What’s The Difference Between Frugal and Cheap?

What’s The Difference Between Frugal and Cheap?
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We have all heard the terms “cheap” and “frugal” be used interchangeably.  If someone doesn’t want to spend money on an expensive item or service, they might be referred to as cheap or frugal.  Both words have some similar meanings because each type of person cares very much about saving money.  The difference comes with why the person wants to save money.  A cheap person wants to save money for the sake of saving money and doesn’t put more thought into it than that.  A frugal person takes more time to think about how they can save money by weighing the choices carefully.

Price vs. Value

When someone is cheap, all they are thinking about is the price of something.  It doesn’t matter how valuable a product or service might be to them.  All they want is the most inexpensive deal on whatever transaction they are considering.  They are not happy unless they have saved as much money on the deal as possible.  On the other hand, a frugal person cares more about the value of something than the price of something.  They will assess the products or services in front of them and then make the most economical choice that will give them the most value.  Frugal people won’t mind spending a little more money to get that value.  They just won’t spend money on things that give them no value.

Quantity vs. Quality

Cheap people do not care about purchasing a quality product or service.  They will purchase the cheapest product or service available if it means they saved the most money.  Frugal people will have a plan on what they want to purchase.  If they don’t have enough money for it now, they will save their money and not spend it on anything else.  Then, when they saved up enough money, they will purchase what they want.  You could say that people who save money for a car or house are frugal, while someone who searches for the lowest priced cars and houses is cheap.

Kindness vs. Selfishness

The reason cheap people are so detested is that they will continue to be cheap even at the expense of other people.  For example, if a cheap person goes out to a restaurant, they won’t want to leave a big tip or any tip at all.  What’s the point? Tips are not mandatory so if they can save money then they will do so.  Frugal people would never think like this.  If a frugal person goes out to a restaurant, then they have already budgeted for how much they are going to spend.  Therefore, they will choose their food carefully so they will have enough money to leave a tip for the waiter or waitress.

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