20 Signs That You Might Be A Cheapskate

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By Daisy Luther

Do you enjoy saving a buck more than most people?  Do you have a black belt in frugality? Here are 20 surefire signs that you are embracing your cheap side.  How many things on this list apply to you?

  1. You take it as a personal challenge to see how long you can go without spending money. The game is even better if you have a spouse or friend with whom you can compete.
  2. You don’t let food go to waste. You have an ice cream tub in your freezer nearly full of odd bits of leftovers, awaiting their reincarnation into “leftover casserole” or “leftover soup”.
  3. It’s physically impossible for you to drive past an interesting-looking garbage pile at the curb during somebody else’s spring cleaning frenzy, much to the dismay of your children. (Although there’s always that one kid who’s excited to dig through the pile with you!)
  4. Your first stop at the grocery store is the “last day of sale” rack in each department. When you get home with your stash, you immediately set to freezing, dehydrating, or canning your inexpensive score.
  5. Your kid looks at a necklace or pair of earrings at the “cool” store and scoffs, “We could make this.”  Then she puts it back and asks you to take her to the thrift store for items to disassemble for the supplies to make her own accessories.
  6. You don’t have cable. Your viewing, if you watch television at all, is done via an internet subscription service or even a rabbit ear antenna on top of the TV.
  7. A day of yard-saling is planned out like a military invasion: you have a Mapquest route of at least a half dozen sales, a thermos full of coffee, a wallet full of small bills, and a list including measurements of all empty spaces in your home that need to be filled, kitchen items you are seeking, books your daughter wants to read, and upcoming birthdays.  Your alarm is set the night before, a blueberry muffin is wrapped up and ready to go on the counter, and your comfy clothes are laid out.
  8. Before throwing anything in the garbage you take a few seconds to ponder how it might be reused. Then, you either compost it, put it aside for a re-purpose, or you turn it into a homemade “log” for your fire.
  9. If something breaks, you try to fix it. If it must be replaced or purchased, you always look for a used version first before doling out the money for a new one.
  10. You know how to darn socks….and you do it.
  11. You have a special super-skinny rubber spatula earmarked just for getting the very last bit of whatever out of jars and bottles in the kitchen.
  12. You wash and re-use sandwich baggies, and you’ve even rigged up a little drying rack for them beside your sink.
  13. You are outraged at the idea of spending $18 on a jug of laundry detergent because you could make a year’s supply for that amount of money.
  14. You have recently advised your child to cut off that teeny bit of mold on the brick of cheese because the other side is just fine.
  15. You don’t carve the Jack-o-Lanterns until the day before Halloween so that you can cook, puree, and can the pumpkin the day after Halloween.
  16. You have (and use) a clothesline.  Year round. In fact, you know from experience that laundry dries even if it freezes first.
  17. You know how to repair a plastic clothes hamper by “welding it” with a bread tag and a hot glue gun.
  18. The dish soap beside your sink is actually 50% dish soap and 50% water.
  19. You can’t really understand how other moms spend hundreds of dollars on scrapbooking supplies, when your scrapbooks filled with reclaimed do-dads look just as awesome for mere pennies.
  20. The concept of spending $25 dollars or more to get your nails done is as foreign to you as the concept of riding an ostrich around your yard.

Does the list above make you say, “It’s like Daisy knows me!!!”? What are some other signs that you might be a cheapskate? We’ll do a reader’s choice version soon!

Books to help you get your “cheap” on:

The Complete Tightwad Gazette (This is my favorite book about frugality, EVER!!!)

New Fix-It-Yourself Manual: How to Repair, Clean, and Maintain Anything and Everything In and Around Your Home

America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • #1= Researched where to MOVE to save the biggest money.

    #2=Moved to Florida to have on heating & taxes (No state income tax). AND chose the “county” with the LOWEST house tax formula ($1,200 / $100k assessment) AND this state gives you $50k DISCOUNT from your assessment before they start counting the tax.
    My biggest heat bill was $150.

    My HOUSE tax (5 acres & a double wide mobile home) is $280/YEAR.

