25 extraordinary money-saving tips!
We sort through some of the more bizarre money-saving tips and bring you some new ones.
In previous articles we've written up many of the money-saving tips that you readers have shared with us. Some of them were tongue-in-cheek. We once 'suggested' (and, to be clear, when I say 'suggested' I mean 'joked') that you could steal the pennies from the cups your colleagues' use to hold pens and pencils.
The response to this was extraordinary, with nine people complaining that we were encouraging stealing. Thankfully, 17 of you - almost double - defended the joke. The best comment pointed out that, whilst everyone was enraged about the theft of a few pennies, no one was the least concerned about the 'advice' to rent out your babies.
Therefore, in this latest instalment of readers' tips, to fit the preferences of you readers, I shall ensure that none of the following advice could incite petty theft, but I shan't hold back on tips that encourage poor parenting or child slavery!
Health and eating
Put sweets and snacks in drawers, not on surfaces, wrote a reader. Having to remove lids or open drawers to get at your food will mean you'll eat less, saving on re-fills and reducing your snacking.
Another exhorted us to get off the bus, tube or train one stop earlier, and walk. It'll save money and we'll lose weight.
One reader found that most of his workmates had quality breadmakers they never used, so he bought one of them worth £90 for just £10. Of course, he could have used Freecycle or, as some readers have mentioned recently, Freecycle's new competitor ilovefreegle, to see whether he could get one for nothing. He also warned: '(I'm) eating too much bread though now!'
Some question whether a breadmaker's even worth it, but one reader reckons: 'Unless you bake several loaves in the oven then a breadmaker must be cheaper!' Another said: 'I know someone who used an OWL thingy to measure the energy used and it was only 0.6p! Much cheaper than the oven. And it's so much more moreish!'
One reader said there are several sites where you can adopt old battery chickens: 'They take a while to get used to the freedom but they lay lots and eat vegetable cuttings.'
One reader wrote: 'If you're on regular medication - and I reckon some people on here must be - and you pay for prescriptions then, instead of getting 28 days-worth at a time, ask your doctor nicely for two months' supply on one form. You'll only pay the one charge.' You can also get a year's prescription for roughly £100 with a Prescription Prepayment Certificate (PPC). Find out more in Save money on your health care.
'Car maintenance classes, if you must run a car, can save a fortune on basic repairs and servicing. Having a good basic knowledge can prevent repair costs.' I'd imagine you could learn a lot about cars from a book or the Internet, too. Don't forget to check out our Cut your car costs goal for more tips!
'One thing we do is make our own cards. The kids do them for their friends' birthdays. They're always appreciated as (they are) far more personal and cost pennies.' The reader added you can use the much cheaper brown wrapping paper and decorate that, too.
Some readers and I have found that shaking printer cartridges when they're running low can extend their lives for weeks. Others have said that shaking their cartridges have caused an ink explosion. Whether you risk it or not, you might be interested in this tip: 'I 'recycle' them at the print cartridge company where they're refilled at about half the cost of new replacements.'
Another reader has been selling his books to the website greenmetropolis, even though he was unable to sell them in a car boot sale. You can buy books there too, but don't forget the local library.
Do holiday house swaps, says one reader. This is a tip I almost dismissed this morning, but I realised that I know a few other couples in interesting parts of the world, so my girlfriend and I have arranged a swap already! Even swapping in cities or towns in your own country can mean a quiet, romantic (or family) getaway, whilst exploring your own heritage. You can read more in Property swap shop.
Find out more about what else you can swap in Stop spending, start swapping!
Just maybe these stingy tips will suit you:
If you place the inside part of greetings card against a south-facing window, the sun will eventually bleach out the senders' writing. The card can then be reused for someone else. Be careful not to send it back to the person who sent it to you.'
Another reader responded: 'Save money at Christmas and birthdays by returning last year's cards with the inscription "Same to you".'
'Don't wee in the loo. Save in clean milk cartons, water down and use on your plants. Double save on fertilizer and water.' Ew.
'I look under the chocolate machine at work. There's sometimes change that people can't be bothered to pick up. I'm nearly up to £1 now and I've only been there nine years.' That equates to £5 over many people's full working lives. Bonanza!
'If you are fortunate enough to still not be on a water meter, sell your water to your neighbours who are.' Is that entrepreneurial or too much effort?
Totally serious tips
Now, we finally get to the tips that will save the most money (and which aren't at all against the principles of you readers!):
'Send your kids to work. At five or six years they're just the right size to get up those chimneys without getting stuck, and there is plenty of work now with everyone going back to wood fires. Teenagers can be hired out to farmers as scarecrows; just plug an MP3 player into their ears and leave them jigging about happily for hours in the middle of a field.'
One reader responded: 'If the MP3-plugged-in-teenagers jiggling happily in the middle of that field could tread on grapes at the same time you could make your own wine.'
I use nine of the tips in this article myself already. (It could be more, but I have no children.) Let me know what you do in the comments below.
Compare savings accounts through lovemoney.com