No, “Weird Ways to Save” is not an incredibly catchy Internet meme song, even though it could be.
For anyone who’s considering writing that song – or anyone who’s just curious about the eccentric ways that some people save – we offer this list of so many weird ways to save.
Weird Ways to Save Money
Just to be clear, we’re not recommending any of these methods. Some are impractical, some take more time than they’re worth, some are ineffective, some are unethical or downright illegal, and some are just plain gross. We just wanted to look at the extent to which some people will go in their quest to save!
1. Decorating a Garden With Old Toilets
Do you want to be fancy and cheap at the same time? It’s a whole new brand of thrifty, but it’s possible. If you wish to save money but you still want your garden to get noticed, buy yourself an old, used toilet on Craigslist, and you’ve got yourself an avant-garde flower planter.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say.
2. Adorning a Garden With Fake Flowers
If using other people’s toilets doesn’t sound right, there’s a different trick you can try. Replacing real flowers with fake ones can magically save you hundreds of dollars a year. Fake doesn’t need water or fertilizer to grow, and it stays fresh and gorgeous all year long.
It’s a pity it costs a pretty buck to begin with.
3. Picking Only Frugal Love Interests
The right person might steal more than your heart. If you happen to meet “the one”, marry their frugal cousin or friend. Spending your life with someone who counts every penny will make you much happier than watching the partner of your dreams crush your dream of financial independence!
💕 Want to impress without the stress? Check out our list of cheap date ideas for a romantic yet budget-friendly rendezvous.
4. Skipping Married Life Altogether
The alternative is even more romantic, according to some internet users. If you want to save money and retire early, do that alone. Marriage seems like a waste of resources for many people, whether you marry a frugal person or not. Live alone, and you can manage your own finances and savings.
Of course, some people also find that two incomes beat one, and chasing dates can be more expensive than marriage… but to each their own!
5. Not Buying Toilet Paper, Ever
People save money in many weird and unique ways, but this one gets reused quite a lot. It seems like we could all save a fortune if we would just stop buying toilet paper! And if you think about it, why pay for processed paper when you’re already paying for clean water and soap?
6. Separating Toilet Paper Plies
You’ve decided life’s not worth living without toilet paper? That’s a pretty good decision if you ask us. Besides, there are other ways to be thrifty with your favorite toilet buddy. For example, some internet users suggest doubling your toilet paper by separating it layer by layer.
In other words, buy the expensive type and make it cheap.
7. Limiting Toilet Paper Usage
Of course, you can simply try limiting how much toilet paper you spend per wipe. Instead of one of those restroom posters that say “Have a nice day” or “Tissue for your issue”, frame a sign that specifies the number of sheets your guests can use depending on their situation.
8. Tearing Baby Wipes in Half
It’s okay to be on team toilet paper. It’s hardly unlikely that using this hygienic essential will make you broke, so go buy a dozen. As an alternative, you can start tearing your baby wipes in half. If you have the time to binge-watch White Lotus for the third time, you have time to halve your wipes.
9. Unplugging Everything to Save Energy
How fantastic would it be if every frugal person would just give you a penny instead of telling you to unplug everything you don’t use to save electricity? In 12 months, you’d probably have enough money to pay a year-worth of bills, and then some, if you take out the batteries too.
But seriously, turn off unused electronics for the planet’s sake and for your budget’s sake.
10. Using Only One Lightbulb
One man has taken the “unplug to save energy” advice a step further by using only one light bulb. That’s right. According to an acquaintance who shared this example on Reddit, this obsessive saver would screw off his one bulb every time he was leaving the room and screw it on in another room.
Drastic but effective and efficient, don’t you think?
11. Reading by Torch Light
Torchlight is fueled by oil, not electricity. This is the basic concept behind this frugality tip, but torches are not exactly designed for our modern, highly flammable homes, and the smoke won’t do your lungs any good. Alternatively, one could use a battery-powered headtorch if only batteries weren’t expensive as well.
So far, LED lighting is the most economical solution.
12. Turning In When It Gets Dark
Why complicate your life with a single light bulb or head torches when you can simply go to bed as soon as it gets too dark to see? That’s how they used to do it before electricity came along. Do your evening routine over candlelight and call it a night. You’ll catch an early start in the morning.
