10 Common Frugal Myths Debunked

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Recently, I was channel surfing on a gloomy Saturday afternoon and came across a show that I love to hate: Extreme Cheapskates on TLC. I’ll admit that this show is pretty entertaining to watch and it brings all the EWWW, WOW, and Seriously!?! factors rolled into one show. However, I can’t help but feel negatively against this show because it just gives frugality a bad name. No, contrary to what the show may tell you, most frugal people don’t dumpster dive for food or use their hair as floss (yes, the ‘cheapskate’ did that in the episode I watched…I kid you not).

Us frugal folks get a really bad reputation sometimes. So today, I’m going to take the time to put to rest 10 frugal myths that just aren’t true.

1. “Frugal” is the same as “cheap”

The words “frugal” and “cheap” do not mean the same thing. To me, Extreme Cheapskate-style living is cheap. Frugal, on the other hand, is spending your money wisely. It’s not about not spending at all.

2. Frugal people are poor

Just because someone is frugal doesn’t mean they’re poor. Many frugal people are actually quite wealthy because they are frugal. They just don’t flaunt it.

3. Being frugal means you have to clip coupons

Another TLC show that gives frugal people a bad name is Extreme Couponing. Being frugal does not mean you have to spend hours clipping coupons to buy cheap things you actually don’t need. There are other, much easier ways to be  frugal.

4. Rich people don’t need to be frugal

Anyone can benefit from a frugal lifestyle, even those who earn a high income. In fact, many ‘rich’ people fall into the trap of overspending because they think they make a lot and can justify it. However, it doesn’t matter how much you make. If you’re not saving anything, you’re not any richer than the person working for minimum wage.

5. Being frugal means you can’t have a life

Contrary to popular belief, frugal people don’t sit at home at night and stare at the wall. You can go out, socialize and still be frugal. You don’t always have to spend a lot of money to have fun.

6. Being frugal is embarrassing

If you think being frugal is embarrassing, it’s all in your head. First of all, living frugal isn’t going to make you look ‘poor’. Secondly, be proud to be frugal. It means you’re smart with your money.

7. Frugal people have to sacrifice too much

Yes, if you want to be frugal, you will have to sacrifice some things. But it doesn’t mean that you have to give up everything that you love. You just have to set your priorities straight and better understand your needs vs. wants. You’ll come to realize that what you thought you need, you actually don’t.

8. Being frugal takes up too much time

Being up frugal doesn’t take up much time at all. You might need to do a little to-do list making in advance but that’s about it. You might actually save time since you’ll cut unnecessary stuff out of your life. That means more time to do things that actually matter!

9. Living a frugal lifestyle is hard

Since #5, #7, and #8 are all wrong, living frugally is not hard. Being cheap can be hard though.

10. Frugal people choose to live that way because they have to

Living a frugal lifestyle is a choice. Most frugal people do it not because they have to but because they have goals bigger than just buying ‘stuff’. I’m frugal because I want to save up to purchase a home, travel more and eventually retire early.

What is a common frugal myth that you think isn’t true?


  1. says

    Yes!!! Let’s put an end to the negative connotation with the word frugal! Fortunately I’m finding many people are warming up to the idea of being frugal, especially after they’ve been hit with the realities of adulthood (paying rent/mortgage, weddings, kids, etc.). Frugal doesn’t mean cheap, it means you’re smart with your money!

  2. says

    Extreme Cheapskate is kind of my guilty pleasure… Many of them are fake though, obviously scripted, and gives a bad impression on frugality, which is in my opinion actually implies smart money management.

  3. says

    These are all so true! Many people that that being frugal means your poor or can’t afford it or that you have no life. But then those are the same people who think you have to spend a ton or money to have fun and be fulfilled. I used to be one of those people then I realized frugality is all about your mindset and how you view money.


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