Sunday, February 14, 2010

Frugal vs. Cheap

I have been trying to write a post on frugality and buying quality foods. I have deleted more words than I ever kept. I would begin a sentence then go off on a tangent that would branch out into more tangents until all I had was a mishmash of words going nowhere.

So instead, I decided to just let the juices flow and address the subject straight on.

Frugal vs. Cheap

Frugal is shopping the ‘Loss Leaders’ (the featured sales on the front of the store’s weekly circular.) Cheap is shopping for lesser quality because of overall price.

Frugal is buying fresh meat on sale or in the clearance bin and freezing it for later use. Cheap is buying processed meats based on price per pound. Fresh meat may cost more per pound but it is 100% meat, while the process stuff has chemicals, fillers, and mystery ingredients.

Frugal is buying fruits and vegetables in season at the local farmers market or fruit stand and preserving it. Frugal is also buying canned fruits and vegetables on sale. Cheap is not buying produce based on bias that you really don’t need it anyway.

Frugal is buying a freezer or renting a locker to store foods for the future. Cheap is trying to use the limited refrigerator freezer to store foods.

Frugal is joining a local food co-op to buy bulk staple foods at a reduced price. Cheap is buying staples of lower quality to save a few cents.

Frugal is joining a Food Gatherer or Food Gleaner volunteer group to collect and distribute foods for yourself and others in need. Cheap is not going out of your way to save some money and assist others.

Frugal is using vinegar and baking soda to clean. Cheap is using watered down generic cleaners.

Frugal is using less detergent in the sink, dishwasher, and clothes washer than recommended. Cheap is trying to make do with ‘alternative’ products that end up costing more per use and are not as effective.

Frugal is using up what you have on hand. Cheap is letting it spoil and tossing it.

Frugal is using the oven to its best advantage, i.e. Making a baked meal, while the oven is hot use it to bake bread, cakes, cookies, etc. and freeze for later. Cheap is not using the oven at all.

Frugal knows what is in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Cheap is buying without surveying your needs.

There you have it.  My opinion.


  1. I would say that some of those things are wasteful, not cheap. Like letting food spoil, and buying without surveying your needs. And I'm guilty of both of those things!

  2. Hi I'm Karsyn. I saw your post on Atheist mama's website and thought to check it your website as I love to cook and was hoping to get some new meals. But I saw this posting and thought it was quite interesting! I agree with all of what you are saying so I have decided I think I fit into the frugeap, LOL. I am in some ways a huge combo of both!

    I am trying to find ways to be frugal and not just cheap because I want to be able to get the great deals that so many people get without having to sacrifice the product.