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I created this topic on another (non-related) site, however with many young people on this site I thought it would make for an interesting topic here. As such, I decided to make such a post.

 

For many people, I am sure at some point in their lives... They have either experienced financial hardships, or just looking for methods to save money in either the short term or long haul.

 

Now keep in mind, many of the options I am about to list require maintenance and upkeep. Also, not all options are convenient or necessarily worth it for many people/most people. Your milage may vary. Basically, I am coming up with alternatives and leaving it up to you to discuss the pros/cons of each.

 

So without further a due:

 

#1 - Property:

When it comes to property, you basically either rent it or own it.

 

Make no mistake about it, owning property (especially if in a good location) is usually expensive. It does, however, mean you no longer have to pay rent. Though for most, you'll usually have to pay a mortgage til you own it outright (though thats often cheaper than rent).

 

#2 - Electricity:

As far as electricity goes, the alternative from receiving it from the electric company is solar power and wind turbines. Usually, these are options with a high initial cost and require alot of planning of your own electrical needs. The benefits however are reduced cost of electricity (infact, sometimes you can even make money by selling electricity back to the grid, if you generate more than you use).

 

#3 - Garbage / Waste Disposal:

Instead of paying the city for pick up, your alternatives here are basically any legal means of disposing of your garbage. This can include recycling certain items, burning some, or arranging for delivery to a land fill.

 

#4 - Water:

The major alternative to city water is of course well water. Now this option certainly isn't available to many/most people, but for those who have it... It means no water bill.

 

#5 - Food:

Most people purchase most of their groceries from a supermarket. However, you also have the options of growing your own fruits and vegetables, and raising your own livestock. You can pay for an animal to be butchered, and store the meat. You can purchase from your local farmers market (sometimes its cheaper, others its not), or in cases pick your own from certain farms/orchards for cheaper costs.

 

#6 - Transportation:

Aside from having a car (and the expenses that come with it), you could choose several alternatives. You can carpool with others to reduce costs. There is public transportation, which is an option for many in larger cities. You also can ride a bike, or walk in certain cases. There are also motorcycles, which have lower costs.

 

#7 - Sewage:

The major alternative to city sewage is the septic tank. Naturally there are drawbacks, such as when they back up and having to watch your water usage. Though you can eliminate another bill this way.

 

#8 - Clothing:

Aside from purchasing clothes in major stores, you really have two alternatives. The first being to make your own, or have them created. The second being acquire clothes second hand, whether from the hand-me-downs from friends and family... or purchasing them from the local thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. Obviously you will not have as many options this way, but often you can find used clothes in great condition at a fraction of the cost.

 

#9 - Furniture:

Very similar to clothing, your alternatives are to make it/have it custom made, or to acquire it second hand. Again, thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales are your friend in this scenario. You can sometimes get stuff for free, on sites like Craigslist.

 

#10 - News:

The best alternative to paying for a newspaper is viewing the news online. Its usually free, and you can find both local and major news outlets this way. Another alternative is many areas have several free alternative news publications.

 

#11 - Television:

Instead of cable and satellite, your major alternative is an antenna. Obviously the amount of channels and what channels are available to you depends on your location (generally, there are more options for those close to major cities). Some antennas have very large range and can pick up from quite a long distance. Some people even state that HD programming can be of slightly better quality than cable, due to the signal being less compressed.

 

Aside from this, you can purchase the media outright (DVDs/Blu-Rays), download it off the internet, or stream it off the internet free or cheap (Hulu, NetFlix, etc...).

 

#12 - Phone (land line):

There is really not a lot of alternatives for replacing land lines. Cell phones and VOIP are your major alternatives.

 

#13 - Phone (cellular):

Your alternative to paying a monthly contract is going for a prepaid phone. Generally, you have to buy the phone outright, though you can usually get unlimited service for half the cost of a contract (or cheaper, if you only need so many minutes/features).

 

#14 - Music:

Radio is free (aside from satellite radio), so take advantage of this. You can also download music from the internet, or stream it from services like Pandora. You can also purchase CDs outright, and can often find them used for a fraction of the price.

 

#15 - Internet:

Sadly, there are no real good alternatives to paying for internet service. The closest thing you have is public WiFi, which often requires you to be in certain locations. The quality/speed/security varies.

 

 

 

 

So that is everything that I can think of at this moment. Feel free to post any other alternatives/money saving solutions that you may have.

