Frugal vs. Cheap

In starting this blog I thought I’d repost an accepted definition of being frugal vs. cheap. This post was the top viewed post on my personal blog since 2012, and it seemed only fitting to kick off the Frugal Mom$ter with it here, too!


Before I dive in, let’s define frugal and cheap and discuss why I chose “Frugal” over “Cheap”. I prefer the easy explanation on the Simple Dollar:

Frugal: a frugal person seeks to find the best deal on an item that meets the desired level of quality

Cheap: a cheap person will always take the route of least financial cost in the here and now

We consider ourselves to be frugal, not cheap, which is often confused. While we look to save money, we also have invested in quality cars, technology, camera, and kitchen gear. We learned the err of our ways in going the cheap route and it’s costs in replacement.

I used to be materialistic… so when did this all start? 

A few years ago, I came across financial bloggers who really lit my fire. No, not the stock and investment type (although, I read those a lot more now), but the budget savvy bloggers sharing their journey into financial freedom. We also have gone through countless years of job loss to spur on the desire to live with and on less.

The more I read, the more I realized I no longer had to be a slave to my work, and in turn be a slave to money. I craved flexibility and security within our financial house so that starting a family wouldn’t be a huge undertaking. I jumped on the frugal bandwagon and never looked back.

One thing I’ve always done… is make a budget.

If there is anything you need to do today, is to be aware of what comes in and what goes out. Without that knowledge, I can’t imagine how anyone gets ahead.

Ever since Chris and I got engaged and bought a house in 2005, we have lived on a budget. The budgets are always flexible, but it is a great guide for our lives and goals. I love budgets! Maybe it’s a little security knowing what we have to enjoy at the end of the month. Or maybe, I’m just a little crazy.

To get you started… a few blogs I read on frugal living:

Get Rich Slowly was my first introduction to living below our means and really making a difference in our financial life. It was a blessing to stumble upon and a wealth of information J.D. shared on how to change our habits, our mindset and our lifestyle. I still read it today!

More than Money J.D. started GRS, but sold the site in the past year. While he still writes there, I enjoy his new blog about all things in life, not just money.

WiseBread is an awesome site for living large on a small budget. They share tons of tips, insight and discussions on all things in life. I love to go there and search for tips when we are about to dive into a new purchase, such as a car. I also read this blog daily.

The Simple Dollar is just another blog that keeps me on the straight and narrow. Trent has been revisiting an old 365 project on ways to save every day. It’s given me some food for thought and other things to look into, that I didn’t normally pay attention to.

More to come on the hows and whys we save and the whats we do with the savings, as well as, our budget planning and other goodies.

Do you consider yourself frugal or cheap? Are you working toward financial freedom?


I’d also like to add another blog that has started since the writing of this post, by my favorite financial blogger J.D. Roth, Money Boss.