Frugal Or Cheap? Here’s A Test

Here’s some mid-week fun for Moolanomy’s readers. Have you ever wondered if you are frugal or cheap? I do. I always consider myself frugal, but my wife calls me cheap — go figure!

Here’s a little test. Just answer the 10 questions below and write down your answers on a sheet of paper.

Are You Frugal Or Cheap?

1. Do you eat out (not counting lunches at work)?

  1. All the time
  2. 2-3 times a week
  3. 2-3 times a month
  4. Never

2. When you eat out, do you?

  1. I order whatever I crave
  2. Order an entree for each person and take leftover to go
  3. Share our meals to save some money
  4. I don’t eat out!

3. What do you drive?

  1. The latest and greatest 2 years lease can buy
  2. I buy new car every few years
  3. I always buy used car
  4. I don’t own a car

4. What kind of TV do you have?

  1. 1080 HDTV, of course!
  2. A flat screen TV, but not the latest and greatest
  3. I still have the one I bought 10 years ago
  4. I don’t have a TV

5. What cable/satellite package do you have?

  1. Premium channel with everything under the sun
  2. Just the basic channels so I can watch the news
  3. Whatever I get with the rabbit ears
  4. I don’t have a TV

6. You have some old clothes, do you?

  1. What are you talking about, I don’t have old clothes.
  2. I donate them when they get a little older
  3. I turn them into rags
  4. I am still wearing them

7. When you buy something, do you?

  1. I buy what I want, whenever I want
  2. I occasionally splurge on what I want
  3. I only buy what I need, clip coupons, use discount cards, etc.
  4. I avoid making any kind of purchases

8. When you receive gifts, do you?

  1. I take them back to the store to trade up
  2. I keep all my gifts
  3. I may return or re-gift some
  4. I sell them on eBay for cash

9. When you buy clothes, do you?

  1. I always shop brand names
  2. I usually buy when they are on sale
  3. I usually shop at goodwill and thrift stores
  4. I ask my friends and family for hand me downs

10. Regarding your lunches, do you?

  1. I always go out to the local restaurants
  2. I mostly eat low cost take out lunches
  3. I occasionally pack my own lunch
  4. I always pack my own lunch

Rate Yourself

For each question, give yourself: 1 point for any #1 answer, 2 points for #2, 3 points for #3, and 4 points for #4. Add up the points and rate yourself:

  • 35+ = You’re definitely cheap
  • 25-34 = You’re frugal. Good job!
  • 16-24 = You’re not frugal, but you appear to be reasonable with your spending habits
  • 10-15 = There are a lot of opportunities for you to save money

I scored 20 points. Look like there are some opportunities for me to be a little more frugal.

Here are a couple of frugal versus cheap to wrap up the article:

This post was featured in the Festival of Frugality #125 hosted by Quest For Four Pillars.

About the Author

By , on May 7, 2008
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (43 Comments)

  1. Pinyo says:

    @Money Blue Book — Good point about singles eating out more. But I bet you also go shopping less. πŸ˜‰

    @SpenderArchitect — I think that’s a great strategy. I am still waiting for my old Sony Trinitron box to break…I think my wife will put a baseball bat to it first though.

    @BeThisWay — I was planning to take the 3 moms out to lunch, but they didn’t want to even bother with the craziness outside. πŸ™

  2. BeThisWay says:

    I scored a 27, though if I take into account some of the grayer a reas I should probably be a 25.

    Still room to improve, definitely! We eat out more than we should . Husband and I just talked about that today. While we were out for lunch.

    Well, it IS Mother’s Day! And lunch out is cheaper than dinner out.

  3. Momma says:

    Darn, I came in at 24.. just under the wire. I guess I need to go looking for a few more ways to be frugal! Nice food for thought.

  4. SpenderArchitect says:

    I scored 21 but i believe im a strategy spender than either frugal or cheap. I bought new car with good brand such as Toyota and keep it up to 10 years or up to 100K whichever comes first. I bought clothes with brand name in quantity so they can be rotated more frequently. On electronics stuff, I just replaced my 10 years old, front projection and receiver, with the latest HD plasma and LCD. Basically, my strategy is to buy great brand, near latest technology and ride out the depreciation curve.

  5. Mick says:

    Pretty fun!

    I ran into 2 minor Hmm moments. When we buy a car, we buy new but we drive it into the ground – hubbys truck is 12 years old. My hybrid SUV is 3 years and we plan to keep it 10 or more years.

