20 Weird Ways to Save Money

Weird ways to save My dad once told me a story of this guy at his work who was so thrifty that he ate only bologna sandwiches for the last 20 years. That’s it. Two pieces of white bread, a piece of bologna and some mustard. (Not even any cheese!) Every day. His coworkers used to say that he was so tight with money that if you squeezed him, quarters would fall out of his butt. Crude, I know. When he died, they went into his house and found almost a million dollars stashed under his mattress.

I don’t know if the story is true, my dad tends to exaggerate, but it’s the ultimate story of odd thriftiness. I’m not suggesting you only eat bologna sandwiches because I can’t believe the guy didn’t get scurvy. I’m also not saying that you die with a million dollars stashed under your mattress because you do need to live a little. But I thought I’d share some less extreme, but still a little weird ways I’ve found to save cash.

  1. Don’t wash your hairMy hair stylist actually suggested this one and it has saved me a ton of money. I went from washing my hair every day to washing it once a week. My hair is so much healthier now, less dry and I save an hour a day. And I know what you are thinking: But my hair is oily! George‘s hair was too, but when I convinced him to quit washing his hair so much, his body regulated itself and produced less oil. You’ll go through a gross stage where your hair looks terrible for about a week, but see it through. I’ve yet to go completely shampoo-less, but some people swear by it!
  2. Don’t coupon: Believe it or not, couponing can lead to overspending. Those $10 off $100 deals can be a trick to get you to spend more than you planned. Expiring offers, like those from Groupon or Living Social, can also put pressure on you to make an impulse purchase. And believe it or not, some coupons aren’t actually a “deal.” Coupons are usually for name-brand items, and sometimes even with the coupon, the generic brand is cheaper. Ridiculous! Read more about why I don’t coupon here.
  3. Unsubscribe to junk mail and email: Unsubscribe to retailer emails through Unroll Me and junk snail mail through Catalog Choice. The junk mail will never even make it to your mailbox or inbox, taking away the temptation before it happens! It’s also a great tip to keep down clutter.
  4. Shop under a time limit: Shop before you have to be somewhere or set a stopwatch and give yourself a limited time to shop. There’s less temptation when you know you need to just get 5 things and get out. Sometimes I’ll shop on my lunch break and store the food in the break room fridge at work. It gives me a chance to get out of the office and shop on a deadline.
  5. Flush less: If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down. Nuff said.
  6. Put a water bottle in your toilet tank: Ok, after this one, I swear I’m going to be less gross. A capped water bottle filled with sand in the back of a toilet tank can displacing enough water to save 10 gallons a day. That’s a savings of almost $100 per year! Sometimes it pays off to be slightly gross.
  7. Displace water in your tub (or bathe together!): Displacing water in your tub can also save some dough. I’ll let you decide what or who to help you displace the water 😉
  8. Cash only: Challenge yourself to operate on cash only. By doing everything from paying bills in cash to using cash for groceries, you’ll see exactly where your money is spent. It might be a little more hassle, but the convenience of credit and debit cards can lead to overspending.
  9. Save condiments: If you eat out, save your leftover condiments. My paternal grandma, god bless her, didn’t pay for a single condiment in her entire life. She had a giant Ziplock in her fridge full of ketchup, mustard and mayo packages. She also freshened her breath with the parsley garnish on her plate. As a kid, I thought it was the weirdest thing ever. But now, I know, she was a smart lady. Smart enough to raise five kids on a single income home. Which leads me to…
  10. Think like your grandma: I don’t know when it happened, maybe the ’80s, but people started to get spoiled. We had a boom economy and “treat yo’ self” was the norm. Maybe they said it differently, “Like totally, treat yourself, dude,” but times were easier. Now, it looks like that time was the exception, not the norm. We need to learn how to make do and mend like our grandparents.
  11. Make friends with thrifty people (and stay away from the big spenders): I’m not saying you should ditch all your rich friends because you might need to use their yacht one day, but being friends with like-minded thrifty people is much easier. Your big spending friends influence you to spend more whether you realize it or not. Hanging out with my friend, Gabby, who is ultra-thrifty has has challenged me to be thriftier too. She is a Craigslist ninja!
  12. Eat raw: Uncooked veggies are significantly cheaper than meat. Plain and simple. You don’t turn on your stove, so you save energy costs and we all know how much cheaper veggies are than meat. If this idea is hard for you (it’s totally hard for me! I’m a big omnivore), challenge yourself to just eating one day or one meal per week meat-free. Even Martha does “meatless Monday,” so you know it’s a good idea.
  13. Forage: I’m no foraging expert, but truly getting back to the land can be an educational, money-saving experience. I wouldn’t recommend you go at it alone, though. You don’t want to end up all Into the Wild, but there are mycological (mushroom hunting!) and foraging clubs across the U.S.
  14. Reuse disposable items: Tinfoil, Ziplock bags, saran wrap and other “disposable” items can all be reused. I, personally, wouldn’t reuse them more than a couple of times because I worry about chemicals, but I had a friend who said his mom still had a package of tinfoil from the ’70s because she always reused it. That’s thrifty, ya’ll.
  15. Reuse coffee grinds: This is one of my favorite tips because, well, I love coffee and I have super dry skin. Coffee grinds are a great exfoliator. My skin glows after I slough some on. The jury is still out, but I also heard that coffee grinds can help cellulite ANDDDD those delicious, fragrant grinds can also be used in your garden as fertilizer. Is there anything coffee can’t do?
  16. Shift your thinking: I once read that if you begin thinking of yourself as a fit person, you’ll become more fit. If you tell yourself you “don’t”  eat something instead of “can’t” eat something, you are taking away the negative emotion and empowering yourself. It works the same with money. Begin thinking of yourself as a saver and you’re more likely to actually save. Try telling yourself that you “don’t” overspend instead of you “can’t” overspend. It’s liberating.
  17. Get Scroogy: The holidays are coming up and it’s oh so easy to walk into the nearest Target and drop $200 bucks on decorations. Try making your holiday decorations out of stuff you have around the house or forgo decorations all together this year. You could also make it clear to your friends and family that you won’t be partaking in present exchanges this year. They’ll probably be disappointed, but explain your reasoning and they’ll get over it. If you’re crafty, you could also try your hand at making gifts this year.
  18. Pick up every coin you find: I have a friend who literally throws pennies away. She also won’t pick up change on the ground. WHO DOES THAT. Last year, my mom picked up every coin she saw on the ground, put it in a jar and at the end of the year, it added up to almost $12. That’s free money!
  19. Go to bed earlier: This is a toughie for me, but I know if I go to bed earlier and get up earlier, I’ll be taking greater advantage of the daylight and using less electricity at night.
  20. Make it a competition: Start a saving competition with your family or friends. See who can  save the most money each month. Make sure there is a prize at the end, so you all have that incentive. May I suggest a weekend trip together?
  21. Bonus tip! Live in an Airstream. No really! We do it and it’s been the biggest money saver in our lives. Want to read more about how we live? Start here.

