The 10 Stingiest Money-Saving Tips
It's amazing what penny-pinching ideas we Fools can come up with, but perhaps you'll admire the simplicity of some of these suggestions.
Recently I've written about oil prices, the latest bank-charges ruling and the future of credit cards. Now it's time for you and I to have a little light relief. To that end, here are ten of the stingiest money-saving tips I've come across in the past year or so, either from Fool colleagues (that is to say, one skinflint colleague), or by emails, article comments or discussion-board posts on this site.
Hopefully you're not so affected by the financial crisis that you need to print them all off on recycled paper and follow each one, but maybe in between the more laughable ideas you'll find a tidbit you'd enjoy.
1. We're just close friends. Honest!
I remember hearing a sketch on a very old, radio comedy show. The narrator and hero began the story by explained how another man surfaced in the water next to him carrying a knife in his mouth. The narrator had just one question on his mind: what was the man doing in his bath? (If you can name the show, you win a virtual cookie.)
That's what I thought of when I read a tip from a Fool reader: save money on water bills by sharing a bath with a friend.
2. Top tip from The Fool's Head of Personal Finance
Here's one of several hundred little tricks I've learned but not necessarily used from The Fool's full-time jester and part-time Head of Personal Finance, David Kuo. Re-use your teabag. When you've made your cup of green tea, hang the bag up to dry. You can use it all day, and possibly the next day.
David spins a good story, so I guess this might work. I also think green tea tastes nicer when it's weaker.
3. Give it a shake
If your printer cartridge is running out, take it out of the printer and give it a vigorous shake. You can prolong its life for several weeks this way.
4. Become a baker
Buying a breadmaker is probably my favourite tip. Not only does the bread taste nice and save you money, but you can use a lot less salt than is shovelled into supermarket bread. If you want recipes or tips on the most cost-effective breadmaker, The Fools on our Living Below Your Means discussion board will no doubt be experts.
5. Giving the disc the slip
In a Fool podcast on utility companies, we have all the evidence we need of presenter David Kuo's miserly side. He can't help asking the guests whether you can use magnets to stop the little disc spinning on our energy meters. We've all tried that one, but don't try physically blocking the disc. It is a fire risk!
6. Balancing your budget.
We have 30-year-old advice from Ronald Reagan that still holds true today. I believe it was he who said: `Balancing your budget is like protecting your virtue. You have to learn to say "No".'
...I don't believe he was able to get the US's spending to come within budget though. He also said something like: `No, I don't worry about the current account deficit. It's big enough to take care of itself'!
7. Wrap up like the marshmallow man
A Fool reader said recently that we could all save money if we just put on a pullover so we don't need the heating so much. He also mentioned we should live above other neighbours so we can make use of the heat rising from their flats.
8. Runner bean recipes: soup, curry, bake and ice cream
One of those is made up, but the rest do exist and some Fools have lived off these in times of desperate need. Furthermore, if you get your runner beans from an allotment, you could save £5 per week on your evening meal. I've found the relevant discussion on one of our discussion boards. For tips on allotments and runner bean recipes, read: Having an allotment.
9. A slippery step too far
I found it so unbelievable that this discussion took place in a public forum that it's stuck in my mind. One Fool responded to another's comment by saying: `I pee in the shower, what's the problem with it? I also don't flush the loo as long as it's only wee.'
Perhaps `stingy' isn't the word for these tips, but I won't argue that it will save a little money!
10. Free petrol
It's just possible that you get more petrol than you pay for if you use the right pump at a petrol station. A Fool once suggested that, whilst petrol-station pumps must on average be accurate, some pumps in the forecourt could dispense a little less petrol than you pay for, whilst others a little more.
The station could ensure that it's the pumps closet to the shop that leave you slightly short, because when the forecourt is empty people will normally go to those pumps. Therefore, the tip is, we should use the pumps furthest from the shop, just in case.
Have you any stingy tips?
Even if these ideas don't appeal to you, perhaps they've inspired you. If you have any other suggestions, please add them below using the article-comments feature.
I'll leave you with advice I read somewhere in an article comment about how to survive high inflation: buy a gold wheelbarrow. It's better than the desperate suggestion to eat daddy long legs.
> Save more pennies without any effort! Use a cashback-credit card to buy your petrol and groceries, but remember to pay off the bill each month.