What’s the difference between cheap and frugal? Let’s begin by defining each:
“Cheap” has many meanings in different forms; In it’s simplest form, cheap means “at or for a low price.” From an object perspective, it means “of little worth because achieved in a discreditable way requiring little effort.” From person to person informally, it means miserly or stingy.
“Frugal” is an adjective, meaning “sparing or economical with regard to money or food.”
Here’s a good example of distinguishing the two:
Skipping out on purchasing a gift for a friends birthday is “cheap” not frugal. However, spending less to create a gift for a friend, (say for example a gift basket) is being frugal, not cheap. Frugality brings out the creativity in people to do more with less.
David Weliver of Moneyunder30.com defined frugal, “as protecting your hard-earned money by looking for ways to save on the things you need and want and getting the highest value from everything you buy.”
Julia Scott of Bargainbabe.com says “Being frugal feels good. Being cheap leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
So the answer is clear, there is a difference between being cheap and being frugal, and when it comes to saving money or doing more with less, it’s best to be frugal whenever you can.