Living Stingy: 12 Ways to Budget & Save More Money
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The following is a guest contribution from Dr. Breathe Easy Finance
You’d be surprised at how much money you spend on useless stuff. In fact, 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.
I used to be embarrassed when people call 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.
What does it mean to live stingily and how do we catch our subconscious spending habits? Here are 12 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!
12 Stingy Living Tips & Tricks
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. Until then, bring on the stingy living!
1. Zero Dollar Budgeting
If you’re not keeping a budget already, then get on one…yesterday. Budgeting is the single most important 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 spending your money on useless stuff!
We write a lot about budgeting and getting out of debt because we know those are the foundation to a good financial pyramid after you insure yourself adequately.
An awesome 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.
2. 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 make a 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 reviewed all your current subscriptions, make a commitment to avoid further subscriptions until you are in a financial position to afford it.
3. 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 each and every room, closet, bin, and corner, you may be surprised at the extra unwanted and unneeded items laying 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 listing and selling the items.
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!
5. Give Yourself A Daily Spend Budget
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 in order to get access to free cashback deals. Sites like Ebates, RetailMeNot, and iBotta are free websites that gives 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 websites 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!
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 exciting tax refund check and go 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 actually 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 extra 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 extra $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.
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! Simply 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 just 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.
No More Excuses
If your drive is strong enough, you will save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month by implementing these 12 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.
About Dr. Breathe Easy Finance
Dr. Breathe Easy Finance is a pulmonary and critical care physician by day and a personal finance blogger by night. We paid off our hefty student loan of over 200,000 dollars in less than 6 months after training. Our goal is to improve financial literacy among physicians and everyone willing to accept the challenge. I figured, if I help you breathe easy and better in my day job, why not apply the same principle to personal finance. Financial independence is our goal for everyone. Mrs. Breathe Easy Finance also gives insight into budgeting through the lens of a frugal physician wife. Our mantra – spend less, save more, earn more and invest. Our main categories include budgeting tips, investing tips and general personal finance mix bag. We also have a get out of debt series where we inspire others to get out of debt.