Ridiculous Things I Do to Save or Make Money

Sometimes, the things I do blow even my own mind. I'm really not even ridiculously frugal; I believe in quality over quantity, and completely understand the value in spending more to get a better product.

I'm a person of convenience, usually. I try to do things in the most efficient and convenient way. I'm not always successful, but I can't stand wasted time.

These few points are the reasoning behind why I do all the things that I do, even the ridiculous things. They make sense in my mind while I'm doing them, and then usually end in failure and/or regret. For instance:

  • In January, I waited in a parking lot for an hour and a half between meetings instead of going home, just to save gas and time. The thing that made this unbelievably dumb is that I was only 7 minutes from home.
  • I park three blocks away from school sometimes to save $3.50 on parking. I go to school in the ghetto. A girl went missing from my school in November.
  • I put every last cent I spend on my credit card. Two reasons. 1) It's easier to track 2) I get a 1% rebate on everything I spend. The thing that makes it ridiculous is that I will never carry cash because of this. Sometimes, stores have spending minimums on credit cards; if you don't hit the minimum, they charge you a $.25 fee to use a credit card. I've wracked up a few of those (making the purpose of the card redundant) because I never carry cash.
  • I've waited in a border lineup for almost an hour to save $10 on gas.
  • I've tried to make pasta from scratch to save (on an already inexpensive food). I don't have a pasta maker or a rolling pin, so it didn't turn out well.
  • I move into the ghetto, where we have crackheads for upstairs neighbours and my property manager, I'm pretty sure, is either: a) the crackhead's daughter or b) an entirely unrelated but equally terrifying individual
  • I once tried to cut my own hair. This might work for some people, but not me. I denied it to my hair stylist a few months later, but I don't think she believed me.
  • Instead of buying expensive cleaners, I use vinegar for everything. I used to mop my floor with it. It worked, but it always smelled horrible. I was too cheap to buy nice smelling oils. To be honest, this is less to save money and more to go green and because chemical cleaners are terrible for your health.
  • One time, I spent half an hour doing a survey that only earned me $1. Then I did it again. I actually didn't learn my lesson until the third or fourth survey, at which point my hand was so tired from clicking through questions that it practically cramped up.
  • Instead of buying a new, cheap black T-shirt after an unfortunate incident with the bleach, I tried to color in the white splotches with permanent black marker. I failed and had to buy a new back t-shirt.

I have no doubt in my mind that I've done thousands of dumb things to both save and make more money in my short life. I doubt I've had much luck in actually saving, because most of these things ended up, or could have ended up, costing me more in the long run. 

So. Readers. What's the most ridiculous thing you've done to save money, or to make more money? This could be fun. 


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65 thoughts on “Ridiculous Things I Do to Save or Make Money

  1. 🙂 I've done the black marker on bleach thing and had a laugh about the 25 cent fees you're paying. I've paid a few of those too. Re: your school, I live in the ghetto and actually feel super safe because there are so many cops around- that's only the ones that I know are cops, we also apparently have a tonne of plain clothed ones around as well. So that's a plus! 🙂

  2. Oh my gosh, the one about your apartment sounds pretty terrible. Hopefully, you will be out of there soon.

    I once price-matched to save one cent.

    I haven't done it since, because I realized how ridiculous it was afterwards.

  3. My school is in the ghetto also. I pay for parking though (only $250 a semester, whereas other schools in the area charge over $1,000). A girl was taken in the parking lot that I park in all the time, so it's still not safe. AHH! I'm always terrified.

  4. These are some amusing ways to save/make money. I guess a lot of things are worth trying to see if they actually work out. I'm the same way with often not having cash on me. Sometimes it even forces me to use those evil ATM machines that charge a big fee and then my bank charges another fee on top.

  5. These are hilarious! I can't say that I've done anything this crazy, although I'm big on that saving gas thing.

    I have meetings today at 11 and don't have another until 6 PM, but I'm going to stay near my work instead of driving home in-between so I can save on gas and time.

    Most of the things I do seem normal to me, but I'd guess that "normal" Americans would think most of my financial antics are crazy.

  6. Wow, your apartment = dedication to saving. I don't think I've lived anywhere UNSAFE, but my first apartment out of college was described as "shabby chic" but when I saw it in person it was definitely more shabby than chic. It was on the edge of a really NICE neighborhood and some sketchy areas, but it turned out OK.

  7. Kari@Small Budget Big Dreams

    I lived in Harlem across from the projects during grad school. It was school housing and it saved me a lot of money on NYC rent. It was a little dicey at times, but it all worked out OK.

