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Think You Might Be a Cheapskate?
Not many people enjoy being called a cheapskate. But I do. I don't think of it as an insult but a commentary on how far I've come. I was born a spender, and I took that tendency to a horrible extreme at one point in my life. The changes over the years that brought me to where I am today offer an amazing contrast. If "spendthrift" is at one extreme, I guess "cheapskate" is at the other. And given the choice, I'll embrace the latter any day.
To me, a cheapskate is simply one who gives, saves and doesn't spend money she doesn't have. Not long ago, a very lively discussion took place at DebtProofLiving.com. Everyone wanted to weigh in on signs you know you're a cheapskate. Here are some of my favorites:
You know you're a cheapskate when …
-- Your spouse hides things in the house because he or she is afraid you're going to sell them on eBay to raise money for your emergency fund.
-- You plan meals like your eighth-grade home economics teacher (if only she could see you now).
-- The checker tells you that in her 10 years of working in a grocery, she never has sold a bar of Fels-Naptha soap.
-- You call your credit card company's 800 number just to hear your balance going down.
-- You use more envelopes to hold your money than you use to mail your bills.
-- Your ceramic piggy bank has a spotlight over it.
-- You go online to check your savings account balance first thing in the morning on the first day of the month, even if it means you have to get up early.
-- You get $60 cash from the bank, and it lasts longer than $100 cash used to last.
-- You buy something with your credit card and immediately go online to transfer the exact amount from your checking account to pay it early, just so you never will show a balance.
-- Every month, you take your saved change to the bank, deposit it, then head straight to the nearest computer to transfer that amount to your credit card balance!
-- Friends ask you to go out to eat Mexican food, and you say you're making tacos at the house if they'd like to come by and join you.
-- You're faced with losing your job, and you don't lose any sleep at night because you have six months' worth & of living expenses in your emergency fund and no credit card debt!
-- You hear about a good book and rush online to put it on hold … at the library!
-- You discuss your finances with your spouse, and you both are smiling because you know the balance of three bank accounts -- to the penny!
Mary Hunt is the founder of DebtProofLiving.com and author of 17 books, including "Debt-Proof Living." You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to Everyday Cheapskate, P.O. Box 2135, Paramount, CA 90723. To find out more about Mary Hunt and read her past columns, please visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.