What weird, crazy or out of the box tips or tricks do you have to save a buck? Let me know in the comments!


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124 thoughts on “20 Weird Ways to Save Money

  1. nikkiproctor

    This is great advice! (Though I am a serious runner so there is no skipping hairwashes)… And very timely since, well- I quit (submitted my 2 weeks)! ). To save money I always walk or ride bikes over taking the bus/cabs, buy the pet-food in bulk, and do clothes swaps when I feel that itch to get new clothes. Everyone wins 🙂

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      Nikki, I actually do hot yoga which is very sweaty. Instead of “washing” my hair with shampoo, I just rinse it with water. It doesn’t smell, promise! Good luck with quitting!

      1. Katie

        Yes! This is true! I run and do hot yoga and I shampoo only once or twice a week and just condition every day to keep away tangles and damage in the winter. If my hair is having an oily day, I just use a bit of dry shampoo.

  2. Amber

    Pour a 50/50 mix of apple cider vinegar/water on your hair (don’t rinse it out) after washing and once it dries your hair won’t smell like anything and will be soft and static free. Use the vinegar instead of conditioner and you save yourself from the chemicals in the conditioner as well as the cost of it. My hair feels gross if I just rinse it, but the vinegar makes it feel wonderful.

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      I’ve heard about this! I’ve been hesitant to try it though since I have super dry hair.

      1. Becky

        For super dry hair, use coconut oil. A little goes a long way so a jar will last forever. I also no-poo using baking soda and the apple cider vinegar. My hair has never been healthier and growing faster then it has in years.

      2. Heidi

        I have used nothing but apple cider vinegar or organic lemon juice as shampoo for about three years now. Don’t think I will ever go back to “real” shampoo. I know it sounds counter intuitive, but the acid in the ACV or lemon juice seems to be good for dry hair. Shampoos are bases, as is the chlorine in city water, and these seem to dry out hair. All I can say is to try it. It may take a few weeks for your hair to adjust to this new routine. I just talked to a young man yesterday, with fairly short hair (for a guy) who uses NOTHING but water.
        For those of you with oily hair, try baking soda (another base). It seems to work well for that type of hair. Or, you may want to try a combination of the two. My oldest daughter daughter has an oily scalp, but the ends of her long hair are dry. She uses the baking soda on top and the lemon juice on her ends.
        Btw, the ACV does rinse out well, so you will NOT smell like a pickle factory as you walk around.

  3. charlotte

    must say the ideas is brilliant, what I do to save is, after each day me and my boyfriend would take all our change no notes and put them in a jar, we tend to spend the change easier then notes as it has a smaller value, after a month of saving all our change we have about, $30, its amazing how fast one spends the change, try it you will be amazed, with this saving strategy we use the money each year end for fuel on holiday the rest of our money we can enjoy, because fuel is already saved on.

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      charlotte, thanks for the comment! i save my change too, but i didn’t think that tip was too weird! ha-ha.

    2. Sheri

      We do the same thing and most of the time we go as far as never paying for anything with change. If the total is $1.01 we pay with bills only and stash away that left over $.99. It adds up quickly. We use the money for Christmas for the kids and family trips.

      1. Michelle

        I saw all of my change too. Always pay with bills. Not only do I save change but I save all single dollar bills and any ‘crispy’ (new/firm) bills $1, $5, $10, $20, etc. Something about spending a ‘crispy’ bill . . . . I’d rather save it. Strange, but adds up fast and never miss it!

      2. Bonnie

        It is pretty crazy in Canada to save coins. Our $1 and $2 are coins, thus we can rack up a jar full in a week and with no pennies, you get to wrap lots of serious rolls for the bank account.

  4. kenzieamick

    I love this article! It’s truly amazing! And I found it just in time.. I’m off to college soon and I really need to figure out how to pinch my pennies. Thanks for all of the great tips!!

    1. Sallee Roberts

      To help save power, switch off ALL electricals except your alarm clock (use your phone for an alarm clock instead if you can and then charge it if you are allowed to, while at college) at night. This may seem like a hassle, but once you get into a routine, you don’t think about it. That little clock on the stove, the lights on the items on standby, I was able to save $20 a month doing this

  5. Ann

    I have to use coin-operated machines for laundry every week, and never carry cash/always use my debit card. So, every week I take out $10, and have it changed to quarters. I usually only have to wash and dry one load, so end up putting almost $6 into my change jar. The point is getting the money out of my bank account (cause otherwise I’ll use it) and making it too much of a hassle to use those $6 (I’m not going to carry around that many quarters). $6 * 52 weeks = $312!
    I also throw into my change jar any unexpected returned money. Like my neighbor and i split the cost of internet, but I didn’t even know her when I set it up, so that’s basically an extra $20 that go in the change jar. (it’s easy to share internet; if they don’t pay, change the password! =))
    I also throw in there any bonuses, any money I make from random gigs, when I return something I bought, etc.
    Oh, random money-making tip: use rent.com (if you’re a renter like me). You get a $100 giftcard when they confirm your new lease!

