Frugal Vs. Cheap: Which Are You?

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Frugal, cheap, tightwad, miser, tightfisted, penny pincher. . .

We tend to use all of these words interchangeably to refer to people who are tight with their money, but there is a distinct difference.

The Definition of Cheap

Cheap has a negative connotation, as does tightwad, miser, and tightfisted, perhaps with good reason.  If you look up the meaning of cheap, you’ll see it says, “giving or sharing as little as possible” (Merriam-Webster).

Scrooge in A Christmas Carol is the perfect example of someone who is cheap. 

He does whatever he can to hoard as much money as possible and does not want to share with others.  We’ve even coined a term for people who don’t want to share or aren’t charitable–scrooges–after the character in A Christmas Carol.

I had a friend in graduate school who, if he took a girl out to a dance club, would only take her when it was ladies’ night and the woman got in free.  Then he expected his date to split his cost to get in!  When he took a date out to eat, he only went during happy hour and would only order off the appetizer menu so he could get the food half price.
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The Trick’s On You If You Pay Too Much For Halloween Costumes!

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Halloween is great fun!  I can honestly say it’s one of my favorite holidays.

Here’s the one holiday where you are allowed to dress up and go around asking people for candy.  And they give it to you!

I remember how exciting it was going around town in my Halloween costume, getting candy from all of the neighbors.  Some years I would really score.  We’d go visit my grandparents in the Bronx and go up and down their apartment building visiting as many doors as I could (don’t worry, the grand’rents and the ‘rents made sure all the candy was good to eat).

And do you remember those old Halloween costumes?

You know the ones that came in a box and it was made up of a thin plastic mask with eye holes that hurt and the mask would be full of sweat before long (because it was a big piece of plastic covering your face) and it was held onto your head with an elastic string with a couple of staples that usually didn’t last the night and the body of the costume was a plastic sack-like piece you climbed into which also didn’t make it through the night?

Those were great!

I remember one year I was Chewbacca and another I was Yoda ( I remember terrorizing my younger sister with those masks too.  I was such a stinker!).  I’m sure I was Superman and Batman as well.

I love being able to go through all that now through the eyes of my kids.

But have you seen the price of Halloween costumes these days?!?
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7 Ways Your Large Family Can Keep Frugal and Not Go Broke

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The average American family has 2.1 children (Hoover Institution). 

However, there are many families that exceed that number.

If you look at celebrities, there are families like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who have 6 kids, and you can’t forget the Duggars, who make headlines with their 19 children.

Of course, plenty of non-celebrity families have large families.

My son is only in 4th grade, but one of his classmates, who is the oldest in the family, already has 6 younger siblings.  Though large families aren’t as common as they were 60 years ago, they still exist.

While all of us need to stretch a buck to some extent, for those with large families, the need is even more important because there are so many mouths to feed and people to clothe and house.

However, there are plenty of ways that large families can save money.

Here Are 7 Ways A Large Family Can Be Frugal

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Do You Really Need the Best of the Best for Your Home?

Channels like HGTV have spawned our interest in housing and all things interior and exterior design. 

A house isn’t nice enough if it doesn’t have granite countertops and a gourmet kitchen.  No longer is the master bedroom simply bigger than the other bedrooms in the home.  Instead, we want an en suite complete with a large bathroom (his and her sinks are a must), walk in closets with built in shelves and a sitting area.  The bathroom must have a Jacuzzi hot tub.

Really?

When did this become the norm?

Of course it’s nice to live in lavish surroundings, but if you have trouble making ends meet or have debt to pay off, do you really need all of this?

Houses 60 Years Ago Were Very Different

The simple truth is that 50 or 60 years ago, houses were much simpler.
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How to Save on Running Shoes, Gear, and Events

As the season warms up I look forward to lacing up the old running shoes again. I know there are hard-core runners who run through winter but that’s just not something for me (yet).

When I start the season off I try to take it easy and keep my run leisurely.  And yet I’ll still try to do too much and forget that it takes some time to build up my conditioning.  The next couple of days after that inaugural run are always fun [ouch]!

I got to thinking about how simple it is to run.

Here is this wonderful exercise that just about anyone can do.  People pay hundreds in gym memberships and buy expensive machines for home to workout when a simple run may be all they need.

What’s it take to run?  Go out and move faster than a walk!  I think maybe your feet have to leave the ground at some point.

But then I thought about it and I realized running can be expensive as well.

Here’s How You Can Save on Running Shoes, Gear, and Events

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Is it Better to Rent Or Buy Stuff? – Renting Items To Save Money

My friend’s parents were recently locked in a marital battle.

They wanted to travel from Michigan to Florida for a wedding, and she wanted to fly for free using frequent flier miles they had accrued.  The transportation cost for the trip would be limited to the car they would rent for three days when in Florida.

He, on the other hand, thought it was silly to rent a car when theirs worked perfectly fine.  He wanted to make the 24 hour drive down to Florida for their three day trip.  He was sure this was the cheaper way to travel, even though they would have to pay for gas and put wear and tear on the car.

Ah, the rental battle.

Is it worthwhile to pay for a rental?  The answer, in all honesty, is often that it depends.  However, in this case, simple math would have shown him that her plan would have been the cost saver.

Marital battle aside, we Americans don’t often think of renting outside of cars and apartments.  Instead, our first thought tends to go to ownership.

There are just a few things we automatically think of renting–of course, cars when we are traveling, tuxedos when our children are going to prom or when men get married, apartments, sure.  But for most other temporary needs, we tend to buy instead of rent.

However, if we could let go of this mindset, we may save a substantial amount of money.

How to Determine If It Is Better to Rent or Buy

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How to Spend Less on Some of Your ‘Needs’

How many times have your children said, “I need this?”

Or how many times has your spouse said it?  What about you?  How many times have you said it?

At the risk of dragging out the old, “I had to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow,” argument, what Americans consider a need today is much different from the past.

In addition, Americans have created a culture in which the concept of “need” is much different from anywhere else in the world.

Enough about historical comparisons and international economics.  Let’s look at a few examples of what Americans today consider needs and just how ridiculous (and expensive) they are.  While we’re at it, let’s consider some common sense alternatives.

How You Can Spend Less on These ‘Needs’

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