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25 Examples of My Extreme Cheapness

invest moneyMy girlfriend and I were browsing the shelves at Walmart when we suddenly heard a random voice, “That’s why they call me Mr. Cheap!” Lol! We were both a little startled as we turned to look. What we saw was a frazzly-haired older gentleman talking to himself as he was putting something back on the shelf. Apparently his friends called him “Mr. Cheap” and he did not want to disappoint by paying too much for Walmart’s stocked inventory.

Crazy Examples of My Extreme Cheapness

While this man may have had the quality of extreme cheapness, I bet I still have him beat. And, I bet that I am cheaper than most of you readers as well. Maybe even cheaper than your toothless grandma! Let me attempt to prove my case with 25 examples of my extreme cheapness:

#1. I Save Money on Heat by Setting the Thermostat at 63 Degrees – Many people set their heat at 70 degrees in the winter. At that temperature I could walk around in a T-shirt, which just seems a little too hot for the winter. At 63 degrees I’m saving money and get to wear my neato sweaters! 😉 Oh, and at night I let the temp get down to 55 degrees because I’m under a blanket anyway!

#2. I Drive a $2,500 Car Even Though I have $17,000 in the Bank – I have purchased nicer cars in my life, but the novelty always wears off and I’m left wanting something else. A couple of years ago I bought a $2,500 Honda and it has been the best car ever! Great gas mileage, hardly any repairs, and cheap insurance – it’s my dream car and I love it!

#3. I Pay $0.00 For Cable – I have never paid for cable in my life and I really don’t mind being without the channels. I listen to baseball on the radio, watch the Lions on Fox (the only channel I get with my antenna), and watch movies and shows through Netflix (which is a mere $8 a month).

#4. I Rarely Go Out to Eat, and Only Spend $15 When I Do – Restaurants are such a rip-off that I typically avoid them entirely. When it is absolutely unavoidable, I order cheap and drink water.

#5. I Avoided a Driving Range Date For the Entire Summer – I’m not proud of this one, but I fessed up to my girlfriend last week so now I can safely tell you. I was trying to get Liz into golf last summer, but she got more gung-ho about it than I thought she would and immediately wanted to go to the driving range to practice. At $6 per person, that would have been $12 gone in a matter of 20 minutes or so. I avoided it all summer because I didn’t want to spend the money on golf balls that I couldn’t keep. It’s sad I know, but I told you I had extreme cheapness!

#6. I Borrow Instead of Buy – Instead of owning various tools that I only use once a year, I borrow from friends and family. Instead of renting a car when mine breaks down, I borrow my parents (and gift them with a gift card and a full tank or gas – it’s still much cheaper than a rental). And, when I decided to start lifting again, I borrowed some dumbbells from my friend (he clearly wasn’t using them anyway). You get the point. I borrow when I can to save money and space.

#7. If I Have to Buy, I Buy Used – If I find myself borrowing something too frequently, then I start looking for one to buy, but certainly not from a retail store. Nope. Instead, I look for a great deal on a used item. In fact, almost every single item in my living room was purchased used: the couch, the piano, the coffee table, and the Christmas tree!

#8. In the Last Two Years I Have Spent Less Than $200 on Vacations – When I absolutely had to get away from the daily grind I drove my gas sipping Honda and pitched a tent in a campground. In total after 2 or 3 vacations, my bill is still less than $200.

#9. I Refuse to Pay For a Lawn Service or Snow Removal – I am 29 years old and am in good shape. There is absolutely no reason for me to pay someone else to do my yard work for me. I own a reel mower (you know, the old school kind from the 1950’s) and a shovel. I’m all set.

#10. My Favorite Hobby is Making Money – Money has always intrigued me. There are so many different ways to earn it and sometimes you can actually earn money with money. It’s fascinating! When I started this blog in 2010, I coupled my fascination with earning money and telling others about it with this blog! It keeps me out of trouble, keeps me learning, and it provides me with a few bucks every month!

