Ask the Readers: What Makes You a Cheapskate?

By Linsey Knerl on 30 June 2010 (Updated 11 August 2010) 66 comments
Photo: ecastro

**Congrats to our winners! **

The winners of the $20 Amazon GC AND the book:

  • Shannon Scruggs - I consider myself a "cheapskate" by the way my household is run. Lunches are made at home for work, school, outings, etc. Water bottles are filled up anytime we get into the car, there is 200.00 mo/50.00 wk spent on groceries for a family of four. Ebay it all day long for back to school clothing, craigslist etc. I dont believe I have paid full price for anything in the last few years. 

    Being frugal is a stress free way of life. Your family is closer, your bills and debts are being paid, and it makes it easier when you know that snack you put in your mouth was either free, or next to nothing.

    Life is good, and you should never waste it on material things. You cant take it with you, and when you do have it; it is only temporary enjoyment. That is not true happiness. God, Family, and a peaceful life is worth being "cheap."

  • Night_Runner: I'm a cheapskate because I cook at home instead of going out - it's more fun and a whole lot cheaper. :)

The winner of the book:

  • Frugal Ella Our family motto is "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up or do without."

    We're bread-making, restaurant shunning, do-it-your-self-ing and saving tons of cash. My favorite past time is watching the bank account grow and then paying off huge chunks of debt. One day, those dollars will get to stay in the family instead of filling the coffers of big corporations. Boy oh boy the fun trips we will go on then!

 

Remember when the title "cheapskate" had a negative ring to it? Thanks to people like Jeff Yeager, The Ultimate Cheapskate and author of the new book The Cheapskate Next Door, it's nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, you can now wear your cheapskate badge with pride! In celebration of frugality and the community that lives it every day, we're giving away 3 copies of The Cheapskate Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of Americans Living Happily Below Their Means, along with our regular $20 Amazon gift card prizes. You can read all about this great book in our review, or check it out for yourself at Amazon.com.

"One thing that delighted me about this book is how the people Yeager met seemed extremely proud of their lifestyle. They revel in the fact that they have a minimum amount of debt and seem to love their lives." - Xin Lu, Wise Bread

We want to know what qualifies you as a "cheapskate". Are you horrifying in your money-saving ways? Or do you pinch your pennies with finesse and class? Let us know what makes you truly frugal, and you'll be entered to win one of two $20 Amazon gift cards or a copy of Jeff's new book!

Feel free to link to a blog post, if you've written on this topic! We'll include it in our post upon the conclusion of our giveaway!

Win one of two $20 Amazon gift cards or one of 3 copies of Jeff's new book:

We're doing two giveaways — one for random comments, and another one for random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, July 12th at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be announced after July 12th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter both drawings — once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)

Good luck!

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Guest's picture
JessA

I am a cheapskate and I am one of those 'proud of it' sorts. I'm a stay at home mom, my husband has a modest income and our only debt is our mortgage and we will have it paid off in 7 years when our youngest child is a senior. What makes us cheapskates? We don't do anything that radical: no cable, no cellphones, most of our stuff is acquired secondhand, we don't eat out, I cook from scratch.... I am a boring cheapskate I guess, but it works for us!

Guest's picture
Tekla Carroll

Bus rider, no cable, thrift store shopper and library lover.

Guest's picture
Sweta

I go to the library for everything: books, cds, dvds. My iTunes is on hiatus this month because of all the cds I have checked out from the library.

Guest's picture
jay w

I like to think that I pinch pennies with finesse and class- I save coupons to match up with sales & store promotions to make the most of our hard earned dollars. Now have friends asking for advice on how to do.

Guest's picture
Guest

Shouldn't this sign read: Cheaper than Cheaper "Smile, YOU'RE saving a lot of money" - let's teach people how to spell correctly and save money -

Guest's picture
Guest

The sign maker charged by the letter!

Guest's picture
Candice

Not only that, but the quotation marks are misplaced!

Guest's picture

I check out all my personal finance books from the library. :-)

Guest's picture
RazzBari

Top 5 things that make me a cheapskate:

5. No cable, just antenna.
4. Most books & DVDs come from the library.
3. Wash plastic bags until they fall apart.
2. Leftovers for lunch and tote coffee in a thermos.

