Judged as being cheap when being frugal: Expierences?


Hey community, I haven’t yet introduced myself, but my name is Anne, 25 years old, and i’m located in Sanford, FL which is just north of Orlando. I’m a fan of J$, Paula Pant (how cool would real estate be!?), MMM, and I’ll be honest, Dave Ramsey lol.
I am on this site to talk money guilt free, and I know ill have some deeper questions in the future, but this one is the one thats come up today.

My question today is about frugality vs. being a complete cheapskate.

I feel I hover on this line, but personally I don’t think most of my actions would be considered Cheap.
This question comes out of being judged recently by my SO, who believes all the effort I put into making my dollars go further is cheap and unnecessary. This was sparked by suggesting we park in a Publix parking lot and take a $5 Uber to the destination vs. Pay the $22 parking fee (a savings of $12 for a 5 min ride each way).

Do you feel judged by others, specifically SO’s, Parents, good friends, close coworkers, for your day to day journey in spending less to ultimately save more? They obviously don’t get that I have a plan, but its so hard to explain to people who really don’t think its possible.

I’m very much on the “Save More!” side of minding the gap vs making more (I’ve got a good 9-5 job right now, but am still on the sidelines of starting a hustle). My goal is FI.

Cant wait to be more involved in this forum!


It’s tough. Being on the same page as your partner is huge. I assume my straddling the line between frugal and cheap is one of the main reasons I continue to be single.

In your example, consider the cost of your time. If you have to wait around 15 minutes for the uber driver, is the extra $12 worth it? Just giving you the significant other perspective.

My parents don’t judge me for my frugality. They think it’s cool that it allows me to make different life choices than they did. My big struggle is talking about my frugalty in a way that doesn’t make it sound like my choice is superior than there’s.


Haven’t had anyone mention it yet, but I’m ready for that conversation with a ton of firepower. Here’s my lecture to whomever decides to call me out. :joy:

There’s a big difference between being cheap and being frugal. The difference is value. Being cheap is spending less money for the sake of…spending less money.

If my dog needed to see a vet and I was cheap, I would say “Nope, I’d rather save a few hundred bucks”. If I’m frugal, I would say “Few hundred bucks? That’s worth keeping the thing that brings me joy alive as long as possible - let’s see if that’s the best available option, maybe there’s a better option for even less”.

Being cheap is not understanding the concept of value. Being frugal is understanding value and maximizing every dollar to it’s greatest potential. In our case, the greatest potential is financial freedom. Hence the value, to our frugality.


I have heard this mentioned before and honestly it depends if you view being cheap as negative. Personally, I view frugal and cheap the same. I wear my cheapness as a badge of honor. Luckily, my husband is just as cheap if not worse so it doesn’t really come up as a problem in our relationship. :nerd: Guess that wasn’t very helpful


Take a listen to this episode of Martinis and Your Money - you won’t feel alone! :slight_smile:


My big struggle is talking about my frugalty in a way that doesn’t make it sound like my choice is superior than there’s.

I have that problem with my family members sometimes, as well. But that’s probably because I do think it’s the superior choice!


Yes, it can be tricky to strike the balance between saving money and being frugal, and just being cheap. As @_TJ mentioned it’s important to be on the same page as a partner-have you talked about why saving money is important to you?

I get around this by not talking about my spending choices with anyone except my husband. My co-workers are a bunch of big spenders, many of whom have two incomes (we have one, my husband is a SAHD) and like to buy new cars, large home improvements, expensive vacations and second homes. I just nod, smile, and talk about their purchases instead of talking about mine. Heck, if they have different priorities than I do, that’s fine!

As for my husband, he originally had a very different money mindset than me. I’ve been interested in personal finance, saving, and investing since I was a teenager (odd, I know) but him-not so much. After going through multiple emergencies (job loss, medical emergency) he’s seen the light. He’s also seen the magic of compound interest at work through my savings and investments of our income over our 15 year marriage. Although he’s not nearly as interested in finances as I am, he’s come a long way over that time.


The value is real, i currently measure in “how much time did I have to work to buy this” and it really influences my purchases. So when I see frivolous spending, it makes me mad about all the hours I had to work for virtually nothing.


@ChiefMomOfficer thanks for saying he wasn’t immediately on board, give me hope lol


I get this a lot, particularly from coworkers but sometimes from my mom. Usually it’s just them “not getting it,” and in those cases, they’ve never really been pushy. I explain why I do it and usually people are like, “Oh, cool” and it’s left at that.

This was already discussed a little above, but when I notice that people do get really pushy is if I act a little bit superior. Like, “Oh, let me tell you how I do that cheaper” or otherwise act as if my way is the only way. I often DO think it’s the objectively best way. In truth, we don’t know the realities of all the variables that can impact someone’s decision, since those are uniquely personal for everyone. I try to generally try to stay out of or otherwise be very gentle in discussions about purchases these days.


I’ll use a tool for an example. A cheapskate will buy the cheapest hammer that will get the job done today. A frugal person will spend more on a higher quality hammer. The amount more is usually in relation to how much the hammer will be used. Often times the cheapskate will buy several hammers and actually spend more than the frugal person who bought only one high quality hammer. I am a frugal person.


I am definitely not frugal, but I’m very minimalist. I choose this because I just like the freedom from ‘stuff’, but sometimes I think that people think that I’m being cheap or depriving myself by living tiny, not having a car, etc… Totally on the contrary. This allows me to be free to be mobile, and since I’m a free spirit, that is the most important thing to me. I’d rather just spend my money on experiences, over things.