In fact, many successful people get up before 5 AM.
13. Turning Wine Into Vinegar
If you have any wine left – as if that ever happens – you can scratch off vinegar from your grocery list. The only thing you need to do is leave the bottle of wine open in a warm place for a couple of weeks and not drink it. Eventually, it will turn into wine vinegar that you can use for salads.
You’ll have to decide whether wasting wine is cheaper than buying vinegar.
14. Refilling Condiment Bottles
Many people do this, and we must admit that it kind of makes sense. Why waste food when it’s free? The only thing weird about the condiment advice is the topping-up part. There’s no reason to waste your time and effort when you can simply put complementary packs in the fridge.
They are great for cooking homemade pasta sauces.
15. Ordering Takeouts on Dates
Whenever people start sharing frugality tips on the internet, there’s always a lady that orders her meals for two and takes half home in a doggy bag. Now, that would be perfectly reasonable – environmentally friendly, even – if she wasn’t on a date. Asking someone else to pay for it is just cheap and distasteful.
Of course, if you’re at a restaurant that serves portions larger than anyone can eat (as many do), why not make a meal of what you don’t finish?
16. Spending Less Money Than You Make
What a waste of advice! Who doesn’t already know that? Well, you’d be surprised. According to some sources, around 80% of American adults are in debt. Owing money literally means spending more than you make. Year after year, US citizens are drowning in credit card debt. Spending less than you earn has already become rare enough to be considered eccentric!
Poverty is a cycle, but it’s possible to break out of it.
17. Polishing a Car with Furniture Wax
If somebody suggests saving money by using furniture wax on your car, please don’t listen to this advice. Not only will furniture wax wear off in less time than car wax, but it might also damage the paint. Most types of furniture waxes are for wood only, and car exteriors are made of steel.
That would be like painting walls with a face primer., but people still suggest it, and some probably try it.
18. Be Your Own Hair Stylist
With enough time and practice, you might even get this right. But if you are like most people on TikTok and Instagram, it’s more likely that you’ll end up with a hair disaster. Hair stylists actually spend years studying the craft, and they know what they are doing.
You can still save money on haircuts by not cutting your hair at all. Just be sure you don’t end up spending more on hair care products than you would have on haircuts!
You could always consider shaving your head.
19. Reusing Junk Mail Envelopes
The next time you’re writing a letter to your friend to say hi, you can use the old envelope from your junk mail pile. If it’s not ripped, you can cover the company’s logo and address with a sticker and put your own stamp. It’s a great way to send greetings and documents from a century ago.
Joking aside, why not reuse envelopes if you still use them?
20. DIY Lemonade
Lemonade is just water with lemon slices, right? In theory, you should be able to go out for drinks or lunch and enjoy a lemonade without paying. A glass of water with lemon is a free refreshment in many places. You only need sugar to make it work, and your table already has that.
When life gives you lemonade, it should be free.
21. Fasting For One Day Each Week
Many people believe that periodic fasting brings significant health and weight loss benefits. A large number of Americans are overweight, and eating less won’t hurt most of us. An occasional fast has multiple benefits, including a significant reduction in spending on food!
22. Befriending Your Neighbors
Taking without giving back deserves a spot on this list, but that doesn’t mean that this is good advice in general. Befriending your neighbors is a good thing for many reasons. You never know when you’re going to need help from people across the street or how much money that help can save you!
Just don’t be their friend only when you need help. Giving as well as getting makes it a win-win for all parties.
23. Gift-Giving with Secret Santa
Inflation hurts low-income households the hardest, so don’t be surprised if Christmas gets canceled this year. In order to keep the spirit alive in these trying financial times, many families are deciding to have Secret Santa all year long. Everyone gets a present, and savings are substantial.
If that sounds weird, that’s the reality we live in.
24. Taking a Christmas Vacation
Ebenezer Scrooge is real, people. He’s sharing frugality tips on Reddit and spilling pearls of wisdom like this one: if you don’t want to spend your entire Christmas bonus on presents for family and friends, book a vacation! You’ll be giving a nice present to yourself and saving money at the same time. the money.
