Cheap or Frugal – You Decide

I certainly consider myself to be a frugal person.  Not obsessively frugal, but my money and I are fairly close.  From time to time in my life I have been called cheap, a term which I have some dislike for.  My belief is that there is a difference between being cheap and being frugal.

Putting my personal ideas of “cheap” and “frugal” aside, I’d like your opinion on whether or not I crossed the line on this one.
In the interest of fairness, let’s visit Wikipedia to get neutral definitions for both terms.

Cheap: Wikipedia re-directs the word “cheap” to Miser

A miser is a person who is reluctant to spend money, sometimes to the point of forgoing even basic comforts. The term derives from the Latin miser, meaning “poor” or “wretched,” comparable to the modern word “miserable”.


Frugality includes the reduction of waste, curbing costly habits, suppressing instant gratification by means of fiscal self-restraint, seeking efficiency, avoiding traps, defying expensive social norms, embracing free (as in gratis) options, using barter, and staying well-informed about local circumstances and both market and product/service realities.

The Scenario

Yesterday my office had a guest speaker in during lunch hour to discuss a product that we have been under utilizing in our office.  It was very apparent that the product provides the company with significant revenues and provides great value to a certain number of our clients.  One of the rare instances that these “learning” sessions provide significant value.

Due to this session being held over lunch hour, the company picked up the tab for lunch and had sandwiches and refreshments delivered to the board room for the meeting. We all enjoyed the food and refreshments as well as the information that was delivered during the meeting.

Honey, Supper Is On Me Tonight

At the end of the day I noticed a few sandwiches left over and asked our administrative assistant what she was planning to do with them. When she responded that they were likely going to be thrown away, I asked (maybe too quickly) if I could take them home.

To make a long story short, my wife and I enjoyed sandwiches (me for the second time that day) for supper yesterday evening.

It wasn’t until after we finished eating that I told her how I had obtained the sandwiches, to which she responded “you are soooooooo cheap”!
(Expletives have been removed in the interest of good taste)

I pose this question to you

Did I cross the line from being frugal to being cheap?

Tell me your cheap vs. Frugal stories or leave a comment and let me know if I crossed the line.

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