Are you cheap or just frugal? Here's how to tell

  • Nine out of 10 people view frugality as an admirable trait in a romantic partner.
  • 53 percent would think twice before getting involved with someone who carries a lot of debt.
  • Nevertheless, some methods used to minimize spending are viewed as cheap.

For everyone out there who pinches pennies, keep it up.

Besides frugality being a good way to make saving for emergencies and retirement easier, 90 percent of people view it as an appealing trait in a romantic partner, according to a new survey by SlickDeals.net, a crowdsourced shopping platform.

The survey canvassed 2,000 people about their views on frugality, including the role it plays in relationships.

Couple in coffee shop
Glow Images | Getty Images

About 53 percent of respondents are hesitant to get into a relationship with someone who is debt-burdened. And 60 percent have had a previous partner who was reckless with money, which made them seek out a more financially responsible partner.

For many Americans, frugality is a necessity.

Credit card debt has topped $1 trillion and student loan debt now stands at $1.5 trillion, both record levels. On top of that, inflation has generally outpaced wage growth. These dynamics make finding ways to minimize spending and reduce expenses the key to financial health for many households.

Nevertheless, it might be possible to take frugality too far and instead be viewed as cheap, based on the survey. Here's how respondents weighed in on various habits by people who aim to save money.

Is it frugal?

Habit
% who say it's frugal
Seeking out deals or coupons for all purchases 72%
Regularly tracking electricity use 70%
Buy clothes at department stores like Kmart, Walmart etc 67%
Buying off-brand food products 65%
Shopping at second-hand clothing stores 63%
Regularly tracking the home thermostat 62%
Watching movies at home instead of in the theatre 61%
Only having alcohol at home 51%
Buying no-name electronics 51%
Source: Slickdeals survey

Is it cheap?

Habit
% who say it's cheap
Not leaving a tip at all (regardless of service) 75%
Reusing tea bags or coffee filters 60%
Calculating your part of a group bill to the cent 52%
Lengthening longevity of soap by diluting soap bottles with water 49%
Re-gifting 44%
Always tipping 15%, even if the service is outstanding 41%
Eating food a few days past its expiration date 35%
Declining to be a part of rounds at the bar 35%
Source: Slickdeals survey