Hip to be Frugal

By Kelly Hodges
For some reason, the word frugal has a negative connotation associated with it.  Being frugal has been equated with being cheap, even though the two are actually quite different.  Frugal is defined as “sparing or economical with regard to money,” and has synonyms of “thrifty” and “economical.”  Cheap, on the other hand, is defined as “low in price” with synonyms of “low” and “shoddy”.  Clearly the two are not synonymous by dictionary definition, and they are not the same when used as a personal descriptor either.

Let’s look at an example.  Say there is a frugal person and a cheap person and they both need to buy a rake. The frugal person will recognize that their rake is reaching the end of its lifespan, and will buy a new one at the end-of-season sale when rakes are marked down on clearance.  Due to this forethought they will get a sturdy, good quality $25 rake for the price of $10.  Now this frugal person will be all set when the 1st leaves fall the next autumn and won’t have to pay premium prices in September.

The cheap person, on the other hand, will wait until their rake breaks and then go to the store and buy whichever rake costs the least amount of money.  The $10 rake they purchase is rickety and will likely break again fairly soon.  Both the frugal person and cheap person have spent $10 on their new rake, but the frugal person has received far more VALUE for their dollar.  That is the difference, and it is a big one.

It is easy to be cheap.  Being frugal takes work.  It takes planning.  It requires thought.  It is an admiral quality, and with the current economy a quality that more should aspire to.  If you are working on your own frugality, congratulations, and keep up the good work.  Being “economical with regard to money” is an extremely positive quality, and never a “shoddy” thing to do.

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