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?
…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!
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!