Seven seriously stingy money-saving tips
Just how far are you willing to go to save money?
Would you rub pine needles under your arms instead of buying deodorant? Or take extra napkins from fast food restaurants to save on toilet paper? Or maybe share your partner’s toothbrush instead of buying your own?
Welcome to the crazy world of money-saving tips.
All the fun of the frugal
Now I’m all for saving money - I avoid over-filling the kettle when making tea for one, roam the house flicking off lights and turning down radiators, and switch off my TV, stereo and computer at the wall each night rather than leaving them on standby.
That little lot must save me, ooh, around £9 a year.
But my money-saving ways look positively feeble when compared to the die-hards out there.
Save cash, lose friends
There’s a thin line between being frugal and stingy. I scoured the discussion boards on various money-saving websites to find some tips – from real people - that may cross this line. Here are some of my favourites (I’ve kept them anonymous to protect the identity of the posters):
1) Don't pay babysitters.
Instead, “get young couples who are thinking about having kids to ‘rent’ yours for the evening. They get to see what it will be like, and you can get paid instead of paying for sitters.”
2) Tell everyone you'll be out of town for Christmas.
“That way, you can shop in the January sales for presents.”
3) Scour the office for the humble penny.
“A good place to find money is on people’s desks. If you look in the cup that has pens and pencils or the container that holds the paper clips and rubber bands you can be sure to find small coins covered with lint.” (Editor's note: This is stealing. So I don't recommend it.)
4) Stamp out food waste in the kitchen.
“After eating avocado, rub the inside of the skin against your face, it makes a great face pack. You can also use it to buff your shoes.”
“I buy whole milk and when nobody is looking the milk gets a good glug of water from the tap to eek it out a little further.”
“When we have toast and jam, I spread the butter on the outside edges of the toast and spread the jam in the middle to fool my other half. Looks proper but doesn't really taste any different.”
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5) Toilet tips.
“Squeeze a loo roll into an oval shape. It doesn't roll out so easily – and kids tend not to use yards at a time!”
6) Car costs.
“Park forward-facing when possible; reversing takes more gas.”
A dog’s life
Don’t think I’m sneering at people for saving money and avoiding waste. If you have the imagination and dedication to decant cheap shampoo into posh dispensers, collect tomato sauce and mustard sachets from fast food restaurants, and cut open your toothpaste tubes to scrape out every last bit, I salute you.
I lifted some of these tips from good-natured threads on internet forums, where some people were having plenty of innocent fun suggesting ways to be frugal. But some were in debt, and for them, saving money was a matter of survival.
Whatever your motives for being frugal, I’m throwing open the floor to all you penny-pinching readers to see if you can match the most parsimonious tip I have yet read:
7) Dog Food.
“Train your dog to beg for food from strangers, so you won't have to buy dog food.”
This is a classic article which has been updated.