I’m really enjoying all the comments on yesterday’s post about being frugal versus being cheap. Sarah made an excellent point.
“To me, frugal is getting the most for your money. Cheap is being frugal at the expense of others.”
I think she hit it right on. Frugal is being smart about money, and has a fairly positive connotation. Cheap is a bit of a dirty word, with a definite negative vibe, and maybe that is because someone who is cheap is someone who hurts others by their spending ways. If I bring sandwich supplies to work to save money, I’m being frugal. If I steal my co-worker’s mustard every single day because I don’t want to buy my own jar, I’m being cheap. (And a lunch thief – the worst of the worst.)
So in case you missed the discussion, chime in! What’s your definition of frugal? Of cheap? Got any good stories about cheap friends or family members?
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.