Be Frugal Withoug Being Cheap
Are you frugal or are you cheap? If you love to save money like me, you may have asked yourself this at some point.
Many of us do not want to be viewed as being cheap, and at times there is a fine line between being cheap and being frugal.
In fact, the other day I was watching an episode of Extreme Cheapskates. Although intriguing, I couldn’t wrap my head around the millionaire featured on the show using a bucket to pee in instead of flushing her toilet. I think the name of the show, gives away the answer to whether the woman was cheap or frugal, but I leave that for you to decide.
However, it is actually possible to be frugal without being cheap. Yes, you can save money without friends and family viewing you as a cheapskate.
At this point, you may be asking yourself if this is true? But to get your answer, you must look at the definition of what it means to be frugal.
What it means to be frugal
Frugal means you are willing to do the work to save money; however, you are not willing to waste time or go without modern-day comforts to save a few dollars. Many people are frugal because they want a better future and saving money now will allow for a better life later.
Frugal people spend money, especially if they are buying something that is quality and will stand the test of time.
As a frugal person, you are willing to make small sacrifices now to help you live better and get out of debt.
If you live frugally, you cut things from your budget, but these small frugal cuts don’t affect the others around you.
Perhaps, you give up your $ 4-morning coffee and invest that $20-28 savings per week to help build wealth. This small cut does not affect anyone else but helps you in the long run.
However, if you are cheap, you will find a way to get out of paying for things. For example, the cheapskate skips out on leaving his or her waitress a tip. Also, if one is cheap, he or she will try to pay the least amount for everything, without paying attention to quality.
How to Live a Frugal Lifestyle
If you are willing to do the work, you can live a frugal lifestyle. Start small and find ways you can cut things from your budget.
Start a spending journal and after two weeks, find things you can cut that you won’t miss.
If you are paying for a subscription service you no longer use, this is something that can go. This is the frugal thing to do.
Make necessary cuts and start building an emergency fund, paying off debt, and saving for retirement with your extra money.
You can live frugally as a beginner and slowly start to add money-saving tactics to your frugal plan.
Is Living Frugally Worth It or only for Cheapskates?
I find frugal living is worth it. With frugal living, my husband and I have managed to pay off over $100,000 worth of debt and student loans and we are on our way to paying off our mortgage this year.
We are able to take 2-3 vacations per year and live a life we love!
We choose frugal activities such as free beaches and bike rides over driving a fancy car, but we also went to Cabo San Lucas and drove the coast of California last summer using the money we save and our budget travel tips.
Frugal living is definitely life-changing for us, but being cheap is something we try to avoid. We still like the comforts of life and find ways to save, but also continue live a life we love.
Here are some ways you can be frugal without being cheap:
#1 Trim your budget
It is time to Trim your bills the frugal way. Trim is an app that helps you find ways to save. Trim does the work for you so you don’t have to work as hard. You can find out more about Trim here.
You can begin to Trim your bills by negotiating and getting rid of things you don’t use. If you don’t watch much television, you can cut the cable and opt for a cheaper service such as Hulu or Netflix.
The average cable bill is over $100 today, while Hulu is only $5.99 per month. That is a savings of roughly $94 per month. That is a life-changing savings hack!
#2 Don’t skimp on gifts
If you have a family you really love, you don’t want to be cheap when it comes to gifts. However, you can still save money by buying things ahead of time and not waiting until the last minute where you will most definitely pay more money.
#3 Invest the frugal way with Acorns
Although you may be a frugal living beginner, it is still possible to invest. Have you heard of Acorns? It is the new frugal way to start investing and building wealth. With Acorns, you simply invest your spare change. For example, if you buy a cup of coffee for $2.51, the “change” of $0.49 is invested in the acorns app. Although it doesn’t seem like much, it is better than nothing and of course, you can always add extra money to your acorns account. Click here to sign up and start investing the frugal way today!
#4 Pick up the check
If you go out with friends often and they treat you, then at some point you will want to treat them back.
