How Cheap Would You Go?
Now that you aced Frugality 101, you're ready for senior level Cheapology. If you were an outlandish spender, no doubt your new penny pinching ways have reaped huge rewards. You may be seeking the next echelon in your quest to become the ultimate tightwad.
Just how much are you willing to cut in order to be the most frugal person on the block? If you're ready for the big leagues, get started with the following 12 tips.
1. Move into an RV.
If you are willing to forsake the traditional house, go for a recreational vehicle. You can rent a space for dirt cheap, scale back on extra junk you'd buy to fill a house, and have a prepaid hotel for cross country trips. Not ideal for families with children, but a surefire way to save your money and retire ultra early.
2. Save all plastics.
Keep those tortilla, newspaper, and bread bags to use as homemade leftover or sandwich bags. Never toss plastic ware--wash it off like Grandma does! Glass and plastic jars make great containers for storing leftovers and are much more sturdy than the Ziplock tossables.
3. Reuse cooking oil.
Keep a small bin and pour your oil into it after cooking. As long as you don't heat the oil past it's smoke point temperature (each oil is specific), it won't go rancid and you can continue using it.
4. Train the cat to use the toilet.
Litter is ridiculously expensive and a total pain to clean. If you are unfortunate enough to cohabitate with a feline, as I am, make him use the potty. Position his litter box next to the toilet. Over time slowly raise it up to the height of the seat, an inch or two a day. Move it directly on the toilet then replace the box with a metal mixing bowl filled with two inches of litter. Help your cat position his feet on the lid so he can relieve himself in security. Slowly replace the litter with water so he becomes accustomed to his new waste system. After a few weeks Kitty will save you big bucks on litter.
5. If it's yellow, let it mellow.
Brown? Flush it down. Save up to six gallons of water per use.
6. Make lemonade at a restaurant.
My grandfather is a champion at this. He politely asks the server for a plateful of lemons and usually requests more sugar too (lately he's been using a lot of Splenda). Squeeze two to three lemons into the complimentary water glass, add sweetener, and voila! Lemonade for free.
7. Reduce toilet paper consumption.
Separate the two-ply variety to use half as much (for lighter jobs only) or get some newspaper. Use as little as possible to avoid toilet clogs.
8. Wash your car with the gas station wiper.
That is, if the gas station actually fills up the bucket with water and a cleaning agent. Bring a sponge and a towel to clean up drips. I'd park at the fill up farthest away from the building to avoid suspicious looks.
9. Insulate the bed with newspaper.
Rather than buying another blanket, lay several sheets of newspaper between the box spring and the mattress to insulate your sleeping quarters.
10. Become a vegetarian.
Price for comparative vegetable protein is nearly one-third the cost of meat counterparts. Don't fall for the veggie meat wannabes--soy hotdogs and black bean burgers are as much (if not more than) their meat versions. Eating a vegetarian diet also reduces cholesterol and can help you get a better insurance premium.
11. Go hiking to collect food.
Enjoy truffles but don't want to pay for them? Go for a walk up the mountains a collect them yourself. The same goes for edible berries and fruits. Just make absolute sure you only pick non-poisonous fruits.
12. Dumpster dive.
Find out when your local grocery store and bakery toss the day's leftovers and help yourself. Many establishments throw out food before it spoils and you can get gourmet delicacies for free.
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