#11. I Paid a Total of $16 for my Glasses and Lenses – About three years ago my dog got a hold of my glasses and absolutely ruined them. I needed a new pair but definitely didn’t want to fork out another $200 for the next pair. So, I took my search online and found Zenni Optical. $16 later and I had an entirely new pair of glasses (frames and prescription lenses included!). I still wear these glasses today.

#12. I Have Never Spent a Dime on Music – By growing up in the Internet age, I have learned to never spend money on music. When I was young, I used to download music illegally (as we all did!), but these days I am content with Pandora and Youtube for my free tunes.

#13. I Dig Toast Out of My Toaster with a Spoon – One side of my toaster stopped popping up about 6 months ago. Instead of getting it fixed or buying a new one for $25, I decided to just keep a wooden spoon handy to dig them out with. When the toaster stops toasting, then I might consider getting a new one.

#14.  I Spend $32 a Week on Groceries – I basically eat the same thing every week and my weekly grocery bill is typically around $32. Here is a list of what I buy as well as the approximate cost per item:

  • 2 dozen eggs = $3
  • 2 gallons of milk = $5
  • 3 boxes of Raisin Brand Crunch = $6
  • 2 loaves of bread = $3
  • 1 dozen English muffins = $2
  • Lunch meat = $1
  • Cheese = $1
  • Pizza = $2
  • 1 dozen granola bars = $3
  • Bananas = $2
  • Granola = $2
  • Yogurt = $2

It is extremely basic, but it is plenty for me to survive on!

#15. I Always Ask For a Discount – I ask for a discount everywhere I go. Just by asking, I have received a discount off a regular priced item at stores like Big Lots, Menards, and Best Buy! Oh, and I ALWAYS ask for a discount at thrift stores. Sure, the price is cheap to begin with, but it can always be cheaper! 🙂

#16. I Avoid Working From Home to Save on Heat – As a financial analyst, I work on my computer a lot and do not get pulled into too many meetings. For this reason, I could really work from home at least two days a week. However, I avoid this because it would cost me $5 or more to heat my house each day in the winter time. Instead of bumping my heat up to 63 and work from home, I would rather drive the short distance to work and keep my heat at 55 while I’m gone.

#17. I Rode My Bicycle Everywhere Last June to Avoid Gassing Up My Car – I made a goal for myself to avoid the gas pump in June, so naturally, I rode my bike everywhere! After putting over 300 miles on my bike in a single month I accomplished my goal! Sometimes extreme cheapness is kind of fun! 🙂

#18. I Got My Work to Pay for Grad School – Somehow I managed to find a company that would actually pay for my grad school if I decided to go back and get my MBA. It was pretty much a no brainer, so I started classes again and finished my MBA back in April.

#19. I Extend the Life of My Dress Pants With a Sharpie – Instead of throwing away pants when the belt loops start to fray, I take out a black Sharpie and draw on the gray frayed part of the loop. It’s cheap, easy, and my pants suddenly look like new again.

#20. I Never Buy Clothes Without a Discount Code – You should know that I would never pay full price for anything. But, even if something is on sale it doesn’t mean that I can’t save even more money on that item. With or, I can often find another discount or free shipping.

#21. When My Shirts Wear Out I Use Them as Rags – Most people donate their clothes when they get sick of them. I wear my clothes until they start getting holes in them, and then I use them for outdoor rags when I work on my car or lawn equipment. I keep my shirt for a longer period than most and I don’t ever need to buy rags!

#22. Before I Take My Car Into the Shop, I First Fail at Fixing it with YouTube’s Help – For some reason I always think that I can fix my own car by watching a YouTube video and doing exactly as they do. Honestly, this hardly ever works, but I still always give it a shot to try and save money.

#23. I Pulled a Dresser Out of the Dump and Still Use It Today – I have enough money in the bank to buy over 100 dressers, but I would much rather pull one out of the dump. First of all, it’s free, and secondly, it gives me a great extreme cheapness story!

