Cheapskate Guide: Tips for Frugal Living- Part 2

I can’t get enough of these tips for a frugal lifestyle.  With the economy the way it is now– being thrifty is more important than ever.  You don’t need to plunge into the icy waters of the frugal lifestyle all at once.  Apply a few of these tips a little at a time and before you know it you’ll be a hardcore “cheapskate”!


  • Stop using credit cards. Credit cards are not evil. I realize that they can be used to good purpose. If that’s how you use them, then that’s good, skip this tip. For others, credit cards make buying too easy, and end up making them buy too much.  If you don’t pay your bill in full each month, they will cost you a lot in interest. The average American with at least 1 credit card has more than $9,500 in credit card debt. Don’t be that person.

  • Cancel subscriptions.  Do you really need magazine subscriptions? With all the news online, do you really need a newspaper subscription? If you can get DVDs for free or cheap, do you really need Netflix? (Confession time: I do have magazine subscriptions-but I don’t have Netflix.)
  • Make your own. I won’t go into all the possibilities here, but many times we buy things when we could make them ourselves for much cheaper if we get a little creative.
  • Do it yourself. Instead of hiring someone to do something, try doing it yourself. It’s also educational, if you don’t know how to do it — again, do an online search, read up on it, and give it a go. Frugality freaks are DIYers.
  • Stop paying interest. I mentioned the interest of credit cards, and auto loans, and mortgages. I consider them a waste of money. Consider any other accounts or loans where you pay interest, and see if you can eventually eliminate as much of these as possible.
  • Reduce convenience foods. Frozen foods, microwaveable stuff, junk food … anything that’s packaged and prepared for our convenience is not only more expensive than something you cook yourself but likely less healthy.

  • Travel frugally. Airfare is expensive so look to buy your ticket in advance. Maybe consider train travel. Shop around for car rental rates, as they can vary greatly (or use public transportation). Look for cheaper accommodations, or stay with a friend or relative.
  • Cut your own hair. This one isn’t for everybody and definitely not for me as I am a woman with long hair. However, if you are a guy with short hair or no hair– go for it!
  • Maintain stuff. This is a no-brainer:  if you take care of what you have, it will last. You’ll then spend less on buying new stuff. When you buy something worth maintaining, take a few minutes to read the maintenance manual, and create a maintenance checklist that you can attach to the item. For important things like your car’s oil changes or tune-ups, put them in your calendar.
  • Save energy. There are little things we can do to lower our power bill.
  • Save gas. With the rising price of gas (and no end in sight), fuel has become a major monthly expense for many people.

  • Only buy bargain clothing (when you need clothes). OK, instead of buying new, look for thrift shops with good clothes. Or buy new, but only buy the stuff that’s 50% off and you’ll save a ton.
  • Telecommute. Telecommuting may not give you your dream job, but it’s a step in the right direction. In addition to allowing you to work in your pajamas (and who doesn’t have that dream?), telecommuting saves money on gas, on eating out (if you eat lunch at a restaurant), and on buying expensive work clothes.

  • Plan ahead. If you make it a habit to think ahead to things that are coming up in your life, you can save a lot of money. For example, if you think about where you’re going to get your meals when you go out to do errands, you can pack a lunch or dinner instead of eating out. If you pack a big container of iced water, you don’t need to buy expensive bottled water. If you know that a birthday is coming up, you can buy a gift on sale instead of spending more at the last-minute.
  • Cook ahead. If you have one free day a week (or even a month), cook food in big batches and freeze in dinner-sized portions. I don’t do this all the time, but I have done it and it saves money as well as time. You have to plan it out a bit, coming up with a menu and shopping, cooking enough meals for a week or a month. But once you’re done, your meals each night (and for lunch if you like) are quick and easy. This saves you from eating out or eating convenience food that is expensive.
  • Wash clothes less. Some people wear clothes and then wash them, but I’ve gotten into the habit of wearing my clothes more than once if they’re not really dirty. This saves on washing.
  • Sun-dry clothes. When my parents were young, everyone used a clothesline to dry clothes. If you don’t wash a ton of clothes it’s not hard to take a few minutes to hang them up. You’ll save a lot in electricity and your clothes last longer.
  • Eat less meat. I’m not saying you have to become a vegetarian but once in a while eat meatless dishes. Pasta, vegetarian chili, vegetarian Indian or Thai dishes, falafel with hummus and pitas and tomatoes and lettuce … there are plenty of tasty dishes without meat. And as meat is expensive (well, the fresh kind is …) and you’ll save money on meatless dishes.

  • Save on groceries. Coupon clipping anyone?
  • Frugal Christmas. Christmas is expensive.  People go on crazy shopping gorges.  While this makes the retailers happy, it doesn’t make our bank accounts happy. Break out of the cycle.


Published by

Jody Thompson

I'm going to blog about my many shopping escapades. Whether it is a used book store, a thrift shop or a consignment shop-- I'm here to tell all about my experiences. When I find great stuff-- I'll let you know. I'm sending good karma to all the thrifty shoppers out there!

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