5 Difference Between Being Frugal and Miser

When we talk about the difference between being frugal and miser. Frugality is a way of living where you differentiate between what you actually need and what you just want. On the other hand being miser is a way of living where you start compromising with what you actually need even if you can afford it.

There is a very thin line when it comes to the behavior which differentiates a frugal person from a Miser person. Most of the people may tag a person as miser or some time as ” can’t afford it” when a person looks at the price tag of every cloth they see in a shop. The reality is that not every person checks the price to check whether they can afford it or not, most of the frugal people will check whether they need to spend this much or not.

Difference Between Being Frugal and Miser


We discuss few points below by which you can always find the difference between being frugal and miser –


# Buying things which they need Vs Compromising on the need:

The need can vary from person to person depending on their profession and requirement. One person may need to have two smartphones as per his/her professional demand whereas some other person may need only one basic phone to meet his demands.  Both of these people can be termed as frugal. On the other hand, if the first person somehow tries to manage his work with basic phones while hampering his productivity though he can afford smartphones, we can call him a  miser.


#Understanding Value for Money Vs compromising on Quality:

There is a very popular proverb ” Penny wise Pound Foolish ” which perfectly fits a miser. A miser tries to save few bucks by purchasing a bad quality product which will go through wear and tear very fast and would need regular maintenance and servicing.  On the other hand, the frugal person buys a quality product by paying its worth which will serve his need in the long run. On evaluating the purchase of the miser with the frugal person, we can see that the miser eventually spends more than the frugal guy in the long run. This applies to categories of Leather products, Furniture which is high ticket size product.


#Ordering a lavish meal Vs  crying to pay tip:

Yes, we all know that paying a tip is not necessary and we can easily walk out of the restaurant without paying a tip. We also know that it’s not necessary for a waiter to serve us with a smile, his job is to just serve us our orders. Paying a tip is just a way of acknowledging someone’s extra effort and their sincerity towards their work. If one can have dinner worth Rs. 1500 or two, they can definitely afford some 50 bucks for someone’s dedication towards their work. Running away from some genuine gesture is a sure sign of a miser.


#Caring about others:

A frugal person doesn’t count small expenses on taking care of others as an extra expense rather they consider it as their responsibility as a human being. On the other hand, a miser will consider it as an additional expense without any ROI. The same can be used for fulfilling personal needs or maybe for certain investment instead of spending on someone they don’t know. An inherent quality of a frugal person is to know the difference between genuine spending and overspending. Caring for others is an integral part of being frugal and should also be a responsibility of any responsible citizen towards its country and society. A miser will only think about themselves and their closed ones who matter to them. A small usage of their products by someone else can make them feel uncomfortable even if that won’t impact them by any means. 


#Unethically using the opportunities to take advantage:

Every frugal person, no matter what they do, they will always take only what they deserve and will never be unethical towards anyone. On the other hand, a miser will always try to take unethical advantage of opportunities. We all would have definitely heard of people who return an entire plate of food in a restaurant when they find a hair in their plate, though there are more chances of it being their own hair. These people are quite unapologetic about their behavior and they just want to have an extra plate of food without paying.  The worst of these are the ones who even put their own hair intentionally just to have free food. These kind of behavior are a true identification of a miser. There are many other examples where you can identify a miser in the snap of a finger – like bargaining with roadside vegetable seller though they are ready to pay more for the same thing in a branded store. One other example of a miser is while walking out of restaurants, they will fill their hands with mouth freshener and an extra bunch of tissues.  A frugal person on the hand will buy and keep tissue paper at home if they really need to use it at home on regular basis. 


The bottom line is that Frugality is not about worrying to spend money, it’s about finding the right place to spend money and getting maximum value out of it.  A frugal person spends more time or creating value out of their money and are not afraid of helping others if they can afford it. Frugality and Cheapness are often swapped without understanding the difference which is actually huge if looked closely.

There may be many other examples of behavior where we can easily differentiate between a Frugal person and a miser. Share your experience in the comments section and let us know if you find something weird.


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