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How To Determine If You Are Being Frugal Or Downright Cheap


As you and your family start to get serious about having a budget and about trying to keep expenses under control, there may come a time when you really need to figure out if you’re being frugal, or if you’re being downright cheap. Here’s a relatively simple way to figure that out.

While it’s true that those of us who are in the process of trying to get our finances under control will often focus on money, there’s also the issue of time. For example, does it really make sense to spend 2 hours clipping a grand total of $7 worth of coupons? Maybe, but probably not.

There’s no exact formula, and everyone will feel a little bit different about this, but you need to really try and measure whether or not the amount of time it takes to get something done is worthwhile relative to the amount of savings you hope to generate. Does that make sense?

Someone who is willing to drive around town for an extra 45 minutes because they want to save a few pennies on gas when they get more fuel is likely to be labeled by any occupants as being cheap. On the other hand, if you’re leaving the grocery store and you drive an extra two miles up the road to get your gas at a station that has a special sale, then you’re being frugal. In other words, you’re not engaging in extreme behavior that requires a lot of time and effort that ultimately only derives a relatively paltry amount of savings.

If you look at everything you and your family do through the prism of what others might be thinking, you might come to the conclusion that you’re being a bit too cheap at times. Nobody is going to like you if inconvenience others in a vein attempt to save a few pennies. That kind of behavior will universally result in you being described by anyone who comes into contact with you as being “cheap” behavior. Yes, it’s good to be frugal — but remember — being cheap typically means you’re not being wise with the use of your time.

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