Today, I’ve decided it’s time to launch into my regular money saving tips series. But, before we get down to the serious stuff, I want to focus on some on the more insane ideas that have, for some inexplicable reason, found their way into the hallowed annals of money saving folklore.
So, let’s get on and check out 8 of the out and out most ludicrous ways to cut the cost of living.
Credit Cards Are Your Friend
Definition: A credit card is the secret weapon of banks the world over. Tantalising offers of 0% balance transfers and cash back on your card purchases have had normally frugal individuals salivating like Pavlov’s dog since the day they were invented. But it’s all a dirty trick. Yes, that’s right – For years, we’ve been bombarded with advice on how to save money, find great deals and, ultimately, live a debt free life. You know, like shifting your debts to a 0% balance transfer credit card which you’ll spend the rest of your life paying off.
Sorry, but the 0% scam is the financial equivalent of quicksand – once you’ve been sucked in there’s little chance you’ll ever escape. Come on, be honest – the day your lender allowed to skip paying interest did you a) start pumping every penny you have into clearing your debts? b) pay the minimum amount necessary to keep the card company happy?
Milk Your Employer For Everything
I’m not really sure about this one. Strictly speaking, it’s not illegal as long as you don’t take anything out of the workplace (which is theft and you can expect to be punished for your misdemeanour). But how ethical is using your employer’s resources? Personally, I’d say it ranks down there with having the moral values of, say, a Member of Parliament – now ask yourself if you really want to be tarred with the same brush.
eBay All Your Gifts, Birthday and Christmas Presents
eBay has long been the final destination for all those unwanted presents we periodically receive for birthdays, Christmas, etc. But a new trend has started to open up: frugal extremists. Basically, their mantra goes along the lines of, ‘sell absolutely EVERYTHING!’ If you’ve more than one suit in the cupboard and two pairs of shoes then you’re being extravagant. Now sit back and watch the precise moment your grandmother’s heart shatters at the insensitivity displayed when you auctioned off the three armed pullover she knitted you for Christmas!
Scrimping In The Bathroom
Three weeks of ingrained sweat, a toilet that smells like the sewerage works down the road and a dense coating of greenery on your teeth that would have Alan Titchmarsh glowing with pride! Welcome to the world of the bathroom scrimper. Some of the crazier tips you could try your hand at include drying and reusing paper towels, flushing the toilet every couple of weeks and not buying any toilet roll. I shudder to think what the alternative to toilet paper and I really don’t enjoy having to share my early morning news paper reading with a cloud of flies. Then again, maybe I’m being too sensitive.
Cutting Back On Your Bathing
In the middle ages, it wasn’t uncommon for people to bathe infrequently. In fact, one French king took great pride in the fact that he only took a bath only twice in his life. Now, if you’re an insane member of the French aristocracy with a thing for chopping off people’s heads then this kind of lifestyle shouldn’t be a big problem for you. But if, like me, you’re an everyday kind of person who works in an office and currently has friends, don’t expect to be the centre of the social whirl after a few months of dodging the soap.
Eating Road Kill
To be honest, this is one of the sanest money saving tips on the list. Look at it this way: if you don’t eat it, the carcass is either going to rot on the roadside or be scavenged by other wild animals. To really benefit from this tip, you’re going to need some serious butchery skills or know someone that can do the job for you. If you do intend to serve up some dead muntjac as a delicious meal for your guests be prepared for the inevitable question: ‘Why does this roast have tyre marks on it?
Tipping Over Your Drink In A Restaurant
Next, we’re going to dabble with an idea that, for a start, really is unethical and is probably illegal. We’re all knocked over a drink on a night out. Whether you’ve turned around at the bar and elbowed someone else’s pint or kicked your friends drink off the table whilst doing a drunken can-can, you know how it embarrassing it feels. But some of you have taken this ‘accident’ to a new level. It goes like this: knock back most of your drink and the wait for a member of staff to walk past you. ‘Accidentally’ walk into them and then claim your free prize (which, if you’re careful, might include you being barred or arrested).
Using Foreign Coins In A Vending Machine
Another not so legal way of cutting the cost of living involves using all the worthless coins you’ve accumulated from your travels abroad. To be fair, what with the way modern vending machines work, this probably won’t work but some people are still trying. It’s so simple that even the idea is criminal: some foreign currency is accepted in vending machines. But make sure you’re not chucking a five euro coin into a machine that only requires a fifty pence vend.
Ok, I said they’d work but never suggested they would ethical/legal/sane!