When I think of the word frugal I envision extreme couponers who are “saving money” by buying things they don’t need and then not saving their “savings.” Which if you think about it is pointless. Sure, they might get a boatload of free shampoo and toothpaste but what are they doing with the money they saved?
I just don’t like the word frugal. And while I’m not sure that the term cheapskate is all that appealing either I think it fits me better.
Yes, I save money by being cheap.
Here’s how you can be a cheapskate too.
Stop Parting with Your Money
I hate to spend money. I hate it.
I’m not going to lie, every once in a while I get the urge to spend money. But even then the amount I spend is pretty darn low.
Step number one: stop buying mindless items. Before you make a purchase evaluate. Do you really need this item? How many hours would you have to work to pay for it? Will it end up in the trash. Could you find it cheaper somewhere else?
If the answer is yes keep your money.
Put Your Savings in Savings
Put your savings in savings. Did you just save money by not buying something? Well, you didn’t really save money if you’re not putting those savings to good use.
If you have debt use that tidbit of money to go toward your principal. If you don’t have debt then put that money in savings.
Save your money, darn it!
Challenge Yourself to Break Bad Habits
By biggest money downfall was eating out. I have two young and highly active kids, plus I work, so at the end of the day when exhaustion started to hit I would run through a drive thru.
The dollar menu was my friend.
This is not only a money waster but it’s also highly unhealthy. So I went cold turkey.
I challenged myself to stop eating out for thirty days. The first week was a little rough as I got into the groove of dinner preparations but by the second week I was on top of the world.
Now takeout doesn’t even sound appealing. We have quit eating out and my wallet has thanked us.
Challenge yourself. Whatever your money problem is go cold turkey. At the end of your challenge you’ll have broken your bad habit.
Know When to Fix it Yourself
If you currently call someone to fix every little problem you have, you need to stop.
You should be able to make basic repairs yourself. I was oblivious to this until having to live on my own. Since then I’ve laid tile by myself, painted my whole house, switched out light fixtures, unclogged drains and toilets, and performed basic car maintenance on an overheating car.
There’s a lot of power in being able to fix basic inconveniences yourself.
However, it’s also important to know when to call in an expert. If you’re truly uncomfortable doing something then it’s best to get professional help. This will save you money in the long run.
When Being a Cheapskate Goes Bad
There’s some awesome benefits of living cheaply and not worrying about living up to others’ expectations. However, there are certain things you should watch out for.
Buying the Cheapest Items – Let’s say your laptop breaks after a year’s use. You run out to Walmart and buy the cheapest model available. A year goes by and it breaks again. Should you go buy the cheapest model again or should you fork out more money to buy a laptop that will last you at least four years?
The latter option is the best. (And just in case you’re wondering this example comes from real life experience. Ooops.)
Look for quality in items that you use every day. The cheapest option may cause you to spend much more money.
Watching Extreme Cheapskates – Have you watched extreme cheapskates? If so, I’d caution you to never attempt to do anything on that show. You don’t need to be extreme to save money.
You don’t need to go without toilet paper or dumpster dive for you food. Not necessary.
Alienating Friends and Family – You can be economically responsible without being obsessed. It’s okay to go out with your friends and family every once in a while. Don’t beat yourself up, don’t preach your lifestyle to someone else, and don’t judge your friends and family.
Life is about people. Don’t let cheapness take that away.
Keep it Balanced
Noticed the title of this article does not say extreme cheapskates. Keep a good balance.
You can save money and still have a happy, fun filled life. Actually, when you get your money in order you might find that your life is much better.
Are you a cheapskate?