How do you feel about money? All people need it; some have more, whether due to saving strategy or frugal hoarding. Which side of that coin are you?
A natural-born saver is one who understands the value and fleeting moments of a dollar. A frugal person cares less about strategy and more about maintaining money in the savings account (for maintenance’s sake). So, are you a saver or a frugal coin-counter? Here’s how to tell.
Image courtesy of 401(K) 2012 from flickr
A money-minded person just doesn’t open their wallet or savings account, especially for suggested retail prices. But there is a difference between how a saver and financial ‘fruguru’ reacts to sales. A natural-born saver considers the service or product, pondering factors of want, need, and difference in sales price. A saver will pull the trigger on a needed, lower-priced item.
However, a frugal consumer is different. It’s not a matter of getting a need at a lower price; it’s about parting with omni-needed money. The frugal consumer is very good at talking themselves out of a purchase, even a sales-priced one.
If you struggle with buying needed items on sale, perhaps you venture often on the frugal side of the consumer coin.
2) Eating Out
Dining out is an afforded luxury. Would a cavemen elected, allow others to hunt and prepare some of their meals (If the price was right perhaps they would be)? The modern era offers plenty of out-of-home eating experiences.
The natural-born saver understands eating at home saves money. However, making some exceptions is allowed. A saver preemptively plans eating out ahead of time, better allocating a budget. Surprise invitations or whims are weighed heavily, keeping maintained finances in mind.
The frugal consumer does not conceptualize eating out. This consumer goes farther, employing ‘missed meals,’ frozen dinners, and college-aged-person, fifty-cent noodle dinners. Increasing and maintaining the savings account is a game unfettered by any need, including food.
Coffee is symbolic of an everyday purchase, an everyday need by many. The difference in saver/fruguru pecuniary philosophy can be observed here as well.
The saver searches for ways to meet their need, while leveraging little dollars. The saver is not going to Starbucks each morning, yet not sacrificing the need in totality. Rather, the saver makes their own coffee, calling upon coffee houses only sporadically as exceptions rather than daily rules.
The frugal consumer gets their jolt from saving jingling coins. It is likely coffee is never purchased from cafes (for more than $2 a cup!). Furthermore, coffee may not get purchased at all. Rather, a coffee-loving fruguru may wait to get it free from the office, from the homes of friends, or wait for St. Caffeine to bestow freebie coupons upon their lives. In short, the love of coffee can’t melt the hyper-clenched fingers wrapped around their wallets.
Food, shelter, and clothing – that is what most people understand as essential necessities. Notice food was first mentioned. There is a stark contrast between how save-friendly and frugal consumers go about purchasing groceries.
The saver takes notice of prices and compares. Additionally, coupons are in-pocket; and the entire shopping occasion defers to a regimen. The saver knows their product buys, and can often predict the grand grocery total.
Grocery shopping for the frugal is different. They are minimalists, living off as little items as possible, always thinking of building that savings account. Coupons? Usually, having coupons connotes buying main-brand items. This is not the case for frugal consumers. They are buying generic. When generic is not available, they grab for the lowest price. It’s not about sustenance; it’s about money maintenance for them.
5) Household Items
A person can get nickel-and-dimed when it comes to household items. Sundries such as toothpaste, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, and other commonalities add up but seldom computed.
A saver understands sundry items are ongoing; they’re always needed. Wholesale stores or bulk purchases are often leveraged by savers. Something is an ongoing need; why pay full price each time it’s needed? Savers don’t sacrifice household items; they are just more strategic about purchasing.
Then there are the frugal buyers. Have you noticed a neighbor hanging used paper towels to dry? Have you noticed they have the same orange trash bag from last Halloween? Yeah…they are most likely frugal. They make sacrifices. They don’t like repeat spending on the same needs. The entire household uses one bar of soap (they made themselves from unknown, backyard sources after reading a post on ‘living frugal’ on the Web…)
About the Author: Amie is passionate about savings and investments, specialising in finding the best high interest savings account plans and investment opportunities for consumers. In her spare time she is a personal finance coach.