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.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2020!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
|1.99% – 5.64%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 5.90%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.25% – 6.09%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|1.89% – 6.77%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.39% – 6.01%||Undergrad |
|1.99% – 5.41%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews! |
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 2.98% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.79% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 1.99% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.64% 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 July 31, 2020, 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 7/31/2020. 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 [email protected], or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2020 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.
Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.
Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.
Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.
Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.
This information is current as of September 9, 2020. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
4 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.
Splash Financial Disclosures
Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.
The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.
To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 10, 2020.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.16% effective August 10, 2020.