Am I frugal or cheap is a question I recently asked myself. I consider a lot of things when trying to come to a conclusion. I considered my income, the things I am willing to pay for, and the things I am not.
After much thought, while mowing my lawn, I’m not sure of the answer. So I’d figure I’d open it up for discussion here on the blog in hopes to come to come to a final solution on my frugality or cheapness.
Before we do that, let me state my case. Here ‘s the overview of the three areas I consider when trying to answer the question myself.
Now income, as a number I don’t believe can define someone as frugal or cheap but helps sets a baseline. The starting point for comparisons. Someone making twenty-five thousand dollars a year would have a different baseline than someone making seventy-five thousand a year for their level of frugality or cheapness.
Our family makes a six-figure income. So our baseline in pretty high. We do live in the Northeast. Long Island, New York to be exact, where property taxes are high, and general cost of living is above average. Here’s is one of my favorite memes to explain.
It’s one I show my three children often. I’m not complaining, just giving you the facts. We make six-figures but live in one of the most expensive areas in the United States.
So please take that into account as you make your decision whether you think I’m frugal or cheap.
Things I Will Not Pay For
Now on to the things I will not pay for category to help determine if I’m frugal or cheap. I’m of the mindset if I can do it myself why pay someone else. I do agree that time is our most precious and valuable commodity, so it’s essential to strike a balance. But I find it hard to part with my cash for these items.
Lawn Care/Yard Work – I mow my lawn, rake my leaves, weed my weeds, etc. I get help from the family. To be fair, I have paid big stuff like for tree trimming and removal over the years.
House Cleaning – I vacuum, mop, clean the bathrooms, do laundry with the best of them. It’s really not that hard. Sure it can be time-consuming, but the thought of paying for thins bugs me.
Car Wash – I have water, soap and a bucket. I do not need to pay $15-20 for someone or some machine to wash my car. I have during the winters when the salt and sand is terrible in the Northeast have had my vehicle cleaned professional, if that what you consider a car wash.
Assembling/Installation – If and when we buy something that needs assembling or installation, I’m a DIYer. I’m not paying an extra fee to have some build a bike, or a barbeque or a something from IKEA for me. Sorry just not going to shell out extra cash for something I can do myself.
Things I Will Pay For
Auto Repair – I know how and have changed my oil, but don’t anymore. I have a local mechanic I use. He’s honest and reliable. He runs the shop, and his wife runs the office. I have no problem coughing up $25 for an oil change or any other repairs our cars need.
Pet Care – We day our two dogs for regular visits to the veterinarian and buy them quality dog food. We are not about to skimp on their care or buy whatever crap dog food is on sale for them.
Haircuts – Let’s face facts. My wife will never let me cut her hair, and I don’t have many left to play a game of Russian roulette with clippers or scissors. We pay for haircuts plan and simple.
So to further research my question on whether I was frugal or cheap I went to google and found a recent CNBC article and Survey from SickDeals.
There had an interesting breakdown of varies categories to help determine if someone was frugal or cheap. See survey results below:
I have certainly participated in many in the frugal category. I use coupons, and I purchased off-brand or no name products and food. We keep an eye on heating and cooling. We track entertainment cost.
On the cheap list, we have re-gifted an item or two. I have left a poor tip when service has been bad but never left any tip at all. So I can’t say I have been involved in any of the others.
That’s all I’ve got. So what do you think? Am I frugal or cheap? What about you, do you consider your spending habits frugal or cheap? What motivates them?
Brian is a Dad, husband, and an IT professional by trade. A Personal Finance Blogger since 2013. Who, with his family, has successfully paid off over $100K worth of consumer debt. Now that Brian is debt-free, his mission is to help his three children prepare for their financial lives and educate others to achieved financial success. Brian is involved in his local community. As a Financial Committee Chair with the Board of Education of his local school district, he has helped successfully launch a K-12 financial literacy program in a six thousand student district.