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      Great tips! I love that one about rent.com. I’m the exact opposite. With my debit card I want to buy everything in site and with cash I’m more frugal.

  6. Diana

    I love all of your ideas, now I just need to convince my teenage daughter! I especially like the “think like grandma” ideas, its true they lived a life with much less luxury. Keep helping us save with more great ideas and thanks for sharing! Diana

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Diana! I agree. We can learn so much from our grandparents! Now, convincing your teenage daughter?! I don’t have much advice about that!

    2. Mary Burt

      I lived with my grandma when my parents died. Never knew there was such a thing as a restarunt or café. We always ate at home. Her shopping was for staples only she raised the rest, and we ate meat once a week. Now that was frugal, and she thought she lived like a king.

  7. thriftyfrankyebfrances

    Lol, some ppl look at me like i’m silly picking up pennies, but hey its tax free, and they dont know at one i have a jar with ‘amazon cash!’ coinstar, no fees, turn your change into a amazon giftcard, if they knew. 😉 our goal (may seem silly) if too get $100 in coinstar! buy next years cyber deals, we’ll see who silly that time next year 🙂 (and its funny cause i gave amazon fund however i could and i had the funds to get my daughter a mobigo 2 and tangled game $25 shipped! well $25 of my amazon cred 🙂 not cash-cash. vs a retail of $70! just cause i had it there building up nicely.

  8. Leigh

    1. Sleep naked. You save money not regularly washing pajamas.
    2. When you go to a party and someone asks “does anyone want to take any of these leftovers home”, say yes! You can use left over veggie tray items for snacks or to make soup and maybe even gather up a little of everything to make a supper plate.
    3. Make your own cleaners. I made a home made orange cleaner from orange peels/water/vinegar (google it for the recipe) and use it everywhere. We also use baking soda and vinegar (remember those elementary school volcano explosions??) to clean the toilet bowl and sinks. Greener and WAAAY cheaper.
    4. Stop buying paper towels. Just stop doing it. There is literally nothing you can’t clean with a rag and later wash it. (Also greener!)

    1. Julie

      Did you also know that newspapers make great window and glass cleaners?? It’s recyclable and you save money! Just spray window cleaner like you normally would and rub your windows dry. No, it will not leave ink residue, in fact it will gurantee a much better smudge free result then paper towels or rags!

  9. Tsamulski2

    I have recently been on a journey to figure out how to cut our household expenses and to live a little greener at the same time. I started with making my own laundry detergent. Then I quit using the dryer. I am also making most of my household cleaners. I buy good quality cloth napkins at Goodwill and leave them folded on the bar in the kitchen and use in place of paper towels. I buy baby receiving blankets and cut into 5″ by 5″ squares and serge around the edges and use in place of toilet paper for # 1 only. I wash and reuse. I make my toothpaste and deodorant. I eat breakfast at home before work and I either take lunch or come home for lunch. We installed a wood burning insert in our fireplace to heat with. I am replacing my light bulbs with CFL but I try to leave them off as much as possible. The list just seems endless for ways to save..,

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      Wow! Those are some great ideas! I tried making my own laundry detergent, but it ended up being cheaper to buy Tide (that has a Spanish label) from Ollie’s. I commend your t.p. journey! Thanks for reading!

  10. cara

    If.you follow coupon blogs, they will tell you what coupons to use and where the item is on sale. Stock up when the item is free, save big and shop less! There’s no reason to be this gross!!

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      I think everyone has their own standards of what is acceptable in terms of saving money. For example, I won’t skimp on the heat in our home, but I have no problem living in a trailer. Let’s not judge!

    2. Flexines (@Flexines)

      Oh Cara, how wonderful that couponing works for you but remember what it’s like to be judged for being a couponer? I know that feeling all too well, so I say with lots of love to you don’t be that person casting looks.

      Then ,too, some of the bigger couponers dumpster dive for coupons and eat food while it’s good but past the marked expiration date which can also be seen as “gross.” Judgment is a slippery slope!

  11. Bobbie

    I buy paper towels, but I don’t use them all the time. We use cloth napkins for meals( yes you have to wash them, but they don’t take up much space) and I have a scrap rags basket. Instead of giving away old clothes, I cut them up for scrap, old sheets work great. Also, scissors can alter clothes into something new, Like cut sleeves and ribbed neck off of shirts or cut pants into capris or shorts

  12. Delaine

    Last year I started using a menstrual cup, which meant I didn’t need to buy tampons anymore. I still used panty liners in case of leakage, but decided to sew reusable pads to use this year instead. The gross factor is equivalent to using disposable tampons and pads, for those wondering. Rinse them out and pop them in with your towels to wash.

    I make my weekly shopping list using flyers, my coupon stash, and the internet. When making my list, I group everything by store and include both the size and price. I shop the store with the best rewards first, comparing items from other stores and picking items up where they are cheapest and where I will get the best reward. I only use coupons if it is cheaper to do so and I try to use them when the item is on sale. I have an app that I can use to compare prices and sizes and i use it when shoppin. I budget all my expenses and stay within my weekly grocery allowance. If I end up not spending the whole amount, I can use it toward the next week’s grocery trip.

    I save my reward points for the end of the year. These can be used for extra groceries, Christmas gifts, or things needed around the house. I try make most of my Christmas gifts. I also spend $20 a month on a gift card, to be used when buying gifts or if I can’t find a proper gift, I give the person the gift card instead.

    Loyalty cards have saved me a lot money. I have a gas reward card and ended up getting a free tank of gas with what I saved this last year.

    I keep the small pieces of soap from our soap bars and put them in a nylon stocking. Once there’s enough pieces, I use it as a sudsy scrub in the shower.

    I use the Internet to find out how I can reuse or repurpose items, as well as how to make things instead of buying them. For example, I found a free pattern for menstrual pads, which meant I didn’t need to buy any or waste cloth trying to figure out the best way to make them.

