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Frugal Freaks: 11 Extreme Money-Saving Tips That Will Make You Question Your Sanity (But Boost Your Bank Account)

While frugal living has gained popularity, some individuals find its constraints too demanding.

A user asked the forum, What is the most extremely frugal thing you have done (that you don’t really tell people about)? Here are the common responses. 

FOOD AT HOSPITAL 

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“Worked at a hospital kitchen one summer. After dishing out all the food to be brought to the rooms, we were allowed to take everything that remained. I bought almost no food that summer.

People look down on hospital food, but I made it, I knew what went into it, and it was great! Lasagna, shepherd’s pie, all the veggies and potatoes I could ever want. If I’d had a big freezer and more Tupperware, I doubt I could have taken enough to last me months afterward.”

STAYED AT CAR 

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“I had a bit of a layover between college apartments. The next place had my deposit down but wouldn’t let me in for a month; the first place was clearing out in a week.

So, I parked my stuff at a friend’s place (she owed me a favor) and lived out of my car for three weeks. My school had a good gym facility, the library was open, and the beach shower was less than a mile from campus. It never really comes up.”

TAKING LEFTOVER MEALS 

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“I take leftovers from my meal for my chickens. Like melon finds or shells of crawfish, I ate the meat out of them, and it confuses waiters a lot.”

FREE DRINK 

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“Kinda gross looking back, but in college, I had $0 sometimes and still wanted to attend all the same parties my friends were going to. The parties had kegs, and it was usually about $5 for a cup to drink all night. Well, I would wait/hang out around the party until someone would leave and throw their cup on the ground. I would pick up their cup and drink all night for free.”

GRABBING PAPER AND PEN 

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“Once, when I was 9, someone came around the neighborhood and dropped a paper with a pen attached to advertise their business. My mom knew the house next door was vacant, so she asked me to go grab the neighbors too.

I thought it would have pleased her if I had taken everyone in the neighborhood. It was pretty early on a Sunday, so nobody had really come outside yet. I can come home with around 50 pens. I started being frugal pretty early.”

COMMUTING ON FOOT TO WORK 

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“Everyone at work knows I commute on foot daily; I’ve never mentioned that I live an hour’s walk away.

Tbh, it takes the same time on the bus anyway, so why wouldn’t I walk in?”

GIFTING OLD SEWING MACHINE TO GIRLFRIEND 

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“I found an old sewing machine that was put to the curb for trash, cleaned it up, and gave it to my girlfriend for Christmas. It was in good working condition. I spoke with the guy whose house it was, and he said it’s just been sitting in his attic for 40 years. It’s made in America, and I searched for them online, and they range from 100 -250/300. I was pretty proud of that find!”

TOILET PAPER 

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“When I was doing my master’s degree, I bought one packet of toilet paper for the whole year – since I was usually at university 9-9, I tore off what I needed from there and took it home.

I had a packet around unused, so I didn’t look completely mental when I had friends or dates over.”

MADE MONEY OUT OF WEDDING GIFTS

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“Returned every wedding present we got. Bought a 20% off your entire purchase coupon off eBay for $5. Then bought them all back. Made about $400 in 2 hours. I know this is cheap and not frugal, but you asked about my least proud moment. It used to be repeatable for everyone else, but they’ve changed store policy.” 

LIVING IN A LUXURY APARTMENT 

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“My GF and I moved to a luxury downtown apartment to save money.

  • Transit passes are no longer necessary to go to work. We no longer need taxis to do groceries or go out. Groceries, shops, bars and everything we need are within half a kilometer from our tower. We have no car and don’t need one. Based on previous budgets, we save 4000$ per year in transportation costs alone. If I calculated a higher year or factored in a car, it would be much higher.
  • Our building includes AC and Heating. We live in Eastern Canada, and both are required. Our electric bill is around 50$ per 30 days vs. 100$ per month previously in each of our own apartments.
  • Our unit came with a parking spot. We rent it out at 175$ per month.
  • Our building has a state-of-the-art gym and pool. My GF had a gym membership beforehand as she plays competitive sports and needs certain facilities and equipment to maintain her shape. I had a city pool membership that was cheap, but still. I also had exercise equipment and a Wii with Wii Fit bundle that I sold. We saved about 100$ per month and made 300$ off of selling exercise equipment and the Wii.
  • Our building has a multimedia cinema room with state-of-the-art equipment. Nobody uses it in our building, so we get to book it 99% of the time we need it. Instead of going to the cinema (my favorite pastime), owning cable (lol), or even a TV, we just bring a laptop, connect our Netflix, and boom. I easily spent 50$ per month on the cinema alone. Sold the TV and Blu Ray player for 500$, and we use the computer screen for the occasional TV show.
  • Our building has a Starbucks on the ground floor. When picking a unit, we took the one right on top of it. Yep, free wifi. That’s 60$ per month less. If we need a more robust connection, the building has a lounge area that can be rented off for events. Although not as unused as the cinema room, it’s vacant 90% of the time we need it. It has complimentary wifi.
  • Our building has guest parking, so if we ever do need to rent a car for whatever purposes, we have free parking anyway since a single tenant can book a parking spot for at most a week (and you’re not allowed to book another for a 72 h period afterward, but since we are two, we can book one under my name and if after a week we still have the car (not sure why, but who knows), then we can book under her name as well. Can’t provide a figure for this, but it’s pretty neat, especially when we have guests.
  • Because of our location, most friend outings usually end up with us hosting people at our apartment. We rarely need to go out; we prepare food for everyone, and they bring drinks and free wifi for everyone. I can’t quantify it, but it’s a good deal. We’ve actually started collecting board games in order to be better hosts.

Overall, we save 768$ per month living in a luxury condo. That’s a conservative estimate IMHO. The unit costs 1600$ per month. We, therefore, pay 832$ per month to live downtown within a 5 minute walk of both our jobs and every single service we can think of. By living together, we save about 250$ each in rent as well.

Pretty cool deal.”

FREE POPCORN 

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“At Regal movie theaters, the large pop”corn tub comes with a free refill, so my wife and I will hand over the tub to someone in line so they can enjoy free popcorn after we’ve had our fill. More on the side of charity than frugality, but it’s nice to see someone smile at free popcorn.” 

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This article was originally published on Mrs. Daaku Studio.