People often claim to be frugal, but sometimes they are just cheap. It’s essential to understand the difference between the two.
Frugal individuals tend to have a specific goal when cutting back on expenses, such as saving for investments, paying off debt, or increasing their savings account.
Furthermore, frugal people cut back on expenses that impact themselves.
On the other hand, being cheap often involves sacrificing the needs of others to save a few pennies.
It’s vital to recognize the signs someone is not frugal but cheap.
Below we have the Signs Someone is Not Living a Frugal Lifestyle but just a Very Cheap Person.
1. Lack of Generosity
If you’ve ever encountered someone who arrives at a special occasion empty-handed, it’s safe to say that they lack generosity.
This behavior is typically associated with being cheap rather than frugal.
The only exception to this is if they genuinely cannot afford to purchase gifts, in which case their financial situation is understandable.
However, if you know that they have the means to attend concerts, bars, and sporting events, yet choose not to spend money on gifts when attending events, then they are cheap.
On the other hand, a frugal person understands the importance of reciprocity in a relationship.
They strive to only take when they know they can contribute to the relationship.
Frugal is about budgeting, finding great deals, and living a minimalist lifestyle to save money and help the environment.
Frugal individuals are still generous, and while they may not spend exorbitant amounts during holidays or special occasions, they will still give thoughtful gifts that the recipient will appreciate.
Therefore, if someone with the means shows up empty-handed, it’s not because they are frugal but because they are cheap.
2. Always Borrowing
It’s perfectly fine to borrow from others occasionally, but when someone is constantly relying on others for their needs to be fulfilled, then it is a sign of being cheap.
It’s not ideal to repeatedly borrow the same items or keep something you borrowed for an extended period of time because you’re using it frequently.
When constantly borrowing the same things repeatedly, it is not considered frugal but cheap.
Additionally, continually borrowing someone else’s items can cause them to wear down over time, which isn’t fair to the person lending them.
Being frugal means only borrowing when necessary and buying things that are used repeatedly.
Furthermore, it’s always best to return borrowed items promptly.
3. Excessively Bargains
It’s becoming more and more common for people to buy from other individuals through peer-to-peer online shopping platforms like Mercari, eBay, and Poshmark.
These sites allow buyers to negotiate with sellers and make offers.
How someone bargains can distinguish them as either frugal or cheap.
A frugal person will make a reasonable offer that isn’t offensive to the seller.
In contrast, a cheap person is only concerned with paying the least amount possible for an item, regardless of whether the seller loses money.
A cheap person focuses on getting the best deal for themselves without considering the seller’s expenses or profits. [Read also: Benefits of Being Frugal]
They don’t care who they financially harm as long as they get a great bargain.
Therefore, excessive bargaining is another sign someone is not frugal but cheap.
4. Expects Others to Pay
A person who constantly takes from others without giving back is a sign someone is not living a frugal lifestyle but just a very cheap person.
This type of individual does not regard others as they always expect everyone else to pay for their expenses.
It’s common to come across individuals who always expect others to pay for things.
They might share a sad story about their financial struggles or refuse to attend an event unless someone else picks up the tab.
These individuals are often referred to as “cheap” and tend to use other people to their financial advantage.
Some may even go as far as dating others solely to have their bills paid for them.
This can include using someone as a meal ticket or having their significant other pay for their living expenses. This behavior is not considered frugal but cheap.
On the other hand, frugal individuals will politely decline an invitation if they’re not willing to spend the money and would never dream of accepting someone else’s offer to cover their expenses.
Frugal individuals have a deep respect for others and never try to exploit their generosity.
For a frugal individual, it is important to not be seen as solely a taker is not their goal.
5. Only Spends on Themselves
It’s unfortunate when individuals only spend their money on themselves and neglect to provide for their loved ones.
Perhaps they splurge on luxury items for themselves while their partner and children have to settle for second-hand clothing.
Sometimes, they may even expect their spouse to foot the bills and support the family while they enjoy all the perks of their hard-earned money (exceptions do apply here).
This kind of behavior is not only selfish but also ungenerous.
On the other hand, frugal individuals tend to budget and plan their finances carefully but not at the expense of their families.
Frugal individuals believe in sharing wealth and spending equally amongst their loved ones. By doing so, they ensure that everyone’s needs are met.
6. Skips Unnecessary Purchases
When someone is focused on being cheap, they may overlook important purchases such as car repairs or insurance coverage.
These short-term savings can end up costing more in the long run.
For instance, avoiding car repairs may seem like a money-saver, but it could lead to a dangerous accident that costs much more in the end.
Skipping out on necessary insurance is also a sign of being cheap, whether it’s not getting enough car insurance to protect other drivers or opting out of health insurance for the family.
On the other hand, being frugal means spending money on essential repairs for safety and not skimping on insurance coverage just to save a few bucks.
7. Backs out of Social Gatherings
Some people may have different approaches to spending habits when attending social events like weddings, birthdays, or celebration dinners.
While some may be hesitant to part with their money and ultimately back out of the event altogether, others prefer to budget accordingly so they can attend and celebrate important milestones with the people they care about.
The latter group understands the value of maintaining strong relationships and prioritizes these connections over their wallets.
Furthermore, a frugal person would never back out of an event they RSVP’d for in advance because they don’t want to spend the money on gifts.
This is especially true when knowing dinner is at cost per plate at the host’s expense.
8. Constantly Complains about Prices
A person labeled as cheap is often heard grumbling about the cost of anything and everything, even if it’s on sale or discounted.
A person with a cheap mindset feels everything costs too much, be it groceries or clothing.
Cheap individuals are averse to spending money, regardless of the amount involved, and may feel uneasy when swiping their card to pay for things, leading to complaints.
On the other hand, frugal people have a good grip on their finances and have planned a budget that suits them.
They understand the need to pay their way in society without grumbling or complaining.
9. Doesn't Pay Fair Share
People who are frugal are mindful of their spending plan ahead for their expenses, ensuring they can afford to cover their share.
Frugal individuals don’t want to burden others with their costs, so they make sure they have enough money to cover their portion of dinner or a hotel booking.
It’s smart to live within your means and avoid unnecessary debt.
On the other hand, stingy people constantly search for ways to avoid paying their fair share.
Whether splitting the cost of a hotel room or going out to eat, they will try to shift the burden of payment onto anyone else.
This individual shows little regard for others as long as they don’t have to spend money.
In conclusion, distinguishing between being frugal and cheap is crucial. [Related: What Nobody Tells You About Being Frugal]
Frugal individuals cut back on personal expenses to meet specific goals, such as saving for investments, paying off debts, or increasing their savings account.
While, being cheap involves sacrificing the needs of others to save a few pennies.
Signs of being cheap include:
- A lack of generosity, constantly borrowing from others
- Taking from others without giving back
- Excessively bargaining
- Expecting others to pay
- Only spending on themselves
- Skipping necessary purchases
In contrast, frugal individuals budget, find great deals, and live a minimalist lifestyle to save money while being generous and contributing to relationships.
Sara is a writer for Amora V Lifestyle and is Co-Owner of Elizabeth Besich. Sara previously worked as a Marketing Manager and has her Master’s from Lindenwood University.
Sara studies everything of interest, from psychology, recipes, finances, mental health, and travel, thriving to find happiness and to live a good life.
When not learning, Sara loves all things outdoors, food, and hanging around great company. Furthermore, Sara loves spending time with family, who she is blessed to have in her life.
Note from the author: Through my articles, I hope to bring you joy and peace and that you enjoy it!