#24. I Regularly Singe My Arm Hair on my Grill – My grill has a starter, but it’s been broken for years. To light it, I need to use a click lighter and stick it down into the grill grate. When it catches fire, it poofs a huge fireball at me and almost always singes some hair off my knuckles and my arm.

#25. I Drive 30 Minutes Out of the Way for Free Golf at a Crappy Course – I could golf near my house for $10, but I would rather spend $2 on gas and drive an extra 30 minutes for free golf (my parents have a membership that extends to their kids). Yup, every time, and I will do this next summer as well.

So what do you think? Did I beat out Mr. Cheap? How about you? Do you have extreme cheapness?

Money Save Money

AUTHOR Derek Sall

Derek has a Bachelor's degree in Finance and a Master's in Business. As a finance manager in the corporate world, he regularly identified and solved problems at the C-suite level. Today, Derek isn't interested in helping big companies. Instead, he's helping individuals win financially--one email, one article, one person at a time.


  1. Its amazing that in today’s society all of these things are classed as “extreme cheapness”.

    I would presonally classify at least 20 of them as “normal, sensible stuff” and the other five as:

    #13 – potentially hair raising
    #19 – artistic
    #22 – manly (i.e. possibly stupid)
    #24 – exciting
    #25 – minimum wage saving

    • Haha. Thanks for the thoughtful comment MS, especially the hair raising part. I use a wooden spoon, so I’m all set. 🙂

  2. Man, after reading this list I think I need to change my name to “Big Spending Dutch Guy”! You set a great example of how to live on a tight budget. I had a grill that the had a broken igniter switch too, but I just lit matches and threw them at it until it lit thus saving the arm burns. 🙂

    I work a mile from my house so I almost always go 30 days between gas station visits. Having kids adds a ton of extra expenses to the budget (diapers, food, clothes……) so I have to do what I can to save in other areas.

    I wish we could all be as frugal as you, but then there would be nobody out there stimulating the economy!

    • Haha, yeah, I am somewhat embarrassingly cheap… oops. Not sure how that happened, but I’ll probably learn how to live a little a few times in my life. Liz is trying to help me out with that. 😉

  3. I just read some of these to friends and we were amaze at the grocery section. How do you get cheese or meat for $1? Is that what it comes out to weekly when you buy a block of cheese? I should write a post like this because I’m sure I have some pretty cheap habits I don’t even realize.

    • Once in a while I buy bologna – it’s not the best for you, but it’s only $0.99. Also, the yellow cheese is 16 slices for $0.99. Thank you Aldi! 😉

  4. Aldi’s! I love finding cereal for around $1 a’s such a great snack too.

    • Hahaha. Love the comment Brandon. I get pretty excited about Aldi as well. 🙂

  5. I hope you have a large group of friends because if you always asked to borrow one of my tools or whatever, I eventually get tired of you using my things. Do you reciprocate by giving them a gift once in a while, or thanking them by taking them to dinner and letting them order a beverage? It is great to be cheap but a person shouldn’t impose on others.

    • Hi Kathy! Ha, I don’t borrow THAT many things. And mostly I borrow items from my family, but they all love me so it works! Also, I do lend out extension cords and tools to various neighbors, so I’m not a complete mooch. 🙂

  6. I am getting the chills just reading #1. God bless you, though.

    • Right now I’m in sweatpants and a T-shirt and feel just fine! However, I recently had my cousin over and she nearly froze to death! Haha. I have blankets on hand for those situations. 🙂

      • I moved out of my mom’s house specifically because she keeps the thermostat low. I’m used to wearing layers. It’s been a harsh winter in Michigan, but I moved to an island off of south carolina last April.
        Good post. The grocery bill is a little low but I guess yoy get what you pay for.

        • So you’re the opposite of cheap? I’m a bit confused….

