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 daily spending is no longer a conscious choice but often a subconscious habit. In other words, our spending patterns often become habits, making it easy to overspend without second-guessing.

What Does Stingy Mean?

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 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.

15 Ways To Start Living Stingy (Without Being Cheap)

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 achieving those goals.

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

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

2. Saving Money With Zero Based Budgeting

If you're not keeping a budget, get on one…yesterday.

Budgeting is the 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, allowing you to analyze and adjust for future improvement. Furthermore, it keeps you from wasting your money on useless stuff!

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 realizing you did so! They just tac it onto your account and charge you without 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 ones until you can afford them.

Free Cell Service

While 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 access all the TV entertainment you need by paying less for streaming services and canceling your cable plan.

Still, want to watch live TV? With companies like SlingTV and DirecTV NOW, you can stream live TV for a fraction of the cost of using a 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 daily adds up over time. One of the easiest ways to keep your daily spending habits down is to include a daily spending amount in your budget.

If your budget allows for a max spend limit of just a few bucks per day, stick to it, and your spending habits will slowly 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 easy to overspend, especially when you shop hungry (which is highly advised against doing). Taking advantage of local grocery store deals also has benefits, but searching through local ads often takes time.

Thankfully, companies like MyGroceryDeals allow you to view all the current deals at your local grocery stores 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 allow consumers to join for free to access 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 getting a small commission for attracting customers to each retail store. The sites take those earned commissions and give them back to the consumers in 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 most of us withhold 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 necessary from your paychecks for taxes, you are putting more money in your pocket right now to pay off debt, save more money, and better your finances over time.

9. Extra Work for Extra Cash

We've heard this 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 to bring in 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 eliminated if you sacrificed an extra hour or two of work daily.

When working extra hours at your day job is not an option, consider launching a side hustle. Many side hustles can bring in an extra 1000 dollars or more monthly.

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

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 and the balance, and see how much you can to sell the gift card. Once you accept the offer, they will verify the card and send you the cash.

11. Buy In Bulk

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

Regardless of your situation, if you make daily purchases, you can buy them 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, not because it's healthy for you. An average price for lunch might be $8 – $12 per day or $45 – $60 per week!

13. Sell Unwanted Household Items

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

Garage sales are still popular today, but some may rather sell 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 include looking at your local retail stores to see if they buy used items in good condition. Remember that trading used items for money to a retail store will most likely result in less money, but it takes the hassle out of 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; it's… Insurance.

Take a moment to compare all your insurance products each year: home, auto, life, and health. Many insurance companies charge higher rates if you have a low credit score or 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. 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 are among the highest-cost items on most families' shopping lists. However, you can ditch the ample “cleaning supply industrial complex” by making your cleaning products at home.

Homemade cleaning products are less expensive than store-bought ones, 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.

No More Excuses

Keeping a long-term perspective helps with staying persistent with your money. If your drive is strong enough, you will save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each month by implementing these stingy living habits. 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 growth.