Cheap or Frugal?


Some people with lots of money have lots of money because they will not spend it.  They may have a simple problem that they can afford to fix, but refuse to fix the problem because the solution involves spending money.  They live with the problem.

A friend has lots of money—tons of money.  She can afford to buy a new lock for her front door.  But she prefers to jiggle the key to the left and right each time she locks and unlocks the door.

I housesat for her ten years ago.  She showed me how I had to fart around with the key in the lock to lock and unlock the door.  It did not matter whether it was the original key or a copy; you had to play jiggledeedoo with it each time you tried to lock or unlock the door.  Sometimes the key unlocked the door quickly and other times it took longer.  You can imagine the stress when you were coming home and had to go to the bathroom.

“Why don’t you buy a new lock?” I asked.

“I’m not paying for a new lock!” she said.

She was content not to invest in a new lock and play jiggledeedoo.  She would have to play jiggledeedoo when she left to lock the door, and then jiggledeedoo when she returned home to unlock the door.

She had a nozzle on her garden hose that needed to be replaced.  You had to hold the nozzle a certain way to avoid being squirted by the water shooting out of it.  It wasn’t a washer problem.  The nozzle was broken.

“Why don’t you buy a new nozzle?” I asked.

“I’m not spending money on a new nozzle when I have one that works!” she said.  “You just have to hold it a certain way not to get squirted.”

I have worked in places where the old equipment, you needed to do your job, was held together with duct tape, paperclips, and pumptice.  Often you had to delay doing your job to repair the equipment so you could continue doing your job.  The time you took to repair the equipment, which constantly broke down, took away from your productivity.  Would the boss/owner spend money on new equipment?

“I’m not buying a new thingamajig when the old one still works!”

The money saved in not buying new equipment was lost in lowered productivity.

Ten years ago I housesat for my friend.  The other day, I learned she still has not replaced the lock or nozzle.

How easy to understand why she and people like her have lots of money—they never spend it!  Are they cheap, or frugal?



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About the Author

I am Minnie and Chic's son.