Some people may think that being frugal is just being cheap. But I don't look at it that way. I don't feel that I am ever cheap.
I never make my purchases at the expense of someone else. For example, I would never stiff a waitress her tip. I may give her a little less if the service is poor or a little more if the service is excellent.
I would never just buy any old gift for a recipient regardless of whether I thought they could use it or not based on the fact that it was so cheap. For example, I would not give a friend a candle that I may have found for $1.00 when I know she isn't into candles.
When we make purchases for ourselves, we usually make our decisions based on careful research of the product. If it is a large appliance, we look at the quality and how long we think it will last? Most of the time we will pick the mid grade which will work just fine for us. If it is a refrigerator and the ratings are excellent, we may pay a little more than mid grade to get what we need. We rarely buy the cheapest because they don't seem to last the number of years of the more expensive ones. In other words, we want our dollars to be used wisely. I don't want to be replacing such a large purchase every couple of years because I chose based on the dollar.
I will buy organic meats, vegetables and fruits when I feel they make sense for the amount of money we are spending. We try to eat a little healthier than when we were in our coupon craze phase and just not buy the cheapest. I know that many people can't afford organic products so you have to make your decisions based on your finances.
I believe that frugal people think about things a little more than other people. I think that is what needs to be done so that you don't waste your dollars. For example, when I am getting showered and dressed in the morning, I am thinking about what my day will be. However I am also conscious of how much water I am using for that shower and how fast I can finish. Most of the time I take navy showers to conserve on energy and water.
If I have errands to run, I think about what order will I drive my route to save the most gasoline. Is there any other errand besides what is on my list that I can do to not have to run errands another day this week.
If I am going to do laundry, do I have enough for a full load so that I use my electricity efficiently. Can I wash this load in cold water? Do I have enough homemade laundry detergent for a load or do I need to make a new batch? Do I have enough room to hang the clothes to dry in the house rather than run the dryer?
If I am going to run the dishwasher, do I have full load? Can I run it on the ECO cycle to save energy? Do I need to fill the rinse dispenser with more vinegar?
I could go on and on but I will leave that for another day when I take you through my entire money saving day.
But bottom line is I am not cheap just frugal. I try to use our resources to benefit our pocketbook without hurting another person.
Certain cheap things I draw the line at. For example, I will not use cloth toilet paper or not flush the toilet for every use. It just isn't something that is worth it to me. Toilet paper is cheap to buy in bulk at Sam's Club or Walmart. I know, I know, you are paying for something that you are just throwing down the drain. But that is my choice. If others can live with doing it, that is their choice. I just couldn't.
So the next time you are spending money or doing something around the house, take a few minutes to think about how you are going to do it that might save you a bit of money without being cheap. The cost of those little things add up to big dollars over a years time.