I often refer to myself as frugal or budget-conscious, and to me that means I go out of my way to find the best deals possible on the things I want or need. Others seem to think being frugal means you're cheap; however, that just isn't the case. In fact, being frugal and being cheap are two very different things in my opinion. This is how I view a "cheap" lifestyle versus a frugal one, how my frugal lifestyle works, and what I do with my savings.
Cheap versus frugal
Everyone has their own idea of what constitutes someone being "cheap." I've known several people I would consider cheap, and they are some of the most extreme savers I've ever met. Some are so extreme that they use old t-shirts instead of buying toilet paper because they consider it to be a waste of money. Where as a frugal person would wait for toilet paper to go on sale and stock up, so they had enough to last until the next sale.
My frugal lifestyle
I spend a great deal of time researching things that my family wants or needs to buy before making a single purchase. For example, six months ago I spotted a nightgown I really wanted on a website I frequent, but I couldn't justify paying nearly $50 for it. I watched and waited hoping it would go on sale, or that I would receive a coupon that would make it more budget-friendly. It took me six months, but I was able to buy it for $25 with a combination of a sale and a coupon. I saved 50% on that one purchase alone, and have scored many other deals just like it.
The money I save
Each year I save hundreds if not thousands of dollars, and I do it in a number of ways including sales, coupons. In fact, in November and December of 2012 alone I managed to save more than $380 by just taking advantage of holiday shopping deals.
What I'm doing with my savings
Not long ago someone told me that my savings weren't true "savings" if I wasn't putting the money away for the future. I took that advice to heart, and have decided to split my savings between two accounts from now on. Half of the money I save will go straight into our savings account, and the other half will be reallocated for other things we want or need.
The bottom line is that I do not always sacrifice our wants, needs, or the quality of our items to save money, and in my opinion that is the difference between being frugal and being cheap.
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