How to Save Money without Being a Cheapskate

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The following is a guest post from Ally with Home Loan Finder.

How to Save Money without Being a Cheapskate

These are hard and trying times; people appreciate it when you can save money without being a miser. But, how can one be frugal without being labeled a cheapskate? It’s all about making smart spending choices that allow you to get the most for your money without affecting other people negatively.

There is a significant difference between frugality and borderline cheap. A frugal person is disciplined, showing restraint when spending money. A cheapskate, however, is stingy, and will avoid spending money at all cost. A frugal person is careful and economical, always comparing choices and figuring out which will benefit him best in the long run. A cheapskate will not think twice about going for the lowest expense, even for inferior and knock-off products. A frugal person will make money decisions that will affect only himself; while a cheapskate will try to get by, by leeching of another. Frugality has an almost heroic quality, while being a cheapskate is labeled as selfish. Frugal people know how to save money to be spent for achieving their life’s happiness. Cheapskates, on the other hand, save money simply for the sake of it.

You want to be the person that everyone wants to emulate because of your resourcefulness; not the person who they stay away from because you tend to rely on them for freebies. Here are a few ideas that can help you on your way to saving money without becoming a cheapskate:

Reduce and Reuse Your Waste

Live a greener lifestyle; it will not only help the environment, and it will also save you money. A person who helps nature is never a cheapskate. Here are some tips:

  • Use glass, ceramic, or steel utensils as long as they’re dishwasher-safe. The reason for this is so you don’t get lazy with doing the dishes and be tempted to use disposables. Always think of non-disposables and sustainability when buying things. Instead of disposable plastic cutleries and paper plates, use the real thing.

  • Always keep a canvas bag handy so you can avoid paying for extra plastic bags when you go shopping. It should always be fold-able to fit in our purse or bag.

  • Lessen paper consumption at the home and office. Use both sides of copy paper and stationary. Turn into scratch pads those papers that have only been used on one side. Send emails or chat messages rather than written letters or memos.

  • Avoid printing out materials whenever possible. If you must, use the printer-friendly version and always use the back side of used paper. Optimize your printing by reducing margins to print as many data in one page. Choose font that consumes less ink like Ecofont and Evergreenfont.

  • Switch from paper to cloth napkins; paper towels to sponges (or old but clean small cloth towels). Cloth napkins can be washed repeatedly; the same goes for sponges which can be cleaned in the microwave or dishwasher. Also, remember to switch off lights and other electrical items when not in use.

Seek Efficiency and Sustainability

Always choose quality over quantity. This goes for everything, from food to fashion items. The higher the quality, the more effective and durable it is. Branded items do not necessarily mean better quality.

  • When choosing between similar items, select the one with the least superfluous packaging; it adds to the cost and waste.

  • Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs; they last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs and use 75% less energy.

  • Avoid loading your phone bills with services such as call waiting and call messaging.

Avoid Costly Habits

Here are some examples of bad habits that waste a considerable amount of money when kept that way:

  • Forgetting to pay bills on time

  • Paying for a gym membership and never using it

  • Overstocking groceries like vegetables that only go bad in the fridge. This will diminish your meal savings in no time!

  • Buying stuff at full price without even trying to look around for discounts or sales.

  • Paying for services that you might be able to do yourself.

  • ‘Pigging out’ or engaging in ‘retail therapy’ when you’re bored or emotionally disturbed.

Avoid Temptations

Don’t get catalogs or emailed announcements from companies trying to sell you cool new products or announcements of sales; it only tempts you to buy something you don’t need. Remove yourself from listings and reduce the amount of junk mail you receive at home and the office.

Look For Cost-Free Options

A resourceful person can save a lot of money by learning how to do things rather than buying new things or paying somebody else to do it for them. Look for free or cheaper alternatives with everything.

  • Reduce your subscription to newspapers and magazines you buy by sharing it with someone or read some or all of them online. You can also get them at a library which is better because you’ll lessen your electrical consumption with the free air conditioning or heater. Going to public buildings such as malls and museums for leisure or when you want to relax also benefits you the same.

  • Cut out mobile and cable TV, or downgrade the subscription package you’re getting. There’s a lot of call, messaging options, and free streaming online if you look.

Borrow or barter. Rent, borrow, or share occasionally used items such as party supplies, ladders, lawn tools, and so on, instead of buying them. Give books and clothes and toys you don’t need anymore to your friends and family and ask if anyone has something that you need as well. Barter. Learn how to get the things you want and need for things that you don’t. You can even offer services for them in exchange.

It is essential to balance everything, including money. Take a close look at your principles and be sure that you aren’t sacrificing your them in the pursuit of free or cheap. When your approach about spending and saving money affects other people or you find yourself almost always anxious about money, it’s time sort of your money saving principles.

How about you all? For you, what is the defining line between cheap and frugal? What techniques do you use to make sure that you don’t fall in to the cheap category?

Share your experiences by commenting below!

Jacob’s Thoughts – Listed below are my random thoughts as I was reading this article.

  • This is a good post on an interesting topic. As a personal finance blogger, I tend to walk a thin/fine line between being frugal and cheap. It is sometimes a little hard to understand what makes someone cheap and what makes someone frugal.
  • However, some examples on how I would personally draw the line are shown below:
    •  Cheap = Signing up to go on a ski trip in West Virginia with a group of friends, having something come up that makes you have to cancel after the group leader has already made the lodging accommodations, and not paying them back for your share.
    • Frugal = Respectfully saying that you can’t go because something came up, but still paying the group leader back for your share.
    • Cheap = Going to eat at a fairly nice restaurant, spending more money than you are comfortable with, and then tipping only 5%.
    • Frugal = Eating at the nice restaurant, spending more money than you are comfortable with, tipping 20%, but then not eating out at all for the next two weeks to make up for the error.
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About the Author Jacob A Irwin

Hi folks! My name is Jacob. I am the owner and operator of My Personal Finance Journey. I started this blog in January of 2010 and have enjoyed the journey ever since. Since finishing up graduate school in Virginia in 2014, I have been working in biopharmaceutical development in Colorado. You can read more about me and this site here​. Please contact me if you have any questions!

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Leave a Comment:

@bfinance says March 27, 2011

Jacob, I do every one of those except the telephone and tv ones. My land line is bundled with tv and internet. And the biggest part is the tv cable/premium subscription-and it's worth it!

Mike says June 29, 2011

Great tips, I think you can be as cheap as you want to be as long as it doesn’t affect anyone around you.

    MyPerFinJourney says July 4, 2011

    I agree Mike. Most of the time, it's best to have a degree of cheapness that only affects you. However, if being cheap does affect people around you that have significantly different spending habits than you, that probably is acceptable too.
    My recent post Tour de Personal Finance, Stage 3, Posts 27-30

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