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Are you thrifty or just plain cheap? How to spot the difference


thrifty vs cheap piggy bankI’ve always considered myself extremely frugal. I was raised in a home with a frugal mother who never failed to remind us when it was time to throw on a jumper, save some for later, and turn all the lights off. Most importantly, she taught us not be careless when it comes to spending.

As a result, ‘Do I need it? Will it add value to my life?’ is now my ultimate mantra. Knowing when to say no, finding exclusive discounts like food and drinks on apps like CheckoutSmart, and bagging 99p online auction bargains like eBay have all become my ultimate secret money-saving weapons throughout my adult life. 

When employees go out and buy expensive lunches, I stay in with my homemade sandwich. Here are some of my favourite Homemade Sandwich Ideas. When my friends splurge on expensive designer clothes, I pop into Oxfam.

All sounds great, right? I have self-control and I’m saving hundreds every year. I’m pretty much living the thrifty dream.  Or so I thought. The issue I’m now facing is if my thrifty ways are slowly translating into me just being ‘cheap.’

 You’re probably wondering why I’m telling you this. Well, winter is coming and the other day I noticed my boots and favourite wooly hat had seen better days. 

Now, I’ve had these items for at least two years. They ventured up the Great Wall of China with me and were there when I was listening to my favourite bands at Leeds Festival, but there is my problem right there.

I’ve attached emotional meaning to these items. I don’t want to part with them and spend money on new, expensive items. I’m not being thrifty here. Oh no, I’m being cheap. 

thrifty vs cheap purse

So what's the difference between being thrifty or cheap? Thrifty is savvy, someone who is switched onto a good deal, someone admirable. Thrifty is hip, chic and makes you feel like a financially stable goddess. 

Cheap, however, is desperate, sad and the epitome of ‘rock bottom’. Cheap is selfish and isolating. 

Cheap is also cheating! Someone who is ‘cheap’ will try and cut corners. They will buy poorly fit clothes, purchase the cheapest of the cheap and will commit false economy fraud on an everyday basis.

I know it's super hard and most of us try our best to save every penny, especially with the strain of modern day living costs, but some things are worth paying for. If you are being cheap, it's probably time to reassess.

To help you decide which category you fall into and help you change your outlook on spending, here are some key differences to consider. 

Thrifty people know when to pay up

Cheap people will instantly assess the price and are only interested on how they can pay as little as possible. Thrifty people understand that some things are worth the price and commit to paying upfront to invest. They are also on track with their expenses. I use Loot which helps me Keep track of my disposable income

Paying a few pounds more for a pair of quality jeans may result in spending less long term, rather than buying multiple cheap pairs that don’t last as long.

If you buy a cheap car, you might have to pay more upfront for maintenance further down the line. Paying a little extra for a new car with better insurance and maintenance coverage will help thrifty people have peace of mind that they can reap the rewards of this method instead and that this is the better deal.  

Thrifty means buying a whole chicken and making it last the whole week on multiple meals like Self Magazine have done in their article The Easiest Way To Cook Enough Chicken To Last You The Whole Week

Thrifty people do their research & take advantage of offers

Cheap people may appear to have a strong handle on their finances, but really they may not be as well informed as thrifty people. Say a cheap person and a thrifty person are both looking for a new washing machine. 

The cheap person may be more inclined to look for the lowest priced model; the thrifty person will evaluate the energy efficiency and compare gas versus electric. They also know when to Take advantage of loyalty cards.

He or she may also research the model and read customer reviews. Before buying, thrifty shoppers will look for rebates and sales at other stores. So, the better use of the money may be a higher-priced model that they can find for less money, whereas cheap people may not see a need to research when the lowest price, basic model is in front of them. 

Thrifty people will also research options like Practical Ideas for Thrifty Getaways

.thrifty vs cheap loyalty cards

Cheap people assume everything is overpriced

If you don’t know someone who always complains at the cost of everything, it’s probably you. Cheap people think everything is super overpriced.

While thrifty people may be thinking the same thing, they understand that voicing this opinion makes them sound cheap. Instead, they just won’t purchase it.

For a thrifty person, occasionally dining out with friends or loved ones, which is filled with positive experiences, is way more important than worrying about the cost. 

Using a voucher at a restaurant is thrifty, but not leaving a tip? Cheap. 

Unsure what to tip and when? Lifehacker has a helpful article on When you should tip in the UK.

Check out our Restaurant Offers & Vouchers for a top deal on your next dining experience. 

Thrifty people put people above savings & see a higher purpose

 My partner has a bad back so we recently purchased an orthopedic mattress. That was an investment we were both willing to pay for. 

That mattress will also last longer than a basic one, hence, saving more money again long term which is considered a good investment.

The process may not have been as smooth if one of us were considered 'cheap.' For cheap people, money may appear more important than maintaining healthy relationships with others. 

Thrifty people, in contrast, will always consider other people above scrimping on essentials. 

If you're going halves with friends or family members, why not try Payfriendz? It's a great way to Send & Request money

There is obviously no scientific evidence to prove this and it is all based on attitudes and values. If you are considered 'cheap', the good news is, being ‘thrifty’ or ‘cheap’ is mostly a mindset that can be easily transformed.

So if you feel yourself slipping into the mindset of someone who is considered 'cheap', be kind to yourself and to others, don’t settle for less, and remember, some things are worth paying for. 

Collette xx