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12 Bizarre Things People Do to Save Money

Posted on 7/28/2014 13:11 EST

Cheapism.com has created and curated dozens of lists that share tips and tricks for saving money. But this post takes a different tack: highlighting things you probably shouldn't do to save money. These behaviors hover right on the line of being just too weird or downright gross.

Eat Dog Food
Photo by sxc.hu/Ale_Paiva

Eating dog food.

We've seen several exhortations in the "frugalsphere" to try eating dog food. We're not really sure if anyone takes this tip seriously (apparently, dry dog food is tastier than wet, if you want to give it a shot). Plus, if you look at how much high-end dog food costs, making the switch might not save you all that much.

Skipping showers.

Of course, conserving water for ecological reasons is important, and we all have days when a shower just doesn't fit in. But keeping yourself clean seems pretty fundamental. If you want to pare the water bill, get yourself wet, turn off the water while lathering up, and then rinse off quickly.

Splitting toilet paper rolls.

Using single-ply toilet paper is not the best experience, but it's not necessarily disgusting. And yes, buying two-ply rolls and splitting the sheets will probably save you a little money. But considering the time it takes to split and re-roll toilet paper, are all those wasted hours worth the small change you'll save?

Eliminating TP altogether.

We're not talking about Euro-style bidets here. A handful of families have made the switch to cloth wipes. Used wipes are dropped into a bin filled with water and bleach, where they soak until laundry time. For most people, this tip is surely a step too far into gross territory.

Dumpster diving for food.

Yes, you probably know one bakery on the other side of town that throws out perfectly good day-old bread. And it's true that many supermarkets throw away food that's far from spoiled, and that some folks have few other sources of nutrition. For the most part, though, dumpster diving is kinda distasteful.

Training your cat to use the toilet.

Actually, this is pretty cool, albeit peculiar. The YouTube training videos may seem a tad bizarre, and the basic premise is certainly way out there, but potty-training your cat will save you a load of money on litter.


Hoarding sometimes stems from the belief that when something is super-cheap you're compelled to stock up, or that it's worth stockpiling necessities "just in case." The upshot can be dangerous and gross. Hoarding disorder may become serious and should not be dismissed with the same lightheartedness directed at the other oddball ideas on this list. If you suspect you or someone you know has hoarding disorder, consult a professional.

Spamming friends.

Cheapism has written about how to get rebates and discounts by sharing deals and recent purchases with friends, but there's a limit. If you're over-sharing, cut it out now or you'll find you don't have any friends left with whom to share what's really important.

Getting furniture from sidewalk cast-offs.

Before you protest, let us explain. Furnishing your digs with items rescued from the sidewalk is an obvious money-saving strategy. The piece might need a quick sanding and paint job, or a little spot-clean and patch, and it will be as good as new. But if you live in an area where bed bugs or other small pests run rampant, bringing an upholstered chair into your home is both gross and potentially very costly.

Cup Noodles diet.

This is an easy way to live off a few dollars a day, but the Cup Noodles diet provides several times the recommended daily intake of sodium. Don't be surprised if the initial savings are short-lived, because your health may be, too.

Stealing media.

Stealing is gross in a different way -- it's just plain wrong. At one time illegally downloading music, TV shows, and movies was the only way to get access to a wide variety of media without heading to the store. No longer. With free streaming services such as Pandora and inexpensive options such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, it's a snap to find something to listen to or watch on the cheap. Heck, you can even get deals at movie theaters if you know where to look.

Knitting with dog hair.

Thanks to Cracked for putting us onto the fact that this is actually something people do. Knitting with Dog Hair is an actual book, but it's really not a necessary one.

by Louis DeNicola (Google+ Profile)

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