The Difference Between Being Frugal and Being CheapWe’re all trying to figure out how to spend less and get more these days.  Thankfully, clothing is cheaper than ever which makes it so easy to have a closet full of the latest trends without it really hurting your bank account.

However, are cheap clothes really the best way to save a buck?  It actually isn’t.  I’m going to explain why being cheap can cost you more while being frugal can help you save and shop smart.

One of the definitions of frugal is to be economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving orsparing; not wasteful.  Cheap on the other hand means being stingy or miserly….big difference.


The Difference Between Being Frugal and Being CheapThe Costs of Being Cheap

Cheap fashion forces people to buy more

On the surface, cheap fashion looks like the deal of the century.  Who doesn’t get excited when they walk into a store and see how far a dollar will go?  In these situations we tend to buy more, not less, because the deals are too good to pass up.  When you look at a closet that is full of cheap purchases, it may be jam packed, but it’s of little value.  When you buy cheap, you actually wind up wasting money because a lot of it is bought because of the deal, not because you’ll actually wear it or enjoy it that much.

We don’t value cheap fashion

The cheaper things are the less we seem to value or care for them.    As a result, we usually wind up buying more because we haven’t cared for what we already own.  The cycle continues when we go back and load our closets with more cheap clothing, which ultimately becomes disposable and needs to be replaced rather quickly….usually with even more cheap clothing.

We get less for less

Cheap fashion is cheap because it’s usually of poor quality.  While you think you may be cheating some sort of system by buying cheap clothing, the joke is actually on you.  As the saying goes, buy nice or buy twice.

The Difference Between Being Frugal and Being CheapThe Benefits of Being Frugal

Being frugal forces you to consider your purchases

I’m not implying that you live beyond your means or buy things that your budget can’t afford.  When you are frugal with your clothing spending, it forces you to really consider a purchase and if it belongs in your closet.  When we are forced to make decisions like this, we are not only more careful with what we spend our money on, but we value the decision more strongly.

We value purchases when we’re frugal

Being a frugal shopper gets you more value in less clothing.  A frugal shopper knows that they may not have the biggest budget for fashion and knows that what they do buy has to last and be versatile and wearable.  Shoppers with a frugal mindset will think about how many wears they will get from something, the different ways they can wear it and how it can be altered and mended if need be.

You get more with less

Consider the Cost per Wear Equation when shopping next to see just how costly cheap fashion can be!  Because of the disposable nature of clothing, and the fact that we often go hog-wild when we see it, binging on cheap clothes can actually be quite detrimental to our financial bottom line.  Buying something you don’t need and will never wear simply because it is on sale, regardless of how cheap it is,  will cost you a whole lot more than an affordable quality piece that costs a little more and gets you a lot of wears over time.

To learn more about the high cost of cheap fashion, listen to my interview with Elizabeth Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion here.

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