Here's how to get back to being frugal.

3 minute read

Has the sentence “keep the change” never left your lips? Do people snicker at the sight of your tiny, no-frills stick-shift car? Did you buy most of your electronics equipment in the early 90s?

If so, you’re definitely a cheapskate. But don’t worry. You can change your cheapskate ways, a little at a time, with these radical steps.

Learn eight tips to loosen your tightwad grasp before the only place you see your friends is in the tiny rear-view mirror of your “just-the-basics” car.

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1. Buy a modern television

Why do you still have a 100-pound television with a back that sticks out? Oh, that’s right. Because you’re so cheap you haven’t bought a new television in the past 20 years.

Here’s some good news, though. Televisions come in “cheap,” and cheap is a language you understand. Nowadays, you can buy a decent 32-inch screen TV for $220 and hang it on the wall. Make your purchase on Black Friday and you can get an even better deal.

2. Leave a crazy generous tip

If you’ve never been able to bring yourself to tip 20% of the check – or any amount at all – you’ll need to take drastic action if you truly want to change your ways.

After you pay that $12 check, place $10 on the table and walk away. Just do it once to shock all the cheapskate body memory out of your system. You’ll make the server’s day and rack up good karma, too. Bonus karma points: Drop a twenty.

Find out: 6 Reasons Why Not Leaving a Tip Isn’t a Good Financial Strategy

3. Splurge on new underwear

Underwear can be pricey, especially to a cheapskate. But even if you’re not dating anyone, and only your cat eyes your stretched-out, embarrassing undies, sometimes you need to just throw those old undies away and buy some new ones.

Scrape together 30 bucks and buy bundled packages of underwear at a big-box store or online. New underwear puts a spring in your step and adds much-needed elasticity to your too-tight budget.

4. Pay the asking price at a yard sale

When you see a Pottery Barn lamp priced for $2 at a yard sale, do you ask if can have it for a dollar? Everybody likes to dicker, but sometimes the price is already a fantastic deal.

So, don’t haggle with the neighbor lady hosting a yard sale. Make her mad, and she’ll turn a blind eye to burglars climbing over your fence because you were too cheap to adopt a dog to scare prowlers away.

5. Buy someone lunch

Lots of people buy you lunch, but do you ever buy lunch for anyone? I think we all know the answer to that question. It’s your turn now, so unroll your napkin – and that wad of cash stashed in your pocket or purse.

You can still be semi-cheap while looking generous. Choose a restaurant with a buy-one-get-one-free offer or other lunch special. Then order an inexpensive item for yourself to lower the check amount.

6. Stop making your own laundry detergent

Unless you’re a lonesome prairie woman headed to the horse trough to scrub clothes on a washboard, you don’t need to cook up a batch of your own detergent. Not when the cost for brand-name laundry detergents comes to around 19 cents per load.

Instead, use detergent coupons, then buy that detergent on sale. Or just buy cheap detergent. That way,  you’ll free up time to delve into your soul and explore the origins of your cheapskate habits.

7. Sell things for a reasonable price

Are the prices of most items at your garage sale marked “firm?” If so, have fun hauling all that stuff back inside after the sale ends. Nobody will pay what your books are “worth,” and you’ll have to give that gargantuan 1990s entertainment center away, since no one will pay to haul it out of your house.

Cut your losses, let someone else enjoy your recliner, books or dog crate and move on with your life.

8. Pay for a pet sitter

As adorable as your dog is, your friends don’t want to get up earlier than usual or go to your house at 11 p.m. when it’s raining to let your puppy outside to pee. If friends or family volunteer or you have a pet-sitting exchange arrangement, great.

But don’t ask coworkers, neighbors, friends or family to give you a service that pet sitters charge a fee to perform. They get paid because it’s life-disrupting work. Hire a pet sitter or risk having phone calls to friends ignored on a regular basis until they can check their messages to sidestep pet-sitting requests.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

Published by Debt.com, LLC