Are you looking to save yourself some more money each month? For many of us, money is tight, so certainly we’d like to save a few dollars whenever we can! Since I have been trying to pay off some big debts this past year, I have explored many cheapskate options. Some of them were a little too extreme for me (like rummaging through old food outside of restaurants or checking pay phones for change), but here are some that I have actually tried and enjoyed. I hope you like them as well!
1. Buy Used Furniture
New furniture can be extremely expensive these days. A simple dresser from IKEA can even cost you $400. If you want a solid wood dresser like the days of old, you could be paying over $1,000! Unless….you can find a used one. As many families are updating their home furnishings, these solid wood pieces are now showing up in second hand stores and thrift shops. They might look a little drab, but with some Old English, they could look just like new again (and often, at a minuscule fraction of the price of new)!
2. Dumpster Dive
Now, I’m not big on heading out to the dumpster each week and diving in on a mission for treasure. But, if I see something along side the road or peering out the top of a dumpster that I think I could use or sell for a profit, I will most definitely grab it. Don’t be shy. There are tons of valuables that people carelessly throw away. You may as well put it to good use.
Our culture today is almost embarrassed to ask for a discount off from products and services, which is certainly costing them money. I have haggled in large retail stores, in thrift shops, at dealerships, and in people’s driveways (for a Craigslist purchase). Over the course of my short life so far, I’m sure I have saved over $1,000 via haggling.
Many people confuse bartering with haggling. Haggling is when you try to get a cheaper price for a product or service simply by asking for it (and then possibly going back and forth before settling on a final price). Bartering is when you trade a product for a product or a product for a service. For instance, I might need a snow blower and someone else needs a laptop. It just so happens that I have an extra laptop that is worth about the same amount as their snow blower. We make the trade and we have just officially bartered. There was absolutely no money needed in the exchange.
Since you don’t need to spend any cash when bartering, this is a great way to get many of your necessities for practically nothing. I could barter services for food or some unwanted products for clothing. If you want to get creative with your finances, try bartering. It wills ave you a ton of money and it’s pretty fun to figure out!
5. Reuse Products
Don’t be so quick to throw things away! It is likely that you can use that item for something else. You know those plastic bags that you get from the grocery store? Use them as grocery bags for your trash can under the sink. Do you have some extra wood in the garage? Instead of buying regular aged logs for your campfire, use up that scrap lumber. Have some old shirts? Turn them into outdoor rags. There are so many ways that you can reuse seemingly useless products. Just give it a thought before you toss that next thing into the trash.
6. Eat Expired Food
Did you know that most food is still good beyond the expiration date? Milk is often good 2 or 3 days after the expiration date, eggs are good for a few weeks beyond that written date, and many other products are still perfectly good to eat long after the expiration. When looking at expired canned goods, check for bulging. If there is none, the food is likely still good. For perishable goods, look for discoloration and mold. If you see none and you know that you’ll eat it within the next couple days, you could score yourself an amazing deal on that expired food.
7. Couch Surfing on Vacation
I had a friend that took a vacation to Washington D.C. and to keep his expenses low, he couch surfed. Meaning, he went to Couchsurfing.org and slept on the couches of total strangers for a week! It was completely free for him to do this, but in return he must be willing to have other couch surfers crash at his place from time to time. I honestly don’t know if I would ever stay overnight at a stranger’s house (I probably would get zero sleep and would be clasping a baseball bat the whole night!), but I would most definitely stay overnight at a friend’s house. And, over the years I have had many friends move all around the globe. All I have to do is think about where I might like to stay, think of who lives near that area, call them up and get my free room and board!
8. Notch Up the A/C and Down the Heat
This trick has been around for years, but is actually quite effective. If it is 75 degrees outside with low humidity, there is absolutely no reason to have the air conditioning on. Open the windows and let the breeze blow in! The lowest I have ever set my A/C is 78 degrees and it is still quite comfortable.
The same is true for the winter time. Set your thermostat low enough so that it is comfortable to walk around in a sweater. After all, if you go outside, you’re going to need that sweater on (along with a jacket) anyway! If you are lounging around your home with shorts and a T-shirt, you are just wasting dollars via your over-worked furnace.
9. Make Your Own Lunch
Why in the heck do people spend $7 a day on cafeteria food? First of all, it often isn’t very healthy for you. Second, it is certainly not cost effective. And finally, it takes quite a lot of time to walk through the cafeteria lines with all of the other chumps spending their money on over-priced food.
I make my lunch every single day. It is often packed with some sort of fruit, yogurt, some healthy crackers, and a sandwich. Do you know how long it typically takes me to put together? About 3 minutes. And, the cost of each lunch is somewhere around $1.00. For those cafeteria junkies, they are spending $140 a month on just their lunches. That is approximately what I spent for an entire supply of groceries (Hint: I shop at Aldi).
10. Scent Your Drawers for Free
Let’s end this list on a fun note. You know those cologne/perfume scents that come in magazines and in random mail-ins? Most of the time, you can open up a flap and the scent just wafts off the page. Why not put those great scents to work? Open up that flap and place the scented page in your dresser drawers! The scent is nice and it is costing you absolutely nothing.
Are you ready to try some of these cheapskate tactics? Which of these is your favorite?
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.