Being stingy gets a lot of flack, but when it comes to finances, living stingy can help you grow your net worth, set financial goals, and make each paycheck last longer.
Stingy may mean “not generous” but in a way you’re being generous to yourself- saving your money isn’t a bad thing!
So many people live above their means and put themselves through financial hardship because of it. If you live stingy, doesn’t that mean you can have a more secure financial future?
The key to living stingy is saving money on necessary expenditures, eliminate buying items that don’t bring you joy or have a real use, and make the occasional sacrifice of forgoing random splurges.
The good news is you can live stingy without being extremely cheap or driving your family nuts with your cost-cutting.
This article will give you tips on how to avoid spending all your money by living frugally or even being stingy with your funds, but still being able to enjoy life just as much.
What Is Living Stingy?
Stingy living means being on a tight budget or spending the least amount of money to meet your daily expenses.
You’re basically saving as much as possible, and many people describe it as a drastic step to make sure your bank account doesn’t get overdrawn.
There are plenty of times when being stingy is a bad thing- like refusing to pay a friend back because you don’t want to spend “extra money.” Examples like these show when stingy goes too far- and also means you’re taking advantage of someone else!
Stingy Vs. Frugal
Frugal people are careful about how they spend their money. Stingy people usually HATE spending it.
A stingy person isn’t someone who struggles to pay their bills or make ends meet. Instead, they have money but refuse to open their wallets to use it.
There are good things, and even some overlap to being frugal and stingy- but you need to know when you’re being scant with your money in bad ways.
The problem arises when people make their budget so tight that they can’t afford to enjoy their lives or even make others miserable with their miserly ways.
But it doesn’t have to be like that.
To make sure you’re living frugally and not just being cheap, you need to understand the difference between these two concepts and how they can affect your life.
How Can I Tell if I’m Being Frugal or Stingy?
Frugality is about finding the best value of something, while stinginess is about getting a good deal and refusing to spend more money than necessary.
Living stingy doesn’t have to make you a scrooge- you don’t need to hoard every dollar. You should be able to live comfortably without spending all your money on necessities.
But living stingy can make you miserable and even push you into a debt spiral if you’re not smart about what you buy.
People think of a stingy lifestyle when saving money actually interferes with living comfortably because of an obsession with money-saving. But it doesn’t have to make your financial journey more difficult!
You can be stingy about daily spending or your general spending habits, while still being able to enjoy things. Once you get the hang of it, it can be easy to save money and still enjoy a good quality of life.
15 Ways of Living Stingy That Are Better than Living Cheap
Living stingy without being stingy isn’t easy, but it can be done. As we said, there is some overlap between living stingy and being frugal!
These 15 ways can help you live stingy in a good way, plus avoid risky financial decisions without sacrificing your lifestyle.
1. Find Your Financial Goals
The first step in embracing the stingy lifestyle is to create a plan for your future.
Knowing why you are saving will help make the sacrifices worth it and help ensure you don’t revert to your overly-stingy ways.
Write down what they are and keep your eyes on the goal instead of spending all your time working to no end.
It’s called personal finance for a reason- because it’s personal and everyone has different goals in life and different ways of achieving those goals.
2. Budget for Your Lifestyle
Create a monthly budget to help achieve your goals!
Always avoid excessive credit card debt by using cash on purchases, and pay off any additional charges each month before the bill is due.
Saving Money With Zero-Based Budgeting
If you’re not keeping a budget already, then get on one… yesterday. Zero-dollar budgeting is 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 penny you spent went and allows you to analyze.
Furthermore, it keeps you from wasting your money on useless stuff!
Create Daily Spending Habits
If you have a daily routine, you could reevaluate your daily expenses and reduce some unnecessary costs. You can also create a weekly or monthly spending budget, and stick to it.
Using a tool like Personal Capital can help cut your expenses to increase your cash flow. For example, if you usually buy a large latte every day, you can stop buying it.
3. Save Money, Spend Less
Do you know how you could live on a tight budget without being miserly?
Spend less money but don’t forget to also save the money you have.
Keep a small balance in a savings account that you saved up as an emergency fund.
It’s all about balance in the end and finding a way of life that works for you while helping you stay on track financially.
4. Side Hustles to Make Money
Side hustles to make money go a long way in helping you save your money and earn extra cash on the side. Find a part-time job that allows you to make a lot of money while maintaining your day job.
Examples of side hustles to make money include:
- Freelance writing for local newspapers and websites
- Online surveys
- Selling items at a yard sale or flea market
- Crafting items to sell online (such as jewelry, knickknacks, and artwork)
5. Reduce Your Bills
Reduce your bills by setting up a budget, and then finding a way to reduce your bills through negotiating with them.
Call your local utility company and ask for a lower rate or look into switching to an alternative energy source such as solar power.
You can stream live TV for a fraction of the cost of using cable. Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video are popular streaming services.
SlingTV and DirecTV NOW are cheaper options for streaming services than traditional cable plans. You can also get watch movies online for free.
6. Say Goodbye to Subscriptions
Say goodbye to subscriptions you don’t need, such as magazine and newspaper subscriptions, unused gym memberships, or expensive cable packages.
If you can get by without a subscription to an activity, club, or organization that will save money every month while allowing you to spend time on other things.