And the number-one thing that makes me a cheapskate:

1. I actually ENJOY making Trent Hamm's homemade laundry soap! http://preview.tinyurl.com/3d2uqs

Guest's picture
Amy Hartin

I learned to repair a lot of things that I used to throw out - clothes, furniture, etc.

I have also learned to watch freecycle and the craigslist free column before buying anything!

Guest's picture
Moneyedup

I'd rather put my time and energy into learning how to make more money, not finding ways to pinch pennies. Even still, I don't want to over spend or waste a dime. I think being cheap is only OK if its not ruling your life or creating an unhealthy lifestyle. I guess I'm not a cheapskate.

Guest's picture
Anne

Cloth diapers, free things online, berry picking (and freezing), saying no to eating out with friends when we don't have the money.

Guest's picture
Emily

I'll walk more than take taxis. And I rarely go to the movies unless it's something I REALLY want to see.

Guest's picture
Robin

We hardly EVER eat out. I have friends that go out all the time and can't figure out why I don't want to go very often.

Guest's picture
Hugh

My wife and I are not cheap, but we are not foolish with our money either. We watch it like a couple of hawks. Nothing gets in or out without us planning and tracking.

Some General Tactics:
Buy everything we can on Amazon using our Amazon Prime membership
Cook at home
Buy food in bulk
Make coffee at home
Design our own workouts instead of joining a fancy gym
Borrow books, audio books, DVDs, CDs from local library for free

BUT our most recent discovery (this is my official entry!) is that you can "rent" electronics from Costco for free. We actually discovered this by accident; it wasn't planned. Our Nokia SLR camera was stolen a few days prior to leaving for a 2 week trip to Vietnam. We bought a new one at Costco (Canon this time) for $849 and brought it to Vietnam and used it for our trip. My wife, the photographer of the family, didn't like the Canon, so we returned it to Costco. They have a 90-day return policy on electronics. They accepted the slightly used camera and issued a full refund to my credit card - no questions asked. So we effectively "rented" a $849 camera for free. Now as I said, we didn't plan it this way, but this is how it went down. So if you're smart and if this scheme poses no moral dilemma for you, you could theoretically rent some cool gear from Costco, but I assume they keep track of returns and would flag you if a pattern were to develop.

Guest's picture
Emily

It's not a matter of being smart or not... "renting for free" / abusing refund policies is more of an ethical issue.

Guest's picture
PC

Here is my cheapskate entry-
I used to get so annoyed at work when there were meetings and the food they brought in was barely touched and then thrown away. I have stopped being annoyed and started bringing in plastic baggies. Now I get in there to "help clean up" and bag up whatever I can use for lunches for the week or anything my family would like and no food gets thrown away! And yes, you guessed it- I do reuse the baggies once I clean them at home.
Happy cheapskating!

Guest's picture
Mez

PC - this is awesome! My boyfriend does the same thing at his company, literally bringing home pounds of food that would have been thrown away. He keeps large plastic storage containers (washed and reused over and over) at his desk and each day does his "leftover rounds" of the meeting rooms. We've enjoyed everything from filet mignon to mac-and-cheese. We freeze what we won't get to right away. I think this is a great thing to do and wish more people did it. It's an absolute crime to see that food wasted.

Guest's picture
Emily

Riding bike to work rain or shine, no cable, no land line, reusing grey water (husband's iffy about installing a grey water system, so I've been doing it the hard way with containers), keeping water thermostat temp at around 60-65F (now that we have a baby, we're using the heat more often...), cooking front scratch most of the time, library lover, ...

Guest's picture
Neha

Not turning on the A/C unless we have company. I have a portable fan that I move room to room (excluding taking it along to the toilet of course). One tangential benefit - I seem to accomplish whatever task I've begun, since I end up staying in the cool room for the longest!

Guest's picture
J

I am a library loving, home cooking, present making, coupon clipping, save-up spending, deal finding, garden growing, cloth-bag carrying, bus riding, lunch toting, cable canceling, craigslist watching, income generating, bulk buying, wish-list prioritizing and “cheapskate” celebrating person!

As a result of my “cheapskate” ways I am also a Caribbean cruising, Vita-Mix blending, weekend vacationing, theater watching, museum supporting, video taking, race participating, organic-food buying, quality-furniture owning, concert seeing, five-star dining, Las Vegas visiting, home remodeling, big dreaming and life loving person!

