What’s the difference between being frugal and being cheap? Surprisingly, when I asked my friends about this, most of them have various definitions and only a handful knows the correct boundary which separates the two. Furthermore, when I presented them with several situations and asked their opinion if the example was frugal or cheap. Many of them argued in different points.
What does this mean? Personally, I believe that one of the main reasons why most people don’t practice frugality is because they fear that their friends will label them as cheap, stingy or a tightwad. Our local language is likewise rich with these negatives such as kuripot, tiyane and maramot. Now who would want to be called that?
So what’s the difference between being frugal (matipid) and being cheap (kuripot)?
In a nutshell, cheap people measure things in terms of its price cost while frugal people measure them in terms of its value for the money. Cheap people will simply buy the cheapest item on the grocery shelf but frugal people will study and compare products and buy the most economical item.
Cheap people are inconsiderate about other people but frugal people always take into account if their thrifty habits will affect others negatively. Cheap people are unreasonable when haggling and believe that they deserve the lowest price possible, but frugal people, although usually as assertive as cheap people when asking for a discount, will never become rude and understand that they don’t deserve that special deal all the time.
I could go on and on about this but I think I’ll just stop now and let the picture above speak about the importance of frugality. Taken from the Ladora Savings Bank in Iowa which closed during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, it states, “Frugality is the parent of fortune.”
Lastly, I’d like to share to you these five situations which I gave my friends to test their mindset. You decide if the person is being frugal or being cheap. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks.
- Josef and Nicole went on a date and dined in a restaurant. After their meal, Josef paid for the dinner and left no tip, he reasons to himself that the bill already included a service charge anyway. Is Josef being frugal or being cheap?
- Dingdong paid Marian a surprise visit in his condominium. Marian offers him a cold glass of water and prepares some pizza leftovers from last night as their snacks while they hangout for a while in her place. Did Marian just became cheap with what she did?
- Gabby and Sharon received a wedding present that they didn’t particularly like. They carefully stored the item and decided to use and regift it someday when someone they know gets married. Did the couple do the right thing?
- Piolo needs to buy a new pair of running shoes because the old ones are already worn out due to regular use. After looking around the mall, he found two pairs that fits and feels right for him. The first one is a bargain deal but the color and the design doesn’t appeal to him, while the second one is an expensive pair but he really loves the style and how it looks. What would be the frugal choice for Piolo?
- John Lloyd styles and cuts his own hair to save on salon and barbershop expenses. Although most of his friends think that he’s not doing a good job at cutting his own hair, he personally believes that his work is not at all bad. “Saving money is more important than looking great”, he argues. What do you think? Is John Lloyd making himself look cheap?
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Photo courtesy of ssnha