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EVERY CENT COUNTS: Saving a few dollars here and there can mean a lot long-term.
EVERY CENT COUNTS: Saving a few dollars here and there can mean a lot long-term. Jupiterimages

Seven confessions of a cheapskate

THERE'S one in every friendship group.  

The one whose bladder always seems to call when the restaurant bill is about to arrive, or refuses to go to the movies any day other than a Tuesday.  

But no matter how much we tease them, our cheapskate mates are the smartest ones of all.   

Living life on the cheap can be hard, especially when you have expensive taste, but frugal living can be the difference between poverty and luxury in the long-term.   

For those who need a little help in the savings department, we searched high and low for the best advice from those who know best.

Here are the top seven money-saving tips from self-confessed cheapskates:  

Set a savings goal and resist spending 

Work out what you're currently spending money on, and how much you have left over once all your essentials are paid. This leftover amount - your discretionary spend - can quickly turn into savings if you find ways to keep it in the bank.  

Use your discretionary spend as a starting point to set a savings goal. It may be a dollar amount, or perhaps something you'd like to buy - a holiday, new appliances or a top up on your mortgage. Keep this goal firmly in mind whenever you hit the shops to sway your spending.   

Review your regular expenses

You can also make your savings go further by reviewing your regular commitments. Bills for things like insurance, phones, internet and club memberships can seem fixed, but checking if your needs have changed or if there's a more competitive offer can pay off.  

If you use bottled gas, you may be able to take advantage of Origin's LPG price promise. Origin will beat any lower comparable price by 5% for 12 months when you open a new account. 

Cut down on bad habits

Wine, chocolate, coffee… we all have those little vices that get us through the day. Even if you can't give them up, you can cut down - making those rare moments of indulgence all the more rewarding.   

Try putting the coins you save from these daily dips into your wallet in a jar to see how much it adds up.  

Save money on food

Bring your lunches to work instead of buying it each day.   

Create a shopping list designed to complement the items you already have in your fridge and pantry, and stick to it.

Buying ingredients in bulk can also help you save - especially if you choose generic label products.  

Buy secondhand

Buying new every time is a surefire way to pay top dollar. If you've got a specific item you need to purchase, check your local op shop, browse secondhand listings online or review your local paper's classifieds to see if you can find a used one at a bargain price. It's not stingy, it's smart.   

Use energy more efficiently

Did you know the average Australian home has 67 household appliances? The more appliances you use, the more energy you'll consume. Cutting down with some simple changes can help you save on your power bill.   

Entertain on the cheap

Keep the kids - and yourself - entertained for free by joining your local library. In addition to books, many libraries also offer newspapers, magazines, DVDs and eBooks.  

Keep an eye on your community's activity calendar for free events.  

There you have it... You too can be a cheapskate and save some serious dollars!