    When I first started using coupons I printed out coupons for $0.25, then I realized I was probably spending more on printer ink and paper, so I stopped printing anything less then $0.50 😉

  8. I had my wife cut my hair once. NEVER AGAIN! Good thing I wear a hard hat all day...

    When I was stuck with two mortgages, I became "That Guy" who collected pop cans on the job site for money to go to wing night each week.

  9. Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe you lol.

    The T-shirt and the not driving home for the 7 minutes takes the cake lol

    I can't think of anything that ridiculous that I have done right now but I don't think anything I have done could top any of yours.

  10. I know many Canadians that drive across the border to save on gas especially when the dollar is on our favour as well. Sometimes it works.

    I took hate the smell of vinegar. It gives me a headache. I always wondered how people could put vinegar on their french fries.

  11. I did something similar with my truck several years ago.

    It ended up with an anti-freeze leak & I thought it was going to cost a fortune to fix it. So to avoid that cost I kept buying bottles of anti-freeze ($18 a bottle) because I had to fill it back up every few days.

    When I finally took it to the shop they told me the part cost $10 & it would take 20-30 minutes to fix it. That's it! The total cost to fix it was $45...but I had spent nearly $120 buying anti-freeze.


  12. i find myself saving money in stupid ways only to go and blow it on something totally useless, which doesn't seem useless at the moment, but then I'm like, I just went to a market saved $1 on something I needed and then $10 on something that I can so live without.

    I have yet to find my balance.

  13. Good stuff! I am also guilty of putting everything I buy on a credit card; although I do use cash if it is under a dollar. I also once tried cutting my own hair and I will never again do that. It is a lot harder than it looks.

    When my wife and I first started dating, I noticed she was always putting straws in the dishwasher. I laughed and asked her why she was doing that. She said it was something her mom had always done. I then pointed out that straws cost less than $0.01 to replace and that we didn't need to reuse them. After 13 years together, I still tease her about it.

  14. jefferson

    Please move away from the crackheads, Daisy.
    Now I am worried about ya!

    It isn't worth it.

    I have found myself "skipping lunch" several days recently at work, to save money. I try to bring it when I can, but sometimes I forget or don't have time at the morning.. Dropping $8 in the company cafeteria, for very bad food, is just not very appealing. I'd rather go hungry.

  15. Anthony Thompson

    I'm reading these "ridiculous things" you do to save money, and I just have to laugh and wonder, "why are they ridiculous?" I've done some pretty ridiculous stuff that make yours look super smart. One time, when I run out of dishwashing fluid, I used laundry detergent instead. Another time, scraped off the last bit of stick deodorant, and smeared the residual under my armpits esing my fingers. I ate breakfast cereal for dinner. I used small amounts of toothpaste as breath mints. That's just a few of my "ridiculous things", and I think I got you beat.

    1. Thrifty Writer

      Why is eating cereal for dinner ridiculous?
      As for the deodorant, you were just using it up, right?

  16. My living situation. We do not pay rent but we have to walk in the cold to use the bathroom, kitchen, etc. (like basically walking 4 houses away). Is it worth it? Yes. But for how long? Who knows!

  17. Oh my gosh, these were so funny! I especially like the DIY haircut. I cut my children's hair, but my husband won't let me touch his head, despite the fact that he has a military-style cut.

    Craziest thing I've done to save money? Before we had kids, I kept the thermostat on 62 degrees all winter long to save money. When my husband complained, I went to the second hand store and bought him a pair of sweatpants.

  18. Cassie

    Totally been there on the surveys. What sucks is that I didn't make enough money to cash out.

    One of the many dumb things I've done is wash all of my clothes by hand. In my third year of university I moved into an apartment that you had to pay to use the washer and dryer. I refused. Instead I spent my entire 3rd year of university washing everything from underwear to jeans in my bath tub. What made this dumb is that sometimes I'd find myself with few dry clothes, and would then go out and buy more clothes instead of paying $2.50 or so to use the dryer.

  19. Good God girl! Okay two things : you made me laugh (and I love people who make me laugh), and you did surprise me. A lot! You need to stop doing some of those crazy things. Go home, take a nap and come back. It is so much better than sitting in a car in the parking lot. Living in a ghetto can be tough. I lived in one once, I got used to it. Looking back, I am scared just to think about what could have happened. Sometimes we need to do what we need to do. 🙂

  20. Please start taking advantage of the parking lot! I can't think of anything as funny as you've got, but I've used the magic marker to fill in spots on my black chairs and picture frames in my house. No one can tell...I hope!

  21. 1) I called a home warranty company a few weeks ago to try to get a refund on a policy that had expired nearly a year ago because I thought (and think) that they treated my wife and I at least less than honestly if not down right criminally. Fidelity National Home Warranty (the bane of my existence and anathema to decent, working people) thought that my request was ridiculous and refused to pay. I was on the phone with them for a half hour.

