When Rich People Call You Cheap, It’s Just So Annoying

Do you know what's really annoying? When rich people call you cheap. Rich people have all the money in the world! Of course they don't work about the little things.

I ran into one of my golfing buddies the other day while waiting for a colleague. Greg the golfer is an every day fella who so happens to be worth north of $20 million dollars. 

I don't know exactly how much he makes a year, but it's likely at least $3 million during normal economic times.  He's a powerful man who deserves everything he earns, but sometimes he's just vexing.

We got to catching up about the latest gossip on tour when he asked me if I wanted to grab a coffee at Starbucks.  I told him I was good, largely because coffee hurts my stomach. Not to mention I'm supposed to be waiting for my colleague at this exact spot and time to attend a meeting. 

Greg responds, “Of course not, you are so cheap!” in a snide, but joking sort of way.  Unfortunately, every joke has a meaning, and being called cheap is one of the most annoying things to ever hear.

When Rich People Call You Cheap

When we go golfing, Greg likes to spend $20 for a sleeve of Titleist Pro V balls, whereas I go for the $8 sleeve of Pinnacles.  Sure, the Pinnacles are harder, and provide less spin control, but I'm no pro, but neither is Greg! 

The absurd thing is, I'm a 10 handicapper who regularly shoots in the low-to-mid 80s, while he's a 20 handicapper who often times breaks 100.  Some would even call him a hacker!

When we talk about vacations, he mentions the private jet he takes to Bora Bora, and I think, how nice. He then goes on to discuss the wonderful stay at the Four Seasons with his own outdoor hot tub and infinity pool overlooking the ocean. 

Thanks for making me so envious Greg! My staycation this summer can't compare, I know.  But, we still have fun all the same.

What really irks me is that Greg jokes about my spending habits when he's worth so much more. A $5 overpriced latte to me is literally like 50 cents to him. And you know what?  I still wouldn't spend 50 cents on a cup of latte because it turns my stomach into a squeezed towel! 

I've grown up just drinking water because my parents never ordered any drinks when we went out. They taught me that beverages have the highest markups and to not be silly with money. Besides, all the sugar and junk they put in these concoctions is so bad for our health.

Different People, Different Desires

I don't understand the folks who stand in line at Starbucks every morning AND afternoon forever waiting for a stupid cup of coffee.  When I see a 20 person line, I keep walking because time is precious. 

I don't get the people over 30 who still go out at night and spend $15 for a vodka tonic, when you can buy a whole bottle for $20 bucks, and make 25 of them on your own. The time for clubbing was in your 20s!

I place very little value on beverages which aren't good for me.  Is this so bad?  Apparently to very wealthy folks who have no concept of money or time think so.  If you ask me to pay a premium for athletic shoes, electronics, and fruit I'm very happy to do so. 

Good shoes prevent injuries and provide extra performance during grueling competition. I prefer an Apple over a PC because of the interface, aesthetics, and customer service. Meanwhile, if I find a delicious white puree mango, I'll literally spend a hundreds of dollars and buy them all!

Everybody spends money in different ways largely because preferences differ.  ou can call people cheap, but that's just ignorant because you are assuming someone else values something just as much as you do.  Instead, be cognizant of what matters to other people and respect their financial decisions. 

The next time Greg calls me cheap, I think I'll just test his pride and bet him $100 a hole straight up, no strokes. Might as well take advantage of the rich, right!

Related: How Much Do The Rich Invest Their Wealth

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Updated for 2021 and beyond. When Rich People Call Me Cheap I try harder!

107 thoughts on “When Rich People Call You Cheap, It’s Just So Annoying”

  1. I came across your site a few weeks ago and have been devouring all your articles. I am self-employed supporting a family of 4 with my music and writing and have really been changing my mindset in order to improve my business. When the bottom fell out in 2009 I struggled with negative beliefs. One thing I changed as I completely stopped all spending that was not for food/shelter was buying cheap junk. The idea was to spend on quality. I really have changed my beliefs now and I mostly don’t need to blow a dollar on something unnecessary. Yet I’ve made some great tech and gear purchases that are high quality and should last many years, if not decades in the case of the music gear. I love fashion but I pride myself on never spending retail prices. I bought Italian designer pumps the other day worth well over $100 (still not expensive by fashionista standards) for $10 at the flea market (and I’m not a hoarder, that was my only clothing purchase for 2 months). I have found that rewarding myself sensibly keeps my spirits up — austerity is demoralizing and depressing. My children have learned, too, not to ask for junk toys, and to think in terms of saving for things they want or working for them, or finding them much cheaper at the flea market or borrowing things from the library or doing free amazing things like family bike rides, hikes, camping and the like. If I can make a request it would be for more motivational articles for maintaining cash flow in a small business. To be honest, I have two, my music business and my editorial business. Perhaps many of your readers would be shocked at how nicely we live on such low income. I even feel a little bad when I read some of your readers’ stories of being trapped in a hamster wheel of wealth-pursuit. To me the goal is simply a better cushion to ward off future troubles. Thanks for your site!

  2. Sorry to bump this late, but had a quick ‘Blink’ to share.

    My thought is Greg was embarrassed when you declined. He was enjoying your company, you had just spent a few hours together on the course, and he extended himself by inviting you to spend another 20 minutes at Starbucks. He wasn’t literally requiring you to have coffee (there is bottled water, juice, tea, or other alternatives available. He was inviting you to share a few more minutes, and when you declined he did not get what he wanted and was embarrassed. So, he embarrassed you in return.

