Tight wad, penny pincher, cheapskate and money grubber all refer to a person who gets the most from their money. While you might never consider going to the extremes of reusing paper towels, making tomato soup from ketchup packets and hot water or stuffing your pillows with cat fur, there are ways to cut down on your spending and maintain close to your current standard of living.
Budgets Are Better
Look at a budget as a means to an end, not a straightjacket. Developing a budget, and sticking with it, is the first rule of being frugal. You'll be able to afford a fabulous vacation, build up a nice nest egg, not worry about financial emergencies or acquire the things you really want. Why fritter away $10 a day on that latte when you could save it every work day and have $2,200 saved by the end of the year.
Life would be perfect if you could afford everything you wanted. But it’s not and you can't. Figure out what you really want and spend the money on that. Know the difference between a need and a want. Fulfill the needs and postpone the wants. It's not that you can't ever have those Manolo Blahnik stacked heel pumps, you're just postponing buying them until next season.
Buy in Bulk
Okay, don't buy the giant jars of pickles that you'll never use, but purchase staple items in bulk that you consume on a regular basis and that won't perish. Store the food in air tight containers. Don't limit your bulk purchases to food. Bigger is better, and, in most cases, cheaper when it comes to things like personal care items, cleaning products, solvents and paper products. This tip might surprise you: Buy your basic necessitates, such as underwear, socks and panty hose, twice a year when they're on sale.
Classics Are Classic
Guys have it lucky when it comes to clothes. Men's fashion crawls along, while women's clothes change at the speed of light. Even if you're a fashionista, who craves the latest got-to-have-it style of the moment, you can save money on clothing. Buy classics that don't go out of style and fill in with the fun fad of the moment. Every season add to your classic wardrobe with one or two new pieces. Cruise the magazines for cutting edge accessories, colors that sing and shoes that zing, to update your look. You won’t have to purchase an entirely new wardrobe every few months.
Cooking is Cool
Think about how much money you could save if the two of you didn't eat out so much. A restaurant entrée, even budget priced for two at $20, costs less than $5 if you make it yourself. For example, baked chicken breasts served with savory herb stuffing, garlic roasted potatoes and a salad takes little time and money to prepare. Turn meal preparation into couple time. Once a week sit down with your significant other with a glass of wine, some nibbles and a cookbook with photos. Create a menu, make a grocery list and assign who does dinner on which days.
Waste Not, Want Not
It may be a tired saying, but it's still true. Cut down on waste. Take quicker showers. Shut the lights off in a room you're not in. Turn the heater to a lower temperature in winter and the air conditioner to a higher temperature in summer. Unbundle your communication services if you don't need all them. Batch your errands so you don't waste gas. Get books -- and movies -- from the public library instead of buying them or renting.
Katie Jensen's first book was published in 2000. Since then she has written additional books as well as screenplays, website content and e-books. Rosehill holds a Master of Business Administration from Arizona State University. Her articles specialize in business and personal finance. Her passion includes cooking, eating and writing about food.