When you are smart with your money, and you are living a frugal lifestyle, you will inevitably come across people who criticize you. While most of it comes from jealousy on their part, they are ashamed that they do not have the self-control to live frugally; their words still have an impact. Some people simply do not understand the difference between being stingy or cheap, and being frugal or thrifty. There can be a fine line between the two, but much of it boils down to how you view yourself.
Before we look at the differences between a stingy and a frugal person, let me explain what led up to this thought process. A few years ago, a local brewery would have $4 all you can drink on Wednesday nights starting at 8pm. Some friends and I would gather at the old watering hole, and enjoy a couple beers while catching up. I almost always ate before I went out, mostly because I didn’t like waiting that long to eat dinner, but also I would rather eat at home where I could get the same food for less. Almost every time I would be called cheap, stingy, or a miser because I didn’t order anything but my beer. And when the check came, their bill was 4 times as much as mine. Was I being stingy? Or was I making a better choice by not spending money eating out?
The key difference between being stingy and frugal living is greed. What are the motives behind not spending your money?
A stingy person is often greedy. They have plenty of money, but they would rather spend it on themselves. They rarely donate to causes, they do not offer to pick up the tab, and if they are going to go out of their way it better benefit them somehow. The cheap person in the group will complain about splitting the bill evenly because their meal was $2 less than everyone else’s. The miser will shun the idea that something they spend will benefit more than just them. They weigh each decision carefully to make sure they are not spending too much.
Did you catch the difference? Being greedy because you don’t want to spend on anyone but yourself as opposed to being wise and getting the best deal? From the outside perspective, the line between the two can blur easily. The deciding factor is your motives. You decide if you are a stingy person or a frugal person, and you adjust your attitude appropriately. Now sometimes you do have to be stingy; you have to take care of yourself first. But when you start to make this a habit, you start to alienate yourself from others. Instead of regularly being a miser, practice abundant thinking. And ignore the haters that can’t budget properly and get after you for not ordering food when your original intent was to just get out and have a beer.
What areas of your life do people mistake your frugality for stinginess? How can this apply to giving time as well as spending money?
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