When we think of ultimate frugality, many unreasonable money-saving tactics come to mind. However, there are small, innovative steps you can incorporate into your lifestyle that can yield great results. Some of these tips are optimal for moderate savers who want to save without going to great lengths. The more extreme ideas are geared towards intense savers, looking for the next new way to cut back. The list below details 10 unconventional ways, including going to professionals-in-training for services, freezing your stuff, and unplugging your appliances.
1. Go to Professionals-in-Training for Services
When it comes to services like hair trims, massages, or oral hygiene, there are plenty of students in training who provide them for a discounted price.Research local cosmetology institutions, dental schools, and other training centers and inquire about being a volunteer for student training purposes.
Typically these appointments are done with professional supervision, so the chance of you leaving unsatisfied is minimized, and you can walk away feeling good that you’ve helped a student get hands-on practice in their field.
2. Vow to Go On A Spending Fast
A spending fast, a term coined by Anna of And Then We Saved, is an extreme way of paying off debt, with guaranteed results. You can do your spending fast for whatever length of time you want, but the suggested length is a year. A spending fast cuts out any spending on leisure activities and wants. The idea is to cut these areas of your life solely to save money, only spending on necessary expenses such as utilities, doctor co-pays, gas, medicine, etc.Try it for a year and see how much you save (Anna paid off nearly $24K in debt in just 15 months).
3. Potty Train Your Cat
Potty train your fluffy little feline by training it to use the toilet instead of a litter box.
According to peteducation.com, the average cost of litter for one cat is $110 a year, which means that for the average domestic cat, whose life span is 15 years, you can save about $1,650.
You can purchase a kit on how to teach your cat to use the toilet for $20-$30.
4. Get Sponsored
Nowadays getting sponsored is easier than ever with crowdfunding. Using popular websites like Go Fund Me or Kickstarter, you can create a platform in which you can ask for money. Some examples of things you might ask for funding include a sick relative’s hospital bills, a business idea, or a personal goal of your own.One couple, Dave Kerpen and Carrie Fisher even took things a step further by using their marketing strategy to get a venue (courtesy of a baseball stadium), flowers (from 1-800-Flowers), and every single one of their wedding items for free. They put together their $100,000 dream wedding with the help of 25 different sponsors.
5. Get Permanent Makeup
According to one estimate, the average woman shells out $14,000 on makeup in her lifetime. We know. That’s nuts right? However, if you don’t want to shop exclusively the clearance section at the drugstore, you could always opt to get permanent makeup done. This technique is done by permanently pigmenting one’s eyelids, lips, and face. Procedures range from $200 to $800, and you would be risking allergic reaction and infection embarking down this journey. However, if you’re sure you’ll love one look for the rest of your life, the risk might be worth it.
6. Invest in a Cool Roof Option
Air conditioning constitutes nearly twenty percent of all electricity consumed in the U.S., so think about how much of your electricity bill is spent on cooling your home! Slash that in half, by simply opting for a white roof, and depending on your state’s policies, you may get a rebate and other incentives to install cool roof coatings. Head to EnergyStar to see the available cool roof options to choose from.
7. Shop Your Own Stash (Or Someone Else’s)
If you have a cluttered closet or makeup collection, weed out the things you never use, and rediscover old favorites. Make a commitment to cut back on buying new purchases. Other options include having a swap party — you and your 10 closest friends can bring in your unwanted items, or you can shop someone else’s closet. Check out your local Craigslist page and shopping the free section, or Freecycle, a grassroots movement of people who are giving away their little-used possessions for free
8. Freeze Your Stuff
Using your freezer, you can extend the life of many of your items. For example, wax candles burn longer when they’re frozen, and batteries are extended by 5 percent if alkaline, and 90 percent if nickel-metal hydride.Many seeds also last longer and germinate better when frozen, and even pantyhose is less likely to tear when frozen. Lastly, you can extend the shelf life of popcorn, spices, and coffee when frozen.
9. Take a Navy Shower
This method was introduced by the Navy, who invented it to make water rations last as long as possible.
Turn the water on just long enough to wet your body, then turn it off and soap up. After you’re nice and lathered, turn the water back on to rinse.This method uses a mere 11 gallons of water compared to the 60 gallons used in a typical shower!
10. Unplug Your Appliances
Standby electricity loss occurs when you leave items plugged in that you aren’t using.
For example, when you leave your house in the morning, the lamps, clocks, and phone chargers are probably still plugged in.Now, would you believe that standby electricity makes up about 5 percent of our electricity use?If you’re ready to save on your utilities, start by looking at this chart to see the average amount of power used by your plugged in devices.
(Guest post courtesy of Alex Matjancec, co-founder of MyBankTracker.com, an independent resource that helps consumers make smarter banking and money decisions.)