In the Philippines, being kuripot connotes negative attitude towards spending money. But is being kuripot really bad? It depends on who you ask.
You may be labelled as kuripot when you refuse to spend on frivolous expenses such as going on night outs, fancy restaurants, shopping, and the like. It can also mean not giving in to the prodding of friends or family to treat them for dinner or movie. With this, the term then is usually associated with being madamot.
In basic financial planning, people say one should spend less and save more. Also, one can secure a comfortable life in the future by sacrificing current pleasures. Then, there seems to be nothing wrong about being kuripot and it can be passed on as being financially responsible. With this, people are now trying to ascribe a new, more positive meaning to being kuripot, especially in light of fulfilling one’s financial goals.
But the question remains, is being kuripot a good thing?
Lost in translation
Kuripot can be translated as miser, which is a person reluctant to spend, sometimes to the point of foregoing even basic comforts and necessities to hoard money. But kuripot is also loosely translated as stingy or ungenerous.
Here lies the confusion. By identifying the reason why you choose not to spend, you can say being kuripot is a good thing. But when you see being kuripot as being reluctant to spend to the point of sacrificing even your necessities, then you will see being kuripot as it really is -- a disorder.
Being kuripot is misguided spending
Being kuripot is a form of misguided spending. Kuripot people still spend, but they look at the price instead of the quality and tend to overlook the value of the things they spend on.
Imagine having to buy a new bed mattress because yours is already worn out. If you are kuripot, you may only have three options: 1) not buy at all and just make do with your old one even if it costs you back pains and restless nights; 2) buy in a thrift shop a probably unhygienic item that won’t last long; and, 3) buy a brand new, cheap, sub-standard item that will eventually crumble after a couple of years.
In this scenario, whatever you choose would have you end up sacrificing something to the point of impracticality. Kuripot people become fixated with the cost instead of the value of an item or service -- in this case, a bed mattress.
Matipid (frugal) vs. kuripot (miser)
There is a difference between being kuripot and being matipid, and it is in knowing how to distinguish luxury from necessity. Oftentimes, people do not know how to draw the line between the two and this is usually due to not having clear financial goals.
Being kuripot is fueled by the inordinate desire to hoard money, making you miss its purpose and becoming too absorbed in the process of obtaining more.
If your financial habits cause you or the people around you unnecessary sacrifices, then you might view money as an end, rather than the means. You may have more than enough money, but if you don’t know when and how to spend it, then your money does not benefit you.
Save up the right way with the right reason. To avoid falling into the common mistake of being kuripot, it is best to seek help from someone who has expertise in financial planning and management.