View Full Version : Am I really cheap?

5-4-11, 12:04am
A friend was talking to another friend about me (I was there) and was saying I probably wouldn't attend something because I was so cheap. She said, "I love her dearly, but she is just so cheap." Then they laughed about it.

I don't really know what to think. I am definitely frugal, and an evening out is something I can afford, but don't usually spend the money on. My friends obviously don't think this is an offensive comment, or no more offensive than saying something like "well she is such a chatterbox". Kinda like, well those are her quirks.

You ever get anything like this. I am bugged by it, and not bugged by it. It isn't really upsetting me, just making me wonder.

5-4-11, 12:47am
Well, yes people do tend to pick up on this kind of thing about me as well. The thing is, when I cut so many things out, then it is hard to justify spending on something. It is like, I bought one less junk food item at the grocery store to meet my food budget, so is a $20 meal out that would only cost me $3 bucks if I bought it at a grocery store even worth it?

I would try to put things in perspective. One way I do this is by establishing a "socialization" budget. That way I can eat out with a friend and put it in social instead of "food" so it makes it easier to justify.

It is hard to say. I mean, in my mind, you can never go wrong by not buying something or doing something (cause worst case scenario you can always go and buy it whereas you can not take it back if you buy it).

I guess I'm not a good person to ask. As I would have the same question. I'd say, if it affects your life and your social life, then you need to spend more, or at least try to organize non-expensive social events with friends. The hard thing is that people tend to hang out with people of the same spending habits. I mean, the rich hang out with the rich and the poor the poor, right? Maybe you can try to find more frugal friends?

5-4-11, 6:24am
I personally would be interested in what someone meant by the use of the word, cheap. It's usually used as a negative- if they thought it a good thing, they'd probably say "careful with her money" or frugal. Is there a bigger "issue" here? Do they feel you aren't generous? Do they feel you are selfish? Are you really picky about only paying for exactly what you ordered instead of splitting the bill x ways? Do you make people feel judged by the way you express your different priority choices? I have sometimes seen people use the word cheap, because its more acceptable than saying selfish or stingy or condescending.

But maybe they just meant frugal. Only you know your friends, and what your friends mean. You can just brush off the comment, or use it as a springboard for self reflection.

5-4-11, 8:26am
They can call me cheap anytime they want. Dh and I are gonna have the last laugh when we retire 10-15 years earlier than those around us.

If these people are your friends ask them nicely if there is a real issue, talk it out and hopefully find a solution.

5-4-11, 9:04am
Not sure about your question. Are you asking about a friend using the word 'cheap' about you or your declining the social event?
If someone said I was cheap, I would ask what is being meant as I would about any adjective that puzzled me.

Someone once told me that I was a 'cheap drunk' and then explained to my query, that due to my very low tolerance for alcohol it would take little to get me drunk and he understood that I declined to drink for that reason and supported my decision.

5-4-11, 9:35am
My "cheapness" is not something that I infuse into all aspects of my life and that is why I can care less what others think ..... I think of it as a "healthy" "cheapness" . I skrimp here and there so that I can feel very free to splurge on things that I really want.

So yes, "one less junk food item at the grocery store " type thinking allows me to feel like it is no big deal for me to get that $20 dinner out.

Most have limited funds and therefore need to prioritize the really important desires and then minimize other low priority things so we can do/get the things that bring us happiness and satisfaction.

Those who cannot prioritize end up on one end of the spectrum or the other...

Either they are so "cheap" that they cannot "let" themselves enjoy the things they know would make them happy ....


They get, get, get things that really bring little happiness and pull them down into a cycle of debt

5-4-11, 11:09am
We've had that "cheap" conversation: when some people use the word they're really referring to potentially unethical behavior like taking the tissue box out of the hotel room when you leave - or maybe even the pillows and towels. Finding loopholes they don't deserve, switching tags on clothes, lying on their taxes. As if "cheap" and "cheat" are synonyms.

Since these are your personal friends one would hope / assume that's not the kind of "cheap" they mean. I always laugh and assume they just mean I pinch my own pennies pretty hard - which I do.

5-4-11, 11:18am
I'd take it as a compliment:-)

5-4-11, 12:26pm
They probably meant "frugal," not "cheap." Cheap is easier to say and would would also generate a laugh (which it did).

So... here's the difference--see for yourself whether you're frugal or cheap (not mine--found this on the internet):

Frugal: Taking home those tiny hotel shampoo bottles.
Cheap: Taking home the hotel-room light bulbs.

Frugal: Sneaking a snack into a movie theater.
Cheap: Sneaking into the theater itself.

Frugal: Accepting "free samples" at a grocery store.
Cheap: Accepting a free continental breakfast at a hotel where you are not staying.

Frugal: Buying artificial sweeteners in bulk from a discount store.
Cheap: Pocketing sweetener packets from a restaurant.

Frugal: Ordering only free water with your meal at a restaurant.
Cheap: Bringing your own drinks to a restaurant.

Frugal: Eating at less-expensive restaurants.
Cheap: Being a poor tipper at less-expensive restaurants.

Frugal: Finding stray golf balls in the rough at courses and using them.
Cheap: Selling those golf balls.

Frugal: Having dinner at 4:30 p.m. to get the "early bird" special.
Cheap: Eating a meal at a soup kitchen if you can afford to buy food.

5-4-11, 12:33pm
well I just emailed my friend and this is part of the reply

"OMG....In a good way!!!! I admire how you are so good with the dollar. I have a lot to learn from you....I am so impulsive and extravagant."

So it always pays to find out when you are not sure of someone's meaning.

5-4-11, 12:34pm
Cheap: Eating a meal at a soup kitchen if you can afford to buy food.

here is something to add here. You can always go to a soup kitchen with the Seventh Day Adventists to eat a vegetarian meal and if you have money you can pay. That is what we do sometimes. Mostly no one pays except the few who just want to go for the meal and can afford to pay.