    Cable – well I get it for free as a perk so I guessed at what the answer would be if I had to apy for it ;-}

  6. Anthony says:

    -Bought a new TV last year just because my 12 years old TV suffered a sudden death πŸ™‚
    -Unsuscribed from cable four years ago and never regret it πŸ™‚
    -Eat out 1-3 times a month with my family wife and 3 sons
    -My car has 14 years (but looks like new, well… almost)
    -I’m still wearing the wristwatch my godmother bought me on my 15th birthday (I’m 43 πŸ˜€ )

    OK, maybe the test is not as accurate as it should be and I’m definitely cheap πŸ˜›

  7. thebaglady says:

    I’m a 23 because I eat out a lot and have an HDTV. I am pretty cheap with the clothes and gifts.

  8. Raymond says:

    Dang..I’m not frugal apparently…

    This survey needs a section for single and married people. Single people like myself are obviously going to eat out more than married people.

  9. 19 for me. I think I need to make some changes and move up to the frugal category.

  10. hank says:

    26 Frugal I am! Good game. Thanks Pinyo!

  11. Pearl says:

    Hoo hoo…. 31. But at least I’m not cheap! πŸ™‚

  12. Pinyo says:

    @Flexo – I understand what you mean. It’s just for fun and I couldn’t possibly accommodate all the situations πŸ™‚

    “But I don’t see Ò€œcheapÒ€ as being an extreme form as Ò€œfrugal.Ò€ It’s more of an attitude than spending habits.”

    I agree, but it’s also hard to draw the line.

  13. bunny says:

    I’m not frugal, but almost there πŸ˜›

  14. Flexo says:

    Hm, I couldn’t take this test properly because I eat out more than 3 times a month but less than 2 times a week, I bought a new car but I don’t intend to do so every few years, only some premium channels (but cable is free). I’d probably score around a 20. But I don’t see “cheap” as being an extreme form as “frugal.” It’s more of an attitude than spending habits.

  15. Rob Lewis says:

    Great little test – I scored 22, so I’m not frugal, but I’m reasonably careful with my spending, which I think sums me up pretty well!

  16. Mrs. Micah says:

    Still frugal. Not cheap. Relief! πŸ™‚

    Sometimes I feel cheap but then sometimes I feel poor…so it makes sense.

  17. GBlogger says:

    Fun post! I scored 19. That’s not terrible news — I thought I might do worse.

    Pinyo, is your wife willing to accept the results of your score and not call you cheap…? πŸ˜‰

  18. Pamela Munro says:

    Ha! I knew it, I am a 29! One doesn’t want to be Too low, because then you run the risk of turning into an irrational miser. I like to think I pennypinch with style – because I had a friend once, who pennypinched as though her life depended upon it & – for one thing – always looked like a rag bag. I live in L.A. and can’t afford that. There are also social markers one has to respect. – I always try to maintain my somewhat bohemian upper-middle-class artiste status. Always wearing the cheapest and doing the cheapest wouldn’t work here. (Actually I had a millionaire uncle whose holiday meals were always badly cooked, to the point of practically being inedible, when they could have ordered it in from Gelsons! That made him a miser on some level.) It’s a matter of choice. Who knows, you could choose to live in a cabin in the woods – but I am an actress & that’s not practical for me. The trick is to get good DEALS on things. So your designer clothing will come from thrift shops, as mine does!

  19. Lynnae says:

    26 for me. It could have been a little higher, because there were several answers where I was between a 2 and a 3, and I voted 2. But it’s nice to know that I’m frugal. It would be a bummer if I wasn’t! LOL

    Thanks for the link!

  20. AJC says:

    I scored 12, is that bad?! πŸ™‚ To be fair, it’s all relative … for example, I buy 2nd hand cars wherever possible (that’s a big purchse, even for me … why wouldn’t I want to save $35k?) but can afford to buy whatever I want, whenever I want …

    If you are living off 2.5% of your passive assets when you can afford to live off 5% that’s ALSO being Frugal … maybe even ‘cheap’ πŸ™‚

  21. Ron says:

    19? Dang.
    But I’m in a unique situation. My employer pays for my lunches because I’m out of town 4 out of 5 days a week and leases a new car for me every two years. Other than that…I have the old TV (I have one that was new in 1976) and I clip coupons and wear some of the the same clothes I had in high school (25 years ago) LOL – maybe I AM cheap.

  22. Randy Hunt says:

    I scored 27, mostly on account of the 12 points I picked up for not owning a television.

  23. Emily says:

    Whew! 29! I was so afraid I’d be cheap with my 10 year old tv and rabbit ears

  24. Pete says:

    26 for me. I’m frugal!

  25. B Smith says:

    Pinyo-good post. I scored slightly more frugal than you (23 vs. 20), but there was a time I was in the low 30’s. Then again, I was in the military. The pay was abysmal so we needed to be frugal just to survive!

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