What are the cheapest things you have done to save money?

  1. My grandmother lives in an assisted living facility, when she heard I was trying to find a place of my own is when her (and her friends’ !! ) hoarding started. These are 75+yo ppl who were children in occupied Europe during WWII (we’re still in Europe fyi) so hoarding is their philosophy. As they live in an assisted living facility there’s not much the can keep that won’t spoil. So every time they had coffee/tea/.. they’d get their cup with two cubes of sugar on the plate. They used one and kept one for me. I was getting 1L ziplock bags full of sugar cubes. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I don’t really need sugar cubes .. she also struggles a bit with her memory, now that she’s started saving the sugar cubes, she will for the rest of her days. I guess I won’t have to buy sugar cubes for a good while. (For clarity it’s the type of sugar cube we get in any place where food/drinks are professionally served: individually wrapped in a little paper. It’s extremely common here, don’t know how it is for other places)

  2. I left home when I was 18 and as that phrase suggests....leaving home made me homeless. I'd sleep on friends couches, in my car, outside for a while.

  3. I got extremely sick after garbage mouthing some food that came back to me when I was a kitchen hand. I've had so many chefs who wouldn't give any food to their staff. And also lots of chefs who would give you a huge feed in the middle of a shift.

  4. I know it may feel ironic about what he said about what happens to the food after it leaves the kitchen, but the difference is that the kitchen is a professional service and more controlled environment. The kitchen wouldn’t send out any food not suitable to eat (hopefully) but the customers’ side is not that; Someone could have coughed on the food, dropped it and put it back on the plate, touched it with their grubby post-menu unwashed hands and sent it back to you. Really wonderful that the chef supported you through this.

  5. My buddy in high school worked at McDonalds and knew I was poor. Dude was, and still is, a heavy eater. So he'd buy some extra with his half off employee discount and bring me some fries and nuggets.

  6. So sad of that manager. My boss at a small restaurant I worked at for almost a decade used to remind us all before we clocked out "remember to take a meal with you" and we'd make a sandwich or whatever we wanted. Sometimes, if he knew we were going to hang out with friends or see family, it'd be "don't forget to make dinner for yourself. Oh and make one for your mom, too!" Sometimes I'd leave loaded up with four or five meals. I only took what I needed, he was so nice that I'd never take advantage of it. But that's the secret super power of being a caring boss instead of a penny pinching loser.

  7. Damn, my ex had a second job at McDonald's for a little while and always brought home leftover food at the end of the night, because they could either let the employees take it or trash it. And my daughter, who works at a restaurant, brings home the occasional bit of extra food customers don't pick up or reject.

  8. I bought a 20 pound bag of rice for $3 from a neighbor who had maybe stolen it (I never asked). I lived off it for a long time, adding whatever I had to the rice to make meals. Sometimes it was beans and rice with hot sauce. Other times I took veggies and added them. My fav was to put a fried egg on top as a treat when I had them. I felt like I was “rice-rich” from it.

  9. God. Steamed rice with cheap hot sauce. I'm lucky that brown rice (more fibre, keeps ya full also) is way cheaper than white rice here.

  10. Being organized is a great way to save money too! I did a deep clean of the house and I found so many soaps, notebooks, and other stuff I could use now

  11. This is a great tip! When we moved we consolidated all the cleaning supplies we had tucked around the house (under sinks and in storage closets) and I haven’t had to shop for those things for months after we’ve moved and it’s all in one spot now.

  12. When I was in my teens, any time I was out somewhere - a store, library, wherever - I'd use the restroom and check if it had a tampon machine. A surprising number of places have free tampons (sometimes they cost 25c, but often they're free). If it had one, I'd take one even if I didn't need it at that time, saving them up for when I couldn't afford them. I felt bad about it, but I made a point to only ever take one at a time (so I wasn't depleting the stock).

  13. I can’t even imagine going back to the barber or a salon with todays prices. I think I haven’t gone to one in 2 years, you just have to find an easy haircut style and stick with it until you get really good at it or find an easier method to do it quicker.

  14. Cut my own hair for years, like 10 years. I got pretty good at it. Nobody believed me when I told them I cut it myself. When I finally started making more money the gift to myself was finally paying for haircuts. Went about 6 years not cutting my own hair then tried to do it again once in a pinch and totally F'd it up. Out of practice.

