Tip #43 - How to Be Frugal Without Being Cheap. Being frugal is different than being cheap. Being frugal is not going to restaurants because you are trying to save money. Being cheap is going to restaurants and not leaving a tip even though you got good service. Being frugal is giving a special birthday gift that you bought with coupons for a great price. Being cheap is giving a birthday gift from the dollar store when you can afford more. Being frugal is going to a party and giving a present that you can afford so you can enjoy in the celebration. Being cheap is going to a party so you can eat dinner there for free. You get the point. There is frugal and there is cheap. There is nothing wrong with being frugal. Cheap...well that's another story.
It's okay to try to save money. It's okay to cut back on eating out, to not buy drinks when you do eat out, to skip souvenirs when you travel, to give a birthday present that you bought on a great sale. It's not okay to try to stiff your eating companions with the bill or to eat out at a fancy restaurant at dinner time and share one appetizer. It's not acceptable to give your parents a dollar store present for their 50th wedding anniversary when you have $50,000 in the bank. It's not okay to chip in $10 for an office wedding gift when everyone else is chipping in $20 (unless you really cannot afford it).
There are times when you do just have to go along with the crowd. And if you don't have the money to do it, then you shouldn't be there.
In Real Life (IRL) - I am frugal. I try not to be cheap. I try to save money. I have shared with you many ways that I do that. I buy my children's birthday gifts on sale. I get them things at yard sales. But if someone comes to my daughter's birthday party and gives a $25 gift card, I cannot give them a $5 t-shirt that I bought on sale. I think that is cheap because I can afford to give a $25 gift. If you cannot afford $25 then I do not think it is cheap.
This week my daughter's class was collecting money for a Christmas present for the teacher. My daughter was sick and I never made it to school to put in any money. So I called the woman in charge and she told me that they gave $100 and signed the whole class's name to it so I shouldn't worry. I asked if she collected the full $100 or if she needed more money. She said they collected $100. Well, I could have gotten away with not giving my daughter's teacher a Christmas gift. After all, she'd never know since the whole class's name was signed to the group gift. But to me, that is cheap. So I gave her a separate monetary gift that I would have donated to the group gift and told her I wasn't able to contribute to the group gift. So it wasn't frugal, but it wasn't cheap either. Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Happy Kwaanza, and Happy Holidays.