Those of us who consider ourselves to be “thrifty” or “frugal” often use those two words interchangeably. They are very similar. But I recently heard an important distinction. If you are thrifty, then you keep costs down by getting good deals. If you are frugal, you keep costs down by getting good deals on what you need. Now some of this may simply be a matter of semantics. However, this is an important concept to consider whether you call yourself thrifty or frugal.
Take this little quiz to determine whether you are thrifty or frugal.
1. Who/what determines your shopping list? Do you make a list of what you need and then look for the best deals on those items? Or, do you scan the weekly mailers to see what’s on sale and buy those things? I don’t mean that you have “apples” on your list and you buy oranges instead (because they are on sale). Rather, do you have “apples” on your list and decide to buy oranges as well, since they are on sale?
2. How often do you buy what’s not on your grocery list? We have all done this. On your way out of the store, you spot the chocolate that may or may not be on sale. It’s just one bar. What’s a couple dollars, anyway? But, if you do that often enough, a couple of dollars can add up quickly! If you are thrifty, you buy it anyway; if you are frugal, you make sure it’s the exception to the rule.
3. How many of your purchases are a result of signage versus your actual needs? Stores know exactly what they are doing in their promotions strategies. Are you making decisions based on the store’s signs or based on what your family actually needs.
I’m not saying that you can’t have that chocolate on occasion. I love having chocolate around the house as a treat. But, as we work on tightening our budget, our goal is to be more frugal and make sure that those “treats” are the exception to the rule. That way, we save more money and actually enjoy those treats even more.
Are you frugal or thrifty?
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