The Difference Between Cheap & Frugal (Spending with Your Values)

Updated : Oct 26, 2019 in Articles

The Difference Between Cheap & Frugal (Spending with Your Values)


hey it’s Tim and it’s amy from go with
less. welcome back to our Channel. today’s video is directly from a viewer
comment. it is from jfHelwig aka John and he left a comment about spending in
line with your values. this really hit home with us and we wanted to do a whole
video about it so I hope that you’ll stay tuned. we’re hoping to touch upon
cheapness versus frugality as well because we think that there is a big
difference there. please give us a thumbs up, subscribe over here. we come out with
a new video every Wednesday. hit the notification bell and take it away, Tim.
something we also hear with some frequency on our channel is a comment
to the effect of “you guys live a miserable existence. you don’t spend any
money and so you must have this awful life”. and so, first and foremost, we want
to say that we spend in line with our values. and if you look at our budget at
all as we put out every month, you’ll notice that we spend a lot of money on
travels. when it comes to discretionary spending, the vast majority, if not the
majority of our spending, goes towards travel. we’re kind of in a jungle here at
our hotel. so we’re having a little bit of bugs. the things you have to do to
find good light. we had we had to search for this spot and we found a good one.
yeah the things that we do for our YouTube channel. our friend Roger send me
a message today. he writes “I’m so shocked you guys splurged on a real hotel” roger
has a point. while we spend a lot of money total on travel, we tend not to do
a lot of luxury travel. we do a lot of just mid – I mean three, four-star
hotels. really, really lovely. here we are at a full-service, fabulous resort
and it’s been absolutely amazing. and we are just as careful with our points and
our miles as we are with our cash. we treat them fairly the same. and just
because we’re careful with our money and our points of miles doesn’t mean that
it’s a bad life. it’s something that we actually enjoy doing. here’s an example
of cheap vs. frugal when it comes to our travel. we’ve actually been to Maui
before and so we’ve done most of the touristy things. we’ve taken the road to
Hana we’ve been to Haleakala to see the sunrise and that requires that you
have a rental car. on this trip we’ve chosen not to have a rental car. if we
would have a car, it would cost us at least $100 a day between parking and gas
and the rental car fee itself. and so that just didn’t seem to make sense to
us. and so we chose to ride the bus from the airport to our hotel. we’re spending our time here at the hotel. if we need to get
around, we’ll take the bus or we’ll take an Uber. and the hotel actually has a free
shuttle in the area so we’re kind of sticking around to the area and taking
advantage of this being a wonderful relaxing vacation. yeah, which we don’t do
very often. so most of our travels are about going and seeing and doing an
activity, activity, activity. here, at the hotel, we’re just enjoying the pool;
enjoying the ocean; and enjoying the things that the resort has to offer. and
we used quite a few points on this hotel, truth be told. we’re gonna be breaking
that down the second Wednesday of November – sharing what we did on this
trip for points and things like that. but we got a…we spent a lot of points on
this experience and so we want to take advantage. we want to be at the hotel. so
we’re enjoying it and that meant forgoing the car. the bus is real easy. so
we took the bus maybe three full days of the bus.we just bought a bus pass and
the other half of the days we’re just staying local and it’s been a great time.
but I think the difference is like…so cheap would have been like we’re not
going to do those things because it’s a hundred dollars a day to rent a car. so
we’re not gonna have a car and we’re not gonna see the fantastic things there are
to do here. because we’ve already done them, we made the frugal choice so we’re
just gonna take the bus because we don’t have a lot of value. I’ve already actually
done those things three times each so I don’t need to do them a fourth time.
let’s go with that. we also used to spend a lot of money on
dining. we don’t anymore. as a matter of fact, 7 years ago today we
spent over $600 for the two of us to have dinner at French Laundry. we had a
wonderful experience. we didn’t even have any alcohol in that $600, it was even
more than $600. but that was our old life and we spent a lot of money on fine
dining. we loved it. it was part of our values then. it is no longer part of our
values. and what we’ve learned is that we can have amazing, delicious food out or
at home for much much less. so we do have amazing food now, it’s just not an
extreme cost. yeah we can find like tacos. we love tacos, like real authentic
Mexican tacos. maybe we spent 20 bucks, ten dollars for dinner somewhere and we
have amazing food. so we didn’t need to spend a hundred bucks, 200, 600 to have
great food and we can also eat at home really well because we’re not looking to
spend a lot of money on dining. you also may notice in our monthly breakouts that
our shopping is like mini. we’re giving away all of our stuff we’re ready to
become nomads. so there’s very little money that
we spend on shopping compared to I think a lot of normal American consumer
families. people might look at that and call us cheap because we’re not spending
a lot of money on shopping, but it’s not where our values are. we don’t care at
all. we’re leaving or giving away most of our stuff. we’re not looking to be
spending a lot of money there because we don’t care about it. so if someone calls
me cheap about it I guess that’s the word that they can use but it’s just
that I don’t care about it. every time we have one of these comments about “your
life must be miserable because of how cheap you are”, I don’t even know what…
it’s completely ludicrous to suggest that we don’t have an amazing life
because we spend so little. I don’t even know if we had a ton more money – if we
won the lottery – if we had four or five ten more million dollars – I don’t know
that our life, in terms of spending, would be that drastically different. we want to
hear from you. where are your values and your spending
lining up and maybe not lining up? maybe you are married or involved with someone
who has very different values than you do. and sometimes we get comments that that’s
a pretty hard thing between couples. we completely get it. fortunately ours lines
up pretty well with one another. yeah so we want to hear from you down below.
please comment I’ll make sure I respond as soon as possible. We’ll see you next
Wednesday. Aloha! Aloha!

