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Weird Ways to Save Money

Updated on June 15, 2013

Introduction

During difficult economic times, we often search for ways to save money in every area of our family’s budget, whether food or utilities or transportation. After you have eliminated all of those unnecessary purchases from your lifestyle, what’s left? Is there a way to make your life even more frugal?


Most people will attempt to do the typical things to save money. These might include eating at home, using coupons at the grocery store, doing without new electronic gadgets, and raising the temperature on the thermostat during the summer. All of us seem to have our limits, though, as to how frugal we’ll get in our lives. What are your limits? Perhaps some of the ideas below will make you cringe, but others might see them and think, “Yeah, I can do that!”

Hand with money
Hand with money | Source

Saving on Feminine Hygiene Products

This idea is for the ladies. Most of us have definite ideas as to what is acceptable when it comes to a feminine hygiene product. Whether it is a pad or a tampon or even a preferred brand, we all have our preferences. However, purchasing disposable products can be expensive, especially if you have heavy periods. While these products are convenient, they are definitely not frugal.

There is an alternative, though. I myself have used The Keeper for several years; there are also other similar products, but this is the one that I prefer. It is basically a reusable, rubber cup that you insert during your period, removing it periodically to empty it out. I use it in conjunction with reusable pads that are made from a sturdy cloth material.

So what have I learned after using the product for awhile now?

  • There is a bit of learning and experimenting involved in using The Keeper and similar products properly.

  • While the purchase of the product is initially expensive (usually around $40), it lasts several months and so will save money over a longer period.

  • I have found it much more effective for my needs, especially during those really heavy days.

  • It is messy to use, and so many will decide that the “eww factor” just makes it not worth it. I felt that way for awhile but got over it when I realized the benefits of the change.

Saving Money by Solar Cooking

Solar cooking is one way to save money that is available to just about everyone. Although most people who begin solar cooking may do so out of environmental or survivalist reasons, it can also be a great way to save money. There are many benefits to solar cooking, but saving money is definitely one of them.

In our home, our oven rarely gets used during the summer. If you consider the amount of energy that is used by the oven and then the additional energy used by the air conditioner to cool the house down afterwards, then you can understand why we do this. If you can cook with free energy outside, then why not do it?

If you are handy and even more frugal, you can actually make your own solar cooker out of everything from a cardboard box, a used satellite dish, or a fresnel lens. There are commercial cookers available if you don’t want to make your own. Keep in mind that each of these different types of cookers has its own benefits as well as drawbacks, and so consider this when deciding on which cooker is appropriate for your needs.

Here are some benefits and drawbacks of using a solar cooker:

  • As I said above, it uses free energy for a way to cook your meals.

  • You can have hot meals during the summer without heating up your kitchen.

  • Depending on the type of food you are cooking and the outside temperatures, you may need to move the cooker frequently throughout the day.

  • Baking can be more difficult as the temperature inside the cooker can fluctuate.

  • The size and type of cookware used in a solar cooker is often different than a regular oven.

Have you tried anything similar to these ideas?

Have you done anything similar to these ideas in your own attempts to save money?

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Homemade Deodorant


Another way to replace commercial beauty products and save some money is homemade deodorant. Although there are wonderful recipes online, I have utilized a really simple one: one part baking soda and two to three parts cornstarch. You can make it into a paste with water and add essential oils, but I simply pat the powder into my underarms as soon as I step out of the shower and am still wet. It saves a bit of time and works just as well.

Regarding my own personal experiences with this, here are some observations:

  • It is much cheaper and more natural than commercial deodorants.

  • While it is effective in an air-conditioned work area or home with regular activity, it won’t stop or be able to deal with sweat caused by higher temperatures or exercise.

Clean Hair with No Shampoo

If you enjoy natural beauty treatments, then you might like another frugal beauty trick, the “no poo” method. Shampoo and conditioner can be quite expensive; if you are willing to forgo them, then you can save some money every month. Basically, you use baking soda and vinegar to clean and condition your hair. You can have soft hair without the chemicals!

There are different methods for using these two products on your hair, but the basis of it is that you work the baking soda into your scalp, rinsing that out, and then pour a weak vinegar solution onto your hair, especially the hair ends. If you don’t like the smell of the vinegar, then you can always add essential oils to the vinegar or baking soda.

Here are some things I’ve found by using the no poo method:

  • It’s cheaper and more natural than store-bought shampoo and conditioner

  • When you first begin to use this method, there is a transition period where your hair may appear greasy as your scalp adjusts. I have worn different hair coverings to hide this.

  • My hair does seem softer than with shampoo and conditioner.

  • If I don’t rinse the vinegar sufficiently out of my hair, then you can smell it while my hair is wet.

Source

Saving Money through Lighting

My husband is in love with LEDs, and one reason for this is that they require a lot less electricity than even CFLs. Although we still have CFLs in certain areas in our home, most of our house is lit by LEDs, whether LED bulbs or strings of LED Christmas lights that we purchase during after-holiday sales.

