When I decided that it was time to get out of my $38,000 in student and car loan debt, I knew that reducing my expenses was one of the key ways to free up enough cash flow to make this happen.
I was limited in my extra earning opportunities, so cutting expenses was the quickest and easiest way to achieve fast savings.
I made all of the usual cuts, things like no more cable, no hair cuts, no yoga classes. Those were all great ways to save money quickly, but I wanted more. So, I started doing some really weird things in order to save money. Not all of them panned out, but they were all, definitely an experience. Here are a few of them:
Permanent House Sitting
I’ve talked at length about how I live in a 400 sq. ft. cottage, but I’ve never explained how I came across this cottage. It’s actually owned by a relative of mine, who has his own house elsewhere.
He asked us to babysit his cottage while he was away, which we happily agreed to – mostly because of the very, very reasonable rent. The only downside is that it’s very rustic, and full of his furniture. Not many people I know would dain to live in this small, rough cottage full of someone else’s stuff. The price is right though, so we’re here to stay for the time being.
A Hair Cut Hiatus
I mentioned above that I stopped getting regular hair cuts when I started paying back my debt. You’re probably picturing me with half-grown out highlights, but still normal length hair.
The truth is, I haven’t had a hair cut since March of 2012, and my hair is starting to get ridiculously long. I know it wouldn’t be that expensive to get my hair cut, but when I only have $140 per month for personal spending – dropping $50 on a hair cut seems like a lot! I’m ending the hiatus this month, because I got a 50% off coupon.
Mix and Match Lunches
I take my lunch to work with me four out of five days a week. This is absolutely a great way to save money since a purchased lunch would run me $5/day at minimum.
I’m not always the most prepared person in the world, however, and that results in some…creative lunches. Often, if several things in the fridge are about to spoil, I’ll just throw them all in my lunch bag together and make do. My weirdest lunch to date has been a slice of pizza, half a cup of oatmeal, and a chicken wing.
I am The Dog
One thing I definitely splurged on, even though I was in debt, was getting my dog Molly, from the SPCA. She’s the best dog I’ve ever had and I don’t regret taking her home for a second.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t try to save money on her expenses though. One of the things I make sure to do myself is bathing her and clipping her nails. The only problem is, she’s an SPCA dog, and about five seconds into clipping her nails for the first time, it became clear that she had NEVER seen nail clippers before.
She wasn’t too keen on the experience, so picture me, with one of her paws in my hand, trying to get her nails clipped, and her, half hopping, half running away from me! I did eventually get it done, and after a ton of training, she actually likes getting her nails clipped now. Since taking her to the groomer would be a big expense, I’m happy to put a little extra effort in, and save the money.
There are tons of obvious ways to save money, but after those are exhausted, sometimes a few more, non traditional methods will present themselves. I’ve definitely tried a lot of weird things in order to save money.
What’s your weirdest money-saving moment?