Weird ways to save money

25. But who gets the hole?

Top eye view close-up two pieces donuts
Saknarong Butsabong / Shutterstock
Cutting the doughnut in half was only the start for Grandpa.

I have a friend whose grandfather would take out all of the grandchildren to Dunkin' Donuts. He would buy a single doughnut and then cut it into six pieces for each of the grandchildren.

Then he would take a huge handful of napkins and take them home with him.

At home he would cut them in half to use.

| usutsich

24. Nailing it? Not really

rusty nail on crack wood
Pongsak14 / Shutterstock
The guy tries to reuse old nails, no matter how bent or rusty they are.

My ex-father-in-law reuses nails in his construction projects.

He collects old boards with nails in them, pulls the nails out, and saves them in a bucket. Then he uses them in new projects, no matter how rusty they are. Sometimes he has to spend considerable time straightening them out.

The resulting projects are usually a disaster. He's saved a few tens of dollars over the decades, and wasted hundreds of weekends and hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars on materials and wrecked, failed projects in the process.

| 0x308

23. Not that there's anything wrong with this

Two young men meeting at the gym and giving each other a handshake
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock
Hey, are those guys...?

I pretend I'm gay.

The gym I go to charges 50 bucks less if you register as a couple and not as a single. I don't have an SO (significant other), so my best male friend and I registered as a gay couple.

The first day, the manager almost asked us to make out to prove it. He decided it was homophobic so he stopped.

When we come in, he's always staring while we use the machines together, like he wants to catch us doing something sexual.

| swissco

22. In a dither over dishes

Modern kitchen interior with dishwasher
Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock
The kids were afraid to unload the dishwasher because of Mom's extreme frugality.

My friend's family used to struggle over dishwashing duties: The parents would frequently get mad at the kids for leaving their dishes in the sink and not emptying the dishwasher.

One day, I was at their house with all the kids home, and when we left the dishes in the sink, the parents blew up: It was time for a family meeting.

Not sure where to go, I awkwardly sat in the next room, but could still hear the meeting conversation.

After a few minutes of bickering, it turned out that the reason the kids didn't unload the dishwasher was that they didn't know if it was clean or dirty was because the mom would always turn off the "clean" LED light on the dishwasher to save energy.

| tedofgork

21. Pain without the gain

Old Senior man at dentist surgery having tooth operation in stomatology clinic
Kulniz / Shutterstock
The man had gone through life saying no to local anesthesia at the dentist's office. Ouch!

My dad is 72. I only found out a month ago that he always opts out of local anesthesia at the dentist because he thinks it saves on the bill.

He only found out a month ago that it doesn't.


| Revenant10-15

20. Can you have too much pizza?

Moorhead, Minnesota, United States - December 7, 2015: Freezer full of pizza in local supermarket, seen through the glass.
Ben Harding / Shutterstock
Mom bought frozen pizzas by the dozen.

I grew up quite poor. The worst, or weirdest, was going grocery shopping with my mother and having cartfuls of Mama Celeste Pizzas because they were on sale.

I literally mean 50 to 60 boxes of microwavable pizzas because they were buy one get one.

I was a child at the time, but even then I knew it was... embarrassing. Yet, I understand.

| stbasterd

19. This one never gets old

Cute young couple at the movie theater while the man pays for the tickets with a credit card at the box office
antoniodiaz / Shutterstock
Yes, we're seniors. You don't believe it?

(I) buy Senior Citizen movie tickets online and print out at work.

The doormen never look nor seem to care. They just point you in the direction of your auditorium.

$2 saved per ticket, CHA-CHING!

| AmericanPixel

18. Savings by the bucketful

Pouring water against blue sky.
Janis Smits / Shutterstock
His parents used buckets as part of an intricate strategy to save on water.

When waiting for water to heat up in the tub, my parents will fill a 5 gallon bucket. They have a few of these buckets.

They will cool that excess water and use it over a few days to water plants/clean the car/wash dishes/etc. When they have prewashed with water, they will turn the shower off and proceed to shampoo and body-wash themselves.