  13. Annie

    This is a fantastic article! I have a couple of things that have saved me big. I do the washing my hair once a week as well, I buy the huge jar of Dove conditioner at Costco. I think it’s around 8 bucks, I then pour half of the container into a zip lock bag and leave the other half in the bottle, the other half of the bottle I fill with water and shake it. I can’t remember the last time I bought conditioner, but I know for a fact it has been longer than 6 months, maybe longer.

    And my next tip is this. My kids have a church program that happens a half hour away from our house and the program is an hour and a half long. When I pick them up they are starving. In the beginning I would just go through fast food and get them something to eat. I have 3 kids and that is a lot. Now I plan ahead and make them egg salad sandwiches, which are their favorite. That alone has saved me close to 80 month!

    Hope these help and thanks again for the article!

    1. lovelibrarianmelanie Post author

      Annie, thanks for the comment! I, too, have found that meal planning saves money!

  14. Beverly Ball

    My family all use gift bags most of the time (occasionally use wrapping paper for a large gift) the bags store flat and we re-use them. Some of the Christmas ones are 5 years old now!

    I have cut out all the paper towel usage by using mircofibre cloths from The Flylady, no fluff left behind on glass or polished surfaces and only need water to clean. Baking soda/vinegar for grubbier cleaning and as we have a wood burner for heat I collect pine cones & treefall on the side of the road (my kids hate me collecting it) it makes great kindling and firestarters.

    Our vacuum cleaner has an attachment that collects dust, pet hair & small bits so it doesn’t fill up the bag, for our 4 bedroom house with 2 kids, 2 pets & 2 adults I empty the attachment 3 x each clean and we have had 2 bags in 18 months! You can get re-usable bags for your vacuum or get a bagless vacuum cleaner for big savings too.

    I make extra dinner and then individually portion up the leftovers for lunch the next day, instead of buying lunch as my kids won’t eat sandwiches and I know the kids are getting better nutrition that way too.

    Living on a prayer in New Zealand.

    1. Evangelista

      I thought bag less would save money too but a pack of 3 bags is only $10 and the filter for a bag less vacuum is usually $40-$50 and needs to be changed out every 6 months. I couldn’t make mine last longer than 6 mo. It just got too nasty. Plus with bags you only come in contact with all that allergen laden dust when you change it which for our family of 4 is 2 months. With canisters you have to dump it about every other use. I personally will stick to my bags 🙂

      1. Barbara Wejwoda Kroeker

        I have a “Rainbow” vacuum, which uses water as the filter and you just dump that into the toilet and flush! It is a bit of a start-up cost (mine was over $2000) but I’m sure I saved that much and more with not having to buy bags. It also cuts down on dust/mites/eggs flying out through the filter.

      2. Cheryl

        I agree, the bagless vacuums dump more allergens into the air. My mom used to have a kirby and it left us all sneezing and our eyes watering after each time she vacuumed. We had to open the windows. Now I have a Miele vacuum, best in the business for less than half the cost of the other overpriced brands, and the allergy flare ups have disappeared, high quality bags and a hepa filter are cheaper than allergy drugs as well as healthier for you. Mine is so quiet, I don’t even need to wear earplugs anymore when I vacuum 😉

  15. Sharlene

    A really great way to save money on your electricity bill so to unplug your appliances when not using them. I started switching off the power bar for my tv which also has my bluray player, apple tv and wii plugged into it. I started doing this in November and my power bill in January was down $40 from the previous bill. And that was during the Christmas season. We also replaced our 20 year old fridge which was using up a lot of power. Now I unplug the washer and dryer when they are not in use. Its hard to believe the savings when everything is unplugged.

    1. Jessica

      I keep the breaker off for the washer dryer and stove and flip the breaker when I need to use them

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  17. Lisa Coury w/ Junkmansgal

    Place a hook next to your paper towels hang a golf towel on the hook for drying hands… You would be amazed at the paper towels & money you save..!

  18. K

    Love it, although I have to disagree about the couponing bit. Because the vast majority of coupons are for name brand items, you can actually get those cheaper than the generic. The key is not simply “using coupons”, it’s combining coupons with sales. Honestly, I get name brand things all the time for free or for pennies. For those people who are “brand specific” and always use certain brands regardless of price (I’ve met some die-hard Tide fans), coupons are wonderful! Why not encourage people to save money on items they are going to buy anyway? I’m no brand snob, which works in my favor, but for those with particular taste I often hand out coupons I won’t use for products I don’t buy. I encourage you to reconsider this part instead of writing it off as “making you spend more money”, it can be a great addition to a frugal lifestyle if you do it wisely 🙂

    1. Sheba

      I am a Tide Fanatic, but it’s insanely expensive! The only store i shop at is King Soopers (Kroger) and I recently found a King Sooper Exclusive! TIDE, $9.99, for the big jug!!! NO FREAKING WAY! I buy 2 every time I go to the grocery store! I will be stocked for a while.

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  20. Eve

    Just stumble upon this blog (thank you Pinterest) and am loving it!
    Although we live in Spain and therefore cannot compare prices/offers and supermarkets, I can use a lot of tips to save some Euros!
    Here a “needless to say” saving tip is for example to buy your vegetables and fruits from the local market instead of the supermarket. This morning we went to the market and spent 6€ (8$) for our fruits and vegs for the week! I checked our local supermarket; it would have cost us around 12€ (16$) there….and the market quality is so much nicer!
    We also do the change keeping tip and when chosing our holiday destination we of course chose somewhere we want to visit but also look at the cost once there (for example, last year we went to China and Thailand and although the flights werent cheap, once there we spent virtually no money at all as everything was so cheap, and we ended up spending less money that we did the year before in France, which is next door (and I’m French!) This year we’re going to India and as we saved on hotels – compared to the ones in Europe – we’ll be indulging in a few days in the Maldives!) I think it is important to reward yourself from time to time for have been so reasonable and careful with money!
    Buying in bulk can also save money and lastly, I take my hat off to the person who substituted toilet paper! I am not sure it would save us huge amount of money (i.e mot sure whether it’s truly worth it), but it definately show amazing commitment to savings!
    Thanks for the blog, which has now become a must for me.

