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Pinching Pennies

Pinching Pennies

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Pinching PenniesMost of us know the benefits of not spending every penny we make. We grew up hearing about the benefits of saving and pinching pennies. I have memories of being lectured by my dad when I was like 7 or 8. This is why kids have piggy banks. But then we start earning allowances and a few years later getting jobs. As we start earning more we then feel entitled to spend it. Most of us don’t feel that “entitlement” to pinching pennies and saving for the future. Some say they owe it to themselves to spend that hard earned money on fun and possessions. What about their obligation to their own financial future? Is nothing owed there?

It will be hard initially to start pinching pennies but once you start it will have a snow ball effect into all your financial decisions.

Manage Your Finances

Managing finances begins with tracking your income and expenses. If you understand where your money is going, then you have a better idea of where you need to make changes.

While there are many tools available to help you manage your finances, I personally like to use Mint.com. Mint is a free online tool that helps track and analyze your financial accounts, from savings and checking to investments. Like many other financial planning tools, you can create a budget and track bills with Mint, but it also helps identify opportunities to save money based on your own personal situation. And it’s completely safe and secure.

Everyday Savings

In addition to managing your money, finding ways to save on the things you already buy is another step toward financial stability. This can be as small as replacing that morning latte with a less expensive cup of coffee, or as big as forgoing the option to trade in your car for two more years. It would be a mistake to think that it’s only big expenses that need to be cut back on. All those little expenses are exactly where you need to focus on and start pinching pennies.

Other ways to reduce expenses include shopping around for better insurance and credit card rates, shopping online, and negotiating with providers for special rates on services like cable, internet and telephone.

Reduce Waste

Reducing waste is another great way to save money. Reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills not only helps the environment but also our finances. There are many items you can recycle which put extra cash into your wallet, including paper, plastic, aluminum, and glass.

Shopping at thrift stores is also a good way to save money and reduce waste since you can find many items in good condition for a fraction of the cost of buying them new.

Start Pinching Pennies Today…

These lessons apply to everyone regardless of your income. I’ve heard fascinating stories of billionaires living like middle class and pinching pennies. And many sad stories of middle class living like they’re billionaires. Some of the fault in our recession and poor economy lies with poor personal financial management. Living on credit like the debt collector will never come knocking. Buying new possessions that depreciate before you get it loaded into your car and to your home. So get educated and get saving. All men should consider improving how they’re managing their  finances and start pinching pennies. Work smart, not harder.



  1. Good post. I love your final line to work smarter, not harder. That really is the key I think. Why work hard when you don’t have to. It’s about being wise and making smart choices that will help stretch your money further.

  2. “Work Smarter, not Harder” is one of my favorite lines and often one I need to be reminded with. Like many I wasted many years not taking advantage of compounding interest, but I’m investing smart now. 🙂 Thanks for the comment John!

  3. Great piece, John. I think some people are addicted to shopping for “new” stuff. If those people could just switch their addiction from “new” to “used,” it’d help the landfill issue a ton…as well as the pocketbook.

    • I forget what book I read but it talked about how middle class and below are addicted to buying stuff to be happy. But just like the depreciating value, that buying “high” feeling quickly fades and they have to go out to get something else. A horrible rut to be in.

  4. A very timely article.

    With two growing and perpetually ravenous boys, I am always looking for ways to cut corners on spending.

    My wife and I pinch pennies by reducing the money that we spend eating out. We splurge on occasion, but we generally produce good and healthy meals at homes.

    • Terry, that’s a good plan to go with. I’d like to have a better meal plan but as a bachelor I find it tough to buy bulk and use it all before it spoils. I’m working on it though! If you ever write a book on it let me know. 😉

  5. I think pinching pennies and being responsible abou tthis stuff gets easier with time for sure. A habit snowball, if you will. Just get started! It’ll get easier over time. 🙂

    • You’re tottaly right, TB. Just like anything else you got to work that muscle over time. Expecting immediate results is unrealistic and dangerous.

  6. I love the smarter not harder approach to work, too. I think finding something you love doing makes the work feel less difficult so that can help, too. But that’s usually easier said than done.

    • Well said and important for us to remember. It can be tough to sustain the energy when things get rough, so knowing in the beginning that work will be required helps keep that expectation in check.

  7. I started pinching pennies when I was a young boy as I learned the value of money from my parents and through my first job as a paper boy. Thankfully I carried this mentality throughout my life and I am currently debt free. Some people feel entitled to spend and I did too, but I saved for what I wanted and paid cash. Nothing feels more empowering then getting what you want and not going into debt for it. Cheers great post. Mr.CBB

    • Thanks Dude! Good comment! I totally agree with what a rewarding feeling it is to not get into debt. I know some debt like student loans, mortgage, car loans, etc…can sometimes be the smarter choice. It’s the unwise purchases though that get us and leave us down…sometimes for a long time.

  8. We have been pinching pennies for a long time and it really adds up! It helps that we have been busy and haven’t had time to spend money.

  9. Your post reminds people to be careful with finances. Saving money is really necessary. Managing finances is another important thing for all of us to do. Let’s try to save a penny out of the ten we spend. This is really motivating.

  10. I do an annual review of my budget and find that some of the small purchases really add up to a lot. Always cancel the automatic renewal stuff, too. I find that I end up paying for services that I do not use.

    • Good point on canceling that auto-renewal stuff. It’s important to get right on it because before you know it 30 days have passed and you just paid the first bill. Thanks for commenting!

  11. I have been buying all my clothes at thrift stores for years and it helps so much! There are many nice stores where you can find stuff that’s basically still new. Great tips thanks!

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