I want to start by telling a story
During the summer, a group of guys from one of the ministries that I pastored at and where we all became friends through the years, do a yearly day trip to a very large local car show and swap meet (we are all motorheads!). I was not looking for anything specific during this outing, but always looking for a good deal on car parts. As we walked down an isle, a set of tires caught my attention. Not just any set of tires, but a set of tires for a John Deere Garden Tractor. The other year my wife and I bought a 20+ year old John Deer Garden Tractor with a bucket to do yard work around the house (we have some property out in the countryside). The tires that came with the tractor were very old and continually slipped up and down the slight inclines at our house. I told my wife that in the next month to a year, I need to replace those tires with some better ones, and sadly the cost of just the tires would be around $300-$400 for a pair of rear tires, not including a set of rims if needed/wanted. If rims were included in the purchase price, I would have to spend more than $500!
Well, after checking the tires out at the swap-meet, and doing a quick internet search about my tractor, I found out that the tires were the exact right size that I needed. They came with rims that would fit my tractor, and they were brand new! NEVER USED! I walked up to the vendor and asked him how much he wanted for them. He said, “150, I want them gone today.”
I proceeded with a counter offer, “$100 and I will take them.”
The man said, “No, 150 firm. I know what I have and I know it is a bargain for $150.”
I hemmed and hawed for a while. I engaged in conversation with him hoping that he would budge in price. I again offered the $100, and he said no. My friend, Chris, was next to me listening to the whole discourse and knew what I researched price wise for the tires. He knew it was a bargain at $150!
I held to my price and decided to walk away. Inwardly, I was saying this to myself, ”if I walk away, he would know that he missed an opportunity to get rid of them and he would call me back and either agree to the $100 or knock it down a little.”
Was I being too cheap? I was provided a situation to save big bucks on brand new tires, but refused to budge on my offer. I would say that the answer is, YES. I was being ridiculously cheap.
I walked away from the tires only to be lovingly talked to by my friend Chris. He pointed out again to me the very good price for the tires compared to buying new from a store or online. He asked me again if I needed them, or just wanted them. I told Chris that I needed the tires due to the safety hazards and wear and tear I faced with my old tires. The tires were a replacement need and not a want! My friend Chris then, lovingly convinced me to go back and make the purchase, knowing that I would still be saving a boat-load of money.
I was being cheap! I knew that this was going to be a purchase that I needed to make in the very near future. I knew and I was planning on spending up to $500 for the tires in the very near future! The Lord put right before me an opportunity to save $350 in that purchase. This was a 70% savings right in front of me that I was being cheap about and was willing to walk away from! I am glad I had a voice or reason speaking into me that day. Chris, I know you listen to this podcast, and I want to thank you again!
The moral of my story: Being cheap can cost you more in the long run.
Why Do I Tell You This Story?
In this episode, we want to answer the question, “when is it bad, or costly to be a cheapskate?” Have you ever thought of that? Would you consider yourself a cheapskate? Maybe you are just a frugal person, right?
In order to get a proper understanding, It would be best to define the difference between the two terms:
- Cheap people believe that everything is too expensive. They hate spending in general, so they’ll always complain about prices. A stingy person won’t like spending $10 on a burger, or even $5.
- Frugal people understand that things cost money and will be savvy about their spending or look for alternatives.
Another simple definition of the two terms is this:
- A cheap person doesn’t see the value, just the dollar sign.
- A frugal person likes to get the most value for their dollar.
What about a “Steward?” – A Steward process the 5 Biblical Sequential Priorities when making financial decisions. This transcends the categories of ‘frugal’ and ‘cheap.’ A Biblical Steward must be found faithful. He takes into consideration the cost, value, and priorities.
You may be a cheapskate if…
- You are too cheap to do basic VEHICLE maintenance.
- Nobody likes to spend money on maintaining cars. But it is necessary if you want to keep your car running. Spending $50 to change your oil a few times a year will save you from spending a couple thousand dollars on a destroyed engine! Similar tragedies can be avoided by changing your fluids, filters, spark plugs, or checking your tire pressure, alignment, and brakes. Don’t be too cheap to take care of your car!
- You are too cheap to do basic HOME maintenance.
- Your home is the place where you spend most of your time. Your family relies on your house to keep them warm, safe, and fed. Home maintenance can be costly, but it prevents bigger issues from happening. For example, replacing the shingles on your roof will prevent your roof from developing large leaks and holes, which would cost you even more money to fix. Cleaning your dryer duct can keep your dryer running efficiently, even preventing house fires. Spending money on a pack of batteries to keep your smoke detectors functioning will keep your family alert if a fire were to start. Basic house maintenance is important not only for the value of your house, but also for the safety of your family!
