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If you notice a dent in your bank account, a typical reaction is to take a step or two to save and improve the situation, if not putting a stop to it altogether.
But being a few dollars away from being broke doesn’t have to be your cue to make a wise financial decision. Heck, you should decide to wake up one morning and out of the blue, choose to save a dollar or more.
Going cheapskate is one of those shifts that are totally hard to adjust to if you’ve been living a spendthrift kind of lifestyle.
The good news is you don’t have to make any significant changes first. And, depending on the cheapskate tactic you prefer, you may live a frugal life without even noticing it.
It does help to identify unnecessary expenditures that you waste your money on to make your money-saving venture easier.
You may think that saving money means missing out on all the fun. On the contrary, trying it out and sticking to it is simpler if you have some motivation now and then. Getting support from your loved ones and friends is another technique that you should employ.
Regardless of your reason for choosing the frugal path, here are some extreme cheapskates money hacks that you can apply:
1. Bathe Using a Bucket
Granted, showering is one of the most relaxing practices, especially if the water is warm. Its most significant drawback, however, is so much water is wasted during a shower!
Even if you decide to go all economical and open the shower only when you need it, let’s face reality: showers emit so much water. Probably more than a faucet does.
If you’re hell-bent on saving some cash, this is one of the habits you should break. Embrace bathing with water from a bucket instead.
There are many ways you can get this water for your bath, but here are some common ones. First, and the most recommended: harvest rainfall. If you’re living in an area that regularly experiences rainfall, don’t let that precious water go to waste.
You could also fill your bucket with water from a faucet. To avoid unnecessary hassle, use the tap in your bathroom.
Bathing from a bucket may seem backwards but it’s not. Aside from helping you avoid spending so much on the water bill, it has several other perks.
You Can Wash Up Quickly
Showering has a way of relaxing the body. You could enjoy it the whole day were it not putting the water wastage factor into consideration.
Bucket bathing, on the other hand, helps you focus. Once the water in the bucket is up, you know your bath time is over.
It Can Be Done Almost Anywhere
The limit to where you can clean yourself is almost zero. You only need to ensure that you’re living alone, or have some privacy at least, before deciding to take a bath anywhere else apart from the bathroom.
2. Don’t Flush for Number One
Most people flush their toilets after taking a leak. For the majority, it’s a habit they picked up as they were growing up.
Others just want to keep their toilet clean and avoid the disgusting smell of urine. An easy way to treat this problem if it exists for you is by staying hydrated.
Considering the number of times the average person pisses, plus the gallons of water that go to waste with each flush, you should give it up if you do it.
If you feel uncomfortable for not flushing after answering number one, there are a couple of techniques you could give a shot.
Pee into a water bottle and safely get rid of it. Gross? How about looking for a secluded place and doing your business from there?
Depending on your creativity, and how far you’re willing to go to make it work, you can save on water. And, you can empty your bladder faster and more conveniently than you can imagine.
This may work if you live alone. If you have kids, you could educate them on the beauty of flushing only when necessary if they’re older.
Here are some tips you can use to spend less water during flushing:
- Clean your toilet bowl, especially if you need to flush twice for one go. It’s an indicator of a buildup of limescale under the bowl rim.
- Go for a better toilet model. If you’re using an older toilet, consider replacing it with the compositing or low-flow model.
- Place a brick in your toilet tank. Do it only after getting the go-ahead from a certified plumber.
3. Take Great Care of Your Stuff
We all dream of owning this or having that. To most of us, it becomes so much of an obsession that the rest of the items we own don’t matter at all.
It’s okay to replace your item if it has reached its expiry date. Replacing it for the fun of it, on the other hand, is another story.
Before replacing anything that you own or buying something that you want, ask yourself if you need it. Most of the time, the answer is no.
Why not take extra care of what you already have? The logic is proper care extends lifespans. Therefore, you won’t have to replace it any time soon. Besides, replacing it may cost you more.
And, there’s an advantage of caring for your items. You’re caring for yourself indirectly. This is especially true if the item is a prized possession.
Even if you own tones of stuff, especially appliances, caring for them is achievable. Start by using a home and auto maintenance checklist and go through it regularly.
Using a checklist is convenient. It not only maintains the excellent condition of your appliances, but it minimizes electric wastage as well.
Don’t fret about spending too much checking if everything is in top condition. It takes roughly two minutes to carry out inspection.
Also, by taking care of your stuff, you’re caring for the environment as well. Rarely replacing items means that a fewer number of them end up in landfills. In the case of most appliances, spending less energy means you burn less fossil fuel.
4. Live Within Your Means
Be satisfied with what you have. Sure, it may not be as cool or flashy as what someone you envy has, but the beauty is it’s yours.
