Ask a Blogger: The Most Absurd Thing You Have Done to Save Money?

October 4, 2013 by Kyle
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Last week, after cutting my own hair (yes, I cut my own hair) I was told by my wife and 2 daughters that I missed a spot. Well, “told” may be the wrong word as their incessant laughter was my one and only clue. This is not some fancy corporate haircut either, just a good ol’ fashioned low maintenance #2 buzz-cut.  Why pay $15 for something I can do myself, right?

Sure enough I missed a huge strip of hair on the back of my head. Once I saw it, I had to admit it was pretty funny looking and made me look like someone you cross the street to avoid. But it got me wondering about the most absurd things people have done to save money over the years. So I figured why not ask the question to some of my favorite bloggers, both old and new to me. Since all of these blogs deal with frugal living or personal finance I had a feeling the answers would not disappoint. And guess what? They didn’t. Enjoy.

Kim from Eyes on The Dollar.com

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“The most absurd thing I’ve done to try and save money was definitely the time I tried to be a ticket scalper. When I lived in Memphis, the SEC basketball tournament was there one spring, and I bought two face value lower level seats, hoping to sell them and make enough money to purchase four seats for my family to see Kentucky play in the tourney. It did eventually work out, but I think it might have been illegal at the time, and I had to walk around in a very scary part of town to get to the arena before I could sell the tickets!”

J. Money from Budgets are Sexy.com

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“The most absurd thing I’ve done to save money is probably sneak in double cheeseburgers off the McDonald’s $1.00 menu when going to the movies. You can’t even buy five of them for the price of popcorn these days! And a growing (frugal) man needs to eat.” Side-note: Be sure to also check out J. Money’s new project Rockstar Finance.com, it’s a really cool place to share your best posts and learn about “new-to-you” blogs.

Michelle from Making Sense of Cents.com

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“I’m not always the most prepared person in the world, however, and that results in some…creative lunches. Often, if several things in the fridge are about to spoil, I’ll just throw them all in my lunch bag together and make do. My weirdest lunch to date has been a slice of pizza, half a cup of oatmeal, and a chicken wing.”

Anna from And Then We Saved.com

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“Probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve done to save money is to dumpster dive at work. I’ve pulled many coffee bags out of the trash (each empty Starbucks bag gets you a free coffee!), and when my travel coffee mug broke I went to lost and found to see if there were any that had been left just a little too long. After a run through the dishwasher it was as good as new!”

Laurie from The Frugal Farmer.net

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“Giving my horse shots. One year I vaccinated our horse myself (there are certain vaccinations that veterinarians allow horse owners to administer on their own) in order to save money. This may not be a big deal for many horse owners, but being a bit wimpy in the area of blood and other medical situations, sticking a long needle into my horse’s neck muscle was pretty darn crazy, at least for me. It went very well, and I saved a nice bit of cash, but I doubt I’ll do it again, due to the “Eeeewww” factor.”

Donna from Surviving and Thriving.com

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“As a broke single mother I worked at The Philadelphia Inquirer as a newsroom clerk. Quite often I’d spend the first hour of the workday answering phones in the business section. The business news editor would ask me to run down to the cafeteria and pick up coffees for everyone, “and get something for yourself, too.”

So here’s what I’d do: Get the coffees (and plenty of sugar packets), then pocket 35 cents. If asked why I didn’t get something for myself I was prepared to say, “Oh, I got something in the cafeteria.” (No one ever asked.)

Thus I’d get up to $1.75 a week (and this was 1979) to boost my budget — and I took home the extra sugar packets and emptied them into a jar, which is how I got the sweetener for the corn-meal mush I sometimes had for dinner. (See “broke single mother,” above.)

And for extra credit? At the time there was an ongoing rebate involving Sanka packets. I’d pick up empty Sanka packets in the cafeteria and save them until I had enough to get the rebate. An extra couple bucks made a huge difference for someone who wasn’t getting a dime of child support.”

Lauren from L Bee and the Money Tree.com

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“Ok this may sound weird, but I took the tongue depressors from the doctor’s office the other day when they were out of the room. I only needed one or two and I didn’t want to purchase a whole box!”

Matt from Mom and Dad Money.com

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“We have a coin-operated washer and dryer in my building. Rather than paying full price, I make sure to time it so that I can dry three loads of laundry with only two runs of the dryer. I’m not sure if the extra effort is worth the $1.25 I save each time, but it’s the principle of the thing!”

Jessica from Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses

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“During my first year of living on my own, when I bought milk I would buy a litre of milk in a glass bottle because it cost $2 but if you brought back the bottle you would get a dollar back. I did this almost every week for a year just to save a $50!”

Lyle from The Joy of Simple.com

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“About 12 years or so ago I tried to save $5.00 on a haircut. I had been going to a favorite barber for years and as you all may know, when you have a barber who knows how to style your hair, you stick with them no matter what – especially when you have as little hair as I do!

