During these economic times, all of us are learning to be more thoughtful about our dollars. That said, there is a fine line between making the most of our money and being plain cheap. LearnVest is your source for the best ways to live frugally and responsibly—BUT, we never approve of being cheap.
Question: What’s The Difference Between Cheap & Thrifty?
Answer: Comes Down To Others v. Yourself…
At LearnVest, we believe that a person has entered “cheap” territory when her attempts to save money have negative effects on others. It’s the difference between buying your friend’s birthday gift on sale and giving her a crappy gift. It’s the difference between using a buy-one-get-one-free coupon at a restaurant but then skimping on the waiter’s tip (or not tipping at all). Get it?
Are you thrifty, or have you crossed the border into the land of the cheap? Take our quiz:
1. Do you mooch without reciprocating?
When you drink your friend’s wine, do you remember to bring the bottle next time? Do you choose not to order something when you’re out, but then eat off of your friends’ plates?
2. Have you ever avoided a restaurant bill when you were out with your friends?
This includes strategically going to the bathroom when the bill comes, underpaying for tax or tip, and willfully holding back when everyone adds that extra dollar because the total is a little short.
3. How often do you decline to help someone with something small?
You don’t necessarily have to donate to every acquaintance who participates in a charity fundraiser, but when your friend is nine cents short at Jamba Juice and you have extra pennies, it’s cheap not to jump in.
4. Does your “thriftiness” make other people uncomfortable—physically or otherwise?
This means both literal discomfort (like inviting people over and then refusing to order food, leaving your guests hungry) and social discomfort. It also includes being so cheap that your friends are embarrassed to be out with you. If you’re making other people uncomfortable, evaluate what you’re doing.
If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you might be on the other side of that fine line. And, LearnVest simply doesn’t promote that.
Read on for a slide show with the cute, inspiring, and poignant definitions of cheap and thrifty from readers like you and people in the financial field.
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