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Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-08-2005, 11:04 PM   #1
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Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

OK guys--philosophical question. When we purchase something, what are the thought processes? Do we really need it? Is it something that is a necessity? How much are we willing to pay for it? Do we buy quality or do we buy cheap so we can hold on to the money?

I wanted a cheap waterproof watch. I don't need high end stuff. To me, a Bic pen works as well or better than a Mont Blanc pen. Nor do I want or need a high$ Rolex. But I want quality when it comes to clothes, shoes, furniture and home accessories. And I like nice cars. But I refuse to pay full retail for anything. I'll pay more for quality that I know will last, than buy cheap junk with a very limited life expectancy.

Am I/Are we frugal or just plain cheap? Waddaya say?

Professor
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-08-2005, 11:45 PM   #2
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

My 16 year old says I'm cheap, for instance I bought a new car without electric windows or locks (added aftermarket locks & cruise control) but the brand new car 2005 model in Nov 2004 was under $10K. I recycle aluminum cans. Often ask for discounts and negotiate prices.
Betting the kid will think more of the car when he wants to drive.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 09:18 AM   #3
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

I love Shopping! The key especially with bigger ticket items such as cars TVs etc. etc. And my number 1 shopping rule is: I NEVER (Repeat NEVER) NEED anything. (Period)

Now of course there are the odd times when you do actually need something, say your main water faucet breaks, and you DO need water, it is thanksgiving tomorrow and the shops will be closed. I go out and buy it. No Shopping, no haggling, no price comparisons.

But, I would NEVER need a Car, or a piece of electronics (unless it is a pacemaker). Soooooo. I then shop till I drop, always pay cash and usually get a really great deal.

I consider that smart shopping not being cheap. And by the way I do like Rolex watches and my wife has a beauty, but I shopped for it, purchased it in a Tax free state and got a 35% discount off retail. Hey, It was her 40th birthday otherwise I would have shot for 40%.

SWR
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 10:34 AM   #4
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

I have the same attitude regarding NEED vs. WANT. Whenever the holidays or my birthday come around, everyone asks me what I want. My reply is the same -- "I already have everything I need". It's hard to think about "wanting" something, when you've programmed yourself to consider buying things only if you generally need them for some constructive purpose.

As for frugal vs. cheap, I'm probably the former rather than the latter. For expensive things, I spend an inordinate amount of time buying quality, and usually never second-guess my purchase once I've made it. For cheap stuff, I hit the dollar store or Target and never give it a second thought either.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 10:41 AM   #5
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

In my mind, there is a big difference between being frugal and being cheap. *Frugal is a educated and labor intensive endeavor to purchase items of quality and the lowest practical price. *

Cheap is just finding any item that will "do" at the lowest price possible. *

The critical element here is quality and the effort in obtaining the highest quality at the lowest "practical" price. *Sometimes you pay a bit more for the extra service-related intangible like good customer service, ease of possible repairs, ease of turns if the product is defective (carry it back instead of shipping it), etc.

Sometimes I do cheap...Dollar Store for comsumable items..but mostly I am frugal. *I prize high quality and am willing to pay more for it. *I research a lot before I buy and then I shop to find the best combination of price and customer service. *$hit happens to things and I seem to pick the one in a thousand that is defective so it is important for me to be able to easily exchange something. *Sometimes that carries a premium but I am willing to pay a reasonable amount for customer service. *

My kids think I am nuts but I have saved tons of $$ over the years with this approach. *I impulse buy only inexpensive stuff and then only rarely. *
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 11:18 AM   #6
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?


I consider that smart shopping not being cheap. And by the way I do like Rolex watches and my wife has a beauty, but I shopped for it, purchased it in a Tax free state and got a 35% discount off retail. Hey, It was her 40th birthday otherwise I would have shot for 40%.

SWR
I agree with that outlook, too. Smart shopping. I am frugal, but will not sacrifice life's little pleasures and luxuries. I no longer need "stuff"...just extra baggage to carry around. Even got rid of the Jag (certified pre-owned with better than new warranty...dump 'em when the warranty runs out). I did not like the way people look at you. Now, since I FIRE'd, I drive a 1995 Chevy s-10 (liability only) in the slow lane (and enjoy the ride much better!!! Especially on the way to the bank .

My Rolex watches were fabulous fakes from a previous visit to Thailand (I enjoyed just the same benefit...if not more for paying 0nly$20 bucks for it!* After they broke, I threw em out and that was the end of the Rolex thing. (kept my $20k in the bank).

