4 unusual and humorous ways to make your money go further
Most of us have browsed the Internet searching for ways to make more money, right? Of course we have. The cost of living has risen for the last fifteen years and, like it or not, will continue to do so until we find a way of making Soylent Green from something more palatable or invent food replicators.
But let's turn this problem on its head. Instead of making more green, are there ways to make your money go further? Yes, there are and many of them are already being used on a regular basis. Take the idea behind the $1 stores that seem to popping up on every street; win-win for everyone. A list of recommended ideas for making your money go further is available here.
However, if you want some slightly unusual ways (tongue firmly in cheek) of stretching your budget, stick with this article.
How unusual? Try these four:
Eating out of bins
Ok, we don't endorse this as a way of stretching your budget as the idea may make you ill or, worse, result in your demise. Also, the chances that you'll find enough food in the trash to sustain yourself is highly unlikely.
However, dumpster diving for brunch is a proven way to cut your grocery bills.
In 2008, Kath Kelly, a teacher in the United Kingdom imbibed a little too much alcohol during the course of a night out. She immediately found herself at the mercy of the 'alcohol demon who says really stupid things for brownie points' and bet her friends she could live on £1 a day for a whole year (about $1.88, at the time).
A large part of Miss Kelly's diet was 'reclaimed' from food bins at the rear of supermarkets and grocery stores. When she did resort to actually paying for the food she managed to restrain herself and buy only what she needed for that meal.
Yes, the thought of someone who's earning a decent wage scrounging from rubbish piles is a little disconcerting but it goes to prove that an awful lot of edible food is being wasted every day.
If dumpster diving seems a little extreme, you could always consider the more sensible idea of growing your own fruits and vegetables. With a little time and effort you can have your own instant-access food source there in your garden.
Throw out your dinner plates
Hold up! If they're a wedding present from your now deceased aunt or hold some other sentimental value then you might want to simply put them in storage. Why? Well, the size of your dinner plates might actually be killing your grocery budget!
Fact: dinner plates are far bigger than they were around two hundred years ago. In fact, most modern plates are bigger than they were fifty years ago.
Fact (another one): because of the way the primitive part of our brain controls us, we're more likely to fill our plates with enough food to completely cover the surface area of the plate. So, the bigger the plate, the more food we're likely to serve ourselves.
Can you see where this is going? Yes, we're talking about all the food that goes to waste (and if it doesn't then maybe you might want to swing by your physician's office and have your cholesterol checked).
Using smaller plates will result in you buying less food (hopefully).
Change your approach to personal hygiene
This section actually contains a number of ideas that have been tried and tested. Some of the results were, as you'd expect, repellant. But, others make sense.
You could try to stop washing for weeks at a time. If you're a university student then this tip may seem like nothing new. After all, you only to wash when you get a job, right? Not only do you save money on buying soap and shampoo but you'll also slice some precious cents off the cost of heating the water that you need to wash.
If the whole 'I stink, so what?' thing doesn't grab you then maybe you should consider using your gym for your personal hygiene needs. If you're paying for gym membership then it makes sense to squeeze every penny out of your investment. The showers are hot and they even provide you with free soap and shampoo - bonus!
How about taking a leaf out of your famous grunge rockers book? When it comes to slashing laundry costs these guys should have their names in the frugal hall of fame. Just think how much money you could save by only washing your jeans when they've been worn four or five times. Kurt Cobain, we salute you.
Reconnect with mother nature
How does that subtitle look? Does it make you feel a little edgy and uncomfortable? Good, because it's supposed to. You see, the Western world has become far too comfortable and it's time we took a step back.
Picture the scene: the first winter snowfall has clogged up your drive. Paying that promised visit to the in-laws is now impossible - damn! What do you do? Turn up the heating, settle back and watch a ball game. Wrong. Get out; get walking and keep warm. If you really must stay indoors then slip on a pullover instead of attempting to melt the snow that's accumulated on the roof.
Ok, so the snow is still blocking your drive. The planned visit to your mother-in-law has been thwarted, for another year (double damn). But, now the power is out, so you can't cook. That's not a problem because an awful lot of food we have at home can be eaten raw, saving you money on your cooking bills.
So they're not the most far out ways of stretching your budget, but there is a line most of us simply won't cross. If you really want to hit the penny pinching highs you'll need to cast aside pretty much every aspect of the modern world and move your family into a cave (I tip my hat to anyone that resides in a cave and lives off the land, but it's not for me). If you're reading this from a cave already - congratulations (how did you get the Internet access?)
Written by James Redden
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Last update: 03 April 2014
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