Uncle Greg’s Tightwad Money Saving Tips

 

Uncle Greg's Tightwad Money Saving TipsHey kids. Uncle Greg here. Today, I want to go ahead and squash all those silly fun-loving dreams you have. I’m tired of all this Spring Break tomfoolery. I am sick of all of this YOLO nonsense. We’ve gone soft here girls. All of us. Excitement does not fun make. It is my job to remind all of you Ray-Ban wearing, high-rolling ninnies that the party can’t last forever. We need to get you back – back on the road to being a stingy badass!

“But Uncle Greg, how can we possibly have fun if we aren’t bingeing on vacations and purging our hard-earned dollars?” Easy. There is no fun like the enjoyment you get from saving money.

The time is now to put aside our highfalutin, budget busting, alcohol induced financial haze so that we can REALLY have a great time.  Let’s get back to our roots here people. That is why I did you a favor and came up with “Uncle Greg’s Tightwad Money Saving Tips” to put a smile on your face – and a positive number back in your bank account!

 

Do Your Own Taxes

Guess what, Junior. April 15th is less than two weeks away. Here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A., that means it is time to pay your dues. Yep, it is income tax time. I know that your hard-partying March may have led you to forget that little nugget, but you can bet your bottom that the I.R.S. didn’t. If you played it smart like your Uncle Greg, you would have gotten your taxes done about two months ago. And, like the tightwad stingy badass that I am, I did them myself.

“Hold up there, Uncle Greg. My taxes are just too difficult for me to do them on my own.” Awww phooey! That’s a bunch of horse manure. I’ve got rental properties, a LLC, and investment income, and I can still do my own taxes. In fact, programs like H&R Block at Home and TurboTax make it super easy for you. So stop being such a Sally and get on it, you wuss.

 

Use the Library

Back in my day, we had these buildings that had a bunch of books in them. Yep, an actual, stand alone building with real books – not these “electronic” jobbies they got these days. We called them libraries. As time went on, these libraries even started carrying VCR tapes that had the latest motion pictures on them. They were swell!

These days, companies have made it easy for you to spend your money from home. Heck, I even get swept up in this furor every once in a while. Why pedal your two-seater all the way to the library when you can just buy the book on your Kindle? Why go and find a movie when you can just stream it to your television set for a few bucks?

Why? I’ll tell you why. Because it is FREE, you numbskull! Look, I enjoy my dime novels and talkies just as much as the next guy, but I could spend hundreds of dollars (or more) a year if I bought every movie and book I had an interest in. Using your tightwad library card is a great way to keep your expenses down while enjoying the written word or the cinematic arts. Huzzah!

 

Cut the Cord to Cable

So, you decided to treat yourself, huh? Maybe this intellectual fog drifted in because you got overly excited about spring. Maybe it was the long and boring winter that dulled your financial sensibilities. Regardless, you went ahead and signed up for that nifty little cable television package…or maybe it was the satellite package. Worse yet, you opted for the one with 377 channels even though you’ll only watch 5 of them. I mean, 377 channels?!? Come on. Who do you think you are, the King of Siam? I don’t care that you missed The Real Housewives of Butte. You’re a tightwad too. You should know better.

The internet has made it really easy to find all of your favorite shows whenever you want. Personally, we like using a Roku box. It forces us to make a conscious choice about what we are watching, instead of just mindless staring at a TV screen and flipping channels. Not only do we watch higher quality shows, but we have so much more free time now that we aren’t glued to the boob tube. Best of all, we are saving oodles of money. Now THAT is my idea of fun!

 

Cut the Cord to Your Phone(s)

Hey, Steven Spielberg. I know you think that you’re important and all that, but do you really need 3 cell phones AND a land line? One for browsing, one for texting…blah, blah, blah. Trust me. You’re not that important. One cell phone should do. Modern humans have existed for about 200,000 years, and we got along fine without cell phones for – oh – about 199,990 of those. (Make that 6,000 if you think you know better than science.) I think cutting back to one cell phone and a land line will be OK. In fact, if you have a cell phone, you may not even need a land line anymore. Stash that cash and save up for your next (ugh) vacation.