I travelled the world (first class, too), stayed at idyllic luxury properties (and Motel 6's when travelling with the dog...going for breakfast at The Phoenician or Biltmore...enjoying the ambiance and experience just as much as if I stayed there (at a fraction of the cost by the way!) I booked inside staterooms next to the boiler on cruise ships, and balcony staterooms on luxury liners to Tahiti...enjoyed them both as much...the only difference was the price. Depends on what I want to do at the time.

I leave anonymous Big Tips (to insure promptness) or help out a struggling waitress.

I always LBYM and can now get by on very little. Too much stuff. Got rid of all the baggage. As an ER'r (PT wannabe) I have a greater sense of freedom.

At the same time, I figured a while ago that if I could put premium fuel in my car's gas tank, I can afford good quality food to put in my body. I do not squander or waste.

Yet, family and some friends folks have called me cheap...(I just smile)
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 12:11 PM   #7
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

To me the difference between being frugal and cheap is being able to recognize good value. It's not the absolute dollar amount that matters, but the value received for the dollars expended. For example, I had to replace my TV. I could have bought a 32" no-name brand for $289. I really liked the picture quality of the Sony much better. By shopping around I was able to get the sony for $589. I considered this a very good value. True, I spent more dollars but I got a much better set. I say that is frugal.

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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 01:52 PM   #8
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Professor
I wanted a cheap waterproof watch.* I don't need high end stuff. To me, a Bic pen works as well or better than a Mont Blanc pen.* Nor do I want or need a high$ Rolex. But I want quality when it comes to clothes, shoes, furniture and home accessories. And I like nice cars.* But I refuse to pay full retail for anything.* I'll pay more for quality that I know will last, than buy cheap junk with a very limited life expectancy.

Am I/Are we* frugal or just plain cheap?* Waddaya say?
Well, when I want to replace a cheap watch, I just go out and buy one.

If you have to solicit advice for buying a cheap watch, and then discuss the philosophical implications, I think we've gone well beyond frugal vs cheap.* *I vote for obsessive/compulsive.*

Personally, I've always been a bargain hunter.* *I enjoy the hunt and the kill.* *If I can systematically find bargains, I might even exploit the mispricing via ebay or the stock market.

But I've found that bargain hunting for small one-time purchases really isn't worth the effort.* *If you focus on large purchases (homes, cars) and recurring costs, your bargain hunting time will have much better ROI.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 03:34 PM   #9
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by grumpy
To me the difference between being frugal and cheap is being able to recognize good value.* It's not the absolute dollar amount that matters, but the value received for the dollars expended.* For example, I had to replace my TV.* I could have bought a 32" no-name brand for $289.* I really liked the picture quality of the Sony much better.* By shopping around I was able to get the sony for $589.* I considered this a very good value.* True, I spent more dollars but I got a much better set.* I say that is frugal.
*
* *Grumpy
Yes, but why waste your valuable ER time watching TV? Television stations just want to sell you something, and if you're paying for cable/satellite TV, you're already spending too much.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 05:47 PM   #10
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

I think I'm between the those that lean towards the miser end and those that can spend what they will/can.

When I RE I will always have to monitor my investments but I think I can live a balanced life. I'm at the point where the scales between working for money and RE have tipped towards RE.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 06:30 PM   #11
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Cut-Throat, you might want to tell Mrs. Cut-Throat that Martha Stewart is on TLC (The Learning Channel) at 5:00pm.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 09:38 PM   #12
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

I learned through experience that being cheap doesn't pay.

Cheap shoes torture your feet.

Cheap clothing falls apart after a couple washings. (Inexpensive thrift store finds are a different story).

Cheap appliances don't last, cause frustration, or are downright dangerous. (The cheap coffeemaker I figured was "good enough" claimed to have an autoshut off feature - after a couple times forgetting to turn it off, I found out it wasn't working, grrr.)

The key is to learn the difference between cheap junk and a bargains.


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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 10:44 PM   #13
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

I agree with ACG -- we now buy very high quality food (at stores) and prepare it ourselves. We are leaning toward organic when possible at places like Whole Foods or trader joe's -- not obsessive about it but it has become a preference in the last few years. Still much cheaper than eating out, and better for us, we figure. Also better for us than run-of-the-mill factory-farmed calories.

