Frugal or Cheap: Test Your Mindset


This article is posted under Mindsetting, Money Saving Tips, Personal Finance.

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.

frugality Frugal or Cheap: Test Your Mindset

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. icon smile Frugal or Cheap: Test Your Mindset

  • 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

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People are talking about this article, join the conversation below.

  1. OFF TOPIC: Hey Fitz, it certainly would be nice to meet you the next time around. I’m headed home back to the US. Until next time!

  2. Hi reynz. Yup, no problem. I’m sure there will be next time. Have a safe trip and thanks for dropping by.

  3. Pwede pa yan Reyns me bukas pa naman hehehe.

  4. that’s henry sy’s motto. “Practice Frugality”

  5. Hi snoob. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why Henry Sy is rich, because he’s frugal. :D

  6. Sakto. I completely agree that frugality is best value for money, not just price comparisons alone. Just because something is the cheapest, it doesn’t mean I settle on that product if it doesn’t work as well as I hoped it would.

    As for your scenarios, parang interesting sagutin, so here goes:

    a) I guess it would depend on Josef’s financial situation and the quality of service they got. If he saved up for months to afford that restaurant meal as a ‘gift’ for Nicole, he should’ve factored in the tip – if the service was good. If the service was crap and may service charge naman, I wouldn’t be bothered. Malaki yung naitutulong ng tips sa waiters/waitresses, since they get peanuts for pay. But like any service oriented job, I wouldn’t give them “extra” if they were rude or didn’t deserve it.

    b) No that’s not cheap at all – unless the pizza was already bad. Pero dahil overnight lang naman, it would probably still be good if it was stored properly.

    c) Yes, nakakainsulto ibalik yung gift sa giver, and sayang din naman yung gift kung di rin naman nila gagamitin pero magagamit pa naman ng iba.

    d) Well, if I were in that position, I probably would’ve chosen the more expensive shoes, kung kaunti lang yung difference. Kasi it’d be something I’d like 100%. If there’s a huge difference, I’d shop around for another pair. Bihira naman na dalawa lang choices mo eh.

    e) If he really cuts his hair bad and it shows, susmaryosep P30 to P45 lang ang barbershop.

  7. Hi Frugal Pinoy, thanks for sharing your views on the five scenarios. I agree with everything you said. I commend you for fully understanding the subtle differences of being frugal and being cheap. I hope that more Pinoys will be as informative as you when it comes to personal finance. :)

  8. does this mean I’m cheap? haha. I thought (kuripot) means stingy

  9. hmmm… this is a very interesting blog… here’s my comments.
    * i think josef is frugal. if service charge is alread included and the food is really not that great why give extra tip then.
    * marian is cheap. feed your guest leftovers and water? it’s either she thinks less of dingdong or she’s cheap.
    * gabby and sharon is frugal. as long as they don’t give the gift to the same person who gave it to them. hehehe… that’s what i did with the gifts i received that i have no use of in my life.
    * a frugal choice for piolo is the one with a bargain deal. he’s going to wear out the running shoes in no time. why spend more if you need to buy another one in a few months or so. unless, the expensive pair can lost longer than the cheaper one. then i’d buy the expensive pair.
    * john lloyd is definitely cheap. looking good is one factor in increasing one’s self esteem. one does not get haircuts every day, week or month right? what he should have done is find a salon that charges low but gives great haircut and let them cut his hair.

  10. Good Post here. This is my third reading from your posts.

    I will visit here always because although I wrote some articles that are almost the same that you have here, you write them very well than mine.

    Earn and Invest Money

  11. 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?

    This is Frugal, because you cannot judge the book by its cover.
    At the same time he trust and like himself of what he is doing.
    Opinion are the cheapest commodity here on earth. Anyway in not about the hair its about the character of the person.

  12. i like this blog…i think i am a frugal person…hehehee!!my mom said i am a kuripot but its not true….

  13. I am certified FRUGAL hehehe!

  14. In the case of Piolo, I think the frugal thing to do is buy what is economical but functional. Anyway, if it’s Piolo wearing the running shoes, people will think its expensive. I know of wealthy friends who buy and wear casual, running shoes that are not original, yet everyone think he wears the branded one. Frugality is one habit we, Filipinos, must have to gain financial freedom and live a debt-free life. Thanks for the blog. Blessings!

  15. frugal
    cheap
    cheap
    frugal
    cheap

  16. John Lloyd is frugal since he’s a celebrity anu bang malay ng crowd na yun ang trend nya sa hairdos=) nasa pag dadala naman yun,,kung 200 ang hair cut a month within a year may 2400 na xa na saved..I do the same thing,,advantage din sa gal kasi no need ng mag pa salon makuha mu lang ang proper technique sa self cut..=)

    Thanks and God Bless this site updated aku lage sa mga bagung info..thanks puh=)

  17. a) Josef is being cheap AND rude. Tips don’t go to the restaurants, they go to the waitstaff, and every little counts. However, as with any service-oriented profession, they need to earn the tip. Dios mio, ano ba naman ang P20 to show appreciation?

    b) I would say Marian is being frugal here because there is nothing wrong with water and leftovers (And I personally love pizza). I think the key here is what Marian had in her kitchen in the first place. If that were me, I’d have juice sachets and some nibblers for “emergencies”.

    c) Frugal, definitely. I’ve done this a couple of times, and I see nothing wrong with this.

    d) I’d choose neither shoe. I’ll find a shoe that conforms to my budget.

    e) John Lloyd is an idiot. And he’s horribly cheap.

  18. 1.josef is being cheap.common knowledge dictates that we give tips for a good service rendered however i feel that regardless of the service we give tip as a simple way of sharing our blessings.if the service or food is bad huwag na lang ako bumalik.

    2.marian is frugal and practical.water is the best thirst quencher.it’s healthy,water has no sugar,no industrial era fat(corn,canola,soya,rapeseed oil),no hydrogenated fat,no food coloring. leftover pizza is alright.its taste and appeal can be improved with available ingredients around like cheese,some veggies like bell peppers,white onions,or leftover meat.

    3.gabby and sharon did the right thing.recycling is frugal and practical.

    4.if i am piolo i would go for the bargain pair of shoes.besides it fits well and it’s equally comfortable.i value a peaceful mind,knowing that my savings is growing over how great my pair of shoes look but deep in debt.

    5.john lloyd is cheap.haircut is better left to the professionals specially if you’re not good at doing it.and also to help sustain jobs for the barbers and hairstlyists.


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