Just be sure that you don’t spend more on your vacation than you would have on gifts!
25. Deciding Not to Buy Clothes
Considering how much we spend on fast fashion (an industry worth $1,7 trillion!), it might not be the worst thing ever to restrain from buying clothes and shoes that we don’t need. If you have a full closet and wardrobe for every season, try to stay away from shops for a few months.
You might be surprised at how little you actually need.
26. Turn Off the Oven Early
If you have an electric oven, you know that it takes quite a while for it to cool off. If you time it right, you can turn it off before the food you’re cooking is done and finish it off with the heat that’s left. Your meal will be all ready and warm, and your electricity or gas bill might get a bit lower. You’ll have your pie and eat it, too.
Tricks like these take a while to master, but they’re worth trying.
27. Cutting Off Stems from Veggies
This one is preposterous! We’ve heard from a couple of people who save money while grocery shopping by cutting or breaking off stems from veggies before putting them on the scale. The store isn’t likely to be happy with that, so you’ll need to do it discreetly!
Here’s a better tip: broccoli stems taste just like kohlrabi.
28. Living on Free Grocery Samples
A less deceitful way to live off of your grocery store’s resources is by accepting as many free samples as they can give you. Unlike veggie stems, samples actually come without a price tag, so it’s technically not stealing. And why wouldn’t you take advantage of obtrusive marketing tricks?
Just don’t do this to your ice cream guy, and then never buy anything.
29. Going Through Campus Trash
If you absolutely must, go through the trash at a college campus on move-out day. Those who’ve done it before claim that college students throw out all kinds of things that they no longer need or don’t want to take home. People have found jackpots like kitchen appliances and TVs.
One man’s trash is another man’s way to save a few bucks.
30. Scavenging from Neighbors’ Bins
When this Reddit user suggested taking a trip down to a nearby campus to browse college students’ trash bins, another person responded with a more convenient alternative: doing the same with your neighbors’ trash. And yes, that’s thriftier because you don’t have to pay for gas.
You’ll pay with your dignity, but you can save a lot of money.
31. Dumpster Diving for Groceries
If going through other people’s trash is beneath you, you can take a dive in your local grocery dumpster. People say they are brimming full with produce that has only started to go stale. If that is the case, taking it for free would prevent food waste. That’s always a good thing if you don’t have any problems with dumpster diving.
32. Not Flushing the Toilet Right Away
Just when you think that weird toilet tips are finally over, another one comes along. Unfortunately, this one is nothing less unsavory than the toilet paper ones, but at least it doesn’t involve wiping. Apparently, you can save money on water if you don’t flush until the water is deep yellow or the smell is unbearable.
If it’s brown, flush it down, if it’s yellow, let it mellow: would you ever consider this as financial advice?
33. Putting a Brick in a Toilet Tank
An old way to cut down on toilet spending is to place a brick in a toilet tank. No, this is not a joke. People are actually doing this to save water. A brick will reduce the amount of water used to flush but will still leave enough water to remove what you do decide to flush.
This is the last toilet-related item, we promise.
34. Using Newspapers for Insulation
Have you ever thought about why homeless people use newspapers as blankets? Yes, you can get old newspapers for free, but they are also great )though flammable) insulators. The news might be bad, but the paper can keep you warm when it’s freezing outside. You can use them to save on heating.
Newspapers also make a great duvet insert.
35. Stuffing Pillows with Old Hair
If you don’t like the idea of using newspapers as duvet stuffing, you’re definitely not going to like this one. One frugality forum member on the internet has shared that they are stuffing their pillows with unused hair from the hair salon. Others said they are doing the same.
We believe the word you’re looking for is “bizarre”.
36. Stealing Flowers from Graves
But wait, the bizarro contest has only begun. Perhaps the only people who could compete with hair pillow stuffers are disrespectful people who are taking free flowers for birthdays, weddings, and other happy occasions from a local cemetery. Unfortunately, you’ve heard that right.
Please don’t steal from people who are grieving.
