I consider myself to be both frugal and cheap. To me frugal means more about how you use what you have, and cheap is how you get what you have to use.
I make the most of my money by clipping coupons, shopping clearance racks, and using mail in rebates. In the past two days, I have saved over $180.00 on things that we will use, and paid a mere $100.00 for all of it. Paying only 30% for things we use is my goal, so for this week I get an A! I am frugal because we use half of the laundry detergent recommended for our clothes, they still come out clean. I use baking soda as a fabric softener instead of purchasing the bottled softeners, and our sheets and towels are never scratchy or rough. I purchase items, and only items, that we would normally use. I never get something just because it is cheap, if we don’t normally use it. I stock up on non-perishable items, for example baby diapers and toilet paper, when they are on sale and I have coupons to match. I keep a price book of the best prices in town so I know when a sale is really a sale and when to stock up on items. We even sell our used items and recycle our cans to make a bit of extra money to add to our budget
We make a point of conserving what we do have though. We are a home of 2 adults and 1 baby under the age of 1 year. We cook only what we need to feed us so that we don’t have waste food. We reuse left overs to make the most of our meals. I will make hamburgers one day, then crumble them and make tacos the next. We squeeze every drop of toothpaste, shampoo, and soap out of the bottles that we can, not to waste a drop. We use old dry bread to make croutons and crackers for the baby. We make our own bread, muffins, and baby food.
It is easy to be frugal, its more work to be cheap. Being frugal is like dieting, you cut down your portion size. Being cheap is like a second job for me. Clipping coupons, shopping the ads, walking through stores to be sure that you haven’t missed a clearance rack. It’s work, but it is well worth it for me. If anyone is looking to save money, being BOTH frugal and cheap is the fastest way to do it.