Weird Ways to Save Money
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!”
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.