  15. I did this due to my budget and work schedule. It's now been over a decade and it's just become a way of life for me. I don't need to do it anymore, it's just my preference. Having to eat 3-5times a day just seems exhausting. I eat dinner - a big dinner and maybe a snack before or after. My mom thinks it's unhealthy my doctor does not.

  16. It also gives you back a few hours a week you would have spent shopping, cooking, cleaning dishes.

  17. Studies have shown intermittent fasting can help a number of people with weight management and when done cautiously/correctly does not have negative health effects.

  18. In college I hung a sheet on the doorway and slept on an air mattress in my friend's trash room because I couldn't afford a dorm or off campus housing. The room was about a 6 ft x4 ft space.

  19. Having a roommate renting our basement, even though we are mid 30s and have kids and would benefit from the space. Over 5 years ago I remember people telling me I should kick the roommate out. I just can't justify it with rising costs. Maybe one day. Just the sacrifice we live with.

  20. My cousin lives in our basement. It's been almost 3 years. We've thought about giving her an end-date, but also the extra cash is incredibly helpful. Sometimes that benefit outweighs the extra room and annoyance sometimes.

  21. My family has rented out part of the basement ever since they got the house 25+ years ago. Got it’s own kitchen,bedroom, bathroom. In Norway the income from renting out less than 50% of your home is exempt from tax, so doing this is very normal for those who are able to.

  22. I’ve had roommates/boarders basically the entire time I’ve been a homeowner until this year (12 years). I just love having someone around and it’s a win-win for everyone - they get cheap rent, I get some money to help pay off the mortgage.

  23. I feel like with increasing population, wealth inequality, and a housing shortage, this is gonna become a lot more common in the future. Especially because there are so many oversized detached homes in the world.

  24. By the time roommate goes, oldest kid will want to live there while in college/just graduated/apprenticing a trade for more privacy and a family discount on rent.

  25. Yup. I’d take as much free bread as they’d give me. Usually at least 6 or so stuffed in a bag. I’d freeze them and have sandwiches forever. My wife hated it but I felt like the god of bread.

  26. I was about to humble brag about going to costco for lunch, and I'm reading the other stories here and saying "holy shit"

  27. Costco for lunch is a big thing at my workplace. One person says costco or “hotdog” and they got 10ish people asking for a hotdog. Getting a message from the other side of the building “did you say hotdog?”

  28. Actually not me but my daughter. We gave the kids $20 a week when they were in high school. The deal was that they had to cover their own lunch. They were welcome to pack a lunch from home and save the cash or they could buy their lunch.

  29. We do this for camp! Our kids each get 20$ and can either buy lunch or treats and bring their lunch. Both boys made it a day and a half.

  30. If I have food in the fridge/freezer that I haven’t finished yet, I make sure to eat those things first (if it doesn’t taste bad ofc) and then move on to the food I enjoy eating- this helps me prevent food waste

  31. I discovered potato nachos are a thing this week after I tossed together leftover grilled potato wedges and a bit of pulled pork. Sprinkled frozen charred corn kernels over it. Drizzled with some leftover huevos rancheros sauce. Topped with cheese and baked. Will nacho again.

  32. Fill up the survey on the back of the receipt of KFC to get a free chicken cup for a few days because I had no money.

  33. I make Ramen bombs. I have an ice tray in my freezer that I put vegetable scraps or meat scraps in. I carefully cut my fresh vegetables so every scrap possible is used. Left over canned vegetables are great for this. Same with meat. Had a friend bring KFC chicken over. Once she left, I used a fork to strip the little bits of meat off of my chicken bones into the tray. When a cube slot is filled, I pop it out and put in a baggie in the freezer. So when I make Ramen, I just add my "bombs" and have veggie/meat bits to make it a more complete meal.

  34. I like this idea! That way you can bulk up your meals easily, and use up food that might go to waste otherwise. I tend to just save scraps for stock, but for anything still in decent shape that we might not use up before it goes bad, this would work really well.

  35. About six weeks ago, I started unplugging the stuff I don't use much, like my TV, coffee machine, lamps etc. I also turn off and unplug my computer/monitor before I go to bed every night.

  36. Please know that if you do this it costs the owner money. If it’s a small, privately owned place, it can hurt the owner pretty good over time.

  37. I bring my own water bottle or drink everywhere I go to avoid paying for expensive drinks. I've saved so much money and I haven't been questioned once.