What I have discovered by being a frugal/cheapskate/thrifty person is I get to make my dreams come true. The key is to make your goals clear and then you know what you are working and saving for. What you need to keep in mind that what is important to you and worth saving for may not be for someone else- and that’s ok! Personally my dreams do not include having a closet full of ‘fancy’ clothes or an expensive car- but wanting to travel to Australia, have my mortgage paid-off by 45 and enjoying time with family and friends without having to worry about the bills pilling up!

Guest's picture
Mary

I am cheap because I manage to avoid things most people seem to think are necessities. I don't have cable TV, and I use a prepaid cellphone (mostly for emergencies). I sock away money from every paycheck automatically, and I max out my Roth IRA contributions each year.

But there are areas where I splurge: I have the mid-range of the three health insurance options at work (it's actually the cheapest overall if you max out every year, which I do). I have DSL for faster Internet access (it makes up for the cable, I guess). I bought my own house (but I rent my second bedroom to a grad student). And I like to travel and will be going to India for a month this winter.

Guest's picture
Ryan

While some may not consider it to be exactly frugal, I live in NYC. But that means I can get away without having a car, or even an unlimited subway pass. I walk everywhere. I walk to work in the morning and back home at night (25 minutes each way). I walk to my friends' places, to the grocery store (well, that's only across the block), to movies, to the park, and to dinner. I don't pay for a car, I don't pay for auto insurance, I don't pay for gas, and I don't pay for repairs.

Guest's picture
Penny

I use the library to borrow what I can, I shop at yard sales and thrift stores for everything I need to purchase. I save water from mopping floors and washing produce to water my garden outside. I make my own laundry detergent. I have an indoor compost bin for my produce stems to create fertilizer.

Guest's picture
Kristy

I'm the cheapskatiest of all my friends. I know this because I have neither credit card debt nor a flat-screen TV. They all have both.

Guest's picture
Guest

What makes me a cheapskate? Having my adult children call me with their bargains or "finds" that they run across. Knowing I would be so proud of them. It has now been passed from one generation to the next. They are not ashamed of their thriftiness, but proud of it. It is a life style- we have never wanted for anything but have made wise choices.
My best hint?
Throw a package of hot dogs in a thermos with hot water and a bag of buns in your backpack and use the condiments at the consession stand at the baseball games. We always undulged in Major League babseball - but never paid $6 for a hot dog.

Guest's picture
Leslie

Hmmm...what do I not do to save money? We shop Craigslist, combine errands, match sales to coupons, prioritize our travel wishes (we compromise by cooking in the condo to get a nice condo, or eat out and stay cheap). We love the library as well.

One of my latest adventures is becoming the go-to person for toner/ink recycling in my office. Everyone sends their used cartridges to me, and I make a trip once per month to Staples. I get $3 back in Staples rewards per cartridge, up to $30/month. I then use this money for things I need anyway...paper towels, coffee, Clorox wipes, pens, paper, etc. Staples prices are higher than the Wal-mart, but you can't beat free!

Guest's picture
LT

I scour craigslist and the local newspaper website for yard sale advertisements each week. I meticulously plan out which sales to hit and always get up early so I can get a chance at the best merchandise. Then I ALWAYS negotiate with the seller (and usually end up buying what I want for less than the sticker price).
My latest find was a Trek mountain bike for $25!

Guest's picture
Lynda

I may think about buying something that is more of a want (not a need) for years...

Guest's picture
guest

My husband and I thoroughly enjoy being frugal especially when it helps the planet. We wash fast food utensils to resuse again for brown bag lunches, pour the water to boil pasta over weeds to kill them, use Groupon whenever possible, drive our cars until they die, only watch matinees or borrow DVDs from the library, and share one drink when eating out instead of buying two. Our favorite cheapskate habit is washing out coffee to go cups & reusing because most convenience stores will give a discount if you bring in your own cup.

Guest's picture
morrison

I enjoy being a cheapskate. Wrote a post about it: Give me the cheapskate life!
http://alldoorsconsidered.blogspot.com/2010/06/give-me-cheapskate-life.html

Guest's picture
C

I refuse to buy anything at full retail price, even if it means waiting for an extended period of time to purchase it. I take OCD to a new level when I am purchasing an "expensive" electronic device/gadget. I will furiously browse the prices for a week or so to get the average price range of the item, and then I will wait however long it takes until it hits a reasonable low. In the mean time, I look for discount codes and cashback incentives to make use of when the time is right.

