Hello, I’m a cheapskate. Oh wait, are you one too? Let’s be friends. Honestly, I’m only a cheapskate because I like money so much and I’m willing to bet that you like having more money too! What does it mean to be a cheapskate though? And how do you develop a cheapskate mindset? Well, let me share a few outrageous ways that I have thought of to save your money (that I may or may not have tried in my life).

Order tap water at restaurants

Wine? Juice? Pop at restaurants? Why pay for sugar water? Why pay for something you can get significantly cheaper at the supermarket? It’s also extra calories that you easily consume. Maybe the only time I would consider not getting tap water is when the restaurant I go to charges for tap water (yes, I’ve been to those restaurants). In that case, I’d rather drink still water or sparkling water but save yourself $5 every single meal by drinking tap water.

Condiments? Get them from fast food places

I’m convinced that many of the fast food joints switched over to having customers squeeze ketchup into a plastic open carton because too many of its customers were stealing the packets of ketchup (and potentially refilling their own bottles at home). Can you still get packets of ketchup, vinegar, mustard, salt and sugar? Yes you can so if you’re going to a fast food place, coffee shop, etc., grab a few extra packets at home.

Need new clothing? Shop the outlets.

These days, if you need new clothing but don’t like to shop in person at any of the outlet malls, you can shop online – many of the big brands have a section called ‘sale’ or ‘outlet’ where they sell many of their goods at a discounted price. Wherever you live, there may also be consignment shops or second hand stores where you can get really good quality clothing or goods at a discounted price.

Want to do more reading? Get a damn library card or hang out at the bookstore (but don’t pay for the books)

A library card is probably one of the greatest investments of time or money that you can make – I don’t know for your local library but I know for mine, you can borrow books but a ton of other things as well including music CDs, movies, video games, audiobooks, digital items like comics, learning accounts such as Lynda and much, much more. If you’re even too cheap to get a library card (though I think many libraries will give you a free or heavily discounted card if you don’t have a lot of income), you can go to your local bookstore to read books. I tried to do this at a Chapters one time and they didn’t like me sitting on the floor reading but they were okay with me standing and reading 🙂

Don’t want to pay for a meal? Bundle your grocery shopping and meal all at once

A lot of the local supermarkets that I visit have samples around meal time (usually lunch). Places like Costco, T&T, sometimes even Superstore or Save On Foods. It’s another thing to have a membership at Costco of course but the other places you can get into for free and try out samples (or many samples) to keep you going for another meal.

Don’t want to pay for toilet paper? Visit the mall.

Okay, I didn’t think this would be a thing but after visiting places like Hong Kong and China where they don’t even have toilet paper in any public stalls, I realized that people were probably stealing toilet paper so that they could use it for themselves. I’m seriously appalled by this and at the same time, thinking about how I could use this to my own advantage in western countries.

Share expenses with others

Need to purchase an expensive birthday gift for someone? Try to see if there’s someone else that will go in with you. Need to use some expensive tools for one time use (e.g., drills, car jacks) – see if you can borrow from your friends and then treat them to a nice dinner. It’s certainly less expensive than you buying it yourself.

Wash your own clothes

You don’t need expensive laundry detergent – you can just buy shampoo and wash your dirty clothes in your own tub or sink. If you live in an apartment, you probably have to spend a few dollars each time you wash – well no more! Just do it yourself and save a few dollars – you can even do it while you shower to save on water.

Get in a good work out at your local playground

The playground has all the equipment you need to do almost any body weight exercise you can think of – pullups, incline situps, etc. Even better, you can do pushups and situps almost anywhere so why even pay for a gym membership?

Re-use bags or use empty boxes

They’re starting to charge for the use of plastic bags at the supermarkets! $0.02 for each bag! What an atrocity. Save that money by bringing your own bags or using the supermarket’s empty boxes. Why pay money when you can help the supermarket throw out boxes that they will probably throw out anyway?

Seriously – being a cheapskate can be hard work but the few extra dollars you save a year may be worth it. Or not. Completely up to you.