From reusing tea bags to collecting plastic cups at sports games, there are some imaginative ways to keep costs down.
- Drink water to reduce hunger-induced impulse buying, and make sure to match your orphan socks.
- Reuse gift wrap, soap, candle ends to get new life from sprouting vegetables.
- Creating frugal habits saves money, but some people go to extremes.
The rising cost of living is taking its toll on millions of Americans. In fact, 1 in 6 people are behind on utility bills and millions are saddled with huge credit card debt. If you’re looking for ways to save a few dollars on your bill, we’ve rounded up some of the wackiest and weirdest ideas about saving.
5 Weird Ways to Save Money
1. Drink a liter of water before going out
Drinking water is not only good for your health, it’s also good for your bank account. Drink a few glasses of water before heading out to avoid feeling hungry while grocery shopping. Cashback apps can also help you earn rewards on grocery shopping.
If you’re eating out, drinking water or eating bread ahead of time can also reduce your consumption — although it may take some of the fun out of the meal. Always take home leftovers in a dog bag. On that note, my dad was known to ask other restaurant diners for their leftovers.Not only does it happen Seinfeld. Also, a few people advocate bringing home the restaurant mayonnaise and ketchup packets, but I’m not sure if that’s saving money or stealing money.
2. Avoid Socks Orphanages
Lack of socks is a big mystery in laundry and everyday life. But losing a sock doesn’t necessarily make you wear a mismatched item. Buy several pairs of the same socks so you always have a pair. If you lose or break one, it’s not that hard to find a match.
Don’t throw away old socks. Use them as dusters or cleaning rags, or if you’re a budding Martha Stewart, try fixing those holes. Darning is beyond my patience, but I also use old socks to protect the floor when moving furniture – they fit our heavy couch legs nicely. Socks aside, if you haven’t tried shopping at a second-hand store, you may find this a low-cost way to refresh your wardrobe.
3. Reuse everything
I once went camping with a friend and she hung her tea bags outside to dry every day so she could use them later. As a Brit living abroad, the idea of reusing tea bags made more sense to me during the worst of the lockdown when my daily drink suddenly became more expensive and unsustainable.
A more relevant way to save money by reusing items involves keeping your old gift wrap so you can give it a second (or third or fourth) life. Generate your own gift wrap by reusing the paper that sometimes fills out online shopping orders, or even large images from old newspapers. In another “My Dad” story, a man said his dad used to collect plastic cups left by others at sports games. He would wash them and reuse them at home.
You can melt used candle wax into new candles, then grind up old soap bars and a little warm water to make new candles. Turn cracked pottery, old jars and even shoes into plant containers to breathe new life into them. Search online for various ways to use old plastic bottles and ice cream tubs. If your garlic or potatoes have started to sprout, put them in the ground – they can produce a whole edible plant.
4. Cut down on showers
Turn off the water when shampooing or shampooing, and shorten the shower time. Some advocate taking less baths—one I interviewed boasted about taking only once a week. A study has shown that showers are the third-biggest water absorber in most households, which means changing your washing habits can save you cash. Once a week is a bit extreme. A little less shower time might be easier to achieve.
Another water saving trick we’ve heard is putting a brick in the toilet tank. The idea is to use less water with each flush, but plumbers warn there are better ways to make your toilet more efficient, like kits. Bricks can break down and cause costly damage.
5. Embrace pets and reduce heating costs
Now it seems like winter is still a long way off, but it’s going to be a tough cost-wise choice. Probably the weirdest idea to keep your heating costs down is to hug your pet or loved one for warmth. More practical tips include wearing more clothes at night and using more blankets. Heating every room may not be affordable, so consider where you will spend your time and heat accordingly.
It can be stressful to see your day-to-day costs keep climbing, especially without a corresponding increase in your salary. While some of the ideas above may seem odd or extreme, the money saved by reusing old tea bags or saving some condiments may actually be a drop in the ocean. However, developing a frugal mindset can have a huge impact on your bottom line.
Rather than cut costs indiscriminately, sit down and create a budget and find out where your money goes each month. If you’re not sure where to start, you’re not alone—many people are nervous about making their first budget. A budgeting app might help you understand your spending and where you can save the most. Set aside 30 minutes next weekend to work out the relationship between your spending and your income. You may find ways to save without resorting to draconian personal hygiene measures.
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