Frugal or Cheap?
Are you a free spender, a normal spender, a frugal spender, a cheap spender, or a “Bob type” spender?
Yesterday morning I had coffee with a group of friends, including Bob. For several consecutive days folks kept pocking fun on Bob for being cheap. By cheap I am referring to people who have a real hard time parting with their money. I quickly realized the conversation would make a good topic to blog about. A witty friend of Bob realized then where I get ideas for my 7 daily nuggets. Right on! So I got a napkin and took a few written notes instead of relying on my memory.
Here is the way I see different types of spenders. The free spenders spend like the world will end tomorrow. They truly believe that money was made to spend, especially nowadays where our money is no longer real money; it is fiat money; not backed by anything except the air around it. Take a close look at any dollar bill in circulation and your will notice that it says Federal Reserve Note. If you don’t believe me then go to any bank and try to exchange your notes for real money, like gold or silver. Let me know what you find out. By the way, did you know that the Federal Reserve Bank is not Federal and it does not have any reserves? The Federal Reserve is a private bank owned by 5 European and 3 American banks.
The normal spender is the average spender, living from paycheck to paycheck, somewhat carefully spending his or her money. The majority of spenders fit this category. Thanks to them the economy keeps moving. Wal-Mart really likes them.
The frugal spender is the person that squeezes value out of the money. To them frugality is a virtue. This person knows the value of things to the 7th decimal point. Please don’t confuse cheap with frugal. Don’t call a frugal person cheap or you may end up having to go to the nearest emergency room with a broken bone.
The cheap spender is the person that still has the first nickel earned 30 years ago. They are cheap, really cheap, but be careful here because they don’t like to be called cheap, except for a few that have come out of the closet and admit their obsession with not parting with their money. They are the ones that get updates on local gas prices and are willing to drive 10 miles to save a total of 99 cents.
And now we finally come to Bob. I need your help. Please help me to classify Bob. Is Bob a frugal of a cheap spender? Or has Bob created a whole new category of spenders. Here are 7 occurrences that Bob’s friends reported yesterday morning:
1. Fight for money. Bob reportedly fought with his own son about an empty pop bottle that Bob had left in his garage. Bob accused the son of taking the bottle to the store and kept the 10 cents refund.
2. Taking a friend out for lunch. Bob took a friend for lunch to Subway because he had a 6” sub coupon. Bob suggested they split the 6” sandwich. Well they both ate lunch at Subway all right but somehow the lunch ended up costing Bob’s friend $12 that day.
3. Gift certificate. Another friend turned Bob in for giving him a $10 Panera gift certificate. When the friend went to Panera, he was told the gift certificate was partially used and it had only $4.85 left. Well, at least the certificate was good for a gourmet coffee.
4. Wife paying for dinners. Another friend of Bob jumped right into the conversation and said that Bob has a gorgeous wife and actually makes her pay for his dinners every time they eat out. On top of that, he insists in splitting the dinner, and that Bob always ends up with the bigger half.
5. Selling wood to a friend. Another friend mentioned that one day Bob called him to see if he wanted to buy some wood. The friend ended up buying the wood from Bob. Latter Bob’s friend found out that the reason Bob was so eager to sell the wood was because Bob had no place to dump the wood. Bob really needed to get rid of that wood.
6. Chasing used toilets. Bob is apparently obsessed with finding used toilets and taking them home. Bob even has a toilet paper best practice use guide. His family is only allowed to use one piece each time they go to the bathroom. Bob knows precisely how long a roll of toilet paper ought to last at his home. His friends also mentioned that Bob prides himself for using other people’s toilets, like the one in Panera, Subway, McDonalds, etc. Bob knows his bio rhythm well and he is always on the lookout for another free pit stop. Bob also agreed that this has helped him save lots of money over the years. Bob thinks average American knows very little about opportunities to save money. Bob thinks that Septic System Pumping is a great business to own.
7. Favorite questions. Bob’s favorite questions about spending are: Is it necessary? Who’s buying today? What’s on special or what’s half price today? Anything free on the menu today? Do I have to break the only bill I have? Can I pay you the next time we go out?
Here are a few other things about Bob in case you have not been able to classify him yet. Bob does not have email because he thinks it will cost him a fortune. Bob has been taking lunches to work for over 20 years. He uses white bread, bologna, and processed cheese to make his own sandwich. He usually brinks Twinkies for lunch as well. Oh, almost forgot, Bob buys his ingredients at day-old type store. Bob shared with a co-worker how much money he could save over twenty years by bringing their own lunches instead of eating out. The friend mentioned he was bringing pizza to everyone the following day. Bob was really happy because he saved an extra $1.25 by not having to bring his own lunch. Bob said the pizza was incredible!
Please help us classify Bob. Your answer will be kept strictly confidential. Bob will never know who you are. Obvious, since Bob is scared to death of the internet.
Thank you for your participation.
The purpose of the 7 Daily Nuggets is to teach us what we need to know to live a prosperous life; the things that we may not have learned or are not currently learning in church, school, home or at work. Let’s apply what we learn here and share these nuggets with others. We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give. Be a giver in a world of takers.
Be blessed and be a blessing to others.
Carlos Fontana, President of Phalanx
Co-author of the book Follow to Lead (The 7 Principles to Being a Great Follower)
Author of the book PRICELESS (Sixty-Six Simple Stories of Reflection, Love, and Legacy)