Cheap or Frugal? Here’s How to Tell the Difference

One Reddit user wanted to know the difference between being cheap and frugal. While posting this question on the platform, he said he had noted that he had read some posts where some people came across as being frugal while others came across as being cheap.

He wanted to know what other Reddit users thought about this and where one made the distinction between frugal and cheap.

Other Reddit users chipped into this conversation, and here are some of the best responses.

Putting off an Oil Change

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“Using a coupon on an oil change or changing your own is frugal. Putting off an oil change that’s due is cheap,” said one user

Refusing To Change Your Tires

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Another added, “Searching for tires that are on sale is frugal. Riding on tires until they’re bald is cheap.”

Refusing To Spend Any Money 

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Frugal is deliberate, cheap is not; according to another user, “Frugal is deliberately using your resources to accomplish goals you have. Cheap is refusing to spend much money on anything.”

Not Spending Money on Yourself

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Frugal involves making some sacrifices, “Frugal is making personal sacrifices so you can use your money as a tool to help friends, families, and neighbors. Cheap is not spending money on yourself and having others cover things for you instead,” explained another member

Expecting Others To Pay For You

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If you pass off expenses to others to save money, you are cheap; as one user points out, “Cheap is where you start passing off expenses to others to save money. This can range from taking advantage of the generosity of friends and family to barely or not tipping folks who live on tips.”

It Costs You More in the Long Run

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Cheap will be expensive later, “Cheap costs you more in the long run, financially, socially, emotionally, etc. Frugal is efficient in the long run,” added another user.

Reusing Containers You Can’t Clean

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One user gave an illustration of how they view cheap vs frugality, “Reusing containers? Cool/frugal. Reusing containers that are impossible to actually clean? Ew/cheap. (Talking about food here. If you’re using a potato bag to sift dirt or whatever, then more power to you).”

Buying the Cheapest Product Without a Good Reason

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Cheap is buying the least expensive item without a reason, “I think cheap is just buying the least expensive for its own sake, and frugal is buying a reasonable product mindfully. There are trade-offs. I might save a bundle on cheap razors, but if they hack me up-not such a great deal.”

Refusing To Replace Vital Items

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Frugal is buying something for its value, “Frugal to me is, can this item be replaced with something of value that isn’t as highly priced. Cheap is if the item needs to be replaced, but I’ll just do without it altogether. Even if it’s a relatively vital need.”

Saving Money Without an End Goal

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When you save money just to have it, you are being cheap, “Cheap is saving money just to have more money. Frugal is about saving money in order to afford necessities or luxuries that have a high value to you.”

When You Refuse To Spend Any Money

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Frugal is when you save so that you can afford what you want more, “Saving money where I can to have money to more easily afford the things I want/actually matter to me, e.g., travel, hobbies are frugal. Refusing to spend money at all or any more than is strictly necessary is cheap.”

You Are Endangering Others

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If you are endangering others, you are cheap, not frugal, “I generally think that if you’re seriously inconveniencing or endangering yourself or others, you’re being cheap. Frugal is making smart financial decisions but also knowing when spending some money is actually the better option.”

12 Frugal Hacks That Make All The Difference

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A Reddit user who started the frugal journey with his wife a couple of years ago wanted to know the frugal hacks people had that made all the difference.

According to the OP, shopping grocery sales every week and planning their meals helped cut their bill from $250 to $100 per week. Other users shared their stories about frugal hacks they had that made some difference in their lives. Here are some of the best ones.

12 Frugal Hacks That Make All The Difference 

12 Items Frugal People Proudly Exclude From Their Shopping List

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Frugal people are known to spend their money wisely. They live within their means and don’t spend a lot of money. According to a thread on Quora, here are some common things frugal people never buy.

12 Items Frugal People Proudly Exclude from Their Shopping List

23 Side Hustles You Never Considered That Make More Than Your 9 to 5

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Have you ever wanted to make a lot of money from a side hustle and quit your 9 to 5? You may know about the typical side hustles, but I bet you never even heard of these lucrative side hustles!

23 Side Hustles You Never Considered That Make More Than Your 9 to 5

9 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

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Not everything is frugal! I am sure you have read articles and tips that promote frugal living and give some ideas that are just not frugal! These frugal myths float around and sometimes even cost people a lot of money!

9 So-Called “Frugal” Habits That Are Actually a Waste of Time and Money

10 Stupid Scams People Won’t Stop Falling For

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It seems like every day there is a new scam popping up, promising to make you rich or solve all of your problems. Yet, despite the prevalence of scams and the numerous warnings about them, people still fall for them.

10 Stupid Scams People Won’t Stop Falling For


This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.