The deciding event for me was reading about a medical study in which people who drank soft drinks with high fructose corn syrup in them (2+ per day) had twice the risk of contracting old age diabetes compared to those who drank juice, water (or diet drinks, which carry their own risks). So I started looking for High Fructose Corn Syrup in ingredients lists and not buying those products. Amazing where you find that 'food'... and it steered us away from plenty of our old buying habits, but often to slightly more expensive foods.

Over the long run, it should save on the medical bills, though. "Downside" is that you may have to prepare financially for a very long retirement.



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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 11:10 PM   #14
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider
But, I would NEVER need a Car...SWR
I say you are lucky. I live where there is no public transit. I live alone. Some jerk just hit me head on, and my wonderful car that I planned on keeping for ten years gave its life to save mine.

So, actually, I do need a car.

Ha-- feeling sore but happy to be alive
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 11:26 PM   #15
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I say you are lucky. I live where there is no public transit. I live alone. Some jerk just hit me head on, and my wonderful car that I planned on keeping for ten years gave its life to save mine.

So, actually, I do [i]need[/] a car.

Ha-- feeling sore but happy to be alive
Sorry about the accident, but as you say, any crash you walk away from is a success.
Next problem- - -does the jerk have insurance*
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-09-2005, 11:49 PM   #16
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I say you are lucky. I live where there is no public transit. I live alone. Some jerk just hit me head on, and my wonderful car that I planned on keeping for ten years gave its life to save mine.

So, actually, I do [i]need[/] a car.

Ha-- feeling sore but happy to be alive
Ha,
I am sorry to hear about your accident. I am happy that you survived and appear to be sore but are safe. Too bad about the car. Maybe you can call an accident lawyer ambulance chaser and get a nice 30% settlement from this guy and get a new car. I know that these guys are all over the air waves and billboards here trying to screw help folks in your situation.

Seriously, I am glad you are OK.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-10-2005, 01:26 AM   #17
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I learned through experience that being cheap doesn't pay.

Cheap shoes torture your feet.

Cheap clothing falls apart after a couple washings. (Inexpensive thrift store finds are a different story).

Cheap appliances don't last, cause frustration, or are downright dangerous. (The cheap coffeemaker I figured was "good enough" claimed to have an autoshut off feature - after a couple times forgetting to turn it off, I found out it wasn't working, grrr.)

The key is to learn the difference between cheap junk and a bargains.
I agree. It often comes to the point when you can be
"penny wise and dollar folish".Someone a few months
ago ask me if I considered myself cheap, or frugal.
I replied neither and stated that I was a Value player,
in that I like to to get the best bang for the buck. Some-
times that means spending extra for quality. On larger
ticket items I like to do a little research (Consumer
Reports,MoterTrend etc.) I also believe in tipping well
for good service.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-10-2005, 06:24 AM   #18
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheryl
I learned through experience that being cheap doesn't pay.*

Cheap shoes torture your feet.*

Cheap clothing falls apart after a couple washings. (Inexpensive thrift store finds are a different story).* *

Cheap appliances don't last, cause frustration, or are downright dangerous.* (The cheap coffeemaker I figured was "good enough" claimed to have an autoshut off feature - after a couple times forgetting to turn it off, I found out it wasn't working, grrr.)

The key is to learn the difference between cheap junk and a bargains.


Sheryl, you are spot on.* I am as thrifty as anyone on the forum, maybe excluding JohnGalt, but there comes a time when you're not thrifty, but just stupid.* I have learned the hard way about shoes.* Replace them often and your feet feel better.* Probably smell better, too.*

I think you should identify the product you want, then identify the average price for it, then wait until you can beat that price.* That's being frugal and methodical, with a hint of miserliness. My momma told me, "You better shop around."
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-10-2005, 08:39 AM   #19
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I say you are lucky. I live where there is no public transit. I live alone. Some jerk just hit me head on, and my wonderful car that I planned on keeping for ten years gave its life to save mine.

So, actually, I do need a car.

Ha-- feeling sore but happy to be alive
Oh man Mikey, glad you are OK.
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?
Old 11-10-2005, 08:41 AM   #20
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Re: Are We Frugal & Methodical or Just plain Cheap?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I say you are lucky. I live where there is no public transit. I live alone. Some jerk just hit me head on, and my wonderful car that I planned on keeping for ten years gave its life to save mine.

So, actually, I do need a car.

Ha-- feeling sore but happy to be alive
You miss my point! I NEVER need a car enough to impulse buy one. I would always have an alternative while I was going through the purchase process. In your case I would use my insurance and rent an interim car or something. But I would not impulse buy one.

SWR
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