Big and Small Cheapskate Tricks: Advice from a Billionaire

Billionaire Ken Fisher recently shared his own cheapskate tricks. Although some people with a lot of money certainly spend wildly, many rich people live frugal lifestyles. We regular folk can learn a surprising number of helpful money-saving tips from their cheapskate tricks and money hacks.

Big Cheapskate Tricks for Saving A Lot of Money

Fisher’s cheapskate tricks fall into two broad categories:

  1. Ways to save a lot of money on big items
  2. Ways to save a little bit consistently which adds up to big savings over time

We can learn from both approaches. Let’s take a look at the big cheapskate tricks first …

Go to Community College

Hack your education and reducing future loan debt by completing the first two years of your degree at a community college. From there, Fisher went on to a public university. He paid as little as was necessary in order to get his degree.

Did you know that in San Francisco, community college is free for residents? If there’s a similar opportunity in your area, then why would you pay to get your basic credits out of the way?

Choose Alternative Housing

Fisher built his own house using salvaged materials. It was a tree house. Apparently he and his wife loved it. This also speaks to the fact that he seems to have never lived beyond his means. If he couldn’t afford a fancy house, he wasn’t going to have one. Instead, he was going to create a magical home with what he did have.

Drive an Old Car … Or Better Yet, Walk

Fisher mentions his 15-year-old Volvo with pride. The fancier your car, the more money you’ll spend on it. The newer it is, the more it’s going to cost you. Of course, you have to take a variety of factors (such as gas mileage) into consideration. Nevertheless, generally speaking, an older long-lasting vehicle without too many frills is a great way to save money.

Fisher also mentions that he walks a lot. If you don’t drive, you’re not spending money on gas. If at all possible, go car-free for some real savings.

Repair Your Relationships

Interestingly, Fisher says that one of the best things that you can do for your finances is to learn how to work through problems with the people in your life. Divorce is expensive, so figuring out how to stay happily married is well worth it. Likewise, a conflict with a boss can cause problems with your career which affects your finances. Learn how to fix those problems.

Small Cheapskate Tricks to Save a Lot Over Time

There are two types of cheapskate tricks that fall into this category:

  1. How to use inexpensive things instead of expensive ones
  2. When to spend a little bit more money to save in the long run

When to Go Cheap

Here are some of Fisher’s best small cheapstake tricks:

  • Choose the cheapest machine-washable dress shirts and suits.
  • Forego a wallet and use a binder clip instead.
  • Forego a barber and always cut your own hair.
  • Implement home energy savings tips such as adjusting the thermostat.
  • Learn to sew so you can repair your own clothing.
  • Stay at safe, but cheap, motels. Don’t waste money on fancy lodging. Instead, use your money for fun during your travels.
  • Use paper clips, safety pins, and duct tape to repair almost anything.

When to Spend More

As aforementioned, Fisher walks a lot. Therefore, he could easily wear out his shoes. He notes that it’s well worth it to invest in the services of a good shoe cobbler. Spend a little bit on a decent pair of dress shoes then let your cobbler keep them durable for you for many years to come. He notes that a good cobbler can typically work with all leather; his keeps his briefcase in good shape, too.

He also says that it’s always worth it to invest in quality health care. Don’t be cheap where your health is concerned. Spending more on preventive care helps you spend less on emergency costs and chronic conditions.

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