When Saving Is Hurting
There's nothing wrong with wanting to save a little money. Why buy the name-brand aspirin when the store-brand, generic kind has the same ingredients and costs a few bucks less? That's totally acceptable and should be encouraged more. What's not fine is when your penny pinching crosses into overly absurd territory. Reddit user, u/WannaWaffle, wanted to know about those times when they asked: When does "frugal" cross the line to "cheapskate"?
Way To Contribute, Bro
So you know how when you have a get-together where people will be drinking, most people bring a few drinks to share, right? Or contribute in one way or another? Bring some beers, or a bottle of booze, or mixers, whatever?
I buy a huge bottle of vodka, my friend brings ice, and we ask our notoriously cheap friend to bring some orange juice so we can all enjoy some screwdrivers.
Upon arrival this dude pulls out an 8 oz recycled Poland Spring plastic bottle that he filled like halfway with some orange juice.
And it should be noted that this friend of ours is by FAR the most wealthy of ALL of us.
Just Get The Membership, Karen!
My wife refused for years to buy a Costco membership, while simultaneously forbidding me from buying things like bread and milk from anywhere but Costco.
She'd insist that I ask a friend with a membership every time we needed the smallest things. Her mom started gifting her a membership every year for Christmas so she'd stop demanding her to take her to Costco twice a week.
Seriously, Just Get Your Own, Shannon!
My mother in law won't shop at Costco (or any other membership club) bc she thinks it's outrageous that they charge a fee. Ok, fine, fair enough. But if they have something on sale that she wants, she will stand outside of Costco asking people if she can go in with them and give them cash so they can check out with it. She has done this a handful of times, and thinks she's so d-mn clever and smart.
She is an inoffensive 60's middle-upper middle class white woman, so I guess she just finds people who probably take pity on her or something. She has no effing dignity about stuff like that (there are other hideous examples), and what disgusts me the most is how she brags about it. Like she's smarter and better than all the 'fools' who pay for membership. God I can't stand that woman.
To Truly Know The Difference
When you avoid your share of the Bill. When you inconvenience others to save money. When you go to even moderate lengths to justify either one of these behaviors.
Frugal folks make PERSONAL consumer decisions that have Long term money saving benefits. Cheapskates pass their bill on to others.
When You Don't Burden Your Friends
I have many friends who are frugal, but one friend in particular who I see as cheap.
Here's the difference: if I suggest to one of my frugal friends that we go to a bar and they don't feel like spending money, they'll suggest another activity instead. "Why don't we drink at my house/hang out and watch a movie/go for a walk?" If I suggested the same thing to my cheap friend, his response would always be "I'll go if you buy my drinks."
Frugal people don't save money by burdening the people around them with their expenses. Cheap people have no problem doing that.
Wow, When It's All The Problems
My step-dad is the biggest, most embarrassing cheapskate I know so here are a couple examples of the most extreme things he does:
-reuses paper towels by hanging them out to dry in my mom's front yard
-uses free tires off of totaled cars whenever one of ours needs replacing (which, if you think this is a good idea, I've had two near death experiences to prove otherwise)
-rewashes my siblings disposable swim diapers, again hanging them out to dry in the front yard
-uses wash clothes as toilet paper and only flushes for #2
-puts bricks in the toilet tank so it uses less water, leaving the toilet constantly smelling like piss
-refuses to use A.C. at anytime while living in South Florida and counts down from 3 when anyone opens the fridge
-refuses to purchase gifts for anyone unless they were procured at a garage sale (meaning he often leaves my mom and his kids high and dry for birthdays/holidays/anniversaries)
-constantly pulls over on the side of the road to dumpster dive: his favorite finds are a pair of temperpedic slippers (ew!) and a wooden futon which I'm afraid to be in the same room with
-when a door hinge broke in one of my siblings rooms 5 years ago, he refused to pay for a replacement and instead hung up a shower curtain (still there to this day)
-tries to sneak home food from buffets, after paying for his meal with a coupon
And my personal favorite...
-asking patrons at a restaurant if they're finished with their food mid-meal so he can take home the leftovers
Basically, if your frugal actions are making the people in your life embarrassed or uncomfortable, you've gone too far.
Isn't That Stealing?
I knew a guy once who'd buy a package of lightbulbs or batteries, take the fresh ones out, replace them with the dead ones then return them to the store claiming they didn't work and get his money back.
That guy hadn't legitimately bought lightbulbs or batteries in years.
Our Apartment Is Not A Hostel
I had a roommate who was very practical. She picked up any change she found, even just pennies. She opted for cheaper options on anything where it didn't significantly diminish the quality. She even built a tiny house because she didn't believe that she really needed to spend much on a place to live. It worked well for her.
Then, there was my other roommate- conveniently, at the same time, all three of us were living together. Aside from thieving, getting actual furniture from the literal dumpster, and a whole bunch of other goodies, the story of how I came to live with him is probably the best story to showcase his nature.
There was him and two other guys living in the apartment before I moved in. There was another friend of theirs staying on the couch while he was looking for a job and a place to live. He was staying there for free, no biggie.
I was homeless at this point and had been sleeping in my car in the middle of winter (below freezing at night), so I jumped at the opportunity to sleep indoors, even if it meant having to sleep in an uninsulated garage. I could just toss on a few extra blankets.
