The Ultimate Guide to Finding

For any cheapskate, change collecting is a must. To begin, search your house for loose specie. Pockets, purses, and drawers are common places to find spare change. Under, behind, and within furniture is also a good place to check (as is the washer, dryer, and vacuum). When searching for money in public, the obvious places like drive-thru windows, self-service checkouts, and vending machines are good places to start. However, money can also be found in more unusual places. Cigarette packs, folded up receipts, and envelopes should always be checked, just in case there’s a hidden treat inside. It is also wise to check used scratch cards. On rare occasions, people throw away a winning ticket, believing in their mind that it was a dud.

Bars and nightclubs are also great places to search — especially in countries which large coin denominations. Just keep your head down and your eyes on the ground, you’ll be bound to find at least a bit of spare change.


Metal detecting, and the more dubious practice of dowsing, are definitely worth a try. Use your metal detector at old homesteads and search around trees, rocks, or landmarks of any kind for buried caches. Look basically anywhere people exchange money or riffle through their pockets (i.e. car parks or gutters). Under bleachers and behind park benches are good places to search, as loose change tends to fall like rain from people’s pockets as they sit. Movie theaters are even more lucrative because the dim lighting and reclining seats. If you live near a ski slope, detect under the chairlifts for dropped cell phones, Go-Pros, jewelry, or any other valuable that became swallowed up by the previous winter’s snow. On a similar vein, check the thawed piles of plowed snow that accumulate in parking lots as well as the vacuum trailings at car washes, people accidentally drop or suck up valuables all the time when exiting, entering, and vacuuming their vehicles. Old ghost towns and garbage heaps can sometimes be lucrative, but there are usually heaps of scrap metal and numerous pull-tabs that you must deal with.

Beaches (as well as playgrounds and sandy volleyball courts) are perfect for metal detecting. Not only is sand incredibly easy to dig and sift through, but people loose things in it all the time. When it comes to beaches, wait for low tide and your search area will expand dramatically.


While you’re out scanning for buried treasure, keep your eyes peeled for other valuables such as arrowheads, fossils, gems, and even gold! If done right, prospecting for gold can earn you a pretty penny. Most people begin by panning for gold in rivers and streams, but more experienced gold hunters use manual or battery-powered sluice boxes. When prospecting in rivers or dry river beds, look for bends in the stream where the water takes sharp turns, as this is often where the gold (which is denser than water) settles — along with black sand.


Thrift stores and estate sales are good places to find the occasional cash hoard. Sometimes, money can be found inside picture frames, within hollow curtain poles and bedsteads, or underneath large clocks or heavy ornaments. People also like to hide money in battery components (such as the ones in cell phones), books, and old, unused, shoes.

Peak around the wallet and purse section at local thrift stores, you can sometimes find money or credit cards that were left behind by the original owner.

Saving on Phone Bills

When it comes to cell phones, expenses can rack up quickly. To not exceed your plans data threshold, use apps such as My Data Manager. It is also prudent to keep up with your carrier’s promotions. They often do deals for both existing and new customers. When it comes to deciding on the perfect plan for you and your family, the best place to go is Whistle Out. At Whistle Out, you plug in all of your personal parameters (i.e. minutes, data, number, of lines, etc.) and they find the best plan to suit your needs.

Saving on Clothing

Unless you’re a nudist, your clothing costs can surely be reduced. Yes you could learn to mend, sew, hem and stitch, but there are other tactics that can be just as beneficial. Saving money is easy if you don’t have to buy new clothing as often. Therefore, take care of the clothes you have. Always fold after washing and never over-stuff your drawers. Avoid unflattering creases and indentations along the shoulder, collar, and neck regions by using padded hangers. Although these satin or velvet hangers are slightly more expensive, they are an investment that will pay off tenfold. With regards to washing habits, always remove the plastic bags after dry cleaning (also spot clean in between dry cleans) and zip up all the zippers before washing. This will inhibit the metal teeth from grinding other articles as they tumble around in the washer and dryer.

For the frugal fashionistas out there who can’t live without high-end outfits, it pays to hunt around. Many stores put their most profitable items centrally on the main floor. Digging around and combing through racks at the peripheries will yield far better deals than the primary showcase area. It also pays to invest in accessories, to avoid trends, and to skip the factory outlets. Regarding the latter, you’ll find that, although they heavily mark down their merchandise, they arbitrarily inflate the “retail” price and then reduce it to give the illusion of a discount. Further, most of what you will find are the losers from last season (there’s a reason that poor fitting, oddly colored dress didn’t sell).

Before you buy anything (all you compulsive shoppers out there), count to three and think if you really need it. Shop for the life you have, not the life you think you might have a few years down the road. You don’t need a fur coat for your future winter cottage in Aspen. Also realize that cheap isn’t free. Just because an item is inexpensive doesn’t mean you should buy it for that reason alone.

A few sites to find reasonably priced, designer goods include Tradesy and Poshmark. It should also be noted that selling old clothes to finance the acquisition of new ones can help reduce closet clutter and diminish your clothing habit’s drain on your coin purse.

If you have some similarly sized friends, know that sharing is caring. Swap a few things here and there and you’ll both be winners. Also, when attending fancy events, renting a dress or tuxedo is a lot smarter than buying one and letting it sit, unused, for years in your closet.

