When does frugal become being stingy

@suspenseful (40316)
Canada
December 29, 2012 6:26pm CST
It has been snowing quite a bit and I felt that I needed to save money because the utility bills were going up next year. Nos I have been doing the usual turning the lights off when I left the room, and turning down the thermostat or and those crazy curly bulbs. I also do my own cooking, but is nothing new since I had done it since I was young, through my marriage, and now as I am a widow, since eating out was something you did not do often. Well I decided to check on those budget sites and one mentioned making your own soap, making things for gifts that they will eat in a day, etc. giving up the whole tv, not just down grading the shows, and then I thought does this show you being frugal, but does this show stinginess. What comes next, grinding your own grain? Turning all the lights and going to bed when the sun goes down? So when does being frugal turn into being stingy?
6 people like this
17 responses
@dragon54u (31635)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I'm very frugal but I will not allow it to interfere with my enjoyment of life. I buy secondhand clothing because I can save money and don't really care much if I'm in the latest fashions. But I refuse to drink bad coffee! I don't get premium movie channels because I don't care much about movies and it's a way to save money--I also don't go to the movie theaters but I do have a viewing package with classic movies, etc. I save more than I would spend if I spent as the average person does with cable, entertainment, clothing, etc. I think it becomes stinginess when you're depriving yourself of everything you enjoy. And when you refuse to share with others. I don't give extravagant gifts but if I see something at a bargain that my sister would love, for example, I'll buy it. After all, I can't take my money with me when I die. I just want enough to live on while I'm here and being frugal helps me enjoy life and afford to give gifts and do some special things. So I guess I'd say stingy is when you'll spend nothing except on the bare necessities, inconvenience yourself and others and cling to money the way some people cling to love.
4 people like this
@cynthiann (18619)
• Jamaica
30 Dec 12
Very well stated. You have hit the nail on the head by showing the differences between frugal and stingy
3 people like this
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I love your response! It expresses my sentiments to a tee! I am very frugal with how I spend my money and cut corners where I am able to. I unplug things, turn off lights,walk when I can, buy store brand items, etc etc. Like you,l refuse to drink store brand coffee...hot dogs too. My daughter brought home some coffee from the dollar store. OMG...we tried it and talk about nasty. Anyway, the reason I am so frugal is so that I can turn on my Christmas lights for the grandkids, buy someone a reasonable but nice gift that they will love, go out for lunch with a friend occasionally etc.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
This is what I was getting about. It is not about being a nice person, it is about taking savings to a level at which one cannot enjoy themselves. I can see cooking one's own meals, and walking instead of taking the bus and keeping the lights off in the house, but then I am able to buy music for my piano, I can get a good data plan for my ipad, and I can buy qood quality clothes because well Iam not a stock size and it is almost possible to find them at a thrift store.
1 person likes this
• Canada
30 Dec 12
Making soap, making gifts, etc. even grinding your own grain is a great idea. If you can do all that, that's wonderful. For me stingy is taking advantage of someone (hiding when the bill comes, stealing toilet paper from a friend's house, etc That's stingy. I also saw on TV where someone actually got food out of a dumpster, and fed it to their guests. LOL THAT is being stingy. So to answer your question, I don't think you are being stingy at all.
4 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
It is not about not being nice to others, it is about saving to such a bad extent that it hurts you, not just in your friends will stop being your friends, but for yourself in private. So for instance, you walk around with holes in your shoes, you do not heat your food, keep food past its expiration date just to save money and I can sum it up is that you eat as if you were a pauper and that suddenly you will lose your wages your pension, and be left with nothing. So you try to make things extend forever when they cannot.
1 person likes this
• United States
30 Dec 12
And what is wrong with making one's own soap, grinding one's own grain, giving up television or making handcrafted gifts? There is nothing wrong in doing any of those things, and doing them certainly does not make one "stingy." It is simply that not everyone possesses the time, energy and/or know-how to do these things. "Stingy" is when one is penny wise but pound foolish. Stingy is being stupid--endangering one's welfare or that of others for the sake of a few cents. That is stingy.
