Living Stingy Without Being Cheap

woman making daily plan for living stingy

Let’s be honest. When you hear the word “Stingy” what comes to mind?

Probably some not very good or nice words. You might think of Ebeneezer Scrooge, or a similar person, who refuses to spend money on anything, or anyone. Or if they do, it comes off as cheap.

The word stingy does come with some negative baggage. But I want to tell you that “living stingy” does not have to be negative or bad.

In fact, if you adopt a “stingy living” lifestyle, you will probably find that you are able to reach your financial goals faster.

What does living Stingy really mean?

Living Stingy, in my mind, is the same as living a frugal lifestyle. It means that you are careful with your money, how you use it, and where it goes.

It does not mean that you refuse to give when others need help. For example, we have always given a full tithe to our church and help others where we can throughout the year.

Living stingy means that you take careful consideration in your personal expenses and spending. You find ways to cut back and save money, rather than spend it automatically.

Is being Stingy a Bad thing?

Well, in case you haven’t guessed it yet, my answer to that question is NOPE!

When you are intentional about where you spend your money, you make better money decisions.

Living a stingy life is about budgeting and making plans for your money. It is all about making your money do what you want and need it to do.

Now, it is definitely possible to take the idea of living stingily too far, and end up on the cheap side. If you are so focused on saving money, and not spending anything EVER, then it can get to the “bad side” of stingy.

In your efforts to cut back spending, and live more within your means, don’t let your money goals get in the way of the people around you and the experiences you can have.

There is definitely a balance that needs to be found. Only you can find it for your own life. 

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Pros and Cons of living Stingy


A Working Budget

Having a budget that works for you, and your family, is going to be central in your efforts to live more stingy.

A working budget will allow you to plan for expenses, both now and in the future, which will allow you to succeed in your goal to live more stingy.

Reach Financial Goals

As you start cutting back on your personal expenses, you will see that you are able to free up money in your budget.

Yes you will “lose” some ability to spend without thinking. But you will be able to devote that money in your budget to your financial goals–such as getting out of debt, building your emergency fund, saving for retirement, etc.

As you reach these financial goals, you will experience freedom from financial stress. This is what I hope for all families, especially since so many are living paycheck to paycheck.

RELATED ARTICLE: What to do when you are tired of living Paycheck to Paycheck

Save More Money

When you adopt a stingy living lifestyle, you really are prioritizing your efforts to spend less and save more. This means that you WILL save more money. 

Finding ways to save in every day life will reap big rewards as small amounts add up over time.

RELATED ARTICLE: Frugal Living Tips from the Great Depression
Creative Ways to Save Money


You Will Need to Make a Change

Let’s be honest, change is hard. Whether you are trying to work out, eat more healthy or get a handle on your finances, change is never easy.

And starting to live a stingy lifestyle is no different. It will require you to make some changes in your spending habits, maybe in your entertainment and eating habits too (for instance if you eat out all the time). 

Making changes in how you live your life (and money is a big part of that) will take time. It can, and probably will, be hard at times. But if you stick with it, it will get easier.

Helping Others Understand

We don’t live life in a vacuum. We are faced with situations and decisions that involve other people ALL. THE TIME.

And, it will probably happen that your efforts to cut back will need to be expressed to some people outside of your family.

Whether this is for a meal that is being shared, a group gift or any other type of money question. Just explain to them that you are working on some financial goals and are therefore not spending quite so much at this time.

You can still be part of things and will contribute what you can, but don’t plan to go “all in” for while.

Ideas for Living Stingy

Create Your Budget

The first step in this journey to live more frugally is to set up a budget that works for you. You can’t know where to trim and cut expenses if you don’t know what those expenses are or where your money is going.

budget plan

Don’t let your hard earned cash just slip through your fingers!

Taking the time to set up your budget is going to help you succeed. And, as you succeed, your budget will work better for you. It is definitely a positive cycle of success.

Here is where you can get some help to get started:
Beginners Guide to Budgeting
Budgeting with Bi-Weekly Paychecks
Sample Budget

Set Financial Goals

Okay, what is the point of changing your money habits if you don’t have a plan for what your new habits will accomplish? Set your financial goals.

The beautiful thing about personal finance, and creating a personal/family budget, is that it is PERSONAL. This means that you get to decide what your financial goals are and how to accomplish them.

Do you want to get out of debt? max out retirement accounts? buy a house (or pay your mortgage off early)? save for kids college? Go on a family trip to Hawaii? The choice really is yours. So decide what you want to do, and make your plan for getting there!

Get Money Back When Shopping

One of the easiest ways to save money is to take advantage of free money. And the simplest way to do that is to get cash back for shopping!

When grocery shopping, there are two apps that I love to use to get cash back. I use both of these because I am rewarded for doing my regular shopping.

The first is Ibotta. Ibotta is super easy to use. Just open the app, scan your receipt and submit. The app will then go through the items on your receipt and match your purchases to current deals being offered within the app. You get automatic cash back that, over time, results in real money you can use for other things.

Start your FREE Ibotta account here!

Once I have scanned my receipt into Ibotta, I will then double-dip my savings and scan my receipt in the Fetch Rewards app.

Again, Fetch rewards is super easy to use. You scan the receipt and the app matches what you purchased to current deals.

The difference with Fetch, though, is that you are given points for the items you purchased.

As these points add up, you can trade them in for gift cards to popular stores like Target, Amazon, Wal-Mart and more.

I love to save up the gift cards and use them for birthday and Christmas gifts.

Get started with your own Fetch Rewards here!

The last savings program I love is Rakuten (Formerly Ebates). 

