Contrary to popular belief, being frugal is not the same as being cheap! Let’s break both down by definition:
Frugal: Careful about spending money or using things when you do not need to: using money or supplies in a very careful way.
Cheap: Costing very little; relatively low in price; inexpensive.
When it comes to being frugal versus being cheap, what we are really breaking down is value versus cost. A low price is never worth it if it drops the level of quality. There are other ways to hold on to your hard-earned money. Some people use coupons, shop on sale, go thrifting, or just simply restrict spending. Whichever method you choose, remember to let God lead your spending and not your flesh. James 1:5 says, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.
Deals and discounts. I enjoy getting a deal. When I was younger I thought I was above buying clothes and products on the sale rack and would always opt for the more expensive options. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to spend wisely.
When my husband and I first started dating, I suggested he get a few Groupons to restaurants around town. His response was, “I don’t want you to think I am cheap!” I responded by letting him know that I didn’t think it was cheap I thought it was considered smart dating. I figured the more Groupons or deals we got, the more dates we could go on! I don’t recommend this for the first date, but once the relationship progresses, why not?!?!?! We even found our favorite pizza spot on Groupon.
Frugal but never cheap. Even though I thoroughly enjoy saving a buck I will not compromise value to do so. Some items are priced ridiculously low for a reason…they only cost 2¢ to make! In my opinion, cheap items look cheap, feel cheap, and don’t last. It is better to buy an item on sale then to buy a low quality item that will barely make it one use. Almost every store has a rewards program, which can be beneficial if combined with coupons or other discounts, so use these programs as a better way to pinch your pennies. Having a streetwise approach to money can pay off so well. For example, using a car insurance comparison site like Money Expert can help you make sure you are not overpaying for what you receive.
Additionally, most cheap people live a cheap lifestyle, and can be unreasonable, hard to deal with and selfish.
Thrifting. Yard sales, flea markets and thrift stores, oh my! This is a good way to find a diamond in the rough with your name on it. I personally love a good yard sale. To date, I have purchased a tool kit, Apple MacBook, mini fridge, designer handbag, wedding string lights and Christmas tree ornaments–all great products for low prices.
The thrift store on the other hand, freaked me out for a long time, not to mention, many of these stores smell weird. But not to long ago, I read an article about a guy who buys most of his designer wardrobe at thrift stores and I decided to give it a try, and it wasn’t that bad. You do, however, have to know which stores to visit and which to run from.
So lets be clear, I am not saying discount shopping gives you a license to spend frivolously but that frugal shopping helps you better plan for your future, build up your savings account, pay off debt and be a lender not a borrower.
A few scriptures to highlight:
Romans 13:8: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Proverbs 22:7: The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.