4 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
I thought that was being a scrooge or miserly. Stingy can apply to one self without affecting others. So you can be extremely cheap but if no comes in your house and does not fall of the plank over y9ur basement, they will not know about it. By the way, if you are hypoallergenic, you may not be able to use home made soap and they might in the long run put holes in your clothes, unless you wash them all by hand.
1 person likes this
• St. Peters, Missouri
30 Dec 12
I see the difference as to how your behavior effects others. A frugal person saves or cuts corners when possible. They watch what they spend. Using cost effective light bulbs. Ride your bike to work instead of drive. Rent movies instead of going out. Buy generic foods. Things like that. On the hand, I see someone as stingy if they save money at the expense of someone else. Especially at the financial expense of someone else. Like charging your guests to stay with you. Taking magazines from others' mailboxes. Stealing WiFi. Bum rides from your friends and neighbors. I have an uncle that I consider stingy. His actions, in my opinion, go far beyond mere frugality. However, his actions don't usually effect others financially. But they do negatively effect others. His wife, my aunt, didn't work. This was an agreement between them and he insisted on this. So he felt he had the right to dictate how every penny would be spent. When my cousins were young, they were only allowed two inches of bath water because it saved on water. My aunt even begged to go to work to help pay the water bill, but he refused. (German Catholics - the man makes all decisions, no questions asked!) They used to take vacations. His idea of a vacation would be to pack all 5 of them (I have 3 cousins) into their compact car and drive. When it came time to sleep, he pulled over and they slept in the car. Didn't want to pay for a hotel. When it came time to eat, they ate sandwiches my aunt had packed. Their last trip was to the Grand Canyon. They drove to the GC, got out of the car and looked, and then climbed back in the car and went home. Couldn't spend money to actually do anything. He taught his eldest son well. They decided to have a family get-together at his house (this is my oldest cousin now). It was during the summer time. His wife wasn't allowed to cook anything on the stove or in the oven anything because it would heat up the house.
3 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
Of course it isn't and I blame part of that to those movies and tv shows where the 'hero' is passing several buildings and decides to get on another network because he is after some crooked government goons. It looks so romantic, but perhaps the man that they were stealing from is getting a message or looking on a page for important information he needs now. So why could the hero call him or send his friend to ask if he could use his wi fi? And suggest a password. Asking does help.
@peavey (16876)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I think everyone has their own level of comfort when it comes to being frugal. For some people, TV is not important. I have gone without it for years at a time and not really missed it. I make my own cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, etc., and use them instead of buying the paper kind. Some people call that stingy, but I enjoy doing it and it saves me money. You probably do things that others would call stingy - we all do, if we're interested in saving money. We all make choices based on what's important to us. (By the way, I do grind my own grain! )
3 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
30 Dec 12
I hang my clothes outside and do not use the dryer in winter, but then the basement is not insulated, so what am I saving? I would have to get on of those grinders to grind my own grain and it would have to be oats or rice since I have a slight wheat intolerance. I am a terrible sewer. I sort of forget the name of that blender grinder thing that grinds grain.
@peavey (16876)
• United States
1 Jan 13
I think there is more than one. I have a manual grinder that I bought years ago for around $40 but they're more expensive now. I saved and saved until I could buy a Vitamix though, and I love it. I can grind grain of any kind plus any number of other things. It has saved more that it cost several times over now.
1 person likes this
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I think that Dragon pretty well nailed just what the difference is in her response. As for the homemade gifts, I guess it all depends on whom you are giving them to. Some people love that stuff. I do. My daughter made a homemade body scrub this year that is amazing. It smells good and your body feels ever so soft after using it. My Uncle owned a farm while I was growing up and we all had big gardens. I grew up with fresh milk,butter, eggs and every thing made from scratch. I love homemade gifts. Someone else might not. This year in my family, the adults drew names and we had to make a homemade gift for 10.00 or under. It was pretty fun.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
1 Jan 13
I got a jar of pickles from my niece, but the only pickles I like are dills, so gave it to my daughter-in-law, but I loved the body lotion even though I hardly use it. I do have a winter scarf that one of my best friends gave me and that will years ago and still love it. I also love to have food goods,so it has to be something that will last more then the next month. So it has to be good, not junk. We have to pay more for the good stuff. I do love knitted and woven stuff. I was planning to get my granddaughter a weaving loom so she could make some gifts but could not afford it.
