Top 5 Weird Ways People Try to Save Money – Must Read

May 2, 2011

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Mr.Savvy has put together a pretty awesome article for y’all today.

My Top 5 Weird Things People do to Save Money (and the rational alternative)
inspired from  money blog times

Save on flushing:
Put a weight, like a sealed plastic bottle full of sand, in the tank to displace water.  Each flush should save about half a gallon to a gallon.  If you have a family that flushes a lot you could save close to a hundred dollars in a year’s time.

Why it’s weird:
Granted, it’s better than the mellow yellow routine, but you’re toying with water flow in an area that I feel is very crucial.

The alternative:
If you really want to save water, the five minute shower is a time honored practice.  Just go in there and get the job done without zoning out.  Sure the hot water feels nice and you don’t want that uncomfortable cold wet feeling when you turn the water off, but you only make it harder on yourself by waiting.  Cutting the time of your shower down to essentials eliminates waste of about four gallons a minute.  Also, fixing leaks, washing laundry with a full load and turning off the faucet when brushing teeth all effectively eliminate waste.

Save on meat:
Stock up on holidays when the turkey and ham is cheap and freeze it.  Invest in a stand alone freezer to maximize savings!

Why it’s weird:
Besides the up front spending on a freezer that can fit all your discount meat, there’s also the matter of excess electricity that makes me wonder how worth it this really is, just to have some turkey and ham on hand.

The alternative:
Chicken thighs are a great way to get your protein fix on the cheap.  You don’t have to have a semi-annual stockpile.  Pay attention to weekly ads for your local groceries.  If you have a nearby Fresh and Easy they often have great selections on discount fish, steak and chicken.

Save at restaurants:
Request appetizer portions of entrees and save up to half on the check.

Why it’s weird:
Many places won’t do this.  They call it a lunch portion and they offer it only at certain times.  If they do grant your request, then you are likely going to spend no more than 20-25%  less on a half portion.

The alternative:
If the entree portion is too big, ask for a box and you have a free meal later.  That is an automatic save.  You can also dine in the bar area and save by sharing a plate, or instead of an appetizer portion of an entree, just order an appetizer.

Save on tuition:
You can cut out a year of college by increasing your course load.

Why it’s weird:
Well, if you’ve been to, or attend college you know; But very few people can make it through to successful completion on such a heavy course load.  You would have to do almost a year of college courses in high school to make this a plausible option.

The alternative:
Complete your Gen.  Ed.  requirements at a community college and transfer to a university.  Don’t pay a cent out of pocket without first applying for a  Federal Pell Grant and other scholarships.

Money Jar:
A lot of people save by charging themselves to do things like laundry, or tucking away a pledged amount $1 or $5 bills at the end of the day.

Why it’s weird:
You already have the money.  You’re basically just tricking yourself into saving it and often times watching it slowly accrue without interest.

The Alternative:
Work out a budget.  Figure out what you have to spend each week, or each month and put the rest away in a savings account.  Now, you can do your banking online with some institutions, which makes transferring funds and achieving savings goals easier and faster than ever.


{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth May 2, 2011 at 10:31 pm

Great article…displacing toilet water? I have never even heard of that. Nutty!


Aisha July 22, 2012 at 12:09 am

We do the displacing water thing. You don’t need that much water to flush a toilet. You don’t have to use the plastic bottle full of sand, though, you can just change the setting so that it doesn’t use as much water to flush. It’s good, clean water and makes me feel bad to waste it on, well, waste when so many people don’t have clean water.

We don’t request appetizer portions when we eat out (which isn’t more than once every 5-6 weeks), we just eat appetizers. When we were in a better financial situation, we used to bring home leftovers from restaurants, we would forget about them until they went bad or we wouldn’t reheat most of it because it just never tasted the same.

We have a deep freezer and freeze meats. The deep freezer adds about $5 to our electric bill every month (adding about $60-$80 a year). Meanwhile, we save much more than that on meat that goes on sale. We don’t eat red meat; we eat mostly chicken and turkey (pork very rarely).

I don’t think our ways are weird, but based on this, I guess most people do. We don’t save money because we’re middle class and think it’d be a good idea to save money. We save money and do these tricks because we’re dirt poor, on food stamps and have no choice but to save.


heather @loveandcents May 2, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Great article! Very good point about the meat! Btw your hubby is a cutie. :)


michelle r. May 3, 2011 at 2:24 am

great article! hubby has some very valid points, I never understood the freezer thing.