 

Use Credit Card Rewards to Travel

OK. OK. So, I can’t get you to believe traveling is boring. Fine. Since you are determined to bore yourself in Europe or the Caribbean, at least use some tightwad tricks to get you there cheaply. If you are a certified stingy badass, go ahead and churn credit cards for rewards points. (We’ve got a few to choose from here.) Be forewarned, though: this is not for the faint of heart or the newly recovering spending addict. The only way you can get ahead with these points is to A) only buy things that you would normally buy and B) payoff your balances EVERY month. If you do that you can build up points for all kinds of goodies – like flights, hotels, and cash – making credit card rewards a great way for tightwads like us to travel.

 

There you have it. Uncle Greg has laid out some solid time tested, frugally minded, tightwad ways for you to enjoy yourself. Now get to it…and I don’t want to hear any of you Nancies bellyaching in the comments below!

 

 

About Greg

Greg Johnson is a proud husband, father, and debt crusader who believes in living life now while saving for the future. He is the co-founder of the personal finance website Club Thrifty, where he brings the awesome sauce each and every day.

Comments

  1. Haha loved the intro in this post, and great tips. I use TurboTax and it definitely makes it really easy to do taxes yourself. I also find it amazing how only about 1% of the people I know use the library even though it can save you hundreds every year.

  2. I always do my own taxes, but this year it has gotten so complicated with all my non standard income streams that I think I might go visit a tax agent.

  3. By the way….that picture is NOT of Greg! Haha!

  4. Lol! Nice post Greg! I guess I am a Ninny since we hired a CPA last year. ;) However, we will be funding our trip next year almost entirely with rewards points…the bathroom remodel we start next week will all be paid via Amex getting us plenty of points to make it possible. :)

    • Thanks John. I’ll let you slide this year, but I want to see you doing your own taxes next year. If not, I’ll be forced to revoke your man card ;)

  5. You GO, Uncle Greg! Set those silly kids straight!

  6. We used to go to the library on a weekly basis when I was a child, and I loved every visit because I was the ultimate bookgeek:-p When I’m done with uni, I definitely want to use the library more. I don’t have time to read anything else right now than my textbooks.

    • I hear ya. When I was in college, I had no time to go to our university library – which is kind of a bummer since it was a great library.

  7. I definitely need to go to the library, haven’t been in years and no longer have a library card.

    • Oh, the library is a wonderful place Michelle. At our public library, you can even check out e-books now. Pretty cool stuff, and it is all free.

  8. The library is awesome! Although I live in a small town, our local library is new and high tech! Not only can I check out books, magazines, etc. to take home, I also save money by checking out free ebooks for my Kindle. I will probably never pay for a book. I love to tale the grandkids to the library; they love it.

  9. Great, fun post! We’ve cut the cord to cable and our land line. Saved a ton of money that past few years. And we are doing our own taxes as well. That’s easy when you have an accountant for a wife :)

  10. I haven’t had cable for years. Not because I’m some kind of a tightwad. I just hate 50% of what airs on TV, and am apathetic to another 45%. The 1% that I want to watch can be rented or acquired through some other means.

    • We haven’t had it for quite a while now…I think 2 years. It started out that way because we were looking to trim fat off of our budget. We then realized we also felt the same way about TV you do. We wear our tightwad badge with pride though. Hopefully we can help you come out of that closet someday :D

  11. Oh, Uncle Greg. Thanks for the tips. I use most of them and they work out well. It does feel good when you are putting money into your savings accounts, whether they be traditional, online, or retirement.

  12. Doing your own taxes is a no brainer. I’m surprised how many people don’t, considering the plethora of online solutions out there.

    • It should be, but it isn’t. I’m surprised too. It does take a little time though, and sometimes time is money. Furthermore, I guess if you are having to pay quarterly estimated taxes on your own, an accountant would certainly be nice.

