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As a mom of 8 kids, it would be easy for me to spend a small fortune on everything from food to clothes, and activities.  That is not an option so I have to save money.  I have tried being cheap and being frugal and I definitely prefer to be frugal not cheap.  Being frugal saves me money and being cheap costs so much more.

It took me a while to learn how to be frugal.  I will admit that I still find myself being cheap sometimes.  To me the definition of frugal is spending less to get the things you really want and need.  I see being cheap as settling.  When we are frugal, we know what we need and want and we find ways to get those things without spending too much money.  You get the brands, quality, and experience you want.  Frugality doesn’t mean buying cheap imitations that break easier, last a shorter amount of time, or don’t taste as good.  Just last night my husband asked me to find a good deal on ping pong balls.  My first cheap instinct was to buy the set of 144 ping pong balls for $6.45.  What a deal right?  Nope.  The reviews consistently said the balls bounced wrong because of big seams and they were better for crafts.  I still hated to spend 3 times as much for ping pong balls that had good reviews.  Then I remembered that it is never a good deal if it causes frustration or ends up in the trash.  Stop being cheap Heather!  I bought the very good deal on quality, highly rated ping pong balls.  I go through this scenario all the time.  My instinct is always to get whatever is cheapest and that costs me money.

Frugal not cheap mistakes

Here are my Top 3 Cheapskate Mistakes that are costing me money:

  1. My Mistake: Buying clothes I kind of like because they are a great deal and then never wearing them.  I am always willing to buy a shirt for $5 or under but I just hate to pay over $20 on a shirt.  I probably have over $50 worth of  $5 shirts in my closet that I don’t wear because they aren’t flattering or really my style.  What a waste of money.  Don’t get me wrong, I have several shirts I love that I got for $5, but if I would have saved the money I spent on shirts I don’t really like, I would have more than enough money to buy quality shirts (on sale of course) that are flattering and my style.
    My Goal: Every time I am tempted to buy a shirt or other piece of clothes that I don’t love, I am going to put the money I would have spent into an envelope.  At the end of the year, I am going to use that money to buy 1 or 2 items I really love.
  2. My Mistake: I buy poor quality products because of the low price and then end up having to buy more because they break or don’t work like my ping pong balls I almost bought.
    My Goal: I will shop smart and find good prices on quality products that have good reviews.
  3. My Mistake: I buy brands or items my family doesn’t like because I find a great sale and then it goes to waste.  I am really getting much better at this but there is a pack of Chobani Chocolate Greek Yogurt just mocking me in my refrigerator.  No matter how much I want us to, my family does not like Greek yogurt.  I need to stop thinking a different flavor will fix that.
    My Goal:  I will not buy things my family doesn’t like.  If I think they might like something, I will only buy a small amount.  Even if I miss a great deal, it’s worth it to avoid having things go to waste.

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Posted by Frugal Mommy

Hi I’m Heather, a busy, happy and very frugal mom of 8 amazing kids! My journey to become a mom of 8 has been a bumpy one that has included infertility, being a foster parent, adoption, and special needs parenting. I share the things I've learned raising my big unique family.

24 Comments

  1. I agree with you 100%. I have been trying to explain this difference to my husband. He will pick up a cheap pair of bedroom slippers and they will be trashed in four months and he will have to buy another pair. Meanwhile my pair I bought frugally, cost more than his but lasted four years.

    In French there’s a saying “We’re too poor to buy cheap” I try to live by that. 🙂

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    1. I love that saying!

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  2. Awesome tips! I do that all the time, buy stuff since it is a good deal, but then I never wear it! I need to stop doing that!

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    1. It is so funny to me how I can buy 6 shirts for $5 that I don’t like or wear and not feel guilty but I feel guilty if I buy one shirt I love and wear all the time and spend $25. I am really working on changing that feeling because it doesn’t help anyone.

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  3. It’s SO hard for me to stick to these rules – bucking up and spending more on something can be SO hard, but I will say that better quality clothes have made a HUGE difference. I don’t have to shop as often, and I wear the pieces I buy because I LOVE them.

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    1. It is really hard for me too but I totally agree!

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  4. I never really thought much about it before but you are right there is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal. I like how you wrote about your mistake and then your goal. That is a great idea and I can relate to the clothes one. I will be doing this as well.

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  5. Agree whole heartedly! There is a big difference between cheap and frugal! Being cheap ends up costing you money! Thanks for the reminder.

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  6. Thanks for clearing the lines between frugal and cheap! I definitely am cheap too many times and end up wasting money on things I don’t use! Especially food and clothes. I started making myself wait a day before purchasing items. And if I can’t get them out of my mind because I really liked it then I’ll go check it out again. Sometimes things look different after the hype of the initial red tag discovery! Loved this post! Glad I found you in the blog share fb group! I’m not a mom yet, but anyone can be frugal and save some money, right!?

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    1. You for sure don’t need to be a mom to save money and you have a great plan!

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  7. Lol! Great tips and very wise advice!

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  8. These are some great points! It’s really a fine line, and I like to think I hug the “frugal” side a bit more than “cheap”. But trying not to spend much money is just in my nature!

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    1. That’s my nature too. I just really like things better if I know I got a good deal.

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  9. I am sooooo with you on the buying cheap just because it’s cheap! Or buying things that are on sale! It’s something I have to deal with daily also! Thanks for the tips to being frugal vs cheap. They are quite helpful reminders.
    p.s. use the chocolate greek yogurt in some chocolate muffins that call for yogurt or sour cream. The family won’t taste it and you will not waste it 😉

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    1. THANK YOU for the tip on the yogurt! I will do that! It would have driven me crazy to waste it.

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  10. Great post. I can so relate to this. One place where I struggle with this is cheap food vs. organic. For example, people complain about how expensive organic food is so they buy the chemical laden kind because it is cheaper. But, if it affects your health how cheap was it really?

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    1. Yes! It really confuses me why processed ready made food is cheaper than the food it’s made from.

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  11. I am incredibly guilty of buying food my family never eats, because of wishful thinking. Also, I to have a closest of clothes that were on sale, but I never wear. Great blog! <3

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    1. It is nice to know I’m not alone. Those things are so tempting.

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  12. Buying things that we think are a great deal (whether or not they are) when we don’t actually need them is the biggest mistake I make. Totally understand you there!

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    1. It is such a bad habit of mine. Maybe we can form a support group 🙂

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  13. Oh my gosh I can soooo relate to this post more than you’ll ever know! I am very frugal. It’s like ingrained in me. I do the same thing with food-lesson learned!

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    1. It’s so nice to meet a kindred spirit! We can help eachother. 🙂

      Reply

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