We have used LEDs for several years and have found the following:

  • LEDs require a lot less electricity and so save money on utility bills.

  • If you’re older like we are and have to get up at night, they provide enough light to maneuver around the house without destroying your night vision.

  • There are many different types of LED bulbs, and so they are appropriate for many different uses.

  • Depending on the size of your hometown, it may take a bit of looking for you to find LED bulbs locally.

Source

Even More Extreme Ways to Save Money

Some of the even more extreme ways to save money might include practices that even the most staunch frugalist would consider too much.

Here are a few of them:

  • Humanure. I highly recommend studying this carefully as human waste must be processed properly.

  • Foraging. We have done this in a limited sense by eating certain weeds from our yard. Be careful with this! You must identify the plant properly, and you must choose plants that aren’t in an area that has been sprayed with chemicals. Another consideration is the plant’s proximity to roads and possible pollution.

  • Reusable toilet paper. This would include cutting pieces of old cloth to be used as toilet paper and washed for reuse. This also must be done carefully so that you avoid spreading disease or infections.

  • Dumpster diving. I have done this and have known people who have done this. You must be careful in choosing food from dumpsters, and you should also be aware of local laws regarding this practice.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different ways to save money if you get creative. Many of these have benefits that are not limited to saving money. Whether it is going green, eliminating chemicals, or simply saving a bit of cash, you can do your household some good by thinking outside of the box.

Comments

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    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 3 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama

      Krista,

      Wow! What a great read. Very helpful and in-depth. Voted up and all the way because you deserved it. You are a very talented lady and I am impressed with your hubs.

      Keep up the great work and I ask that you read one of my hubs and then follow me.

      Thanks in advance,

      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Al.

    • Krista Schnee profile image
      Author

      Krista Schnee 4 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Thank you for the kind words and welcome, Millionaire Tips!

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Welcome to HubPages and congratulations on your Rising Star nomination. I thought I was pretty frugal, but I haven't done any of these!

    • LeonJane profile image

      LeonJane 4 years ago from Australia

      Couldn't women save money on things like tampons and pads by using the 'pill' and skipping the sugar week? Also solar cookers look interesting, not sure what would happen if you were halfway though a roast and a storm or cloud cover came through? Good ideas in this hub, great work!

    • profile image

      Siliconsolar 4 years ago

      Another clever way to save money is to harness the sun's energy to power your mobile device. For only $22 at Silicon Solar, you can purchase a charger that works for most smartphones (with a USB) and stop paying electricity bills to charge your phone every night. Also, if you want to convert some of your home appliance, there are solar hot water heaters or solar panels which end up paying themselves off in 5-7 years due to savings on energy bills. See www.siliconsolar,com for more info!

    • Krista Schnee profile image
      Author

      Krista Schnee 4 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Hi, Kasman! I appreciate your support and kind words. I hope that this hub helps you in your attempts to save money. I'm all about sharing information and what I have learned.

      Hi, Victoria! I totally understand about the "eww" factor! That's certainly why I put that among the more extreme ways to save money. It sounds like you have a great gas grill setup. We don't have one at our home, and I have to admit that I miss grilled food. Thanks too for your support and kind comments.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I'm all about saving money. I think I could do the shampoo and conditioner, and deodorant, too, but I don't know about reusable "toilet paper." There's that ewww factor, you know. I shop at Aldi, so toilet paper isn't very expensive, anyway.

      I do need to use my gas grill more. It's attached to the house's system, so it's simple to use. I need to get away from using the stove, especially the oven, in the summertime.

      Thanks for the hub, and to Kasman for sharing it. Very interesting!

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      I've never considered Humanure before, very interesting. I think you've got a very intriguing concept in terms of the replacements for shampoo and conditioner as well. As a matter of fact, several of your ideas I haven't even considered and I'm a savings nut with the best of them. Great job on filling us all in. I'm voting up and sharing your work!

    • Krista Schnee profile image
      Author

      Krista Schnee 4 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Thank you, Stephanie. I appreciate the welcome!

    • stephanieb27 profile image

      stephanieb27 4 years ago from United States

      My favorite subject, saving money! Welcome to Hubpages! :)

    • Krista Schnee profile image
      Author

      Krista Schnee 4 years ago from Wichita, Kansas

      Hi, Marlene. Thanks for the comments. I totally agree about the products you mentioned. That and not having to stuff your purse full of the disposable kind!

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      These are all interesting ways to save money. I never considered most of them, but I can see how they would be beneficial for the ultimate goal of conserving more than just money, but the environment, as well. I must admit that I have tried your solution for feminine products ( a different brand sold locally). Messy, yes, but manageable. I enjoyed the benefit of not having to run out to the store every time I ran out of feminine products.