Your frugal ways used to be endearing to your friends. Now they’re just annoying.

5 minute read

If you try to be frugal so you can save on everyday expenses, add to savings or make sure you have enough money to cover monthly bills, good for you. Showing financial restraint takes discipline and pays off in the end. Be careful, though.

Well-intentioned frugality can veer into cheapskate territory when trying to save money goes too far. So, how can you know when you’ve crossed the line from frugal to cheapskate?

Here are seven cheapskate moves to avoid if you want to keep friends and not be known as the office tightwad.

Want to keep up with more financial news? Click here to sign up for our free newsletter.

1. You won’t go out for a full-priced meal

It’s smart to hit lunch specials or use restaurant coupons, but when you constantly turn down invitations to dine out with others if no discount is involved, you may want to loosen your cheapskate standards.

If you’re always turning down invitations, those offers will cease, and your social circle will shrivel like the raisins you buy at the discount grocer. Try setting aside part of that money you save with all those fast food coupons so you can still splurge with friends occasionally.

Find out: 7 Things I Learned From Grandma About Frugal Living

2. You never offer to drive

If you have an old car and the seats are covered with dog hair, that could be a good reason for not offering to drive. But not wanting to burn gas driving your friends to a movie isn’t.

Yes, gas is expensive but that’s true for your friends, too. You can spare a few gallons of gas to drive next time if you schedule most of your weekly errands into one or two trips that use less gas.

Find out: 8 Ways to Save Money at the Gas Pump

3. You’re a stingy tipper

If you stiff the restaurant server to save money, you should just stay home next time and eat a bowl of generic cereal while pondering your bad karma. Even worse than no tip, however, is an insulting tip.

No server wants your $1 tip on a $20 check. Either cough up a 20% gratuity or stay home.

Find out: 6 Reasons Why Not Leaving a Tip Isn’t a Good Financial Strategy

4. You bring your own condiments to restaurants

Yes, most Mexican restaurants typically charge too much for a dollop of sour cream. But that doesn’t mean you get to bring your own. And don’t even think about pulling a pint of guacamole out of your purse.

If you’ve dropped to this level of cheapness, cut back on the meal itself, ordering ala carte to save money so you can afford condiments and appetizers.

5. You’re that person always holding up the grocery line

If you quibble over a coupon’s fine print to save 25 cents while people in line glare holes into the back of your head, you may be taking coupon cutting too far.

Choose cashier battles wisely. Getting $5 off $15 may be worth annoying everyone if the coupon doesn’t ring up properly. On the other hand, if a coupon for a tiny discount isn’t working, let it go.

Find out: 9 Ways to Fight Rising Prices on Groceries

6. You cut your own hair

Okay, maybe some people are good at cutting their own hair. The thing is, you’re not one of them, so stop taking a hatchet to your head to save a relatively small amount of money every couple of months.

Instead, ask friends and coworkers for referrals to a good hair stylist or a barber with fair rates.

Find out: 60 Creative and Simple Ways to Save Money

7. You take back wine after a dinner party

It’s bad enough that you brought a bottle of $5 wine to Thanksgiving dinner. But when you have the nerve to grab the unopened bottle to take home when you’re leaving, you’ve gone way past cheapskate territory.

You’re now in the land of people who never get invited to dinner again. Next time, buy a bottle of better wine on sale and leave it for the people who fed and entertained you.

Find out: 10 Ways to Reduce Expenses so You can Pay Down Debt

8. You refuse to get rid of your embarrassing car

Your 1998 Subaru may have been a great car in its day. And if you’ve maintained it and somehow not put that many miles on it in 24 years, it could be a good idea to keep the car to avoid making loan payments on a new vehicle, especially when struggling financially.

However, if your old car bellows white smoke every time you start it, has one door that won’t open and two windows that don’t close, plus your hatchback slams down on your head every time you load groceries, it’s time to cast your cheapskate ways to the wind and find a good deal on a new or used car if you can afford one.

9. You’re too cheap to hire movers

When you’re in your 20s and struggling to save, it makes sense to ask your friends to help you move. After all, you’ve done the same for them. There comes a time, though, when enough boxes have been moved for all concerned.

Hire a moving company next time but resist your urge to hire the cheapest. You get what you pay for, and relocating on the cheap is one move you’ll surely regret.

10. Service staff gives you the devil eye

It’s great when a server remembers you because you’re a good tipper. You’ll probably get better service if that’s the case. However, when you walk in a restaurant and the servers give you the devil eye, you’re known as that tightwad who stiffs hardworking staffers.

It’s hard to redeem yourself if you’ve made a habit of leaving no tip or an insultingly low gratuity at your favorite restaurant. In fact, don’t even try. Just move on to a new restaurant with a clean slate, mend your cheapskate ways and start tipping at least 20 percent.

11. You swipe stuff from restaurant tables

If you treat napkins, sweetener packets and condiments on your table like a complimentary assortment of take-home items when you dine out, you’ve hit rock bottom. Next time, take only what you need for your meal so the struggling restaurant doesn’t go out of business because of cheapskates like you.

12. You pressure friends to split meals

If you and a fellow diner have small appetites and want to save money, splitting a meal can be a good idea for staying within your budget. However, if you’re always pushing your dining companion to split a meal instead of each buying your own, that’s a classic cheapskate move. If your friends walk away after dinner with growling stomachs, you’ve gone too far.

Next time, save enough money to buy your own meal and take the leftovers home. You’ll still get two meals out of it, and your friends won’t be suspiciously “busy” next time you want to dine out.

13. You bring cheap wine to dinner

You may think you’re being the ideal party guest when you hand the host that bottle of Yellow Tail or Two Buck Chuck. But you just look like a massive cheapskate there to inhale as much shrimp, cheese and appetizers as you can without bringing something worthwhile to the table.

Even if you don’t have much money for wine, you can still get a good deal. Ask your local liquor store clerk about a decent bottle of wine that may be on sale or is a quality bargain.

14. You don’t repay people who helped you out

If you forgot your wallet at lunch and one of your coworkers covered the cost, don’t assume their generosity is a gift. They’re generous because they don’t want you to be embarrassed or hungry but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like to be paid back. The same goes for the coworker who pitched in your share for the boss’s birthday gift when you didn’t have cash on hand.

15. You groom your own dog (badly)

If you’re good at grooming your own dog and have all the proper tools, doing it yourself to save money is a great idea. But if your poodle looks like an angst-filled teenager trying to figure herself out with a dark fashion turn, it’s time to spring for some expert grooming.

Did we provide the information you needed? If not let us know and we’ll improve this page.
Let us know if you liked the post. That’s the only way we can improve.
Yes
No

About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC