7 Ways To Be Frugal Without Being Cheap

Are trying to be frugal without being cheap? It can be hard to balance the two. 

If you are like me, you focus on living frugally and trying to save every penny that you can. Being careful with your money is important to you. Saving and living debt-free are your goals, and you’re trying your best to do that. It’s hard.

But how do you live a frugal life without appearing cheap? Living an extremely frugal life, you can often come across as cheap? People often interpret the term “frugal” and the word “cheap” differently.

Frugal Vs. Cheap

What do I mean when I use the word frugal vs cheap?

Being frugal means living simply and economically. But a cheapskate is described as people who are unwilling to spend money or who do not want to spend as much money on anything as they ought.

When you adopt frugality for the first time, it may seem complicated. After all, the thoughts of achieving financial goals may add up some stress. When it comes to managing money, discipline is essential. A lot of people get overwhelmed and stressed out when managing money.

How To Be Frugal Without Being Cheap:

If you want to save a decent amount by living a frugal life but don’t want to be seen as “cheap,” you need to follow some golden rules of living frugally.

Do Not Buy Gifts From Thrift Stores

It is always a great idea to buy your stuff from thrift stores while living a frugal life, but when it comes to gifting, please stay away from the idea of gifting second-hand things to your friends and family. You may choose this for yourself but not for others as they may consider you a cheap person and may feel slighted. But, of course, if you know that they would appreciate this- then, by all means, do so!

Buy Quality Products

You can adjust with a cheap brand when it comes to your clothes or footwear, but you need to look at the quality over cost when it comes to home appliances. For example, if an appliance needs frequent repairing, it will rip off your savings. Better to go for appliances that serve quality and do not need high maintenance.

Don’t Skimp on the Bill

Going out to eat with friends? Doing an activity with a lot of people? It’s great to save money so you can suggest something free or cheap, but once the decision has been made, don’t haggle on the bill. Instead, pay your share and enjoy! This is not the time to be frugal and nitpicky.

Tip Well At Restaurants

You may want to save money on eating outside but don’t want to appear cheap. Order fewer dishes but definitely tip well. A waiter may offer you more respect when you give a good amount of tip, and you don’t really need to burn your financial goals to do so.

Avoid Being Frugal at Others’ Expense

Having a frugal attitude is commendable. However, trying to be cheap is not. If you enjoy your dinner at others’ expense and think you have achieved your frugal living goals, you are mistaken. Someone may sponsor your food once or twice, and soon you will lose all the respect you have as you will start to appear to be a cheapskate who is always looking for free food.

Cheapness demonstrates that you do not want to spend money at all. Therefore, always pay a fair share of expenses and never try to achieve your frugal goals at others’ expense.

Savings Can’t Be Maximized by Being Cheap.

You can be frugal without being cheap. You need to spend on good health. If you lose your health, you are going to spend a huge share of wealth to recover. Frugality is good, but cheapness probably won’t pay. Pay for your health, pay for peace of mind. This way, you will not hurt your short-term and long-term saving goals and achieve financial freedom soon.

Balance Your Spending and Saving

It’s important to find a balance between being frugal and saving money in the long run. Keep an eye on your finances and stick to a reasonable budget, but don’t restrict yourself from spending on leisure and comfort.  As life progresses and your financial situation changes, balancing saving and spending will establish a solid financial base with a flexible budget.

Frugal people always remain committed to their goals by keeping a frugal mindset. They know how to be frugal without being cheap. Having a cheap attitude means you may try to save money at other people’s expense. Understand the difference between being frugal and being cheap.


Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

Leave a Comment