I’ve never been fond of these descriptives. I’ve also never been fond of the images associated with these words and I certainly would not categorize myself as either cheap or frugal. Surprised?
I prefer to think in terms of being conscious or being aware. In other words, thrifty. Thrifty is defined as – (of a person or their behavior) using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully. That’s the key for me – not wastefully. I’m neither cheap nor frugal – I’m thrifty.
I think the reason I struggle with the word ‘cheap’ is the fact that a lot ‘cheap’ stuff is just that ‘cheap’ – or of inferior quality and wasteful. Cheap isn’t always associated with quality or respect for our finite resources, actually, oftentimes, just the opposite…just look at how many ‘cheap’ plastic toys break just after one use?
The word, frugal is defined as – sparing or economical with regard to money or food. While being frugal is wonderful, it can come across as being a bit dull or limiting (not true I know, but some do fear this)…Now some may think this is silly – it’s simply a matter of semantics, right? Perhaps you are right, but for me, the word ‘thrifty’ is all about being aware of our money and our finite resources and I’m all about that.
I think if everyone was a bit more ‘thrifty’ (mindful), we’d all be a bit better off…it’s an advantageous lifestyle – not only for our own individual selves and others, but the planet as well.