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But there are many more ideas out there!
I went on a search for creative ideas to save money, and came across a bunch that you probably haven’t thought of. Here are 10 of my favorites.
1. Don’t Empty Your Bladder
This is one of the stranger ideas out there, but it has scientific backing. Researchers found that subjects who drank a lot of water and then sat for 45 minutes made better long-term decisions than those who didn’t. It’s called the “spillover effect” and they surmised that people controlling their bladders could also exercise control over their desires and actions.
It’s weird, but if you fill up on water before going shopping or out to a restaurant, there’s a chance that you’ll make better decisions. Just don’t go overboard, or you’ll have a spillover effect of a different kind.
2. Take a Picture
Being frugal isn’t always about spending less — it’s about using your resources more efficiently. And sometimes that means knowing what to sell. If you’re holding onto something purely for sentimental reasons, take a picture of it and sell it. You almost certainly don’t use it anyway, and you can look back on the photo and reminisce just as well as you can look at the object itself and enjoy those memories.
I’ve even heard of people taking photos of things they don’t own so they can look at and enjoy them. I’m not sure that photographing something would make me less likely to buy it, but it seems worth a shot!
3. Don’t Coupon
Sure, cutting coupons can save you a lot of money if you’re disciplined. But they can also make you buy more — advertisers know this. If you grab a coupon for a great deal on catfish nuggets but you wouldn’t have bought them without the coupon, you’re actually spending more money, not less.
If you’re a regular coupon cutter, try going a week without cutting any coupons and compare your grocery bill. Or, at the very least, make an effort to spend less time doing it. You might be surprised to find that you saved time by not clipping and didn’t spend much more money. Is clipping coupons worth the trade-off? Now you’ll know.
4. Put Two Things Back on the Shelf
Danielle at The Frugal Navy Wife puts all of the groceries on her list in the main basket of her grocery cart. Then she puts any impulse or forgotten purchases in the child seat area. When she’s done shopping, she makes herself put two things back, or more if she can. She reports saving $100 every month on groceries with this strategy.
You might not save that much — she’s shopping for a family of six, after all — but the idea is a good one. It’s easy to grab things at the grocery store without thinking about it. Putting two items back at the end lets you correct any impulsive shopping mistakes you made before you put them on your credit card.
5. Get Everything From the Library
Okay, so you probably can’t get everything from the library, but there are a lot of things you might not expect. One redditor mentioned that her local library allows members to use a Lynda subscription. That’s a big money saver! In addition to paper books, you can get comics, magazine issues, movies, TV shows, audiobooks, and Kindle books at many libraries.
Go to your local library and ask about what they have to offer. You might be surprised at just how many things you can get for free. Many also offer passes to local attractions like zoos, museums, and art shows. If you can’t get these sorts of passes for free, there’s a good chance you can get a discount on them.
6. Stay Healthy
Being sick is expensive (at least in the United States). You’ll probably miss work, which could mean that you’re not getting paid. You’ll buy lots of cold medicine and ginger ale. If you get your kids or your spouse sick, you could be facing extra expenses.
It doesn’t sound like much, but it can make a difference. If everyone took just a bit better care of themselves, we’d all probably find that we end up saving money.
7. Decide Before You Look at the Price
Yes and Yes shared this great tip: before you look at the price tag of an item, decide how much you’d be willing to pay for it. You’ll probably find that the things you’ve bought in the past suddenly seem like they were way too expensive. It’s far too easy to convince yourself that something is worth $50 when it’s really probably a stretch at $20.
An important part of this strategy is to stick with your decision. If you said $8 and the price is $9, don’t buy it. It’s too easy to start increasing the range you’re willing to spend.
8. Don’t Pay for Haircuts
Christine at The Mostly Simple Life has been cutting her husband’s hair for years. With some practice, she’s even gotten pretty good at it. You can get a complete hair cutting kit on Amazon for $20, which is the cost of a single cheap men’s haircut. That means every time you bust it out, you’re saving $15 or $20. That’s a great return!
Obviously this is going to be easier with men’s than women’s haircuts. And if you want anything more than a trim, it’s going to take some practice. (But if you experience ASMR from hair cutting videos, the time spent learning will definitely be worth it.)
9. Get Discounted Gift Cards
If you tend to shop regularly at the same stores, you can save money by getting discounted gift cards. There are plenty of sites where people post gift cards that you can buy for cash, and you can usually save a couple bucks on each one. It doesn’t seem like much, but if you start doing this regularly, there’s a good chance the savings will add up after a while.
It’s a good idea to use a reputable site for this sort of transaction. You might be able to find gift cards on eBay or Craigslist, but there’s no telling if the card is legitimate. At the very least, meet the seller at a store where you can check the balance.
10. Think of Everything in Hours of Work
This is probably something you’ve done before, but making a habit of it can help you quantify just how much you’re spending on a purchase. If you make $25 an hour, and you’re thinking about buying a $50 article of clothing, ask yourself if it’s worth two hours of work. That’s a quarter of a standard work day. Is it still a good deal?
This one is very subjective, but many people find that it helps them get a better idea of what they’re spending. Working a full two hours for an article of clothing that you’re going to wear dozens of times might seem like a great deal. If it’s something you’ll only wear once a year, it may not be.
Your Favorite Creative Frugal Ideas
These ten money-saving ideas stand out from the rest. Some are creative, some are interesting, and some are downright strange. But they’ll all help you in the never-ending quest to be more frugal and efficient with your money. They might not make a thousand-dollar difference right away, but little changes add up to big ones over time.
What are your favorite creative frugal ideas? Share your best tips and tricks in the comments below!
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