 

Naturally, as I said not all of these options are great options. Many of them are not for everyone (or even most people), but they are alternatives. Feel free to discuss the pros and cons of each, as that is the intention behind this topic to begin with.

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Assorted Freebies:

 

Books:

Free books can almost always be found in the paper bins behind Big box Bookstores, such as Barnes & Nobel. The books are taken from the shelf, their covers are ripped off, then the rest of the intact books are thrown in to their own paper bin separate from all other waste, where they remain dry and clean. Books are thrown out in waves, so one day you might find all suspense and Horror books, and on another day it will be all travel and cooking. Its worth checking the bins before you go in to get the book by some other means.

Libraries also often are getting rid of books that they no longer have room for. Sometimes they are free and sometimes they charge a buck or two for them. This can be a great way to pick up some reading material to keep you occupied. When you are done with the book, consider passing it on to somebody else.

 

DVD's:

 

Redbox, an electronic DVD rental booth in the USA, (usually seen out side McDonald$, WalGreens, etc.) charges a dollar per movie rental per day. And while just keeping the movie is the old standby, you'd still have to pay that pesky little dollar. But then again, a dollar saved is dollar earned, so its about time I tell you how to start earnin' dollars.

Punch into the machine that you ave a Promo Code, and use either 'BREAKROOM' or 'DVDONME' and, there you go, free DVDs. Or, at least, free RENTED, DVDs

Googling "Red Box codes" returns several such codes, however, there are limitations. You must use a credit card (so they can charge you if you don't return it) and you can only use each code once per card. Prepaid cards might do the trick, but you can still only use the code once per card (prepaid cards cost around $5 plus the amount on them). A much simpler way to get free movies is BitTorrent.

 

Security:

For this trick you need some money to begin with. Buy some Travelers Checks. Wait a week and report your checks lost. They'll give you new ones to replace the missing ones. You spend your new checks and keep the ones you reported lost as security. This security is great for international travel especially at border crossings where you need to convince them you're not planning to work and have enough to sustain yourself. Travelers checks are becoming rare most used by older travelers set in their ways, a canceled but in date credit card will probably serve the same purpose.

Maps:

Tourist offices are usually happy to give out loads of free maps and advice. Most nicer hotels have free maps of the city that are often free for the asking at the front desk, also check at big bus terminals and airport information stations for free maps. While in the hotel look for the tourist pamphlets to see what attractions are available. Of course if you have internet, there's always Google.

 

Burial:

 

Burial is free for indigent though undignified in potter's fields. If you're lucky enough to be in Tibet when you feel close to death, ask the locals to give you a sky burial so you can live on as gracious birds.

One alternative to burial is to plan in advance and leave your body to science. Outfits like LifeQuest Anatomical (http://lifequestanatomical.com/), BioGift (http://biogift.org/) and Anatomy Gifts Registry (http://www.anatomicgift.com/) will handle all the paperwork at no cost to you or your loved ones.

 

Diploma:

 

Look online for free editable diplomas to print out. A copy shop will have the nice paper you need to make this look authentic. Be aware, though, that most of the time actual diplomas are worthless, lying on your resume usually works fine. Any place that really wants to know your educational background is going to want to see transcripts or call the school up directly for confirmation.

Toilets:

 

Ask in pubs and cafes. Fast food places are really good for this. However, in some high traffic tourist areas, we have seen shops put token locks on the bathrooms so only paying customers can use them. Just look around. Of course there is the way of the bears. In a rural, behind a dumpster, or wooded area, dig a hole 6 inches deep and have at it, there are even special flexible funnels used by female campers to pee like a boy standing up. In some European countries, McDonalds puts a 4-digit code lock on the bathroom door. Seize a receipt from any table and you'll find the combination, or simply wait by the door until someone else is entering/leaving.

Construction and road work sites often have portable toilets standing nearby, and they're not always locked after hours (What's there to steal?). It's best to bring along some toilet paper just in case there's none

 

Free Money:

 

 

Performing:

Many cities like New York and New Orleans have a vibrant artist and performer scene. You can usually find these in major tourist areas. Indeed, there are many who make livings doing this.

Performances can be just about anything that people find entertaining. Performers may do acrobatics, animal tricks, balloon twisting, card tricks and tarot, caricatures, clowning, comedy, contortions and escapes, dance, singing, fire eating, fire breathing, fortune-telling, juggling, magic, mime and a mime variation where the artist performs as a living statue, musical performance, puppeteering, snake charming, storytelling or recite poetry or prose as a bard, street art (sketching and painting, etc.), street theater, sword swallowing, and even putting on a flea circus.

