post a Comment

Your turn! Let me know what perfectly practical comments you have.