How Living Stingy Helps Achieve Your Financial Goals Faster

Ashwin Honawar

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Living stingy ways to save money

Let’s face it. None of us want to be called stingy or known as a stingy woman or man. The word ‘stingy’ itself has negative connotations. When anyone is known as a stingy person, it generally means that they’re unwilling to share their money or resources with anyone.

It also implies that stingy persons are unwilling to spend money, including on basic stuff for their family and themselves. Most people avoid someone who’s stingy. The reason: they suspect that the stingy person would criticize them for buying something expensive or, that they’re always calculating money and look at everything from a money point of view.

While all this could be true to some extent, let’s get something clear. Stingy people aren’t really bad or poor. Nor are they interested in your money. They’re least concerned about how you spend your money. Yes, there could be times when a stingy person might tell you there was no need to pay a higher price for something that they got much cheaper.

It’s wrong to believe that stingy people do not spend on their family or themselves. In fact, they do take good care of their family, are superb housekeepers and shoppers and they spend on themselves too, though it would be much lesser than your personal expenses.

Actually, stingy persons are those who are careful about how they spend money while looking at getting the best value for everything they buy.

At the same time, stingy persons aren’t misers. There’s a vast difference.

Stingy v/s Miser

Definition of Stingy: A stingy person is usually unwilling to spend money and could seem cheap or ungenerous. They seem reluctant to spend even where spending could be justified or expected.

Definition of Miser: A miser is a person that hoards wealth while spending as little money as possible. They stretch this habit to the extremes. Often, it crosses borders of being stingy, frugality or thriftiness.

While being called as a stingy person it's generally negative, it doesn't necessarily define some personality trait or defect. It could simply refer to someone's behaviour in spending money in specific instances. They do not hoard money but are very cautious spenders.

However, being called a miser is much more negative than being called stingy. It implies a serious degree of penny-pinching behaviour. Miserliness is usually associated with a sheer lack of generosity or even selfishness. A miser has a psychological tendency to hoard money, often in unusual ways.

Therefore, if you’re going to live stingy, there’s nothing to worry about. While some people might look down upon your careful attitude on spending, others may wish to learn a few tips and tweaks from you.

When to Start Living Stingy?

Broadly speaking, we have all been stingy at some or the other point in our lives. We become stingy when we don’t have enough money at hand, in our bank account or adequate spending limit on credit cards. We need to pay for something that’s genuinely needed, such as food.

Yet, due to our financial situation, we spend little money buying something cheap and save the rest of the cash for other expenses. Generally, persons who are in huge debt are forced to live stingy till they repay.

They can’t afford to spend any way they wish since that could mean defaulting on debt repayment. This means, they spend only on bare needs and do not indulge in any impulsive buying or purchase stuff that’s not necessary.

We also have a third category of stingy persons that can be classified as minimalists. Let’s get this clear: All minimalists are not stingy. But most stingy people live a minimalist lifestyle.

Basically, minimalists are people that’re content to live with the bare minimum necessities, while cutting out unwanted stuff from their lives. They do so mainly as a way to simplify their life and not necessarily to save money.

For example, a minimalist might buy only one dress but that could cost a small fortune. In contrast, a stingy person would go for a cheap dress while a miser will not buy any and use the same one for a long time, though it’s in bad condition.

Therefore, there are no clear definitions or timelines for when you should start living stingy. It depends on your financial situation and needs.

Personally, I have lived stingy when posted in different parts of the world for my job because I did not want to overload myself with unnecessary stuff that’s hard to lug around. I would spend only on the bare minimum needs such as food, clothing, shelter, communications, transport and some entertainment.

Is It Worth Living Stingy?

This brings us to the question of whether living stingy could help achieve your financial goals faster. My honest answer is both yes, and no. That’s because it depends on several factors such as your current income, debt and other expenses, number of persons in your household and their ages, medical condition of family members, social status and so on.

However, if you do believe that living stingy could help achieve your financial goals faster, go ahead and give it a try. You could succeed because living stingy does help save some money that you would spend otherwise on various things.

