Please welcome back our usual Wednesday contributor, Grayson from Debt Roundup…
I was out with a friend that I hadn’t seen in quite some time the other day. We were catching up about what was going on in our lives. You know, all of the fun stuff. The last time I saw this person was when I was swimming in a large amount of credit card debt. I was still spending more money than I was earning and I didn’t have a care in the world. This friend always thought that I was making it in the world. I would cover tabs, buy drinks, and buy people gifts. I was living way beyond my means and one reason is that I wanted to impress my friends. So, for those that don’t know me, I was acting stupid. Plain and simple!
My friend and I were out at a restaurant catching up and eating some good food. When the time came to get the check, I asked to split it. Now, this would seem normal for most people, but since my friend would usually get a free meal from me, he was a little taken aback. On top of the check splitting, I also pulled out a coupon! Yep, I had a coupon at the restaurant and I was going to use it. Sue me!
Now, you can imagine that this sparked some conversation. I usually have no problem telling people about my previous money issues. I do it everyday on my blog. The problem here was that this friend had no idea that I was terrible with my money years ago. He thought I was making millions with my e-commerce business. It was time to fess up about my money mistakes and give it to him straight.
After about 30 minutes of explaining my life story, or at least my debt story, my friend and I started to pay our tab. I pulled out my coupon and threw down my Arrival World Mastercard. Then, he hit me with a word that I don’t typically hear.
He Called Me Frugal!
Most people that I know don’t call me frugal. The tone in his voice was with surprise, but also making it sound cheap. My friend was really calling me cheap because I used a coupon and I checked my bill with great detail. I was a little offended about how he used the term.
What he meant to use was cheap. Frugal and cheap are not the same thing. If he would have used the correct tone and called me frugal, then I would have been okay with it. Instead, he was putting me down in a way by using frugal as a synonym for cheap. I am not cheap. You won’t ever see me rummaging through the trash to find leftovers. I won’t forgo toilet paper to save a few cents. I find that a little crazy.
See, the common definition of frugal is to be sparing or economical with regard to money or food. I like to pull one word out and that is “economical.” That is what I consider myself to be. I am economical. I think about every purchase. I make sure that I can save money when I can. I work hard not to overspend. I don’t mind being called frugal. I think it would be a compliment. What I do mind is being called frugal, but it being used as a synonym of cheap. Calling someone cheap is demeaning especially when they are just good with their money.
I think the word frugal has gotten a bad rep. I would liken the issue to reality television and people just hearing about others doing crazy things. They then push the frugal word in there and people associate it with cheap. If someone is being frugal, then call them such. Don’t give the word a dirty undertone and associate it with cheap. It makes me feel dirty when it is done that way!
I did ask my friend if he meant to call me cheap, and he laughed and said “yes”! I simply told him that I am good with my money and don’t mind saving with a coupon and making sure I am being charged for the services that I used. No problem in that. I think he gets my point now!
Have you ever been called frugal, but it came with the undertone of cheap? On another note, have you ever been called cheap?
Image Courtesy of Tax Credits