My girlfriend thinks I’m really cheap. I don’t feel like I’m cheap, just frugal. And that I’m being smart. Where does the line fall between cheap and smart/frugal? Please help us resolve this dispute.

–Flummoxed (United States)


That’s a good question and the answer is different for every person and couple. One question to think about: Do you ever skimp on things that would make you or your girlfriend comfortable or your life easier even when you can easily afford them? If so, maybe in that moment, you could be being cheap rather than frugal. If you buy something that’s poorly made that will break soon because you don’t want to shell out money for something that will last even though you could use it, you might be being cheap rather than frugal.

However, if you don’t spend $20-$40 bucks on a dozen roses because you’d rather buy a rosebush to plant that will bear flowers for years, you’re probably being frugal/smart rather than cheap. This is an analogy, of course, but you get the idea.


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