How to Stop Being Cheap? Strive for Frugal, Not Cheap

There are ways to change, people who are looking for ways on how to stop being cheap should know that this is a learned trait, and like any other, it can be changed, and learned to control. This article talks about being cheap, frugal and what is in between.

If you’re in the formative years of your life, trying to save money is not an unusual thought. It is even a practical one. However, some people can’t seem to get out of this frugality cycle even at later stages in their lives. Some would say that these people are just “cheap” by nature, and their lives revolve around money.

While some would say being “cheap” or at least a money saver isn’t all without cause, others question, “How cheap is too cheap”? Is sticking to a budget smart, or would shrinking the budget even further be smarter? How frugal can you get before it starts becoming damaging? Let’s have a look at this from a logical perspective.

How to stop being cheap? Are You Frugal or Cheap?

how to stop being cheap

Being frugal isn’t exactly being cheap. Let’s have a look at their Google dictionary meanings, to begin with.

Frugal is defined as “sparing or economical as regards money or food”, or “simple and plain and costing little”. On the other hand,

the definition of cheap shows up as “low in price, especially in relation to similar items or services” or “of little worth because achieved in a discreditable way requiring little effort”.

One can clearly tell there’s a difference. While being frugal is associated closely with strategizing and planning to save costs, being cheap means simply opting for the lower worth item. If you’re frugal, you might save some money, while being cheap will only end you up with poor quality things. 

People who have gone too far down the rabbit hole of being cheap sometimes even lose track of how far it has gone. Some so-called “cheap” folks are cheap or stingy when it comes to giving something to someone else.

Some grow so sensitive to spending any money that they don’t really mind having poor quality things or even a low-quality lifestyle in general.

Reasons to Stop Being Cheap

One could argue if it really matters at all to not have something premium quality at all! Let us have a look at some good reasons why you should stop being cheap. 

1. Compromise on good life experiences 

Let’s begin with the first and most obvious reason. If you’re too cheap with what you spend, you will most likely miss out on some good experiences and things that you could have spent reasonable amounts on without crossing your budget. You might regret not giving yourself that exposure at some point in life.

2. A nagging mindset

If your “don’t spend” attitude becomes an annoying mission, you could develop a nagging mindset about it. Nagging yourself and others around you about spending can be bad for your own mental health in the long run.

3. Driving people away

Not to mention, nobody likes a cheap person. If you’re a practical person who’s just trying to save and work within your budget – the right people will surely understand. But, being cheap can be a repulsion for people who’re just trying to have quality experiences in their life. For them, money is material, but it cannot be the basis of everything. 

4. Bad financial decisions

Contrary to what some believe, those stingy with their money often end up making bad financial decisions. Some are even stingy with the investments they make or stay limited to a small source of income without trying to grow in their career or invest passively. Coming out of your “I don’t want to spend” shell can actually help you look at some great financial management options.

5. You end up spending more!

Last but not least, those who try to save too much often end up spending more in the long run! There is plain logic to this. Cheaper things are likely to be lower in quality as well. While for some things like buying a cleaning rag, or something that you will replace soon enough, it won’t matter, for other things like clothing, furnishings and long-lasting items, it can make a difference. Poor quality things will just not last, and you will just end up spending more on it eventually!

How to Stop Being Cheap

how to stop being cheap
via flickr

Having looked at some good reasons to stop being cheap, the real question is how, in fact, can you stop being cheap. If you’re here reading this post, you probably wanted some perspective on how to change yours. 

Well, to be frank, it can be overwhelmingly difficult for a naturally stingy person to suddenly start spending more. If you’re one of those who divide the price of different items by the number of items in the pack to find which one falls cheaper, you’re way beyond just becoming a “spender” suddenly!

The good thing, however, is that you don’t need to spend too much to not be cheap. Spending unnecessarily doesn’t sit well even with some non-frugal folks, and so you don’t need to as well. The idea is to find a middle ground that can logically help solve your problems.

“Save enough but spend some” can be a good place to begin with. No one but you can decide what is worth spending money on for YOU. Don’t want to keep the air conditioning running for longer than it’s needed? Or are you against buying fancy things that just cost more? That’s totally fine. Saving on things that are either practically wasteful or don’t mean that much to you can be a good idea even.

On the other hand, did you stop yourself from buying that shirt that you really liked? Or didn’t you attend your close friend’s wedding because you didn’t want to pay for a present? These can be some significant problem areas.

If you find your extreme frugality hindering your experiences or perhaps even affecting your mental health at some point, it’s time to make the call.

In general, a pro tip on your path to stop being cheap is – start investing in your personal happiness and some great life experiences for what is in your budget!

Final Words

Thus, there is a thin line between being practical or frugal and being downright cheap. Thinking too much about how to efficiently maintain being cheap can be the downfall that you don’t want to experience.

Instead, try growing to understand money matters in a logical, situation-based, and practical way. While you need what you’re going to earn to last you in this lifetime, as they say, you’re not going to take any of it to the next. Maybe it’s time to start spending, but spending wisely for some things that matter to you!

About the Author: Noah Miller

Noah joined the team not so long ago after proving to be very knowledgable in the money jargon. Without a formal finance education, Noah has real life experience of handling money and investing.

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