Frugality: A Fine Line
It’s a fine line, but being on the wrong side of the line can have dire consequences. Living a frugal lifestyle is a goal for many, and has been a goal of mine for a long time. However crossing the line from “frugal” to “cheap” effects more than just you.
Being Cheap Effects Those Around You
Cheap individuals put money before people. For example, if a friend wants to go out and grab lunch, catch a movie, or drinks on the weekend, a cheap person will avoid spending money at all costs.
“We can just eat here” or “let’s just rent a movie and watch it at my place.” Putting an emphasis on not spending money can put straights on relationships and watch friends turn to acquaintances.
Money alone doesn’t buy happiness
Choosing money over experiences is one of the most difficult things for me to handle. Saving money is important and something I am passionate about. However, experiences are just as important.
Money alone doesn’t buy happiness. It can, however, bring joy. Many times this is through experiences, particularly with friends and family.
Being Cheap Effects More Than Personal Finance
I once had a friend who would plan his meals around whatever was the cheapest. He would be eating dollar pizzas every night for dinner.
He was focusing on the “right now” problem with money, not the long game. The long game involves his health. What is eating that quality of food doing to you in the long run?
It’s not just in a person’s diet. It can also be the goods and services they buy (or don’t buy).
Take for example the shoes you wear: if you are on your feet all day a frugal person would know that it is worth the extra money to buy high-quality shoes.
A cheap person would simply take the option that costs the least. They are again looking at the short-term problem.
Buying high quality doesn’t necessarily mean expensive. While a cheap person would dismiss an item due to cost, a frugal person knows there are other options.
Sales: Be Frugal!
Watching for sales or buying used goods are great ways to avoid high price tags, but still take home quality.
A great tip, especially with shoes and clothes, is to look for last years style. Simply buying “out of date” items is a great way to save! Just because an item is on clearance doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it.
Quality of Life
Like anything else in life, there is a balance between cheapness and frugality. One person’s approach won’t work for another. Take the time to ask the question is saving a few dollars worth the time investment.
When taking an Uber does it make sense to wait 15 minutes for the surge pricing to go from 1.2 down to 1? Is driving the extra 10 minutes to save 6 cents on a gallon of gas worth it? (pro tip: this one isn’t).
Have you ever had an experience where you realized you crossed the line? We’ve all been there.