    My own WELL water & septic tank. (NO water bills!!!)

    Progressive Car insurance (in this farm area) is $275/ 6 months-FULL Coverage!!

    I don’t care if the summers are hot and humid, I can live naked and survive.

    Plenty of GOOD rainfall (NO drought as in California & Texas)

    Easy to grow NICE big garden (just add some good compost to this sandy dirt.) Growing FOOD is growing GOLD.

    Plant food items that are Perennials. (Asparagus, Strawberries, grapes, sunchokes, apples, peaches, pears, plums, walking-onions, etc.)

    And,,, NO fear about any UPWIND Nuclear Nutjob power plants,,because NONE of them can float in the Gulf Of Mexico.

  • Hi, Daisy. We share more than a few traits.:) I’m curious. Does such economizing grant you the “spiritual space” to be extra generous with your friends? Or possibly the opposite effect?

    • David, I am a prepper, although not as thorough as I would like to be. We are very generous with our neighbors. We share home-grown vegetables and fruits with each other, and help each other out in times of trouble, such as illnesses or other griefs. Being conscious over ones amount of consumption does not exclude kindness to neighbors. In fact, prepping instills the awareness that communities must rely on each other and cooperate should our present economy collapse. I am surprised that you would think being frugal makes one selfish. Quite the opposite in my experience. Open your mind my friend.

  • You have stopped shopping in “normal” clothes stores (as family call them) and instead do all your fashion shopping at the Op shop. And not only that, but you generally just check out the $1 rack at the front of the store for the extra special awesome buys!

  • I use odd socks by cutting off the elastic tops and using them as bandages for elbows and knees covering scrapes with vaseline or coconut oil and not to waste the foot section I use these to dust ir clean up gross messes by placing them over a plastic bag with my hand placed inside and then all you have to do is turn the bag over the sock covered in gunk…tie and discard. Never have to touch cleanup. (And one final use before throwing it away)

  • Most people think I’m a little crazy for doing some of the things you do. I’m good with that. In most cases I don’t give a rats ass. We are all so spoiled. It truly is about being a good stuart.

  • My mom would rewash bread bags or whatever she was reusing. Why dry them on a rack by the sink when you can put a clothesline in the kitchen for this purpose?

      • Better still recycle freezer bags after washing by returning them to and storing them in the freezer. This way there’s no more funky smell after they’ve been sitting around for awhile. After all no washing job is going to get them as sterile as they were first time around.

  • I crochet but refuse to buy patterns. I always use free ones on the internet. There are also lots of free craft patterns on the internet, like the one for painting toilet paper tubes and making lots of different decorations from them. Oh,yes-crocheting snow people and using the toilet paper tubes for the centers of the snow people. My family thinks I am totally nuts for saving them. That’s okay. They will like it later. I had some onions that really needed to be used. I put them through a “chopper” so I could freeze them and it left a lot of onion juice. I put that juice into round chocolate molds, froze them, and bagged them. Great to get that extra onion punch when you need it in veggies. I save glass jelly jars that people have given me and will make jelly to go in them. Since I only have the lids that came on the jars and canning lids will not fit, I will use paraffin on top of the jelly and put the lid on to keep the dust out. I also plan on making some candles in those jars. I use the grocery sacks to put into the small bedroom and bathroom trash cans. I am making plarn (plastic yarn) out of the bags with holes in them so I can crochet shopping bags that will not retain the bacteria like the cloth bags do.

    • You can actually reuse the lids that came with the jars. Yes, I know they always say not to use them, but remember, they’re industrial strength lids, made to withstand the bumping they go through at the factory and during shipping. My mom always used the same jars over and over for years. As long as you get a good seal (the lid looks sucked in and doesn’t give when being pushed) you’re ok.

  • Or your might be a cheapskate when you are in the grocery produce section and shake off the water the display case sprays on the veggies to keep them fresh.

    I’m not paying for water!

  • I don’t cut my jack-o-lanterns. I make faces out of black tape, whuch i remove after halloween so they can be thanksgiving decorations. Then they become Christmas pies roasted pumpkin seeds.

