When it comes to money matters, it’s good to be frugal, but bad to be stingy. Which one are you? Let’s find out: According to Mary Hunt, author of Live Your Life for Half the Price, being frugal is considered a virtue. It implies that you’re being careful with your money, not wasteful. Being stingy implies that even though you save money, it can be costly for others. Here are a few examples:

  • First, if you use 2-for-1 restaurant coupons, you’re frugal. If you base the waiter’s tip on the discounted bill, that makes you stingy.
  • Next, if you plan out your yearly charitable contributions and try to stick to your budget, you’re frugal. If the last item you donated was an ancient can of lima beans you wouldn’t eat yourself, that makes you stingy.
  • If you use a teabag for more than one cup of tea, you’re frugal. However, if you offer a guest the cup made from the used teabag, you’re stingy!
  • Finally, a frugal person buys clothing on sale. A stingy person buys something, wears it once, and tries to return it for a full refund.

So, do you ever wonder if you’re being stingy? Ask yourself these questions:

  • First, do you feel generous when it comes to sharing, charity, and tipping? Great. If you feel angry or defensive about your choices, you might want to start being more generous.
  • Then, trot out the Golden Rule. In other words, do you treat others the way you’d like to be treated, or do you benefit while they suffer?
  • Your friends suggest an expensive restaurant you really can’t afford. So, do you A) Recommend a fun, less expensive alternative, or B) Go anyway, but only contribute enough cash to cover your entrée, but not your drinks, tax, and tip?

If you’d like to go further, the book is Live Your Life for Half the Price by Mary Hunt.