Monday, 20 February 2012

My Guide to being a cheapskate

Here's the thing - it's a pretty well known fact that I'm a cheapskate.  My friends are more polite and call me 'thrify' or 'careful with money' but I feel like I may as well state the obvious.  So I thought I'd share some of the tricks I use in order to live up to my name!  I've very helpfully sorted this post into categories for your reading pleasure, and if you have anything to add please do, I welcome all money saving advice!

I can’t big up charity shops enough, half my wardrobe is thrifted buys, which means I can buy quality clothing at ridiculously cheap prices.
Dont just shop the womens department – I’ve found plenty of suitable stuff in the men’s section and even kids if you go for the bigger sizes.  This method works especially well in charity shops or at final clearance time (especially in H&M or Topman, love their menswear!)
Make sure you have even basic sewing skills – knowing how to take up a hem or sew on buttons are essential and easy!
If there’s something specific you need (ok, want sometimes) try and wait for sales or look out for money off vouchers – I need Tall range jeans/trousers but I almost never pay full price.
Also use the treasure/junk trove that is eBay – I’ve had a few items of clothing from there at even better prices, but unless I’m looking for something special I tend to favour charity shops (no postage costs!)
If someone buys you something truly hideous, try to return it – even if you get a gift card or exchange it for some tights (or a pressie for someone else!), better that than something you’ll never use.
Sometimes quality has to win – for me it’s running shoes, sports bras and underwear, but I still try to wait for sales or search eBay (in the New section of course ;))

I find when my hair is longer, it needs cut less and just sits better because of it – in fact during my very poor days I realised that the longer I stayed away from my hairdresser, the easier my hair was to style! (this logic makes no sense to me either...)
I epilate my legs and shave underarms, my razors last way longer this way!
Use the discount stores to look for brand names cheaper – Watt Brothers, Original Factory Shop, Savers or Poundland are my faves (dunno if the first two are Scottish only tho?), and we just got a Wilkinsons here which I’m loving as a Woolworths replacement J
Again, shop different departments – I go straight to the baby section for cotton wool/buds (half the price, if not less) and often use baby lotion instead of moisturiser.

Crush up a pack of melba toast as a cheaper alternative to soup croutons
Shop around if you have time and are within easy distance of a few grocery places – the bigger ones are good for offers but Farmfoods and Lidl have super low prices on certain things all the time!
I’m super stingy and mostly my weekly shopping consists of whatevers on offer that week (BOGOF, half price, 2 for £...)
Shopping the offers also allows me to buy a brand up for the same price as a basic brand sometimes (Aunt Bessies on offer makes my week!)
Having said that, get to know what Value products you like and dont – for example I’ll quite happily eat value soup or cereal but baked beans have to be M&S!
Always look for reduced items , especially if you can freeze them or will be eating them soon – I hit M&S about 5.30pm one day last week and came out with a pile of my fave things for an awesomely low price!
I have two refillable water bottles (one for home, one for work) that I carry around instead of buying water
Don’t always follow the instructions on the label – if I’m using a pasta sauce/bake, I find using much less than what the jar says is more than enough.  Same goes for washing powder.

Run or walk outside when possible – I have a membership to the council gym cause it's the way I prefer to exercise but it costs less than half what the private gym does.
Also walk/cycle instead of driving if you can – good for the waistline and budget!
I have an Amazon wishlist, which has made getting birthdays and Christmas pressies much more enjoyable since I’m actually getting something I’d like!
Or if people want to ignore this, make it clear what stores you would prefer gift cards for, or ask for toiletries (I’m all about the practical pressies!)
This works the other way too – a few of my friends have Amazon lists, or if not I always ask if there’s something they’d like before buying , no point wasting money on something they’re going to return!
For buying bigger items (camera, laptop etc), compare online before purchasing ALWAYS!
Same goes for car insurance, altho in my case I’ve had good renewal deals with the last 2 places I’ve used, so this method isn’t always cheapest, but try it first.
I look for books and DVDs at car boots sales or in the cheaper charity shops, or of course you could take advantage of the library – not much makes me happier than the magic of that place!
Get online banking – I actually switched banks so I could get this and could not be happier with it.  Its made my life so much easier now I can see exactly where my money is without having to traipse to the bank and be accosted by smiley ‘helpers’.

Slight cheat here, but I only have mobile net and my mum has magic fast ‘unlimited’ broadband, so on my weekly trip to visit I get as much net stuff done as I can!
I never drive over 60mph – on longish distances this saves a noticeable amount of petrol (the number one thing I totally resent shelling out for...)
I used to live right near Tesco so mostly shopped and got petrol there – this meant I built up reasonable Clubcard points and have had years of my magazine subscription (Total Film) costing me nothing.
Last year I rented DVDs from three different companies, and by using a few methods I only paid about 3 months subscription in total.  Take advantage of free trials, which you could do again when you change address or bank cards (or maybe rope in your parents/flatmate? ;)), and often when you cancel the company will send you emails with discounts to entice you back.  I even managed to get 4 cinema tickets from the trials too :)
Really go thru your cupboards from time to time and take inventory – knowing exactly what you have means you’re not tempted to buy more when you go out, toiletries and tights/socks being the main offenders for me...

Or there’s the most simple and effective way to save money – just don’t go near any shops!  Works for me!


  1. What great advice. We've been making money selling some of the boys old stuff on Ebay. While we aren't making loads of money doing it, it's better then nothing and at least the stuff is having a new life! I use to always get my books from charity shops, failing that the second hand section on amazon is a god send I even tell people if they want to buy me gifts for Christmas/birthdays just to buy things off the second hand bit.

  2. Super ideas here! And none over-the-top cheap-skatey, just thrifty :-P I love the Melba toast/crouton idea - I'd never thought of that.

  3. Lots of good advice here - I'm a cheapskate, too, originally through necessity and now through habit (but, really, why pay lots when I don't have to?!). I'd add googling for voucher codes when you're doing any online shopping - I got about £200 off my ginormous armchair that way.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one that buys mainly the BOGOF's or on offer at £1 or £2 food in my weekly shop! I've also always found they tell you to use far far to much washing powder and I now use a tablespoon to measure it out depending on how much I have, my clothes always look and smell clean so I think I've got pretty good at judging it! x

  5. Good ideas! I had no idea you were such a thrifty miss! :) x

  6. I do quite a bit of this already but you've raised some other interesting points so I shall take note. Saving money is all good!

  7. This is a great guide and easy changes to make! I will try some out.

  8. Great tips! I really need to take a leaf out of your book!
    I awarded you a Versatile Blogger Award over on my blog =) x

  9. I'm a cheapskate through and through, I'm always looking to get the best bargains xxx

  10. I'm the same. Great tips. I only draw out a certain amount of cash each week and when it's gone, it's gone. paying with real money makes it harder to part with it. x

  11. i would love to buy you as many pairs of tights as you wanted xxxxx

  12. What really struck me in all of that was your Ben and Jerry's stash - haha!

  13. Bookmarked for when my brother and I go to the UK this summer. :)


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