- You have more money than you could ever use, and you are afraid to spend a few bucks on a home improvement (or buying a car that is reliable).
- This happens to those that have a tendency to “hoard” their money. I knew someone that was quite well-off. They had plenty of investments and expendable cash, yet they continued to drive around in a vehicle that was 15-20 years old, and it broke down often. They just took it to the shop to get repairs after repairs! In the long run, it would have been much cheaper if they would have upgraded to a good, newer 2-3 year old car (or even a new one) and they would have had much better reliability and even savings over the long run. This teeters between being frugal and down-right cheap!
- Inconvenience your family because you are afraid to spend a buck.
- Sometimes going cheap does not only impact you, but those around you also. What does this look like? Frequent vehicle maintenance/repairs/breakdowns that impact family. Conjoin vacations with work by dragging work plans, trips, conversations and meetings into family vacations.
- You have wealth but you are afraid to be charitable with it.
- Many have a fear that one day they will run out of money…so they hoard it instead! They fear that if they are charitable, their money will not be used as they think it should be used. But remember, God will provide. He takes care of the birds of the air, are you not more valuable than them?
- You put your health at risk
- Many of us can relate… “I need to go to the doctor, but I don’t have time or want to pay those hefty medical bills!” But going to get those medical issues checked could save you A LOT of money in the long run. A simple checkup now could reduce your risk of getting sick, help identify stress-related illnesses, and make you more aware of your own health. A quick checkup now could save you much in the long run.
Bigger Mistakes To Avoid!
- Investing without an advisor…because it is cheaper
- Yes, you may save a few bucks, but do you really know what you are doing? That’s what professional financial advice is all about. Industry studies estimate that financial advice can add between 1.5% and 4% to account growth over extended periods. The lifetime value of a financial advisor overseeing your portfolio can add at an average of 3%.
- See TheLifeGroup.org
- Writing your own will – “Do It Yourself” estate planning
- Do you know all the laws and legal jargon? Things change legally quite often. You will need to periodically check up on what you have. Here are some dangers of “DIY” estate planning: Simple mistakes could render the document invalid. “DIY” wills typically only work in simple scenarios. Sorting out an invalid will could take years and cost money. Fighting a legal battle after your death will put your loved ones through unnecessary trauma. If your will is not properly written, your wishes may never be fully realized.
- See TheLifeGroup.org
- Doing your own taxes
- Taxes can be complicated. If you attempt to do your own taxes, there is a much larger risk of error, which could cost you in the long run. If you have any major life changes, you may not know how to reflect those on your taxes. But hiring a tax expert to file your taxes, you can have peace of mind knowing that a tax professional is your advocate. It will also save you a lot of time and money!
- See BeaconTax.org
What Does The Bible Say About Being Cheap?
- 2 Corinthians 9:7 – “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
- 1 Corinthians 4:2 – “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.”
- Hebrews 13:16 – “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
- Proverbs 28:22-24 – “The stingy person hastens after riches and does not know that poverty will overtake him.”
- Proverbs 23:6-8 – “Do not eat the food of a stingy person, do not crave his delicacies; for he is like someone calculating the cost in his mind. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you…”
- Proverbs 11:24-27 – “One person is generous and yet grows more wealthy, but another withholds more than he should and comes to poverty. A generous person will be enriched, and the one who provides water for others will himself be satisfied.”
- Luke 12:16-24 – “Then he gave an illustration: “A rich man had a fertile farm that produced fine crops. In fact, his barns were full to overflowing—he couldn’t get everything in. He thought about his problem, and finally exclaimed, ‘I know—I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones! Then I’ll have room enough. And I’ll sit back and say to myself, “Friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Wine, women, and song for you!”’ “But God said to him, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. Then who will get it all?’ “Yes, every man is a fool who gets rich on earth but not in heaven.”
- Luke 12:15 – “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
- Proverbs 11:16 – “A gracious woman attains honor, And ruthless men attain riches.”
- Are you wise, frugal or cheap with your money and assets?
- Are you trusting God for His provision? Both your daily bread, and for your later years in retirement?
- Are you using Biblical principles as you process and make purchases? (See more here)
- Are you using thoughtful common sense in your purchase decisions?
- Take advantage of our free personal stewardship reviews so you can take your next steps to being a better steward.
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The topics discussed in this podcast are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations. Investing and investment strategies involve risk including the potential loss of principal. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
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