Put out a tip jug, do your entertaining, and watch a bit of cash free of employers flow.

Be sure you know your communities' laws concerning this. Some cities outright ban this as "panhandling", some may require a cheap permit, and others actively encourage it.

 

Panhandling:

 

Panhandling is easier than your mom. Just get a cardboard sign with a message like "broke and hungry" or "traveling, and need supplies." I find that saying you're hitchhiking across the state really helps. If you aren't broke, hungry, or traveling you could always just be funny. A good line like "I wanna drink", "I'll be honest. I want a beer" or "Support Your Local Bums" will get you enough to get a buzz. One successful panhandler (witnessed by one of our writers) used a two-sided sign that read "Dreaming Of A Cheeseburger". When establishing eye contact with a driver, he flipped it over to read "But Will Settle For A Taco".

People want to give you money if they think you'll use it to get yourself out of a rut, not further in to one. Don't smoke when begging for change, since people will think that you're already wasting their money. Don't smell like alcohol; swish some mouthwash or chew some mints. Try to wear something that's not totally trashed and smell a little. Smile a little, even if you don't want to. Amerikans hate the poor, so try not to act like a piece of shit.

Don't [bleep] around though because the cops do not really dig bums. The pigs will end your employment! Be polite and do not be aggressive with ANYONE.

Asking Nicely:

If the bins are picked clean stand outside a supermarket and ask people going in if they can buy you some liquor. At a gated train station; ask a passerby if they can buy you a ticket to the next station (once in, you can go anywhere). Try a line like your following the way of St Francis and you cant touch money.

Authority figure:

Psychological tests show that people are more likely to give alms to a guy in a suit than a guy in gutter punk homeless attire if they're both asking for change for a bus.

Pandering to a tribe:

 

Often if wearing a monks robe, people will identify with you, and see a chance to gain religious merit.

Many religious orders encourage begging as it promotes a simple life with humility and gratitude, such as the Catholic mendicant orders, Hindu ascetics, some dervishes of Sufi Islam, and the monastic orders of Buddhism. In the Catholic Church, followers of Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Dominic became known as mendicants, as they would beg for food while they preached to the villages.

Windshield Cleaning:

This is a somewhat common scam we have seen in big cities near some high volume gas stations.

First, you must be a dirt yippie. This means long hair, smoking dope and NEVER shower. The last part is very important. Steal a squeegee from a gas station pump and find an empty water bottle. Look for an intersection where traffic lights take a while to change, because you will need at least a minute per windshield. Wait in the meridian of a road for the light to turn red and dump the water on a windshield.

Do not bother with drivers that shake their head or yell at you. They're behind two thousand pounds of metal and will definitely not pay for doing something they told you not to do, no matter how desperate you are. Get out of the road when the light turns green, and be careful! This can be a very dangerous way to make a few dollars.

Remember to watch out for store managers and employees as they can rightfully call the pigs on you for soliciting if you do this actually in the gas station parking lot.

Gambling:

What discussion on Free Money would be complete without a short mention of gambling? In theory, you walk in, play a game and maybe leave with someone else's cash. However, it is not that simple. The casinos are in the business of taking people's money by offering the chance of something for nothing. The top people that run the business are legalized crooks. Everyone that enters is profiled and monitored by cameras and plain clothes detectives. They have been known to use CIA level tactics on folks that consistently win by 'fair' tactics such as skill (in what few games have skill as a component), card-counting, and knowledge. If a slot machine tends to pay out too much, they have been known to remove the machine from the floor. Or worse, have security goons come up and tell you a machine is 'malfunctioning' when it hits jackpot on.

While casinos have a tough stance against cheating, even if good tactic, they have no problem with rigging a game for themselves. This includes cameras observing the players hands, 'loosening' and 'tightening' slots, and only operating the games that are greatly rigged in their favor, and maintaining industry blacklists.

If you do try your luck, research and stick to games that require skill or have low odds. Although there are some who make a living of bets, they are rare and play almost exclusively against other gamblers. Decadent casinos and their fountains are not built on paying out to winners. Many gamblers that win in casinos, such as Ken Uston or the MIT gang, eventually end up on blacklists. The tactics once used are mostly obsolete, as casinos constantly research modern play styles to keep ahead of smart gamblers.

