Do you ever spend money to impress someone, or to “keep up” with someone else?
Are you prone to impulse spending or buying things you know you don’t need?
If you have either of these habits, adopting a stingy lifestyle may be for you!
According to a recent Charles Schwab survey, 59% of adults in the U.S. say they live paycheck to paycheck. That’s pretty alarming!
Living paycheck to paycheck assumes they are not saving for the future and are not living below their means. If you do live paycheck to paycheck, know you are not alone and that are things you can do to improve your situation. One idea is to start living stingy!
What does being stingy mean?
Being stingy usually gets a bad rap. I think it unfairly gets a bad rap. It is usually associated with negative words such as cheap, not generous, tight, chintzy, etc. However, just because many in society believe stingy to mean these things, doesn’t mean that’s what stingy is.
In my experience, stingy means managing your money effectively. It means not spending on things that are not important to you. It means you can start saving and increase your net worth. So for me, being stingy is a positive thing!
Why does being stingy get a bad rap?
That’s a great question! Being stingy means you watch what you spend. You choose to spend on things that matter to you, put money in savings, etc. Being stingy doesn’t mean you don’t donate or help other people in need. In fact, you can be stingy and spend on others.
Because you are stingy you probably have the money to spend on others! When you are stingy, you are being strategic and thoughtful with your money. In my opinion, that’s a great thing!
Why don’t more people live a stingy lifestyle?
Being stingy is hard. It means you’re likely a penny pincher and watch your money. There are so many easy ways to spend money and impulse shop today, it’s hard to be stingy. People don’t live stingy because it’s just too easy to spend. Being stingy means breaking your habit of spending and using that money for a better financial situation for yourself.
Below, check out some easy tips to start living stingy.
1. Set financial goals
Setting financial goals is the cornerstone of good financial health. By nature being stingy means you don’t spend a lot, especially on things that don’t matter to you. But you could save even more if you have a goal you’re trying to achieve.
Knowing you’re saving for something special, paying off that credit card, or wanting to pay your mortgage off earlier will help keep you motivated on your stingy path. So before you begin your stingy ways, set a few goals first.
2. Set a budget
Once you have your financial goals established, how will you achieve them? Setting a budget will ensure you stay on track to meet the financial goals you just committed to.
If you’re not sure where to start, try a zero-based budget. A zero-based budget means you give every dollar you earn in a given month a job. You know exactly (or pretty close) how you will spend money and where you will save money.
That way you don’t have to feel guilty about spending, and you can achieve your savings goals because you have a plan!
If you’ve never had a budget before, setting one up may feel a little daunting. And odds are you’re not going to get it right on the first try. But start somewhere! Break out the ole excel spreadsheet or a pen and paper. Write down all expenses and ways you spend money in a given month and the amount you spend on all of these things. Include everything you can think of including your mortgage, food, heat/electricity, car payments, gas, food, kids’ activities, pets, holidays, savings accounts, etc.. Then add up the total.
If the total is more than you make in a given month, you’re going to have to tweak some categories you have control over (food, gas to some degree, subscriptions, etc.) in order to get the amount of money going out (budget) to be less than the amount coming in (your monthly earnings)
3. Ask yourself if your purchase is a want or a need?
Before you spend money, ask yourself this simple question: Is this a need, or is this a want? An alternative to this question could be, am I going to be happy I bought this in 6 months?
Either way, the goal is to get you to pause before spending your hard-earned money and evaluate WHY you are spending it. Many impulse purchases will fall into a “want” bucket or the “I’m going to regret purchasing this 6 months from now” bucket. So many purchases are made on impulse you’ll have not used the item or forgotten all about it as soon as you put it down.
I’m not sure about you, but every time an Amazon package arrives at my door, and I can’t remember what is in it, that’s a good sign it was not a needed purchase. How wasteful buying just to buy and then never using the item. Did you really need it?
So ask yourself if the purchase is something you truly need right now. If the answer is no, put it down and walk on.
4. Live below your means
If you’re stingy, you should easily be able to live below your means. Living below your means very simply means not spending everything you make. Because you’re not spending everything you make, you have the freedom and flexibility to save and achieve financial goals.
Being stingy means you are taking an active effort to put money in savings and not spend everything you have in your checking account. Doing this means you are setting yourself up for financial freedom in the future.
If you need some inspiration or tips on how to save more than you make, check out this epic list of frugal living ideas.