Rebeca October 21, 2011 at 3:17 am

I agree that most of this is weird except the money thing. I actually do that. The reason is to save it for random things that may arise. I never have luck with a budget but if I can not see the money then I forget about it. I actually put my money jar in a hidden place and got one of those counting change things that counts as you put it in if I take out money I have to reset it. That is a pain to reset and then put all the change back in one at a time to be counted. Last year I saved over $300 that paid for a trip to take my daughter to an American Girl annual discount sale. We got 3 dolls at a discounted price and I had money for the whole trip just by hiding my random “change” from myself


San Diego Deals and Steals April 21, 2012 at 4:39 pm

haha! I have always said the same about the saving your change thing – haha – the money is already there – just budget it! 😉 I have also thought getting an extra freezer is silly – we sometimes buy a little extra – there is always room in our regular freezer and we are are a family of 5 that eats all but a few meals a month in our home. I agree on the others too! Well put!


Frazzalicious April 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

I always take half of my meal home. Speaking of which, I have roast beef from Cheddar’s waiting for me in the fridge. Hellooooo lunch!


Rose April 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm

I bought a stand alone freezer for $150 at an appliance store in their scratch and dent section, and I saved more than enough to fill it within a very short period of time. We have saved over $900 using coupons and sales just in the last 3 and a half months. It’s not weird, it’s actually a very smart thing to do if you have the space for one. Who wants to eat chicken thighs all the time? Right now I have 10 pkgs of ground chicken I got for 50 cents a piece, and two packages of ribs I got for half off, just to name things off the top of my head, not to mention butter and vegetables I got almost free. I even know people who bought a chest freezer online from sites like Craigslist or a garage sale for a really good deal.
Sorry, but I think he’s mistaken about that being a silly tip. :( His other “weird ways people save” were in fact pretty weird though.


Diane April 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I agree that having a chest freezer is not silly. I not only keep meat that I get on sale but bread (because I work shift work and have kids in school) and fruit that I process when it is in season. Free raspberries are great in the winter.


char giles April 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I have a small chest freezer. It comes in handy I have to drive 38 miles to my nearest costco and only go every 2 months works out great for all my meat since I buy in bulk and cut it into portions that we like!!


Amy April 21, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Good points, but I would like to point out something about the freezer thing. While it would be the upfront cost of a freezer, I have read in multiple places that a freezer is more energy efficient if it is full. It makes sense because if there is more things in the freezer that are frozen, it is keeping the inside temperature cool so the motor doesn’t have to kick on so often to cool the empty space. While I don’t know what the energy savings would be, it is a thought to throw out there….

And when we were in college, we were saving for a wedding. We had a water jug that I cut the top off of and tossed everything that was $5 and under into it. Smart or not, I left it on the stand next to my TV. I had friends toss loose change in there too and after doing that for a year, knowing why I was saving the money and seeing it accumulate, we were able to pay for all of our invitations, inserts, and postage. Interest rates are so low right now that it doesn’t really pay to put it into a savings account until you have a significant amount. And even then, it is just numbers. Having the cash and being able to visibly see how much it REALLY is tends to be a motivator to save a little more. :)

Thanks 😉


Andy June 23, 2012 at 3:15 am

I totally disagree with the money in a jar, saving on meant and the toilet thing. Who takes a shower in less than 5 minutes, especially if you have really long hair? I’ve tried to take 5-minute showers (even set a timer!), but I’m always in there for about 10 minutes and I don’t take my time.

Most savings accounts require you to have a minimum amount in it and banks charge you a fee per month if you don’t have the minimum amount. What if you don’t need to save what their minimum is ($300/$500, etc)? The mone jar is not only useful, but it can be a fun way to save money.

Like another poster mentioned, having a chest freezer can be very helpful especially when you don’t have any room in your fridge freezer. Mine has a built in shelf thing for ice trays that I hate and it takes up a lot of space & it’s awkard. I can only put a few items in it at a time. Having a chest freezer gives you way more space to store tons of meat & other food. I cook my meals on the weekends and I cook enough for one- two weeks worth of food just so I’m not using my oven or stove every day. I’ve saved so much money on my electric bill this way, too.

Just because it doesn’t work for you, doesn’t mean it is “weird” and doesn’t work for others! : )


Carla December 27, 2012 at 8:41 am

It is true that freezers run more efficiently when they are full. However, there aren’t many people who will buy a freezer & then immediately buy enough food to completely fill it. What I did to solve this problem, was first, I made sure that I bought a freezer that had an Energy Star rating since they are the most economical to operate. Secondly, I filled empty milk jugs & juice containers about 3/4 full of water and placed them into the freezer. Slowly, I was able to replace the jugs of ice with food. The jugs also came in handy when we went on trips. We didn’t have to purchase bags of ice for the ice chest to keep everything cool. It’s a win-win!


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