In an economic downturn, it is but natural for people to find ways to save money. The traditional way of cutting back on expenses includes taking measures to reduce your electricity and water consumption; or making a list of the items that you need to buy from the grocery.
But what if you simply want to save money on different aspects of your daily life – and you are willing to go to great lengths in order to achieve your objective? Surprisingly enough, there are many people who are more than willing to do otherwise crazy things in order to save a buck or two.
As you may already know, once these small savings add up, they will take a significant chunk out of your monthly budget. This means that you, too, might be willing to take extreme measures in order to save money.
In the next section, we will be counting down some of the crazy and not-so-crazy things that people do in order to save a dollar here and there.
What Are the Crazy Things That People Do to Save Money?
When you’re thinking of ways to save money, there are a couple of things to remember. First, keep in mind that even the smallest savings will add up to a significant amount if it accumulates over a certain time frame. Let’s say that you found a way to slash $5 off your cable TV bill. That’s a total of $60 per year which is definitely not bad.
Second, it pays to have a goal of where you will be putting the savings on. If you do end up saving $60 per year, how will you spend the money? It can go towards your kid’s college fund or your retirement fund. Or, it could be money that you can spend on something that’s totally extravagant.
Once you have a specific goal, you will become even more motivated to save the money in the first place – no matter how many crazy ways you think of for achieving your goals.
To get you started, here are some of the crazy and not-so-crazy things that people do in order to save money:
#1 Obsessively clip coupons to save money on groceries
There is a show on TLC called “Extreme Couponing”. In it, a person who is obsessed with collecting coupons is featured. These people are so efficient at collecting and redeeming coupons that they have what seems to be shelf after shelf of grocery items at home.
There’s even one person featured who redeemed dog product coupons and stocked them at home, despite the fact that she does not have a pet dog. You may not necessarily have to go through extreme lengths in order to save money on groceries, but you can slash a great amount off your grocery bills by clipping coupons.
The key is to learn which coupons to collect. Even if a coupon lets you save $10, if it is for an item that you would not otherwise buy, then you will simply be wasting money instead of saving that $10.
When clipping coupons, make sure that they are for brands and grocery items that you will be buying in the first place. Leave those other coupons to be collected by those who would like to get featured in TLC shows like “Extreme Couponing”.
#2 Perform DIY solutions to not have to pay a professional for a quick fix at home
When it comes to home maintenance, it definitely pays to take preventative steps rather than calling in a professional once the problem is already worse.
Let’s say that there is a small leak in your bathroom or kitchen floor. If you can, address the leak problem yourself while it is still manageable and you can apply a DIY solution.
If you leave the problem to become worse, you would need to pay for the services of a professional plumber. There are plenty of other household maintenance tasks and home emergencies that you can address by yourself instead of calling in a professional, which will save you lots of money in the long run.
#3 Give up vices in order to save money
Desperate times call for desperate measures and those with vices might just consider giving them up in order to save money. Smokers and drinkers who are out of a job may have to quit their vices altogether in order to save money.
This may sound like an extreme, crazy idea just to save money. But in the long run, the health benefits that you will enjoy by giving up such vices might be well worth the sacrifice of quitting in the end.
#4 Stock up on condiments
Did you know that there are people who actually keep packets of ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and other condiments from fast food restaurants in order to save money? If you live alone and you don’t want to add these items to your grocery list, you may want to stockpile on these condiments.
You can even ask your friends or relatives to collect such packets for you when they’re dining at fast food restaurants. The savings may not seem much when taken at a single context but if you have enough condiments to last you for practically months, you will realize lots of savings over time.
#5 Buy generic medication and store-brand items
Okay, this may fall under the category of not-so-crazy ideas in order to save money, but it does work. When you switch branded items with generic medication and store-brand products, you will save a lot of money in the long run. Instead of buying boxed cereal from a popular brand, you can switch to a plain-packaged store brand which has pretty much the same content.
The only reason why the more popular brands are pricier is because they spend millions on advertising their products. When it comes to over-the-counter medication and even some cosmetic or beauty items, generic and drugstore brands is the way to go.
#6 Sacrifice your technological connectivity
Going without a smartphone may sound like too extreme a solution in order to save money, but there are benefits to going on a digital sabbatical. If your work prevents you from doing so, you can scale back on your consumption of digital content by maybe downgrading your mobile phone plan to something cheaper. If you still have landline service at home and you never use it to place calls, why keep it?
If you are already watching premium shows from online streaming services, there is probably no need for you to pay a premium price for your cable or satellite TV subscription. You’ll be surprised at how big a price you are paying for Internet, TV and communication services on a monthly basis. By looking for ways to reduce the costs, you can save a lot of money in the process.
#7 Recycle old clothing
If you’re a fashion aficionado, there is no need for you to sacrifice looking good if you’d like to save money. There are plenty of ways for you to get the items that you need without even paying a penny for them. One excellent solution is for you to hold a fashion swap, where a group of friends can barter fashion items that they are no longer using.
Your friend might have a gorgeous scarf which she only used once because the color clashes with her hair’s highlights. Swapping such items will give you new accessories and clothes in your closet, without your having to spend a single dollar for it.
#8 Eliminate all snack foods from your grocery shopping list
Those candy bars, potato chips and other snack foods add up to a significant amount if you will always include them in your weekly grocery shopping list.
If you seriously would like to save money, you may want to consider eliminating all snack foods from your list. Swap them with healthier, cheaper eats like fruits, veggies, oatmeal, healthy nuts and other snacks which are lighter on the budget.
#9 Make your own household cleaning items
If you have a big house, those cleaning items like soap, laundry detergent, glass cleaner and similar items will take a toll on your budget. You can easily make these at home using a few ingredients and the bonus is that you can turn them into an all-natural solution. Not only are they cheaper, but they are friendlier to the environment as well.
#10 Make your own gifts for special occasions
Instead of hitting the mall to find gifts for friends and loved ones during special occasions, find your hidden artist and create your own presents. Making gifts using your own hands add a touch of personalization to the items as well.
#11 Paint your roof
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, simply painting your roof can reduce your air conditioning bills by as much as 20%. This is because one-sixth of all electricity consumed in the US is for air conditioning, and painting the roof is a cheap yet easy solution.
There are cool roof coatings that you can choose from as well as an Energy Star list that you can refer to when checking how much a specific color can cut back on your air conditioning bills.
How about you, what is the craziest thing that you’ve ever done in order to save money?