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Everyday Cheapskate: Broke? Can't Save? Oh, Yes You CAN!

Mary Hunt on

I came close to paying full price -- $100 -- for a replacement charger for my phone. But the thought of spending that much money gave me a rash and sent me to eBay. In no time, I bagged a regular charger plus one for the car for less than $10 with shipping. Need something for one-time use? Borrow it from a friend or neighbor (and encourage them to do the same).


You use plastic to pay for stuff because it's convenient. So, stop using it. It shouldn't be so convenient to spend your money. Curb all those impulsive purchases. That's a lot of money you can free up for savings.


The next time you get a raise (or bonus), save at least half. Let's say that raise improves your monthly take-home pay by $200. If you save half and do that for the next 10 years, that money you didn't miss (because you never saw it) will grow into $12,000, and that's not taking into account any interest you might earn along the way.

Here's the thing about saving: At first, it's going to feel like a hardship (like dieting, all you can think about is what you can't have). During my worst years, when I was spending with reckless abandon and racking up debt, I would have told you with all sincerity that we didn't have enough money to save.


But once I jumped into saving (just a few dollars at first), something amazing happened: I began to feel a new sense of self-worth, dignity and calm. The more I saved, the better it felt. The better I felt, the more I wanted to do it again and again. And again. This will happen to you, too.

And as you watch your balance grow, prepare for a surprise: Saving will become addictive. Try it. Save money. See if it doesn't become habit-forming.


Mary invites you to visit her at, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

Copyright 2021 Creators Syndicate Inc.



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