Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 Cheap Bastard Ways I Love Being a Frugal Cheapskate: How Do You Save?

Each year I challenge myself to be as frugal as possible. It's a fun way to stretch creativity while saving money and I never feel deprived. After three years of participating in a Buy Nothing New  pledge I've learned a few things about being a cheap bastard. Here are 30 things I do often to be frugal with my estimated annual savings for each.

The TV Stand, flat screen  and PlayStation 3 were FREE cast offs from friends and family that didn't want them. I love creating unexpected gallery walls with things I love, like my Micheal Jackson and Prince records!

1.) Re-Use Glass Jars for leftovers & lunch. (Lunch savings.) Saves: $2,000
2.) Freeze bulk fruit. (With re-used freezer bags from frozen fruit.) $200
3.) Grow Herbs and Veggies. $900
4.) Split Rent and Utilities with my awesome roomie.  $6,480
5.) Curbside and Craigslist Hunt for FREE furniture. $300
6.) Thrift for clothing, furniture, merchandise, & misc. needs. $1,000+
7.) Carpool and bike as often as possible. $960
8.) Make my own home cleansers. $150
9.) Buy Organic Produce in Bulk. $960+
10.) Buy frozen fruit in bulk for smoothies. $1,200 
11.) Call service providers see if I qualify for deals periodically. $780
12.) Plan meals ahead of time. $600
13.) Use all-in-ones for head to toe washing and conditioning. $252
14.) Always ask friends/family if they have something before I buy. $850
15.) Borrow items as needed instead of renting or buying them. $300
16.) Save veggies scraps to compost for free garden fertilizer. $300
17.) Rarely go out to eat, to bars, or drinking. Rarely drink. $3,600 
18.) Get creative and try to make what I may need before I buy it. $300
19.) Buy packing and needed business supplies in bulk when necessary. $260
20.) Gather packing supplies from businesses for free. $1,080
21.) AVOID retail, and its associated impulse buys! $240
22.) Volunteer at a community garden for produce payment. And learning! $600
23.) Work in a raw vegan kitchen for learning & produce discount.  $600
24.) Avoid coffee, tea, and most vitamins, supplements, and "super foods". $600
25.) E-mail companies for samples before I buy. $250
26.) Not shy about returns if something really doesn't work. $200
27.) Keep Hygiene/beauty supplies to a bare minimum. $360
28.) Never buy books or movies. Using netflix and the library. $120
29.) Save grocery bags for trash and freezer bags. $12.00 
30.) No extra bills like cable. No problem. Don't miss it! $600 -$1,000+

I love to save lots and increase my income so I can spend my money on more important things, like traveling. random adventures, and delicious health food! With the way I save by being an unrepentant cheapskate I can afford the occasional splurge, too. Being cheap can give you the good life if you let it!

What are ways you love to save? Got any frugal tips to share? Don't be shy, share your frugal tips!
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  1. Good list! Number 11 is something a lot of folks don't know about. My husband is into that-- usually gets some sort of deal. Limiting gift exchanges or amounts spent on gifts is a good idea-- who needs more "stuff" anyway which is what most give. Or if you're asked what you want as a gift something like a grocery store gift card is a good answer!

    1. Number 11 is awesome, same here, I'm rarely turned away from some sort of deal. Most companies love to highlight their other options for savings. The gift idea is good too, I love to make things or give more thoughtful thrifted gifts or memberships. Friends and family love 'em. I get requests to make odd plushies and art bits all the time :D

  2. I try to buy anything I need secondhand... I just moved and was able to get pretty much everything I needed for my kitchen by thrifting. I buy all of my clothes at thrift stores now :) The only thing I MUST buy new is of course undies and bras and socks. I make my own house cleaners with vinegar, baking soda and Dr. Bronners. I use Amazon subscribe & save for beauty products I need (which isn't much these days). I resuse heavy duty brown paper bags from the grocery store as packing material and homemade mailing envelopes for my lightweight Etsy sales. I use free Priority mail boxes for everything else. We compost too! I make lattes at home with my hand me down espresso machine (from my parents!) and limit Starbucks impulse purchases to only when I am redeeming a gift card someone gave me. I go to the library or thrift books to read. We use Netflix and never go to the movies. We don't have cable TV - we watch what we want online. Never get manicures or pedicures - I can do that myself. I get my hair cut once a year and trim it myself in between. We make dinner/meals here about 6 nights a week. It's fun to be thrifty! I absolutely love buying secondhand. I save so much money and don't feel like a robot consumer. Yesterday I went to the mall for the first time in MONTHS... just to buy some undies. And I didn't buy anything else. Didn't even feel tempted!

  3. We're on the same wave length :D I do all the same and never feel deprived. Went for the mall for the first time in months with my roomie and instead of wanting to buy just felt inspired to make what I saw or find it for less thrifting.

    I need to use the brown paper bag for packing material, forgot about that one! I usually end up using them as garbage bags.

    1. Oh and on that cable note, yep, with so much fun stuff to watch on the web I absolutely never miss cable. I actually prefer web watching. If there's shows I must catch like Mad Men I watch them with the boyfriend at his house. :D

    2. Yeah the Trader Joe's and Whole Foods brown paper bags are super sturdy so I will use them for lightweight first class mail packages... with lots of packing tape haha :) Speaking of... I try not to step foot inside a Whole Foods... there's a reason they call that place Whole Paycheck. Also crumbled newspaper is a nice packing material too and I can usually get it for free. Oooh and I go to Dollar Tree for all my other needs... greeting cards for 2 / $1.00 (and they don't suck!), tissue paper, packages, tape for Etsy mailing... whatever I can't get secondhand or make I try to get there. Keeps the costs down. This was a fun post!

    3. Oh I forgot about the Dollar Store, I like their two manila mailing envelopes for $1.00 deal when I run out. I always use bubble wrap I gather second hand, usually from health food stores, since I mail mostly fragile glass. And yes, Whole Foods can be dangerous! I always enter highly focused on getting the grocery list.

    4. I have had the best luck getting packing supplies,greeting cards,ribbon and wrapping paper at yard sales,estate sales, and thrift stores.Sometimes they'll throw it in for free if I'm buying other things.My husband did question my sanity when I bought two big rolls of Hannukah wrapping paper(as we are not Jewish),but it's a gorgeous solid turquoise on the back.I've been using it for awhile and nobody's noticed the star of Davids when they unwrap their presents so hubby can suck it,lol.

    5. That's awesome! Need to pay more attention to that while I hunt. I just filled my trunk with bubble wrap yesterday, a book seller friend of mine used to work at a health food store and has a friend in shipping/receiving save the packaging for him. I made this connection by befriend Joe at his book yard sale. Making connection really pays off in the long run for saving money, too. Nice to have a sense of community :)

  4. Impressive! I want to cancel cable and use Netflix.

  5. Love the post and I do use many of these tips but be careful not to undervalue what you have to give to this world and remember that making money is not a bad thing . I only say this because my daughter just recently graduated from college and I am constantly reminding her of her value. Also as women , and especially as women who were raised frugally ,we need to value ourselves so others will also.

    1. Thanks for the reminder Lisa. That was a point I realized this year. I used to undervalue my self and charge too little for merchandise and services (wrote about it here: but never will again!

    2. Thanks for the reminder that bares repeating :0)

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