    Not sure if you told him you were meeting another person right then and there (that would have presented its own awkwardness, either dismissing Greg or inviting him to be part of something your colleague wasn’t expecting). But if you declined Starbucks without telling him you had another obligation, he may have taken it as a dismissal and that you were tired of hanging out with him for the day. It doesn’t make sense that he would really think you were declining his invitation out of cheapness, he just wanted to needle you especially if he felt disrespected or his invitation had little value to you. Just my two cents.

      1. That is great to hear, a friend is so hard to make and even harder to keep! Glad to hear all is good. It is actually a nice compliment Greg was paying to you, to want to hang out with you more. Glad to hear a friendship was not squandered over an awkward moment.

  3. I think it’s probably better to have close friends in your own league. If they are much richer, they’ll want to spend more money than you can comfortably afford and you’ll cramp their style. Opposite if they’re a lot poorer, they’ll want to spend less than you want to. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friendly with them just not close friends.

  4. I’d say that if Greg is an otherwise nice guy, his comment was probably just unthinking or maybe clueless.

    I have had one friend I thought was cheap – she made it difficult to hang out with her, because she wouldn’t want to even get a slice of pizza or go and see a movie. (This was high school, so we really didn’t have much money.)

    I still appreciate her though, and she’s the first person I turn to when I need tips on how to travel Europe without breaking the bank. And she spends money on the stuff she cares about (living in NYC and going to broadway shows), so her saving has a purpose.

    My point is, Greg might have meant “cheap” as negatively as you think he did.

    Also, you should totally bet on golf games with him. Yes.

  5. @Split Cents

    Maybe he is trying to get the miles. I knew a Project Manager in SF who use to travel from SFO -> JFK -> DFW on Company Money. He was working in SF and had his home in Dallas

  6. Wil Possible

    Everyone has different values in life. Although money is important it does not make up who a person is. Take Warren Buffett’s lifestyle for example. Look at the house he lives in and the car he drives. And see what he eats everyday. There are some who feels the need to exhibit their wealth while some of the truly wealthy are more discreet with what they have.

    I am almost sorry you have to hang out with a “friend” like Greg. He obviously is quit a shallow person, and I am sorry if this may come across as being offensive. I didn’t mean to be judgmental.

  7. I am on the same page as you bro. In some places, being frugal goes against the norm. So many people in our country are caught up in consumerism. (Hey thats what runs 70% of our economy, yay!) They feel that they ‘need’ this or ‘need’ that, when in reality, they don’t. Minimizing monthly expenses is so important when trying to build wealth especially at a young age.

    Water is the best beverage for our bodies, and its FREE! (Well, thats becoming less and less true) The problem with coffee and alcohol is that they are both addicting, hence the reason why the continue to sell so well.

    As for the shoes, there is some pretty compelling evidence to suggest that shoes are actually bad for our feet, ankles, knees, back, etc. Of course going around shoe-less isnt much of an option in our society. One could throw away all shoes (except for office shoes) and purchase “Vibram five fingers”, which would save you money and help your feet, ankles, knees, and back.

    1. It’s the water/diamond paradox! The most important resource, water, is free, while the least important resource, diamonds, are expensive!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts Gabe.

  8. – Cheap is when someone visits & you put them up for several days as a guest and take them around to see all the local (and not so local sites), and the “guest” doesn’t so much as pay for one tank of gas let alone any meals. This guest is just a user and will not be welcomed back very quickly.
    – Frugal is a guest who managed his money before arriving and while not flushed with big bucks is able to contribute at least a little bit towards the expenses. This guest is thoughtful and considerate and very welcome.
    – Cheap is not picking up your full share of a tab (leaving before the bill arrives & dropping a bill which is definitely short but is meant to “contribute” to the total bill).
    – Frugal would be suggesting that everyone gets a separate check, and then orders according to budget.
    – cheap is going strictly by price
    – frugal is going for value and so much the better if its on sale
    – cheap is never buying anything if its not on sale
    – frugal is cutting corners to be able to afford something that your heart desires, even if it never comes on sale.

    …. and a whole lot more of similar situations.

    My father disliked cheap people, tighwads he called them … his observation and definition of cheap was far from your friend Greg’s (whether in jest or otherwise) but he often ended picking up the tab for some of his wealthier “friends” (he was the very same man who taught me to get the best that I could afford and then stretch a little, but of course there were no credit cards in Japan then, just “on the cuff” without interest with suppliers who knew and trusted you , and you always paid your bill(s) – wow! did I run into trouble when I came here with all this credit being so readily available!!! :-( . After a rude awakening I tried to not to be cheap, just frugal … but its really great when you can reach a point of not being either

    1. Some great examples of differentiating between the two Valentina! Thanks for that. I see you’ve signed up for Yakezie.com. I’m sure readers would love to hear your story how what makes you tick, and your goals of making a sustainable online income!

  9. Aaah, the ole’ “I’m better than you and I have more money, and I like to talk about all my wealth because it makes me feel powerful and above the rest, and guess what? what’s even better is that I like to HEAR myself talk if someone will listen to ME!” .. trick (to quote a type of line from the old Get Smart TV series.