5. Become a frugal grocery shopper
Why do grocery bills seem to eat up the household budget? The grocery store is full of delicious ways to impulse shop every time you step into the store. It’s so easy to add extra items to your cart because you’re hungry, things are on sale, something looks delicious, or you want to treat your child to their favorite snack.
One of the easiest ways to become stingy is to become a pro grocery shopper. Below, find some easy tips to not break the bank at the grocery store:
- Meal plan for the week
- Shop your refrigerator/pantry first
- Write a list
- Only purchase what’s on the list
- Use coupons if you can
- Scan your grocery receipts with apps like Ibotta or Fetch
6. Use websites as tools to find good deals and to save more
Using cashback websites and apps is a no-brainer to save money! Especially if you’re spending money you were going to anyway. You can earn cashback or extra incentives on purchases you need to make. This will not help you if you let the cashback or incentives influence you into purchasing something you were not intending to buy. So be careful with this one!
Recommended sites to earn cashback or additional incentives:
- Use Rakuen (formerly Ebates) to save on every online purchase. Some in-store purchases can also apply! Simply visit the site, click on the store you are interested in shopping at, and you’ll earn cashback if you go through with making a purchase.
- Also, consider uploading your grocery receipts to Ibotta and earn cashback on food, household good, alcohol purchases, etc.
- Retailmenot.com is a one-stop-shop for finding promo codes and deals online. If you are about to buy something online and do not have a promo code, stop here before you checkout and see if any codes are available.
- Honey is another good option to ensure you are getting the best deal when purchasing online. It’s a chrome extension that will scour the internet to make sure you are getting the best promo code available for your online purchase. Note, the extension is not available on mobile, so to use HOney you will need a laptop or desktop.
7. Purchase discounted gift cards
One of my favorite stingy tricks is purchasing discounted gift cards. This works when I have a purchase I need to make. For example, a gift. I know what I want to buy, where I want to buy it, and how much it’s going to be. I purchase a gift card from the website GiftCardGranny.com. Then use the gift card I just purchased as payment at check out at the store I’m shopping at.
For example, let’s say you are buying a gift for your mom at Kohls. You are shopping Kohls.com and have the item with promo codes in your cart. The total comes to $34.76. You can buy a $30.00 Kohl’s gift card from giftcardgranny.com for 15% off or $25.50. So you buy the gift card, and use it to pay toward the Kohl’s total. $30.00 is paid by the gift card and $4.76 is paid out of pocket. But you’ve instantly saved $4.50 by using the gift card.
This is my favorite way to save extra money. And you can use it in conjunction with Rakuten (formerly Ebates) to get a great steal! So not only can you get instant savings from the discounted card, but you can use promo codes AND get cashback using Rakuten I kinda don’t want to share this secret so I can have my pick of gift cards all the time!
8. Create a side hustle or get a second job
When all else fails if you can’t be stingy enough to save the money you need to, try making more money. Find a side hustle or a part-time job. It doesn’t have to be forever. Maybe it’s a seasonal gig to jump-start your financial goals. More money coming in means you have a better chance of being able to save. Plus, you’ll likely be so busy you won’t have time to spend the money anyway.
Ideas to make extra money:
- Sell things in your home that aren’t important to you or sentimental
- Dog Walk
- Get a seasonal job over the holidays
- Become a shopper for Instacart or Shipt
Being stingy advantages
- Financial control – you are in control of your money. You are living below your means which means you have money left over at the end of each month to save, pay down debt, or invest.
- Appreciation for what you have – You know you don’t have to purchase things to make you happy. You are content and grateful for what you have.
- Freedom – Because you choose to only spend on what is important to you, the money is there when you need it. You have full financial control and aren’t living paycheck to paycheck.
Being stingy disadvantages
- Stigma – There is this negative connotation associated with being stingy. I think it’s a good thing so I never let the stigma bother me. Instead, I embrace it. But you may be viewed as cheap and not generous. Don’t let it get to you. You’re doing what you need to do to reach your financial goals. So stick with it!
- Overthink your finances – Because you are sticking to a budget and not spending, you may overanalyze every purchase to a fault. Is this a need or want? I know I do this. I agonize in my head over whether or not to purchase even the smallest things. At the end of the day, it’s repeated behavior of being stingy that will get you where you want to be financially.
If the opposite of being stingy is being loose with money and never having any because you spend it all, I’ll take being stingy any day! Being stingy creates freedom and reduces financial stress. You are choosing to be strategic with your money and are working to achieve your financial goals.
Are you stingy? What is your best tip for those who want to be more stingy?