          • Reading This post gives me a mixture of different emotions. I love a lot of the different methods you use to save money. I agree that eating out is a total waste, and when I read 63 degrees I was like “that’s so expensive!” But then I realized you were referring to winter. (That’s like the lowest it gets outside here in on the coldest of winter nights).
            I am not doing great with my budget, I share an apartment with my girlfriend and I there are certain things she will not compromise on (all food has to be organic, we need to see every country/state by the time were too old, and rent here is 1500 dollars for a tiny one bedroom) etc. What are some things you could recommend to get our spending down in other areas of our life? We already shop at thrift stores for clothes/furniture and we dont have any family or friends to borrow items from.

            You seem like the budget master, so any additional tips you may have learned since the five years ago you posted this would be awesome


          • Hi Alexander. Glad you found us and thanks for the comment!

            To answer your question:

            First, on the organic food front, I get it, but not everything has to be organic. Some stuff is grown and produced completely organic whether it’s regulated or not. Start to learn what those are (I’m no expert, but have heard…and have not done the research myself). This should bring down your grocery budget.

            Rent is going to be a tough one since it’s high everywhere. Just continue to keep your eyes open for the next greatest deal and be willing to move for the cheaper rents. At the same time, stash away cash to buy someday. It may not be cheaper to own at first, but in the long run, it definitely is! (Rents go up, mortgages do not).

            On the other end of the spectrum, take a look at your income. Do whatever you can to boost it. Side hustles, promotions, maybe even moving to a lower-cost, higher-income area.

            And of course, track every penny for a while. You’ll be amazed at how many little purchases are adding up to hundreds of dollars of unnecessary spend.

            Hope this helps! Best of luck to you, Alexander!!

  7. You my friend could be eating much better for the same price, especially if you know about the secret that is ALDI. I’m launching a blog starting next month on my quest to eat deliciously (No yellow cheese and bologna) on $5 a day. I’ll send you a link when it’s up if you want!

    J/k about the yellow cheese and bologna! If it’s your thing go for it! Love all the other tips by the way!

    • Ha. Thanks! I would love to know the secret to eat healthier and cheaper!

  8. #1 great way to save money, I am more of a 68 degree kinda girl (but I don’t pay for heat in my building)
    #2 I wish more people would do this. Expensive cars and car payments are such a waste.
    #5 is just so sad. Live a little.
    $11 Thanks, I will try that. I need a new pair of glasses and the cost is mind boggling.
    #14 what the heck do you eat for dinner? and there are no veggies in your diet? And just bananas as fruit.
    #16 what about the cost of gas/maintenance/lower insurance vs the cost of heat (did you know that insurance companies will often discount your car insurance if you drive fewer than the average amount of miles?)
    #17 you should do this more often (especially ride to work, better for your health, environment and wallet)
    #18 Awesome! More people should do this. I got partial work reimbursement/grants/scholarships and got half of grad school paid for, but chose a cheap, good state school so I could cash flow the rest.
    #22 Guys. You are so silly sometimes. Ha.
    #25 It is cheap, but so environmentally wasteful. Golf is not s cheap person-friendly hobby though so I can see how you’d need to pinch pennies there.

    These were funny. Although I’d worry about your health if that’s all you eat. Being cheap is fine but in the long run higher medical costs are associated with a diet low in veggies/fruits, so maybe increase the budget just a tad or grow your own veggies?

    • Haha, I’m glad you had a good laugh at my expense Alice (or actually, lack of expenses…;)) As for my eating habits – yeah, I could do better. And actually, my girlfriend is doing a good job dishing me veggies here and there. Thank you for the concern, and thanks for the comment! Hope to hear from you again soon!

