Difference Between a Miser and a Frugal

People often consider frugality as kind of miserliness. But there is a big difference between a miser and a frugal. A miser with stingy behaviour always thinks about hoarding money and doesn’t buy even some essentials due to addiction of saving and reluctance to spending.

But frugal living is something that makes you feel happy inwardly. Walking a distance of 1 km from home to office gives you a great joy. Sometimes you use your bar of soap till it becomes tiny. If you like things you do because you like living that way, then you are frugal. No matter what other people think of you.

In this article, we will clarify the difference between a miser and a frugal.

Misconception about miser and frugal
Many people think that living a frugal life is almost like living a miserly life. But in fact, frugality doesn’t mean miserliness.

Miser is one who is reluctant or hesitant to spend money. He forgoes even basic comforts and necessities; and likes to live in extreme paucity in order to hoard money. He always looks for cheapest items (doesn’t care if they are best ones or not). His addiction to savings makes him save even on essentials like groceries, clothes, books, etc. We cannot say that a miser saves only these kinds of items. He tries to save on everything. Thus, a miser aims to accumulate wealth and watch his money piling up.

The frugal on the other hand have some choices which support a sort of life which they want to live. Frugal folks are careful with their money. They make cost-saving techniques, compare prices while spending money. They extract high efficiency from their spending and look for maximization of benefit. They will make a purchase efficiently, in such a way that they look for quality, durability and reliability. A frugal will buy the best in best items.

Frugal doesn’t mean bad or negative
The frugal are not addicted to money. Also, they are not looking to impress people or be popular quickly with strangers. They are not attention seekers; they are competent.

They live a life that is well organised. They are not emotional or impulsive in spending money. They enjoy life within their means. But it doesn’t mean that they forgo basic necessities and live on compulsive hoarding of money unnecessarily. They control desires but make wise expenses, cut money on things they can handle. In short, we can say that frugal think for long-term and tend to be wise in spending and live happy inwardly.

Following is the comparison scale for different kinds of people:

Based on their spending, we can segregate people into 5 types. The people who don’t have any control over their spending, the spendthrift stand at the extreme left of the scale. The miser are quite opposite to them (extreme right) – they don’t spend on basic necessities also. The frugal lie between the normal and the miser.

Most of the people in spendthrift category are rich and surprisingly most of the wealthy come under frugal category.

The famous book “The Millionaire Next door” written by Thomas J. Stanley, explains the surprising secrets of American wealthy. The book says that most wealthy Americans adopt frugal living by living below their means. It shows how a frugal living takes sacrifice, discipline, and hard work that are discouraged mostly by rich i.e., spendthrifts.

If you are a frugal, your friends or relatives may say that you are not supporting them. They may even tease you saying ‘miser’. Remember, you will not lose anything when people call you a miser. A reckless relative or sibling will always accuse the financially responsible as ‘unhelpful’. Bailouts by family only tend to encourage financial irresponsibility. If they are careless and went into debt, they need to go through the pain to learn the lessons.

So, you need to live with your choices. Making cost-effective choices is more important than cheap choices. It is a good idea to be wise with your money, but it is a bad thing to become slave to your money. Thus, it is important to understand that being able to be frugal is a valuable character that you, your family members and friends should possess.

1 comment on “Difference Between a Miser and a Frugal”

  1. In Sum, it is an explicit analysis. Commendable, parsimonious, frugal, miser are personal instincts, basically coined by family-bailouts to attract sympathies as also to influence emotions. One should be prudent, and should prioritize one’s needs.