In this article, I will describe 12 different ways to live stingy and save money that could help achieve your financial goals in 2024 and beyond. All these are time-tested and proven ways. Hence, feel free to use any or all of these.

Tips to Living Stingy to Achieving Financial Goals

Here are my 12 different ways to live stingy that could help achieve your financial goals. Before you use these ways, please remember that you won’t be able to curb all expenses or spend less on some.

For example, you can’t escape paying for the education of your kids or stop buying medicines for someone in the family who’s sick. However, you can use these ways and live stingy in other areas of your spending.

1. Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Rule No. 1 to start living stingy is to reduce credit card spending and wipe out credit card debt at the earliest. This could mean stepping up repayments to your credit card account. Stepping up credit card repayments might cause some financial issues for a few months.

However, the effort would surely give you good rewards. That’s because credit cards come with heavy interest on amounts that you don’t pay immediately and opt to carry forward. 

The more balance you carry forward, the higher the interest you pay. In some cases, you could end up paying as much as 28 per cent interest on unpaid credit card debts.

Also Read: How To Use a Credit Card? 12 Tips for First Time Users

2. Put Savings Before Expenses

living stingy by Putting Savings Before Expenses

There’s an old adage that says that income minus savings equals expenses. I agree with this wonderful rule and follow it to date. That means, I deduct a fixed amount of money, and quite a large portion too, from my monthly income and set it aside as my savings.

I pay for my food, clothing, shelter, communications, transport, entertainment, dining out and other such expenses from the money that remains. You might be surprised to know that I can save up to 50 per cent of my income by simply using this rule.

It is not difficult at all if you try. Often, we overspend from our income. By keeping aside a large amount from the income as savings, we learn to live with fewer things.

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3. The 50-30-20 Rule

The 50-30-20 Rule for living stingy and save money

Senator Elizabeth Warren in her famous book named ‘All Your Worth: Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan', speaks about the 50-30-20 rule. This is a fabulous way to live stingily and achieve financial goals faster if you can follow it seriously.

Under this rule, you have to work with your after-tax income. This income can be divided into three parts: one part is 50 per cent of your income, the second is 30 per cent and the last 20 per cent.

The 50 per cent portion of your income is to pay for all your basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, education and so on. The next 30 per cent is for meeting your wants such as buying something expensive or dining out. The balance of 20 per cent is savings. Try this plan and you will surely be able to save for future financial goals.

4. Eliminate Alcohol and Tobacco

Eliminate Alcohol and Tobacco

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2021, the average expense of “alcoholic beverages” was about $579 per year for American households. This works to roughly $48 per month. For tobacco products and smoking supplies, the annual expenditure was about $337, or approximately $28 per month.

This means you could be spending about $76 per month on alcohol and tobacco, if not more. If we calculate this amount for a year, it sums up to a healthy $912. That means, simply by cutting out your alcohol and tobacco expenses, you can save up to $912 per year.

If you can’t eliminate these expenses fully, there are still ways and means to reduce them by buying cheaper brands or reducing their consumption.

Also Read: 10 Simple Ways to Save Money while Drinking at Bars

5. Create Your Budget

Create Your Budget

Making a budget can help reduce and eliminate unwanted expenses or help you reduce spending in certain areas. Nowadays, we get superb budgeting apps for free and some on subscription.

You can allot a specific amount of money per week or per month on these apps, under various heads such as food, rent, utilities and others. These apps can be linked easily with your bank account, credit cards and debit cards.

They will provide an accurate reading of the money you’re spending daily, weekly and monthly, under any specific head. You can also set alerts and limits. That means, if you’re crossing a spending limit under any head, the app warns you. That way, you know where you’re spending too much and can reduce it.

6. Shop with Coupons & Discount Codes

Shop with Coupons & Discount Codes

Millions of Americans use coupons and discount codes while shopping for groceries and other household stuff. Then there’re millions that don’t use these things and end up paying more. If you’re among those Americans that’s not using coupons and discount codes, I suggest that you start doing so immediately.

Using these coupons and discount codes, it’s possible to slash your shopping bills by anything between five per cent and 20 per cent per month.

Some stores offer weekly or even daily coupons and discount codes for online and offline purchases. Compare prices and if you find them cheaper with coupons and discount codes, use them by all means.

