Being a Cheapskate

  1. Cheapskates are masters at communicating about money. They teach themselves words and phrases that help them. Some are, "Are you having any sales soon?," "Is this the absolute rock-bottom price?," "Is there anything else you haven't told me about this product?," and "How long does the warranty on this TV run?"
  2. Cheapskates know that they have to have written plans to have a chance of achieving financial freedom. Be crystal clear about where you want to go financially and get your plan on paper; otherwise, the best you'll do is to just "get by."
  3. Your objective is to increase the amount of your funds, not resign yourself to living with the tedium of daily budgets. Creating more money to invest for the long term is what cheapskates do best. They leave daily budgeting to the accountants of the world.
  4. Store-brand and generic products on the grocery store shelves are often just repackaged name-brand products. If they are not the exact same product, they are likely to have been manufactured at the same factory as the name brand and have similar product traits.
  5. The smart cheapskate often buys clothes that can be used year-round. For example, by rolling up the sleeves on long-sleeved shirts, you can wear them in summer as well as winter. Jeans can be worn throughout the year, and a coat with a zip-out lining can be used for both fall and winter.
  6. You don't always need to pay full price for an item that has an imperfection. If you see a garment with an open seam or missing button, for example, don't hesitate to ask for a discount or similar item that is unflawed. If you shop frequently at local stores, get to know the managers and ask them to contact you when they are having a sale, or get on their mailing lists. In small stores, it's not uncommon for owners to give regular customers discounts.
  7. Cheapskates never shop at the last minute. They realize that this is the time when impulse buying is at its peak. Cheapskates play by the rule: The more expensive the product, the longer the planning period for the purchase. For instance, if it's a car, they might start planning six month in advance so they'll buy what they really want at the right time of year to get the best bargain.
  8. To save money and also help save the environment, consider recycling as a way of life. Buy recycled products when possible and be conscious of recycling your plastics and paper products.
  9. Cheapskates never buy a complete set of furniture—the same sofa, chair, love seat, and table—or dining room set. First, the sterile "one look" period is out, and second, you can save a lot more if you mix and match furniture. Why? If gives you flexibility to find the absolutely best deal available for each individual piece of furniture.
  10. When you're shopping for expensive appliances and electronics, consider buying last year's models or floor models that may have some dings and scratches. If you can live with products that are not in mint condition, you can save hundreds of dollars on a single item.
  11. If you tend to send lots of cards to people, buy boxed assortments to save money. You can get them at about half of what it costs to buy cards individually. Get an assortment to cover all the bases, and buy an assortment of wrapping paper and ribbons to have on hand for any occasion.
  12. Give kids your best cheapskate advice about how to spend what they've earned, but if they overspend, don't bail them out. Along with their troubles, they'll get another valuable lesson in financial management.
  13. If you can't stop smoking, you'll never be a good cheapskate. The reason: Not only is your money going up in smoke, you're also setting yourself up for tremendous health bills down the road. Do whatever it takes to stop.
  14. Deposit your paycheck by direct deposit if your employer allows it. Not only do you save the time and convenience of going to the ATM machine every week or two, the money becomes "good funds" faster. Most companies that have direct deposit also allow you to send a portion of each paycheck to an investment vehicle of your choice. It's a great way to budget.

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