Cheap vs. Thrifty
watched several episodes of a TV show called "Extreme
Cheapskates." Cheapskate is hardly an adequate word for people
who are so cheap they find a way to reuse bath water to cut down on
the water bill.
Now, who doesn't like to save money or find a bargain?
We all do. I sometimes say my favorite word is "free." But I
am not willing to embarrass myself to get something free.
Often free simply means you are paying for it in
another way. For example, on BOGO products you are usually charged
enough for the first product to receive another item free and still
create a profit for the seller. Or the item may be bait to get you
into the store where you will buy full-priced items as well. If you
buy more than you need and do not use it, what have you saved?
To me there is a fine distinction between being
"cheap" and being "thrifty." Cheap is saving dryer
lint to reuse it in the place of cotton balls. Cotton balls cost about
$1 for a hundred balls or about a penny a piece. Not worth the trouble
in my book to save on an item that inexpensive.
Thrifty people look for bargains, shop at thrift
stores, garage sales or dollar stores to save a buck or two.
Cheapskates dumpster dive. They are not willing to pay anything at all
and will reuse what most of us consider garbage. I am not willing to
dig through garbage or scavenge through trash cans to find something
free. You have to draw a line somewhere, and that is it for me.
A frugal person may buy gasoline at a station with
lower prices, but does not run all over town looking for a gas station
to save a penny per gallon. The frugal person will try to combine
trips or errands and do several at a time to cut down on gasoline
expenses. A cheapskate will hitch rides from friends or relatives.
A thrifty person will take advantage of sales at the
grocery store, use coupons, or in some cases, shop more than one store
to take advantage of advertised prices. A cheapskate is apparently
willing to risk health and food poisoning by buying expired items,
dented cans, and old meat packages. They bargain for everything, even
food, trying to get a better deal.
A frugal person might use generic or store brands of
household cleaners. A cheapskate uses vinegar, baking soda, or plain
ammonia. One extreme cheapskate was so cheap he made his own deodorant
with coconut oil and corn starch.
While most of us would be embarrassed to ask our
neighbors for any extra food they have, cheapskates have no pride.
They will beg, borrow, or do anything necessary to save a few pennies,
even when they have sufficient income to easily afford what they need.
They are not embarrassed but are actually proud of their cheapskate
A frugal person might try to save on the electric bill
by having energy efficient appliances or lowering the thermostat at
night. The cheapskate never leaves on a light in a room not being used
and has only one light in each room. One cheapskate baked lasagna in
the dishwasher while the dishes washed to avoid turning on the stove.
Well, you get the idea here. There is a fine
distinction between cheapness and thriftiness, at least in my
vocabulary. Maybe I am splitting hairs between cheap and frugal. Maybe
it is my Scotch-Irish blood telling me to be thrifty.
Are you willing to pinch a penny until it bleeds or
would you rather not be inconvenienced even if you pay a little more?