It seems like the frugality fad has been sweeping parts of the nation over the last couple of years but I’m beginning to wonder if we’re all just becoming cheap.
You have all of the DIY projects like making a headboard out of plywood, there are the extreme couponers, and there are even TV shows dedicated to people trading items in hopes of trading up to something “cool” (all without spending a dime).
After seeing all of this madness, I can’t help but think we’ve gone too far.
The reason I’m writing about this is because I had a silly thought after spending a couple of dollars on a breakfast a few weeks back.
I joined a friend for some food, caught up on things, and thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with him. However, all I thought about for 5 minutes after the meal was how that $12 could have bought me breakfast (cooked at home) for the whole week!
I know…I told you it was silly. I was just being cheap!
While reality for some families dictate that they must be cheap in order to make ends-meet, there are many of us that look to save money by being “frugal” while in reality, you’re just being cheap.
I’m an advocate for saving money, being responsible, and investing so that you can retire comfortably, however there is a fine line between being frugal and being cheap.
1. You look for the free iTunes song as soon as you enter Starbucks. Guilty.
2. You are an extreme couponer.
I’m sorry to all of my coupon fans out there, but unless you HAVE to do this, you’re just being cheap. There is absolutely NO REASON to stock up on 15 sticks of toothpaste and have enough toilet paper to wipe the entire army’s posterior.
3. You don’t have internet and/or texting on your cell phone. Guilty.
Now, I realize that internet plans through the MAJOR carriers are expensive, however there are other offers out there that make it affordable.
A company called Page Plus Cellular offers a plan with unlimited minutes, unlimited text, and 100 MB of data for $39.95 month! I freaking pay more for my talk/text plan at Sprint! However, I think I’m doing right in the name of frugality (because I’m saving money by not getting the internet) but in reality I’m just being cheap and lazy!
4. You avoid going out with friends.
Sure, some of your friends may spend far more money than you, make fun of you because you’re cheap (because you are), and they may not have a frugal bone in their body. However, do you always avoid going out with them? It’s not going to kill you to drop $5 on a Mocha Frappuccino and spend the morning chatting it up.
5. You forgot your thermostat was adjustable.
I know some people can’t afford the outrageous gas and electric bills, but are you constantly running fans, walking around the house without a shirt on, or sweating your buns off for the sake of saving a few dollars?
It’s terrible when I visit places and can’t sleep at night because I am too hot. Turn the freaking A/C on and stop being cheap! Of course I appreciate the hospitality and free stay though.
6. Fast food is your idea of a good meal.
I know we all love the fatty, artery-clogging, salty meals on occasion, but do me a favor, stop being cheap and take your wife out to a place where the chef isn’t still in high school.
7. You pick up pennies on the ground. Guilty.
Hey man, it’s free money. What can I say?
8. You make purchasing decisions based on price. Used to be guilty.
Most people know that you get what you pay for, but that doesn’t stop the cheapstakes out there! After learning my lesson more than a few times, we’re finally fine with paying more for something that we know will last (if it fits in the budget of course). Being cheap isn’t always the best way to go.
9. You walk through the store and are shocked by the prices. Guilty.
When we were getting our house ready to sell, I saw a $30 wreath for your front door. $30?! What, does money grow on trees? I’ll take my $15 one, thank you very much!
10. You try to DIY regardless if you know what you’re doing.
Thankfully for me this isn’t a problem. I don’t know how to do anything and I’m more than glad to pay somebody to fix something for me. However, if you’re the self-proclaimed “jack of all trades” and the person that calls the repair man AFTER you messed it up more than it already was, just call him before you touch it and stop being cheap.
If you just can’t bear letting someone else touch your dishwasher first, check out a site like PartSelect.com. They have video tutorials to help walk you through how to fix items around you home, and they’ll get you a deal on the parts you’ll need before picking up that screwdriver.
11. You drive around to find the cheapest gas prices.
This one has always cracked me up. Is saving an extra $.01-.02/gallon going to change your world? Even on a 20-gallon truck that’s only $.40 in savings! Here’s a better idea, sell the truck or get rid of the car payment, that’s more along the lines of being frugal instead of simply being cheap! Let’s not mention that you also wasted your gas AND time for the sake of $.40 = definition of being cheap.
12. You subscribe to multiple discount/coupon sites and email lists.
How do you have time for all of it? More often than not people use discounts and coupons to buy things they wouldn’t have otherwise! Although you’re being cheap you’re still wasting money!
13. Tearing a stick of gum in half to save for later via My Money Design
This one was just too good to pass up! If you tear a stick of gum in half, chew one half WHILE putting the other one back in the wrapper for later, then you’re just being cheap! LOL.
14. Choosing a restaurant solely based on the “special” via Modest Money
There is nothing wrong with getting a Groupon or heading to your favorite dive because it’s ’2 for 1 burger night’, but if you’re taking out a date (a first date at that) and chose the restaurant solely based on saving some money, then you’re being cheap!
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