Cheapskate Behavior that Costs You in the Long Run

By Emily Lugg,

Who doesn't want to save a few bucks? Indeed, there are some tried and true ways to cut costs -- couponing, watching for sales, shopping the discount aisle, and so on. Then there are money-saving strategies that actually may be illusory. Perhaps it's time to rethink your cheapskate ways to ensure that you're truly cutting into your bottom line.

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Do you ...

Drive extra miles to save money on gas? Yes, the gas station near your best friend's house may be three cents or even 30 cents a gallon cheaper, but it's on the other side of town. By the time you drive there, fill up, and drive home, your cheapskate ways have burned extra time (which counts for something, too) and also any savings you may have racked up.

Use coupons to buy items you won't use? Just because you found a good deal on deodorant, if it's the kind that gives you a rash, it's not a deal at all. Maybe you think you'll give it away, or maybe you hope your skin will magically stop reacting to it. Either way, this isn't money well spent. Donating the item to the local shelter or handing it off to your poor college-student daughter is certainly generous, but doing this over and over totally undermines your cheapskate intentions.

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Cash in on all those dining specials? All-you-can-eat sounds like the deal of all deals. Or maybe your favorite restaurant offers an appealing buy-one-get-one half-price meal. The problem? If you dine out regularly just because you can grab a "cheap meal," put down the fork and do the math. Restaurant meals are costly regardless of the specials, deals, half-price menus, or buffet options. And there are health costs that cheapskates should consider, as well. Be sure you're budgeting properly -- both dollars and calories.

Avoid yearly healthcare checkups? Nobody chomps at the bit to get to the doctor, dentist, or any healthcare professional for so-called well visits. But don't let money deter you; it's your health, after all. Many insurance companies cover preventative care to avoid more costly claims down the road -- an incentive any cheapskate should understand. Check your benefit plan before deciding to skip your next appointment.

Get what you pay for? A committed cheapskate will be tempted to buy the least expensive set of tires, the cheapest hair dryer, or the too-good-to-be-true lawn mower. At the time, you think you're getting a deal, but if you wind up replacing the product before its expected lifespan runs out, you'll spend more in the long run. An investment in a better model (read product reviews before you shop) may be hard to swallow at the time of purchase, but a slightly higher price tag should pay off over time.

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Stock up on items that you end up wasting? Maybe your favorite salad dressing or granola bars are on clearance, so you decide to take advantage of the low price and stock up. But these items may be on clearance because the expiration date is close at hand. If they wind up sitting in your pantry as the expiration date comes and goes, you've lost money because you bought something you didn't use. And what true cheapskate can swallow that?

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