So you want to know how to find out if you are cheap? You want a more simple lifestyle, but you have some fears about downsizing your life. What will others think? Will it cause additional stress? How will your family react? Is it going to require you to rid yourself of nearly all your belongings? Are you going to be known as a person who is cheap? There is a HUGE difference between simple and cheap.In order to determine if you are cheap you need to get your facts straight so you are ready to address others when they question your life changes.
The biggest hurdle to overcome is the idea that people who live a simple life are cheap. Nothing could be further from the truth. Nonetheless, that doesn’t stop the negative stereotypes people have when they hear about those who live simply. Let me say this to you first, simple does NOT mean cheap. I am going to give you some fantastic ideas to help you convey your goals to others in a positive way to others. This includes family. First let’s distinguish between the two lifestyles so you know how to find out if you are cheap or perhaps on a path to a more simple life. These two lifestyles are VERY different. Follow along to find out which you are and what you can do about it.
What Simple Is:
The word simple is defined as easy to understand, deal with, use; not elaborate or artificial; not ornate or luxurious; unadorned. If reading the definitions causes you a feeling of genuineness, coziness, and comfort, you likely desire a simple life. That alone does not mean you are living a simple life. You may be leading a cheap lifestyle and confusing it for a simple one.
The truth is that people who live a simple lifestyle choose to focus on priorities other than an abundance of “stuff”. They are people who are quite selective about what they own, what they drive, how they eat, and the activities that they allow to occupy their time. People living a simple life are discriminatory about where they live, what type of dwelling they live in, and how the interior of their home feels. The simple life is not about having no technology, purchasing inexpensive knockoffs, or owning only the bare necessities unless they deliberately choose these things. You do not have to live like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Jane Goodall, Susan Fenimore Cooper, or Gandhi to live a more simple life.
A simple life is one that is lived by a chosen set of priorities that offers the opportunities for happiness and contentment with family and friends in a setting that is not cluttered and does not require tremendous amounts of regular labor. So, your house may only have one television. Perhaps you choose to limit technology to certain parts of your home. You may choose to restrict your number of outside time commitments. When living a simple lifestyle you are certain to spend your time doing things that bring you joy. You may only own 3 pairs of jeans, but perhaps they are your favorite from the Gap. In short, a simple life is the narrowing of your life focus to the things that are the most important to you and throwing the rest to the curb. Nothing about living simply says that you have to be cheap.
With that cleared up, let’s quickly define what cheap is.
What Cheap Is:
Cheap is defined as inexpensive; costing little labor or trouble; of small value, shoddy, or of decreased value or purchasing power. Notice that simple has no reference to cost or quality, unlike cheap, which is directly related not only to low cost, but low quality. If you are cheap you likely only purchase items of low quality at low prices. You likely have an abundance of cheap items. A cheap person is one who deliberately seeks out items that are of low quality and cost to acquire an abundance of whatever it is that they want.
I need to make this point crystal clear, there is nothing wrong with being cheap. If you find out you are cheap and you enjoy your lifestyle, then you are on the right path. However, if you are living a cheap lifestyle and are left wondering why your life isn’t simple or you realize this is not the life you want and have a desire to make the transition to a simple lifestyle, keep reading; there are solutions!
But first, let’s give you a little quiz to help you determine if you are cheap?
- Do you find that you are always in need of something?
- When shopping, do you instinctively choose the least expensive choice?
- Do you rush out to the closest discount store to buy what you want immediately?
- When eating out do you typically choose the least expensive restaurant (typically a fast food establishment so you don’t have to leave a tip) and order the least expensive item on the menu? (Or perhaps you never eat out!)
- When you need clothing is your first stop at a thrift store and/or the clearance rack at a discount store?
- In order to buy groceries do you spend hours finding coupons and matching them to sales for every store within a 60 mile radius and then plan your trip accordingly to hit every one of those stores so you never pay more than the rock bottom price any item?
- When it comes to bath and beauty items do you exclusively purchase the least expensive products?
- When it’s time to file your taxes, do you start figuring out how many things you can purchase at the least cost or perhaps sock it all away in the bank never to be seen again?
- On the occasion that you do eat at a sit down restaurant, do you tip the bare minimum (10%), less, or leave no tip at all?
- Do you not socialize with friends unless they are paying, the date is free, or you are invited to their home?
If you answered yes to 7 or more of these questions, you are likely cheap. Nothing wrong with that if you are happy and content. If you answered yes to 2-3 of these questions, you likely are not cheap. There are many options to consider. You may be a spendthrift, you are frugal (also different from cheap), or their are certain items you could care less about spending money on, but other items that where skimping is not an option.
Now that you were able to find out if you are cheap (or not) decide if you are happy. Is the answer yes? If so, there are many books, blogs, and podcasts to help you along your journey. If you have discovered you are cheap, you are in very good company! Many people have chosen this lifestyle and are completely content. Want some more resources to further your journey?
Try any of the books by Jeff Yeager or Mary Hunt, such as The Cheapskate Next Door or Cheaper, Better, Faster for starters.
There are plenty of really good websites to inspire and inform you too! The Cheapskates Way (you can even join the club) not only offers ideas on cutting costs, but can also help with smart financial decisions. Other sites that offer great information not to be missed are Everyday Cheapskate, The Queen of Free, and The Simple Dollar. These are all fabulous resources!
The Podcasting for Cheapskates is packed with fabulous information!
HOWEVER, if after answering the questions you have discovered you are not cheap, consider that a simple life may be what you are seeking. You are ready to make the transition to a new lifestyle filled with time to breathe. You want time to appreciate the things you value. Time for quality experiences with family and friends and activities that bring you true happiness and contentment are top of your list How can you do this?
First things first, enter your email for tips, ideas, and other goodies that are only available to those on the mailing list.
Next, start with THIS POST to help you find if you are truly ready to make the tranistion.
Lastly, remember this is your journey, your life. You only get one chance to live a life that brings you true happiness. Don’t let it pass you by! It’s never too late to simplify your life.