Well, there was a new barber shop that opened just down the street and they were charging ten dollars instead of the usual fifteen I normally paid.. I decided one day to save money by going to them instead.

Half way through the cut, I heard the barber mutter “Uh oh!” I asked him what was up and he said “nothing, it’s all good!” Then a few minutes later, another utterance of “Uh oh!”

To make a long story short, he cut way more hair off than I wanted and he did it in such a weird way, that my hair looked like a scarecrow with little patches of hair here and there. I ended up paying the barber ten dollars and then I had to go to my usual barber to fix the damage at a cost of fifteen bucks!! So in order to save five dollars, I ended up spending twenty-five and the end result would have made a marine corps barber smile with pride as I was left with basically peach fuzz on my head!! Never again!!”

Dana from Pittsburgh Frugal Mom.com

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“I have waited for a check back from Ebates to use a a grocery store, where I actually couponed an entire order from $70 to $50, earned loyalty rewards from the store on $50 towards gasoline purchases, applied the cash out from the Ebates check to the grocery bill and paid the difference with Discover, so I made cash back. In the end, the $50 order netted me 5% back and a credit towards future gasoline purchases. (.10 on every $50 spent)”

CF from Outlier Model.com

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“The craziest thing I’ve done to save money was work a full time job while going to school full time for one term of computer science. Looking back, I don’t even know how I found the hours during the day to do everything. However, my employer paid for my tuition during that term, I had full healthcare coverage instead of having to purchase the university’s policy, and I was able to save most of my salary. As a result, I saved almost $4000!”

Tara from Streets Ahead Living.com.com

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“I spend a lot of time researching ways to maximize credit card rewards and have made me and my husband sign up for a couple in the process, along with paying attention to temporary rewards bonuses (like signing up when they give more rewards on a certain item like gas). To most people this is a hassle, but as someone who is responsible and pays the credit card bill off in full each month, by having cards that get me rewards or cash back, I can get free flights, reduced price at the gas pump, free gift cards to restuarants, etc. which saves me and my husband a ton of money in the long run.”

Ask the Reader: So let’s hear it! What is the most absurd thing you have ever done to save money?


By Kyle James

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20 Comments on "Ask a Blogger: The Most Absurd Thing You Have Done to Save Money?"

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Hey Kyle and thanks for this fun and amusing post and for including me with all the other awesome bloggers :)Great idea and I really enjoyed reading everyone’s money saving experiences!

It’s funny that we had almost the same story to tell…except, you most likely ended up with way more hair at the end of the day than I did!!

Thanks again and take care. All the best.

Lyle

I would have liked to compare our 2 cuts. The good thing about being a dude is that it’s easy to buzz it all off and start over.

Very true 🙂

Lyle

Fun post! Thanks for including me:)

You’re welcome dumpster diver. I shouldn’t talk as I use to DD with my grandma in the pursuit of thrown away clothing patterns.

I try to save a few bucks every semester by buying textbooks online. One year, my hubby’s textbooks didn’t come soon enough and he needed it to do an assignment. So, I ran to the school bookstore and bought one. Finally a few days later the book we ordered online arrived. Having paid almost double from the school I asked if I could return it and found out it was the last day they would accept returns but only with a receipt. I looked everywhere for the receipt and concluded that I must have thrown it away… To the dumpster I went digging and I actually found it! I returned it with one hour to spare! It saved us $120!

Nice Misty. Now that is some DD’ing with a purpose!

Thanks for including me. What a great list! 🙂

Did you at least warm up the oatmeal?

Great collection Kyle. Thanks for the inclusion!

You got it Matt!

That was really fun to read. I’d almost forgotten my days as a scalper until the words absurd and save money hit me email inbox. I might have to do a full post about that experience. Thanks for including me.

Glad you didn’t quit your day job Kim! Sounds like a tough way to make a few bucks!

Well I’m glad I’m not the only one whose done absurd things to save money!

Haha, not by far Jessica!

LOL at J. Money sneaking double cheeseburgers into the movies. My brother once sneaked a freaking Chipotle Burrito into the theater. I couldn’t believe it! I was pretty jealous, not gonna lie.

Funny you say that, I was just tweeting with J. Money about this. I told him I use to sneak in carnitas burritos from this awesome hole in the wall place and it would totally stink up the theater. Both before and after I ate them…

ROFL!

LOL, awesome stories here!! Funny: I just lopped 4-5 inches off of my long hair yesterday and attempted to add in some layers. After some help from my 14-year-old daughter (who responded with that great eye roll that only a teen could do)I think we’ve got it even enough that no one will notice the mistakes. 🙂

Wow, that is impressive Laurie! Risky…but impressive

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