    2) I continue to think that my sonnet-writing over at Fiverr is a pretty ridiculous way to make money given the time it takes to write them, but I continue at it anyway.

  22. In college, my roommate and I took cans back. My state charges a 5c deposit and we got ours back. Only once, though. I can't do it. I've also reused Ziploc bags.

  23. MyCanadianFinances

    When I was much younger (before I have a job) I had joined a few websites where you click and read links for half pennies. If I was lucky I would get a full penny from a link. It took me over 5 months to reach payout. It was pathetic haha.

  24. I'm not sure if I've done anything too outrageous. I've definitely gone hungry rather than buy something to eat, but that seems to pale in comparison! 🙂

    I also rarely use my car on weekends, I'd always subway downtown. Some of my friends didn't even know that I had a car until last year!

  25. Katie

    I once cut my hair myself and it turned out horrible. So then I had the bright idea I would cut my daughters hair. Not a good idea for one I had already proven I can't cut hair and two she's three and can't sit still. It is the crookedest hair cut I've ever seen, and I still haven't taken her to get it fixed!

  26. The first thing that comes to mind is shaking my printer's toner cartridge to get as much ink out as possible and having toner fly all over my office and clothes. Now I shake very gently.

  27. I tried cutting my own hair, which ended up costing me far more than I thought because I ended up going to the salon to fix my mistakes. My hairstylist just smiled and said "just ask me for a discount next time".

    I have to admit that I love using vinegar and still do. I don't use it on my floors, but pretty much everywhere else. The smell is gone within a day or so... or maybe I just get used to it 🙂

  28. tinysarah

    "...an entirely unrelated but equally terrifying individual"...

    BEST PHRASING EVER> I am dying right now. Much love to you Daisy. xx

  29. Mine is with credit cards too. I rarely carry cash and end up running to a local mom-and-pop store to get one thing and the credit card minimum is $10. So, I have to think about other things I might need jut so i can buy the one thing I really need.

  30. I've driven 30 minutes out of my way to take a consumer survey that paid $35...twice. The third time I didn't qualify, otherwise I would have done it again! Some people never learn 🙂

  31. Ha, I love this post!!

    I've done the black marker thing on black boots. Oftentimes I scuff the toes so that the leather wears away and I just colour it in. Sometimes people notice but most of the time I'm good 🙂

  32. Haha! Great stuff. Definitely some penny wise craziness there but what it says about you and your desire to save or make money says quite a bit about how financially free you're going to be. Keep up the great work and don't loose that drive! 😆

  33. I remember parking in the far away parking lot for a good 4 years during university and not paying because I knew the parking attendants rarely checked it. That is until one night I returned to my car after failing a final exam and found a boot on my car. $250 down the drain. Not a great night. Great post though 🙂

  34. I have done the parking things on your list, and definitely put black permanent markers to good use trying to salvage stuff. And I cut my own hair! Haven't paid for a haircut in more than 6-7 years! -Sydney

  35. Matt

    The black shirt one is the most ridiculous. Haha! I can be the same way, I'll do anything to save like 75 cents, but then I'll not worry about tipping people 20% to 25% when I go out to eat, or get a haircut.

  36. My only white/nude coloured bra broke about six months ago. Since then, I've just started wearing a slip under light-coloured tops to avoid buying a new one.

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  40. Shilpan

    Daisy, dumbest thing I've done recently is to sell a book on Amazon. I sold it for $3.99 plus $1.99 for shipping. I spent an hour doing this work. Amazon paid me $5 after their commission. Go figure. 🙂

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  42. Too funny! I think the most ridiculous thing I did was bike 28 miles on a 100 degree day just to get enough returnable cans for a small jar of Miracle Whip so I could have a tomato sandwich.

    Since I did not take enough water with me, I got heat exhaustion and my teen son left the miracle whip out and opened all night in the 100 degree heat so when I got up it was rancid!

    So NOT worth it!

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  48. Lorillia | Your Money Mentor

    I use vinegar for a lot of things, but never thought about cleaning. Also the far walk from the parking lot to get to school, should be good exercise. Great post.

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  52. Emily

    I use diluted vinegar as an all-purpose cleaner. Since I have tea tree oil for my face/acne, I started adding a few drops to the vinegar/water mixture for extra cleaning power, and a non-vinegary smell.

  53. JV

    there some pretty smart idea there. You have to not only save but calculate how much you save.

    "I once brought a Day pass for school parking, and pretend it was a monthly pass, and save about 50 dollar each time."\

    "In order to save on class school, i used to buy book photocopy the whole book and return it the next day to save 70$"

    "i buy "no name product" just to save that extra dollar.. food is food.

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