10 of the Craziest Things You Can Do To Save Money That Actually Work


There is no one size fits all method to savings, and that’s why some people are really good at it and others are not even close to being good at it. The problem with saving money is that most people go about it in a manner that does not work for them. What I do to save money might not work for you, and vice versa. It’s just dependent on our own personal financial situations and even other situations in life. Additionally, most people look at savings as a bad thing; it’s money that they cannot spend on other things that make life more fun. Some people look at it as an afterthought. Others look at it as something that they can do but not really stick to. And others look at savings as an extreme, believing that they have to become extreme couponers or live life without any fun at all. In fact, it’s all true and not true at the same time.

There is no right or wrong way to save money if it works for you. But there are some exceptional ways that might work for you that you might consider a bit off-the-wall and out of the ordinary. Or perhaps you’re an awesome saver and some of these things seem pretty commonplace to you. Either way, we want to help you save, so why not at least try a few of these crazy savings methods?

Drink Only Water

And make it tap water from home, okay? If you do not drink anything but water all the time, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars each year on the cost of other beverages. It really works, but you will have to be sure you can get away without the coffee and wine. I only drink water, but coffee first thing and wine at night – and I’m not giving up either.

Pay Yourself First

Consider your savings a monthly expense. Most people look at savings as something they do after they pay the bills, but this method does not work for many. What you should do, instead, is consider it a monthly expense and pay yourself before you pay anyone else. For example, when you are paying the bills at the beginning of the month, write the check to savings first and then pay the bills, and then use what’s left over of your budget for other things.

Get Cash Back Credit Cards

This is a favorite way to save money, but it’s something that you have to be very careful about. You should only do this if you have the discipline to pay off the balance of your cards in full each and every single month. What you do is apply for a card with a great cash back program. Pay all your monthly expenses (every one of them) with the card and then pay it off in full with the cash you would have used at the end of the month. This could add up significantly to thousands of dollars in savings every year depending on your spending habits.

Run Your Errands all at Once

If you stop and think about it, you could save a lot of money by doing everything at one time on one day. Instead of going out three or four times a week to the post office, bank and store, save it all for one day. You’ll save gas, energy and you’ll save money by doing it all at once. Chances are you’ll be tired and ready to go before you’re even done, which will eliminate your desire to walk around and check out even more – and spend more.

Save the Change

No, we aren’t talking about saving your change when you use cash – though this is always a nice idea, too. We are talking about rounding up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar (always up). The goal here is to transfer that little extra change to your savings account. It’s sometimes a lot and sometimes it’s not. But either way, it doesn’t feel like you are spending much because you are only saving a few cents at a time. But think of it this way; you can save a lot. If you shop 4 times a day, you can save as much as $4 a day – or less. But that’s still more than $1400 per year if you do it that way. It could be less for some and more for others.

Don’t Flush

This is extreme, and the savings are not that big. If you want to save money on your flushes, you can urinate in a bottle and pour the urine on your compost or outside or somewhere out of the way to save on flushes. Or you could just let it pile up until you are sure you cannot fit anymore into the toilet. Do whatever you want here; I’m grossed out by this one, but apparently it’s quite popular.

Eat on a Budget

Some people find that they can come up with very creative ways to eat on the cheap while still eating a healthy meal. They’ll allot themselves a very small budget for food each week for the entire family and use coupons and deals and savings to make that budget stretch so that they can save. Believe it or not, it actually works quite well.

Grow your Own Stuff

Did you know you can save a lot of money every single year if you only grow your own stuff at home? Off the top of my head, I could save about $4 a week just on Basil if I grew my own. That’s $208 per year on just basil. That’s a lot of money. If I grew my own rosemary, thyme, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers and onions, I’d save thousands.

Minimize your Meal Portions

Instead of using your biggest plate and filling it until it’s overflowing at every meal, go with smaller portions. Not only is this much better for your waistline, it’s also much better for your wallet. Try it and you will feel better and have more money to show for it.

Pay Yourself Each Day

When you go shopping and you save money, or you want to buy something and then decide not to buy it, pay yourself the money you saved. If you do this, you will be very surprised just how quickly your savings goes up and your budget goes down. You could even just pay yourself the same amount you spend. For example, you spend $50 at Old Navy on the kids and then you give your savings account $50. That will save a lot of extraneous spending, but increase your savings substantially.

Photo Illustration by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images


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