  21. Lori Matteson

    I have several ways that I save money.

    1) I always buy a roasted chicken every month from Costco. It is cheaper than a whole chicken uncooked (I pay $4.99 for the chicken).
    2) We eat two meals from the chicken then I put it in a baggy and put it in the freezer. Every 2-3 months I make and can my own chicken broth. I also save all of the cuttings from vegis when I am cooking and throw them in a bag in the freezer. I throw these vegi’s in with the chickens. I get about 9-12 quart jars of fresh canned broth that I us in everything when I cook.
    3)I have dogs and cats. When it comes to flea treatment…The vets don’t tell you (okay well my vet did) that you don’t need a full dose if you treat them every month. I have a little jar that I put the treatment in and give them half of what they usually get and them I have another treatment for next month.
    4) I don’t save the soap slivers from the show, but I do stick the small bar to the big bar right before I get out of the shower. By the time I take my next shower the bars are suck together and all of the old bar gets used.
    5) I buy most of my Christmas presents at thrift shops and garage sales all year long and put them away. I do not buy garbage. If I see something that I know some one will love and it is in new condition, then I buy it and put it away. This works really well for my grand daughters.
    6) I make lasagna about every 6 month or so. When I make it I use the no boil noodles and make it in bread pans. This is enough for a meal and usually a lunch. I make about 8-10 of them and put them in the freezer. If it looks like I have a lot on my plate for the day, I take one out of the freezer to thaw and then throw it in the over when I get home. It takes about 45 minutes to cook and I save myself from eating out on a hectic day.

    I know there are more ways that I save, just can’t think of them right now.

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  24. Mickymunchkin

    hey 🙂 one saving tip is: don’t use the tumble dryer that often, rather hang up the washing. OK, might not turn out that mega soft, but saves so much electricity costs.

  25. Cosima Le

    As shampoo replacement I’ve also heared that vinegar and olive oil can be uses. Vinegar to get the oil of your skin out and olive oil to moisten it. I can’t get over shampoo but I use a 100% natural shampoo now with literally no soap in it and once a week I put olive oil in my hair, fold a towel around it and let it sit for a few hours. Usually on sunday evenings. And I use used coffee grounds for years for my plants and they are obviously thankful. If you’re a smoker, ashes also work great for plants as some extra food. The biggest way to save money (when you’re low, like me right now – studying is damn expensive) don’t buy the most expensive stuff. Write down some of the “no name” products in your supermarket or discounter and google them at home. There is no such thing as a cheap no-name product in this world.

  26. Anne

    since i was just laid off from my job these hints have been helpful. My husband and I have been money conscious but can always do more to be frugal. I rinse and stack dishes , hand washing once daily, hang much of our laundry on the clothes line in good weather.I use vinegar for fabric rinse – it does great and smells good too. We use almost all of our leftover meals in some other way ( for lunches next day, or save for soup or casserole). I plan any travel to stores and back to make the most of fuel during errands. we have a garden this year and I am hoping to learn to can the extra produce. And save seeds and start my own plants next year. I am thinking about unplugging the appliances when not n use. Also, instead of buying books or magazines, we frequent the library which is our tax $$s at work. My husband shops at Mennards which has quite a few rebates offered. So he not oly gets money back on his Mennards charge card (he pays it off each time) but he gets rebates on everything he buys, plus they have product rebates. About 2 months ago he bought socks and got the entire price back!! .

  27. Isabel Freeman

    living in Scotland I don’t pay for water used but already watch water we use and save it. I also save the condiments! another I use is when I stay in a hotel (my company pays-not me) I have all the toiletries in my bag to bring home and the little pots of condiments, jam and honey too. I make jams when stores have fruit on a really good deal-as long as its not bruised etc. I have lots of money saving tips just too many to post but a couple from your list I hadn’t thought of so they’re mine now too!

    1. Raissomat

      Actually, bruised and generally ugly fruit is perfect for making jam! We have fruit trees and all the overripe, bruised or broken fruit is Canned immediatly! We cut away anything that has started fermenting or molding, and use the Good part. Overripe, not yet fermenting (just smell it, does it smell like vinegar, pungent? Cut/trow out) is perfect for added sweetness, you save some sugar!
      So next time you see bruised fruit with big discount..go for it!!!! 😀

      1. Bobbi

        Most jam calls for lots of sugar. Last year, we cut the amount of sugar for our jams in half… that was the best jam ever. Lots of compliments on the flavor from family and friends. We have a few diabetics in our family and the reduced sugar lets them have some, too.

  28. Lori

    I like having catalogs come in the mail…free bathroom reading material…lots of entertainment looking at them…my kids love daydreaming with a catalog in front of them or cutting them up to make “art” of one kind or another. When we have sucked every bit of enjoyment out of them, I shred them and then use this cool brick making gadget from brookstone, that turns them into fire logs. We make them all year and then use them in the woodstove in the winter. We still burn wood, but it certainly cut down on how much we burned this past winter.

    1. Mama Stowe

      One must be very careful burning catalogs/magazines/etc due to the chemicals used in the glossy inks. 🙂

  29. RobD

    Pay with cash and put your change in a jar everyday. It really adds up. I have 4 different jars for each kind if coin to make rolling them easier.

  30. Tosha

    I wait tables and I try to only use tip money for everyday expenses (gas, groceries, thrift store shopping). That saves the money in the bank for bills and savings.

  31. karen

    We made tissues, rags, napkins, and even toilet paper out of old shirts and pajamas. All together they don’t even fill half the washing machine (although I don’t recommend washing them in the same load.

  32. Karen

    We don’t have a place to hang clothes out to dry so we put a big beach towel in the dryer and the clothes dry much quicker!

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  34. adrianscrazylife

    Wow, we are really on the same wavelength. I use 2, 3, 4, 8 and 10 and they all work great for me. Now I’ll have to try some of these others too. One thing that has been really helpful for both my health and my pocketbook is giving up soda. It’s been a little hard, but it has helped to save like $2-$2.50 every single time I go to a fast food place. And it encourages me not to order the fries either. Those meal deals are not a good deal at all….