Guest's picture
Lisa

The coolest cheap-skatey thing I do: I make my bread using the "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day" recipe. I get fancy crusty bread for about $.40/loaf instead of paying $4 a loaf for it. I can use it for pizza and cinnamon rolls too for a fraction of what it would cost to eat those things.

The most obnoxious cheap-skatey thing I do: I steal coupon inserts from the discarded newspapers at Starbucks on Sundays. :( Most of the time I buy a drink though. It's well worth the price of a coffee.

Guest's picture
Shannon Scruggs

I consider myself a "cheapskate" by the way my household is run. Lunches are made at home for work, school, outings, etc. Water bottles are filled up anytime we get into the car, there is 200.00 mo/50.00 wk spent on groceries for a family of four. Ebay it all day long for back to school clothing, craigslist etc. I dont believe I have paid full price for anything in the last few years.

Being frugal is a stress free way of life. Your family is closer, your bills and debts are being paid, and it makes it easier when you know that snack you put in your mouth was either free, or next to nothing.

Life is good, and you should never waste it on material things. You cant take it with you, and when you do have it; it is only temporary enjoyment. That is not true happiness. God, Family, and a peaceful life is worth being "cheap."

Guest's picture
Pamela

I use coupons like crazy! I'm not picky about the products I use - whatever is on sale with a coupon! Sunday mornings are my favorite - that's when all the ads come and all the coupons come and I have a field day finding what I can get for less than $1.

Guest's picture
Kay

We don't buy anything that we don't have the money for and we don't buy things because other people have them.

Guest's picture
Suzuka

I buy all my clothes from Goodwill or thrift stores.
All lights, except the room I am working in, are switched off at night.
Use public transport for everything. Don't own a car.
I prefer to listen to a battery-operated radio than watch TV. This makes me more active since I can listen to the radio in any room and not vegetate in front of the TV.
I pack my own lunch to work. I don't eat until I am very full. I stop when I feel "mostly full".
I've made it a point to have lunch away from my desk every afternoon. I also take a walk by myself (or with a colleague if they want to join me) after lunch. This increases my productivity and makes me feel good for the rest of the day.
I don't eat out much and prefer home-cooked food.
I go on a "no spending" spree for a week every month.

Guest's picture
Doobie

While I've made many changes in the last year and a half, I still consider myself an "aspiring" cheapskate. I'm now out of debt, use things until they run/wear out, *attempt* to repair things myself and cook from scratch more often than I used to. HOWEVER, I have a long way to go before these behaviors become second nature. Looking forward to joining the cheapskate ranks.

Guest's picture
fairydust

I coupon avidly, cancelled cable TV, cancelled the land line and went prepaid cell, cut electric usage, cut water use and never charge more on the credit cards that I can pay off in full.

Guest's picture
judyyy

I use coupons like they are the only currency I have! I am not happy unless I save at least 75% on my purchases!

Guest's picture

Our family motto is "Use it up, wear it out, fix it up or do without."

We're bread-making, restaurant shunning, do-it-your-self-ing and saving tons of cash. My favorite past time is watching the bank account grow and then paying off huge chunks of debt. One day, those dollars will get to stay in the family instead of filling the coffers of big corporations. Boy oh boy the fun trips we will go on then!

Guest's picture
Candice

Boy, I'd love to win this book! I have it on my Paperbackswap.com wish list, which is how I get my books on the cheap (I don't have many used bookstores around my house and I'm pretty specific about what I want to get as far as books, so PBS works well!)

We're pretty much hard core cheapskates, more out of necessity than anything. Shopping on Craigslist, freecycle and garage sales is how we get our furniture, our home decor, and our household necessities like pots and pans. I've put in gardens and canned the food, cook from scratch, and buy our (clearanced) clothes for the year with gift certificates given to us for Christmas and birthdays (and couple them with those $10 of $10 purchase coupons JCPenney and Kohls send out.) I coupon - and I'm starting to get good at getting stuff for free or just pennies on the dollar. Nothing that can be repurposed gets thrown out, and food is not wasted in this household! Not anymore! :)

Guest's picture
Deb

WE SAVE
Entertainment: Hulu, library, parks, church activities, using pool for free at sister's apt complex, walking local greenways
Food & Home: coupon matching with southernsavers.com, sharing bulk cooking with family, being a willing & appreciative recipient for gardeners & chicken farmers (eggs), keeping the A/C & heat usage to a minimum
Insurance: shopping for the best deal regularly on home/auto, HSA with catastrophic Blue Cross medical coverage instead of signing up for regular plan thru husband's work

WE NEED TO LEARN TO SAVE
Appliance repair is killing us! We've paid for repairs to our garage door opening system, dishwasher, water filtration system, & A/C unit just in the past year. Not sure how to fix this!

