I’ve been thinking lately about the difference between being frugal and being just plain cheap. I don’t mind being called frugal, or even a tightwad, but it rankles me to be called cheap. So, what’s the difference? Here’s a handy guide:
- A frugal person shops around for the best price on toilet paper and uses a coupon for that toilet paper. A cheap person just steals toilet paper from the gas station. An even cheaper person steals toilet paper from church, because they have nice toilet paper.
- A frugal person saves any extra condiment packets from a (probably very rare) trip to a fast food restaurants. A cheap person grabs handfuls to save.
- A frugal person uses online banking to save on the cost of stamps. A cheap person steams any unpostmarked stamps off and reuses them.
- A frugal person uses a coupon when they go out to eat (again, probably pretty rarely) and tips appropriately (15-20% on the price of the meal BEFORE the coupon- of course, this is assuming you live in the United States. I know you wily Canadians don’t have to tip so much because your servers are paid a decent wage). A cheap person undertips massively or doesn’t tip at all.
I’m sure you guys can think of more differences. The difference to me is that of a moral one. I am frugal within moral guidelines. I don’t cheat or steal. I don’t cause others hardships (like in the tipping situation) to save myself money. The tipping one I probably need a whole post to flesh out, but let me just say this. In most states, servers make $2.13 an hour. They generally have to tip out to bartenders, hostesses and bussers based on their sales, not how much they actually collect in tips. If you seriously undertip or stiff a server on their tip, they may have to pay to have served your table. If you have a server whose service doesn’t warrant a 15-20% tip, speak to a manager so that the manager can coach the server on their performance.
Why, yes, my husband *is* a restaurant manager and hears tipping woes every day and brings the tales home to me! 😉
I’m sure we’re all of the frugal and not cheap type people here. But I think we all know someone who is just plain cheap. What do cheap people do to drive you nuts?