I want to clear something up. Being cheap is much different than being frugal, and I take offense when I’m called cheap. Frugal implies absence of luxury and simplicity of lifestyle whereas being cheap implies always looking to pay for something below it’s value. I see myself as the type of person that cuts out certain luxuries in my life so I can enjoy other luxuries in my life. It’s true that my priorities might be different than some people, for instance: I will be very frugal with groceries, but I will spend a lot on eating out and going out with friends. It’s true that my frugality contradicts my expenditures, but it all balances out in the end.
If I feel like I’ve paid for a service that I feel wasn’t worth what I paid, I will sometimes do something about it. For example, I was at the movie theatre last week, and the air conditioning was broken, so I was literally sweating for an hour and a half while watching the movie. It cost around $13 for the ticket, so I would expect to watch the movie in relative comfort. So I mentioned it to the manager and received free passes for next time. I don’t think this action makes me cheap.
When it comes down to it, I spend a lot of money on certain things, like eating out, going out at night, weekend trips, hockey, my Jeep/motorcycle, etc. But I watch my money closely in other areas that aren’t as important to me, such as buying junk food, buying only the necessities at the grocery store, going to a community centre to work out, etc. I typically prioritize my expenditures and depending on the importance of the expenditure to me, I will be frugal about it.
My conclusion is that if I was cheap, I wouldn’t do most of the things I do every day, and I’d probably have a lot more money saved up. Spending money sparingly in some areas allows me to do the things I love to do that cost more money. Perhaps as I grow older, these priorities will change. Now that I’ve written this article, I anticipate that all of my friends that read this article are going to start calling me cheap just to get under my skin. Good work Jim 😉