38 Comments

  • When I was younger people thought I was cheap, but I am actually a pretty frugal person. There is so much stuff out in the world, but we really don't need one of everything. Thanks for sharing this!👍

  • Good on y'all and public transport. We are headed down to Mexico City for 2 weeks, will be taking the Metro to out hotel and will use it for the 2 weeks during the Dia de los Muertos Festivities. 9 days on IHG points (4th night free) and 5 days on Hilton points (5th night free) Free flights on AA – + taxes. These people that say "cheap" ,just have not had the experiences. I may never understand until they actually do it. Hey almost 10K Subscribers – GO!Go!Go!

  • And then there is my wonderful dad who is frugal and cheap, lol. The stories I could tell about 2-ply toilet paper… my sister and I used to laugh and whisper to each other “what grit do you think we got this time?”

  • I think you should enjoy doing the things you love to do. We are a family of 4 that love the outdoors , the ocean and going to Disney . We don’t really care spending our money on restaurants. But I love to see my kids smile every time we spent time together. In easy walks in the park or the pool. With time you learn to not to give importance to other people’s opinions. I am glad you guys are having a great time good for you, 🤗

  • If someone says you don't have an amazing life, just show them your youtube channel and show them all the places you have gone. Ask where they have been. I'm sure they'll realize how much you are not lacking.

  • I would not say you are cheap at all. I was laughing because I think in your last video you were $1000 over budget!

  • Early in our marriage, I wanted the big house, clothes, gadgets, etc, but thank God, my husband was very frugal. We are now 42 years married, paid off mortgage 10 yrs ago, been on European cruise and multiple trips overseas. Now, I think I am more frugal than him because I love to travel and give to charities. I think if people would have a valuable reason to save, bargain hunt, spend minimally, then they would enjoy it. The Japanese have a proverb: “Hell now Heaven later”. (Of course, I would not go that far and have nothing. 😁)

  • We like living frugally so we can travel lots as that’s what we enjoy doing the most. Thankfully hubby and I are both on the same page. We also track our expenses and it helps us not spend money unnecessarily. Really enjoy watching you two 🙂

  • Miserable life? Are you kidding? I don't know anybody with a more enjoyable life than you guys. I know richer people, but all they do is work and try to impress others. I even met a couple of billionaires, but they have neurotic lives, with a mistress on the side, always afraid of kidnapping, etc.
    I guess frugality is taught at home. Very hard to change it later. Also, when you have a rich mental and spiritual life, you like books, have different interests and curiosity, and more than anything, is secure in who you are, the need for luxury and trinkets diminishes.
    I'm always amazed that my kids say they don't need anything when I ask what they want for their birthdays. I have faith in this new Gen Z generation.

  • People who leave comments like that don't understand that spending money in things that make you look/feel good is good for your ego. Once you stop feeding your ego, you don't care anymore. You are happy with who you are, and you realize what is important to you.
    If people watched your earlier videos, they should know that you had it all, and this is your choice to live meaningfully.

  • You must be miserable because you refuse to follow the crowd, refuse to try to impress strangers, and go your own way instead of what society says you should do. I am disappointed in your choice. Come back to the sheeple you left behind. 😉

  • I couldn't agree more with you!! Leas is more!! I don't care when people call me cheap!
    You guys have an amazing life!
    I met my husband in Maui!

  • I experience the opposite.. people assume I'm rich because I travel a lot..
    I explain that we have no costs for kids, or a house. And that I travel cheap house sitting and camping, not dining out at expensive restaurants. But I get these remarks.. 🙄

  • Can you make a video regarding residence and taxes? We want to retire to Italy at some point but don't know how taxes would work! What are you guys doing?

  • Sorry folks who are saying that need to go back to the beginning and watch your transformation……looks like y'all are reverse aging…..

  • I've watched several of your videos but not all so I could have missed this 🙂 – can I ask what your saving rate range was when you were aspiring to FI… And how you defined it? (e.g. Gross, net, do you include principle toward mortgage payment, do you include job "benefits" such as health care match, etc…) love the content!

  • Nice to see you on your vlog again though presently there is no sound coming from YouTube.
    I hope my YouTube sound connection system will be back to functioning normally again so I can continue watching your
    vlog.