    I’ve never been called “Cheap” in a way that was anything but me being … cheap.
    The people who have that kind of money and act in that kind of way are probably those who fell into it by timing. They haven’t realized that some of us do work for a living, to make our future, and (with luck) try to become one of those who have “the money” to do all the things we’d like to do. The private jet? Hmmm. Might just be one of the perks for having such wealth. But, what I’m hearing is that this guy hasn’t had to eat dirt, or ever been called cheap or poor in his life. I’ve been (at times in the course of my life) looked down upon, shunned because I couldn’t afford to go out and eat on a Friday with “the group” of people we all hung around with. For some, just having been there would constitute maybe understanding what it’s like to have “been there” before. I do not think “your wealthy friend” has ever been there, or if he has, he has selective memory for a time of his life when he was a dirty rotten, low down … or anything else in his world that he’s ashamed to associate himself with. Such a shame too.

    Money may make ones pocket bulge, but when it comes down to it, the “character inside” is the real person and what we all base our decisions on as to whether to associate with them of not. Some might even call then being judgemental. But then, some go out of their way to prove exactly who they really are as well.

    If your friend wants to buy the expensive stuff, it obviously doesn’t help his golf game either. He’s all about the show … and who’s watching! ;) And he can (from what you say) afford the show as well….. I’d recommend taking his money in a showdown in the links. But remember, he can afford the lessons too, not that they’d help him, but even DH’s get lucky sometime.

    I (also) know a guy who owns around 15 Smoothie Kings here in our fair city. Uber-rich indeed, but he’s a great guy. He may talk about some of his expenditures, but he’s not condescending about it, only that he “lost” money in Las Vegas, or his wife spent way too much on (fill in the blanks). etc, etc. Otherwise, he more like the average guy who wears quality, but doesn’t go overboard on the quantity. His story .. He’s been there. He knows. And I’m looking for a way to emulate his success (fact). He’s worked hard for it. I’m no where near his net worth.

    Lets see … the difference between Frugal and Cheap? Now there’s a question near and dear to me. :)

    If pretty frugal .. in many ways. But even the most astute frugal’er will spend money on something nice or fun once in a while. And if they can do it on the cheap, it means they has what they wanted, only for a fraction of the costs. I love going to high end resale shops and finding name brand polo’s w/deep discounts (about to be off consignments). Am I cheap? Or Frugal? Or is that just poor, poor (me) .. “he can’t even afford a brand new $40 Nautica Polo short form that nifty new mall around the corner (with the pay-for-parking)?

    FinSam … as I’m sure you fully understand, :) some of us enjoy “saving the money” instead of blowing it as fast as we can. Our worth isn’t based on what’s on the price tag. If I had $20million (in net worth), I’d probably be working all the time, sleeves rolled up, and a USED CAR sitting out on the parking lot. (aka: from a Thomas Stanley book)

    Anyone can be a snob. And a lot of those snobs ARE in debt up to their A$$. When is making $3mil/year NOT really 3 mil/year? It’s the difference between the UAW and the PAW. We all (I’m guessing) are striving to be self sufficient. Where our money works for us, not the other way around. I’d be interested in knowing how your wealthy friend became rich. And were his parents rich too. :)

    Oh yes. Cheap and Frugal. I’m cheap, but not easy! :)
    The definition would depend on the context, but Cheap “sounds” more like less than “top notch” or “not full price, on sale” .. and Frugal (to me) means you actually took the time to find it, make it work and still have something left over to do with as one likes. Kind of like finding 21 case of Duct take (30/ea.) for $20/brand new … instead of buying 5 rolls for $20. Frugal is definitely a buzzword going round, but I also think it’s parallel with “The Smart Shopper” too. (The Duct tape thought was a guy thing, I’m guessing)

    Dean / The Frugalcheapskate. The little things DO add up!

  10. Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    this comes down to a recent post i read elsewhere regarding how our financial status affects the way we are perceived and therefore treated. those with higher status will always “joke” about the ones with lesser status. as FS stated however, there is always some underlying truth or a reason at least to every joke. the key is definitely learning how to handle it. on the contrary, one may decide not to associate with such individuals – but then there is also something to be said about friendship.

    bottom line is that we each know what our financial capacity is and what our spending priorities are. when others make such silly comments, we can justify them and find ways to forgive their ignorance because they are not us, and therefore do not know the situation we are in. i know, easier said than done, but this has helped in my experience.

  11. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff

    My response got long enough that I’m posting it at BFS next week. My comment pretty much boiled down to you handled yourself well, and at least you are only being called cheap. I get called cheap by people who like to say “Life is short” and wasteful by people who are even more frugal than myself. I prioritize my spending like you mentioned, but I don’t handle myself as well as you do when I’m judged – I get defensive and a little immature…oops…

  12. Please refer to me by my Latin name, illegitimus frugalis… ;-)
    I make a living writing about how to make your money stretch. Some readers foam at the mouth and accuse me of being cheap, stingy, miserly, ungenerous, etc.
    I don’t like reading such comments, but try to think of it this way: They don’t know me. If they knew me, they’d know that those adjectives don’t apply.
    I am frugal, not cheap. That means that I save money where I can so that I can spend it where I want. This includes giving to charities and nonprofits, and to individuals in need.
    Your friend might be feeling a little defensive: “If Sam is happy with less, does that mean all my big-shot stuff isn’t as important as I think it is?”
    Or maybe he’s just a bit of a showoff.
    As they say, never wrestle with pigs — you get all dirty, and the pigs like it. If he tries to get a rise out of you with comments like “You are so cheap!” perhaps you should call him on it. Politely ask, “What do you mean by that, exactly? And for extra credit, why should YOU care how I spend MY money?”

