Home > Uncategorized > 5 Stories of Extreme Cheapness

Comments 0 Comments

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.

More Money-Saving Reads:

Image: iStock

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team