Frugal, thrifty, and cheap

I have cleared out a space for my stockpile shelves. Sadly, as my room for them has “architectural” ceilings (read: slanted on both sides) the only place they’ll fit is in front of the only window in the room. But, I’ll stick a lamp in there and we’ll be good to go. I hope the space that i cleared is wide enough for them, but I haven’t actually measured yet. Slowly, slowly, this will get done.


Apparently there is some controversy about the words thrifty, frugal, and cheap. In almost every book I read on thrift there is a definition of frugal in the beginning and a page on how being cheap and being frugal are different. I don’t see the problem because the people who are looking to be thrifty or frugal are generally doing it to save money. The differences in the words and concepts should become clear over the course of the book.



I have been trying to define why I think thrifty, frugal, and cheap are close to the same in many ways. For many the idea of being cheap is somehow horrifying. To be thought cheap is a bad thing. And I definitely have that bias when it comes to gift giving. We make a comfortable living and I don’t want to seem “cheap” when we give gifts, so I always err on the spendthrift side. But really, is cheap so bad? It’d certainly save me quite a bit of money. And who’s to say that that feeling of being cheap isn’t a projection on my part? And, don’t we all look for the cheapest prices on things?


I just don’t know. As I said, I suffer from the same bias. But I will buy at the cheapest price I can find. Frugal and thrifty are good things. Cheap is not. But aren’t we all cheap at times? Who hasn’t used a coupon on a meal? 2 for 1 coupons are great! Who hasn’t made a homemade gift for someone (even if it was cheesy)? We all like to save the most money we can in the best ways we can. Cheap shouldn’t be a dirty word in our world. At least that’s what I think.

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