  13. My uncle used to call me cheap all the time. Nowadays, as my business is doing well, he doesn’t call me cheap anymore even though my spending habits pretty much never changed.

    A few days ago, it was my uncle’s 60th birthday, and I treated him for dinner at those fancy restaurants that only he would go to. There were four of us, and of course he had to order a VERY pricey wine.

    My uncle frequents that restaurant, and he is known to be an awesome tipper. The tab came out to be several hundred dollars, and though it was WAY too expensive, I thought “okay, it’s my uncle’s 60th birthday dinner so it’s a very special bday. No problem.” I then paid a good tip (or at least so I thought), but the waiter totally ignored me afterward and just talked to my uncle and ignored me.

    He made me FEEL cheap, and all for paying 10x the price I usually pay for food.

    Maybe I’m not ready to be rich, even if I end up having $20 million dollars in the future!!

    1. Man, that sucks David. Shoulda got another cousin or something to pay for the dinner if he and the waiter were so ungrateful!

      Guess it’s just human nature for some to put people down and make them feel inferior.

      Still, very generous of you to pay!

      1. I should clarify about my uncle. Other than the occasional disrespectful comments, he is generally very nice to me.

        If it wasn’t for him, I would not have moved out here from Canada and I probably would not have met my wife, had a family, started my blog and have the life style that I have right now.

        Dinner is the least I could do.

  14. I’m happy to go out with people, have a drink, and buy some food. I just always look for the best prices. I’m a comparative shopper. I read the little price sticker at the bottom of food that compares price per ounce. I don’t think thats cheap. I think its smart shopping. Why pay more for something if you don’t have to?

  15. I’m right there with you. When I bought the iPad people at work were ohhing and awwing at it. Then they asked how much it was and told them nonchalantly, “$600.” So then one of my coworkers remarks…”$600! You must be rich!” Umm, no. I just do not go out to eat for lunch every day like the rest of my coworkers. And the few times a month I do go out to eat, I don’t order a drink and get water. But yes, I am more than happy to pay top dollar for my electronics, especially from Apple!

  16. I think the word cheap is used as good humor by close friends – Of course, one needs to understand who is a friend vs. an acquaintance which is a blurry line for many people.

    An honest friend will call you cheap with no misintention except maybe to ride you a bit whereas an acquaintance could use this term as more of dig.

    We are ALL cheap in some way. As Samurai said he would not spend 50 cents on a latte but would gladly drop a paycheck on white puree mangos. I would call him cheap and nuts here :-)

    We should all embrace our cheap moments – thats why everyone is a little quirky now and then.

    On the other hand – if you want to calculate your portion of a dinner bill and not just split it up evenly then I can promise you people (friends and acquaintances) will call you cheap and mean it.

  17. I get called cheap by the cheapest of the cheap, the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. I love it. But I don’t think I’m “cheap.” I think I’m “frugal.” To me the difference is significant – a difference between not liking to “spend” versus not liking to “waste.” To me:

    Cheap people don’t like to “spend” money – at all. They could be offered a $100 bill for $50 and not take the deal. Frugal people don’t like to “waste” money. They would gladly pay $50 for a $100 bill. They look for the best deals under the “why pay more for the same thing.” But they’re going to “spend.” They just want to spend wisely.

    So I’m frugal (admittedly very frugal – especially when it comes to spending on myself).

  18. It’s funny how Greg labeled you as cheap. It’s almost like he’s pinning the “cheap” label on you because he himself is cheap! Maybe not when it comes to golf balls or coffee, but perhaps in another area? Or….he could be jealous of something you have, so to make himself feel better, he puts you down.

  19. @Money Smarts Blog
    Yeah, I don’t hang around him too often, but he is also a very connected person, and it would be foolish of me not to nurture this relationship.

    Sounds like you’ve got some great friends! Lucky!

    Hmmm….. I donno…. could avoiding water by bringing your own be a tad too extreme?

    @Nunzio Bruno
    The thing I’m wondering is whether I should just rip Greg a new one and poke him back. He kids and pokes a lot and needs to be challenged. Maybe I’ll make fun of his wussy driving distance which barely breaks 200 yards on a good day. Yup!

    @David H.
    You’re right, there is always another dollar to make, no matter how rich you are! Those HF guys you talk about, must be a big sport for them though to make big bucks. It’s the wild west! I’m not cutting him out of my life, I just won’t hang out with him that much.

  20. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even want to order water if I go out because of all the chlorine and fluoride in it, but I’m still pretty sure that they’d frown upon me bringing in my own stainless water bottle of RO water.

  21. Hi Sam

    I’m not sure about paying $8 for a sleeve of balls. Even thats steep for me. Personally I go for the cleaned, packed into a box of a dozen lake balls for the grand total of £7.99 ($12.50). Usually I go for the Nike option and they really do look brand new.


    1. I can’t stoop that low mate with lake balls! That’s when I notice the difference. I can get as good trajectory on soft landings if I have a used or damaged ball. Guess it’s all relative!

