Not many people want to be a cheapskate. It’s definitely an insulting word. It suggests that the person is unwilling to pay what they should be paying. It’s similar to frugal but a little more self-centered. While I don’t think people shouldn’t pay what they deserve to pay. I also think that cheapskate is often overused. Just because someone is a bit extreme toward being frugal, it doesn’t mean that they do it in an unethical way. That is why I’ve often recommended a short term strategy that I call cheapskate living. This is not a way that I recommend living your everyday life. It is a short term method to bring out discipline instead of just simple frugality.
Make it Temporary
Cheapskate living requires a change of perspective from simply frugal living. This process does not have to be sustainable (don’t make it selfish.) If you chose to try cheapskate living for a week then focus on living cheaper than you ever could have previously imagined. If you are doing fine in life then that might mean cutting down to a macaroni and cheese budget. If you’re already having trouble then that might have to be a peanut butter and pasta budget. You don’t have to be able to live off the budget for long. It’s better to be extreme than to be sustainable in this process.
Only Your Needs
For this short period of time you have to have no expenses other than those needed to survive. That means no extra trips to the store, no movie rental, and no extras. All needs can be met with the bare minimum amount of money. Keep paying what you owe already though. Just don’t use the service for this period. If you have cable then keep your TV on the free stations. Better yet, just enjoy a good book.
Learn From the Opporunity
Analyze this process as you’re experiencing it. Is there any part of the process that you just can’t stand? Is there anything about it that is not so bad? Consider adding the things that you don’t mind to your everyday life, even if it is on a trial or part-time basis. More importantly, look at the amount of money you are saving. Calculate how much you would need to live. Be sure to remove the paid services that you won’t need from that list. Most people don’t realize how much of the things they live with that they don’t need. Don’t let that be you. Know your expenses ahead of time. Even if you don’t reduce your spending in the short-term it’s an insurance policy to know what amount of money you could live on.
You should use cheapskate living on a short term basis to bring the best out of your frugality. You don’t always have to be disciplined to live a sustainable frugal life. Trying it for the short term can help it come more naturally. Even the most responsible of people can find things that they’re wasting in their budgets. So try out cheapskate living to bring the best out of yourself.