Frugal decisions to consider before being labeled “cheap”.
5 decisions that save you money without compromising your standard of living during challenging times.
If you’re an avid saver like me, you would’ve probably appeared cheap at first glance. Although cheapness might seem to appear from a negative viewpoint, it could be due to the extreme desire to spend as little money as possible as a coping technique to deal with financial anxiety or financial struggles.
While it’s certainly not a bad thing to save money, especially during uncertain times, however, the motivations behind the goal of saving are different for a frugal person.
I’ve come across a retiree, married, with no kids, has landed property in his name, and lives with extreme minimal expenditure with no tv, no water heater, and no washing machine. The couple has a shared mobile phone, eats out for a one-person serving shared between them, often collects free coupons for take-outs but has sufficient savings for their retirement!
The reason for their minimal expenditure? Fear of not having enough for their retirement living. While there’s no wrong in living with essential living standards, making extreme saving decisions might come off as being cheap and but more importantly, it neglects the things that could matter more such as time, relationships, and quality.
So here are the 5 top non-spending decisions to consider before falling into the category of a cheap person.
1. Focus on long-term consequences rather than short-term benefits.
A person is considered cheap if they tend to focus on the instant benefits they can gain for themselves at the moment. They emphasize short-term results and do not have a long-term vision. On the other hand, a frugal person makes decisions from the big picture and has the self-discipline to wait for opportunities that save them money. For example, a cheap person would boast about how little she paid for an item online but a frugal person would use her reward points to buy a quality item and still not say a word.
2. Consider how your spending behavior affects the people around you.
A cheap person tends to put a higher preference towards minimizing their own personal financial sacrifice but also at the expense of others. They are most often unaware of how their decisions affect others. For example, a cheap person would rather split a meal, use a coupon, and only tip on the reduced bill whereas a frugal person would rather have her favorite meal but have plain water, use a coupon, and tip on the full cost of the meal. So, a frugal person makes spending decisions that only affect themselves but do not involve other people around them which is the reason why individuals who are viewed as cheap can, at times, rub family and friends the wrong way due to their spending habits.
3. Maximize spending and obtain the most value instead of sacrificing quality and time.
A cheap person’s priority is to have the resistance to spending money because they fear that they won’t have enough for themselves. Hence, it is the reason why they would rather sacrifice quality and time just to save a few dollars. However, a frugal person recognizes that a better way to save would be to maximize spending by getting the most value out of each purchase. For example, asking for freebies or samples of a quality item they’ve purchased is how a frugal person can maximize their spending. A frugal person would also know how to weigh the cost of spending time and gas (cost) to drive 10 km to a supermarket that sells everything at a relatively cheap price versus purchasing those products online at a slightly higher price and using reward points for their purchase.
4. Emphasizing priority instead of cost.
A cheap person would always buy the lowest cost item while disregarding the quality of the item. Price is all that matters to a cheap person. In other words, all it comes down to for a cheap person is spending the least amount possible regardless of the consequences or situation. However, a frugal person understands their priority and hence, focuses their spending on things that are important to themselves and less on insignificant purchases. For example, a cheap person would rather purchase a pair of shoes that cost $10 lower even though they’ll likely wear out in a year. On the other hand, a frugal person would rather spend more on a higher quality pair of shoes when they’re on sale because they prioritize its usage rather than the cost.
5. Spend wisely instead of looking for ways to pay less.
A cheap person would find ways to pay less regardless of the circumstances or situation. They focus too much on the price of the item that everything else that should be considered for making purchasing decisions becomes neglected. For example, a cheap person would rather pay a $12.00 bottle of water shared between two people than pay for 2 bottles of water that cost $16.00. However, a frugal person focuses to spend wisely and has intentional spending instead. They understand what really matters with their spending.
The biggest difference between cheap and frugal lies in what your focus and values are in your spending habit. Although being frugal and cheap both help to save money, it’s the differences in mindset and intention that separate one from the cheap category and frugal category. So, the crucial tip to be frugal without feeling cheap is to cultivate purchasing decisions on things that matter most to you. In other words, you’re being intentional about using your money to increase your joy in life instead of deprivation. I hope this helps you to become wiser in your purchasing decisions and of course frugal!😄
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