  35. MimiShell

    I get paid once a month. Each month when I receive my retirement amount in my checking account, I transfer the balance I had in my checking account over to savings and live off of my one month retirement amount. Regardless of the amount, I zero out my balance. It really helps to grow my savings.

  36. heidi

    I’m retraining myself to “live small”. The more things you have, the more storage, shelving & space you need. The more bills you have equals working more & less free time. I want to consume less & live more 🙂

  37. annalisa

    I think, what people needs to do is to stop comparing themselves to others rather be contended of what they currently have. I know dreaming big, aiming to be famous and rich isn’t bad but jealousy is actually one of the reason why we spend more towards things that are not necessary. Do we actually need a designer bag? or a latest iphone?,


  38. Brooke

    my favorite way to save: My mom would buy expensive or a quantity of lesser value items every Christmas that would just get tossed or left unused. She likes giving. I finally told her that my favorite gift had been the year she gave me a years worth of toilet paper as a joke. It is now a tradition and still my favorite gift and one that is treasured, horded and used. When you are broke, running out of TP just is a stress you don’t need – she’s able to take care of me, fill her need to give large quantities of gifts and we all end up happy.

  39. Marla

    I save money by using coconut oil. There are so many uses for it! A few big money saving uses off the top of my head are using it as an intense moisturizer for your hair (no pun intended), facial moisturizer instead of buying expensive moisturizer, use it as body moisturizer instead of lotion, and using it as shaving cream. I quit buying antiperspirant and only use coconut oil now. It also works well as a flea deterrent for dogs, wood conditioner, and athletes foot cure.

    I also find bartering to be useful, I just wish more people would agree with me. For instance, I help care for an elderly couple in their home, and, in return, their son has been doing some home repairs for me since he is a carpenter.

    I never buy on credit. I don’t even have credit cards. If I want something I save the money to buy it. Many times I find that by the time I have saved enough money to buy the item I no longer need or want it or I have found it somewhere second hand for way cheaper.

    I think just about everyone on the planet by now uses plastic shopping bags in their small garbage cans. If not, you should!

    I am loving these ideas. Thank you for the post and thanks for the comments with all the other ideas. I will be trying some of these!

  40. Olivia

    So spice up your life. My man and I have a box that we put five bucks in (if we feel rich we each put five in if not we take turns) every time we have sex. Now we put our money towards life insurance or if we are saving for a trip. It adds up after a bit but I’m sure it’d be faster for others!

  41. Ranza Connell

    My mom saved all of the 5 dollar bills she received for a year, and had a ton of money for Christmas shopping!!!!

  42. Lauren

    A fun trick that I do to save is I always pay in cash and never give exact change. That left over coinage goes in a jar! I saved almost $300 in a year by doing this!

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  44. chrissie

    Hi there

    I wanted to ask about the shampoo thing cause although people say they dont use shampoo i noticed that they still end up entering the shower and washing their hair with some othe remedies however they still do this a fair few times a week and so I wanted to know if thats what you do or if its just plain and simple you wash your hair once a week ??( something i myself would like to start doing)

    1. melanie Post author

      Chrissie, that’s really up to you. I just use shampoo once a week, some people don’t use shampoo at all and just rinse their hair and others use a baking soda mix to wash it. I linked to the popular “no poo” method in the article.

    2. amanda

      I put nothing on my hair but once every 6 days I will shampoo and condition. On my no wash days I put it in a bun and shower my body. I have bad scalp psoriasis and once I got used to not washing it often my scalp is clearing. It would burn and itch when I washed every other day, and the scratching cause flakes and even bleeding.

  45. TMToni

    Wow… Thanks to you all for some really great tips. I’m finding it hard to add some things.
    *We wash/dry clothes at night. Apparently where we live there are busy times times the day that people use the most electricity, so we pay premieres less doing it on off-hours.
    *I grew up in a house that saved change. My mom & dad suddenly we’re able to bring us to Disney on that change. Don’t stay on sight. Most hotels have a courtesy van that will take you there for free & you will save hundreds. It’s not about where you sleep!
    *Also, if we stay somewhere for several days,we always get a room with a small fridge & microwave. You save TONS by eating/drinking in your room.
    *We own one credit card that offers points & doesn’t have an annual fee (I’m not paying THEM any more money than what they get)…but you need them to book rooms, rent cars, etc. Once used, we lock it into our safe.
    *I use “Viggle” with my TV. It’s so easy… You watch TV, check in with your smart phone, & earn points. They actually accumulate quite quickly. For so many points, you can trade in for flowers, gift cards, etc. They are wonderful gifts & shhhh! It was free from watching television : )
    *I don’t do it, but my girlfriend who has been losing weight won’t get caught in the trap of buying new clothes in new sizes. She scans Craigslist & goes to several Goodwill Stores. It may take a trip or two, but she finds some nice things.
    *if you have a special event & it makes you sick to think of spending hundreds on a new outfit/jewelry/shoes,etc.. Look to your friends! We have done this several times & it feels great looking good & not spending any money!
    *watch for “expensive” make-up. If you look at ingredients, they are either the exact same or close enough. I will no longer spend $50 on a lipstick when you can fnd virtually the same thing for a couple bucks.
    *clean windows with newspaper for the PERFECT non-streak shine. Your mirrors & windows will be streak free for free.
    *use toothpaste for acne break-outs. Never spend big bucks on any of that. Dab it on & by the next morning, redness & swelling will already be gone. Takes as long as any top of the line product.
    *lastly, if you have saved your pennies long enough-please don’t reward yourself instantly for all of that hard work & dedication… Open a ROTH! It’s the best thing you can do for yourself. The younger you are, the better. But! It’s never too late!!
    Good luck everyone & thank you for sharing your tips with me! Take care & Happy Thrifting ⚓