  22. I have a few friends who have a high net worth but none of them ever called me cheap. They would not be my friends if they had an attitude like that. Come to think of it, all of my very rich friends are very generous with me. Money does not dominate our relationship.

  23. Nunzio Bruno

    This is the fun stuff! Behavior is one of my favorite topics when it comes to money and spending. I’m sorry to hear that it makes for a tough time when you guys get together but isn’t it interesting how very different peoples values can be. Better still it sounds like your friend Greg has a tough time understanding that what’s of little importance to him may not be the same for everyone else – ie the spending. The incentives for you to skip the two Starbucks trips a day aren’t even a radar blip to someone who as that kind of disposable income…very interesting stuff!

  24. Your friend Greg may have more money, but that doesn’t buy common sense. Clearly, he lacks a lot of that by not being able to relate to others who aren’t wealthy.

    I have been called cheap before, by someone with considerably more wealth than me. I have to say, I lost some respect for that person. Actions have consequences, and that person’s comments impacted my perspective on that individual – and not for the better!

    Now, if someone with a “normal” level of wealth or someone without much calls me cheap, I will instantly get a postive feeling. Interestingly I haven’t been called that much at all in my life, and if so, It’s been teasing by a few close friends or familiy members. Aside from going along with the jokes, I also get a sense pride, as if I know a secret that they don’t when it comes to the value to growing income while keeping expenses relatively low.

    1. I feel I have lost some respect for Greg as well. It sucks, but other than this incident, he’s been hilariously great. He just touched a nerve, b/c I’m pretty generous with him when we go out, and being called cheap is the last thing I want to hear from a friend who is extremely wealthy.

  25. This guy has to constantly prove himself eh? People like this I cut out of my life. Not much of “friend” if you ask me. More like a little boy trying to prove himself to the world. I used to work in a hedge fund in NYC, plenty of those types in their 40s and 50s around there like that. Doesn’t matter how much money they have, someone else always has more. He’s lost.

  26. I can’t remember a time when I was called “cheap.” However, if a wealthier person is calling you “cheap” for such a silly reason (not wanting a Starbucks coffee – and you know how much I love my Starbucks!), then maybe something else is really going on with that person. You mention that your friend is very wealthy. But I’d be interested to know how much wealth he’s actually accumulated compared to you. Has he been investing the majority of it toward retirement, or is he a person who likes to spend most of it? In The Millionaire Next Door it specifically describers accumulators vs non-accumulators. Maybe he falls into the latter group. The next time he calls you cheap you might want to remind him that you’re choosing to spend your money on other things, like your future.

    1. It’s REALLY hard for me to fathom his type of wealth. We’re talking $5mil+ main residence, another multi million dollar residence up in Lake Tahoe, and just oodles and oodles of money. I’m pretty sure he’s set for life, as interest alone on $20 mil a year is like $700,000. However, he did mention to me that he requires around $1 million a year in cash flow to live an acceptably comfortable life. Wow!

  27. Wow, that’s funny. Regardless of the meaning of the comment, people who have money don’t know what it’s like to actually be careful about how you spend your money. Simply because they don’t have to, even if they are careful with their own money. Sometimes they are mean-spirited, sometimes obnoxious, and sometimes just clueless.

    Kudos to them for making money. But if they are truly rich, they will realize that as people we’re really equal.

    1. Maybe this case was obnoxious + clueless + wanting to get a rise out of me. Donno. I just can’t wait to take his money on the golf course! Good of you to stop by Kris.

  28. I’m annoyed on your behalf, that guy is inappropriate and rude (am I out of line?). In reality, spending habits are not necessarily in line with wealth. Although I don’t personally socialize with anyone of that wealth, I have had friends/acquaintances of great wealth. Some are frugal, others aren’t, but either way-it’s better not to call someone “cheap.”

  29. I don’t recall being referred to as ‘cheap’ by any rich person. I don’t think I’d really care…..but what irks me is when I see people who struggle yet waste a ton.

    Yesterday, I met with a couple to discuss finances. They are struggling to get out of debt.

    Guess what they had in their hands? A $5 cup of coffee.

    1. Don’t you think we need people to waste a ton though? It’s what helps the money multiplier go, and boost the economy?

      I think things are rational… so at least they are meeting with you to discuss their finances!

  30. I’ve only been called cheap (to my face at least) by my son ;) I’m kind of amazed though that a rich person would call you cheap; in my experience the more money a person has the less likely they are to spend frivolously.

    1. Nope, the type of money he has blows the doors of the normal rich person. I guess due to his profession, which i won’t say, a lot of people try to suck up to him, and as a result, he can’t help but develop a big ego. I just have to squash it sometimes, that’s all!

  31. Our Life Inc

    While I do not have any friends who fall in the super rich category, my wife’s parents could be considered well to do. While they won’t call us cheap, they always comment how we don’t “have any fun”. It is so humorous to my wife and I how her mother will equate spending money with having fun. Where as we can derive hours of fun from a long bike ride, her mom equates fun with a trip to the mall. It’s funny how people’s attitudes about money shape their perspectives on people as well.

  32. Yeah – I have never been a Starbuck fan, and would rather have a very basic cup of coffee made from fine ground beans. It’s much cheaper – add a little bit of cream and sweeter – and perfect.

    Allot of rich people get far too out of touch as time goes by – I’ve spent some time with so-called “Rich People”, and some are really cheap. The generalizations always eventually have to go out the window right.

