The Cheapskate Dilemma

The Cheapskate Dilemma
The Cheapskate Dilemma

Those of us that are frugal or cheap often debate about how much to share with others about our money habits. We wonder if maybe it’s easier to not share my opinion, just nod my head and agree. Or maybe I should just fib a little to hide my true feelings about how others spend their money? If someone likes my top, do I admit that I got it at Goodwill for $2? Or maybe I should just say a polite ‘thank you’ and leave it at that. This is what I refer to as the Cheapskate Dilemma.

Self Esteem and Confidence

I admit sometimes when my self-esteem is low, I don’t want to hear the potential ridicule of others. If you’re one of those people that just exudes confidence and you don’t care what people think of you, you probably love sharing your personal stuff, including your spending habits, with everyone. Most of us though are not overly confident and prefer to keep some things to ourselves. We don’t want others to judge us for spending too much or too little or being cheap. We like to fit in with the crowd. I often pretend to keep up with the Joneses, when actually I enjoy not spending frivolously and instead spending money on what truly matters to me.

Who is a Cheapskate?

As a continuous learner and someone that is curious, I decided to investigate and see if I could find any statistics on what percentage of people call themselves cheapskates. You know what I found? Nothing. There are various articles out there about the differences of being “frugal” versus “cheap” or how different people spend their money. However, I couldn’t find any statistics. I’m guessing people don’t like to classify themselves into one type of money habit. Or maybe, like me, the prefer to keep some habits to themselves.

Comments From the Spend-Thrifts

Spendthrift – a person who spends wastefully” ~Merriam-Webster dictionary

Hey, if they can call me names, I can call them names, right? Okay, maybe not the right way to go about it. I guess you can call people what they are, but I doubt many people would actually admit that they tend to spend “wastefully” because no one wants to be categorized as wasteful.

Thrift Store
Thrift Stores offer a bounty of quality merchandise.

I have a co-worker that made a comment about a new Goodwill store going up right down the street from her house. (Goodwill is a large chain of non-profit thrift stores in Arizona and several other states in the U.S.) One day, she says to me: “Ugh. A new Goodwill store just opened in my neighborhood, here come all the riff-raff.”

Now, I debated whether to tell her that I actually shop at Goodwill – it’s a great place to buy clothes, shoes, household goods, and even furniture, especially during their 50% off everything sales. I decided to just keep my mouth shut since I didn’t want to get into a lengthy discussion or a look of pity that sometimes crosses non-frugal people’s faces. It’s unfortunate that I still remember that comment, and continue to think – well, I guess I’m part of the “riff-raff”.

Don’t Put A Label On Us. Any of Us.

I often feel like people discriminate against the people that like to save a few bucks. There are so many labels that are used, including: Poor, Frugal, Cheap, Thrifty, Tightwad, and even Lazy. You can’t label people just because of how they spend or save their money. It’s not fair! I prefer to be called “smart with my money” and that’s why I titled my website “The Wise Squirrel” – because I’m a smart little saver with the ability to squirrel away my money for the future.

Pitbull in Squirrel costume
My best friend showing her support for The Wise Squirrel.

Do What You Love, Love What You Do

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started ignoring the naysayers as much as I can and take it upon myself to do my own thing. For me, I love saving money… as opposed to those people that love spending money. I’ve really never enjoyed spending money, whether it was my own, my parents, my grandparents, my friends, or even my company’s. For example, I remember traveling for work and unlike some people that would go to a steak restaurant for dinner since the company is paying for it, I would go to a cheaper alternative – small casual restaurant or fast food because I didn’t feel it was right to spend more than necessary.

be happy with what you have
Be happy with what you have.

I love finding a bargain, and I love saving money, so that’s what I do. For me, it’s a choice. I don’t have to save money just to get by, but still, I do it. If you want to save money, do it. You don’t need to share your financial situation with others – unless you are married, then you probably should be open about finances. I used to always feel the need to justify to others why I was trying to save money or get a good deal on something. Now, I do it occasionally with family, friends and co-workers. I don’t need validation from them! I choose to share my story and experiences here. I know some people will call me cheap and think less of me for trying to save a buck here and there, but I enjoy what I do, I love it actually, and I’m not going to let anyone destroy my love for saving money!

Do you have any stories about you or someone you know spending in a way you disagreed with? Do you voice your opinion?

Please share any comments you have below. Thanks for reading! Stay Wise, Live Richly, and as always, Enjoy the Journey!

4 thoughts on “The Cheapskate Dilemma

  1. Great article. I can relate to what you wrote. Especially about discrimination towards people who like to save. I consider myself frugal and I am content with that. I like having money in the bank. And sometimes when friends want to go out and spend money on dinner, I’ll stay home and cook. Yes, they may poke fun and make comments like “don’t be cheap”. It’s innocent and I don’t take it personal but I try to convey to them the importance of saving and not dining out three to four times a week. I’ve actually helped a few friends change their spending habits.

    1. That’s great that you helped some friends change their spending habits! That’s the best feeling – when you can help someone else. I think you are right to not take things personally, you just continue to be content with how you live your life. Thanks for your comment! I’m happy to see another frugal person being smart with their money! ~Jen

  2. Hey Jen, excellent article and completely agree with you. I am not a cheapskate (unfortunately), but would love to be more like one, I have a few friends that never spend any money at all, work almost every day and have plenty of money for vacations and houses, while have others who like going out spending on friends and have nothing, really puts things on perspective and explains why I have nothing haha, thanks for this, it gave me a new perspective on this issue and perhaps it’s time for a change.

    1. I think we can all take a look at how we spend money every once in awhile. Some of us may be too frugal or cheap and some may be too frivolous with their spending. I can sometimes find myself in the former category and need to loosen my purse strings sometimes. Haha! Glad you enjoyed the article! Thanks for your comment!

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