Many Americans are trying hard to make ends meet. The fact is, the economy and the American dollar are both suffering right now and cutting down on expenses is something that most Americans are being forced to do rather than choosing to do. One thing that most people don’t realize however is that there is a difference between spending less and being cheap. Spending less means using intelligence to handle your money whereas being cheap basically means that you don’t spend your money on anything, or as little as possible.
Frankly, spending less money is something that everyone should be doing no matter if the economy is strong or weak. There’s no real delicate way to put it other than to just say it right out loud; Americans spend a lot of money on crap.
That’s not a condemnation and it’s not a put down. We are all Americans and we all have spent our fair share of money on crap but the person who realizes that they are wasting their money on things that they don’t need, don’t want or otherwise have no use for, is the person who will always be better off financially.
Unfortunately many Americans get caught up trying not to be ‘cheap’. But what does it mean to be cheap? Does it mean that, when you go out with friends you try and stiff them for the bill? Or, does it mean that rather than going out for drinks you invite your friends back to your place for drinks? Both will ensure that you have an interesting and entertaining evening but the latter is certainly a better option financially.
Do you buy new clothes every time you see a friend, family member or colleague by new clothes? If you do because you’re trying to keep up with them does that mean that, if you don’t try to keep up with them, you’re being cheap? In our opinion, not at all. What that means is that you have the common sense to know that new clothing, or nee electronics, or a new car are not going to buy you happiness.
That being said, of course it’s okay to have some fun once in a while and spend a little mad money. (We’re just as much fun as the next guys, we promise.) As long as this doesn’t become habitual it shouldn’t hurt your ability to be able to save for things that are more important and for your retirement.
When it comes right down to it, the financially intelligent and independent person will look for reasons and opportunities to save money rather than to spend money.
It’s just another way of looking at your money. If you want to call it ‘cheap’ go right ahead. We’d rather think of it as being ‘intelligent’.