If you've ever been short on cash for living expenses, you know the draw of doing some crazy things to save money and take advantage of unusual opportunities. You are definitely not alone in your temptations to take things home that normally our consumer culture would never touch. There are thousands of stories out there of people doing seemingly outrageous things to save money. And the moral of most of these stories is that these people are highly satisfied with their "crazy" decisions and the money they saved doing it.
Let's dive into some of the coolest, craziest, and most outrageous things people have done to save money when the household budget is tight.
1) Photocopied an Entire Textbook
College students are always short on cash and textbook prices can be staggering. Athena had a stroke of genius and a few hours to spare. She photocopied an entire textbook borrowed from a classmate and saved $120 in the process.
2) Potty-Training a Cat
Who needs to spend an infinite amount of money on kitty litter? A single $20 potty-trainer for the kitty can save hundreds (thousands over the years) and Dustyn confirms that it is absolutely worth it. Even more fun because it's hilarious to see your cat on the toilet.
3) Dumpster Diving for Discarded Items
People throw out the craziest things. Stuff that is still good, but they don't want to deal with it. Darla Lee raided dumpsters when a few big box stores were going out of business and literally tossing new unbought merchandise into the dumpster. And there are dozens of stories of saving perfectly good furniture from the dumpster.
4) Living Without Living Room Furniture
After a divorce, Adlea reports that she quite proudly lived without living room furniture for over a year. Eventually, friends gifted her with a second-hand desk and bookshelves which were sturdy enough to have stayed with her for 30 years since. She still doesn't regret not buying a couch.
5) Repainting Old Furniture and Fixtures
Old nasty-seeming furniture can often be put back to use with a little sanding and a fresh coat of paint. Phyllis reports she even repainted an old toilet set and proudly spent nothing on the replacement. She already had the paint.
6) Watering the Garden with Shower and Bath Water
When there's a drought and a water ration, why spend to keep your garden nice when we tend to waste water in the home all the time? Linda reports that she's collect the warm-up shower water for the garden, and then scoop out bathwater for the non-edible flower beds.
7) The Online Shopping Drive-Through
Stephanie found out that shopping for great deals online and then picking items up at the store to save on shipping is a great way to get new items from your favorite stores in the cheapest way possible. She called in the "Kohl's Drive Through".
8) 100% Garage Sale Wardrobe
If you have a conservative or wacky sense of style (or both) you can do what Stephanie did and stock your entire wardrobe from local garage sales that often sell clothes in bundles.
9) Cleaning Up After Office Parties for Leftovers
Office parties often have tons of extra food and picnic dishware left over. Patricia cleverly volunteered to stay and clean up after every office party at both her jobs. Everyone thanked her for being helpful while she happily packed up the leftovers for meals for days. This was particularly effective because her second job was at a banquet hall where she was allowed to take whatever was going to be tossed after events. That's gourmet food for free.
10) Taking Toilet Paper from Work
Working as a cleaning lady, the rule was to throw away any toilet rolls that were less than half-sized. So Mary quite cleverly started taking rolls home instead and stopped buying toilet rolls for the household. She never ran out, but also never had full-sized rolls.
11) Living Off Sugar Packets
We've all lived off of some crazy food choices when money was tight and the sugar packets available in cafes and coffee shops can be a vital source of calories. Especially those nice raw sugar packets with the large granules.
12) Living Off Grocery Store Samples
They say to never go to the grocery store hungry. But if you shop at the right grocery store, you can get a small free meal just by touring the sampling stations.