If you haven’t used Rakuten before, it is super easy use! (By the way, I love easy ways to get money back, in case you haven’t noticed).

To use Rakuten you can either go to their website first, enter in the store you plan to shop at, and then click through to the store’s website. Rakuten will automatically apply your cash back offers as you shop like normal!

Alternatively, you can add the Rakuten button/extension to your browser. When you get to a website where Rakuten has cash back or coupon deals, the button will light up letting you know you can activate the deals. And then you can shop like normal!

You can sign up for a FREE Rakuten account here. Plus, when you spend your first $25 with Rakuten, you will automatically get an additional $10 bonus. Talk about a win win!

Sign Up for your FREE Rakuten account here!

Seriously, it couldn’t be easier. Saving money for shopping like your normally would is one of my favorite was to live stingy!

Check your Subscriptions

In this modern world, subscriptions are EVERYWHERE and so easy to sign up for. But is it possible you have subscriptions that you aren’t even using?

Taking a good look at what subscriptions you are paying for, and how much you are actually using them, is important. There is no point in wasting money on things that you aren’t actually using.

And, if you need to cut back on expenses, subscriptions are the perfect place to start because most of the time they really are in the “want” category.

We have had a couple subscriptions that we have paid for and rarely used. While the monthly amount wasn’t the big ($7.99 a month and $10 a month), over time that small amount adds up to be hundreds of wasted dollars!

When you are trying to limit personal expenses and really be stingy with where your money goes, unused subscriptions should be the first thing to go!

Become a Frugal Grocery Shopper

It is so easy for a family’s food budget to get out of control! Food is definitely one of the biggest monthly budget expenses.

But if you take the time to learn how to meal plan, and really save money on groceries, you will find you are saving a lot of money in your monthly budget. 

tips to save on groceries for living stingy

Some of my favorite ways to be a frugal grocery shopper include:

Using cash back apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards

Meal Planning for my family’s meals

Buying the generic product versus the name brand item.

For more ideas on how to be a frugal grocery shopper, check out this post: How to save money on groceries

Live Below Your Means

To adopt a stingy living life, you will need to learn how to live below your means. What does that mean?

It means that in any given month, you spend less than the income you bring in. This is where having a budget, tracking your spending, and looking for ways to cut expenses really comes in.

Living below your means will allow you to save more– letting you be prepared for financial emergencies, and reach your financial goals. And it is all part of the living stingy life.

Declutter and Sell

Let’s be honest, most of us have items around the house that we no longer use, want or need. Those items could help bring in some money for your financial goals.

With tools like Facebook marketplace, Ebay, Craigslist, Mercari and so many others, selling our unwanted items has never been easier. You can even arrange to have a garage sale, if you have enough that you need to declutter. 

We have had lots of success selling items on Facebook from furniture, toys and random household items. It really can be a great way to bring in a couple hundred dollars in a short amount of time.

Learn How to do Small House Fixes/Repairs

This might be my favorite way for living stingy. Thanks to sites like YouTube and Google, learning how to do small house repairs has never been easier.

If something in your home breaks or needs replacing, rather than immediately calling a professional to do the job, research the problem online and see if you can figure out how to do it yourself.

Sometimes calling a professional plumber or electrician or any other specialist is necessary. But often it isn’t. We have learned how to replace light fixtures, make small repairs to our toilet, replace sink faucets and lots of other small home repairs.

Calling in a professional for any of those projects would cost us at least $100 of their time, when it only took us a few minutes to figure out and learn how to do. 

Trust me, learning how to do small home repairs yourself can save you hundreds, if not thousands. You do not have to become a full DIY-er, but some basic know-how will benefit you in the long run.

Determine Between Wants and Needs

Sometimes cutting back on spending can be hard, especially if we haven’t had to really think about it before. But the goal is to be intentional with where our money goes, and stingy with how we spend it for ourselves.

When you are going through your list of expenses, ask yourself, for every budget item, if it is a want or a need. If it is a want, consider getting rid of it.

If you are out shopping and see something you like, ask if it is a want or a need.

I’m not saying you can never get the things you want. I’m saying to be focused on your goals, and be willing to sacrifice some small wants now, so you can achieve the bigger goals and wants later. If it is a want, but it is worth it to you to spend money on, then by all means! Just make the decision on purpose.

Limiting the amount of money we spend on things we just want, versus need, will probably free up some money every month that can go towards those bigger goals.

Why Consider Living Stingy

So all these ideas are great, but why should you consider living stingy?

Well, do you have debt you are trying to payoff? Do you need to get out of the living paycheck to paycheck cycle? Or do you have some big financial goals you want to meet–like maxing out retirement or saving for a house or a big family vacation?

hands of couple holding piggy bank and saving money for living stingy

Adopting a stingy lifestyle will help you reach all of those goals faster. Living stingy is all about saving money instead of spending it. Finding ways to maximize the money that you bring home each month, and making it stretch as far as it will go.

So if you do have some goals for your money, living stingy might be the perfect way to get on track with those goals.

And remember, it doesn’t have to be forever. You might use these tips for a short time to make progress towards your goals. Or you may find, after a while, that living stingy isn’t so bad and you want to keep it up. It is totally up to you.

Final Thoughts on Living Stingy

I hope this article has helped you see that stingy isn’t necessarily bad, when applied to personal finance. In fact, living stingy, when applied the right way, can be a great way to get ahead on your financial goals.

I challenge you to use these tips and tricks and see how you like them.

Have you tried living stingy? What is your best tip for success? Let me know in the comments below. 

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