  • I cut up old soft t-shirts for potty wipes. I have different sizes, lg. med .sm. for members of my family and red ones for certain times of the month. We just use them for pee.I have saved a fortune on toilet paper.

  • Forget subscribing to Netflix! I watch everything online for free. I don’t believe in paying for television.

  • Now ya’ll don’t go aghast, but we do some dumpster diving!
    You simply would not believe what these big grocery stores throw out! Perfectly good food items. Timing is crucial, and most times the food is still cold. We get produce, and seafood, sometimes lots of cheese, and always meat for the dogs. It is a surprise each time.
    We have NEVER gotten sick. We use our common sense to judge, if food is off.
    It is a crime to allow such good food to go to waste.
    We also collect plastic cups, drill holes in the bottom, and use these for seed starters, for the garden. We go to the dollar store to purchase many necessary items, such as laundry detergent, dish soap, acetaminophen, light bulbs, prepping soups such as bean w bacon, matches, lotions,candles, (so much) all perfectly good, that the regular stores charge 3 times as much. I have gotten to where going out to a restaurant really bugs me, because I think of how much food I could have prepared for that same money! Also we go to nearby beautiful parks, as we are blessed to live in an area with not so many people. I just don’t like to drive anymore, and have found I am happiest near home. Thanks to everyone for your wonderful suggestions!

  • Me no cheap, me pay two girls to do laundry, clean house, me a bit lazy, but moe ollld as dirt, me donate to 4 H, cancer society, me no longer give anything to politicians…me rear end is sore enough. lastly, I appreciate you Daisy. and im still breathing. wife still alive.
    Me still, doin my job out here, watching quakes, and buoys.

  • You take your kids to the local parks so you can scout out all the wild berry bushes and fruit trees which you will collect and can later in the season!

  • You gather all ideas for recipes and make everything from scratch. Partly to achieve that personal goal of “yea i made this myself” but mostly because it was sooo much cheaper than buying it all ready made/at a restaurant.

    You save all of your kids clothes and shoes to be passed down to the next child.

  • You grow sweet potatoes and buy cheap $0.29/lb chicken to make homemade dog food; cheaper than kibble, higher quality proteins, and the dog likes it better too. The dog also eats mildly expired yogurt, hardened rolls, wrinkly old apples, leftover melon and frozen veggies, and whichever flavor of oatmeal in the variety pack is the one that nobody likes.

    You’ve discovered that owning a pex crimp or clamp tool and a sewer snake, and using instructions on youtube, allows you to handle most of your own plumbing needs on the cheap.

  • I realized I was tightwad when I walked into Salvation Army and was outraged by the clothes prices.

    Swap meets work just fine for my fine clothing needs.

  • I schedule my vacation days for the half price day at the thrift store about every 2 or 3 months so i can hit it for every season. lol

  • You know your a Cheapskate, I prefer to call it a “tightwad” for some reason that sounds nicer, LOL either way ..you are when you save the sliver’s from bar soap to soak in water to make a slim glue that once diluted is used in soap dispenser for washing your hands..instant hand soap….when you make SR flour & water mixed and fried in an iron skillet with crispy edges-we call these “Hoecakes”, and drizzle homemade iron skillet sugar caramel syrup over them, better than any store bought pancake mix, or bread and wonderful with scrambled eggs to.
    When you still use a wringer washer for laundry and hang out laundry to sun dry…..I love it and would not have it any other way…South East Georgia Girl….

  • The fix-it-yourself manual is my bible! My fiancé and I have used it to fix a jammed garbage disposal and to troubleshoot our dryer when it stopped working. It is worth the $3.99 shipping on amazon!

  • We could be twins! I thankful I have a large steel pole stretching the length of my dining room. Clothes are easily hung there on coat hangers in the winter near the stove pipe to dry. Also, I save veggie peels such as onion skjns, celery leaves, etc in a bag in the freezer. When it’s full I’ll cook it on top of our woodstove all day. Instant veggie broth that didn’t cost me anything. One more, take leftover cooked rice and dry it back out (oven, dehydrator, racks above wood stove, etc.) Then fry the rice in oil. Can anybody say rice krispies?!? Not my idea, found that one on YouTube, on jnull0 channel. 🙂

  • Do you save all the little pieces of bar soap , put them into a little mesh bag to use up to the last mite? Or mesh that last crumble of soap to the next bar when wet? Nothing goes to waste!