  13. We use the library for just about everything so that’s a big money saver, especially when I look at how many books I read in a year (probably around 100). We also got rid of our home phone, which we realized sort of presents a slight issue as we have been told that it’s a good idea to train our oldest (he’ll be four soon) about being able to call 911, but this becomes difficult with having to work exclusively with a cell phone.

    • 100 books a year! You Go! I wish I had time to read that many!!!

      Yeah, we haven’t gotten to the 911 call yet, but we probably should do that soon with our oldest too.

  14. My local library is partially funded by the local casino. The casino is government run and helps to keep taxes down and new books and videos in stock.

    I use my credit cards for cash back and free groceries. I have debt so travel is not part of my life but free groceries means more money to apply to the debt.

    Having lunch at a restaurant with friends today but I am using a gift card I got for Christmas and we always get separate cheques to keep it fair. It is a $25 gift card and I will about half of that today so I have one more free meal in my future.

    • Go Jane, go! You are definitely on the right track! Very happy to see you using those points for groceries and using the savings to pay down debt. Knock that sucker out!

  15. I used to do my own taxes, but it’s all so Byzantine. I am going to try Turbo Tax, though. I think that simplifies it!

  16. LOVE IT! Hey I’ve done several of those things recently. I cut my cable. I bought an antenna which kind of does the same thing the Roku box does for you…it makes me watch one program a night and pretty much be done with it. Everything else I miss I can stream later on my computer or ipad. Tough life I know. I tried lowering my cell phone service though and I have the lowest that you can go already, so no go there, but I’m still selling stuff I don’t need. Thanks Uncle Greg! :)

    • You are so welcome! Glad I can be there for you.

      We have an antenna as well. We use that for any local programming, but we use that maybe once a week – usually more like once every two weeks. Great job on cutting those expenses down!

  17. Hahahaha! Uncle Greg is a badass! No tom-foolery allowed in here! NOT UP IN HERE!
    This was fantastic, I’m luck to have cable included in the rent at my apartment so I don’t pay for that and I’ve even thought about cutting back to a basic phone and dropping this smart one for good (and I’m only 23!) I wish I could do the credit card thing but as a lowly restaurant server/college student, I don’t think I could get any of the nice ones with rewards =\

    • There are some rewards cards available still, but the best ones do require good-excellent credit. Good for you dropping the smart phone coverage. It seems like we all suddenly think that having a smart phone is a necessity. It definitely is not. I’m pretty sure that we would not have them, if not for our work paying for them.

  18. LOL great tips, all that was missing was a “Now get off my lawn!” at the end. :)

  19. I love the library! And ours has a toddler storytime there twice a week, which is fun for my daughter :)

    • Awww…that is cute. I’m not sure if ours has that or not, but I’ll have to check. Our library does have a really cool kids area, so I’m sure that they do have a story time.

  20. Gee, not all old people talk like that! Maybe the young crowd needs that every so often. I do all of these except dropping cable and tax programs. Since I already made my nest egg, I get to indulge myself and it is part of my entertainment budget. I have used a CPA since I started investing in income property. He keeps me from getting too aggressive. It is cheap insurance and not much more than doing it myself. I also get to ask him questions during the year for free!

    • Once you are out of debt, it is a lot easier to treat yourself isn’t it? CPA’s can be a very valuable tool as well. However, for the regular Joe Schmo, doing your taxes really isn’t that difficult.

  21. I don’t throw around the L word easily, but I loooooove our local public library. They always have the latest movies and books and if they don’t, you can submit an order request form. Sure, sometimes I have to wait awhile for the popular titles, but it’s worth it to save money and prevent clutter at home.

  22. Cut the cable. Check
    Cut the phone line. Check.
    Travel. NO MONEY Uncle Greg!!

    • Oh, Jacob. You will get there my boy. You will get there. Just keep plugging away at it.

      We actually make a fairly substantial sacrifice in order to travel as much as we do. Basically, traveling pretty much eats up 80% of our entertainment budget for the year. We’ve made it a priority for our life, now that we are out of consumer debt. So, for most of the year we are boring. Then we get to hit the road 3-4 times a year for fun!

