Sunday, 11 November 2012

The cheapskate

Are you a cheapskate? 
Quick signs to look for
1) You get a thrill when an unfranked stamp comes through the letterbox, oh to think people don't spend two days soaking a torn off piece of envelope in a bowl of water to get 50p back
2) You look at your bank account balance online more than once a day, just to check
3) You vehemently insist Lidl is as good quality as any Waitrose
4) It feels like a crisis if you forget your advantage card when paying at Boots
5) You hover around the reduced to clear section of the supermarket, gleefully buying an out of date quiche for 47p price even though you hate quiche

The typical lazy cheapskate in depth
Mike has had a very exciting morning. Martin Lewis's (his hero) Money Saving Expert email has just arrived in his inbox, and his Clubcard vouchers came in the post (25 extra points when you spend £5 on nuts and seeds - don't mind if I do). It hasn't quite beaten the hiatus of last Tuesday though, when he received a cheque from the Inland Revenue for tax overpayment - 'to top it off I was going to the bank anyway, so I didn't even have to make a separate trip!' Never had four months of letters, photocopied wage slips and exasperated calls to the 0845 numbered (the scourge of the devil; who gets those calls included in their phone tariff?) tax office been quite so worth it to get back that £4.22 he was rightfully owed - 'I should really be charging them for the interest.' 

Spending his days constantly giving gas and electric meter readings (heaven forbid they should over estimate my use), switching his savings to the latest high interest rate account, and generally being miserly, Mikes comfort in life is his wallet. Bulging with fraying coupons, 32 loyalty cards and enough half completed free coffee stamps to clear Costa of its supplies, the only thing that's missing is cash. Mike often appears to be short of money, whether it comes to splitting the bill at that group meal where he insisted he put £20 in  (no I didn't see him either), or that taxi ride home when there was an uncomfortably long wait whilst Mike fumbled around for 63p to pay his £4 share - 'sorry it's all I've got on me, let me pay more next time.' This is of course about as likely as him buying expensive loo roll. Stoically unmoved by the John Lewis ad, Mike goes into hiding during Christmas to avoid any present giving obligations. Having about as much heart as George Osbourne, his first thought when his brother died was what'll happen to his nectar points? 

How to stop being a cheapskate
Worried this is you? Here's how to stop being a cheapskate
1) Replace the feelings of elation from paying in cheques/using coupons/claiming your nectar points with going out with friends/having relationships/treating yourself
2) Energy saving is great, but it's miserable, bad for your health and anti-social not to put the heat on just because you can't even see your breath yet


  1. I love people who will only pay £8 at a group meal because they "only had a main" and have conveniently forgotten that they ate half of the shared starters and washed them down with half a bottle of wine.

  2. Love it! It's such a fraught situation.