  38. I do this too. Everywhere. I got “eyes” at the cinema once, but the cashier saw my face and didn’t question it.

  39. Unfortunately, I am the Fat Friend. Their clothes don't fit me. I could probably pawn off some oversized sweaters on them though >:D

  40. My daughter and her friends get together every few months for “Bitch & Switch.” They complain about their problems and swap clothes, jewelry, home goods, etc. She snagged a $79 Calvin Klein blouse for me that no one claimed at their last B&S (it still had the tags attached!)

  41. I will never pay for parking. I keep a long board in the car and I park close to downtown and longboard or walk the rest of the way. Saves me serious coin

  42. Ha i do this too! I live in LA and you never know what the parking situation in different neighborhoods will be. People also get a kick out of it when I roll up on a board.

  43. I didn’t attend college until my 30s so money was tight. I quit a full time job to attend school full time. Single mom, worked cleaning houses, mowing lawns. I shopped for my clothes at thrift stores, cancelled cable TV, even cut my dinner napkins in half. It was all worth it when I got my bachelors degree. Now I use whole napkins; livin’ large.

  44. I bought two dozen washcloths for $10 about 16 years ago and use those as napkins. I haven’t bought paper napkins since, and I think they do a better job

  45. I've started saving the large re-sealable tortilla bags. It's saved me from having to buy the large Ziploc bags for a bit.

  46. I only reuse once them for messy things. Example: Dry goods in ziplock bag. Use it and empty it. Save for when opening a package with meat (for example) put the package in the used ziplock and then put it in the garbage. Keeps the kitchen, and the garbage can, smelling a LOT better.

  47. Same. And bread bags. Paper towels that only had water on them can be draped over something to dry and be reused.

  48. So when I was a kid, our house would get TP'd every so often. (It was near several schools, we had lots of siblings, and it had pillars and trees that made it fun to TP).

  49. Honestly, any time I hear about people TPing or egging a house I die inside at the wasting of resources. It's hard to even see it in a movie.

  50. I lived in a bus for at least a year instead of paying rent. It was 1000$ a month for a bad apartment and 10k for an already converted short bus. I was making $14 an hour at a school for 20hrs a week plus babysitting gigs, so I wasn't making much more than $1000 a month.

  51. A lot of weeds are tastier and way healthier than store bought. Chickweed and purslane is delicious in salads. Docks and dandelions make a great substitute for kale or collard greens. Battered dandelion flower fritters are delicious.

  52. Lambsquarters are a type of plant, for anyone who raised an eyebrow. Chenopodium album is the Latin name.

  53. if it takes one second to pick up a penny and your job pays less than 36 dollars per hour, you're a fool not to pick up a penny off the ground.

  54. I accidentally covered rice in the instapot from the white box of chai tea concentrate instead of the white box of beef stock. I could smell the mistake but it was too late. I popped the lid on and cooked it. Then I learned chai rice is a thing.

  55. I would skip breakfast and then work at a soup kitchen for lunch and eat for free, and then take home a Tupperware of food for dinner.

  56. Back when payphones were common my grandfather would check every one he walked by for lost change. This also went for vending machines or any other place people could have left money in the coin return. I used to laugh at it and found it quite embarrassing then I started doing it too.

  57. Bought a batch of four dollar t-shirts online, they are $20 each at the local store. Got all four for $20 total.

  58. I switched to a no contract cell phone carrier and now buy an old version phone every 3-4 years. I save $150 a month from what big brand carrier was charging.

  59. A few years ago at Taco Bell they had a survey at the back of the receipt where if you filled it out you got a free taco. Well after my meal, I filled it out as we were high as fuck and could still eat more Taco Bell.

  60. I called the Taco Bell. number to complain once... They sent me a free any meal coupon to use if I would call them back to tell them about that experience. They then send me another free meal coupon for giving them my opinion on the follow-up visit.

  61. Snacks on hand while at work! I make my own granola, granola bars, breads, cookies, etc. and bring a thermos of hot water. So when I want a hot chocolate and cookies, I’m not tempted to stop at a coffee shop.

  62. In college I ate plain pasta with salt a lot. if I had extra money id add a bit of margarine to it.... weeks on end one meal a day of pasta doesn't really give you much energy to work with.

  63. This is embarrassing...but I would go to restaurants and say my grandmother left her coat or sweater there. Usually workers would pull a box out and let me rummage through everything before I "found" the item. Wouldn't have survived harsh winters in New York otherwise.