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
1 Jan 13
I took a weaving class years ago and just loved it. Never could afford my own loom but you can make some beautiful things. I would shop around 2nd hand for her and even those are pricey. If she knows how to macrame she can make some nice gifts also and it is pretty cheap to do and fairly easy to learn.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
2 Jan 13
She is only five now and I think that I was around six when my mother bought me one of those child weaving looms for Christmas. And when I was at my singing teacher's house, she had done some renovating and found one that her mother had given her. Only in my case, it was wood, but her's was pastil as she is quite a bit younger then me. I do not know about macramé, had a hard time learning to crochet, but am sure if they still had those looms around, you could make some beautiful things. They might be in thrift stores.
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
30 Dec 12
i think that frugal means you save money but are willing to spend it on things you need but to be stingy means that you don't want to spend money period. i actually admire people that make their own soaps and whatnot to be honest. i think being stingy is when you always are looking for free stuff and don't want to spend any money. i have watched those extreme cheapskate shows and these people talk about saving 5 cents here or there. that to me is being stingy. is it really worth the aggravation?
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
1 Jan 13
I watched the coupon shows and I get upset when I see their houses stocked up with stuff and am concerned about those who cannot buy those particular items because this lady used coupons to hoarded that. I can understand survivors because they believe that they might have to defend their lives against a tyrannical enemy, but those coupon ladies are into not spending any money. We all like free stuff, but we have to be careful. I have to be careful of the soap I use so making it is not worth it and besides it might cost more. Cooking is so much better.
1 person likes this
@Cutie18f (9563)
• Philippines
30 Dec 12
Stingy is very close to being greedy. Frugal is just being careful with your money, not using it for anything unnecessary. Stingy is not spending anything because you just want to keep your money and make it big. You don't want to share nor buy basic necessities. You just want everything free and easy while you keep all the money.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
I wonder what happens when someone does not have that much, can one be stingy as well? I suppose with rich people, it would you being a scrooge or miserly. I think it goes much deeper, if you do not make much and you save at the expense of your own well being or health.
@mariaperalta (19094)
• Mexico
30 Dec 12
Im that way here all the time. So I but lots of veggies on sale here. I dont mind eating cheap soups and pasta to save money here. But sometimes when you go 5 -6 days with out meat for dinner, it kinda hurts. But as you know. We do what we have to do to survive. Take care there. Hope you are well.
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
30 Dec 12
I have friends who use margarine instead of butter, who buy meat that has been fed on a feed lot, buy canned veggies that have lots of sodium, and the cheapest brands without even reading the labels, and years later they wind up sick, have cancer, or die sooner then they should have, have diabetes, and that makes me think maybe frugal is being carried too far. Even when turning the thermostat down, when does it come to the point of endangering your life. I read of many old people dying of it being too cold and wonder with all the prices going on that there might be more deaths of this sort.
@GardenGerty (105303)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I think it varies for each person. I like mixing my own laundry soap, as I am sensitive to many things in the commercial soaps. I use vinegar in my rinse to help with softness. I do not have cable TV, because there are plenty of things I can watch without paying for it. On the other hand, I keep the best internet possible. I know people who wash all the plastic bags that come in their house and all plastic containers and they use them for storage. I do not. People rewash foil, I do not. I keep my heat turned down, because I like being cooler. I cook at home because I know what I put in my food.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
3 Jan 13
I am one of those who wash those plastic bags. I also buy glass containers and I keep the old Mason jars that I bit those spaghetti sauces in to store beans and now I do not buy spaghetti sauce but make my own either with tomatoes I grew myself or canned tomatoes. I have cable Tv but the basic package and the movies. I do not make my own laundry soap but buy Zero the no scent. I keep the thermostat down to 65. I cook at home, because I love to and because I do not want some of those additives. I print most of my own music, but if I have to sing at a concert, I have to buy a piece. I am sensitive to artificially made perfumes but not to the natural ones. So there are things that I do that would be considered extravagant and things that would be considered frugal.
