Is Living frugal the same as living stingy?

What is Living Frugal and Living Stingy?

Let’s first look at the definition for frugal and stingy.

frugal: economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful;

stingy: reluctant to give or spend; not generous; niggardly; penurious;

Living Frugal to me just means, using money in a more efficient way.

On the other hand, the word stingy has a negative connotation that goes with it. You simply hate spending money on anything. You probably will deprive yourself of everything just to save money.

The Common Goal

Both living frugal and living stingy has the same end goal. That is to spend less and save more money. But that is where the similarities ends.

Main Differences

With Living Frugal, you are reducing spending but you still keep up with your quality of life.

With Living Stingy, you are reducing spending to the point of reducing quality from your life

Let’s look at the following examples

A frugal person might meal prep to get the best buck and nutrition out of it.

A stingy person might just buy the cheapest food they can find, which might not be the healthiest choice.

As someone who is living frugal, I know how important buying the right pair of shoes is. Good footwear can prevent back problems and protect your joints. I will not hesitate to spend slightly more money to get a good pair of shoes

On the other hand, someone who is living stingy, may just buy the cheapest pair of shoes, without the regards for comfort or durability.

A frugal person knows that relationships are worth more than money.

A stingy person will prioritize money over everything.

I came across this from Ramit Sethi’s Twitter from one of his followers which I think is on point:

My friend is staying in my room for half a month. Even though she is my close friend, I still asked her to pay half of my rent that month. She agreed but I knew she is hurt that I made such request. When I asked, I was thinking about how much money I can save, but afterwards, I think I lost the closeness of our friend ship

This is what happens when you prioritize money over relationship.


Living frugal is a great way to reduce spending and save money. Remember that the journey is always more important than the destination. Saving money can be done without the need to reduce your quality of life when done efficiently.

Check out this post on Consious Spending to help you get started.