Is Living Stingy a Practical Way to Save Money?
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When you hear the term “living stingy”, how does it make you feel? Do you think that people who live stingy or frugal are simply broke and can’t afford to splurge?
Or do you think they’re just tightwads? There’s a slight difference between extreme frugal living and living stingy, and you can learn how to live stingy without sacrificing quality of life.
Why Would You Want to Embrace Living Stingy?
There are a few reasons you might want to start living stingy:
1. You’re living paycheck to paycheck (or worse, day to day).
You’ve heard of living paycheck to paycheck, right? This is when you run out of money before your next paycheck and are struggling to make ends meet.
You might have to stop by the food pantry to get a monthly ration so the kids don’t go hungry. You might even call everyone you know to beg, borrow, and steal.
If you find yourself having to constantly negotiate with utility companies to avoid disconnection of services, you definitely fall into this category.
This would be the #1 reason to start living stingy.
2. You have massive amounts of debt with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Are you feeling the weight of huge amounts of debt? Here are a few common creditors:
a. Student Loans
b. Car Payments
c. Credit Cards
d. Payday Loans (the worst)
e. Overdraft Protection/Line of Credit
f. Boats, RV’s, Campers, Motorcycles, and other “toys”
If you find that you owe to many of the above, it might be time to start living stingy so that you can focus on paying off the debt fast!
A year or two of laser-focused intensity can completely change your financial situation!
If you need help figuring out a debt payoff plan, check out my post explaining the differences between the debt snowball vs debt avalanche.
Financial plans are not one-size-fits-all, and what works for one family may not work for you!
3. You have specific goals to achieve FIRE so that you can quit your job and be self-sufficient.
Before I became a financial blogger, I was in the financial services industry for about 15 years, specifically banking and real estate.
I had never heard of FIRE, the acronym for Financial Independence Retire Early. The basis of this new term is that you work hard to retire as early as feasible.
I’ve never come across a regular Joe who doesn’t have a side hustle (like a blog or podcast or passive income through real estate) who has claimed he’s reached FIRE.
Everyone who talks about being financially independent and retired either has some sort of a blog or other business, which brings me to my next question:
Are they really considered retired?
I think most 30-40-year-olds who retire early want to share their stories online and end up starting a side hustle. It’s an inspiring story, really! There’s no reason they shouldn’t monetize it, but I digress.
You might want to live stingy if your goal is to save enough money to become financially independent and live off the land or travel the world in a sailboat.
Living Stingy vs Frugal Living
I’ve written about extreme frugal living before. There are things one can do to practice frugality (like only flushing the toilet when you go #2)…disgusting, I know. But people do it!
You can sell all of your furniture in the house and sit on the floor in the living room, but these ideas all sacrifice quality of life in order to save money.
Living Stingy, on the other hand, is making a conscious effort to change everyday habits and behaviors.
A living example of stingy living is that Mr. and Mrs. Jones decide to have a “no spend challenge” month only spending money on the bare necessities and cutting out extras like Starbucks coffee, beauty services, and even alcohol or cigarettes.
By making a conscious effort to forgo spending, they’re saving money. The only thing left to do is to decide what to do with the saved money!
What Does Stingy Mean?
The definition of stingy is:
adjective: unwilling to give or spend; ungenerous.
When I think of this word, I always picture two different people…Scrooge McDuck and Ebenezer Scrooge from A Christmas Carol.
Both worked hard but were stingy with their money.
Did you know that Charles Dickens actually created the fictional character, Ebenezer Scrooge, after a real-life man named Elwes the Miser (7 April 1714 – 26 November 1789).
His father was a London brewer and died when Miser was four years old, leaving an inheritance of approximately 200 million dollars.
Even though his mother was filthy rich, she reportedly starved herself to death because she was “too mean to spend money on her well-being”.
What a terrible way to live!
Characteristics of Stingy People
1. They Don’t Tithe
2. They’re Very Conservative With Investments
People who are living stingy refuse to partake in risky investments. They prefer a slow, steady return, often investing in employer-offered 401k plans. They might have listened to an “expert” who advised to put all of their money in growth mutual funds “which have always earned an average of 12%”. )
Note: I am not recommending that. I think it’s incredibly irresponsible for anyone (especially unlicensed bloggers and financial experts) to offer blanket advice.
People who live stingy aren’t interested in investing in real estate with very little money. They’re terrified of the idea of thinking outside the box.
3. They’re Selfish.
Stingy people want to live life on their terms, often spending money when and where they see fit. I know a man who lost his wife of 50+ years. A multi-millionaire, he found a much younger girlfriend and has been pissing away money thousands at a time.
Now, this may be grieving or that he doesn’t care to leave an inheritance to his family. But where he was living stingy his entire life, it appears he’s relapsed and is buying cars and taking trips and throwing it all out the window.
Choosing Frugality over Living Stingy
You could argue that frugal living and living stingy are one and the same. You just have to make a deliberate, intentional effort to make good financial decisions.
And you can have an amazing life as a result!
How to Start a Living Stingy Lifestyle
Here are a few ways you can start living stingy and being frugal in order to save money:
Participate in a No Spend Challenge
Create a Zero-Based Budget
Stick to the Plan
It will be hard. There will be moments of weakness. But remember why you started living stingy! Keep your goals top of mind and don’t let anything get in the way of your success!
Donate Blood Plasma for Extra Money
There’s something about scarring your arms to earn a quick $400 per month that’ll make you think twice about overspending on things you don’t need. I learned so much in the two years I spent donating blood plasma.
Be Grateful Every Day
If you aren’t journaling your gratitude, now is a great time to start! When you start being grateful for all that God’s given you, your mindset and your life begin to shift!
Make Positive Affirmations Part of Your Daily Routine
Declutter and Get Rid of Unwanted Stuff (ie Channel your Inner Marie Kondo)
Wear the Same Outfit for a Week
Ok, this sounds gross, but it’s really not! My friend Daniella actually tested this out at work and no one even noticed! Capsule wardrobes are a pretty cool thing for minimalist geeks like me!
Do the Pantry Challenge
This one is simple. Only cook with essentials in your home from scratch! You’ll eat healthier and save money by using up items you’ve had for months (items that’ve gotten buried in your deep freeze).
This goes without saying, and I know it’s easier said than done. I’m still working on my own debt snowball, but the debt has got to go! Make 2020 the year you kick it to the curb for good!
- Start Tithing (if you aren’t already)If you aren’t a believer, let me explain. Tithing is giving the first fruits of your labor to God. You could still give 10% of your earnings to a charity of your choice. I personally love the Ronald McDonald House.This organization gave my parents a place to stay when they were traveling with my sister to see her nephrologist, Dr. Travis, in Galveston, TX once a year throughout her childhood.
She suffers from a rare kidney disease and required extra care and caution her entire life.
There is no way they could have afforded to make the trip otherwise, so I actually have Ronald McDonald House as my charity of choice on my Amazon Smile page!
Whether you’re knee-deep in credit card debt or just want to start living stingy to afford a better life or early retirement, you can embrace your inner-Scrooge without being scarce.
I’ve done all the things! Girl, I’ve washed my face. I’ve trashed everything that doesn’t spark joy. I’ve walked the baby steps. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.
Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That’s why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.