Guest's picture

I always make my own lunch and I am also a chronic coupon cutter! I just call it smart.

Guest's picture
Beth

I mend my clothes, even doing invisible patches - very fast and easy, to get at least several more wears out of the item. I also have cut back on using a drier - both saving me the cost of drying clothes, but also saving my clothes from extra wear and tear. (Extra plus - I don't have to go jeans shopping as often since they last longer!) My paper towels are actually absorbent cotton cloth and can get cleaned with the rest of the laundry. I make my own yogurt. I generally weigh the savings vs the time investment (plus any extra benefit like extra tasty yogurt) and amazingly a lot of frugal activities are quite worthwhile.

Guest's picture
Gina

I always try to match up coupons with store sales to get things for free or really cheap

Guest's picture
Guest

I pick up pennies because even that helps make me one cent richer. OK, ok, go ahead and call me cheapskate!

Guest's picture
Michelle Murphy

Buy nothing unless it is on sale or I have a coupon. I saved over $1000 the first year!

Guest's picture
Night Runner

I'm a cheapskate because I cook at home instead of going out. I save a lot of money and there are no "surprises" in my food. :)

Guest's picture
Olivia

My dad introduced us kids to the joys of "curb gleaning" and thrift stores. My husband introduced me to the concept of a written budget. Then I found the Tightwad Gazette in a bookstore on sale. Wo Hoo. It's been a learning experience ever since. Personal finance blogs, Internet research, library and thrift store books. I'm constantly picking up new skills and pushing the boundaries, trying new frugal ways, making the most out of what we have. That's what makes me a cheapskate.

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

I find myself trying to use my AC less and less each year. I think my friends think I am crazy, but I think I prefer the feeling of fans in the house rather than the cold AC air. Plus, I love the satisfaction of knowing that I'm saving both money and the environment.

Guest's picture
Carolyn

Coupons save us on average, 50-75%.
Library for books and dvds.
Freecycle and Craigslist.
Thrift stores.
Bread thrift stores really save us alot.
Prepaid cell phone for emergencies only.

Guest's picture
Guest

Would love to have this book. Something older people never seem to talk about, our insurance has just increased $69 per month (the older you get the higher the premiums are for supplemental insurance) and even my frugal ways are not going to stretch that far. Utility bills recently increased also. So, the older you get, the less money you have for the necessary bills without any increases. Both my husband and I are 74 and our parents lived into their late 90's.

Guest's picture
Guest

Forgot to add that I do alot of couponing, reuse, make gifts , gardening and growing our own vegies and bake bread. Never go to movies or anything that costs money.

Guest's picture
Angie

I love to use coupons, scour sales, and never buy things online unless its a really good deal plus free shipping.

Guest's picture
1bets1

I'm frugal, but not a cheapskate! I think a cheapskate is someone who thinks others should foot the bill for them. I wear my "frugal badge" proudly, but wouldn't dream of being a cheapskate.

Guest's picture
Lisa

Asked around until I obtained a free rain barrel to collect all the rain we get in South Louisiana which I use to water the vegetable garden and flowers as well as bath the dogs in an outside tub that we picked up on freecycle. Still trying to find a free shower fixture for our outside shower made from free pallets which we will use on those hot summer days instead of using hot water heated by water heater inside. Boycot seafood since the oil spill, prices have doubled, we are taking advantage of summer specials on hotdogs and chicken especially with after 4th of July sales. Besides the usual, coupons, internet searches on new ways to save money, library books on thrift and savings just trying to stay one step ahead of inflation and the recession.

