Frugal vs Cheap | What’s the Difference?

Frugal vs Cheap | What’s the Difference?

“Being frugal isn’t about being cheap, it’s about being resourceful”.  That is the motto of this blog, but what is the difference between being cheap and being frugal anyways?  There are a lot of people that associates being frugal with being cheap… and that is wrong!  

Being cheap is about spending less even if it sacrifices quality, value and time in order to cash in on some short-term savings. Cheap people settle, because to them money spent is money gone. 

When you are being cheap you are not cheating anybody but yourself.

A frugal person thinks ahead; the frugal person plans, budgets and creates a road map to your destination. Being frugal is about prioritizing your spending so that you can have more of the things you really care about.

“Being frugal isn’t about being cheap.”

A cheap person will complain about the price of movie theaters and not go.  While the frugal person will take advantage of $2 Tuesdays at their local theater.

A Cheap person is only looking at the price. They will buy a used mattress that is worn and may be infested with bedbugs just to save a few dollars.  While the frugal person knows that quality mattress may cost more, but the added support may help with discomfort and trips to the chiropractor. 

Cheap people hate to spend money and will pay less amount of money regardless of the quality of the item.  While frugal people are interested in saving money but they are willing to research before purchasing (looking on Ibotta, coupons, and comparing deals).

If a friend is having a destination wedding, the cheap person might decline because they don’t want to pay for the trip while a frugal person will look for discounts and deals to making it while to the wedding saving the most money possible.

The cheap person will go to the fast food restaurant and take 25 ketchup packets for a home for later.  While the frugal person will look for coupons for a deal on their favorite brand of ketchup.

The cheap person gets will get sick in a hothouse or decides to hit on the couch naked to avoid turning on the air conditioner.  While the frugal person will take measures to reduce the heat build-up in the home or will visit the public library on hot summer days to avoid running the air conditioner.

Click the image to learn more.

“It’s about being resourceful.”

Resourcefulness is a mindset.  When a person is resourceful they are open to exploring different options especially when it is relevant to achieving goals.  I recently bought a new Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator, I was resourceful with the information that I had.  Although it took 3 weeks of researching prices and looking for coupons, I was able to purchase a $3,500 refrigerator for $1,450. 

The frugal person takes advantage of the resources that they have at their disposal to find great deals.  While the cheap person is closed minded, cheap people do not explore options (and if you are offended by that you may have just passed your “cheap test”).

Are you frugal or cheap?

You know you’re frugal if you:

  • Research a range of options for the item that you want to buy.

  • You look at the cost and quality of an item and ensure it fits within your budget.

  • You find ways to save money without sacrificing your lifestyle tremendously. 


You know you’re cheap if you:

  • Don’t care about the quality of the item, you only care about the price.

  • Like to brag about how little you’ve spent.

  • Always buy the lowest priced item.

  • Don’t upgrade heavily used items because they “work just fine”.

  • Hate to spend money.

So, there is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.  “Being frugal isn’t about being cheap, it’s about being resourceful”.


Links Mentioned

Samsung Family Hub-

Leave a Reply