How to Embrace “Living Stingy” Without Being CHEAP (or Driving Your Family Nuts)

You’d be surprised at how much money you spend on useless stuff.

Most of our regular spending on a day to day basis is no longer a conscious choice, but often a subconscious habit. In other words, our spending patterns often turn into habits, making it easy for us to overspend without second-guessing.

What Does Stingy Mean?

I used to be embarrassed when people called me stingy, and I try to correct them and say – oh I am not stingy, but frugal. But recently, you know what, I am proud to be stingy. So I stopped correcting people. Stingy is the new wealth mode.

Not generous or liberal:sparing or scant in using, giving, or spending –Dictonary 

The dictionary doesn't paint living stingy as very positive, luckily the urban dictionary is a bit more kind.

Having tight pockets; reluctant or unwilling to part with money; cheap; suffering from “Mr. Krabs syndrome;” – Urban Dictionary 

[Editors Note] Somehow the thought of Mr. Krabs makes stingy living seem a bit less “hardcore” 😉 – Michael

What does it mean to live stingily, and how do we catch our subconscious spending habits? Here are 15 tips to living stingy so that you can save more money, and pay off more debt in just a couple months than you have the last few years combined!

15 Ways to Start Living Stingy (Without Being Cheap)

There is a time and a place for individuals to live a stingy lifestyle. Yeah, keeping your costs down and budgeting won’t make you wealthy, but it will start you on the path to wealth. The fact is, most of you reading this are in deep debt and living paycheck to paycheck.

I know that, because more than 40% of households live paycheck to paycheck, and 58% of households don’t live on a budget! We talked about it more in it our post on 15 Dave Ramsey tips you wish you knew sooner.  Dave Ramsey himself said, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” That is one of my favorite sayings.

Living a stingy lifestyle doesn’t mean you’ll be scraping every penny you can save for the rest of your life, it does mean that you need to tighten things up and get back on track to financial well-being. The good news is you can live stingy without being cheap or driving your family nuts with your cost-cutting the key is to save money on necessary expenditures, eliminate spending on items that don't bring you joy, and make the occasional sacrifice.

“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” ― Dave Ramsey

Until then, bring on the stingy living!

1. Set Financial Goals

It's called personal finance for a reason because it's personal!  Everyone has different goals in life and different ways of going about achieving those goals.

The first step in embracing the stingy lifestyle is to create a plan. You should list out your goals such as paying down student loan debt, saving to reach financial freedom, paying off your credit card or simply feeding your savings account.

Knowing why you are saving will help make the sacrifices worth it and help ensure you don't revert back to your pre-stingy ways.

2. Saving Money With Zero Based Budgeting

If you’re not keeping a budget already, then get on one…yesterday.

Budgeting is the single most crucial aspect you can do to start directing your financial future. What is zero-dollar budgeting? It’s a form of budgeting where every dollar has a name and a place.

You budget every penny that comes into your bank account. That way, you know where every dollar you spent went, and allows you to analyze and adjust for future improvement. Furthermore, it keeps you from wasting your money on useless stuff!

We write a lot about budgeting and getting out of debt because we know those are the foundation of a great financial pyramid after you insure yourself adequately.

An excellent resource for you to get started today is this article on how to budget your money to live the life you want. You get to download a free budget template and our budgeting E-Book for a limited time.

3. Limit Your Subscription Plans

We live in a world where subscriptions are almost as automatic as the subscriptions themselves! With accounts on your smartphone, you can mindlessly subscribe to or purchase in the Appstore without even realizing you did so! They just tac it onto your account and charge you without you even realizing it happened.

I’d be willing to bet that if every one of us took 10 minutes to review all our subscriptions, we’d find a chunk of change saved by canceling those subscription plans we never use. Once you’ve considered all your current subscriptions, commit to avoiding further subscriptions until you are in a financial position to afford it.

Free Cell Service

While you are canceling your subscriptions, consider giving up your expensive cell phone plan. There are legitimate ways you can earn free cell phone service. 

4. Save On Your Cable Bill

Even the most basic cable package from your preferred cable provider can cost an arm and a leg. With popular streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, you can get access to all the TV entertainment you need by paying less for streaming services and canceling your cable plan.

Still, want to watch live TV? Companies like SlingTV and DirecTV NOW, you can stream live TV for a fraction of the cost of using cable, and no contract plans are necessary in most cases! You can also get watch movies online for free.

5. Give Yourself a Daily Spend Budget

Setting a spending limit is one of the best hacks for avoiding overspending opportunities.

If you’re like most people, your daily routine probably has a few daily expenses that could be re-evaluated. That morning energy drink costing you an extra $3 per day adds up over time. One of the easiest ways to keep your daily spending habits down is including a daily spend amount in your budget.

If your budget allows for a max spend limit of just a few bucks per day, stick to it and slowly your spending habits will change! If you're extra tight on cash, limit this to a weekly or monthly spending budget.

6. Thrifty Shopping with This Unknown Trick…

Grocery shopping is an easy area to overspend, especially when you shop hungry (which is highly advised against doing). Taking advantage of the local grocery store deals also has its benefits, but often takes a lot of time to search through the local adds.

Thankfully, companies like MyGroceryDeals allow you to view all the current deals at your local grocery stores all in one place! You can set up your shopping list right from the website, and make sure you take advantage of all the deals your grocery store has.

