Welcome to City-Data.com Forum!
U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
Old 01-02-2013, 03:26 PM
Location: North Dakota
10,349 posts, read 13,943,865 times
Reputation: 18268


I usually don't post on this forum but I saw one that caught my attention so I think I will visit this one a bit more. Anyway, what do you consider to be the difference between "frugal" and "cheap?" Although I'm sure there is room for improvement, I consider myself to be frugal. I make a decent middle class salary. I don't go out to eat very often and when I do it is to places like Applebee's that are not high-priced. I have DirecTV but I don't get movie channels like HBO, Showtime, or Cinemax. I don't like to go out to the bars and spend money on that. For fun I do outdoor activities like camping and hiking and I like to take small road trips to do these things. I also don't usually go to movies unless it's something I really want to see in a theater. I don't smoke or chew so I'm not spending money on that. I'm not asking for validation on any of this, but I think this is living within my means.

I have relatives who question even spending money on things like this. They act like going to a movie is such an outrageous expense, going to a moderately-priced restaurant is the same as having a lobster dinner, having satellite TV is a huge expense, and since gas is expensive I shouldn't drive anywhere. Essentially it seems that I should live like a monk. I consider them to be very cheap.

What do you think is the difference?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 01-02-2013, 03:45 PM
16,956 posts, read 16,755,587 times
Reputation: 10408
Cheap is: Re-using toilet paper.

Going to the movie theatre, digging out popcorn boxes from the trash and asking for a refill....

Frugal is: Buying toilet paper economy size, with a coupon.

Buying a kids popcorn at the movie (you get a candy and drink for $5 bucks)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 03:50 PM
106,671 posts, read 108,833,673 times
Reputation: 80164
frugal is supposed to represent being efficiant in what you buy. typically it just translates to someone being plain ole cheap as thats how they end up acting as many cross that line from frugal to cheap...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 05:37 PM
524 posts, read 843,773 times
Reputation: 1033
I think frugality leads to cheap and that cheap results in frugality
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 06:18 PM
2,135 posts, read 4,273,726 times
Reputation: 1688
Like all things in life going to the extreme side of things is never good. When it comes to being frugal the extreme side is being cheap. There is a difference in the two. Being frugal is being smart and just thinking about how to make things cheaper. I said cheaper not cheap! Lol

For instance being frugal would be buying the off brand laundry detergent for 1/3 of the price compared to Tide laundry detergent. They will both get the job done, but for one your paying for the premium brand name.

Being cheap would be sitting at the food court of the mall and walking around when people look done eating and ask if they can have their food. That is cheap. I understand they will just end up throwing some of that sbarro pizza away, but going around asking is cheap. Especially if you went to the mall just to try and get free food!

For me frugal does two things for me. Stretching my hard earned money and "getting something out of nothin".

I buy some items we use in bulk because it is cheaper and usually less space. A 10 pound bag of sugar will be cheaper than five 2 pound bags and I just have to worry about 1 bag.

I reuse plastic grocery bags. We have 2 small trashcans upstairs. One for the bathroom and the bedroom. Instead of wasting money on small 3 gallon trashbags we use the plastic grocery bags as a trashcan. I'm getting something( a trashbag) our of nothing( a useless grocery sack). Win win.

I also keep toilet and paper towel rolls when finished. They may seem like usless cardboard, but when I poke holes through both sides and stick timothy hay through them then the two rabbits we have now have a play toy. Again, something out of nothing. I could go on for hours. Lol

I also reuse small sandwhich bags. If I put marshmallows in a bag for lunch at work, why would I throw it away the next day. Their marshmallows...just re use it for chips or marshmallows again!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 06:38 PM
Location: A Nation Possessed
25,733 posts, read 18,809,520 times
Reputation: 22581
I see the two terms as being totally dependent on the attitude of the beholder, not the actions of the "beholdee."

What I mean is this: "frugal" is what you call someone else when you approve of their lifestyle choices in attempting to cut expenses. "Cheap" is what you call them if you do not approve of their lifestyle choices in attempting to cut expenses, or when their lifestyle makes you defensive about yours. Which of course is silly--number one, it's a free country, and secondly, Frugal Fran is not being frugal for your benefit. She's being frugal for her own benefit. Typically, she couldn't care less how you live your life.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 07:23 PM
Location: california
7,321 posts, read 6,926,415 times
Reputation: 9258
I am a survivalist to some degree ,
I bought 50# of rice when it was $13. and have it vacuum packed, with oxygen obsorbers, and stored in 5 gallon buckets , Good for 10 years or more.
I have a number of other food resources as well.
Knowing the dollar is only going to drop in value I carefully use my money to prep for the future including learning to garden and do aquaponics ,as well as other permaculture skills.
Being forced into retirement this has paid off big time for me so the econemy can do what ever it is going to do , I am fairly prepred .
In the future the dollar isn't going to buy much , so no matter how much money you got, it won't buy the food others have put away when the store shelve are empty.
Just ask how well it went for the folks on long island and new orleans.
I have endured many a long winter in deep snow and few resources ,so it is in my mind common sense best not to ASSUME no matter where you live ,that things can't go wrong.
We are in a day and age that both natural an socal forces are causing problems world wide.
Doing nothing and depending on the govenment to step in, is just plain stupid .
I meet folk that are numb to the events of bad weather back east ,they simply don't care it isn't happening to them .
Those folks I have no interest in helping when things go bad here . they are USERS.
They are the CHEAP skate relying on government hand outs in stead of taking reaponsibility for them selves.

Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 07:53 PM
Location: USA
7,776 posts, read 12,443,357 times
Reputation: 11812
There's a book, The Millionaire Next Door, which, IIRC, tells about living below one's means, having no desire or need to live a more showey life. No millionaire me, but, my mom taught me to be frugal so when I really wanted something, I could get it. That's how I have lived most of my life. One of my goals has been to have enough put aside for when I'm old, so as not to have to be extremely careful with spending. Well aware Social Security was only to be an addition to regular retirement.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-02-2013, 09:09 PM
4,130 posts, read 4,461,152 times
Reputation: 3041
Frugal takes into account time value of money, cheap doesn't. It is hard to really point out the difference to some people.

Frugal is doing something that saves you money in comparison to what you make. It is doing an activity (mowing the lawn, cooking at home, even making beer) where you can save money without sacrificing other opportunities. Cheap is doing something where you are pinching pennies to the point where you are sacrificing higher paid activities to save money. Such as spending time doing something when you could be, or learning to, earn more money just to save money.

I consider myself frugal. I make meals at home, even to the point of making my own beer/wine at home, not only because it saves money but because I enjoy it. If some one can do it better, and more cost efficiently, I let them. So I change my own oil, but major repairs I let a trusted mechanic do it.

Cheap I see as doing everything in the most money saving way, but not the most efficient way possible. Such as I can change my own oil, it's not hard with my car. However, I have a good friend who does everything themselves. They have spent more time doing car work, and often times paying some one else to fix their own mistakes, then I care to think of. It's saving money vs. using money efficiently.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 01-03-2013, 08:39 AM
Location: MO->MI->CA->TX->MA
7,032 posts, read 14,483,506 times
Reputation: 5580
Cheap: You go out of your way to save pennies, often without regard to the long term consequences.

Frugal: You efficiently cut your spending while maintaining your standard of living.

To go from "cheap" to "frugal", I suggest you apply the 80/20 rule to your personal finances.

Pareto principle - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Economics > Frugal Living

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2024, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top