15 Cheapskate Behaviors That Are Honestly Worth Adopting

Uncover the frugal secrets that turn penny-pinching into a smart and rewarding lifestyle.

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Updated July 11, 2024
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Cheapskates find plenty of ways to save extra cash, knowing that every little bit adds up to big savings.

While you may not want to go to the extremes that cheapskates might, you can adopt frugal habits to help you get ahead financially.

Check out these hidden habits of cheapskates to learn a few tips on saving money.

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Get a water bottle

Girts/Adobe man refilling his water bottle

It’s OK to splurge on a nice water bottle if you’re going to use it to save money.

Using a water bottle means you don’t have to spend money on bottled water, which lets you keep more cash in your wallet and less plastic in landfills. You can also replace expensive sodas and juices with water instead.

Don’t upgrade so often

SHOTPRIME STUDIO/Adobe young man looks at phone screen

You might want to get the newest electronics, such as smartphones or tablets, even though you already have one that works well. But are you really missing out on anything if you wait another year or two?

Skip the costly upgrade when what you already own is still operating well. It’s better to hold on to those items that are still working than constantly spending cash every time you want to upgrade.

Buy a smaller house

davidberrio/Adobe family enter their new home

Sometimes, you might need that extra bedroom for your growing family or more space to work from home. But you can also find smaller places that fulfill your needs without going overboard.

A smaller home will cost less and be more affordable in terms of maintenance or everyday costs like utilities. You'll likely also pay less in property taxes and can avoid costly home repairs on smaller, more affordable houses.

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Try it

Put quality over quantity

Kalim/Adobe girl friends shopping for clothes

It can be tough to buy an expensive item on a limited budget, but a cheapskate knows where to spend money properly.

These include items like shoes, clothes, or home goods that could be a little more expensive but will last you much longer.

Do the math when it comes to different purchases and consider splurging a little more on things like new boots or a new sofa in exchange for not constantly spending money to replace them.

Try used before new

Rawpixel.com/Adobe woman buying housewares at a second hand shop

There are plenty of places to sell your used items and make extra money, but those places are also great spots to save money on purchases.

Consider buying something used instead of new, especially if you can find unique items or give like-new things a new life for less money than buying them straight out of the box.

Cook at home more

nenetus/Adobe woman cooking while using phone

Cheapskates aren’t afraid to stay home for dinner since the cost of eating out regularly can add up. Using delivery services can also be more expensive.

Instead, try cooking at home more, which can save you money and help you build your cooking skills. Try new dishes or learn how to make your favorites so you don’t spend money on takeout.

Skip the impulse buys

_KUBE_/Adobe woman takes food from top shelf

You may want to wander local shops to find something to buy or go online and select several items before quickly pressing the “Buy” button.

But these impulse buys can add up, so try to avoid them. Make a list of what you need before shopping and then stick to it so you don’t overspend, or let the items sit in your online cart for a few days to decide if you need them.

Review fees

M Stocker/Adobe mechanic shaking hands with woman

When was the last time you looked over your bills instead of just paying them? Cheapskates aren’t afraid to get on the phone and haggle for a better deal.

Check your cable, internet, and cell phone bills to see if your providers have snuck in extra fees you shouldn’t be paying. Call providers and ask them to remove those fees. It might save you a little each month, but those extra dollars can add up.

Go for a walk

Monkey Business/Adobe senior couple power walking

Gym memberships can be expensive, and getting out of those contracts is hard. You also may not be using it often enough to justify the costs.

You can cancel that membership and start doing more outdoor activities like walking or hiking. You can also try free exercise videos to replace classes you may have been paying for to get healthier.

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Find cheap or free local events

Melani/Adobe musician playing guitar

Cheapskates are always on the lookout for affordable entertainment. You may have to do a little digging, but there are probably places near you that have free or low-cost entertainment.

You can save money at your local movie theater on days or times when ticket prices are reduced. Additionally, you can check out your community’s calendar for events or concerts that may be cheap or free. 

You could also check with local museums to see if they have free events, during which you can enjoy their collections without paying to enter.

Work from home

AntonioDiaz/Adobe Woman working from home with child in lap

Commuting can be tedious, frustrating, and expensive. Try to get a job where you can work from home or talk to your employer about telecommuting. 

You can save on gas and any extras, like coffee or lunch at your office.

Pay off your debt

Prostock-studio/Adobe man calculating taxes

One of the hidden issues with debt is the extra cost you can incur from interest.

It’s a good idea to pay off things like credit cards in full so you don’t rack up interest. You also may want to pay off debt with a high interest rate or see if you can get a lower rate.

Cancel subscriptions

Donson/peopleimages.com/Adobe couple working on budget

You may have a subscription to a hobby box that shows up each month with items you might like, or you may have streaming services that you pay for.

Try to cancel some of these subscriptions to save more money. Streaming services, for example, are charged per month, so you can rotate your services and only pay for one each month.

Sell your stuff

zinkevych/Adobe woman holding a garage sale sign

It can be frustrating to look around your home and see things you don’t use anymore but that is still taking up space.

Declutter your life and stuff your wallet by selling some of your items. You can use online marketplaces to sell certain items or do an old-fashioned garage sale to get rid of things.

Drive a cheaper car

Mego-studio/Adobe man driving his car

Car prices have fluctuated in recent years, and you may find that even used car prices are higher than you expect.

You don’t have to buy a used car to get the most affordable option, but you should compare prices and avoid going overboard. 

Choose a reliable car you can afford so you can build your wealth with the money saved. A more affordable car may also help you save money on car insurance and personal property taxes.

Bottom line

peopleimages.com/Adobe budget planning with laptop

You don’t have to make big changes to save money. Sometimes, little cheapskate habits can give you enough extra money to help pay for your bills.

Try different habits to see which ones work for you, and don’t be afraid to fail if something doesn’t work. There are plenty of options that can fit into your budget.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.