A very successful strategy in playing black jack is "loading the table." This is when you, or you and friends, place many bets against the dealer at once. Do not let allow any of your hands to go bust as when the dealer goes bust you all win. Even when the dealer does not bust some hands may still win, or even draw black jack, allowing you a good chance of breaking even. Do not place high bets on single hands.

Casinos have employees called Player Development Coordinators. They keep track of a player's winnings and profile - usually through the use of Club Cards. If it is thought the casino may receive more money, they may give away free meals, hotel rooms, and other perks. They usually reserve the best deals for incredibly wealthy gamblers that spend hundreds, also called "whales". With big whales, the casino may put them in a hotel room days before they even gamble! However, they give comps to the less wealthy as well, if they feel they can get his paycheck in the future. It may pay to ask around and check into Comp programs, but remember to remain skeptical as well as persuasive.

Online Gambling:

Online Gambling can be a source of cash, with some risk. Some poker sites may give you up to a 25% bonus in cash simply for depositing some dough when you sign up. The problem is that many sites are located on off-shore servers with even less oversight than the land based casinos. There have been folks make money, but be careful. These sites can be very easy to rig without any proof.

With good research and attentiveness, there are tricks in the card games like Poker. Many sites have low-stakes gambling, where the antes range between a quarter and fifty cents per hand, and the bets and raises are limited. If you learn what cards to play and how to play them, you might could earn about $50 a week or more, with only a few hours in front of the computer. Many of the other players at those low-stakes tables are newbies, who don't know what they're doing, or veteran players looking for some relaxation, and they both can play recklessly. They don't care about losing a buck fifty here, three dollars there. But to revolutionaries, $4.50 is a full meal. As long as you play more carefully than most of the other people at the table, you may come out ahead.

Lottery:

 

The chance of you and anyone you know sharing a birthday is 1 in 365, or 0.2%. However, the chance of any 40 people sharing a birthday is significantly higher, at 90%! Consider the birthday paradox while playing the lottery. Although somebody who plays the lottery, including scratch tickets, wins, the chance of anybody in particular winning is very slim. The sole excuse in playing the lottery is the fleeting dream you may have of winning. Remember the French proverb; "Lotteries are a tax on people who can't perform mathematics."

Selling your body:

Imagining the sound of a cash jackpot when you masturbate seems almost too good to be true at least for males. Indeed, there has been much talk on this in "free money" discussions. Strict requirements for very little cash limits this as a realistic choice for many. Sperm banks do not advertise, either. You will need to look in the phone book to find them.

Sperm banks have very high standards that eliminate most potential donors. First off, you must be 18 to 35 in great health. They are going to want extensive family history information which includes grandma's schitzo episodes and your dad's TB. You can be disqualified for failing a drug test, having poor eye sight, not being of fashionable body build or race, diabetic, placed poorly on a standardized test, etc.. They will outright reject your sperm if you are adopted.

If approved, they will provide you with a collection cup and 'study aid' porno magazines. You can not use a lubricant as it contaminates sperm. They may pay you between 50 and 100 USD per specimen after you sign a commitment to return two or three times a week. You will also have to agree to abstain from ejaculating outside the office to protect your sperm count.

Blood:

There is no cash in blood, except in rare circumstance. Blood bank companies typically visit various sites like school and work places as a 'charity'. Volunteers willingly donate for an advertisement tee-shirt. The blood bank then sells the collection to local hospitals for negligible profit.

Plasma:

 

In most major cities, there are places you can sell blood plasma. Plasma is the liquid portion of your blood. They hook you up to a machine that separates your blood cells from the plasma then returns the blood cells to you. Not everyone qualifies, because they do tests on your blood to make sure iron levels, red blood cell count, etc. are to standards. You can also be disqualified if you are a man who admits having sex with men, admit to previous IV drug use, have donated blood within a certain time frame, or have certain medical conditions. Some facilities frown on selling to folks out of state and will want to see an in-state ID, but this differs depending on the place. They are also going to drug test you for Heroin and also test you for Hepititis and AIDS.

You can sell twice every 7 days and the prices vary from 20 USD to 50 USD a pop or more depending on area and blood type. Sometimes the centers take walk-ins, other times an appointment must be made. The first time you go, be prepared to be there for about 3 to 4 hours as they are going to give you a physical exam, have you fill out paperwork, and may make you watch a movie. The process of giving plasma itself is about an hour or so procedure. They mark your fingernail with a permanent ink that shows under a black light to make sure you do not go to multiple plasma centers throughout the day.