  33. ha, I love the picture. I’m not a coffee drinker myself. Coffee smells SO much better to me than it tastes and I avoid drinking it. It can be hard being friends with someone who has a very different financial situation, esp if that person has always had a lot of money and doesn’t know any other way of living. Even though it sounds like Greg was joking around and not intending to hurt your feelings that’s annoying that he had to use the word cheap. Hopefully he won’t keep making comments like that.

  34. I think calling other people cheap or giving them grief for not wanting to splurge on the same things as you says more about the person and their character than it does about their level of wealth. It’s all about wanting to feel superior to the guy next to you, or wanting to somehow appear more “successful”. It’s all about thumping your chest. If you’re poor, you can still see this – it may not be about your million dollar home, but instead that you have the “double wide trailer home” instead of the single wide.. It’s all relative – and it’s all about wanting to feel better than everyone else.

    To be honest the wealthy people I know have all been some of the nicest people I’ve ever known as well – generous to a fault, and hard working -not worried about the trappings of wealth.. Go figure. I just think that there are rich jerks, and poor jerks. Nice poor people and nice wealth folks.

  35. Greg McFarlane

    Sam, you mention twice that what’s worth $x to you is worth $.1x to Greg. So is it safe to assume that you’re worth $2 million?

    I’ve had people call me cheap, and to me the name-calling is neither a positive nor a negative. I like to think that most of us outgrow this – both the name-calling and listening to it – somewhere around high school.

    What’s especially nefarious is when people pressure you to stop being frugal. Like when I go out to dinner with multiple friends, all of whom order alcohol, and then they want to split the bill evenly. Uh, no. You were dumb enough to ring up charges 3 times what I ordered – I’m not going to subsidize you.

    The Starbucks thing is mindblowing. I brew a 19-cent cup of coffee every morning, and it doesn’t involve waiting in line. The difference between good coffee and bad coffee, whatever that might be, isn’t that big.

    But you really need to challenge Greg to a skins game and start taking his money.

  36. I have been called “cheap”, but not by my wealthier friends. Unfortunately, it is one of my friends (who has cc debt by her own admission) calls me this. Most of my wealthier friends are quite frugal and they won’t even question if I choose to skip something that doesn’t make me happy.

    Regarding Greg, I think it is in our nature to criticize whatever we don’t like. May be if he sees someone earning $20 million an year and spending $3 million on just one vacation, he would say that guy is crazy to “waste” money like that :) I read this somewhere, don’t remember where – “Anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac”. Each of is think we are perfect!

  37. Most likely if Greg didn’t spend $$ on the better balls, his game would be even worse than it is now.

  38. Debt Vigilante

    You know I have often found the same thing with wealthier friends of mine. I used to get kind of offended because they flaunt their money and often times make people feel bad, but the more i get to know them, the less I mind.
    I noticed that the majority of my friends that either ARE big spenders or want to APPEAR to be big spenders all have one thing in common. They are insecure with other aspects of their lives. They use money to compensate for areas in their lives that are lacking. Now I dont get irritated when they flaunt money because I understand why they do it.

    1. Insecurity is definitely a reason why people showboat so much for sure. It’s the really wealthy who are pretty kick back and frugal ironically. Warren Buffet case in point!

  39. Danny @ Frugal Quack

    They say the rich are different and they are. Those who have money act and think differently than those without it. And the BIG difference is when they’ve had it all their lives, versus earned later in life.

    I never knew how broke I was until I started hanging out with peeps who had money, that is how you know. lol.

    But my point is that your friend Greg is probably not as disciplined as you, and either is envious or really truly thinks you’re cheap. Cheap to him means you’re not flashy. Some people with money are flashy, and proud of it. Its a badge they wear around their collar.

    My family is really shallow so many times I will lie and say so and so clothing is from so and so store, but not to brag, more like to keep them quiet and also because it’s SO SILLY how it changes their view on the item.

    My MO is not to hang out with snotty rich people, that would drive this modest dude insane. It simple is not my cup of tea.

    I much prefer the “quiet modest millionaire next door” that everyone THINKS is broke but has more money in the bank than you can count. You know the one that drives a Ford, has a nice home and wears regular clothes.

  40. Kevin@InvestItWisely

    It’s all about subjective values. If you don’t like to waste money on beverages and others do, that is your choice! You wouldn’t call him a moron for standing in line and buying the coffee, even if you think it privately. He therefore shouldn’t call you cheap, either ;)

    If he does continue the jokes, then by all means, poke fun back.

  41. I don’t usually run into this very often. I’m an engineer with a bunch of engineer friends and we’re all cheap. In fact, I’m trying to think of a spenthrift pocket protector toting engineer and I just can’t think of one.

    I must ponder why this is so.

  42. Wow I had a similar situation this weekend. Someone was drinking tequila at a party, straight, and I had made mention that makes me sick. He then responded that it was only becaues I always go for the cheap stuff in life.

    Everyone moved on but that irritated the hell out of me. The decisions I make work for me, and I am not a hermit I just usually just don’t get some choices. Whether I grab a $100 bottle of Scotch or a $35 bottle I am getting to the same place. I don’t get spending $300 for Peter Lugars unless it is a hardcore occassion when I can become filled up at a good place for 20% of othat…

    As you can tell I am still annoyed

  43. its tough because every persons situation is different so what is cheap to one person is frugal to another. if its my friends they generally know that i am not comfortable dropping
    20$ on one weekday lunch. and even so, who cares if you are called cheap. if you are making the decision because you want to save money, al the better for you!
    Preferred Financial Services Blog

  44. It’s easy to become clueless after a while and think your way is the way of everybody else.

    Take his money on the golf course and use the proceeds to buy him a drink!

