- The Cheapskate's Guide to Life

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Saturday, December 09, 2006

New Way to Invest.

I wanted to tell you about a interesting way to invest a few bucks. The name of the website is It is a peer-to-peer lending community, where you choose loans to "bid" on. There are tons of listing to choose from, so I use to narrow down the selections. Give it a try.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Arrested 96 times, and changed his hair every time!

I’m sorry…this has absolutely nothing to do with the mission of this blog (to make you a cheapskate). But there is no way that I can run across something like this and not share it with the world. This man was arrested 96 times in a year and managed to change his hair every time. Here is a link to his mug shots. Enjoy!

This is the hair he has to work with... Frankly, this is amazing! Click above link for more.

How much are your investments costing you?

Investing has long proven to be one of the most important ways to accumulate wealth over time. How much is it costing you though? Many people don’t realize that much of their investment is going to their broker or mutual fund company. The Cheapskate recommends evaluating your investments and your broker at least twice a year.

Mutual funds are a great way for novice investors to play the market. However like everything in life mutual funds are not free. Mutual funds charge a fee once a year, and sometimes a load when you buy or sell. This charge averages about one percent of your investment. If you were to invest $10,000 in a fund that had a load of 1%, that is $100 a year out of pocket. Compare the fees associated with any investment before buying. Another thing to keep in mind is that exchange traded funds (ETF’s) and index funds have much lower expense ratios than there actively managed counterparts.

For those of us who like the excitement and the research involved in trading individual stocks, evaluate your broker. Many traditional brokers can charge well over $30 a trade. This is a high price to pay especially if you are doing the legwork yourself. Scottrade is probably the cheapest and the best online broker around. Trades are just $7. Sharebuilder allows you to buy for $4, but trades to sell are $15. This is still a good deal if you plan to buy many times and sell once. The Cheapskate recommends keeping all transaction cots under 5% of the investment.

Visit my finance blog if you like to discuss stock ideas.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Telephone Bill Exorbitant? Help Below!

Have you looked at your telephone bill lately? If you haven’t you need to! Competition abounds in the telecom industry, especially with the advent of VOIP technology (the ability to have a landline that transmits over the internet). Call your telephone provider and tell them you would like them to review your bill. Many times they have a plan that will save you money. If not, call a competitor and negotiate a better deal.

Another option is going with one of the internet phone companies. The best value seems to be with Vonage. The cost is only $14.99 a month for 500 minutes anywhere in the US or Canada. The price goes up to $24.99 for unlimited usage in the US and Canada. Your bill can’t be cheaper than that. Check out the Vonage website and see for yourself, the features you get would cost you hundreds of dollars a month with traditional service.

If you are tech adverse, now might be the time to get rid of your landline completely. In the 2004 election, the lack of traditional phone service in many homes became an issue with polling. Imagine that…pollsters were unable to annoy a whole segment of the population thanks to cell phones. Add to this the fact that cell phone service is down right cheap, and you have a formula for savings and convenience.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Drop That Latte!

Amy B. from Salem, VA has this suggestion: “It’s amazing how much little things can add up. I used to go to the local coffee shop every morning before my first class in the morning and pick up a latte. This cost around $2.50 a day. So based on the five days I went to school, I was spending $12.50 a week and $50.00 a month on coffee. Now I brew my own at home, or hit a cheaper establishment like 7-Eleven. 7-Eleven lets you bring in your own mug and they give you a refill rate.”

Thanks Amy, that’s a great suggestion.

Save Those Measly $1 Bills

One thing that I have tried to save more money is to keep all of my one dollar bills. Think about it…last time you went to the convenience store to pick up a soda and a pack of nabs the bill was what? $1.50? How did you pay for it? Well, from now on don’t spend anything less than a $5 dollar bill.

In our above example, you would have $3.00 to put away to savings. Not much right? Exactly! See, this is such a small amount, you will never miss it. But over time it will really add up. I personally have been doing this for about two months now, and last time I checked I had over $250.00 in one dollar bills. My wife still laughs about my absolute refusal to spend my singles, but the joke will be on her when I get that new TV I have been eying.

I must give credit when do however, I didn’t think of this by myself. I ran across it while reading The Neal Boortz website several months back.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Welcome to the home of the Cheapskate. I want to save money and I need your help. Please send me your ideas for saving money. I will try to post them, and then we can discuss them. I look forward to hearing from you.