@GardenGerty (105303)
• United States
5 Jan 13
I worry about food safety with washing plastic bags and using them.Some I do reuse. I have seen and experimented with things crocheted from plastic bags. Also from cut up t shirts. I like to use the glass jars though because you can make sure they are clean and even boil them. I do not see that as stingy. I see being afraid to ever buy anything for your own well being as stingy.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
5 Jan 13
I make sure that I clean the plastic bags, but what I do not like is going overboard as I have seen suggested in the sites that say "make sure you really need the product." and the assumption is that you will not need it. To me, that is being stingy because well I really do not need a sewing machine, I could sew just as well by hand. I really do not need to buy books, I can just borrow them, I really do not need a computer, I can just write by hand and give it to someone to send out. Like the Bible says, you only need food and clothing and then be content when it means you can be content in all circumstances. You see, you can take frugality not to save money or to keep you wasting, but making frugality your idol. I have no idea how yu can crochet things from plastic bags and what you would use them for. I know about using old nylons and making rugs, and pieces of fabric to make quilts, but that is about all.
1 person likes this
@echoforever (5192)
• United States
3 Jan 13
All of those things are smart to do with your money to save, I would say that frugal will change to stingy with your state of mind about your money. As the only difference between the two is really your state of mind. Instead of saving because you want to will change to saving because you don't want to give someone else money.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
3 Jan 13
I feel that stingy is being rather excessive as to saving and has nothing to do with not wanting to give someone else money. AFter all, I give my money to church and into the offering plate for the poor. But I do not think I should hand over my extra not necessary money to anyone who has their hands out. But when I go and turn the thermostat down to 64 instead of keeping at 65, and I do not heat the food enough to kill the bacteria, use the same board to cut veggies and meat and or do not clean it off with soap and disinfectant, wear shoes with holes, and oner excess frugality or cheapness, it is me and my health that is affected. Besides when I save money, it is not to give to someone else but to get things done such as the basement.
• United States
4 Jan 13
well I didn't really word that correctly but in my eyes a part of being stingy is not sharing with those in need like your family members or something like that. It is also being more excessive in saving yeah.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
4 Jan 13
It could mean that, but one cannot sacrifice to an excess so that one can give to family members and to those in need and is not the onus on the one, that is myself or you to determine to give not on the one who needs it to demand something from you or me? When someone is being stingy I think that the stinginess affects him or her. It would be miserable to turn down the heat to 61 in winter and would cause one to get pneumonia. It would hurt oneself to only buy canned food and later get high blood pressure, more then not giving to the poor. The poor should not demand of the rich and those who have more. The rich and those who had more should be giving willingly not by force and if someone says you should give, unless it is God Himself or the Christ it is greed.
@dawnald (84146)
• Shingle Springs, California
7 Jan 13
When it takes the joy out of things?
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
8 Jan 13
That is for sure. I love to cook, love to use snow water to drink, but I will not buy cheap because it is cheap. I am more concerned with my health. The trouble is that the economy is getting worse so there will be those who buy the cheapest and years later will wind up being in poor health.
• United States
3 Jan 13
Frugal is stingy? Yea right! Who cares what other people think, are they paying your bills? No? Then they need to shut up. If you can find a cheaper way to do it then do it and then charge those jerks who scoff at it money. People are becoming more creative since that pile of trash nobama has wrecked the economy so I applaud you for doing it your way. Spit on the haters, who cares what they think.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
4 Jan 13
I do not like Obama because what he does will affect Canada. We have houses being built up here and I suspect some of them are for the Americans who might come up here to live, but we have a colder climate. But I do not want my frugality to turn into stinginess and do not want others to want it to. And especially i do not like it when I save money by doing something and then the money has to go to some tax increase instead of getting the basement insulated for which the money was intended for. I do not like saving on my food budget and then I go to the store and the laundry detergent is more expensive in the non-scent ones I use and if I bought the cheaper variety that had scents, I would have to get cream for the rash that I will have. I do not people to tell me that my giving up and cutting down is not enough. I like saving money because there may come a time when I need it, but not at the expense of my health.
