Complete cheapskate: How to conjure up money from nothing

Complete cheapskate: How to conjure up money from nothing

Do you want to conjure money up from nowhere? It can be done.

Cheapskates spend almost NOTHING. They pop to the toilet when it’s their round to buy the drinks and trawl local free sites for unwanted pet bunnies to eat. Well perhaps not bunnies, even though it’s been done. But here are some cheapskate ideas to ratchet down your spending big time before your debts affect your credit score:

  • Become a Freegan.
    It’s amazing how much free food you can get – without even having to dumpster dive. Plenty of people are very happy to get rid of excess fruit to their neighbours. Check out free produce sites such as
    Falling Fruit and Ripe Near Me. You can also freeze or preserve cheap or free seasonal fruits to use all year round.
  • Drink someone’s dregs.
    No, don’t do that. But do consider sneaking your own drink into the cinema, or pre-loading beforehand. Once you meet your friends, just drink water because it’s all about the company not booze. Alcohol is really expensive and if you’re including it in your grocery budget you’re fooling yourself. It’s entertainment.
  • Calculate calories.
    When buying any food get your handy little calorie counter and figure out the cost of every calorie you consume. But do remember you need to have some fruit, veg and protein in your diet to be healthy. Check out the
    Live Below The Line campaign in which Aussies are encouraged to eat on $2 a day. It’s do-able in a healthy way and there are plenty of recipes and tips from others. Or Google ‘Live Below The Line recipes’ and you’ll find plenty.
  • Take lunch from home.
    This saves soooo much money. Throw in a thermos of coffee or your own drinks as well. It’s not at all difficult to make lunch for $2 a day compared to $10 or more in a café or takeaway bar.
  • Don’t buy clothes.
    The Emperor’s New Clothes (i.e. nothing) are much cheaper. But seriously, we fool ourselves into thinking we “need” more clothes. Would your colleagues really notice if you didn’t update your wardrobe for two years? Probably not. If you really must buy something new, buy super cheap undies and socks from Target or Kmart and buy everything else at the op shop and outlet stores, or swap with friends.
  • Get free beauty treatments.
    Girls (and guys) find your local hairdressing or beauty school and volunteer as a model. Likewise you can probably get free advice on styling your home from interior design and landscape gardening students who need a project to pass their course.
  • Beg.
    Well, sort of. Ask around when you need things or post on your local Facebook ‘pay it forward’ group or Gumtree and find out who has stuff cluttering up their garage they want gone. You can even put an order in at the local op shop or recycle centre. People do this.

The final rule for being a cheapskate is there’s always a cheaper way. Bide your time, talk to your friends and see if anyone knows how you can do it more cheaply. In the end you might even find you don’t need to buy at all.

Diana Clement
Diana Clement

Diana Clement is a freelance journalist who specialises in writing personal finance, investment and related topics such as savvy spending. She has written for the national media in New Zealand and the UK as well as specialist online and print publications, and writes on a wide range of money topics ranging from day to day spending at one end to complicated investing decisions at the other. She's happiest, however, looking for increasingly clever ways to live on the smell of an oily rag.

All stories by: Diana Clement