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Get a Cheapskate Makeover

12 simple ways to get your cheap on

9. See the Light: We've all heard that compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) — those newfangled corkscrewlike light bulbs — save us money. They use about 75 percent less energy and last about five times as long as regular lightbulbs. Even though they cost a bit more, they'll save you about $10 per year for every regular bulb you replace, and even more for lights you leave on the longest. Start by replacing those bulbs first. But here's a CFL tip you might not have heard:  Many local utility companies have programs offering customers a few free CFLs to encourage people to give them a try. Check with your power company to see whether it's giving away any freebies.  

10. Can You Break a Hundred? Numerous studies have shown that you're likely to spend less when you force yourself to pay with cash instead of a credit card. Psychologically, it's just harder to part with actual greenbacks. Take it one step further and try carrying only $50 and $100 bills, which are really difficult to part with and sometimes hard to break.

11. Go Overseas: Taking an exotic vacation abroad might not be a good way to save money, but try doing it a couple times a week through your evening meals. Many ethnic recipes — including Hispanic, Asian, African and Mediterranean — tend to be less expensive to prepare than typical American fare, since they often rely less on expensive meat and dairy products. As a result, they're often healthier, too. Check out ethnic cookbooks from the public library or go online to a free recipe website where you can search by country or region — and get cookin'.

12. Host a Naked Lady Party: Ladies, rather than go shopping for new clothes, how about having your same-sized girlfriends over for dinner (potluck, of course) and asking them to bring along clothing they no longer want so that you can all swap? Guys, I suppose you could do the same thing, although sending an invitation to a Naked Man Party to your buddies might not go over too well. Instead, maybe you can swap some power tools or gym equipment.

Jeff Yeager is the author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door. His website is www.UltimateCheapskate.com and you can friend him on Facebook at JeffYeagerUltimateCheapskate or follow him on Twitter.

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