We are in need of a major lifestyle shift to save enough to retire early and pursue our dream. It’ll take tightening our belts more than a little bit, but where is the line between being frugal and being a cheapskate? We are looking to live a life of more frugality, but not cheapness. Some examples of where I believe that line is drawn:
- Eating with Friends:
- Cheapskate friend, ‘hang on let me get my calculator to determine exactly what I paid…. I had a water and you had a soda so subtract $2 from my total. My water wasn’t filled up as soon as it was empty, so no tip.’
- Frugal friend, ‘I’d love to see you, instead of meeting at the restaurant I was thinking we could have a game night with spaghetti at our house. Can you bring the wine and salad, and I’ll make pasta and dessert?’
- Cheapskate consumer trolls the freecycle and deeply discounted clearance sections to snag anything at a deep discount (needed or not). The cheapskate consumer can end up surrounded with lots of frivolous items that bring little to no joy.
- Frugal consumer may buy a lightly used or new quality item that will last years or even a lifetime.
- At the Work Pot Luck:
- Cheapskate co-worker brings nothing and shows up after the party is over with his or her lunch bag and starts collecting all of the leftovers to provide his family’s dinner and eat for lunch the rest of the week.
- Frugal co-worker brings a required dish and enjoys a large lunch and likely skips dinner.
- Warranty Use:
- Cheapskate warranty user buys L.L. Bean at the thrift store for their lifetime return policy. Then, she or he happily totes in their bounty of ratty sweatshirts, destroyed boots, and anything else they could get their hands on for the replacement new item. It is because of this abuse that the company had to retire their lifetime warranty program. This is why we can’t have nice things people!
- Frugal warranty user buys L. L. Bean when an item is on sale knowing that the company is confident enough in their product to provide a lifetime warranty. Then, if their is a manufacturer defect, the frugal warranty user returns the item for replacement.
Frugality should never be at the expense of others. It’s okay to be frugal, but we’ll never strive to be cheap.