Cheap Versus Frugal

The last thing I think any of us would want to be thought of is “cheap.”

But being cheap is different from being frugal.

Being frugal means being aware of the value of money, and how you spend it to maximize that value. It is getting the most bang for your buck, and is an admirable quality. It reflects qualities of responsibility, intelligence, and self-awareness.

Meanwhile, being cheap is simply spending as little as possible.

Frugal people have their eye on the big picture, while cheap people don’t.

A cheap person is the type who will skimp on leaving a tip, while a frugal person is the type who might opt for a BYOB restaurant to reduce the cost.

The difference is that the behavior of a cheap person violates social norms and has the capacity to ostracize others.

There is a fine line between the two camps.

Bringing in hostess to a team meeting is a less expensive option than fresh fruit — but is that being frugal or cheap?

I would say it’s being cheap, because you are sacrificing the well being of the team to save a buck. At least, that’s how I would feel for my professional team at work.

It depends, though. For a different group, it may not matter.

The bottom line in my mind, is whether you are more “sacrificing” or more “saving.”

There’s nothing wrong with saving money — but not if it comes at the sacrifice of those around you or your own well being.



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