When I was a young, married wife, my husband who was quite impressed with my penny-pinching strategies, used to brag to people that “you can call Joanne frugal, but she prefers cheap because it has less (sic) letters.” Funny at the time. Also true. I was cheap. I was so concerned with saving money that I would cut corners in places that shouldn’t see cuts: serving potato salad that had been frozen, booking a night at a motel that was only $40 a night…
I’m shuddering thinking about the ways that I tried to save money. But, it is possible to save smartly and not appear cheap. So, what’s the difference?
1. Being frugal is about spending money wisely.
A deal on making tape at a close out store is only good if the tape sticks! (We know someone who purchased dozens of rolls of tape that were pretty much useless). If you are buying something to last, make sure that you are buying quality over price. Let me tell you about dental floss. For years, I bought the cheapest that I could find. I hated it. Wouldn’t use it because flossing was such a terrible experience. At some point, I decided to purchase the easy glide kind for an extra .50 cents a box. Wow! I can’t believe that in my quest to be cheap, I probably hurt my teeth because I didn’t floss regularly. So I spend the extra money, on store brands because I can’t tell the difference. Do your research!
2. Frugality is all about the quality
Okay, this is kind of like the first example. Except, a frugal person would rather do without than to buy something that isn’t worth it. The trend in decorating today is minimalism: scaling down, scaling back, less clutter. That’s good news to a frugalist who would rather not fill her home and closets with things that don’t last or clutter her house.
3. Cheap sounds…well cheap!
Think of the word cheapskate. Do you really want someone to call you that? It’s okay to say, “the bananas are really cheap today,” but we certainly don’t want someone to say “she’s always cheap when she buys presents.” Ouch! We don’t want to be known as the person that doesn’t like to spend money.
4. Cheap is about the lowest price and not value
This speaks for itself. Cheap doesn’t want to spend money and constantly looks for the absolute lowest price even if quality is sacrificed, which is definitely not a thrifty option.
5. Frugal inspires virtue
The Bible cites numerous examples of the virtue of frugality. Proverbs 31 inspires women especially in the ways of frugality and industriousness. Frugality is about simplicity and prudence. It’s about prioritizing the things that are important to us, including our fellow neighbors, and spending money on those things.
With age comes some wisdom. I still love a good deal but I don’t want to be called cheap and I’d rather do without than to buy something that is shoddy or won’t last. So, that’s where Frugal Style comes from. I hope that you can be inspired by ways to save money and develop your virtue of simplicity and frugality!