These 16 Crazy Ways to Save Money Are Actually Genius

After watching the TLC show Extreme Cheapskates, a Reddit user became interested in learning more about the most frugal things real people did to save money. People shared experiences about how they saved money.

Here are some of the tips that stood out from this conversation.

Dumpster Diving

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It’s not a typical frugal option and it’s pretty crazy, but dumpster diving works for some people, “Dumpster diving (decent furniture, maybe some toys, a working monitor, working Windows 8 PC, keyboard and mice).”

Recycling Water at Home

home flooded by upstairs or roof damage - woman holding bucket while water leaking from ceiling in kitchen.
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Why waste water at home? Wonders another user, “All water goes to our plants. When we refresh our cats’ water, we pour old water into our front porch garden. Same with my nightstand water pitcher. Water cost savings are minimal but I feel better not wasting water.”

Shopping at Thrift Stores

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“Shop Goodwill or thrift stores first,” said one, “I have a running list of things I need/want in my phone and if I am near any of the thrift stores, I’ll pop in there and check. I have things on the list like baseball bat, books (for me and for classroom), used sheets (for painting), etc.”

Buying Second Hand

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Another user lives well by shopping second-hand stuff, “All furniture is second hand, as is 90% of my clothes. I have an 09 Prius, live in a duplex, and cook 90% of my food at home…. despite 80k+ income. As a result, I’m able to live (well) on less than half.”

Not Owning a Car

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Cars are a liability, according to another user, “Don’t own a car. I live in a rural area with 2 part time jobs, one is WFH and the other is within walking distance. Not having to deal with the cost of vehicle ownership makes a HUGE difference when you make $14/hour. My partner owns one though, so we still can go places but I can’t find a job that pays enough to make up for the difference of the increased bills to buy my own vehicle.”

Bringing Lunch to Work

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“I always bring my lunch to work. I don’t go out or have anything brought in (like Uber Eats, Doordash, etc.). It saves me so much,” one user said.

Making Meals at Home

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Avoid going out to save money, notes one user, “We make 99% of our meals, rarely have processes food, and even rarer yet go out to eat.”

Stop Buying Paper Towels or Reuse Them

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“We still use paper towels sparingly. We keep them around for bodily fluids and tomato sauce. But for normal cleaning purposes, we just use whatever cloths or bar mops we have around,” said one user.

Another added, “Reuse paper towels. Sometimes it’s just water, so I let it hang out to dry, then reuse it. They usually get about 3 more uses before they split in half, quite efficient if I do say so myself!”

Using YouTube Videos for DIY Stuff

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Why call a fixer when you can DIY? “When my stuff breaks, I find a youtube video showing me how to fix it instead of buying a new one. I buy broken stuff cheap off of Facebook marketplace and fix it to either keep for myself or sell at a profit. (50″ tv in front of me I paid $40 + $25 to fix it),” said one user.


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Some fast to pray, and others fast to save money; according to one user, “Practice fasting. Lose weight and save money at the same time.”

Not Having Kids

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“Kids need a huge amount of time, money, physical presence, emotional energy, and are extremely inconvenient for at least a couple of decades. They’re also helpless and rely on you, so you have to be a good parent,” pointed out another user.

Showering in the Rain or at the Gym

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“I would actually shower in the rain when possible and washed my clothes by hand and line dried them. My electric bill was something like $12 a month,” someone wrote.

Another added, “My wife and I starting taking showers at the gym rather than at home. We figured that not only that saves us money but also force us to go to the gym every day.”

Buying Meat That’s About To Expire

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Another non-typical frugal way is to buy almost expired products. According to another user, “When grocery shopping, I always look for the meat that is about to expire in the next day or two because it’s usually like 30% off.”

Cutting Your Own Hair

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Image Credit: Carolyn Franks/Shutterstock.

“Shaved real low on the sides and kept a few inches on top. Been like that for years. Easy to maintain, looks/feels good in a hard hat and can do it 100% by myself after the one time cost of $30 to get the trimmer,” one user observed.

Having a No-Spend Policy

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How about no spending at all? “One month, I decided to do a “no-spend challenge”….i.e. when I ran out of something, I would see if I had something else to substitute; if something broke or tore I would see if I could fix it before I replaced it etc,” said another user, “I did it for a month and then extended it for longer (don’t remember how long) but I ended up putting like $12,000 into savings with this change.”

Mending Everything

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Someone else pointed out how they save some money by not buying clothing, “I pay attention when I’m doing the laundry to see what needs mending. That way, I can catch it early. Once something wears out to the point where I can’t mend it anymore, it becomes a cleaning cloth.”

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.