There are times in your life when you really need to tighten your belt and reduce your spending. You need to become very frugal with your money. This is an understandable situation and one that will come up. Some people on the other hand are simply frugal with their money all the time.
Being frugal is a choice, you spend less money, purchase fewer things and in general you’re simply much more conscious of where your money goes. I’ve started becoming more and more frugal since starting this blog; I now fully understand the difference between want and need and I spend accordingly. This doesn’t mean that I discount quality products or the desires to spend on a whim on the odd occasion.
Being cheap on the other hand for me means that you’re resistant to spend money regardless of the reason or the quality of a product. Cheap people avoid spending money at all costs and will go out of their way to not pay for something even if the expense qualifies as a real need. If you’re cheap you won’t spend the money even if you have it!
For me there is a very distinct difference between the two since there will be times in your life where you have to be careful how you spend your money to make sure you don’t go into debt. Or you simply have no way to get any more than you have. Frugality denotes some reasoning behind trying to spend as little as possible. If it happens to be a limitation then its forced but when it’s a goal it’s no different.
Cheapness comes with no reasoning behind the attempt to spend as little as possible. Not spending money for the simple sake of not spending it – purchasing items with the lowest cost regardless of needs, desires and product quality.
If you’re overly cheap this could end up costing you more money in the long run, buying sub par items means they’re more likely to break which will require replacement sooner. For example if you were too cheap to buy a decent used car and bought one for $500 lets say versus one for $5,000 will translate to additional maintenance costs and you’re far more likely to run into an issue which will force you to buy another car. This is without considering the value of your time.
Personally I don’t think I can ever become a cheap person, I value my time and money and if I have to spend more to ensure that in the long run I can save both by spending a little more up front for additional quality then I will (if I have it of course).