Additionally, don’t compare your financial lifestyle with anyone else’s. If they prefer splurging money, you don’t have to play that game, even if you’re financially capable of it.
What they won’t tell you (and it’s pretty much common sense) is wasting money has some serious consequences in the long run.
If you’re faking it with the hope of making it, the biggest problem you’ll eventually face is debt after debt. Worse, you run the risk of being bankrupt.
Take things easy. Live within your means despite the pressure.
It’s got plenty of advantages. Here are some of them:
First, you don’t have to hire a cleaner to do the cleaning for you. Since you’re living in a reasonably-sized house, you can get the cleaning done yourself.
If you have a family, your spouse or older kids can help out too.
Second, if you have your friends or family over, they don’t expect much from you. A simple meal and chat do the trick.
Third, having fewer items means you attract fewer taxes from the government. Plus, tax payment is much easier.
Fourth, a simple life attracts very little attention. People who live in a large house and live an expensive lifestyle continuously put themselves at risk.
Lastly, insurance and fees costs for a smaller house and economy car are impressively lower than for a mansion and a top-of-the-range car.
5. Eat Your Leftovers
If you’re looking to save money as well as survive on a tight budget, munching on your leftovers is a habit you should pick up immediately.
Store them in your fridge and eat them later. If possible, put them into your food to enhance the taste.
There’s a limit to the leftovers you can eat, though. It shouldn’t go beyond three to four days without you consuming it. Otherwise, it might have some severe consequences on your health.
What’s more, you need to pay extra attention to the type of leftover you choose to eat. If it has been in the open air for too long, heat it first to kill the bacteria, then store it.
Eating leftovers does have some benefits. Here are the most obvious ones:
It’s a Time Saver
Leftovers are already cooked. So if you need a quick meal before heading out, all you need to do is heat it, eat what you need, and you’re good to go.
The Options are Endless
You don’t have to eat the reheated leftovers as they are. If you’ve got a leftover pizza, you can turn it into a crouton or omelet. For brisket or leftover chicken, shredded or pulled meat is a cool alternative.
Depending on what you have and your preference, you can make a meal of your choice.
They are Tastier
As compared to fresh food, leftovers have a more pleasant taste. Their water content is lower. Hence the flavor is enhanced. Plus, you don’t have to add salt for foods that need salt to improve their taste.
6. Avoid Disposable Diapers
Disposable diapers have played a significant role ever since they were introduced. They are convenient, come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be used by almost every type of person.
For parents, disposable diapers are a lifesaver. They, especially mothers, don’t have to bleach and wash reusable nappies. It’s worse if you have to wait for a wet nappy to dry on a cold day so you can put it on your baby.
Even though disposable diapers have plenty of advantages, they have drawbacks as well.
First, they can be expensive. On average, a baby uses 7-8 diapers in a day. Worse, prices vary. Some brands are costlier than others. Before you come across the right product for your little one, you’d have done quite some research.
Second, diaper rash or skin rash is highly likely if your baby puts on a wet diaper for a long time. These rashes cause discomfort for the baby.
Third, potty training will be harder for babies who are used to putting on diapers. They’re used to releasing their waste without any restrictions. If you as a parent don’t start potty training your baby early, it might take a while for them to adjust.
Fourth, babies’ skins are sensitive. Using just any type of diaper can have effects on their skin. Certain synthetic materials that improve the absorbency of diapers, dyes, and gels can be a cause of skin allergy.
They are also a hazard to the environment. Research shows that many diapers with paper, urine, feces, and other waste are dumped in landfills and rivers every year.
7. Use a Programmable Thermostat
Air conditioning and temperature regulation are essential details in every homeowner’s home. Not only in saving money, but in providing a conducive atmosphere as well.
An ordinary HVAC system may be helpful, but it’s limited in the area of cutting down on electric use.
That’s why you need a programmable thermostat or clock thermostat. It helps you control the temperature of your home automatically.
Programmable thermostats have many benefits. Some of them are: they provide a consistent temperature despite the season. Plus, most models can be controlled through devices such as a laptop. And you spend less time adjusting them.
Various thermostats provide various programming options. The most common ones are:
- The 5-1-1 programming schedule which allows you to program three schedules: one for the entire week and one for each day of the weekend.
- The 1-Week programming schedule that enables you to program a single schedule for the whole week. It works best for you if you’re always at home.
- The 7-Day Programming schedule that enables you to program a different schedule for every day of the week.
- The 5-2 Programming provides a single schedule for Monday through Friday and one for Saturday and Sunday.
If you’re away from home the whole day, here are some thermostat tips to help you make the most of your programmable thermostat.
