Welcome to Friday folks!
I know I’ve discussed this topic before, but something over the weekend got me thinking about it again.
I was chatting up an old friend last weekend and the topic turned to hobbies outside of work.
Of course, I mentioned all kinds of things and it eventually got to this blog.
Oh what’s it called? Why, it’s Adventures in Frugal.
She raised an eyebrow.
Ha ha. A little silly, I know, but it could have been worse; my original idea was Frugal is the New Sexy.
She went from inquisitive to visibly upset. She explained that “clipping coupons, dumpster diving and eating roadkill was not her idea of an ‘adventure,'” and being frugal was “definitely not ‘sexy.'”
Why she’s wrong
OK, first off, what kind of person jumps straight from clipping coupons — totally prudent! — to dumpster diving and eating roadkill?! It’s called a transition, Len, use it.
Second, she’s clearly conflating frugality with being cheap, not knowing both the linguistic and philosophical differences.
The differences between frugal and cheap
Since we’re talking about words here, a good place to start is the dictionary (Dictionary.com in this case):
Cheap: stingy; miserly
Frugal: economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful
I actually think that gets us most of the way there.
Two things that frugal people incorporate into their lives that cheap people don’t are the concepts of value and prioritization (which is really just a logical extension of value).
Frugal people take the time to figure out what they want and who they care about.
A frugal friend will come to your wedding in Denver, but may use airline miles to fly and stay in AirBnb when he gets there. He’ll likely have just as much fun as the other guests who come (and will absolutely dominate any dance-off he steps into) but will be concerned with maximizing the amount of value he gets from his spending.
That said, if you go to his house, he may not have the latest, shiniest gadgets and his cereal may not be the brands you’re used to — or maybe there’s no brand at all because he’s eating bulk, stone-cut oats! But he’s being frugal because he instead, wants to spend his money on the things that really matter to him.
A cheap friend will look at the cost of your wedding and not come. And maybe he’ll eat the cheapest canned whatever he can find for breakfast. He’s not trying to maximize the amount of value he gets from his spending; he’s just trying to maximize the amount of money he has left over.
Oh, you know one other thing that cheap people can never seem to get right? Long-term value. I’ll do the hard work to comparison-shop and read reviews to spend $80 on work shoes that’ll last me a coupel years. You spend $20 on work shoes that’ll last you a couple months and you’re still spending $100 per year. Come on.
And that’s the difference in my eyes.
Hope everyone has a great weekend!
Anyone else have a different idea about the difference between the two?