  • For me cheap vs. frugal is like:
    Example 1/ in a street you have 2 pizza places (quality of the pizza is the same)…where do you go? The cheap persons sucks it up and goes to eat at home, the normal person just picks one but the frugal person visits both and then decides.
    Example 2/ you want to take time off and travel…what do you do? The cheap person says "i can't afford it" and doesn't do anything, the normal person walks into a travel agency and books, the frugal person travels but before he books, he checks and compares prices.

    So to sum up: the frugal people look at value vs. cost

  • In an earlier episode, you both discussed how Tim comprehensively tracks expenses. I do to. I think it helps me be deliberate about spending–not frugal nor cheap, just focusing on value. I agree that there are great foodie options at home and in cheap eats while dining out. I eat at home (including take out!) because I enjoy wine but refuse to pay the mark-up that restaurants charge.

  • My wife and I consider ourselves pretty frugal. That said – when we travel long distance, we definitely prefer (and will pay…in points!) for upgraded travel (i.e. business class flights, airport lounge access, etc). As we've moved from kids at home to now – empty nesters – our values on travel have skewed a little more toward luxury. I.e – when we had three kids at home – air travel was almost always economy. Now that there are only two of us traveling – it's easier to spend a bit more (again – in points) on business class flights, or a slightly nicer hotel, etc. Good stuff – thanks, as always, for sharing!!

  • Hi Guys…Great video. One comment…maybe a future episode goes into a broader look at your investment strategy that enables you to live this lifestyle. Without going into your specific details, skeptical viewers/critics may come around if they understood the savings/investment strategies that need to be adhered to for the short term during your nomad existence and long term when you may decide to set down roots again without having any significant income coming in.

  • Hi Tim & Amy! If you were “cheap” you wouldn’t even consider going to Maui because it’s not a cheap place to travel to or be in! Nothing cheap about Maui! I love your videos & I’m envious of your lifestyle. We plan on being like you one day soon! Working on it!! It’s great that you two are on the same page with your values and it’s nice of you to address the comment by your viewer even though you know it’s not necessary to do so! Aloha & a hui hou!

  • These people that make such comments just don't get it AND probably haven't watched many of your other videos. One of the great things about being frugal is that it allows you to 'splurge' every now and then to do something extra special like staying in a really nice hotel for your anniversary (as we are doing right now) OR buy that flight upgrade. Life is certainly not boring!!!
    Looking forward to seeing you guys on the road with us.

  • Amy/Tim, I know you have a very good grasp of managing health care in a FIRE setting. For the rest of us who are dabbling in this subject, I thought the conversation in this podcast was great. Lynn Frair, I found to be very inspiring.
    https://www.biggerpockets.com/blog/biggerpockets-money-podcast-94-lynn-frair

  • Great topic, and I agree with you 100%. I'm frugal (or don't spend at all) on things that matter little to me. Travel is the main focus of my spending. I'm careful and economical with my travel spending and always have a wonderful time. Clean, safe, simple, and central are my watchwords for lodging, because I'm going to be in the room for only 7-9 hours per day. I check reviews of places and generally call or go online and book direct with the venue. I have a good breakfast, take a little picnic-type food for lunch, and eat a small but tasty dinner. I supplement with lots of fresh fruits and veggies from the supermarket or farmers markets. Those are fun to visit around the world! I love independent travel and doing just exactly what I enjoy. Enjoy your new vagabond life!

  • I’m not very skilled at using miles for travel. I typically focus on the cheapest, direct travel and economical lodging options, but I don’t leverage my points and miles well. Typically, I earn the sign-up bonus points and then just exchange them one for one with cash (with Chase and Capital One) and use that cash to pay for my economical flights. I also find that booking travel with Chase’s travel department, for example, is way more expensive than booking travel directly with the airlines. I do not carry an airline credit card, since I use many different carriers. I’d REALLY like to see you do a video on how to plan, choose, and leverage credit cards and miles for the maximum travel. Please do a really meaty video with tons of details and examples. Thanks!

  • I think people talk down on others who are wise with their money because they are jealous of the other people's confidence in not spending money. If someone is secure in themselves not having the latest gadgets, the biggest house, the most expensive clothes, it bothers people whose identity is rooted in that.

  • Amy as you know we just moved off of a sailboat and will be on land housesitting and traveling a few years. And yes people just don't get the way my spending has changed so that I can travel. Also with time it is obvious I am going to wear and rewash my most comfortable and favorite outfits. Living on a boat you have to give up a piece of clothing to get a new piece of clothing or you would have stuff busting out of the cabinets and we continue that here. Also on a boat you have about "one" good outfit that to be honest works for occasional dress up eating out/weddings/unexpected flights to funerals and that has worked for years. And on a great note we wanted to let you know OUR BOAT SOLD! On to another chapter but since we will not be in the Bahamas this year we do have 5 weeks in Florida on 2 housesits and a house share with friends in Key Largo for 2 weeks, so it is still going to be a great winter.

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