You can take ketchup packets from restaurants to save money and, like my wife and I do, tear napkins in half to make them last twice as long. But that’s just amateurish compared to the crazy strategies professional cheapskates use. I’ve collected some prime examples — though you might not want to try them at home.
Well, maybe you can try some of them. I might, but then I’ve used cardboard boxes as a bed frame and still use address labels to remove lint from clothing. Of course, you might think twice before copying the frugality of the woman who went prospecting in the toilet to save money (I’ll get to that in a moment) . . .
1. Dumpster Diving for Flowers . . . at Cemeteries
When Bankrate.com asked readers how they pinch pennies, some apparently preferred using a vise. For example, Ann, from Iowa, dumpster dives at cemeteries to pick up artificial flowers and miscellaneous decorations that save her money on her craft projects.
2. Eating Less
Dina, another Bankrate.com reader, said, “In an effort to save money, the craziest notion I endured was to stop purchasing groceries and eat WAY less, often not eating all day into the wee hours of the night!” Okay, I wouldn’t do that.
3. Peeing in a Bottle
Showering while at the gym is one of the more normal ways Victoria Hunt saves money. What got her noticed by the Huffington Post was her appearance on TLC’s Extreme Cheapskates, where she showed how she pees in a bottle and dumps it on her compost pile to save money on toilet flushes. Just make sure the bottle is big enough before you start.
4. Saving Butter Wrappers
At Stretcher.com, Rachel says she saves the greasy wrappers from sticks of butter in her freezer. She wipes them across her frying pans when cooking, to save on oil. Now that’s frugal! It makes me wonder if I could cut open plastic oil bottles to wipe out and use the last drops.
5. Sharing Clothing
Rachel also says, “ . . . my husband and I get away with sharing most of a wardrobe.” Well, why not? I have some Scottish ancestry, so maybe I can pass off my wife’s skirts as kilts.
6. Using Someone Else’s Bathroom
Yes, I found a report of a lady who makes her kids go to Walmart and other stores when they need to use a bathroom, to save on toilet paper and water. But why send them that far? I’m thinking there must be some corner of the backyard that is private enough.
7. Reusing Popcorn and Drink Containers
Reusing your containers to get free refills on soda or popcorn at the movie theater is thrifty and earth-friendly, right? But would you dig containers from the trash to get those freebies?
That’s what Roy Haynes does when he takes his wife out for a movie. I’ve been tempted to save my own popcorn bag for a refill at the next movie, but maybe Roy is taking his frugality too far.
8. Reusing Dental Floss
I could probably make this whole article about Roy Haynes. Some of his strategies are pretty creative. In an interview with Yahoo Shine, he said, “Some people think outside the box. I tend to live outside the box.” But maybe a bit too far outside the box with this frugal habit: he hangs his dental floss up to dry so he can reuse it.
I’m not even tempted; my OCD wins out over my frugality. I don’t even like reusing my toothbrush every day (but frugality wins out on that one).
9. Treasure Hunting in the Toilet
When Dave Ramsey asked his Facebook fans for their stories about saving money, there were some whoppers. Literally — one man entered a Whopper-eating contest because it was free and would save him the expense of buying food that day.
Katy cuts the toothpaste tube open to get the last bit out. Julie uses turns a crockpot full of water on high in winter instead of using her home’s heater.
But these were the more ordinary responses… Are you ready?
Becky lost a crown and swallowed it. She says the dentist told her it would be $500 to replace it or, “we could wait for it to pass, and he would sterilize it and re-cement at no cost.” She waited.
Yep, and for $500, well . . . I might actually do the same (oh, come on; it’s $500!)
Your Turn: What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to save money?