Frugality doesn’t make you a cheapskate and here’s why:
Wouldn’t it be great if you could make your money buy 2-3 times as much as the person standing next to you? Almost like you were getting some sort of day to day VIP discount. Well fortunately there is just such a thing, and it’s called frugality. Some people will make the inaccurate observation that this makes you a cheapskate, probably because they know a cheapskate, and rightfully so, don’t like them very much. It’s called frugality and it doesn’t make you a cheapskate.
Is it better to trade 5-10 years of your time now, living well below your mean, saving and investing aggressively, in order to have the whole rest of your life to be time-rich? Or does it make more sense to work until you’re 65, then retire and get the last 10 or 20 years to spend as you please all because you needed 3 times the money to live your life? For most people I think the answer is the former; they just aren’t sure how to do this. I believe frugality is one of the tools you can use to get there but I digress so let’s get back to talking about cheapskates.
Cheapskates are cheap with people, always trying to make a win lose situation they can benefit from. They cheap out on their portion of the bill so you’ll have to cover it. They cheap out on contributing at the family bbq but always show up eat and leave after telling you all their stories and tuning out as soon as you begin to tell yours. They cheap out and mooch at every conceivable opportunity until they think you might be suspecting they are a mooch. Only then, sometimes will they contribute in an attempt to throw you off their trail, to make you think that you misunderstood this overly self-centered personality trait. All of this so that, ironically, they can continue to mooch off of you.
Frugal people on the other hand are financially calculating about being cheap with things, not people. It’s about calculating the actual value and being financially astute enough to not over pay for something. It’s a principal that everyone can see with bigger things like cars or buying a house-no one wants to over pay for these things. That would just be foolish, but if you focus in on the day to day things like, clothes, housewares, furniture, and accessories, some start to turn up their nose. After all, spending freely with limitless income sounds like more fun and feels like the definition of success to a lot of people.
If the truly frugal person can’t afford something but still wants to participate in an event or a get together, they will find another way to contribute something of value-cook food, help set up, work on some task center around the activity, or perhaps just research a way of doing said activity that makes it more fun. After all, the frugal person operates with a sense of responsibility that is focused both inward and outward financially.
The frugal person looks at people and situations with high consideration for the people around them. A cheap person only looks at the dollars and cents and focuses inward demonstrating that being financially conservative can be as good or bad as the person exercising it.