They will then, depending if there is enough, sponge on water from the 5 gallon bucket, or simply quick rinse with water. Their last water bill was around $11.

| Zmodem

17. A good argument for delivery confirmation

Courier delivering package in office
Africa Studio / Shutterstock
You sure I don't have to sign for that?

My line manager will buy things online, and if it isn't sent recorded delivery he'll contact the seller a few days after it arrives to say he hasn't received it yet, and get another sent for free.

Whenever a package arrives for him at the office now I'll contact the company that sent it first to warn them he's going to do it.

| NuklearAngel

16. A cheapie for t.p.

A person takes household paper from a household sheet dispenser
Tommy Alven / Shutterstock
Don't ask what he's planning to do with those napkins.

My dad used to take home inordinate amounts of napkins from fast-food restaurants to use as toilet paper.

And then would climb into his Jaguar and head home.


15. The case of the miserly moviegoer

cat watching a movie
FotoYakov / Shutterstock
I've brought my own refreshments, thankyouverymuch.

When I go to the cinema and I bring my own sweets and popcorn.

I'm always told I can't bring it in, (so) I then ask to speak to the manager and tell him I have a server allergy to nuts or milk or whatever.

He then just stands there awkwardly and just lets me in.

| OverclockingUnicorn

14. Call her a plate-spinner

Creative word on vintage broken car license plates, concept sign
Leszek Glasner / Shutterstock
This is one word for what the girlfriend did.

My girlfriend never put her license plates on her car.

Two and a half years into her lease and she still uses the dealer placeholder. This lets her use toll roads and fast lanes without paying.

She's never been pulled over but I bet that's going to be an awkward conversation some day with the way she speeds.

| VerrKol

13. Feasting on 'clean' garbage

Recycling a grocery store's waste food by harvesting out of the garbage dumpster
GROGL / Shutterstock
The restaurant workers would put leftover food into the trash and then remove it and take it home.

In college I worked as a barista, and we threw out a ton of pastries, bagels and sandwiches.

The owner was very clear that we could not take anything out of the case and bring it home but there was nothing stopping us from digging through the garbage.

So at closing time we would take out the day's trash then divvy up the food to be thrown away put them in small bags gently set them inside the clean trash bag for a second then take it out and go home. Free food loophole.

| TheBrontosaurus

12. A jarring idea for drinking glasses

Variety of lemonade in mason jars with berries and fruits on the front porch
Elena Veselova / Shutterstock
The woman's father would use sauce jars as drinking glasses.

My dad refuses to buy drinking glasses. Instead, he will buy the cheapest spaghetti and alfredo sauces that come in glass jars (Ragu, I'm looking at you), use the sauce, and save the jar. He cleans the jars, removes the label, and voila! New drinking glasses.

| *TheOtakuEffect *

11. Borrowing power from the college library

male college student sitting in library, typing on laptop computer. Horizontal shape, side view, waist up
Diego Cervo / Shutterstock
The roommate would charge a backup battery at the college library.

I had a roommate in college with a back-up battery. He would go to the library and charge that thing all day then use that to power his PC at night. I managed the bills in the house, and I noticed an $8 to $20 monthly reduction in electricity once he started doing that.

| Asiansensationz

10. Trick or cheap?

Christmas Candy
Jason Stitt / Shutterstock
The cheap neighbors gave out restaurant peppermints for Halloween.

Took the kiddos trick-or-treating this past Halloween. One house had a bowl on the porch that only had restaurant peppermints and fortune cookies.

| chowdermusket

9. Jack, the 'sleep' skate

Caucasian drunk man resting head on table
Justaman / Shutterstock
Jack would always pretend to fall asleep at the table before the restaurant bill arrived.

Back in college, I had an acquaintance who was the king of dipping out of a bill. He would pay the first round of the night because he knew everyone would remember it and it was usually the cheapest (college bar beers). Then he would not even bother to chip in the rest of the night.

