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7 Ways to be Frugal Without Being Cheap
Life and Style Daily
June 30, 2021
5 min

We all want to be smart about our expenses, but no one wants to look like a cheapskate while doing so. The line between frugality and cheapness is a little thin, but there are many ways you can be frugal without being cheap.

In this article, we will teach you clever ways to save money while not looking like you’re cutting back on expenses. But before that, you have to know the difference between a frugal and a cheap person.

What Is the Difference Between a Frugal vs. Cheap Person?

A cheap person only cares about the monetary cost of anything. They don’t really care if the quality of an item is compromised as long as they pay for the lowest price. Being cheap often comes with the cost of negatively impacting other people’s lives.

A frugal person, on the other hand, is as practical as they are economical. Yes, they check for the lowest prices when purchasing something, but they wouldn’t waste resources or exchange value for the sake of a lower price. Frugal living means assessing your desires and choosing to spend wisely only on things that matter based on your priorities.

What Are the Benefits of Frugal Living?

Frugal living has a lot of benefits. That’s why more and more people are starting to incorporate frugality into their daily lives. Among these are the following:

  • Build up your savings - being smart about spending is the number one way to save enough money that eventually helps you pay debts and build your savings.

  • Help the environment - Frugal living causes you to get rid of items you don’t really need, thus owning fewer possessions. You tend to reduce your waste because you end up buying less products or even traveling less, which helps reduce your carbon footprint on the planet.

  • Allows you to become more self-sufficient - Learning to fix or make things for yourself not only helps you save a couple of bucks but also enables you to live without being too reliant on other people.

The Frugal vs. Cheap Approach

As the cost of living increases, everyone wants to be more practical with their expenses. The following tricks will show you how to stay frugal without looking cheap.

Repairing things at home

What a frugal person does: When the TV breaks, you don’t immediately call for a technician. Instead, you try to assess the situation and know what you can do about it. Maybe it just needs a reset? Perhaps your remote’s battery is depleted, or maybe you just have to adjust the antenna. This works better for gadgets or appliances you know how to repair or if you studied mechanical engineering at school. However, you don’t force yourself to solve a problem you can’t and accordingly call for help as necessary.

What a cheap person does: A cheap person wouldn’t care about how much time they might waste trying to repair appliances by themselves. They’ll be as stubborn as to watch hours long of Youtube tutorials trying to fix their electric fan, for example, and ending up wrecking it beyond repair.

Rethinking your monthly subscriptions

What a frugal person does: For someone trying to live frugally, you know monthly subscriptions are your enemies. Trying to cut out on monthly subscriptions, subscriptions that are either redundant or no longer necessary.

For example, since you notice that you can now watch shows on your phone using Netflix or other online show subscription apps, you might start to consider canceling your cable.

But to still give yourself a little reward for saving up hundreds of bucks, you can upgrade your internet connection to a faster service. After all, you use the internet not only for entertainment but also for work.

What a cheap person does: Basically, cheap people just cut off all their subscriptions and maybe try to use their friend’s accounts without pitching in for the monthly subscription.

Wiser grocery shopping

What a frugal person does: A frugal person waits for supermarket sales and carefully chooses the products they buy. They also try to opt for wet markets instead of going to Target or Walmart since they see the difference in prices.

This doesn’t prevent them from still being meticulous about the quality of everything they buy, such as fruits, vegetables, or meat.

What a cheap person does: It’s very easy just to choose to buy cheap canned goods or instant food when grocery shopping, but at what cost? A cheap person wouldn’t care if they compromise their health for the sake of paying the lowest prices.

Buying second-hand appliances or furniture

What a frugal person does: A frugal person will choose to buy a high-quality item instead of purchasing a low-quality item a lot of times because it keeps on getting broken.

They may also wander on websites such as Craiglist, haggling and negotiating with the sellers for the best items at the best prices.

What a cheap person does: A cheap person, of course, always chooses to buy low-priced items, be it a worn-out, second-hand appliance or furniture, rather than investing in higher-quality items that could last them for more years.

Big purchases

What a frugal person does: When making big purchases such as a car, a frugal person makes sure they get the best deals. They might consult an independent mechanic to inspect a used car before purchase.

Yes, it might need a little refurbishing and repainting, but that’s what your DIY tools are for.

What a cheap person does: If made to choose between used cars, the first one having minor damages but priced a thousand dollars more expensive and another one that can barely be used, which do you think will the cheap person choose?

Leisure or Night outs

What a frugal person does: A thrifty person doesn’t offer to take the tab when they know they can’t afford to pay for all of it, but they still make sure to pay their share.

They also apply creative ways to save up on dine-ins. They opt for a glass of wine instead of a bottle or ask their friends to buy a bottle of wine with them. And when asked, it won’t be because they don’t want to spend a lot but because they just don’t want to drink too much.

What a cheap person does: Imagine a cheap person on vacation, compromising health and safety by checking into dangerously cheap hotels for more affordable rates and food prices.

Do you have a friend who wouldn’t hang out if you don’t pay for their food or cab fare? Will they offer to pay their share of the bill or just not mention it until someone else pays?

Buying at thrift stores

What a frugal person does: Thrift stores are heaven for frugal people. Shops like Goodwill let you enjoy rare finds like gently used books or clothes for discounted prices. A frugal person would use this opportunity and shop most of their personal needs in the store.

What a cheap person does: Cheap people go a little too far when buying in thrift stores. They might even try to buy presents from thrift stores.

Smart Spending

Cutting expenses and careful budgeting don’t have to be so constraining. You can still enjoy life while being practical with money. Discipline goes a long way to reach your financial goals, and living a frugal life takes you a step closer.

Looking for ways to save money? Read ”6 Tips to Reduce Food Waste and Save Money” to learn more.


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