  46. Carolyn

    These are great tips. I rarely use a coupon because they are usually for brands I don’t use and for stuff I don’t want to buy. 50 cents off a box of sugar cereal is still junk food. I buy whole grains like barley and oats, add plain yogurt, fruit and nuts. Tastes better and far cheaper. I also started growing a small garden and picked wild blueberries this year. I have nine gallon bags full in my freezer.
    My boyfriend is a DIY handyman. He does his own oil changes, home repairs to include carpentry, plumbing, electrical and flooring. He is big on tools being an investment. A good tool pays for itself many times over with what you save paying someone else. He is teaching me alot of things. One investment I made after two bad haircuts in a row at the barbershop for my boys was a set of Wahl clippers. My boyfriend who cuts my hair helped me with the technque, comb selection and usage. And no, I did not just shave their heads. I blended in the shorter sides and did the scissor over comb cutting on the top. Well he did most of that as he is good with the shears. So I figure between my two boys’ monthly haircuts and my trim every other month, I am saving over $900 a year. And their haircuts are better than what I paid for. I was a little nervous at first cutting their hair, just like I was the first time my boyfriend cut mine, but onc I saw how much better the results were than the barbershop or salon, I cannot fathom spending all that money each year. My boys love to look for change on the ground too. I dropped cable TV and put up an antenna and have a ROKU box for streaming video. That has saved me over $65 a month. Like you I look for savings through money not spent.

  47. Cena Woods

    I make a grocery list every week and only buy what is on the list!!.. If you didn’t tell me when I made the list then you don’t get it. I usually spend about $100/wk in groceries for 3 people which includes my hubby’s lunch for work and dog food. I have tried shopping without a list and always spend more money..

  48. Natalie

    I just bought my first house (two bed/one bath) AND I’m a photographer. Instead of going out and buying artwork to decorate with for the entire house (kitchen, living room, bedrooms, & bathroom), I’ve used my photographs and an editing program to make some of my pieces look like artwork! That’s one area that has saved me a ton of money.

  49. Maddie

    I don’t spend change at all. Even if something is only .02, I’ll just round up to the next dollar and get the .98. I put all my change in a mason jar, and when it’s full, I roll up the coins and deposit them into my bank account. A full mason jar is usually between $50-$100 for me!

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  51. Mama Stowe

    Warning: If you are a delicate flower and can’t bear the thought of reading about natural bodily functions…stop reading here. Some may think this should be filed under TMI (oversharing!) but hey…this is about weird ways to save money, right? When we went camping in our RV, I discovered that I HATED the special (and expensive) toilet paper that is made especially for use in motor homes. It disintegrated too easily, and left behind a large amount of nasty little pieces of TP in places where you really don’t want paper chunks to linger! (It is also unsanitary..especially for the ladies…to have “leftover TP” particles hanging around in your nether-regions!) I started using cloth toilet paper squares (for #1 only). Not only do they get you SOOO much cleaner than paper, they save a lot of money on TP. Cloth is softer and more absorbent, and leaves behind no TP residue – meaning it is actually MORE hygienic! (Sorry if that sounds nasty, but come on, you all know what I’m talking about!) For those who think it is gross, consider this: It is no different than using cloth diapers for infants. I have a special little trashcan (with a lid) just for the used cloths (and remember, it is just for #1 – I’m not brave enough to deal with #2, thank you!) and keep a little bleach water in it (just like most mothers did when I was a child, only with diaper pails).They get washed separately, in the HOTTEST water, with bleach. The best ones are made from old t-shirts, and believe it or not, the white terry cloth from worn-out socks. Don’t knock it ’til you try it. A little more work? Yes. But once you experience the thorough cleaning, softness and absorbancy, you might just be sold on it!

  52. Emily

    There are soo many tips here LOVE IT!! Here are the things I do:
    1.) I purposefully purchased a small house with cash and have no intention of adding on -lower electricity, stuff to accumulate etc.
    2.) The biggest help to my grocery bill has been my FRONT yard vegetable garden. I grew LOTS of produce all summer and I am still growing stuff in my winter garden ( lettuce, kale, collard greens). I will only plant things I can eat. I also have a couple things planted in the back but I get my best sun in the front.
    3.) I stopped eating meat and GREATLY reduced my dairy intake…saved me considerably on my grocery bill and I feel better.
    4.) I stopped eating junk food- Dr. Pepper’s and Root Beer which I did not think I would ever be able to give up
    5.) I make all my cleaners.
    6.) I purposefully did not purchase a dishwasher or a clothes dryer. I wash all dishes by hand and hang all clothes outside…if it is a rainy day I wait untill a sunny day to do the laundry.
    7.) I have a pay per minute generic cell phone
    8.) I purposefully purchased a home very close to my job to decrease my commute-less wear and tear on my car and less gas use
    9.) I limit my hobbies to frugal ones ( sewing, gardening etc)
    10.) I gave away my television which has decreased my “wants”. I found that the more television I watched the more I wanted things which I really did not need…those advertisers are soo good at that!

  53. Sandy Slade

    One tip I have not seen here.. when I was still working any money I earned working overtime was put into a separate account and used for vacation money. It always paid for a 2 week trip to visit family that are over 1000 miles away. Usually had a enough to pay for airline tickets to VEGAS when my husband got his vacation time. BY working the over time I almost always had earned enough time off that I got paid while out having a good time.

  54. michelle

    Great Tips! I need to try some of these since i already do some in the list, my mom knows how to save. Though i don’t think all will be applicable as of the moment cause i’m living with other people and they aren’t the saving type of person. But this will truly help me in my own personal expenses.
    You can also add the free stuffs you get from staying in hotels like the soaps, shampoos, toothbrush, comb and like so.