  45. Why stop at $100 a hole? Channel your inner Michael Jordan and go for the gusto, especially if you have 10 strokes up on him. :) Although be sure to pay up if you lose… don’t want your father to be gunned down for refusing to pay gambling debts.

    1. Indeed! Well, the problem is, I really don’t want to take more than a $1,000 off him, even if he is one rich fella. We’d strain our relationship. I figure at $100 a whole, with birdies doubling to $200, I would probably win 10 holes, push 5, and lose 3 to come out +$700-$800.

      Of course, there are the greenies and all other goodies. $700-800 to him is like only $70-80 to the rest of us, so that’s not that painful.

  46. Money Reasons

    I’m sure it’s hard when someone like Greg (is this the same Greg that is currently unemployed?) critizes you when he has sooo much money. Just remember, someday you’ll be there too :)

    I think being frugal is getting the best value for your money. Not buying alcohol when you are “out and about” is very frugal.

    Cheap would be doing anything to spend less money, even when it means you get less value for money spend (cheap shoes are an excellent example). I guess cheap is the less intelligent cousin of frugal.

    I consider myself frugal, but I still buy an occasional latte (from starbucks or McDonalds). I’ll have an occasional glass of wine, but not as much as I use to because as you state, the markup on such a glass is crazy!

  47. While I’m by no means justifying it, it’s human nature to criticize those different from you — and the same goes for people from different financial strata. Those with less money are envious of the rich and criticize any tax breaks they may get; the rich look down on those who do not have as much money as they do, or choose to spend it differently, as you do.

    In fact, some people who have comfortable finances wouldn’t be at that point if they weren’t frugal with their money, choosing NOT to spend it on things such as lattes. If you spent like Greg does, chances are you wouldn’t be friends because you’d have less money (and buying the $4 golf balls).

  48. I think the issue is that your friend is a jerk. Bragging about how rich he is, making you feel bad for not spending a few dollars.

    I wouldn’t hang out with him.


  49. Cheap isn’t a nice way to describe someone…EVER!

    At least now i know im not the only one who beats all his buddies at golf with wal mart balls and 15 year old clubs (they were the best 15 years ago tho :p ).

    1. It is one of my great joys to sink a nice long 10 foot wobbler and take my rich buddies money. All about playing up their egos and making them play me straight up if they talk smack!

  50. Your buddy Greg would drive me insane. I cannot stand people that have to issue those passive-aggressive comments. I don’t think I could listen to his bragging either. I am sure he has some redeeming qualities, but I am not a fan based on what you wrote.

    Anyway, I think everyone knows I am cheap. I get some comments like ‘well you wouldn’t know what ‘living for today’ means’, but those come from people that are struggling, so I don’t care at all. I don’t really know any wealthy people though that would mock my decisions.

  51. Jon DeGroff

    When I first started in my business (100% commission), one of the guys who was in my office called me cheap all the time. He would spring for the $40 meal if we were out, where I would swing by Subway and get a $5 sub. I wouldn’t get the golf package if we were at a seminar, and he would laugh at me. Now, over three years later, he borrows money off of me on a regular basis. Makes me feel good inside.

    1. If he was buying you lunch earlier, hope you are returning the favor and buying back lunch now!

      1. Jon DeGroff

        Yeah, I could have worded that better, but I meant that while he was buying HIMSELF $40 steaks, I was at Subway…and then he would laugh at me for being cheap.
        Now, his finances aren’t as good as they were back then…(in his defense, the business is tough…but that’s why I was frugal early).

  52. Some of my friends call me cheap, but they grew up really wealthy and never had to work a day in their lives.

    Sometimes my boyfriend even calls me cheap!

    I don’t really mind being called cheap, but I wouldn’t call myself cheap, I would say I’m more frugal (because I’m more about the “moment” too).

    I don’t drink coffee (but the rest of the world does) so I’m glad I don’t have spend $ on a latte and day and instead use that $2000 for traveling or to save up.

    I guess everyone has their priorities, right?

    1. I think you need to kick your bf in the ass if you detect a hint of seriousness! He better be lavishing you with flowers and the nicest meals if he calls you cheap! Hopefully he’s saying it in a loving way.

      I just can’t stand being called cheap, so I would never say that to my lady. I would praise her for her frugalness.

      1. youngandthrifty

        lol, I call him cheap too sometimes. We both kid, because we are both frugal at heart.

        Like when he got my “roses” for valentines day this year (I was hinting I wanted some flowers this year), he really thought that they were such a good deal because it was only $2.99 for bunch. Except that they were tulips.

        FML. lol. =)

        1. LOL! $2.99 is a good deal! Tulips are nice! Better than spending $29.99 for a half dozen… right? Well, maybe not.

          I wish tulips smelled fragrant. That’s half the appeal of flowers imo… which is why I love plumeris, roses, pink jasmine, and tiger lilies.