37. Toilet-Training Your Cat
Cats are smart animals that can be trained to do almost anything. That’s in theory, at least. In reality, the cat will do what the cat wants to do. And if your cat actually loves you and wants to make your home a happy place, she will probably agree to use the toilet just like you taught her.
That way, you can actually save on cat litter. Just be sure you have a brick in the tank!
38. Bringing Home Stray Cats
In addition to being cute and having impeccable toilet manners (unlike some people), cats also have a body temperature of around 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are already a cat person, this can be your excuse to get as many of them as you want. Turn off the heating and spend all that money on crazy cat stuff! Think of them as space heaters that purr. Or scratch, depending on their mood.
39. Keeping a Goat as a Pet
Believe it or not, cat people are not the winners of the frugal pet owner category. The award goes to the person on Reddit who suggested that if you must keep a pet, you should keep a goat. Dogs and cats have no purpose other than draining your budget. But goats have wool and milk.
They are also adorable when they are small and make absolutely terrible pets when they are full grown.
40. Collecting Water in a Pitcher
Saving water can have a revitalizing effect on the ecosystem, so we’re on the fence about this one. To prevent tap water from going to waste, keep a pitcher close to your sink. While waiting for the hot water to come in, catch the cold stream and use it later for cooking or washing dishes.
We’ll put this one in the “worth trying” category.
41. Spilling Your Drink for a Refill
While some people are catching every drop of water in order to be thrifty and help the planet, others are spilling their drinks in restaurants. Here’s how this petty con goes: you order a drink, consume two-thirds of it, and then spill it “by accident” to get another full glass for free.
If you’re willing to be a complete jerk for the sake of frugality, this is worth a try.
42. Eating Restaurant Leftovers
Before you ask, “Who does that?”, the answer is “more people than you could even imagine”. So many internet users are claiming to have done this that it’s almost becoming a trend. It’s still completely non-hygienic and more than a bit disgusting. You’re already in the restaurant, eating your dinner.
If you must snatch leftovers from another table, you can. Just don’t snatch the tip. That’s just wrong, though we’ve seen it done.
43. Visiting Friends at Mealtime
If you’re looking for frugal living tips – though we’d call them mooching tips – on Reddit, you’ve probably seen this one. It may get you a few free meals, but you’re also likely to end up with far fewer friends.
If you have friends that you know are strapped for cash, inviting them for a meal is a kind deed. It doesn’t work as well in the opposite direction.
44. Creating a Carpet from Samples
Carpets are expensive, so you can use free samples and glue them together. Would you consider this eclectic or trashy? The lines are blurry when it comes to post-modern interior design, which might be good for your budget. We’d say this thrifty trick is the definition of cheap and cheerful.
As a bonus tip, you can also do this with wallpaper.
45. Turning Off the Engine at Stoplight
This myth has been debunked years ago, but many drivers still believe in it. No, turning off your car engine at every stoplight doesn’t improve gas mileage. New cars have an inbuilt solution for this, called a “stop/start” feature. This feature does exactly that: it turns off the engine to save fuel.
If you want to be really frugal, just ride a bicycle.
46. Buying Food After Expiration Day
Many products that we use on a daily basis have an expiration date that serves as a recommendation more than as a health warning. For example, the sell-by date on many dairy products refers to product quality, not safety. Eggs and milk are safe to consume days after the expiration date.
Still, check online to see if it’s safe before you eat expired food.
47. Reusing Everyday Disposable Items
Did you know that babies born before the 1990s didn’t wear disposable diapers? Back then, all diapers used were reusable. Talk to your parents about it. If they could wash your diapers and use them again, why not reuse “disposable” items like zip bags?
But please, never reuse toilet paper or condoms.
Foraging isn’t only for weirdos. We can’t deny its effect on sustainability. It’s a way to connect with nature and learn more about food. You’ll also make sure your product is 100% organic, and you’ll save hundreds on mushrooms and fancy edible plants like minutina and orach.
If you can’t tell lettuce from weeds, join a foraging group, and be particularly careful with things like mushrooms.
49. Not Being Very Hygienic
Not washing your hair for a while is one thing, but shying away from soap is an entirely different ballpark. Nevertheless, some people are saying that modern-day society is overly hygienic, and it’s costing us a lot of money. Maybe you don’t need a cocoa skin peel, but you still need to bathe.