  55. AceOfAces

    Great saving tips and may I add to all that eating more salads and drinking more water. Its amazing how water fills you up and keeps you away from cravings!! 3 Liters a day. I encourage you to invest in a good water bottle, add a slice of lemon for flavor, and carry it around. 🙂

  56. Mary

    We just had a Christmas gift exchange where everyone was told to bring something that they already owned (technically “White Elephant”, but not a gag gift). It was to be something that you thought was way too good to throw out, but that you didn’t have use for anymore for whatever reason, and that you hadn’t had time to take down to your local thrift store or give to a friend. Using list year’s wrapping/bags/bows, etc. was also encouraged. It worked out great – everybody got something really nice, and nice spent a dime. For instance, I got a gorgeous Chinese figurine, and someone else got brand new sheets (the original owner never even unwrapped them because they didn’t go with the bedroom decor). Try it!

  57. Shari Wright

    I use left over jars from spaghetti sauce, salsa, etc. as drinking jars and to store left overs. This cuts down on waste, reuses items and keeps plastic off of my food. I never have to buy drinking glasses and if I want to share something with someone, I use the original lid and send it on its way. I don’t worry about getting a container returned. I use larger glass jars from pickles for food storage like flour and sugar. I use my glass honey jars to store beans, rice, oatmeal, etc.

  58. vix

    Use coconut oil as anything from hair conditioner to moisturised. When im shopping i write a list and guestimate the prices of the items when shopping i try to get the price less than what i thought it would be. My food shopping never costs more than £50 a week and i have a family of 5. And they have 3 meals a day and snacks. Its so easy when you put ur mind to it.

  59. Rebecca

    You are so pretty! Thanks for all the tips. Also I will keep reading the comments because there are some helpful ones there, too! One question for the people who don’t use paper towels. I am wondering how you clean your toilet rim, and around the toilet. Do you just wipe it with a cloth? Sometimes the little hairs and debris bug me. If anyone has a solution to that I would love to hear it… as that is the only place I use paper towel now.

    1. April Page

      I worked for a maid service and we had to use cloths for all jobs, including toilets. A good terry cloth usually doesn’t leave anything behind.

  60. margaret minor

    No. 20 really doesn’t make a lot of sense. A weekend trip? That actually COSTS money!!!! 🙂

  61. Kat

    I hid money from myself in case I need it. I’ve utilized a grandfather clock, picture frames, and ornate jars.

  62. Shirley Ratcliffe

    I got a big plastic bottle and every time we go out and pay in cash, we take our change and put it in the bottle when we get home. You would be surprise how much change you have by shopping with cash. About twice a year we take it to our bank to deposit it and we have at least $300. So we save in change $600 yearly. We will use it for Christmas presents or if we go to the casino.

    1. Brittany

      Agreed, Shirley! Putting aside your change can really add up! I do it and it’s usually enough for a mini vacation once a year!

  63. Natalie Sweet

    Thanks for the article! I came from one of the Soviet Union republics and have always done some of your tricks like washing hair once a week, reusing ziplock bags, picking up change off the ground, or using things you already have for decorations and making gifts yourself (I know how to knit and sew!). Also, I never understood why people buy small trash can bags when grocery stores bag all your items and you can use those bags to line your trash can! I wear my pants and skirts, and sweaters several times before washing them – we are adults and stay clean a lot longer than children. As long as you’re not excessively sweating and changing your underwear every day, other clothes can be worn a few times just fine – this way you save on water/laundry and your clothes look better longer.

  64. Marlize

    I throw all the loose change (not paper money but coins only) in a piggy bank. I save up to $10 dollars a month, that’s $120 a year….

  65. Carol P.

    I have been trying to “think like grandma” as far as my clothes go. I wear them till they are unwearable and then I make something else out of them…rugs, pillow covers etc. Also, I have three pairs of jeans that I just keep patching up. They’re great for wearing around the house when I am doing cleaning or working in the garden. Plus they fit great, and I am not ready to give them up! I also make things out of plastic containers. Instead of buying a funnel, I just cut up a gallon milk container. At Christmas time I recycle glass juice bottles or pickle jars, turning them into an angel or a fat Santa filled with goodies. Before I throw out a jar, bottle, can or container I think about how I can reuse it.

  66. Bill

    Another water tip – we all know showers use less water so less electricity to heat but, when you start the water fill a pitcher or two with the water till it’s hot and use that water for plants, washing, coffee, etc – why let it just run down the drain. We have been doing this for years.

  67. perigrine

    I’m using cloth wipes for toileting (single person household). (1’s only TYVM), and I’ve half switched to reusable menstrual products. Since using cloth wipes I’ve saved about $5 in the couple of months I’ve been using it. Over a year, that could well be a saving of $30+ for no extra work. For a family, using premium toilet paper? I hate to think.

    I religiously save all the commemorative coins that come across my path. As soon as I see one, it is taken out of circulation and hidden. At last count there was some $100 stored.

    When plastic bags from the supermarket were starting to be phased out, I made my own fabric ones, from old pillow cases bought from the op shop. They’ve been going strong for almost a decade now. Since a new plastic bag is about 10c, I’m saving a dollar or so each shop. If I forget to take the bags to the supermarket, I put the scanned groceries back in the trolley unbagged, and bag them at the car, or at home to bring inside. If I shop once a fortnight, that is a potential saving of $26 a year.

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  69. Cindy A

    You have given me some great ideas that are actually doable. I recently quit my teaching job because of the extreme toxicity at the college. Since I’m not quite old enough to retire and collect from my retirement fund, money is extremely tight. I’m reading more and more articles with money-saving tips and found this one to be more enlightening than most. Thanks.

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  71. jlovepike@gmail.com

    One way I save money on food is by going to the casino for their buffet. If you play on the slots for two hours, you can eat at their buffet for free (not all casinos have this though).

    You have to be careful! Only go to the penny slots. With one cent a spin you can play for two hours without losing a lot of money. It usually costs me about one dollar to play for those two hours and as a result I get a free buffet dinner!! Sometimes I come out without losing any money or winning more than what I came in with.

  72. Mary G.

    I run around behind everyone in our house (there are five of us) and unplug everything!!! It kills me to see something plugged in when no one is using it lol, my husband and kids thought I was crazy when I first started doing it but when I showed the electric bill to my husband he was surprised! I even unplug the washer and dryer when they aren’t being used!

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