However, if you eat out remember to tip and order water. If you like to drink have one glass of wine instead of a bottle. Suggest going out for a happy hour where the food is cheaper.
These frugal hacks will help you save money on eating out with friends, but you will not look cheap when you are able to pick up the check for people you care about.
#5 Cook at home
One of my favorite frugal tips is to eat at home and use meal planning.
Meal planning is my favorite way to save money because it also saves me time and stress. I am a planner and I like to know I have what I need to make dinner for my hubby and kids each night.
I don’t want the temptation of ordering out – although we do treat ourselves at least every other week with our favorite pizza.
#6 Buy used
Buying used is great for yourself, but do not buy used for others.
If you are looking for furniture, you can check Facebook Market place.
It is frugal to buy a good used car, instead of buying a brand new car.
You can also shop thrift shops for designer brands and like-new clothing on sites such an eBay and Poshmark.
Yet, don’t buy second hand for others for a gift, unless it is something they specifically wanted.
#7 Experiences over stuff
Instead of wasting money on a bunch of stuff you will never use, opt for travel and experiences.
My husband and I love to travel and we usually take our kids.
We would rather take a vacation to Mexico, Hawaii, London, or Paris (just a few places we have been), then have a new iPhone or a huge house.
The key is to live within your means and save your extra money to do the things you love. Also, when you get a raise continue to live as you were and don’t fall victim to lifestyle creep.
#8 Be more minimal
Living a minimal lifestyle can help you with your frugal living journey. If you are looking to live a more minimal lifestyle, try selling some of your old things, and make money. Use that money for your travel or vacation fund. Learn to live with less. Keep only the items that truly bring your joy.
Being minimal is not considered as being cheap. With minimalism, you learn to only hold on to things that truly bring you job and get rid of clutter that can drag not only you but your budget down.
#9 Stay within your budget and be honest
Living below your means is a huge part of being frugal, yet life happens. You will have friends wanting to go out or do things that may be out of your budget. It is best to be honest about your money situation. You can suggest hosting a “night in” and invite your friends over for a potluck or pizza to save money.
It is possible to still entertain and hang out with your favorite friends and still be frugal. It is not cheap, to be honest with friends and family about your money situation.
However, I do not believe in never doing anything because of money. You can find free or frugal activities to get out of the house and still have fun. We love going to local free concerts in our city.
#10 Wait for sales
Frugal people have patience when it comes to making purchases and can wait for sales.
It is cheap to never buy anything, but waiting for sales is the frugal thing to do. If you want to save money and put extra money in your bank account, you can do just that by waiting for sales. Check your store’s sales cycle and plan your shopping accordingly.
If you find something you really like, wait a few weeks and see if you still want the item, or if it has gone on sale before buying. Patience is your frugal friend.
#11 Tip well
Leaving little to no tip is considered cheap. If you choose to go out to eath, you can use these frugal tips to save on eating out, but still make sure to leave a tip. Anywhere from 15-20% is considered reasonable, and I tend to round up to 20% when I leave a tip.
Just make sure to factor in a tip, when you make a budget for your dinner out. Don’t forget, if you decide to do happy hour prices, you should still tip on the full price of the item.
#12 Plan ahead
If you are going on a trip or going out with friends, set a budget for yourself, and plan ahead. It is okay to look at the menu and have a good idea of how much your night out will cost so you can plan accordingly.
#13 Handle Your Money
Making sure you know where your money is going is part of the frugal living journey. In fact, frugal people are very intentional with their money.
I find the easiest way to keep track is to find a program that is a one-stop-shop. That is why I recommend Personal Capital to help you keep track of your budget and investments. It is free to sign up and you can learn more here:
Be Frugal Without Being Cheap Conclusion
It is possible to be frugal without being cheap. In fact, being frugal is not synonymous with being cheap. You can save money and still live life. Being cheap only hurts you in the long run. Yet, frugal living is a means to a better life.
Related Frugal Living Post:
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Frugal Living in 2020
25 Smart Ways to Be More Frugal
21 Things We Stopped Buying to Skyrocket Our Savings
10 Benefits of Living Below Your Means