  9. I only scored a 6 compared to your 25 – you are like the living god of cheapness.

    • Lol. Thanks DFL, but I think I’d rather be frugal! With frugality you might spend more, but you’ll save money (or earn more) in the long run. Hopefully I can write an article soon that outlines my frugality. 🙂

  10. I totally get it!! But you do need to have more fruit and veggies.
    We have the same grill! Use the long dollar tree lighter to prevent arm burns.
    From 2010-2013 we had no oven. It died and we found we could cook everything in a large cheap toaster oven. We had a family of three adults and 6 kids at the time. I did break down a year ago with our tax return to replace the oven. Now my daughter uses the toaster oven at her apt!
    Also my kids cringe when we drive cuz I am that person who stops for road side finds, love freebies. And craigslist is where we get our free furniture, couches, dresses, etc. Got to jump on the free section quick!

    • Fruits and veggies…I know I know. I’m getting better on fruits – still despise those veggies though.

      Sounds like you’re pretty cheap as well! For me, it used to be embarrassing to be cheap, but now I have a paid-for house and no debt whatsoever. At this point I don’t care what others say about me, because my lifestyle is clearly working in my favor for the future! 🙂

  11. There is nothing wrong with being cheap if being cheap allows you to be secure in your family friends, and finances.

    Some other hints that you might be interested in:

    1. I teach school and am gone during the day. Since I am personally opposed to paying the electric company any more than absolutely necessary, I turn off both the heat and hot water at the fuse box during the day if the temp is going to be above 40 degrees. Likewise the dishwasher, washing machine and dryer. It makes no sense to heat an empty house. I do have pets, but that’s what very low wattage electric blankets and heating pads are for, covered with snuggly blankets and comforters.

    2. I dilute by half both shampoo and dishwashing liquids. We use an enormous amount of soap in this country, all of which ends up in our rivers and bays. Anything that says “concentrated” can be diluted, including items like Mr. Clean. I’ve been doing this for over 25 years, and am still hale and healthy,.

    3. Never use a plastic bag less than twice. I have cats, so I have poop. Any plastic bag is fair game to hold it–a used “zipper’ storage bag, bread bag, Halloween candy bag, the bag my free Sunday paper comes in. Need to close the top? Not a problem–save all twist ties, and other types of closures. What else works? Staplers!

    4. I love fresh fruits and veggies (ah, salads!), but being single, buying a head of lettuce can seem foolhardy because I may not want to have a salad every day. So, although I confess I paid full price, I purchased the Debbie Meyer “green” containers, which I use to store grape tomatoes, brussel sprouts, lettuce, clementines, etc. bought on sale. These containers keep these items (and bananas, too, which can go black in just a few days) for weeks or months with no loss of flavor or form. Since the 16 containers will likely last for a lifetime, I have already recouped the purchase price by virtue of the spoilage I have not had to discard. They can be used to freeze items, and are fine for the microwave.

    6. I haven’t used an expensive-to-heat stove/oven in years. Three cheers for the microwave, electric skillet, slow cooker, electric coffee pot, toaster oven, etc. (Yes, they run on electricity, but I am not using it during the day.)

    7. And now for a really frugal tip: why turn on the lights when you can use the extremely bright flashlight on your cell phone? Mine lights up my whole kitchen in the morning…or lights up the room while I am typing this response.

    These are just a few of the ways I save money, but there are many more on this site and others. Happy frugality…or cheapness, if you prefer! Thanks, Derek, for your great suggestions!!

    • Lol. I love it! I think you beat me on the frugality tactics. Thanks for the awesome comment, Cindy!

  12. #14 is awesome! I’ve been spending a lot on food lately, only because I recently went to Seoul and have been trying to recreate the food I ate there. 🙂

    • Ha, was it worth it? Were you actually able to recreate the food on your own??

  13. This is my favorite article on your blog. I think there is nothing wrong with being cheap or frugal. Great work.

    • Sometimes I wish I were still that cheap, but I’ve found myself stepping more into the frugal camp. And, I occasionally spend money to make my life easier or to get things done more quickly… BUT, I guess that’s what you can do when you’re completely out of debt and saving a large percentage of your income. I just need to make sure I don’t inflate my spend too much!

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