Let me start by saying, I have been called cheap before, can you believe it?! Me, the guy who writes about personal finance, I was outraged!
Seriously though, I took offence to this allegation as I felt it meant more than just how I dealt with money. To me being called cheap is a dig at your personality and your social behaviour.
There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal or financially savvy.
Being cheap describes the behaviour of someone who wants to save money at any cost, including friendships and relationships. The only focus is the price tag.
Cheapness is often a symptom of financial illiteracy and poor personal finance management. Ever heard the saying, ‘if you buy cheap you buy twice!’? Sometimes it’s better to spend a bit more for higher quality and therefore get longevity from your purchases rather than buying cheaply but more frequently.
Frugality, however, is a positive trait. It describes someone who understands value and prioritises their spending. Being frugal is using vouchers at a restaurant, supermarket or petrol station and utilising other forms of ‘free money’ when the chance presents itself.
Although you might feel ashamed of how the person receiving the voucher might think of you, they couldn’t care less and nor should you. A frugal person is conscious of their spending and isn’t afraid to spend.
The message here is simple – spend your money how you want, just don’t buy shit you don’t need or doesn’t bring value.