Guest's picture
Danielle P

I think I pinch with finesse and class. I love to find coupons and shop at the stores that give me the most bang for the buck.. I delight in saving money.. I also love to shop at thrift shops and yard sales.. My kids just love when I can find them American Eagle shirts.. they dont care I only spent a buck. I feel its my responsiblity as a stay at home mom to save money for my family.. I find it rewarding

Guest's picture
Roechelle

I have always been a cheapskate, love getting freebies and quality coupons. Borrowing movies from the library and buys 2nd hand clothes on ebay and at yard sales. My saying is, when you spend less money on the things you need then you have more money to spend on the things you want

Guest's picture
Regina

I reuse plastic sandwich bags over and over and over again.
I wear my shoes and clothes til they are worn out.
I love and use the library.
I always check the grocery flyers online and plan my shopping route based on the cheapest eats.
My idea of a good time is doing something that is free. (e.g., beach, reading at home, making a home cook meal and enjoying a bottle of wine.)

Guest's picture
Regina

I reuse plastic sandwich bags over and over and over again.
I wear my shoes and clothes til they are worn out.
I love and use the library.
I always check the grocery flyers online and plan my shopping route based on the cheapest eats.
My idea of a good time is doing something that is free. (e.g., beach, reading at home, making a home cook meal and enjoying a bottle of wine.)

Guest's picture
guest

My husband and I are cheapskates for sure. but we also love learning new skills from reading / watching you tube etc. and applying them to our home projects.
1. no cable
2. cook at home, we both pack our lunch daily.
3. make "organic baby food" using a manual grinder on the same veggies and fruits that we adults eat.
4. eat fruits from our trees - apple, orange, apricot, peach and lemons.
5. we laid 3/4" hardwood flooring ourselves, around 1000+ sqft
6. We tiled our fireplace ourselves (renting some tools for cutting etc.)
7. Husband installed recessed lights by learning it all from Youtube
8. He also fixed some car faults (electricals for turn lights, window switches, brake pads. He did this by reading about car circuits from car manuals found in the library.
9. we do our own cleaning, landscaping, yard work etc.
10. we buy all kid gear 2nd hand on craigslist. Well, much of adult stuff as well - bedroom furniture, tools, cars.
11. we installed the drip irrigation ourselves, and also fixed a few sprinklers / pipe leaks.

Guest's picture
Eve Dutkiewicz

I am driving a 12 year old year jeep that is getting very ghetto. It has a duct tape bumper (at least it is black duct tape to match). A duct tape window on the driver's side to hold it up because otherwise the motor to fix the window would cost $400.00. The glove box doesn't close and the air conditioner doesn't work but I always say, "Hey I am driving it for free."

Guest's picture
cwaltz

I don't really think of myself as a cheapskate. I LIKE stretching my grocery budget, going to thrift stores and yard sales as well as coming up with inexpensive ways to entertain our family of six.

Christine
dazed1821@aol.com

Guest's picture
Erica

I go onto every website out there to enter any contest, get any freebie, or coupon. I havent bought shampoo or conditioner in months. I only use the free samples that come in the mail. I will save a buck where I can and when I can. I will only buy meat when it goes onsale for less then 1.99 per pound and I swap generic items where I can without my family noticing.

Guest's picture
Shannon

We are a single-income family, so we watch our pennies closely. One habit I have developed over the years involves the annual purchase of school clothes. Our school district has a dress-code, so it does make shopping a bit easier. First, I go through my children's closet and inventory what they have outgrown and what still fits. I make a list of basic necessary items which I then comparison price either on-line or at local stores. I do a lot of shopping on-line because company websites usually have a better clearance department than the actual store. For instance, I just bought name brand school polo shirts from a company website for $7.00 - the same shirts were 24.99 in the store. I keep an eye out for free shipping promotions. I've found that if you get the school clothes by the end of June, you can get better bargains than if you wait until August. I am always looking for small ways to save our family money. The sun is free, so I hang clothes on a line outside as much as possible. I make my own instant cocoa mix each winter. I grow herbs in small pots, and freeze them for year-round usage. When a certain fruit is in season, I will buy extra to freeze for later use. We are very active and have devised our own powdered sports drink mix. We know that credit card companies aren't out to help us; they are out to make a major profit off us! So, we save up for major purchases, or just say "no." Recently, when we were comparing insurance companies during an insurance "check-up, one of them didn't feel we were a good risk because we hadn't had any credit purchases in 8 years! One thing I don't do much of anymore is cut coupons. I find that buying the store brand is much cheaper.