What is it? Its a kitchen cutting board. CORRECTION, its 1/2 of a USED cutting board and it was my 1999 housewarming gift from my sister. But wait, there is a novelty to this priceless gift. I was given this half and she owns the other half, 2 halves makes a whole - giving this gift "value" in her eyes. Now how do you define my sister? Is she cheap or is she frugal?
Well, I guess it all depends on who she is, her history in spending on herself and on others and her current economic status. If my sister was unemployed, on welfare or struggling day-to-day, I would probably see this gift for the value it represent when given to me. She would be considered frugal. But what if I say my sister is a millionaire and she gave me this gift? She is cheap with a capital C!
So, lets educate ourselves and compare cheap vs. frugal:
Everybody knows a cheap person, and probably hates them. But I think we often mislabel frugal people cheap. These are just my opinions, but here’s what I think differentiates the two:
Cheap people care about the cost of something.
Frugal people care about the value of something.
Cheap people try to get the lowest price on everything.
Frugal people try to get the lowest price on most things, but spend a lot on items they really care about.
Cheap people are inconsiderate. For example, when getting a meal with other people, if their food costs $7.95, they’ll put in $8.00, knowing very well that tax and tip mean it’s closer to $11.
Frugal people won’t order a Coke if they’re on a budget, so that when the bill comes, they don’t look cheap.
Yes, being cheap and/or frugal can be a cultural quality. I won’t spend much more time on this one.
Cheap people keep a running tally with their friends, family, and co-workers. Some frugal people do this, too, but certainly not all.
Because of the fear of even one person suggesting they spent too much on something, cheap people are not always honest about what they spent on something. Neither are frugal people.
Cheap people are unreasonable and cannot understand why they can’t get something for free. Sometimes this is an act, but sometimes it’s not.
Frugal people will try as hard as cheap people to get a deal, but they understand that it’s a dance and, in the end, they don’t intrinsically deserve a special deal.
Cheap people’s cheapness affects those around them. Frugal people’s frugality affects themselves. Link
I also want to add most Cheap people will claim they are frugal. Its a euphemism they will say to describe themselves and to rationalize their lack of generosity and complete stinginess.
Cheap people will not donate money. If they do give to charity, its not enough cash to feed a party of 2 at a Dennys or an IHOP. And of course they will want a receipt for their tax deduction.
Cheap people will not buy flowers nor wine when they are invited to a guest's home for dinner. They bring items that was not purchased - a cut flower from their yard, a small repotted plant, vegetables from their garden, a used newspaper or magazine article that they know would be an interest to the host, etc.
Cheap people are set on a fixed price. Cannot and will not go over that price when buying a gift for someone - even for someone special to them.
Cheap people will rationalize their cheap gift has value - and always equivalent to your $100 gift you got for them.
Cheap people will never share any of their windfalls or fortunes with anyone, not even their own families.
Cheap people are usually very greedy.
Those who defined themselves as frugal are actually 'cheap' to themselves. It is a quality of meagerness and thriftiness. Withholding luxury and being prudent to oneself. But when this quality is applied to others - you have crossed over to cheap.
My cousin gave me this best example: during the winter, a frugal person will not turn up the heat when she is alone in the house. She is conservative and happy bundled in layers. But if that same person will not turn up the heat when she has guests, she is cheap!
When one lives a life of cheapness, its a very ugly and undesirable trait and friends/family will slowly depart away.
I can now see why my sister has always been single most of her entire life (she is a spinster with cats).