The Joys of Dryer Lint?
Creative and Crazy Ways to Save Money
I would like to hear what is the craziest, most unusual thing your readers do to save money. In my house, my husband can't believe that I save the Popsicle sticks after he eats a Popsicle. I wash them and use them to spread glue, use in crafts, etc. I also save dryer lint, old candles, and cardboard egg cartons to make fire starters for Christmas gifts. I'm sure there are wackier ideas out there. Actually, I'm just trying to prove to my husband that I'm not nuts!
After removing the butter from the wrapper, I put the wrapper in the freezer in a resealable plastic bag. When I need to grease a pan, I use a butter wrapper from the freezer. I save all individual yogurt containers and use them for Popsicle forms. Slit the lid a put a Popsicle stick through.
My dad was a math nut and loved to save money. Dad used to tell us all to use the restroom before we left school, the mall, etc. because the first thing kids do is run to the bathroom when they get home. We only had one bathroom for four kids and two adults. He used the five-day rule. If we saved four flushes (4 children) per day after school or 20 flushes a week, we would save 80 flushes a month. I don't remember how much we would have saved, but to this day, I use the restroom before I leave work.
Daughter of a Math Whiz
Our story isn't "crazy," as such, because so many people do the same thing. We save change. When cash is spent for any reason, we consciously pocket the change received, and store it away in a jar, coffee can, etc. We are currently saving for a Disney vacation using this method. We are going to Disney in January of 2008, and that will have involved three years of consciously saving pocket change.
Several years ago, we saved change for one year, not even as consciously as we are currently, and ended up with $497. Our last beach vacation was paid for with pocket change. It is always very interesting carrying that much change into a bank. Also, we roll the change ourselves. We don't trust the change counters that you see around these days.
I was raised by a frugal mother, but I also got great ideas from The Tightwad Gazette, which operated on the premise that a lot of little things add up to great savings. Therefore, my crazy (and some not-so-crazy-just-common-sense) saving ideas are:
I perform these crazy stunts (and more) so we can live on one income and I can stay at home with my two small kids until they're both in school.
Rather than use a brush to get out the last of my lipstick, I save them until they reach critical mass. Then I dig out what little remains into a small glass jar and melt it in the microwave. Sometimes I might add entire new lipsticks in odd colors. I bought several purple and white lipsticks at a going out of business sale for 10 cents each. I don't wear purple or white, but by mixing them with my old reds, I got a nice burgundy shade. If you don't like the shade you come up with, you can melt it back down and add something else. Once I get a nice shade, I pour it back into the best lipstick cases and it looks like new. You can also add lip-gloss to make it softer if you like. This process is a bit messy, but you get to be creative and never have to hassle with a lip stick brush.
I save and recycle so many items normally tossed (nylons, popsicle sticks, boxes, buttons, cards, plastic containers, plastic grocery bags, etc.). Here are some things I do with plastic cereal liners that come inside cereal boxes:
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