This time of year, any extra penny helps. Between going on trips, back to back and buying gifts, our wallets can use some extra help.
Sometimes conventional ways of saving money aren’t enough or we haven’t saved enough up to this point to do everything we want to do for the holidays. We could always cut down on our spending, but where is the fun in that? You could always take out a loan, but with those 150% interest rates that loan companies tack on its not worth it.
These tips can be used year round any time you might need some extra cash. While these tips can help, they weren’t created to be long term changes. Using a few of these tips for a short period of time can save you a hundred or two dollars or even more.
Every so often, I like to call in the big dogs or the extremes. These come in handy when some thinking outside of the box is necessary. Although I don’t recommend some of these tips as a daily to-do, they can come in handy when some extra cash is needed.
Here are 25 borderline extreme ways to save $$$:
- Don’t go grocery shopping until everything in your kitchen is gone. Yes, its time to eat all of those ramen noodles and saltine crackers that have been haunting your cupboards since that sale at Krogers two months ago. If you stretched all of the food in your house currently, you could probably save a week or two of grocery money.
- Do your own hair and nails. While this may not be super extreme, the amount of money you can save from just watching some YouTube and doing some DIY self maintenance is worth a shot.
- Stop driving and walk(only if you can.) If you live a large metroplex like I do, then I understand not being able to. But if you can walk the majority of places that you go or if the public in your city or town is decent, then consider using it. Less gas, less maintenance and more money and exercise which are things we could all use.
- Move back home. Being independent is one of the best feelings ever, but want to know whats better? Not stressing about paying for things you can barely afford to feel “independent.” Even if its only for a few months or a year, cutting out living expenses and appropriating those funds to debt or even just to be able to travel more can be worth it.
- Drink only water. Maybe its just me, but my beverage budget is almost as big as my grocery budget. Since we drink more than we eat, having a variety and abundance of drinks around can get costly very fast. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and the benefits to drinking are endless, even swapping it out for a couple of meals will save money.
- Buy generic. Even though the store brands may not taste the same or have cheesy knock off names, they are cheaper and for the most part, the same. Sometimes you really are paying for the label on the box and while it boosts your pride it hurts your wallet.
- Change your clothes, not your thermostat. Are you hot or cold? Why not put on a sweater or shorts? Unless you or someone in your household has a medical condition that requires regulated temperatures, we can withstand a little cold or heat and save money as well.
- Shower less. I get that this can be gross for some, but this is a borderline extreme list. If you only shower twice or week then you are saving soap, money, electricity and for the most part nobody but yourself will notice.
- Use newspaper or cloths for toilet paper instead of actual toilet paper. While its not as soft as your favorite toilet paper brand, just using some cut up shirts that are washable saves money. Those old shirts were just collecting dust anyways.
- Dumpster dive. Contrary to belief, dumpster diving isnt as bad as it sounds. There are people who live in nice houses and drive nice cars who dumpster dive. Why? Human can be extremely wasteful and can throw away perfectly good clothes because a stitch was out of place or a whole bunch of tomatoes because one got squished. Of course be safe and take precaution if you attempt to dumpster dive and don’t go alone.
- Thrift everything. Have you ever shopped in a thrift store? If you haven’t you are missing out and probably spending too much money at department stores. Most major cities have loads of them and you will not be judged for buying things there and they have something for everybody. Yes….including you.
- Fix things yourself instead of calling a repair man. Is your sink dripping? Vacuum stopped working? These things are totally “DIY-able” and with a few videos, a screwdriver and some focus you can fix most things in your house. Of course some things require a professional so save your money for those instances and become your own handyman in the meantime.
- Collect rainwater for your garden. Watering your lawn twice a day on top of water used inside the home can add to your water bill. Buying or building your own water collection system to keep your lawn and garden watered not only saves money but it also recycles water as well. So double thumbs up!
- Water down soaps and shampoos. Soap and shampoos are expensive and if you shower and also wash your hair everyday, you have to buy soap and shampoo a lot. Just by filling up your bottle when you have gone halfway through it doubles it usage.
- Air dry and hand wash clothes. Washing machines and dryers are convenient and easy to use, but they use a lot of unnecessary water and are costly to run. Wash all of your clothes by hand and then hang them up to air dry to save money, water, soap and electricity. If its a specialty item or you aren’t sure about washing it yourself, then take it to the dry cleaners.
- Put high-energy electronics on a timer. Electronics are power hungry and they will consume and add to your electricity bill without you even noticing it. Most electronics in your home have a timer that you can set so that they automatically turn off. If the device doesn’t have an alarm or you don’t know how to set it, then just do a sweep through your house before bed and make sure everything is unplugged and/or turned off.
- Grow your own food. Regardless of where you live, you can most likely grow your own food. You don’t need acres of land, a windowsill and some potters will work just fine. Get your green thumb badge by eating more fresh fruits and veggies that you grow right at home.
- Get restaurant freebies. To attract customers, restaurants will literally give away free food. Most of them require you sign up for email lists or create a profile that you can unsubscribe to or delete later. It might take a few minutes to set up each one, but think of all the free food you can rack up.
- Actually eat your leftovers. This tip ties back to tip #1 but eating your leftovers will save you money and you will stop having to throw away perfectly good food. As a person who isn’t a huge fan of leftovers, I can tell you that with a little creativity you can easily revive last night’s meal into something fun and good.
- Learn basic first aid to avoid hospitals. Going to the doctor or a hospital for any reason is expensive. Most of the time when we get there, we realize our initial reasoning for going was something we could’ve faired at home. If you have a cold or get a splinter working in the yard, look into some tried and true methods to help yourself so you don’t get another $500 hospital bill for a bandaid. Of course if you are seriously hurt or sick or have an ongoing condition leave it to the professionals and go see a doctor.
- Use Starbucks’ WiFi. If you are reading this right now, then you have some sort of access to the internet. The internet is everywhere and the majority of us use it daily. Having constant unlimited access to the web is also expensive. Instead of paying an extra $140 a month for WiFi in your home, try going to your local Starbucks or any location that allows you to use their internet for free.
- Make gifts instead of buying them. Homemade gifts are not only more heartfelt and sincere, but they are also a lot cheaper. Pull out your craft kit and get to work making gifts. It not only taps into your creative and inventive side, but it also saves money and lets the gift receiver know that you care and took the time to make them something unique and special.
- Sell your car. If there is more than car in your household and everyone can manage to get around then maybe its time to consider selling your car. Walking and riding public transportation is a much cheaper and healthier way to commute and get around.
- Go to the museum on free days. Trying to save money doesn’t mean you have to be a house cat. A lot of attractions and places have free days and allow the general public to experience them for free. While it might be a little busier that day, it still allows you to see and experience things that would cost you a lot more any other day.
- Surf the web for free tv and movies. Cable is luxury and while its nice to be able to watch movies and shows, its also expensive and not important to your overall spending. If you only had an internet package then you can watch a lot of movies and shows online. In my household, we have Apple TV’s and stream all of our shows and movies. This drops our cable bill A LOT lower and allows to use that money elsewhere.
I hope some of these tips help you save some money. If you are already doing some of these tips then way to go. If you do try some of these tips, keep in mind that your safety, comfort and sanity should always come first and if you can’t handle something, then stop. If you have any other tips that you would like to share, please leave a comment below. Thanks!
Check out some of my other posts on money:
- 10 Apps That Make Saving Money A Breeze
- 5 Benefits to Being Car-Free and Ways to Adjust
- 9 Easy Ways to Save Money
- Do I Really Need That? Questions to Ask Before a Big Purchase
- 25 Sites That Will Give You Free Stuff