7. Join Cashback Websites for Discounts & Cashback Options

Cashback websites are websites that allow consumers to join for free to get access to free cashback deals. Sites like Ebates, RetailMeNot, and iBotta are free websites that give you access to deals just for setting up a free account.

These websites make money by referring customers to major retail stores and get a small commission for attracting customers to each retail store. The sites essentially take those earned commissions and give them back to the consumers in the form of cashback, while keeping a small portion for themselves. It’s a win-win for everyone!

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8. No More Tax Refunds!

We all have to pay income taxes, but I’m willing to bet that the majority of us withhold a lot more taxes from each paycheck than is necessary. What happens then is we await our new tax refund check and spend it on more useless stuff!

This is a common mistake that if corrected, could mean the difference of hundreds of dollars in your pocket to further your financial health. By withholding only, the amount that is necessary from your paychecks for taxes, you are putting more money in your pocket right now so that you can pay off debt, save more money and be in a position to better your finances over time.

Tip: Create a tax budget early in the year to forecast how much you should have withheld in taxes, and determine what tax credits you might be eligible for. – Michael

9. Extra Work for Extra Cash

We’ve all heard this one before, but how many of us do it?

Putting in an extra hour or two per day may be a small sacrifice that pays you big rewards in the long run. This could mean working extra hours at your current job or getting an additional job on the side to bring in some extra cash.

If you get paid $15 per hour and work an extra two hours per day, that’s $30 per day or an additional $150 per week! Imagine the debt you could pay off and the financial stress that would be eliminated if you sacrificed an extra hour or two of work per day.

When working extra hours at your day job is not an option, consider launching a side hustle. Many side hustles are capable of bringing in an extra 1000 dollars or more a month.

The best part is the internet has made it possible that you can side hustle while watching TV. However, if you prefer the more traditional route there are plenty of side jobs that don't involve the internet.

Tip: Check out our top ways to make money fast and best online tutoring jobs. – Michael 

10. Sell Your Gift Cards for Cash…Yup, There’s A Way!

Occasionally, you may get a gift card to a store you don’t particularly like. Or maybe you have a few gift cards saved up but haven’t spent them yet because it will result in buying more than your gift card’s balance.

Companies like CardCash allow you to sell your gift cards for cash! Enter your gift card retail store name, enter the gift card balance, and see how much you can get for selling the gift card. Once you’ve accepted the offer, they will verify the card and then send you the cash.

11. Buy in Bulk

This goes hand in hand with our daily spending budget. Do you find yourself stopping by the gas station every morning on the way to work to grab a treat, or perhaps you are a Starbucks lover who makes your regular daily visit?

Regardless of your situation, if you make daily purchases, chances are you can buy it in bulk at the grocery store or a big-box retailer like Costco or SamsClub.  Rather than paying that $3 per day for your daily energy drink, you can buy it in bulk and save a lot of money that would unnecessarily have been spent otherwise.

12. Brown Bag It

Similar to buying in bulk is packing your lunch! Not only will you save money packing lunch every day, but you will improve your health. Fast food is fast for a reason, and it’s not because it’s healthy for you. An average price for lunch might be $8 – $12 per day or $45 – $60 per week!

If you want more of these tips, we have a resource article of over 100 ways to save money that you haven’t tried before.

13. Sell Unwanted Household Items

There is a small inner “hoarder” within each of us, whether it be big or small, that wants to hang onto things for a longer time than is necessary exists. Think of this as the modern-day garage sale. By going through all your household items and de-cluttering every room, closet, bin, and corner, you may be surprised at the extra unwanted and unneeded items lying around.

Garage sales are still a popular thing today, but some of you may rather sell your unwanted items through different methods. Using apps like OfferUp, LetGo, and Facebook, you can list your unwanted items for friends and family to see, and the local community to view.

Other options for selling unwanted items also includes looking at your local retail stores to see if they buy used items in good condition. Keep in mind that trading in used items for money to a retail store will most likely result in less money made, but it takes the hassle out of the listing and selling the items.

14. Shop for Car Insurance

Do you know a commonplace most families waste the most money???

The answer may surprise you… it's not subscription boxes, cable or lattes, its… Insurance.

Take a moment to each year and comparison shop all of your insurance products; home, auto, life, and health. Many insurance companies charge higher rates if you a low credit score or if you have a checkered driving history.

If you decided to give up credit as part of your plan to get out of debt, you might not have been paying attention to your credit score. However, even if you are going with a cash-based budget you should check your score for inaccuracies.

Many insurance companies reward safe drivers with better rates.  To cut your insurance costs further as your insurer if they office a driving monitor device. These devices record how fast you exhilarate and how hard you brake, so if you drive like a granny you could save 10 to 15 percent or more.

15. Make Your Cleaning Products

Cleaning products is one of the highest cost items on most families shopping lists. However, you can ditch the big “cleaning supply industrial complex” by making your own cleaning products at home.

Not only are homemade cleaning products less expensive than store-bought, less toxic and you may find they are less abrasive. So not only will you be saving some money and the environment, your clothes and appliances may last longer.

Need more convincing? 

Well, nothing says you have embraced the stingy living lifestyle like growing your own sponges at home

No More Excuses

If your drive is strong enough, you will save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month by implementing these stingy living habits. Keeping the long-term perspective helps with staying persistent with your money. In other words, you won’t have to live stingy forever if you work to improve your finances by paying off more debt and saving more money.

So embrace the stingy lifestyle and never be ashamed anymore. Just look at your bank account grow.

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