    Do you leave the thermostats control on 58 and tell everyone to put on sweats and socks because it’s not that cold? Or only heat your house during the day to save wood because you can put an additional blanket on the bed at night while you are sleeping. Oh and your ears are cold, don a scarf around them at night. When I bake I plan so that I bake several items at a time to take advantage of the hot oven, then freeze what I do t need right away for later. Use dawn dish soap for spot remover. It also works for hand soap 1/2 dawn, 1/2 water. Oh I could go on and on…

  • Guilty as charged. I lost count on the number. LOL

    Not to mention the comments. And yes, Goodwill is handy. In fact, if you donate something at our local store, they will give you a discount coupon with no expiration date.

  • Whoa, whoa, whoa. What you call being a cheapskate i call being frugal. If saving a buck is being cheap then I guess I’m pretty cheap. If I can get the same things in life without having to pay for them, (and you can too), then I say why not.

    I have a clothesline in my garage because the heat will dry them quicker and my neighbors won’t have to gossip about my dirty laundry. 🙂 If I can make my own laundry detergent for pennies why would I want to spend $15. bucks for a commercially made detergent? 🙂 If I go to a fast food restaurant and they hand out ketchup, mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, hot sauce, straws, forks, knives, spoons and napkins; why not take a little extra to take home? How many of you out there can’t say that they don’t have a kitchen drawer filled with extras from a fast food restaurant? I just happen to have a fist full of straws, forks, and spoons because I have grand kids that always need to have a new utensil every-time they eat or drink something. As for me, I use the same straw until it gets really dirty or I change my drink say ice tea to milk or vice versa.

    If I see a penny, I pick it up. Why waste money no matter how small it may be. with a one hundred pennies I have a dollar. So why not take advantage of the freebees in life. When I go to a fast food restaurant and they have a fountain machine why not go back for seconds?

    Now I am fully aware of the protocol of behavior and becoming a nuisance. I don’t take everything. I only take what I need, but, I am thoughtful of others that follow after me. I will save some for others and not make a pig out of myself.
    People say that it cost the restaurant money for putting these free-bees and it does cost them something too. However, they also charge the customer to provide these free-bees. Have you noticed how smaller the meat is in a hamburger? That they charge you $2.50 just for a large soda when it only cost the restaurant a nickle. A family meal that use to cost you $5.00 per person now costs about $10 – $12.00 per person. I call it the cost of doing business. If the restaurant would lower their prices I would be happy to purchase my plastic ware elsewhere. Until then, I am happy to stock up from the fast food restaurant.

    If reusing resealable plastic bags is wrong then I ask you why is that? If I use a baggie that had meat in it then I would agree that it should be tossed out. However, if it had bread or dry goods in it then that plastic bag can be washed out and reused. Plastic baggies cost a lot of money. If I can’t use it for food then I can use it to store non-food items like used batteries, screws/bolts or nuts. I can always find something that needs to stay together why not use a used Ziplock baggie? What about used jars or plastic jars? I call it recycling or repurposing these items. If I have used oil from the stove I put it into a old jelly jar. If I have used bacon grease then that goes into a different glass jar. It may be months before I need to use these old used items. For example, I used the old oil to burn a tree stump down to the ground because it was full of termites.

    So why should I participate in the disposable generation when I can save money and use what is around me. You can call me a cheapskate but when you see the light you will be calling me one of the most frugal people you have ever met. In any case, I am saving my hard earned money for that rainy day, how about you?

  • Noticed the comment about the dishsoap. I do buy detergent due to severe allergies. I notice it says it is concentrated, and I probably use way too much. Would it work to do what you do with the dishsoap, dilute it with water beforehand, maybe 50/50, so that I don’t waste so much? Split it into two or three jugs and then add water?

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