There is a difference between being cheap and being thrifty.
I guess you could say I used to err on the side of cheap.
- I used to buy lots of inexpensive things. Now, I buy less, possibly more expensive, items of higher quality.
- I used to find an item on sale and try to fit it into my life. Now, I carefully analyze what could be of good use and seek out the best product.
- I used to spend three bucks for a deep-fried, overly processed meal from a fast food chain that would leave me feeling sick. Now, I realize my money is my vote, and try to support local farmers and companies with a conscience.
- I used to be drawn to packaging labeled ‘green’ and ‘eco-friendly.’ Now, I seek the most whole, organic product, preferably with no packaging at all.
Being cheap is putting price first. Being thrifty is putting cost first—how much you pay for an item is just one factor of cost. Being thrifty is being smart, spending your dollars consciously and not wastefully. Looking beyond the price tag to the materials being used, the resources required to produce, product sustainability (both environmentally as well as economically), as well as its true utility.
And, of course, you must ask yourself the ultimate question: Do I really need this/will this really make life easier?