So, you think you can beat me at tightwaddery? There's a challenge. Do you recycle laces? Make your own dishwashing liquid? Had the same car for 15+ years?
I once lived with a flatmate who reused matches, by lighting one from another when starting gas elements, which was possibly a step too far. This week I've spent time browsing blogs and forums in search of new tips that even my old flatmate would admire.
There are ethical and moral questions around being a tightwad. Be careful of doing things that cost others money, such as holding your wedding on a week day. And please don't head for the toilets when it's your round of drinks.
Question every purchase
That means every single grocery item, alcohol, furniture, your car, your new kitchen, your holidays and so on. Yes, buy them. But be honest about whether they are needs or wants and where they fit into your big financial picture.
Don't even visit the Joneses
Don't covet your friends' and neighbours' lifestyle. Your neighbour has probably loaded up their mortgage or credit cards for this stuff anyway.
Not wanting leads to a more fulfilling life. Urgent wants go away if you have a stand down period such as a week, or even better a month. Every 10 or 100 dollars saved by overcoming the urge to buy soon adds up to thousands.
Going shopping is lazy. Look for ways to get what you need without buying it instantly. I love candles, but always buy them new from the op shop and rarely pay more than $1 a pop. I stopped a friend in her tracks this week as she went to buy plastic boxes for her father's disorganised pantry. She now has a bundle of empty takeaway containers instead. When I needed a small block of wood I found an offcut box at the local timber store.
There is always a cheaper way
This is one of my favourite mantras. If you think about a problem for long enough a cheaper solution comes up, which sometimes is not buying it at all. The subject of growing vegetables on balconies came up this week and my friend pointed out that she'd found Kings Plant Barn sells ripped compost bags for half price. An even cheaper way is to produce your own compost. Other useful mantras for tightwads might include: "I only shop sales" and "do I really need it?".
Cut the cost of your food by sticking to the real essentials; reduce electricity and water usage, get a better mobile phone plan and look for ways to reduce every other regular outgoing.
Spend only cash
Academics have proved that it's more painful to spend cash than using plastic, even with the rewards points are factored in.
Think outside the box
Always challenge convention when it comes to spending money. A tightwad friend is investigating holidays in Sri Lanka, which she tells me are bargain basement as the tourism industry is desperate for new visitors.
Concern for the planet pays itself off in savings. Cutting out most commercial cleaning products has saved me heaps. Making my own treats such as pesto, hummus and preserved lemons means less packaging materials and a heap more money in my pocket.
Read as many blogs and articles as you can on tightwaddery. Sign up for Facebook groups and newsletters and devour them.
Google alternatives to whatever it is you next get your wallet out for.
Make friends with second hand
Know your local op shops, recycle centres, buy/sell groups and school fairs. If you can buy it new, you can buy it from a second-hand shop.
Having a buy-nothing day each week or month will teach you to be resilient and resourceful. Related ideas include car-free days, meat-free days, homemade lunch days.
The ultimate tightwad tool is the big bad budget. Whether you like it or not, tracking your spending religiously and stopping when you've spent your allocation for the month is the best way to be a better tightwad.