  64. Keep a daily journal. Write down at the beginning of each day what is your long term goal. Then write how your day went. What you did to work towards that long term goal. Keep reminding yourself where you want to be. Writing it physically works wonders.

  65. Washed my clothes in the tub. Darned holey socks. Turned the heat down to 55°F in the winter. Stranded myself to my bedroom (only room with A/C) in the summer. Stood by the vending machine at school and asked for people's change at lunch time. Cut open lotion/toothpaste/condiment bottles to get the last little bit from the bottom. Take any and all free foods or usable/resalable items that someone might offer me.

  66. There's a story in my family that during the Great Depression, an uncle of ours used to buy his underwear from the morgue for 5 cents a pound.

  67. Even by today's standards that's extremely cheap and i would totally do that if it was available. Sure, it's weird to wear a dead man's underwear, but for about a dollar a pound? Certainly.

  68. I try to take public transportation when I travel. Definitely not as comfortable as taking a taxi/uber or rental car when on vacation but does save on costs.

  69. I buy simple cup of noodles for lunch, then have various toppings or additional things with me. Like an egg, pickled veggies, tuna packets, kimchi...honestly all stuff I would use in other meals as well. Its saved me a bit of cash and saves me time on my lunch hour to study or work surveys for giftcards. I should say I eat fairly fresh food for dinner and breakfast.

  70. I wash my laundry in the tub (our rent is all-included utilities, but the laundry machines are 4$ a load)

  71. i use paper bill as a bookmark. it serves as a reward for me to finish the book. once the book is finished, only then i can buy another. helped stop my hauling-books-that-ill-just-stuck-in-my-shelf-for-years habit.

  72. idk if this qualifies but... use thrift store sheets instead of buying fabric from fabric stores... to quilt and sew clothing

  73. Haircuts. I use a $25 pet clipper that came with four attachable guards for setting the clip height. I saw the exact same model sold for people, with two additional taller guards, for $25 more.

  74. My friend was a few years older than me. When she grew out of her clothes, my mum would buy them for me from her mother. Very cheaply. Both our mums were poor, so it was a good deal.

  75. Old school safety razor and clippers here too 😂. I got some higher end clippers. 3 hair cuts and they paid themselves off. I purchased a whole package of 100 blades 4 1/2 years ago. I have 3 left. I shave with olive oil. You can use any cooking oil, or just bar soap.

  76. Switched to using a safety razor and shave soap instead of creams and 6+ blade disposable razors. Found blades that work well and $22 gets me a whole year or more of razors. Shave soaps are anywhere from $4-$10 and last much longer than their gel counterparts

  77. try keeping your blade (that you are using)in baby oil it is supposed to keep it sharper, rust free...etc for longer. am testing that now and so far true

  78. I calculated the cost per TP square vs the cost per paper towel sheet for when I’m cleaning up my beard hairs in the sink. I learned that 3 squares of TP = 1 half sheet paper towel. So if I can clean up something using only 2 squares of TP I’m saving money. Any more than 2 squares of TP I might as well be using a paper towel.

  79. If you are Penny pinching this much, maybe just consider switching paper towels to a wash rag when you can and just rinse it out frequently.. you’ll save a ton more.

  80. I had a real bad spending habit. I literally locked my money away and had someone hide it so I didn’t use it to buy unnecessary items.

  81. i always ask for a free water cup instead of ordering a water bottle for $1.99. most places say yes, i’ve probably saved hundreds doing this for so long

  82. This week I made my own windshield washer fluid, glass cleaner, and electronics cleaner. I probably only saved about $6, but for some reason I like making my own.

  83. When I graduated from college, I used my brother's cap, gown, and stole (his was 2013, I used tape to change the 3 to a 5). My brother is 8 inches taller than me, so wore heels lol. I had to use my cap tassel from high school though because his color was for another major/ department.

  84. Had a friend who worked at Starbucks. I agreed to wash his car each Thursday (his water) if he gave me all the food they were going to toss out because the expiration date was the next day.

  85. When I was a kid the electricity went off regularly and we camped in front of the gas fire in the living room and cooked toast on it. Wouldn't work these days of course.

  86. I’ve been doing one meal a day and eating cup of noodles for a couple weeks now. Not quite by choice but that’s ok.

  87. I bought a pallet of toilet paper. 4'x4'x4'. There is a store that has overstocks, returns, damaged package, etc., goods, and they had a pallet of TP, most were like the 24 packs, that had a cut or tear in the plastic. I bought the entire thing for $225.

