Being Frugal Does Not Mean You’re Cheap

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by on September 17, 2009

coins Are you Frugal?  Are you Cheap? What’s the difference?

I’ve discussed what it means to be frugal, and I’m happy to live a frugal lifestyle, but some people seem to think that just because you are Frugal, you are Cheap, and that just isn’t accurate.

I need to clarify here, the kind of cheap I mean is of “low quality, or little value”, not “of little cost”, since if you follow this blog, you know that I try to find low cost items to help save on my monthly budget.  Finding something for low cost and high quality is the best deal.

Focus on Quality

As I try to live a frugal lifestyle, shop smarter, and manage my budget, I need to determine what is worth spending. Quality should not be forgotten in a frugal lifestyle. Thought: If you only buy cheap products, that do not last, break easily, are unhealthy, or taste bad- are you really spending money wisely?

The truth is that some items may cost more than others, but because they are of a high quality, they will last longer and therefore be a better deal. Just because I’m frugal, doesn’t mean that I skimp on quality. On the contrary, since I have been using coupons, I actually purchase many more name brand products than I used to. This is one of the main reason that I don’t buy generic any more.

Of course, I didn’t always have this thinking: I used to want to spend the lowest amount, but started realizing that I was spending more on replacement parts/products, or maintenance, that it really wasn’t worth the few dollars saved initially.

Not Just for Couponing

Being frugal isn’t just about coupons, though. It is about knowing your resources (time, money, etc), managing them effectively, and planning purchases to maximize savings with quality. When I am able to save 90% on my drug store purchases (or 65%-70% on grocery sales), it allows me to save my money and/or spend in other areas like a family vacation, pampering, or other nicer products that we wouldn’t have the money for without our frugal lifestyle.

To me, being frugal is about being smart with your money. You should not feel obligated to buy the cheapest products just because you want to be frugal. Rather, you should focus on what will be the smartest choice for your money, your lifestyle, your family, and you.

You can read more on this topic by Consumer Queen at Misconception of Savvy Shoppers!

What are your thoughts? Do you find yourself buying cheap products? What quality products are worth spending more on?

Follow more frugal conversation at Frugal Friday!


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  • Great post! You said part of what I tried to a couple weeks ago. It isn’t a situation where she who spends the least wins. Quality matters, and it is important to not feel deprived. Maximize savings with quality. Love it.
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..Frugal Friday: try something new =-.

  • I have found that since I have started what I call “extreme couponing” my family eats better! I save money on many household items and then I am able to apply that saved money to other things. My family now eats fresh tuna and other fresh seafood we could never afford before. I stopped “paying” for toothpaste, razors, shampoo, etc. and I apply that saved money elsewhere.

    I tell people all of the time don’t buy stuff just because it is “cheap”. It is really not what you save, but what you spend!

    Thanks for the great post, very well said!
    .-= Renae @ Madame Deals´s last blog ..Sunday Coupon Insert Preview =-.

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  • Thanks, Debra. I’m glad to hear others know what I mean! I really think that we need to remember quality while we are saving, or we end up spending more down the road…I’ve been there and hope to help others not do that! :)

  • Thanks, Renae! Isn’t that funny- “extreme couponing” allowing you to eat better! Before using coupons, I wouldn’t have thought that was possible- but now I know that there are many of us out there maximizing our savings and quality! :)

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  • Living frugally is becoming such a trend and it warms my heart to see it used in everyday instances! I also have used to get things i need for no cost to me! check it out !


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