Brandon Henderson
The Difference Between Being Frugal or Cheap Brandon Henderson

When it comes to budgeting, there can be a misconception that those who are living on a budget are ‘cheap’.

This mistaken label often comes from those who have never lived on a budget and have no idea what it takes. They have no understanding to the conscious effort it takes to be good with your money.

I have talked to many people who even shy away from telling others that they are living on a budget for fear of being seen as ‘cheap’. This has always bothered me because being careful with your money should never be looked at in a negative way.

But, there are certain differences about being frugal or being cheap.

We work hard for our money, giving up much of our free time in doing so. We owe it to ourselves to be careful with our finances and analyze our expenses.

However, there is a proper way to do this and it is known as being frugal.

So lets break down the differences between being cheap & frugal.


Being frugal is a complete awareness and strategy to how your money is being spent. Frugal people look at there finances in a different way than most.

Instead of looking at what they want in life, frugal individuals will focus more on what is needed. They then break down each need and work on ways to make each area in their life more financially efficient.

A frugal person does not spontaneously buy a vehicle. They will do research into finding what makes have they best re-sale value. Which engines will preform consistent for the longest time with the least amount of mechanical issues.

They will look into vehicles fuel mileage and performance in certain extreme weather conditions (ice, snow etc.). There purchase is not based on what they want, but what will be the best use of their hard earned money.

Living on a budget is much the same. The most successful budgets in the world are ones that focus on making each expense as efficient as possible. These budgets focus on you getting the most value for your money.

I will say that again.

“A frugal person focuses on getting the most/best value for their money.”

Their purchases are not persuaded by desire or preference. They shop around, look for deals, buy used whenever possible.

A great book that expresses this point even further is:

The Millionaire Next Door

By Thomas J. Stanley & William D. Danko

An absolutely great book that shows how many of the millionaires living today have reached their financial success by living a frugal, disciplined life.

Being frugal is a great practice and in most cases can be the difference maker to many peoples financial woes.

Take a look at area’s in your life and find ways to be more frugal if possible.


A cheap person is someone who is not willing to pay the true value or their fair share to a service or product.

Looking for deals and trying to get the most for your money is one thing.

But, being cheap is much worse and denying someone or somethings true value is another.

A cheap person will do their best to mooch and get things for free. They are the people who complain at every restaurant they go to, in hopes of getting a free meal.

The people who hire someone to do a service and then delay payment in hopes that the person will eventually just give up and quit asking to be paid.

This is why it has always bothered me when I see a frugal person being labelled as ‘cheap’.

A cheap person will focus on their wants, rather than their needs. Then exhaust all energy in avoiding payment or minimizing payment. This in turn causes others to either lose money, or sell themselves short.

They want their cake and to eat it too.

Frugal people should not be roped into this negativity.

There is nothing wrong with being frugal. Being conscious about your spending and doing the best to maximize your finances is something to strive for.

If you are building your first budgets and looking to be successful, focus on being frugal. Focus on making the best decisions you can with your money but don’t ever be cheap.

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