Are you a smart shopper who wows everyone with your money-saving skills? Or do people secretly resent you for being such a tightwad?
What’s the difference between being frugal and being cheap? Frugality is about getting the best value for your money. Being cheap is spending the least amount of money possible, at any cost. Sometimes the line between the two can be blurry. Sometimes it’s as clear as day!
You might be taking your frugality to an unhealthy extreme if you resort to these cheapskate tactics:
1. Not Wasting Food
Frugal: Bringing leftovers to lunch.
Cheap: Draining your party guests’ unfinished wine for re-use later (I swear I didn’t make that up).
2. Maximizing Free Shipping
Frugal: Taking advantage of free shipping offers.
Cheap: Breaking out online purchases into multiple orders just for the extra cardboard boxes.
3. Saving on Postage
Frugal: Using your bank’s BillPay feature to save on postage.
Cheap: Peeling stamps off incoming mail to reuse.
4. Saving on Kitchenware
Frugal: Going for a boho chic look with mismatched flea market silverware.
Cheap: Re-washing disposable plastic utensils over and over long after they’re warped and broken. (It’s a health and safety issue!)
5. Eating with Friends
Frugal: Taking turns hosting potluck dinners with friends.
Cheap: Splitting restaurant bills with friends, but consistently stiffing everyone on tax and tip. (You think your friends don’t notice. They do.)
6. Eating on Vacations
Frugal: Renting a hotel room with a kitchenette and prepping food to take with you instead of eating out for every meal.
Cheap: Going to every timeshare sales pitch available just for the “free breakfast.” (When you’re on vacation, your time is more valuable than a plate of runny eggs!)
7. Stocking up on Necessities
Frugal: Clipping coupons and buying toilet paper and other toiletries when they’re on sale.
Cheap: Stealing toilet paper and toiletries from work.
8. (Not) Cleaning Your Kitchen
Frugal: Making your own household cleaners.
Cheap: Diluting and re-diluting the same bottle of cleaner whenever it gets low, so you’re basically just cleaning with tap water.
9. Fixing Your Own Clothes
Frugal: Learning to make and mend your own clothing.
Cheap: Duct-taping your shoes when they get holes in them.
10. Saving on “Like New” Electronics
Frugal: Buying refurbished or open-box electronics.
Cheap: Finding broken electronics at yard sales or dumpsters and attempting to return them to stores for a refund (yeah, that’s fraud).
11. Reducing Laundry Costs
Frugal: Line-drying your clothing to save electricity and reduce wear-and-tear on your garments.
Cheap: Adding your clothes to other people’s laundry cycles.
Do you know someone who is an extreme cheapskate? Share your experience in the comments.