Five Moves That Make You Look Cheap
If, like many people, you find yourself looking for ways to trim you spending, you may find yourself flirting with what can be a very fine line. You know: the one between making smart financial choices and being outright cheap. In fact, in many cases it's a line between thrift and outright thievery. You know you've hit it when your savings become someone else's loss - or your own. Here we'll look a few common examples where thrifty become downright cheap. How far would you go?
Thrifty: Buying Items That Are on Sale. Cheap: Only Buying Items That Are on Sale
Seeking out sales can be a great way to help make groceries, clothes and virtually any other items you need fit into a tight budget. At the grocery store, for example, you might choose the cereal that's on sale, rather than the one that's on your list.
Thrifty: Tipping According to Service. Cheap: Never Tipping at All
Common etiquette requires that customers provide tips for certain services. As a result, some of these service providers are actually paid considerably less by their employers, because they expect that tips will make up the difference. In some states, this may even be less than minimum wage. If you get rude or indifferent service, it may be fair to leave nothing, but if you never tip, ask yourself why. Is it really because you feel your waiter or taxi driver makes plenty of money, or is it just because you can't bear to part with it?
Thrifty: Putting Money Aside for Savings. Cheap: Saving Everything and Living on Nothing
Living a very Spartan lifestyle can a great way to achieve a big goal, but it's no way to live. If you're working toward retiring early, buying a house or taking time off work to spend with family, travel or pursue other goals, digging deep to make this happen just might be worth it. But if you find yourself saving nearly every penny and scrounging to make ends meet, it may be time to ask yourself just what you're saving for. If you don't have an answer, you've probably gone too far.
Thrifty: Taking Advantage of a Good Deal. Cheap: Taking Advantage
If you find a great way to stretch a dollar, there's nothing wrong with making good use of it. For example, if you're in a coffee shop that provides free refills, stick around and enjoy a few cups if you're in the mood. But please, don't keep the cup and come back later (or every day thereafter) for more. A couple of extra cups of coffee probably won't put a dent in a business's bottom line, but if more people follow your lead, it might just quash its free refills.
Thrifty: Cutting Out Internet and Cable. Cheap: Stealing It from Your Neighbors
If you start cutting costs, you'll soon learn that you can get by with a lot less. But if you want to be able to brag about your frugal living ways, you have to actually do without. If you cut out your internet but then log on through your neighbor's wireless signal, you're about as enviable as the guy who parks a Prius in his driveway but keeps a Hummer in the garage.