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Extreme saving: 20 strange ways to save

Wackiness sells. Witness the success of wildly popular reality TV shows, such as "The Bachelor," "Survivor" and "Fear Factor." It's amazing what strange things people are willing to do in the hopes of winning some cash -- or the man. We generate our own brand of wacky here at Bankrate.com -- some of the ways that people save and spend money.

For about two years, we have been collecting readers' tips on how to save money for the monthly Frugal U. contest. Over that time, we've had some great tips from readers.

And then there were these -- the oddest, most-extreme savings ideas that have been submitted by readers. We don't recommend you take these money-saving ideas seriously. In fact, most of them are just plain bad ideas. Some are illegal; some could be dangerous to your health. But mostly, they were too much fun to ignore.

Hope we make you grin.

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1. Flowers for a wedding can be so expensive. A good way to reduce the cost is to drive through a couple of cemeteries the night before the wedding, and pick up a couple of the bouquets that are lying on the ground.

2. To do a quick wax job on my car, I use furniture wax. It buffs really well.

3. Train your cats to use the toilet! I was spending a fortune on kitty litter until I read about teaching your cat to use the toilet. It took a little training, but eventually they got it. They're neat about it and I save lots of money!

4. Put that beer down! Save what you'd normally spend on beer. By the time you retire you'll be able to afford all the beer you want. A six-pack a day is what -- $5 for the good stuff? Five dollars a day is over $1,800 a year! You know who you are. Invest this amount now, and you can buy all the beer you want when you're retired. I might even do the same.

5. Don't throw away the plastic backing in the package of sliced bacon. Wash it well, and place it between servings of raw meat before freezing. This saves on plastic wrap and is reusable.

6. Make more than what you spend.

7. When eating out, save on the expense of a soda by ordering a glass of water with lemon. Spice it up with a packet or two of sweetener, and it will taste like lemonade. No charge, no tax and no tip on that.

8. Use the squeegee at the gas station to wash your car.

9. Marry and stay married to a frugal spouse.

10. Never buy sandwich bags or storage bags again. Use the liners from cereal boxes and newspaper wrappers.

11. Pick up every penny or coin you see on the street. You will get richer!

12. Marry a man who can fix things. It saves thousands each year!

13. Whenever my family goes to a fast-food place, we grab handfuls of the free ketchup, mustard, salt, pepper, etc. Then at home my kids transfer the contents of the ketchup packets into the partially full bottle. We have only had to buy one large ketchup bottle in the last two years! Haven't bought salt and pepper in ages. It's a real giveaway!

14. Eat Cheerios!

15. Instead of buying toilet paper, I use yesterday's newspaper.

16. Make your local print shop your office. Use their supplies. The IRS takes a pretty dim view about people claiming home office space. Why get in trouble with a possible audit? Some print shops even have phones. Make your calls from there. Take your laptop there and use their electricity for free.

17. For mere pennies a day, you can feed yourself with dog food. And you will probably be healthier, as this diet is probably better than 95 percent of the typical North American diet. I would suggest dry dog food, though, as the canned varieties are not nearly as tasty.

18. Tell nearly everyone that you are going out of town this Christmas and will not return until after New Year's Day. Then buy most of your gifts during the after-Christmas sales.

19. Unplug clocks in your house while sleeping.

20. Next time you need an umbrella, go to your local public library and ask for the lost and found department. Tell them that you left your black umbrella at the library last month. They will show you a selection of several black umbrellas. Select the most expensive and it's yours. The bigger the library, the better the selection of umbrellas.


-- Posted: Oct. 24, 2003
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See Also
Spending styles: What's in what's out
No-brainer money tricks
How to spot a cheapskate
Frugal U. definitions
More Frugal U. stories

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