Flickr credit: spookyamd.
So you’ve followed the advice of dozens of budgeting blogs and cut back on your expenses so you can save for that trip you’ve been dreaming of. But it’s not enough and you need to save more.
Well, if you’re ready to get a bit more extreme in how you save money, check out these cost-cutting suggestions.
- Don’t shave every day. Or at all. What with 16-blade razors these days, shaving is expensive!! (Didn’t anyone ever tell you to buy stock in Gillette or its rivals?) Oh wait. First, start working at home. Ok, now you can skip shaving daily.
- Work from home. Alright, not so crazy, right? But your friends might act like it is. It sure does save a lot of money – less lunches, no worries about transportation costs or parking, or wasted time in traffic. Pretty extreme, for some people. You can get even more budget-conscious while working at home. What’s more, while you might generally make less at home, you’ll typically have more deductions.
- Don’t shower daily. Or at least not 2-3 times a day. Better yet, bathe/ shower together with your significant other to save on water. And bubble bath liquid. If you’re single, no wonder. Good thing you’re working at home.
- Walk as much as possible. When you can’t walk, cycle or rollerblade. Can’t cycle/ blade? Ok, take the expensive fargin’ bus. Only take the car if absolutely necessary. Of course, in well-planned cities, you might not even need a car. Cars seem more of a necessity in suburbia.
- Lease, don’t buy. If you absolutely need a car, get a short-term car lease, so it doesn’t cost you as much to get out of it – should that become necessary. Even better, get a lease-return vehicle that is only a few years old. The lease cost might be partly deductible if you have a business.
- Skip meals. It’s easy when you go from a career job to being a struggling writer (or artist or whatever). What? Oh, that’s just hunger pangs. (Whatever you do, don’t adopt a diet of Mr. Noodle for the main course and Mr. Freeze for dessert.)
- Consume less. All right, if you must eat, eat less, drink less. Put less food on your plate. Chew slower and with more bites per mouthful.
- Shop less. Take longer between grocery runs. If you can skip a grocery run and eat what’s already at home, you’ll save. The next best thing, though, is to take longer before your next shopping trip. So instead of going every 6-7 days, trying 8-10 days between trips.
- Stop watching tv. Or if you have a fast Internet connection, watch TV shows online.
- Exercise at home. Why pay gym memberships and still more for workout clothes? You still have your tattered rags, right?
- Exercise while watching TV. If you can’t by without some telly, “charge yourself” by doing something to stay fit at the same time. You can “jog in place”, do pushups, situps , leg lifts or whatever.
- Drop the internet connection. Stay in and read that stack of old books you bought at garage sales. Maybe you’ll start your great novel. Or get a Wi-Fi card for your computer and steal borrow your neighbor’s Internet connection. (Just check the local laws, and some places frown on this.)
- Get rid of the phone. Still stealing borrowing your neighbour’s Internet signal? Use VoIP software instead of your phone. To use VoIP, you’ll need either a VoIP phone or a headset or both a microphone and speakers/ headphones.
- Read only in daylight. Why spend on electricity if you don’t have to?
- Stay in, have sex. It’s dark in the house anyway, and your better half stopped reading. Stop going out for entertainment. Have more sex at home to compensate. Just make sure you wear protection. (Raising kids costs A LOT of money!!) And you might want to reconsider #3 above, not showering daily.
- Make free lemonade. On those few occasions that you can scrape some savings together to have a bite out, ask your waiter for a glass of water and lemon slices. Add a packet of sugar, and you can have some free lemonade. Just remember to leave something of a tip, in case you ever come back.
- Take meals home. After you’ve finished your strangely filling delicious free lemonade, eat a couple of bites of your meal (the daily special, to save), then ask for a take-out container. If you take it home and add a homemade salad or side, the leftovers might just last you two meals. This of course means no buffet outings. Unless you’ve been starving yourself for a few days.
- Take free condiments. If you can only scrape up enough coin to visit a fast food joint, take it out on the “corporation” by lifting as many condiment packets of mustard, ketchup and whatever else as you can stuff into your pockets. (Make sure you wear a jacket.) Now run like hell. (Not necessary, but might be good for a cheap thrill.)
- Drink at home before nightclubbing. Not by yourself, you lush. Invite a few friends over, have them bring something. Offer them some of your condiments and leftovers, which they (probably) won’t eat. Then share a cab out. Savings: depends on how often you go out.
- Go to the source. Take a weekend job at a nightclub – one that has tips and sometimes free or cheap drinks (hey, you do need some entertainment from time to time). Stay up all night after the club closes, partying with staff on cheap (or possibly free) drinks. Always borrow cigs, if you smoke. In the morning, go to the Farmer’s Market with your tips and buy groceries for the next few days.
- Haggle at the Farmer’s Market. Well, you don’t even need to do that, but it might make you feel special, especially if you’re still hungover from partying. If you go towards the end of the day, many vendors will let items go for a discount. (Just be warned that unrefrigerated produce sitting out all day spoils quickly, even if you put it in the fridge. Refrigerated meats tend to fare better, but a lot of the sliced/ deli meats at Farmer’s Markets tend to have fewer preservatives and thus a shorter shelf life.)
- Volunteer. There are churches and other organizations that have a “soul kitchen” for free lunches. They’re often looking for volunteers, especially in the kitchen. You get to help out and you get a free meal. You just can’t be judgemental about the people you meet.
- Cook in bulk and freeze. Not an extreme act, unless you don’t have much space your fridge. Check to see if a neighbor might share space with you. You will have to take the time to prepare the meals.
- Reuse clothes. If you’re working at home and no one’s around, wearing the same shirt or jeans for a few days (or the weekend) isn’t a big deal. Unless you’ve been sweating it up. And not showering every day.
- Adopt the ragged look. Save money on clothes and undergarments by wearing old rags at home, until they’re in tatters. Seriously, your pets won’t judge you. They just look that way. When your rags are unwearable, turn them into cleaning rags.
- Skip underwear. Going commando works for the new celebrity brat pack, and it’ll save you on washing. Just don’t get caught in zippers, especially if shady characters with flashing cameras show up.
- Take longer to wash clothes. Well if you’re not using underwear, are reusing clothes, and aren’t showering as often, apply this step with caution. If small creatures flee from your presence, you’ve gone too far.
- Hanging clothes to dry. Whether you pay in electric bills or coins, drying clothes with dryers costs extra. Hang stuff up to dry [slide #16]. Unless it’s a cold winter, in which case socks and undergarments better be toasty warm.
- Buy only non-brand names. If your family minds, leave. Your pets still won’t care, but your taste buds occasionally might.
- Be a hermit. You’ll save a lot of money not going anywhere other than work. Of course, if you’re following any of the other advice above, you’ve probably lost most of your friends and look and smell like a wino.
What “extreme” things have you done to save money?