With accounts on your smartphone, you can mindlessly purchase in the Appstore without even realizing you did so!
We’ll find a chunk of change by avoiding further subscriptions until you’re in a position to avoid further subscriptions, we’ve been told to stop using them entirely.
7. Earn More on What You Spend
Earn more on what you spend by using rewards programs, cash back offers, and price matching or clipping coupons to earn money when you shop.
8. Cook at Home
If you don’t have a lot of time or energy to cook for yourself, find ways to make it easier on yourself. Chop up and store fruits and vegetables that are in season for use throughout the week.
Use your crockpot or slow cooker to create inexpensive meals that will give you more time outside of the kitchen preparing food.
9. Thrift Shopping
When shopping for clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items to make your home more comfortable, consider thrift stores or garage sales.
You can usually find name-brand clothing at a lower price while supporting others in your community by purchasing locally.
Thrifty Shopping with This Unknown Trick…
Companies like MyGroceryDeals allow you to view all the current deals at your local grocery stores all 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.
The best way to shop for groceries is to go to the local grocery store to find out what deals your store has, and how much you can buy at a local store with the best prices you can get, and when you shop hungry.
10. Buying in Bulk
Buy in bulk when it makes sense to do so. Organic produce, cleaning products and other non-perishable goods purchased at a warehouse club usually last longer than the same items bought from a grocery store.
Doing this can shrink your bills and reduce food waste if you have more of an estimated amount on hand than what you’ll actually use before it goes bad.
Buying in bulk at clubs such as Sam’s Club or BJs is a good way to save time and money when planning your menu for the month, as you can buy enough food for weeks at one time.
11. Free Fun!
There are plenty of ways to have fun without spending money. See a free movie at your local theater or library.
Watch movies online instead of buying them or spend time reading books for free from your local library instead of paying to go see the latest blockbuster film.
12. Price Shop Around for Insurance
When shopping for insurance such as life, home, or renters insurance, check out several companies to find the best value.
Doing so can save you hundreds of dollars each year on your bill.
13. Join a Buy-Nothing Group
If you live in an urban or suburban area, consider joining a buy-nothing group. These groups work as a free online yard sale with other members to sell and trade items from each other for free. You can also find these groups on Facebook.
These are just some of the different ways that you can save money without being a cheapskate.
You may know about the cool groups on Facebook, but there are many groups out there for saving money and sharing tips to save. Don’t forget to check out The Savvy Couple and join our groups to learn about saving and share tips from your own financial journey!
14. Sell Your Stuff
If you don’t use something, why should you keep it?
If someone else might be able to use the item or trade it for a better one, donate or sell your unwanted items at a garage sale.
15. Plan for Your Long-Term Goals
If you are shopping for a big-ticket item, take the time to check with other companies on their promotions and interest rates so that you can choose where to put your money. If you save an extra $10 on something, it might not be worth missing out on a free gift card or promotion.
Set up automatic savings plans if you want to set aside more money for a vacation or other long-term goals.
When You’ve Gone Too Far
Here are some signs you might be living stingy rather than frugally:
1. Forgoing Gifts
Forgoing gifts is stingy, not frugal.
It’s okay to simply give cash as a gift, or even ask for cash yourself as a gift. You can even offer labor or homemade coupons- it’s the thought that counts!
But it isn’t kind to attend celebrations without a gift as common courtesy- good friends would be content with a card, especially if they know you’re trying to save for financial reasons.
But if you never give gifts to save money for yourself, it’s going to lead to a lot of hurt feelings, especially if you still expect gifts from others.
2. Skipping Vacations or Staycations
Vacations can be expensive for the family, but they can be if you save up for them. You can’t cut out all fun just because it may cost more than you want.
You can certainly set boundaries- you can’t overspend and constantly go on vacation while keeping your financial goals on track.
But you also can’t be angry about what your friends or family do without you because you won’t pay to go places. You can’t expect others to pay your way, or that they’ll skip their own fun.
3. Avoiding Events or Hanging Out
Stingy people don’t go to events they want to go to or hang out with friends and family because “it’ll be too expensive.” Being stingy is more than just not spending money, it’s also about the choices you make in your life as well.
Stingy is letting your thoughts about money get in the way of experiences- your personal life suffers because of your choices.
When you are too stingy to spend money ever, it can lead to a lot of missed experiences and you miss out on the fun that makes life worth living.
It’s okay to skip out to save money from time to time, but if you never go out despite being able to afford it, your stingy lifestyle is getting in the way of your personal development!
4. Not Tipping
Stingy people are often cheapskates who refuse to tip or tipping very poorly. In some states in the United States, that is not enough for a server to even make minimum wage.
If you refuse to tip your waiter then you’re taking being stingy too far; if you can’t afford to tip, then it’s a whole different issue.
You should at least give 15% to show you appreciate the service and to help someone else who’s trying to make a living.
Living Stingy from Our POV
Some people are naturally conservative with their money while others might just want to save for an emergency fund or a goal.
We don’t think it’s being stingy if someone doesn’t go out and spend $10 every day on coffee when they may need the extra cash. And we get that some people on low income don’t go out because it is too expensive for their bank account.
It’s about striking balance in life and enjoying what you do have without being overly concerned with what you don’t have.