Frugal vs Cheap

Don’t cross the line from frugality to cheapness.

It’s great to be frugal and watch your spending and save a buck.

It’s not so great to be a cheapskate aka a miser.

What is the difference?

From dictionary.com

FRUGAL-

Economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful:

What your office needs is a frugal manager who can save you money without resorting to painful cutbacks.

Synonyms: thrifty, chary, provident, careful, prudent, penny-wise, scrimping; miserly, Scotch, penny-pinching.

Antonyms: wasteful, extravagant, spendthrift, prodigal, profligate.

Miser-

A person who lives in wretched circumstances in order to save and hoard money.

Synonyms: skinflint, tightwad, pinchpenny.

At a restaurant a frugal person skips the expensive cocktail or appetizer. A cheap person stiffs the waitress on her tip.

A frugal person buys quality running shoes on sale. A cheap person buys cheap knock-offs and ruins their feet.

I readily admit that I struggle with this. I am hyper-anxious to save every dollar I possibly can. Mainly for security (emergency fund) and funding our retirement accounts (financial freedom).

But there is a fine line between frugal and cheap. Lots of times in the past I would slide down the slippery slope from frugality into cheapdom. Instead of spending an extra $20 on a name brand ceiling fan that will be around longer than I will, I’d instead buy a Walmart one and have to replace it again in 5 years.

Last month our dryer went to appliance heaven. I resisted the urge to buy the cheapest model I could find. So I went on Home Depot, Lowes and Sears websites and read the reviews of name brand dryers in my price range. I picked the one that had the best reviews in that price range. I didn’t get a no-name dryer and I didn’t get a “top of the line” one with 42 different heat settings (what is the difference between Fluff, Fluffier and Extra Fluffy?). The one we purchased has large drum capacity (can hold enough jeans to to start a Grease revival) and only 3 heat settings…High, Delicate and No Hear. But that meets our needs. We do 30-35 loads of wash a week and a lot of that goes into the dryer. Some gets hung on the clothesline during good weather, but not all. And on bad weather days the dryer is running a lot. All we need in a dryer is for it the Dry and Run Strong.

Whaaaat?

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