The worst was dinner tabs. He would all of a sudden get sleepy (pretending to be too tipsy) right before the bill was coming and put his head down when it showed up. He would than magically wake up and be perfectly fine after the rest of us split it up.

Funny thing is he was so smooth at this that most people never even noticed. But I did. I remember you, Jack. Don't be like Jack.

| Yoinkie2013

8. Not very charitable

horizontal image of a man carrying  donated items into a thrift store .
Helen's Photos / Shutterstock
The guy would camp out at thrift stores and ask to see what people were dropping off.

Had a friend who would camp out behind the Goodwill or Salvation Army, and when people showed up to drop off donations, would walk up to the car and ask if they wouldn't mind if he looked through what they had first. He was upfront about it, and most people seemed to be okay letting him.

| billbapapa

Want a less embarrassing way to save money? Try a cash-back credit card.

7. Savings in the bag

heap of potato crisps on white background
Yalcin Sonat / Shutterstock
Gramps makes wrapping paper out of old chip bags.

My grandfather uses chip bags as gift wrap. He rips them open along the seams to get a full rectangle, then washes them. It's not anything I would ever consider doing, but it works well for small gifts and looks just like the metallic paper people buy.

| AdventurousAlien

6. Time management

Time Punctual Second Minute Hour Concept / Shutterstock
The teacher would have to reset the clock every day, because she was removing the battery each night.

I had an English teacher in high school for first period one semester and then last period the next semester. During first period I noticed that she always adjusted the time on the clock (basic single battery analog clock). What I didn't know until next semester was that she removed the battery in the evening.

When I asked her about it, she told me that she had to supply her own batteries and that she wasn't going to waste them on being on all night so she reset it every day. Those clocks take like one to two batteries a year. Over the course of her 30-year career, she saved $20 maximum for all that inconvenience.

| righthanddan

5. A soapless case

Fancy soaps in soapdish
Kristina Balić / Unsplash
The friend wanted fancy hand soaps for her guest bath, but she wouldn't dream of buying them.

I have a friend who makes six figures. For Christmas she asks for hand soap from Bath & Body Works. It is for her guest bathroom so she doesn't have to buy the soap herself. She thinks fancy soap is a waste of money, but she still wants to have it in her guest bathroom.

| hblb229

4. Mitchum meltdown

Man holding deodorant in bathroom
Africa Studio / Shutterstock
The man tried to get more out of his stick deodorants.

One time when my dad was still alive he took a bag of spent solid deodorant sticks he'd kept, scooped the nubs out into a tin can and tried to melt them down to pour back into one of the dispensers. I didn't stick around to see if it worked, and didn't ask, but I never saw him do it after that.

| ZombiePartyBoy

3. Crazy for creamer

Coffee and creamers served at a Denny's restaurant in Murrieta, CA, Feb. 12, 2018.
CarlaVanWagoner / Shutterstock
The dude hoarded creamers and would empty them into a jar.

My roommate worked at an airport and would steal creamers at the end of the day (from the planes he was cleaning, I believe), and take them home in a big plastic bag. When my other roommate and I complained about all the room in the fridge this took up, he would one by one open them up and empty them into a jar.

The roommate taking the creamers didn't drink coffee/tea, and my other roommate and I were lactose intolerant and couldn't use them either. They'd gradually get used for baking and what-not, but our household cream expenses were quite low to begin with.

| capslox

Here's a better way to pinch pennies: Make some extra money by renting out your car.

2. His bright idea

Screwing in a Lightbulb
Mauro Carli / Shutterstock
The friend would take a lightbulb from room to room.

My dad had a friend that only uses one lightbulb at a time. He would unscrew it and take it with him into the next room.

| Bokonon1st

1. Holding it in for savings

Close up picture of a woman holding her crotch, she needs to pee immediately, outdoor
Ocskay Mark / Shutterstock
The friend tried to avoid answering nature's call while at home.

I witnessed this confession from one of my friends: “I only go to bathroom while I am at work, so I can save money for my water bill for the month. Sometime it gets uncomfortable, but it’s worth it.”

| surajsalua

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman


Doug Whiteman is the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

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