  88. I just have done without. I went into Five Guys for the first time since Covid and it was now over $20 for a little hamburger and a small fries. I walked out and bought nothing.

  89. Just start making all my own clothes lol. Its fun, really satisfying and creative energy, once you get fast at it you can finish a piece in a few hours. Cannot imagine paying over 25$ for a piece of clothing anymore besides shoes

  90. I want to make my own clothes but I feel like the patterns I find are all so frumpy. Do you know any pattern brands for cute clothing?

  91. Attend seminars in completely unknown subjects for the wine and cheese after. Call it the cheapest equivalent to getting Phi Beta Kappa!

  92. A couple of things I did to homeless in the past. I had a gym membership to a planet fitness that had all kinds of stuff outside of the actual gym part of it including a shower room so, that’s where I would wash myself. At work, I charged my phone, my school laptop ( thank god I was poor enough to finally get help), and 4 other portable chargers I had incase I needed extra juice somewhere. Conveniently at the time I also worked at the mall so there was a couple of times I got free clothes and shoes dumpster diving. As for food, thank god I worked with an older lady who was basically a loving grandma to everyone and when she found out I was sleeping in the parking lot with out food, she would make extra for me to at least have lunch. Before that it was A large water and something off the dollar menu at McDonalds lol. She is definitely a core memory.

  93. This is more survival but when I was really struggling, I'd go into Wendy's and grab a bunch of crackers (for chili) and ketchup and mustard and that was my meal for the night.

  94. I taught my wife to cut my hair (pretty simple fade) but she is amazing at it! Every couple years I buy a new clipper set for the cost of 2 haircuts. Also so nice to get a haircut and then jump strait into the shower.

  95. I returned an electric skillet to Walmart that my dad gifted to me for Christmas. Got $44 for it on a gift card and bout some groceries.

  96. I scrap, the only things I try to buy are food, medicine and gas. I find tons of good things and flip lots of stuff. Sold some old jeans for 800 bucks on eBay last year for example. 20 dollar stroller today. Fast nickel beats a slow dime! I have a subscription to the New York Times too! I just get it a week late from the trash down the street! 16 years and counting! Keep your eyes out there’s lots out there but you have to look for it! Good luck everyone!

  97. Temporarily “recalibrate” my meal plan to 1000-1200 calories a day, consuming fats and proteins and limiting carbs to curb appetite.

  98. Only running my a/c if home during the day and turning it off by 6:30 pm. I don't use it in the AM. My most recent bill is $58.34. I live in Charleston, SC.

  99. Wait so people leave the A/C on when they’re not home? (I’m not from a country where A/C is very common)

  100. I look around and research the plants around me using 'Picture This' app and agriculture .gov sites to confirm identification and required preparation methods. Many weeds are edible as well as many native plants. Just consider whether the plants may have been sprayed or otherwise contaminated, before eating.

  101. Fished the extra-large popcorn tubs out of the trash, washed them in the bathroom, and took them back to the concession stand for a free refill.

  102. Find things at the trash, check and clean them and sell or use them myself. Sold snowchains, bikeracks, cowskin, projector, etc that way. Kept things like weights, sewingmachine, drill, etc.

  103. I would consider this more necessity, but, when I was in high school, I would go to school with an empty binder and a pen. When my teachers asked to get paper out, I would say I accidentally forgot my notebook at home so either they, or classmates around me, would give me a couple of sheets. I did this in every class and when I got home, I would add sheets to my siblings binders to make sure they didn't have to ask for any.

  104. Washing plastic shower curtains, Eating weeds, washing and reusing dollar tree dishcloths. If it can survive my dishwasher or laundry machine, it's gonna get reused!

  105. I’ve found that cloth shower curtain liners last longer than the plastic ones and are easier to keep clean. I’ve been using the ones I have now (one in each bath) for the past 13 years.

  106. Yes, always buy the heavier gauge plastic and wash when needed with bleach and some old towels/washcloths/rags. (Cheaper, thinner plastic falls apart faster.)

  107. I cut my own hair ever since 2020, save large yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream containers as storage containers. Turn off lights when I'm not in a room.

  108. Popeyes has deals on Tuesdays where I can get two pieces of fried chicken for $1.99. I’d buy five orders and that was my little treat to myself every day

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may have missed