In the world of personal finance blogging, frugality is king. Since the 2008 recession, trends like extreme couponing have risen in popularity. Being frugal wins! Right?
Not always. Even though we’re all about helping you find ways to banish your student loan debt for good, there is a difference between being frugal and being cheap. Do any of the examples below ring a bell? If so, you might be guilty of being a little too frugal.
Frugal vs cheap: how to tell if you’re being frugal or cheaping out
1. You stuff your cabinets with store freebies.
Do you leave restaurants with a purse full of napkins and silverware? Do you have a drawer full of ketchup packets in your kitchen? If you’re going out just to swipe the stuff from the condiment counter because it’s there and it’s “free,” you might be taking frugality too far.
2. You regift your old stuff.
Are you a habitual regifter? It’s definitely the thought that counts, but if your thought process is “What do I have around the house that so-and-so would like?” then you shouldn’t expect a birthday party invite next year.
If you didn’t want someone to give it to you in the first place, why regift it again? Regifting is lazy and cheap, unless you’re gifting a family heirloom to someone else in your family who would treasure it as much as you.
3. It’s always your “birthday.”
There’s nothing better than getting free meals, desserts, or drinks on your birthday. But if you constantly tell restaurants and bars that it’s your birthday, you’re taking it too far.
You’re likely not fooling anyone — and worse, if they decide to check your ID you could end up looking like a real jerk. This is one of lowest “money-saving” tricks, and will most likely make your friends cringe.
4. You constantly “have plans” … to stay home.
Picture this: It’s Saturday night and your phone rings. Your friends are all going out for drinks and want you to join, but drinks cost money and you hate spending money. Why pay for cocktails when your ex’s-roommate’s-Dad’s-girlfriend’s Netflix is free?
Savvy finance folks know that sometimes you have to decline social invitations in order to stay on budget and put money away for important financial goals. But that doesn’t mean you have to let your important relationships languish. If you’re constantly bailing on plans with friends because you don’t want to spend money, it’s time to find a better balance.
Being frugal vs cheap can be a fine line. If you truly don’t have the cash to nurture your relationships with friends, think about alternatives you can do together. Maybe instead of going out for drinks you can all pitch in for a few bottles of wine and have a night in. Your friends will likely be supportive of your initiative and enjoy saving a little money themselves!
5. You conveniently forget your wallet.
This is one of the biggest friendship red flags. I love catching up with friends over coffee, but you bet when a buddy “forgets” their wallet more than once or twice, I start to notice.
The same goes for people who don’t order food and then mooch off of everyone’s plates after the meal arrives. Not only is this just bad etiquette, it never reflects well on you!
6. You shop the deals all over town.
Who doesn’t love a good coupon? What many neglect to realize is that coupons aren’t specifically designed to save you money — they’re designed to benefit the store. So, while there are many good deals to be had by using coupons, there are also many ways coupon clipping can go wrong.
- You stock up on essentials but end up with tons of products that you either donate or lose to waste.
- You shop one deal here and another deal there but end up wasting more money on gas driving to and from the different stores than you actually save on the products.
- In order to get the deal on the coupon, you have to purchase more than you need. This often leads us to spend more than we normally would, thinking we’ll make that money back “down the road.”
Instead, why not just purchase what you need from the same store and only use a coupon if it’s convenient?
When trying to decide if your frugality is helpful or harmful, keep this in mind: Frugality merits pinching pennies in order to spend your time and money in areas most important to you.
Being cheap almost always equates to sacrificing your time for money, cutting corners on your quality of life, and placing money saved above nurturing relationships. Your time is worth something, too. Always keep that in mind the next time the urge to be too frugal strikes.
Need to find a better balance in your budget? Here are 5 ways to lower your cost of living.
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1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.
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2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
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|2.80% – 6.22%2||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Laurel Road|
|2.48% – 6.25%5||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit CommonBond|
|2.57% – 8.17%6||Undergrad & Graduate||Visit Citizens|