Frugal vs Cheap, Does it Really Matter?

Frugal vs cheap, does it really matter which you are?

Are you frugal or are you cheap? It’s sometimes hard to know and maybe you’re a little of both. You want to save money but is it costing you more? Let’s talk about it and see when is the right time to be frugal and when it might be good to be cheap.

Piggy banks with money for the podcast frugal vs cheap.

Frugal vs Cheap

Being careful with money is a good trait to have. But can it be taken too far and end up costing you more in the long run? That’s what I’m chatting about in this podcast. Have a listen and see when it’s best to be frugal and when to be cheap.

Show Notes and body of podcast…

These are the cliff notes version of the podcast If you want to hear of a few examples where cheapness bit me and when being frugal paid off be sure to listen to the podcast. If you want the basic concept of the podcast keep on reading…

Let’s start out by defining what frugal, thrifty and cheap really are…

What’s Frugal or Thrifty?

When you are thrifty or frugal, you try to use your money and other resources carefully. You are careful not to waste them.

Most people would say using the word thrifty or frugal to describe themselves is a good thing.

Frugal can also mean simple or plain, nothing fancy just the basics to make it function.

What’s Cheap?

We often associate cheap with negative emotions. I envision someone is stingy with their money. Always wanting to get something for less than it’s actually worth.

Or cheap can be an inexpensive product because it’s not as good of quality.

money displayed on a table to show frugal vs cheap.

Are you Cheap or Frugal? Does it Really Matter?

I think many people use cheap or frugal interchangeably. But I see them differently.

You can be a frugal person and buy an expensive appliance because you know it will last 3 times as long and in the long run it will cost you less money.

You can be a cheap person and buy items at their cheapest lowest price to save money and most of the time this will work out great. But if it’s an item you need to last, being cheap could be problems.

The Problem with Being Cheap All the Time

There is nothing wrong with being cheap on items that need not last. I buy cheap paper plates. Why, because we will use them once and throw them out. They might bend a little or leak a little but they get the job done.

The same goes for many paper products or other one time use products. If they will be used and thrown out, then saving money on these items usually works out well.

But when you cheap out on products you need to last it could cost you more.

When Being Frugal but Not Cheap Can Pay Off

You can be frugal when buying expensive or big-ticket items. Taking a little time to ask around, read reviews can help you get a high-quality product and get the best price too.

First, you need to do research.

Ask others about the product you’ll be buying and see why they use or brand they like. How well it’s preformed and any problems they’ve had. Most people will share if you ask.

Look Over Reviews

Read reviews and see what others are saying about the product you are buying. People are always more apt to leave a bad review than a good one but it will give you an idea of how well the product is built and the quality too.

Read an Unbiased Review Publication

On big-ticket items like appliances I almost always pay for a month’s access to consumer reports and check the review.

But you might access Consumer Reports through your library for free be sure to check for the issue you need first.

Piggy banks in a basket for How frugal vs cheap can cost you more

Have the Best of Both Worlds

You can be a cheap and a frugal person, in fact I recommend it.

I say cheap out on one time use items when you need them. Get less expensive or thrift store clothes when you can. And use your cheapness on items you don’t need to last all that long.

Use your frugal side when you are looking to buy items you really need to last. Or items you want to last to avoid the cost of replacing them.

So in the debate for frugal vs cheap, I say why not be both? It can save you the most money.

What do you buy cheap and what kind of purchases are you frugal about? Leave me a comment below.

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