LF on being cheap

It has been discussed time and time again, but recently it has been bugging me: being cheap.  Here in the PF community, I like to think we’re a frugal bunch – not a cheap bunch. This is why it bugs me when people can’t make the distinction and plague society with their flat-out cheapness. Wtf?

Just don’t.

…on going out to eat

At the restaurant where I waitress on weekends, there is a young family of four that comes in every Saturday. I always get stuck with this group and I hate them for a few reasons:

  • Our receipts have a survey link at the bottom that you can fill out for a free appetizer on your next visit. This is fine and a great way to enjoy a free app, but they do it EVERY SINGLE VISIT. The point of the survey is for us to assess the quality of our food, service, etc. Having the same people critique the same food and the same service every week does us no benefit beyond the first, I don’t know, 100 times? This is purely exploitative of the system, I think.
  • They order three waters and one pop. The pop is bottomless. Enough said?
  • They order one kid’s meal for TWO KIDS. The kid’s meal is tiny. Why are they making the poor kids share one?
  • The woman works for the same chain of restaurants so she uses her discount card, which gives her 20% off. Of course this is fine as that’s what it’s meant to be used for. But between exploiting the survey and using a discount card, a meal that would easily be $45 ends up being $25.

I don’t know about you, but when I use any sort of discount at a restaurant (coupon, group deal, etc.) I make sure to tip on the entire amount. I think it’s embarrassing to go into a restaurant, exploit every type of discount, and tip a whopping $4 for a table of 4. I understand that some people don’t have an abundance of disposable income, but if I don’t feel like I can afford to go out and enjoy a meal, then I don’t go out and enjoy a meal.

Of course after working in a restaurant for two years, I can write a whole blog post on cheapness in restaurants but I’ll leave it at that for now!

…on shopping

I love me a good sale!

I know a few people that do this, but to me buying a dress and wearing it to a party and returning it the next day is cheap.

A coworker of mine told me that her mother uses appliances from department stores until they’re completely worn down and then exchanges them for new ones. She gets away with it. This is cheap.

Bargain hunting (even if it takes you hours!) is frugal. It doesn’t involve wasting people’s time, scamming the system, or generally being a burden to the world in order to save a few bucks.

…on being social

Going to a potluck and bringing a bag of chips when everyone else has made extravagant salads, dips, pastas, etc. is cheap. There is nothing wrong with bringing snacks but I try to ensure that the price will roughly match what everyone else is bringing (i.e. a bag of chips with a homemade taco dip…yum!)

Going to a potluck and bringing nothing. Ummm! Cheap and awkward.

Allowing a friend to cover a meal and never reciprocating. Cheap.

I invited a friend of mine over for dinner and she insisted on contributing to groceries. I did not allow this because to me, inviting someone over for dinner means I’m treating him or her to dinner. Allowing her to bring groceries would have been cheap in my opinion!

Overall, I think the distinction between cheap and frugal is tact. I am all for going on a coffee date instead of a dinner date to be frugal. I am all for waiting for a dress to go on sale before buying it. I use group buy coupons. I walk instead of taking a bus or cab. None of these activities are exploitative or tactless. They don’t make a mockery of the system and they aren’t disrespectful to the people you care about. That’s where I draw the line.

Where do you draw the line between cheap and frugal? Do you have any cheapo stories? I’d love to know!


14 thoughts on “LF on being cheap

    • Ooooh dollar store gifts, good one! Also regifting, forgot about that. Although I guess it depends on the circumstances!

  1. In my opinion with the restaurant tipping situation it is more the restaurant managers that are being cheap by paying such low wages that employees have to rely heavily on tips. Somehow inflation hit the food prices and the expected tipping percentage, but the employee base wages stayed the same. I have no problem only tipping 10% if the service was just adequate. Maybe I am cheap lol.

    The one that’s been bugging me lately is all these finance companies e-mailing me requesting to submit a free guest post. Like they are a very profitable business and yet they have to cheap out on marketing?

    • Don’t you worry, tipping will be another post altogether! Of course my stance is biased but I’ll try to back it up!

      I’m not surprised about the free posts because I worked for an agency that represented a big bank and the budget for marketing was tiny! We were probably the ones requesting the free posts 😛 I guess they allocate their funds to core business operations and not what they consider ‘support’ functions like marketing. Cheap.

    • I know right?! The worst is also when people pay with a gift card and then only tip on the remainder of their bill…yeah. That happened. More than once :/ I know people don’t support the practice of tipping at all but that’s another story altogether!!

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  4. I would think it would be wrong if she was an employee of the company & would not qualify for the free appetizer, even once.

  5. I would never buy something, wear it and then return it, that’s for sure. I have received “regifted” things before as presents. Being frugal, I wouldn’t mind, but the regifts were crappy things like extras from Avon and scented soaps, lotions, which I can’t even use cause I have sensitive skin. I think its kind of cheap if you give a good quality gift for someone who is making way more money than you, and when you receive a gift from them, its cheap quality and crappy. They totally could have afforded to give you something not necessarily the same monetary value what you gave them, but at least something of good quality. That’s just being selfish.

    • I know what you mean. I’ve gotten gifts that consisted of little extras as you said, and from a close friend that should have KNOWN I don’t like things like that. Very clearly just regifted little things they’ve accumulated over time – for instance, a hair product for coloured hair. I don’t have coloured hair…

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