Firstly, turn up your thermostat 30 minutes before you wake up in the morning.
Secondly, program your thermostat to turn on 20 to 30 minutes before you arrive home in the evening.
Thirdly, lower your thermostat an hour before you go to bed.
8. Wash Your Hands
Washing hands is a practice that many, if not all people, have heard about, but that very few people take seriously. Some limit handwashing to just before having a meal while a few wash them after visiting the toilet.
Giving your hands a good wash regularly is an easy way to stay away from infections, and from the hospital in general.
Even if you wash your hands regularly, how you wash them, and what you use to dry them play a massive role in the success of your efforts.
Bacteria and viruses are everywhere. In fact, even though you might be the kind of person who showers daily, there are germs living on your skin as well as inside you.
They also live in surfaces that we frequently touch like our toothbrushes, cell phones, and shopping carts.
There are many ways through which germs are transferred to your hands. The common ones are: when you visit the toilet, after you sneeze or cough and when you handle your dog or cat.
So how should you wash your hands if you want to enjoy maximum protection against germs? Simple.
- Wet your hands with warm running water as you rub them with soap.
- Thoroughly rub your hands together. Pay attention to the areas under your nails and the back of your hands.
- Scrub them thoroughly for not less than 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands to get rid of the dirt, soap, and germs.
Afterward, use a clean paper towel or hand dryer to dry them. You may use hand sanitizers in place of soap and water if they aren’t available.
However, using sanitizers alone isn’t as effective as when you combine them with soap and water.
9. Avoid the Mall
The mall is a beautiful and convenient place to do some shopping. Many shops are housed in a single complex, which makes it possible for you to find just about anything there, from clothes to appliances to shoes.
If you’ve got a car, don’t worry about parking space. Most malls provide plenty of it, whether for free or for a nominal fee.
Plus, it’s bound to have lots of enthusiastic shoppers, which makes it a number one hang out spot for you if you’re looking to make new friends.
As much as malls are cool, they should be a no-go zone for you if you’re on a tight budget or if you’re looking to save some green.
They do have their fair share of disadvantages too, the main one being overcrowding, that makes it challenging to shop.
If you’re aged, finding your way around can prove to be a challenge, especially during holidays and at the weekends.
Malls do have a smart way of attracting customers. Their items are latest in the market and appealing, which is a bad thing for you if you’re hoping to live frugally.
Having a shopping list with you is alright, but it’s no guarantee that it’ll keep you from buying stuff that you don’t need.
There are many better and more time-saving options that you can choose in place of a mall like a thrift store.
Also, if you have a hobby that encourages you to shop, cancel it. They include baseball card collecting, collecting art, and golfing.
10. Wear Clothes More Than Once Before Washing Them
This doesn’t apply to garments such as underwear and socks. You may be a clean freak, and it’s okay, but let’s face the facts here.
There’s no way that a working adult gets the time to do laundry every single day. If you’re an adult and you manage to pull this off, think of the detergent, water and probably electricity that you waste.
Some clothes such as jeans and sweaters can be worn more than once without you having to wash them. The only catch is you need to maintain their state of cleanliness.
It may sound disgusting, but wearing your clothes a couple of times before washing them is, in fact, a good thing. You’re helping to increase their life by avoiding the wear and tear that comes as a result of frequent washing.
How is it possible to re-wear clothes without suffering the possibility of reeking of sweat and other unpleasant body odors? It sounds impossible more so if you sweat a lot.
Quick tip: to avoid excess sweating and smelly sweat, shave the hair on your armpits and pubic area as soon as it grows.
Here are some other hygiene tips that you should try out if you’d like to start wearing your clothes more than once.
- Apply some antiperspirant at night after your shower. This allows it to stick to your skin and keep off the sweat.
- Hang your clothes out in the sun to kill bacteria.
- Sniff your clothes. If they smell of BO or body sweat, that’s the signal to throw them into your laundry basket.
- Bathe regularly.
- Invest in cloth brands that absorb odors.
It’s Worth the Sacrifice
The toughest part of the most profitable ventures isn’t starting them, but sticking to them. The cheapskate’s way of life isn’t a path that many people are willing to take, at least not willingly.
It’s no wonder that most people struggle with their finances. You are privileged to have all you need to transform your life for the better at your disposal.
It seems hard now, but when you think of all you stand to gain, it’s definitely worth the sacrifice.
You don’t need to start it immediately. Give yourself some time to adjust, and when you do make a positive step ahead, even if it may be a small one, congratulate yourself.
The fact that you’ve decided to adjust your lifestyle proves that you have what it takes to succeed. Stay strong no matter what happens, and the financial victory will be yours.