@marguicha (106043)
• Chile
31 Dec 12
I have decided that, for me, frugal means not buying clothes I don`t need ( maybe an occational pair of jeans on sale) and doing what you do. Except that I`m back to normal light bulbs everywhere but in places where I don`t need much light. I have problems seeing with the energy saving bulbs so I think my eyes are worth more. Still, I have my internet, and use my computer wrapped in warmer clothes so that house can be less heated in Winter. I turned part of my garden into a vegetable garden and I`m proud of my meager produce. But I will not make soap and will not give up a light cable TV that has enough channels to make me happy. I know how to make cheap gourmet food and I love to cook. I eat very cheap and a lot better than most of the people I know. I don`t like to be stingy
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
4 Jan 13
I like my internet and my iphone and ipad. Will not give them up, nor will I not upgrade them when it is necessary. I was thinking going back to the incandescent lights and have decided that when I go shopping to pick one up because I heard that our government is going to make them illegal to buy. The curly bulbs will be for places where i have to get on a stool to change them and I am scared of looking down from heights. I always wear sweaters and slacks in the house except when I am sleeping because I prefer night gowns rather then heavy pajamas. I do have a herb garden and growing it in the house. I am planning to build some more boxes for vegetables. I have this theory that people who are stingy wish they lived back in the 1900s or earlier and do not realize how hard those times were.
@LittleMel (14055)
• Canada
30 Dec 12
I guess it depends on each person's definition of frugal and stingy I have always wanted to grow my own food. and since I can't bring myself to kill an animal, I have always thought that if I need meat, I will get it fresh too I also learned to make most things I use naturally, from body wash to medicine to me this is not being frugal, this is utilizing what nature already have in abundance around me. yes it saves money, but that's just one small advantage among the bigger advantages of using less chemical of course then to other people it does look stingy, penny pincher but more than money, is emotional and mental gratification to me
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
1 Jan 13
I live in the city in a residential area and we have a long winter where it snows from October to March and sometimes April, so lot of the things in nature, we cannot get. And of course that means a short growing season and I cannot see my eating stored carrots cabbages potatoes etc. in the cold winter months. I also am bad at sewing unless it is hem stitching or embroidery. So what I have to do is to buy things when they are on discount or on tax free day plus the lights off. Trouble our government decided to put the hydro rate up and I cannot see myself stumbling in the dark although I have good night vision. I do love to cook, but then do not consider that stinginess, survival because when I read those packagesm I get rather nervous.
1 person likes this
@bunnybon7 (37915)
• Holiday, Florida
30 Dec 12
im not to sure. actually my son is a little stingy with his frugal. because when we buy food he found out that at times the others in the house get to much in their plate and will throw it out he gets mad and it actually upsets me also. food is so high any more so hes gotten to where hes very careful to what he buys and puts things back in his room.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
1 Jan 13
I would feel the same way. I sort of portion my food and then I spoil it by eating cookies, yogurt, fruit and cereal. When we were young. my mother would put the food back in the fridge, but then she grew up during the War in England and that was when you got rationed. I thought I was over my excessive frugalness in going and pulling all of the plugs off the wall - but I think now I will have to start up again since everything is going up except for the money.
1 person likes this
@Fishmomma (11423)
• United States
30 Dec 12
I think you have great answers. I'm thrifty, but still spend money on things that are important like entertainment. We only live once, so doing without something that would make my life easier doesn't make sense to me. One item that a few of my friends won't even consider buying is a crock pot, which I find to be a huge time saver and means I put a home cooked dinner on the table and can work. One friend told me that if I didn't buy the crock pot I could have put that money in my savings. I told her it won't be saving money, if I stop at Subway every night after work to serve a healthy dinner. Right now, she isn't speaking to me, as she is sure I'm in the wrong and I know I'm not going back to buying dinner several week nights.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
31 Dec 12
I use a crock pot, one of the presents I got from my husband who was into buying things like a whole set of pots and pans, a vacuum cleaner, and a Kitchen Aid. He did finally buy me a necklace and a piano, but that was when he was getting sick and found out later he had ALS. My crockpot is one of the first ones made and I save a lot of meals. Made enough soup to last for a whole week, I have made chili for a few days, and I do not have to start out fresh each day and when I am out of sorts, I have something to put on my plate and of course, it is good when you buy tough meat, although I still am not good at making stew. And of course, I want to save money to get the things I want, not what someone else wants me to get something or do something else, I have to cut out more and I really do not like to do that or work some more.