I’ll be honest. Cheapness turns me off…whereas frugality turns me on (usually, anyways).
Although you may be reading this and wondering what the heck the difference is, there is a clear distinction between the two traits and characteristics.
What is Frugality?
Wikipedia says that frugality is the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner in order to achieve a longer term goal.
According to Investopedia, people who are frugal can see the value in something that may be more expensive, but is better quality. They know when to pay up for something that is of higher value, and they know when they need to spend a bit more money to get more bang for their buck.
I would say that I am frugal but I am not cheap. I am frugal but am quite generous with my friends and family. Here are some examples of frugality in action:
- Getting a zero annual fee credit card is frugal.
- Buying a Dyson vacuum for $100 is frugal
- Getting a refurbished laser printer is frugal (and good for the environment because you are re-using)
- Going to a clothes swap (or hosting one) is frugal
- Comparison shopping and doing research is considered frugal
- Cutting cable and switching to Netflix
My frugality comes from a need for valuing certain things (like travel) over other things. It stems from me wanting to save my money so that I can spend it on things that I perceive as more value (like paying down mortgage debt or investing or even traveling). This is me wanting to save my money to achieve the longer term goal.
What is Cheapness?
Being cheap, on the other hand, has derogatory connotations associated with it. It implies cunning behaviour to save money at the expense of others well-being. According to Wiktionary, it is akin to being underhanded and dubious. I think of it as disregard and inconsideration of others’ feelings for the personal advancement of your own gain (well, monetary gain, that is!). In addition, it is the drive to save money on anything without any forethought.
Here are some examples of cheapness that I have seen in dates (don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to be a b*tch session, I just wanted to share some of my observations):
- Refusing to park in metered pay parking and instead parking in a neighbouring restaurants parking lot (even though you aren’t going there for a meal and even though it clearly says “parking for restaurant customers only”)
- Going to the bathroom at the end of the 2nd date’s meal (the bill came during the bathroom break leaving the date to pay for the meal)
- Tipping only a little bit (or not even tipping) to servers despite excellent service
- When splitting the bill and an uneven amount of change comes (e.g. $6 in a five dollar bill and in a Loonie), taking the five dollar bill and leaving your date with the Loonie.
- Cheapness is automatically taking the leftovers from a restaurant meal despite your date paying for the meal (without asking if the date who paid for the meal would want to take the leftovers home)
I have to admit, the above examples really turned me off so there wasn’t another date with these people. I think that people who are cheap can be at times, selfish and not considerate of others.
If you’re still unclear about the differences between being frugal an between being cheap, check out this clear and concise article from Yahoo explaining the differences again.
I believe that one can be frugal (e.g. money-wise and not frivolous with money) without being considered or labelled cheap.
Evaluating a person’s ability to manage money, in my opinion, is very important when finding a partner, especially since money issues are the number one reason for divorce. Similar views on money, spending habits, and gift giving is important in order ensure that a relationship will work well in the future.
Readers, have you dated people who are both frugal or cheap?