Has the Pandemic Turned You Into a Cheapskate?

There’s no doubt money's been tight for a lot of us during the coronavirus lockdown, but it seems at least one good thing came of that. 

A new poll by Slickdeals finds:

  • Over half of Americans say the lockdown finally taught them how to be smart with their money.
  • Just two years ago, only 42% of people claimed to be smart with their money, but now 51% of folks say they are.
  • In fact, two out of three people say the quarantine has turned them into a frugal person.
  • The average person believes someone becomes frugal at 31, although 25% say it happened to them earlier.
  • And there’s nothing wrong with being frugal, with 67% of people considering it a compliment.

But there certainly is a difference between being frugal and being cheap, and the study set out to discover just what that is.

  • For example, during a 2018 survey, tipping the minimum of 15% to 20% was considered “frugal,” but now it’s considered “cheap.”
  • Other things folks these days consider cheap include:
    • Calculating your part of a group bill to the cent
    • Keeping outdated or worn out electronics, as long as they still barely work
    • Reusing tea bags or coffee filters
    • Eating food a few days past its expiration date
    • Declining to be a part of rounds at the bar
    • Lengthening longevity of soap by diluting soap bottles with water
    • Re-gifting 
  • Actions that are considered frugal include:
    • Regularly tracking electricity use
    • Regularly tracking the home thermostat 
    • Watching movies at home instead of in the theater
    • Shopping at second-hand clothing stores
    • Buying clothes at department stores like Kmart, Walmart etc
    • Buying off-brand food products
    • Giving up drinking while at bars or restaurants/Only having alcohol at home
    • Seeking out deals or coupons for all purchases

Photo: Getty Images

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