Science says we should do it at least 2-3 times a week.
50. Melting Down Old Deodorant
While we’re at the bathroom frugality department, let’s mention this penny-pinching (and probably dangerous) idea by one dad from Reddit. Instead of buying deodorant, he collects used ones from his spouse and kids, melts them down, and mixes them together.
According to many followers, that’s not the worst idea. We’re not so sure.
51. Cutting Back on Hair Washing
Your hair will adjust if you stop washing it every day. Many top hair stylists swear by this. If your hair gets dirty by the end of the day, try to wash it every second day, then every third. Gradually keep postponing shampoo treatments, and your hair will eventually stay clean for a whole week.
Not only is this a shampoo-saver, but it’s also healthier.
52. Keep Returning Used Appliances
Some stores that sell home appliances offer a 90-day full refund policy. Little do they know that people are using this policy as a way to get free microwaves. One Reddit user has admitted that he and his family are getting a new microwave every 90 days before replacing it with a new one.
It’s so generous that they are sharing that with all of us. It won’t work with all stores, though. Many have figured that racket out and now charge restocking fees.
53. Wrapping Gifts in Shiny Chip Bags
Gift-giving seasons are truly hard on your pocket when you have a big family and many friends. If you don’t mind buying a present for all of them, you can at least save on all that wrapping paper. One Reddit user gave us an excellent idea: her grandpa wraps gifts in chip bags instead.
He washes them first until they are all clean and shiny, and we’d suggest doing the same!
54. Smoking Half-Finished Cigarettes
Another person’s grandfather’s idea of frugality is to visit his friends at the retirement home and smoke their half-used cigarettes. Apparently, your lungs lose smoking capacity as you grow old, so most seniors put out half-finished cigarettes. He takes them out of the ashtray and smokes them.
Quitting smoking would be a lot more frugal and a lot healthier as well.
55. Camping in Front of Thrift Stores
Most thrift shops accept donations at a designated time of the week. This is valuable information for those who are determined to live frugally. When you know when a store accepts donations, you can camp in front of the shop and ask donors to let you go through their stuff before they turn them in.
This is a good tip if you’re low on everyday essentials.
56. Using Shower Water on the Lawn
If you’re ready to catch unused water with a pitcher, you’d probably want to steal this idea too. There’s no need to let your dirty shower water down the drain. You can keep it in the tub and use it to water your lawn. Believe it or not, soapy water can benefit insect-ridden plants.
Eco-conscious folks call this “gray water”. Look it up.
57. Not Washing Smelly Clothes
Being less hygienic might actually make sense when it comes to your laundry room habits. Instead of wearing your clothes only once between two washings, do the “sniff test”. Smell your T-shirts, pants, and other clothes that are not underwear before you decide to throw them in the bin.
If they still smell like you, wear them another day. Unless you stink too, in which case it might be time to wash both the clothes and yourself.
58. Leaving Your Wallet at Home
Every group has a friend that accidentally leaves his or her wallet at home when everyone goes out for a bender. You can be that person and save a lot of money. You probably won’t even lose your friends, but you’ll be ridiculed and talked about behind your back until you all grow old together.
Then again, they’d probably make fun of you anyway.
59. Drinking Before the Night Out
If you’re not a receipt-splitting gang, you can seriously cut down on your going-out expenses by drinking at home before your big night out. It’s not weird if you do it collectively, and we’ve all thrown that kind of party. It is slightly awkward if you do it alone while everyone else is still sober.
Doing your drinking at home will save everyone money and make everyone funnier. Just don’t drive.
60. Living Out of a Van
Not that there’s anything wrong with living out of a van – on the contrary, it’s free and beautiful – but it’s weird to suggest that this costs less than renting an apartment. Depending on where you live, paying for gas and showers while living in a van is more or less the same as paying rent.
You could still try it for the experience alone.
Did you try any of these? We often make fun of our frugal friends, but being savvy with money is a valuable skill. And if putting a brick in a toilet tank means that your piggy bank will be full by the end of the year, being weird might not be the worst thing.