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How to Effectively Straddle the Line Between Frugal and Cheap

Saving money is important at home and at work. Here's how to do it without looking and feeling cheap.

There is nothing wrong with being frugal. In most cases, this simply means that you understand how to get the most for your money. However, you don’t want to make a habit of confusing price with value. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between being smart with your money and being obnoxiously cheap.

 

Learn to Buy From Quality Brands

In many cases, companies will charge more simply because their brand is held in high esteem. However, this doesn’t always mean that you get what you pay for. The key is to learn as much as you can about a given brand before you buy its products. This makes it more likely that you will buy something that will last for a long time.

 

Typically, it is better to spend a little more on something that will last as opposed to buying a lower quality product just because it costs less. This is because the lower quality product could break or otherwise malfunction, which means paying for the same good multiple times.

 

Don’t Get Too Greedy With the Restaurant Freebies

When you go to a restaurant, there is nothing wrong with eating the free bread or salad that you get before your meal. There is also nothing wrong with opting for water as opposed to paying for soda or alcohol. However, you don’t want to be that person who hoards the ketchup, mustard and salt packets that are kept on the table. You also don’t want to be the person who doesn’t order anything and then eats a little bit off of everyone else’s plate.

 

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When Should You Skip the DIY?

If you have experience as an electrician, plumber or in other skilled trades, there is nothing wrong with doing a home improvement project on your own. However, it may be best to have a professional do any work that you are not qualified to do or that is too dangerous for an amateur. While you may not enjoy paying that $99 service fee to have someone determine why the lights won’t turn on, it is better than paying a $500 deductible at the hospital because you shocked yourself.

 

When considering a DIY project, you should list the skills that are required and the potential costs of doing the project wrong and injury involved. Maybe you think you can build your own side car garage. However, how long will your handy work stay strong? Would a big storm break your creation making the time and money invested not worth it? Not to mention the potential cost of damages to the vehicle you were storing there. In this case, it would probably be better to get a professionally built indoor car storage system.

 

Don’t Buy Cheap Features That You Don’t Need

When buying a vehicle, you will be bombarded with offers to add features that you don’t necessarily need. For example, you may be offered an enhanced sound system that connects to your smartphone or other devices. A dealer may also offer to coat the underside of the vehicle to protect it against rust.

 

While these and other features may seem appealing, they are generally a waste of money. Furthermore, it may be possible to add some or all of these features on your own through a third-party seller for less. On the other hand, buying an extended manufacturer’s warranty can be a good idea as it offers financial protection for several years into the future. In most cases, you can get that protection for a few dollars a month.

 

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Sometimes You Need to Buy New Instead of Used

If you are looking to repair your home’s roof, you don’t want to purchase used shingles or used roof decking. Instead, you want to buy new materials that you know will last for the next 20 years or longer. You should also buy new when replacing flooring within the home or replacing other key components that impact its value.

 

There are key differences between being frugal and being cheap. Knowing the difference between the two can have a profound impact on your life. While being frugal means that you spend money wisely and when necessary, being cheap generally means that you don’t spend money at all. For the most part, people respect those who are frugal and generally don’t associate with those who are cheap.

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