Recently updated on: September 20, 2023
For many Filipinos, we don't ever want to be called kuripot because of its negative impression. However, this fear of being labeled as one often causes many to spend more than they can or should.
They spend much more than they earn because they want to have or maintain a facade of abundance, even if it secretly puts them into financial difficulties, such as debt.
Some would even take out loans to spend lavishly on birthdays, holidays, fiestas, weddings, and other special occasions, even unnecessarily or in excess. They do it thinking it is only once a year or once (like a wedding).
But this mindset is dangerous because it is only a band-aid solution. It is still important to spend within your means.
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What is a kuripot?
A kuripot is a Filipino word that means stingy in English. It is a usual derogatory word labeled to people who don't spend too much, whether for themselves or others.
It can also indicate that someone is not generous and will not bat an eye to help someone in need. However, sometimes it is okay to be called a kuripot.
What's wrong with being a kuripot?
While still in the corporate world, I was privileged to have worked with some Ilocanos who are often stereotyped as kuripot.
However, I can attest that they are not. Instead, I think the proper adjective to describe them is masinop or frugal.
They often prioritize their family's needs or other financial goals instead of overspending on expensive coffees, ice-filled milk teas, or going out every weekend.
From what I observed, I realized that I would choose to be labeled as a "kuripot" any time of the day when in reality, I am being "masinop."
Another good thing about being known as a kuripot is that you'll not be approached to lend to your family or friends, that as many have experienced, may lead to broken relationships if not paid.
Why Being Frugal Is Great
Being frugal is knowing where and when to spend your money and having a budget, especially when you're still young. Frugal people think twice before spending their hard-earned money on something that does not add value to their or other people's lives.
It is also essential to understand that we should never work for money to show we are "successful."
Instead, I believe that money should be spent on things and experiences that significantly impact your life and others. Frugality also gives way to a more intentional living that material possessions cannot measure.
Masinop (Frugal) vs. Madamot (Stingy)
Many people often confuse frugality with stinginess. A frugal person knows where and when to spend their money. They will give generously on expenses that truly matter, especially regarding life and death.
On the other hand, a stingy person may not even bat an eye if they see someone in need unless they can get something from it.
Once we know the difference between the two, it is just a change of perspective from an individualistic viewpoint to a more generous one.
Frugality Leads to Intentionality
Since I started living with more intentionality by reducing my stuff, I realized there are so many more important things we can spend on, even if I may appear to be a kuripot.
Frugality also does not mean being cheap. Living with intentionality means that the things we buy add value to our lives. Even if something costs more, it is an easy buying decision as long as it is durable.
There is nothing to worry about when someone calls us a "kuripot" because how other people perceive us is none of our business. It is even more important not to listen to peer pressure regarding financial aspects that can affect our future.
Personally, I would always choose to be called a kuripot and live below my means than to be perceived as a "galante" while making questionable expenses while compromising my future.
How we spend our money is a direct translation of how we spend our time and, in effect, how we spend our life. So don't be too obsessed with impressing others while secretly knee-deep in debt.
Try frugality. It is incredible and can be life-changing.