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Cheap vs. Frugal

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There is nothing wrong with saving a buck, but can you cross the line?  There is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.  

Let's start with what being frugal means. It's thinking before you buy - not being impulsive.  A person who is cheap, on the other hand, always pays as little as possible no matter what.   Both are good ways to save money, that's for sure, but being cheap, in some cases, can actually cost you money.  So, when should you be frugal and when is it OK to tap into your inner cheapo?

Seasonal clothes:  Go  for cheap especially for the kids. Summer play shorts will get ruined, and besides, they won't fit next summer anyway.   

Gas:  Are you that person who will drive a good distance to get a better gas price? Do the math. It may not be worth the drive. Here's a frugal option:  Download an app like "GasBuddy."  It shows the best gas prices from where you are right that moment then it maps out the distance for you

Home improvements:  While there might be cheap fixes like painting that you can do for yourself big jobs where you really don't know what you're doing ought to be left up to a pro.  And while you want to save a buck don't go so cheap that the quality suffers.

Wine:  Cheap wine is often the butt of jokes, but honestly, in this day and age there are lots of great cheap wines available, especially if you buy in bulk. And the bottom-line is that if you like it then drink it.

Buying in Bulk:  Sometimes you should. Sometimes you shouldn't.  Toilet paper, paper towels and detergent are all good things to buy in bulk, but buying perishable food can be tricky.  You don't want to buy in bulk only to have it go bad.  

Finally, a few more times you want to be frugal rather than cheap. 
  1. Mattresses:  Absolutely, wait for a good sale, but steer clear of a cheap  mattress, if you can.  You won't sleep well and it's not good for your back.
  2. Safety Items:  Don't get cheap on items like car seats or smoke detectors.  It's not worth it.
  3. Cheap Date: That's a big no-no.  Enough said. 
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