20 Unique Ways to Save Money
- Not-So-Obvious Cost-Cutting Tips
Send your child overseas for college. Raise your own chickens. Visit Mexico for your bridgework. These are only a few of our 20 unusual ways, large and small, to save money.
Click through our gallery as WalletPop.com bloggers share ways to trim expenses that you've probably never considered before.
- Stay at Hostels When You Travel
One of the prime ways to visit a foreign place cheaply is to get yourself out of the chain-hotel ghetto. Sorry, Marriott, and Hilton, but for people who really want to experience, say, Budapest or Paris, there is a more realistic way to make that dream come true; the hostel.
- Combine Cell Phone Plans
Cell phone companies are eager to sign up entire families and offer substantial discounts, so why not take advantage of the largesse by including as much of your family tree as possible? Aunts and uncles, grandmothers and grandchildren all could save a bundle if bundled.
- Send Your Kids Overseas for College
A friend of this blogger chose to get his law degree at Oxford, England, where his undergrad program included law school and took just three years to finish. Because Oxford costs $20,000 a year, he paid $60,000 total for college and his law degree. If he had gotten it here, he would have paid $100,000 for four years of undergrad -- and then a ton more for three years of law school.
- Eat Soup
When this blogger makes soup from scratch, the cost per-portion is amazingly low. She can dole out huge portions filled with vegetables, proteins and other amazing nutrients for virtually pennies a serving. She can go gourmet, ethnic or homey, all using the same basic ingredients twisted up different ways. Why don't you try it?
- Buy a Condo Where Your Kid is Going to College
Every summer for the last nine years, this blogger moved one or more of her kids from one dump to another on their university campuses. Complete with slanting floors in the kitchens and bathrooms you could not fit a rug in, each apartment rented for $1,500 to $2,500. Why not, she asked, put that money to work by buying a condo?
- Go to Mexico for Dentistry
For the financially strapped, a crown, bridgework or even more dental expensive procedures could take a huge bite out of their savings. That's why thousands of North Americans head south every year to visit Mexican dentists who will do the work for less than a quarter of the cost of the same work at home.
- Raise Your Own Chickens
Concerned about additives in the chicken you eat, or the distance it travels before reaching your store? How about your eggs? All across North America, city-residing locavores and frugalistas have found a way to get all the eggs and organic chicken they want. They raise their own.
- Share Netflix, Internet
Sharing a movie subscription service is incredibly simple and cost effective. While your neighbors are often the most likely candidates, co-workers and friends also make for excellent potential subscription partners.
- Go Dumpster Diving
Although "trash reclamation" has probably been around since the dawn of garbage heaps, movements such as Freeganism and Freecycle have blurred the line between waste and wealth creation, ushering in a new era of dumpster diving.
- Use an Exercise Ball Instead of a Pricey Gym
Why spend money for a gym membership when you can work out all day long for the one-time investment of about $15? That's what you can do if you switch out your office chair for an exercise ball. You'll work your core muscles, straighten your spine, ward off back pain and have better concentration too.
- Join a Memorial Society
Upon their parent's death, children often spend part of their inheritance on a funeral the deceased would have found obscenely expensive. If you don't want to see your estate gobbled up after your death by the funeral industry, consider joining your local affiliate of the Funeral Consumers Alliance or a similar group.
- Eat on Someone Else's Dime
Don't discount the dollar value of a good social life. The cost-conscious single woman might consider dating more, if just for the free meals and entertainment. The frugal single man should keep in the good graces of grandparents, aunts and cousins, anyone that might provide a good meal or a bed for the night.
- Learn to Cut our Family's Hair
Bad haircuts are burned into our memories, like the braces and the polyester pants our moms made us wear to junior high that one time. Our parents were probably only trying to save money when they gave us that bowl cut. But what did a kid's haircut cut cost in the '70s or '80s? Under $10? Humiliated for pennies? It hardly seems fair.
- Paint Your Roof White
A recent study found that painting a 1,000 square foot home's roof white could save 10 metric tonnes of CO2. This could translate into a 10-15% drop in the cost of air-conditioning.
- Reuse Old Calendars
There are only seven permutations of the yearly calendar, so why buy a new one for 2009 when you can pick up an old one on eBay from years that match, such as 1998, 1987, 1981 or 1970? Just ignore the Daylight Savings Time dates.
- Repair It
Suddenly, it was more economically viable to replace one's torn coat or broken VCR, rather than trying to make the offending item last a few more years. The slowing economy has added a new "R" to the mantra of "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle"; nowadays, intelligent consumers repair.
- Use Vinegar and an Old T-Shirt to Clean
Many of the cleaning products we add to our grocery lists every week are just plain unnecessary, not to mention hard on our wallets. With that in mind, here are some of the worst money wasters and the cheaper (and often more environmentally friendly) alternatives.
- Have a Double Wedding
When wedding caterers, chapels, bands, and other essentials cost thousands, when renting a restaurant for a kid's birthday party costs hundreds, why not cut the cost in half by sharing the occasion with a friend?