  53. Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    I’ve been called cheap before – actually most of the time! Sometimes I think the people who say it are envious of what little self-discipline that I possess. When they see how I searched for the best price, or found a way to do without something, they will bring up how much they wasted (I mean paid) for that item/service. So, it’s like they want it both ways.

    I think the way you distinguish between cheap and frugal, is to determine how much you value something. If I find something that I value very much at a great price, then I will go after it if my budget allows for it. However, I don’t place a high value on most things that other people do – I will spend to get healthy food, important electronics (like my recent laptop purchase), a chance to spend time with loved ones (driving far for instance), but not on something that I deem to be frivolous (like cable tv).

    1. That could be true Khaleef on someone not being disciplined themselves cutting you down to justify their own bad habits.

      That’s the thing, we each have different values on things, so we shouldn’t mock others for being cheap, ever!

  54. In my mind, I have a good number of ‘frugal’ friends and a few ‘cheap’ friends — they are surprisingly easy to distinguish! My frugal friends tend to pack their own lunches, seek discounts on everything from groceries to airfare, and are willing to stick to their budget and frugality even if it means not going to dinner, coffee, etc. But they are also willing to spend money where they should.

    My ‘cheap’ friends, on the other hand, go substantially out of their way to save even a tiny amount of money. For example, one friend chose to take a flight with 4 connections (16 hours flying time) rather than spend $15 extra for a flight with 1 connection (8 hours flying time). That’s cheap.

    While I would never laugh at someone for avoiding Starbucks (I hate coffee anyway) or refusing to go to a restaurant, I will laugh at the dummy who wastes 8 hours to save $15…

      1. Danny @ Frugal Quack

        Well (IMHO) that’s just plain dumb, not cheap or wasteful. 8 hours wasted when something way more useful and or enjoyable could have been done. And for $15.


  55. I’m called cheap all the time, I could care less!

    I take 6 weeks vacation every year and my hotel rooms are $10-$20 a night. Do I have heat and/or AC – Often not. However, I would rather trade off not having some luxery and be able vacation for 6 weeks instead of 2 weeks.

    Don’t worry about what others think about what you need to be able to enjoy and you will be much better off in life! For example the golf ball – are you enjoying the game with $8 balls instead of $20 – then who cares what the other person thinks.

    Cheap is when you are doing something and NOT ENJOYING, Frugal is when you are saving money BUT STILL ENJOYING. For example, you have AC in your house and are hot but will not turn it on – that is being cheap. Being frugal is turning the AC off when you go out and turning it back on when you come home.

    1. Wow, where do you get $10-20/night hotel rooms? I’m enjoy the game with $8 golf balls for sure. Especially when I duck hook one into the woods, it doesn’t feel as bad!

      “Frugal is when you are saving money but still enjoying”…. awesome!

      1. These trips are to: Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Nepal, Cambodia,
        Burma and India. Yes I have to pay about $1,500 for the flight but the rest of
        the 6 weeks costs only about $1,500 more. Food runs about $1-$2 a meal.
        We do splurge and go to the top hotels for lunch and dinner sometimes, thus,
        I have been to the Taj in Mumbia and the Oriental in Bangkok for – I just have not
        slept there.

  56. What’s odd with me is that when I was broke/poor I acted as if I had money. I would purposely drive around nice neighborhoods and go to upscale places just to admire the surroundings.

    I would have probably grabbed a tea or water instead just to adjust. When you are around people like that you start to think and act like them. Sometimes that is a good thing.

    I agree with Money Beagle it’s more about the “moment”

  57. I simply tell others in advance that I’m cheap so they know I’m not interested in a $30 lunch when I can feed myself for a week on that same amount. It takes away the sting of the word when I use it myself.

    I say it with pride and good humor. I say it without apology. I know they’ll have their own feelings about it, but if it’s important to them that I spend money, we probably won’t be good friends anyway. They need people around them who enforce their spending habits, and I’m the wrong person to choose as an enabler for wasteful spending.

  58. Mike - Saving Money Today

    A couple of co-workers who go out to lunch every single day think those of us who bring our own are cheap. (I usually buy lunch once a week and bring it the rest of the time).

    But it is easy for them because they have no bills other than their car and their cell phone. Some of them still live at home with mom and dad. No mortgage, no family to feed. Very easy for them to waste their money eating out day after day.

    1. I think you’ve got to out the ones who still live at home with mom and dad! What’s up with that? Isn’t there a law that you can’t live with yo mama after the age of 22 or something?

      1. Did you move out of the house when you were 22? And if so, was it in another city far away? Just wondering, because I plan on doing the that and don’t know anyone of my friends who is considering moving out when they graduate. I’m anticipating finding a network in a new city.

  59. Money Beagle

    For the most part I agree with you about how beverages are overpriced, but every once in a while we’ll allow ourselves to indulge. It’s more about the ‘moment’ and how the beverage fits in. If we’re having a nice dinner and a glass of wine hits the spot, we’ll gladly pay. If we’re walking outside on a hot day and there’s an opportunity for an iced coffee, we may decide that sounds too good to pass up. But, most of the time I’m with you that we get water most everywhere we go simply because the beverages are so expensive.

    1. I agree with your in the “moment” thesis. But, this wasn’t the moment. I just ran into Greg, and had a brief conversation before I had to meet up with my colleague to an important meeting. No time for pleasantries over coffee, it was the start of the day.

      Nothing better than a nice glass of Cab with a 28 day dry aged rib eye for sure!

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