Landscaping Tricks

For the cheapskates with a yard or aesthetic garden, there are several landscaping tricks you can use to cut back costs without sacrificing curb appeal. If you live near a university, park, or municipal building with a lot of flowers, relocate a few into your own flower bed. It’s not stealing because, as a living biological entity, no one can technically own a flower. Likewise, your local golf course or city park won’t mind if a few chunks of sod go missing; they just write it off. If you’re not comfortable borrowing grass or flowers, you can buy and plant perennials instead of seasonals – for unlike seasonals, perennials grow back each spring. Transplanting, cloning, and grafting techniques can also help by multiplying your floral-scape at little to no cost.

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

Repurposing, reusing, and recycling old junk can be a cost effective way to decorate and organize. Use an old wine box to organize your shoes and a hanging shoe rack to organize your pantry. Untangle your wire drawer with toilet paper rolls, repurpose an old suitcase into a medicine cabinet, or use an old computer tower as a mailbox. If you play the guitar, get a pick punch to make picks out of old credit cards. Mounted wall hooks can be made from old wrenches, spoons, forks, and knives. If you have an old card catalogue, use it as an alcohol cabinet. If you have an old mini fridge, use it as a T.V stand with a built in storage compartment. For the women, cork boards are great for hanging jewelry and shower hooks are perfect for hanging handbags in the closet.

When it comes to electronics, there are several companies out there (Recyclebank, Usell, and Gazelle, to name a few) that buy old phones at top dollar prices. Many components can also be scavenged from old electronics. Some parts like the CPU, RAM, and battery packs can be taken out and sold. Other parts can be broken down to extract the precious metals inside. Gold, silver and palladium can be found in female connector pins, integrated circuits, and monolithic ceramic capacitors. Although worth less, copper and steal can also be collected from old electronic devices.

While you’re recycling your electronics, you may as well have a look around the recycling center. Search the paper section for current newspapers, wrapping paper, gift bags, or unused padded mailers. Also check the metal recycling area. There are usually a few good gems lurking within the heaps of scrap metal.

Selling your old wine bottles and corks on eBay can supplement your drinking habit. And for those of you with luscious locks, hair extension companies, wig makers, and heirloom hair weavers will pay good money for long, unbleached, hair. Check out sites such as,, or to see how much your hair is worth. Depending on its shade, length and condition, you could receive anywhere from $500 to $1,500 for your hair; so don’t skimp on the conditioner.

Another recyclable item that is communally wasted is cooking oil. Because it can be used to make biodiesel, firms and individuals alike are on the constant hunt for used cooking oil. Search the internet and newspaper for local buyers. In many cases, people will trade products or services for your used oil. Otherwise, expect to get paid between 33 and 66 cents per gallon. Alternatively, you can use your cooking oil, converting it into fuel to run your car or heat your house.

DIY Hacks


When living the cheapskate lifestyle, being able to Do It Yourself will save you truck loads. Can’t afford to decorate your house? Make your own art. Photoshopped home pictures, magazine covers, postcards, and pressed flowers can all be framed and hung on walls or displayed on shelves. You can make collages, display collections or come up with endless other homemade decorations; you’re limited only by the extent of your own creativity. Shop at thrift stores and garage sales for picture frames (even old frames can be repurposed with a quick sanding and some paint/stain), then create a piece to fit inside. When it comes to art, the bolder the better. Buy a large canvas and splatter it haphazardly with colorful paints for an original piece of abstract expressionism. Tell your friends it’s an original Pollock, they’ll never know the difference. Finally, you can use air purifying house plants to both beautify and deodorize your home.


Keeping with the DIY theme, you can also make your own drapes, cleaners, and beauty products. Regarding the former, you don’t have to be a master seamstress to create your own curtains. A simple search on Pinetrest will yield 101 different ways to make 1001 different drape verities. It can be as simple as throwing a blanket over a curtain rod.


When it comes to homemade cleaners, it all depends on what you are cleaning.

To make a glass cleaner for windows and mirrors, mix two cups of water with 1⁄2 cup white cider or vinegar, 1⁄4 cup rubbing alcohol, and two drops of essential orange oil. For rust stains on porcelain and enamel, mix half of a lemon with 1⁄2 cup of borax (a laundry booster that can be found in the detergent aisle). One half cup of sudsy ammonia mixed with a gallon of water can be used to clean greasy grills and oven hoods. If you have marble, granite, or natural stone countertops, rub them down with a few drops of mild, non-citrus, dishwashing liquid mixed with two cups of warm water. White vinegar or lemon juice with table salt works well on brass, while a simple solution of baking soda and water can be used as an all-purpose cleaner/deodorizer.


As well as cleaners, you can also make your own beauty products at home. Cosmetics, makeup, and skin care products can all be made using simple household ingredients. Rub your face with honey at night and a mixture of baking soda and water in the morning to keep your skin looking young and fresh. Crush and mix two tablespoons of zinc oxide, one tablespoon of arrowroot powder, one teaspoon of gold mica dust, one half teaspoon of natural clay powder, and one tablespoon of finely ground cocoa powder to create a natural, homemade foundation. Bronzers/blush, eye liners/shadows, and mascara can also be created using similar homemade recipes. Making your own beauty products will not only save you money, but you can also experiment with the ingredients and ratios to find a concoction that works best for you and your skin.


Another great way to save money while being artistic is to make your own gifts. Design a hand-drawn monogram mug, make some teacup candles, or create a few personalized Polaroid magnets. Search Google or YouTube and you’ll find hundreds of creative ideas and video tutorials tutorials. Whether it’s a front door wreath or a friendship bracelet, your gift will be appreciated because it comes from the one place that counts . . . your heart.