5 Difference Between Cheap and Frugal Based Habits

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Frugal living is the strategy used by many people around the globe to live on a strict budget. They buy a product based on its value, not the price tag. However, some are still unaware of the exact meaning of the term and confuse it with the cheap people.

There is a thin difference between a frugal and a cheap person based on their spending habit. Frugal people are more skilled in personal finances than cheap people. The latter just try to save money on every purchase regardless of the quality, application, and essentiality of the item.

Here, we have explained the difference between the two terms to help people make a frugal decision without a cheap mindset.

What is a Frugal Lifestyle?

A frugal person will try to find the best price of a product while maintaining a standard of its quality. They will not compromise with the efficiency, comfort, or application of an item to save a little money. For them, the cost is equally important as the time and value of the item.

You can use the principles of frugal people to save money and spend it on prioritised items. They will spend hours on research to buy a similar quality product at the best price available. The concept is simple, you cannot avoid the expense but can save money on it with some research.

How People Behave in a Cheap Manner?

Cheap people consider only one thing while purchasing, the price. They don’t check the quality, durability, comfort or any other values associated with the product. Expect them to return an essential item even with a reasonable price tag to save money.

Their strategy is simple, save money and ignore the consequences in the long term. You may regret a shopping trip with them because of their cheap activities. People may appreciate a frugal person, but nobody like to hang out with someone cheap.

Difference Between Cheap and Frugal

Here are five differences between cheap and frugal people to help you draw a clear understanding of the two terms –

  • Cheap People Don’t Think of the Others

Living with a cheap person is a terrible experience for people with normal spending habit. They will not consider your preferences or choice only to save money on every expense. On vacation, prepare yourself for a nightmare with a cheaper hotel in lesser-known neighbourhoods.

Frugal people try to save money at the expense of their experience. They may never force other people to go through the same trouble to save money. They will try to find the best possible hotel with some coupons or discounts in the neighbourhood nearest to the tourist attractions.

  • Frugal People Invests in Long-Term Savings

Again, the longevity of a product is more important for frugal people. They will spend money on items that will fulfil their purpose for the long term. Expect them to spend more on items to get more years of use.

It is okay to stretch the budget a little to avoid the inconvenience in future. Many people take online loans in Ireland to buy the alternatives with a longer life than some cheap knockoffs. Even with the added interest, they save money on the constant visits to the service centres.

On the other hand, cheap people will compromise durability over the price tag. They will buy cheap items to save money in the short term only to spend more in the near future. The cheaper alternative often requires frequent repairs or replacement to cost more.

  • Value is More Important in Frugality

Apart from the price tag, there are so many traits and qualities associated with a product. You get more comfort and features after spending a few extra bucks. The value of the product is more important as it determines the returns from it.

As you might have guessed, cheap people check the price tag before the purchase. There is no concept of quality and value in their buying guide. They will ruin the experience or face discomfort with every use of the item during its lifetime to save money.

  • Money is Not the Cost for Frugal People

Every purchase includes a specific factor other than the price that determines its cost. You are investing time and efforts into every purchase during the whole journey. Frugal people add these elements as well to the overall cost of the product.

For cheap people, the other aspects don’t create much of an impact on the decision. They will spend hours outside the store to save a few euros. You can use the same for some productive activity.

  • Priority Spending v/s No Spending

Frugal people have a purpose for saving money on some items. They use the savings to buy products or services at the top of their priority list. They don’t cut cost on everything, just the non-essential stuff.

Cheap people try to save money on everything. The only purpose of saving money is to increase the savings. There is no list of expenses with priorities marked in front of them.


To sum up, there is a significant difference between the two terms, frugal and cheap. You should try the frugal method to save money while not allowing the habit to affect your relationships. Also, there is more to life than some additional digits in the bank account.