Save Money Without Looking Like a Cheapskate

We share the secrets of getting what you want for less without appearing cheap.

Doing anything to save a buck can backfire. The shoddy products you bought simply because they’re cheap probably won’t work well or last very long. Ultimately, that’s a waste of money. And holding up the checkout line while you search for the coupons you clipped this morning can earn some angry stares from fellow shoppers. Even thrifty people care about appearances.

We’ve come up with three ways for you to save on the stuff you need without looking like a cheapskate:

Buy used

Low-quality products, even when brand new, often look cheap. And if they aren’t well made, you’ll have to replace them often, which will erase any savings you might have scored. If higher quality products are out of your price range, though, consider buying pre-owned items to save 50% or more off the original retail price. A good example is quality furniture, which can be purchased second-hand at estate sales and consignment shops.

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Shop online

You don’t have to feel self-conscious about using coupons or buying only what’s on clearance when you shop online. In fact, it’s often easier to save money on your purchases when you do your shopping on the Internet. There are Web sites that can help you compare prices and find the best deals, such as There are even sites you can use to find coupon codes to enter at checkout to score instant discounts including Try it from the privacy of your home or your smartphone, and no one will be the wiser.

Time your purchases

If haggling makes you feel like a cheapskate, you can save money instead by timing your purchases right. The payoff from using this strategy will be especially big when you buy big-ticket items. For example, you can save 30% or more on laptop computers just by waiting until back-to-school sales in August and September. Name-brand TVs tend to be cheapest in January and February. And wedding dresses often go on sale in early December.

To learn more ways to save without looking cheap, check out our special report on smart buying.

Andrea Browne Taylor
Contributing Editor

Browne Taylor joined Kiplinger in 2011 and was a channel editor for covering living and family finance topics. She previously worked at the Washington Post as a Web producer in the Style section and prior to that covered the Jobs, Cars and Real Estate sections. She earned a BA in journalism from Howard University in Washington, D.C. She is Director of Member Services, at the National Association of Home Builders.