On the rare occasion I pay for a cup of coffee with cash, I get a little excited. Paying with cash generally means I’ll get some change back, and I’ll put that money in a piggy bank. I also have another reaction in this scenario: As I accept the change from the cashier, I often have to pass my hand over a tip jar, into which I will drop zero coins. “Man,” I think to myself, as I zip shut my coin purse. “I’m a little cheap.”
This isn’t to say I don’t tip or never add anything to those jars, but I generally keep the change at the coffee counter. The change in that piggy bank adds up to about $50 a year, which isn’t much. I wouldn’t miss it, but I still have no intention of kicking this penny-pinching habit.
At least I’m not alone in my weirdness. A lot of people have their own money-saving quirks, and I figured there were some pretty good ones that needed to be shared. I put the question to my social network — it’s not particularly diverse and consists mostly of people under the age of 40, to be honest — and I got some interesting answers. Here are some of my favorite examples of extreme frugality:
The Electricity Saver: “I unplug my microwave when not in use in order to save the electricity used to keep the small digital clock running. I save less than 30¢ per month in electricity costs, but it doesn’t stop me from doing it.”— Eric
The Laundry Lover: “We used to tear dryer sheets in half and only use one half sheet per load when I was younger.” — Tammy
The Paper Pilferer: “We have all taken the extra soap and shampoo from hotels, but I found a new level of cheapness when I found that my wife was taking the extra roll of toilet paper from the hotel room, too.” — Brian
The Cold: “I didn’t turn my heat on in my apartment for 2 years because I didn’t want to pay for it, and the building was new enough that I didn’t really need it as long as I had blankets to snuggle in and my electric mattress pad.” — Erin
The ‘Old’: “I’ve been using a senior citizen metro card on the weekends, because it saves metro money.” — Chris
That dryer sheet one is kind of genius. Do you really need the whole dryer sheet? I’m going to start cutting my dryer sheets.
Maybe saving 30 cents by unplugging your microwave doesn’t sound worth it to you, but there are good tips to be learned from others’ cheapness. Being “cheap” isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it could help you live within your means (i.e. stay out of debt).
You can also save larger sums of money by improving your credit. Sound weird? It shouldn’t — the average borrower pays $279,002 in interest over the course of a lifetime. But improving your credit score just a little bit can cut that cost significantly. You can check your credit scores for free on Credit.com to see where you stand.
Do you have any good “cheap” habits? Share them in the comments or with us on Twitter at @creditexperts.
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