  23. LeRainDrop says:

    This post is hilarious and packed with great tips! Can you write a post about your experience with using the Roku and what it involves (e.g., internet? monthly fee? coordinates with Netflix, Hulu?)? Thanks :-)

  24. LOL!! Love this, Uncle Greg. You might be grumpy but you give good advice. :) I used to do my own taxes but with my practice, I decided to take my own advice and not be afraid to seek professional guidance. :) But I do agree, in most situations – Turbo Tax or HR Block can guide you through the process just fine. We’re like you in that a large portion of our “fun money” goes towards travel. We love it and set save goals every year to go someplace big (and yeah, we definitely take advantage of rewards points too!)

  25. Hah! This one had all of the lulz. Thanks Greg!

    And I agree, cut the friggin’ cord already!!!!!!!!!!!! What a waste of money, you high-tootin’ scoundrels!

  26. Bf is totally old school and does his taxes on paper with a pencil. It’s pretty adorable. He also knows the local librarians on a first name basis. I’d imagine he’s saved us hundreds of dollars with the library borrowing alone. Books, DVDs, video games (are they even called that anymore?), music cds. I’m pretty proud of him. It’s like having my own personal amazon same day delivery ;-)

  27. Great tips, Uncle Greg! :)

    Although I love me some travel and work hard to do just that… Guess I’m just one of the renegades, but I fortunately don’t partake in hungover vacay experiences…

  28. But Uncle Greg…
    Great tips. I’ve never heard of a Roku box. We’ve been thinking of cutting the cord, but it’s been a see-saw type battle. I’ll have to look into.
    BTW, love the tee-shirt. I should get one, but wonder what the misses will think.

    • I think I’ve only worn that shirt maybe 5 times. :D

      We really dig the Roku. We cut the cord quite a while back. It has about 100 different “channels” to choose from. Some of them are free. Some of them you have to pay for – but you can pick and choose what you actually want. We currently pay for Netflix and Hulu Plus for a grand total of about $15 a month. We get to watch pretty much all the TV we want at a much lower price.

  29. I find it’s always a reality check to do your own taxes. As much of a pain as it can be, it’s also interesting to get a sense of exactly how much goes where. Great post, Greg.

  30. Great tips, Uncle Greg and I are just about on the same page. I still haven’t made the decision to pull the trigger and cancel the cable, but all the other tips are followed in the Bonner household.

  31. I’ve only paid someone to do my taxes twice in my life. And both of those times were because they were complex beyond belief and it was prior to online or tax software being available to the common individual. The funny thing is that the second time I paid someone to do my taxes, they screwed up and got me in minor trouble with the IRS!

    • Ha! You can’t win for losing, can you? The online software that is available now is really good stuff. Now, if you are running a business or something, you may want tax advice throughout the year. If you are an Average Joe, there really isn’t any reason you can’t do your own.

  32. best advise i got was to never do my own taxes

  33. Totally all over the place. It starts with an audience whose budget is narrow enough that they can’t buy books or pay for taxes, but then ends with an audience of people who’ve got enough of a cushion to churn credit cards…

  34. I use TurboTax for my taxes, and cut the cord on cable 1 year and 1 month ago, and frankly haven’t missed much. 99% is crap anyway. I’ll take the extra $70 per month over mindless channel surfing any day!

  35. I think cutting cable is one of the easiest things you can do to save money in the budget. It’s like $100 bucks a month for tons of channels you don’t even watch. Between Netflix, Hulu, and regular old Antenna’s there’s more TV and Movies then you could probably watch in your lifetime. Best decision I ever made was to cut the cord.

Trackbacks

  1. […] See the original post here: Uncle Greg's Tightwad Money Saving Tips | Club Thrifty […]

  2. […] There are bloggers like Greg at Club Thrifty who insists that if you don’t exercise your tightwad muscles and do your taxes yourself, you’re a wuss. And on the other side of the spectrum is The […]

  3. […] I hope you don’t mind a little helpful advice from good ole Uncle Greg. I just want the best for you. You’ve got a bitchin’ tattoo and a ton of potential. […]

Speak Your Mind

*