The blogosphere is full of money saving ideas: good ones, great ones, evident ones, easy ones, hard ones… and crazy ones. But some of the ideas for saving money that might seem crazy at first glance really aren’t so crazy after all. I’ve been gathering some of the silliest seeming money saving ideas (and some of the best, as well!) to show you why you might want to take a second look at these ideas for saving money that really aren’t so crazy after all.
1. Go to the bathroom before you leave work (or any other public place).
- Why it seems crazy: If you’re going to this extent to save money, aren’t you going a bit too far?
- Why it really works: It may seem like such a small thing that it won’t have any impact. But each flush can use a considerable amount of water, not to mention all the toilet paper that can be involved! Multiple that by each member in your household, every day you leave the house, and this little thing has the possibility of saving you more money than you think.
2. Stay Married. The Dough Roller has a great list of 51 Painless ways to Save Money. Number 51 on the list? Stay Married. He says
Yes, I know that some marriages end because of abuse and other extreme circumstances. “Isn’t marriage about love”, you ask. Sometimes. “You don’t know my situation”, you say. True. But I lived through the emotional and financial pain of two divorces as a child, and I’ve been married to the same women for more than 19 years, so I know plenty. Am I telling you not to get a divorce? Of course not. I am telling you that divorce will wreck your finances and your spouse’s finances.
- Why it seems crazy: Staying married just to save money? That’s not crazy, that’s insane!
- Why it really works: As pointed out in the original post, divorce is expensive. Money shouldn’t be the only reason you don’t get a divorce, but you should think about the financial impact a divorce would have upon your life.
3. Hide Your Credit Cards. This idea comes from The Simple Dollar, and it seems crazy in its simplicity. How can hiding your credit cards save you money? Can’t you simply go find them again? Trent says:
Don’t keep plastic on you until you have the willpower to not use it even when you’re sorely tempted.
- Why it seems crazy: Hiding your cards isn’t the same thing as canceling them. If you want to, you can still use them.
- Why it really works: Even pausing for a moment can help you not spend money, especially if you have to go physically get the credit card. Sometimes that’s all it takes.
4. Stop buying lottery tickets! This is Money, a UK website recommends not buying lottery tickets, pointing out that the chances of winning are so low, you might as well be burning your money. If you still want the thrill of the unknown, they advise buying one, not ten.
- Why it seems crazy: This is such a small expense- and the dream is so big!
- Why it really works: As with so many other things, the little stuff does add up. If you really don’t want to stop doing whatever little thing is your equivalent of lottery tickets, then make sure you have a line for it in your budget.
5. Turn your car off at stoplights. If the wait is going to be longer than 30 seconds, not having your car idle will save more gas than turning it off and back on again. The Bargainist recommends doing so for waits of a minute or more:
One of the worst offenders in lowering your gas mileage, idling gets you zero miles per gallon. If you are going to idle for a minute or less, leave your car on, but if it’s going to be much longer than a minute, you should turn off your car.
- Why it seems crazy: Turning off your car for just a few seconds is a hassle, and can’t really save you money. Can it?
- Why it really works: It can save you money actually. Along with a whole host of other sensible driving measures, like making sure your tires are correctly inflated, lightening the amount of things you carry in your trunk and driving at reasonable speeds, you can save a lot of money with this not so crazy tip.
6. The Bargainist has another crazy idea for saving money on meals out that makes a lot of sense: use the meat from your dish the next day to make another meal.
Make a second dinner on leftovers. Start by eating the veggies and fries or bread, then eat the actual meat item last. You might be so full from the warmup stuff that you don’t eat much meat. Then take the meat home and use it for a second dinner the next night. Two dinners for the price of one!
My problem with this is that I have so little self restraint that I usually end up finishing my plate! But there have been times that I’ve brought home chicken, ham or other kinds of meat, and it’s a wonderful addition to a casserole.
- Why it seems crazy: If you go to a restaurant, it’s to eat your meal, not take it home. That’s called take-out.
- Why it really works: With the sizes of restaurant portions, it is certainly possible to only eat half of what you’ve been served. Whether you eat half the meal and take it home for the next day’s lunch, or save the meat as suggested above, this is a good money saving tip.
7. Use a piggy bank. Or envelopes. Or your sock drawer, or under the mattress or where ever it is that you stash money! The tip is to put away every $1, $5 or $10 bill that comes across your path (your choice). MP Dunleavy at MSN Money says:
Play money games. Whenever you get a $5 bill, put it aside. Or do it with ones, with quarters or all your spare change. You’ll have a nest egg before you miss a nickel.
- Why it seems crazy: Saving every $5 bill that you come across means that you can never break a larger bill unless you’re ready to dedicate your change to savings. And how much can you really save from $5 bills anyway?
- Why it really works: Surprisingly, you can save quite a bit in a very small time. The constraints mentioned above aside, it’s not that difficult either. My father has been doing something similar for years, by putting aside pennies and dimes, and he has saved thousands of dollars over the year. My mother, on the other hand, has been putting away $5 and $10 bills for about a year, in two specific savings accounts, and is almost to her goal of being able to buy a new Apple laptop cash.
More Great Money Saving Tips posts:
As I said before, there are thousands upon thousands of posts in the blogosphere on saving money, living frugally etc. Here are two of my favorites:
- The Ten Most Hated Money Saving Tips at Free Money Finance
- Ridiculous Money Saving Ideas at Bargaineering (some of these ideas really are ridiculous!)
What’s your favorite crazy money saving idea that’s really not that crazy?