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Pattie Lovett-Reid

Chief Financial Commentator, CTV


Have you gone from being frugal to simply cheap? 

We often talk about the difficulties some people have saving money but there are also people who have difficulty spending it. Now, to be fair, they may have been raised in a frugal household where putting on layers rather than turning up the thermostat was seen as the norm. 

However, there are also some out there who are simply cheap. They will buy poorly-made shoes that hurt because they are less expensive, or wear their sweaters well past their prime. They will take financially from others while never offering anything in return – which can come off as borderline entitlement.

You know the person I'm talking about. 

Now, the good news is that being frugal or cheap is a mindset that can be changed –  but it doesn't happen overnight. Changes can happen one purchase or one financial decision at a time. However, change will only happen if there is an awareness and willingness to do it, and sadly for some, they might need a little help to bring that awareness forward.

Here are nine signs you might have gone too far and transitioned from being frugal to cheap.  

1. You never reach to pick up the bill at lunch. You never offer to contribute. You promise to get the next one, and of course never do.

2. You turn outings into negotiations of cost payment rather than just enjoying or simply splitting the tab. 

3. You are prepared to bend the rules to suit you. For example, saying your three-year-old is two to get a discount rate or sneaking food into the theatre.

4. You pressure people for freebies. It is simply wrong to expect people to give you something for free when they make a living at it whether that be hairstylists, makeup artists, retailers etc. It can take years to develop a craft and when someone doesn't value your time and expertise, that is being cheap. 

5. Hoarding is a form of cheapness. You won't share things you aren't using for fear you might use it down the road. Not sharing with others is thriftiness gone wrong.

6.  You show up at an event, home or even cottage empty-handed. No one expects lavish gifts but a token of appreciation goes a long way.

7. You complain about the price of everything, refuse to leave a tip, and may expect a detailed breakdown of every dime that is being spent in a household.

8. You become obsessed with not spending money. Take a close look at your social life. Are you missing out because you simply won't spend the money to join in?

9. You are the person who never offers to buy the ice cream or a coffee. Somehow you never have spare change.

To be clear, people can be cheap even when they make a great income. They are just being selective who they share that income with.  Those struggling to get by have figured out what they can give of themselves and that will go a long way. 

Next time you don't step up financially, ask yourself: is this is really how I want to live my life? My bet is self-awareness will lead to a few changes. No one really wants to be thought of as that cheap person – it is never a good look.


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Which of these do you frown upon the most?

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