The word “frugality” is sometimes compared to its close cousin, “cheapness”. However, these two terms aren’t exactly same. Over the years, a frugal living has become synonymous with penny- pinching in the worst definition possible. Real frugality is far from being unreasonably thrifty ; it’s only in popular media that the term has received its negative connotations.
Frugality really boils down to being economical in one’s resources. This means that the amount being spent on an item is worth it, whether it’s $10 or $1,000. A number that begins with three digits naturally invites a sense of expensive living, but if the product is well-built and has a number of potential uses, then that can be considered frugal.
On the other hand, a cheap item isn’t necessarily frugal. For example, a new pair of shoes that costs only $ 20 might seem like a steal, but after a few weeks of wear, the poor quality will begin to show, and it will be off to the trash bin for that pair. If the $ 20 had gone to an additional $80 for a $100 pair of good quality shoes, it would be more expensive, but more economical in the long run.
A frugal person therefore isn’t cheap, he’s just being sensible. The price tag shouldn’t be the only factor that’s being considered when determining frugality versus cheapness.