My future roommate comes up to me after a week and he proceeds to tell me I owe him $200 for rent to stay in the garage. I ask him why I'm paying more than he does (per week) to sleep in a room without heating/air, a bathroom, and filled with cigarette smoke fairly often. He says that he and the other roommates talked about it and they decided I couldn't freeload, and I needed to get that money to him ASAP.
Now, he wasn't the one who paid the bills. I asked the 'head roommate' about it later that day, and he told me there was no discussion about 'freeloading' involving me and that I could basically pay him $50 for the month if I felt like it. I did pay him gladly, and that was that.
You Have Your Own House, Sharon!
I have a relative who is too cheap to pay for trash service or to buy a dryer so she takes all of her trash and wet clothes over to her father's house. This is a woman with a family and a house, not a starving student or something.
So yeah, that.
Do People Actually Do This?
Frugal is compromising and cutting out extra things in your life. Cheapskate is squeezing pennies on things you actually need.
For example washing all of your clothes at once, maybe once or twice a week and using a dollar store detergent is frugal. Wearing your clothes into the shower to wash them and you at the same time is cheapskate.
We Can See, Friend. We Can See.
My grandpa will buy a roll of paper towels (like the cheapest single roll you can get) and then have my grandma rip off each sheet and cut that into fourths for "napkins"
Napkins that are already napkins cost like.... 5 cents more than the roll of paper towels.
It takes her like 2 hours because she's becoming arthritic.
Nobody else sees why this is stupid.
I knew a guy that, while ordering in line at Chipotle, would ask for "extra chicken but just enough where it's not considered a serving of double chicken".
Come on, man.
Just A Few Degrees. Please?
"I know it's 90 F outside, but the air conditioner cost money to run" says my roommate/landlord who makes six figures living in a ranch house
Edit: we have A/C in the house but he has the thermostat locked up and the only key and added some clarification
...This One's Actually Really Ingenious
When a customer orders a single espresso in a large cup & then uses an entire carafe of milk at the condiment bar.
Bonus points if they bring that beverage back to the register & want it 'microwaved'.
When health or sanitation is risked.
if it's yellow let it mellow, qualify?
This site estimates a years worth of toilet flushing to cost $10.95
Really not worth the saving there. Not when you consider you're probably going to have to clean the toilet more often when you leave p-ss sitting in there. Time is money.
Again, Pretty Sure This Is Stealing
I had a babysitter who I think crossed the line from frugal, to cheapskate.
She would only shop at Goodwill, and if her daughter wanted some shoes, she'd have her put the old shoes on the rack, put on the new shoes, and walk out the door.
Also, most of her daughters coloring books were picked up while dumpster diving. Like, half the pages were already colored, but we still used them.
....There's Nothing To Say.
My grandma once bought me and my sister USED UNDERWEAR from a garage sale for Christmas. The worst part? She has a LOT of money. My dad was pissed.
At Least The Service Was Good?
Frugal: not eating out at a restaurant
Cheapskate: eating out at a restaurant, but leaving $0 tip because "sorry I can't afford to tip"
A Not-So-Giving Grandfather
My grandpa after he served up ice cream he bought, would smooth it out the best he could and care his initials into the top of it to make sure none of his kids took more than he thought necessary. He also would fill almost empty jam jars with water shake it up and drink the mixture just so he wasn't throwing away any food.
He did a lot of stingy stuff, but these two stories stand out the most to me.
Edit: I forgot another good one, my mom as a kid got a nasty gash on her knee and my grandpa after examining it determined it needed stitches. Instead of doing what a normal person would do and take her to the hospital, he turned on the stove and heated up a sewing needle, and was going to stitch my moms knee back together with sewing equipment before his wife intervened and made him take my mom to the hospital. This I don't think was because he was cheap (which he definitely was), but he also has this attitude that if you can do probably do something yourself there is no reason to pay for someone else to do it.
Write This Down And Don't Forget
When the time you waste or the quality of life you lose are worth more than you save in money.
Sometimes, It's Okay To Shut It Down
There was this cheap d***head at work I didn't like one bit. You know the type, one of those a--holes who does the big innocent eyes every time he gets called out. "Whoa, I didn't mean it like that!" or whatever.
I had invited a few work friends to come by and have some drinks and appetizers on me when I bought a new house. They had been listening to me talk about it for months, it was the least I could do.
So about ten minutes in, cheapo shows up, plops down at the far end of the table and starts ordering everything. Top shelf drinks, about 4 appetizers (which he didn't eat, they were left on the table) you know, just living it up.
I'm watching out of the corner of my eye, my plan was fully formed.
I see him gathering up his stuff to slip away, so I call the waitress over. "Everything is on me, except that guy. He's not my guest, I didn't invite him."
Everything just stops. He's looking at me (mouth open) and everybody is looking at him.
Waitress brings the check, I pay and tip generously. D-ckhead is trying to get someone to help him pay for his $60 worth of sh-t because he didn't have any money. No one liked him, so the response was a bunch of "Are you kidding me?" looks. When I left, he was calling people to try to get them to come up and pay for him. (Note that he had a brand new Charger in the parking lot.)
That guy hated me so much after that. He didn't have the stones to say anything to me though. And the story became office lore.