Unusual and Wacky Ways to Save Money

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Some people are creatively frugal, saving money in ways most of us only hope to mimic. Others, however, take frugality to the extreme. And most of us probably fall somewhere in the middle. Here are some unusual ways to save money that many of us would even consider wacky. They are gleaned from a variety of sources to offer a glimpse into the wilder side of the frugal lifestyle. Maybe you wouldn’t be comfortable practicing some of the most extreme measures of frugality, but they’ll certainly make you think about other possibilities!

• Marry a handyman (or woman). The ability to make household and automotive repairs will literally save you thousands of dollars every year.

• Wash and reuse foil and plastic zipper bags. (To be safe, though, never reuse them if they contained raw meat.)

• Find a frugal spouse and stay married. Divorce is expensive!

• Save money on your wedding flowers by picking up a couple of floral arrangements from the ground at your local cemetery the night before the wedding. (Never steal them from a grave, though!)

• Stop buying kitty litter by potty training your cat. Most cats can be trained with little effort, though for best results, start when they’re young. The savings may make it worth the time.

• Stop smoking! Forget the health benefits which are too numerable to count. The savings can add up to nearly $2,000 a year!

• Wash your car when you fill up the gas tank using the squeegee and soapy water that most stations provide.

• No car wax? Try furniture wax. It’s said to work just as well and typically costs less.

• Don’t want to drink plain water when you dine out? Add a couple slices of lemon (which most restaurants provide free), and a packet or two of sugar or Splenda to make your own lemonade.

• Hot tea drinkers can take their own tea bags and ask for a cup of hot water. Make it decaffeinated and you won’t seem as cheap since few restaurants offer decaffeinated tea bags.

• Join a local group at Freecycle.org and find all kinds of things you need that someone else was going to throw away.

• Stop buying paper products. Instead of Kleenex, use a handkerchief, instead of paper napkins, use cloth, instead of paper towels, use a dish cloth. If you’re really frugal (or broke!), you can even use newspaper instead of toilet paper.

• Save the plastic containers you get from restaurants when you carry food home and use those for leftovers so you don’t have to buy plastic wrap or freezer bags.

• Remember grandma’s old adage, “Find a penny, pick it up, all the day you’ll have good luck” – and you’ll be a little bit wealthier, too!

• Save all the ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salt, pepper, napkins, straws, etc. that you pick up at restaurants and don’t use right away. Never throw away what can save you money.

• Buy generic or store brand cereal and eat more of it. You can still find cereal for less than $2 for a large box. Add milk and you’ve got several meals for pennies each.

• Set up shop at your local print shop rather than supplying an office in your home. You can plug in your lap top and use their electricity, plus use a stapler, paper clips, rubberbands, etc. that most print shops provide for their customers. You can even use their phone in most cases.

• Need to send a fax? Ask a friend who works in an office to do it for you.

• Instead of renting a house or an apartment, live in a camper. Find a cheap used camper if you don’t own one, or borrow one from a friend. Ask for the monthly rate at your local campground and you can live for around $300 a month – with electricity, water, and Internet included. Don’t have a shower? Not to worry… use the bath house. Just take your own towels.

• Hungry? Dry dog food is safe, nutritious and costs only pennies a day. And people who know say it tastes better than canned.

• Shop the after-Christmas sales for all the gifts you’ll need the following year. Wrap, tag and hide them until next December.

• Use only rechargeable batteries.

• Buy only battery operated clocks and other items that could run all the time and cost money.

• Before you go to bed, unplug TVs, radios, your stove and other appliances that continue to use electricity.

• Check local restaurants, the library and other places that have a lost and found department for items that were left and never claimed.

• Look for new items at yard sales and thrift stores. Use them for gifts or sell them on eBay.

• Get free books by offering to write free book reviews for your local newspaper.

• Recycle an old toilet or bathtub as a planter in your yard. Makes a great conversational piece, too!

• When dining out, choose the largest meal you can. Eat what you want and take the rest home for another meal or two during the week.

These are just some of the many unusually frugal ways to save money and get what you want and need for less. Be bold and take initiative. You can learn to save in ways you never imagined and have fun in the process!

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