Also Read: 25 Best Free Online Coupon Websites for Extra Saving

7. Get Cashbacks

Get Cashbacks

There are various websites and apps that offer cashbacks on your shopping., are some such websites and apps that you can use for free.

They work in two ways. The first is that you can shop directly through these apps and websites on their featured stores and get hefty discounts as well as cashbacks. The other is to upload your bills from accepted stores on these apps, using the camera and features provided on the app.

The company will calculate and provide you some cashback which can range between two or three percent to a superb 10 percent per bill. These apps are available free of cost.

8. Get Shopping Vouchers

Get Shopping Vouchers

Completing paid online surveys and other simple tasks over a computer or mobile is the surest way to get free shopping vouchers. Swagbucks, and InboxDollars are some of the famous websites that offer paid online surveys and other simple tasks such as ad reviews or watching small videos.

They reward you with points. These points have a value in real cash. When you collect enough reward points, it’s possible to redeem them for free shopping coupons on top online stores including Amazon, Target, Walmart and Kohl’s, among others.

Usually, you can ask for a payout when you have $5 worth of reward points and get a free shopping coupon worth that amount.

9. Hoard Your Change

Hoard Your Change

Millions of Americans simply toss their change down drains and sewers, empty places or elsewhere. According to reports, Americans waste a whopping $60 million worth of change or coins by throwing them away instead of collecting them.

These coins are wasted. People throw them away to avoid the hassle of carrying coins or change in their pockets or purses. The next time you get some change, collect the coins in a jar a pot or a box.

You will be amazed at the amount these coins will add up to over a period of a year or even less. These coins can be exchanged at your bank or credit union if you sort them and roll them in paper properly. The money goes into your account and can prevent waste.

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10. Minimize Dining Out

Minimize Dining Out

All of us enjoy dining out with family or spouses. However, dining out is often expensive. While I’m not asking you to eliminate dining out altogether, you can live stingy and help achieve your financial goals by simply reducing the frequency.

If you’re dining out once a week, try making it once in two weeks or once a month. That way, you can save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent at a restaurant.

At the same time, you can make weekends interesting at home by preparing something special for the family.

11. Buy in Bulk

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk can help you slash your expenses by nearly 40 per cent, if not more. However, the problem is that bulk buying often involves large quantities that you might not be able to consume over a short period of time.

These could expire and go to waste. If you intend to buy in bulk, the best thing is to find family or friends to divide the items you buy.

That way, more people benefit from lower prices and bulk buying. There are several places where you can make bulk purchases. These include Sam’s Club and Costco Club Bulk, among others.

12. Maintain Superb Health

Maintain Superb Health

This might sound like something strange in an article on living stingy to help achieve financial goals faster. If you believe so, think again. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in the year 2020, out-of-pocket medical expenses in the US stood at $1,300 per household.

Over the last four years, this amount would have definitely risen considering that average medical inflation in the US ranges between six per cent and eight per cent per year.

You might have health insurance and yet you would have to pay for lots of stuff including prescription drugs from your own pocket. Maintaining superb health yourself and encouraging your family to do so, could help save these out-of-pocket medical expenses.

Other Ways to Live Stingy

There are certain other ways to live stingy too. One of them is to stop hosting any sort of parties unless they’re for marking some very important occasion. The second is by buying clothing from thrift shops when necessary. You can also sell unwanted stuff at your home and get some money to add to your savings kitty.

More ways would include buying generic products instead of those from your favourite brands, shopping at multiple stores to ensure you get only the lowest-priced goods and eliminating paid home delivery of shopping.

Instead of driving between home and workplace, check if using mass transit is cheaper. Cut the cord and eliminate cable TV subscriptions. Also, stop all subscriptions that you’re not using or only using occasionally. If you check properly, you will definitely come across several subscriptions that you’re paying for but not utilizing fully.

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Wrap Up

Before living stingy to achieve financial goals faster, assess the impact that it would have on your family and you. Living on a lower budget isn’t always easy. It takes a lot of adjustments and time. These in turn can translate as stress or even lead to anger and domestic disturbances.

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