It’s great to pinch a penny, especially in this economy. But there’s a fine line between watching the bottom line and becoming an annoying cheapskate.
Thrifty is cool. Cheap is not.
Here are some examples:
Thrifty in a restaurant: When a thrifty person goes out to eat she will usually have a buy-one-get-one coupon or some other smokin’ deal. She will still split the check with her friend and leave a generous tip.
Cheap in a restaurant: A cheap-o has the buy-one-get-one coupon, all right, but a cheap person leaves the coupon as payment when the bill comes and leaves no tip. (Either that or el-Cheapo just happens to be in the restroom when the bill comes.)
Thrifty gift giving: A thrifty person, when spotting an outrageous deal on something they love, will buy many to give as gifts for their fabulous friends. A thrifty person never over pays, but also never gives a gift they themselves wouldn’t love to have.
Cheap gift giving: “Oh, it was your birthday last week? Well, Happy Birthday! See you later!”
Thrifty shopping: The thrifty person buys only what they truly want and need. They’re loathe to pay retail for anything, but will hunt for the best deal and the biggest bargain. When they see something they think they absolutely have to have, they will put it on hold at the store then do an online search at home to make sure it’s the best possible price. The thrifty shopper is not afraid to scour consignment, thrift and second-hand stores for a treasure, and they’re also known to frequent the best spots for clearance bargains at higher-end department stores. And they won’t settle for dismal quality just because the price is low.
Cheap shopping: Cheap-o’s don’t like to shop. They’re smug about their $25 Wal-Mart jeans, not knowing that if you get on the Gap’s email list, you can get much better ones for $25-$30.
Remember that while everyone likes a good deal, no one likes a cheapskate. Be a generous friend and a good tipper. Be nice to sales clerks and ask about unadvertised sales, coupons, e-mail lists, etc… Know the staff at your favorites stores by name. They love to help nice people looking for good deals, but they won’t lift a finger for scowling cheapskates. Can you blame them?
I’m very thrifty, but I’m never, ever cheap.