Doing this long term eventually messes up the veins in your arms and can leave scars. You should always drink plenty of fluids when selling plasma as you can get dizzy and dehydrated easily.

Kidneys and other vital organs

Even though there are millions looking for life saving transplants, it is illegal in most parts of the world. In the parts of the world where it is legal (like Iran), the price is very low (around 1000 USD) and the surgery can leave you with serious complications.

Hair:

High quality wig makers still use real human hair. But, you will have to look around to sell it. Typically, they want virgin (unbleached, not dyed, no perm) hair that is at least 10 inches or longer. The hair of chronic chain smokers is undesirable because the smell lingers in hair for long periods. Nor is hair that is shampooed daily wanted because it strips natural oils.

There are sites like http://www.buyandsellhair.com/ that provide a marketplace. Typical sales range from 100 USD to 400 USD. Some will pay up to 1000 USD for highly fashionable hair with the right color and length

Prostitution and Escorts has been omitted because it's a little inappropriate.

Online Surveys and polls

 

Some online survey offers are scams to collect valid e-mail addresses while some are legitimate, paying, survey companies. You may be asked to watch a movie trailer or give an opinion on cell phones, packaging art, etc. Generally the surveys do not take long, but they don't pay much. Some survey websites give 'points' redeemable for entry into lotteries for prizes or money, while others mail checks or add to a paypal accounts after a quota has been completed. A few survey websites mail samples of their products.

Be sure to read the fine print. You may be required to sign you up for a mailing list, or worse, a paid text message subscription. Also, some survey companies keep ad bots and web trackers on your browser, or sell valid email addresses to bots and spammers.

Lost Money

Sometimes money owed to you can be lost if they can not find you. Sometimes this is from a paycheck that was never picked up, a dispersment from a 401K, a class action lawsuit, a forgotten bank account, and many other things. Each state keeps a list of all money that they receive that never made it to who it belongs. To check, go to the state treasury website of each state that you have lived in. If you find that you have money owed to you, all you have to do is print out a form and take that and your valid ID to be notarized and mail it in. It takes a few months, but the cash will be mailed to you.

One of our contributors found 130 USD this way from a benefit plan from a long forgotten job years ago. There are cases of folks that have thousands waiting in the treasury department in some state capitol. It may be worth it to check.

Recycle

Aluminum from soda cans, copper from wiring, newspapers, etc. can be sold to recycling centers for a few bucks. Problem is, you may need a ton of it to get any worthwhile amount and it may take more in gas or a paid ride to get to the recycle center than they pay. Some states even make it a bit easier through bottle deposit programs that pay out a set price for used glass, plastic, and aluminum containers. With bottle deposits, all you may have to do is return them to a merchant. The practice of collecting cans and bottles is called 'binning' and can put some spare change in your pocket.

Avid 'binners' and recyclers sometimes keep a route by foot or bike along paths where there are a lot of discarded cans. They carry around plastic garbage bags and crush cans to save space. It helps if you have some place to store these and make one single run to the center to save time and gas.

Check your cities recycling dates. In many cities there are no laws regarding trash once it's put on the curb. You can collect beer and wine bottles for around 20 cents each in most places, and beer cans for 5. Apartment complexes work out great, as there are usually lots of bottles in their bins. Check with the by-laws of your city before you start though, because in some picking through trash is illegal. This doesn't mean you can't do it, just that you have to make sure you dont get caught.

As far as each commodity, each has it's own price. Paper seems to be the worst because the recycle plant usually has deals with the newspaper companies where you would have to have a truckload just for a few bucks. Aluminum is slightly better, but you need several trash bags full of crushed cans. Copper is currently in very high demand. Indeed, many homeless and chronic drug users raid construction sites and abandoned buildings only to pillage anything copper that they can reach. Check with the recycle center to see if selling after paying for the gas to get there is profitable. Prices for these things vary widely over time.

Old computer parts, cell phones, and electronics can also be recycled and do have a slight amount of gold, silver, and copper in them. Indeed, even old 286 and 386 processors have about 10 to 20 cents of gold in them. However, the process to extract the metal from them is expensive and requires elaborate set ups with gallons of toxic chemicals, specialized equipment, and access to tons of e-waste to be profitable. Most companies that recycle these are going to want you to "donate" your old electronics to you and will only pay you if you have something high in demand like a 1 year old I-phone that you could get repaired yourself.

Loose Change

It's common to keep your head up during hard times, but why not keep your eyes down, paying attention to whats before you! As people are generally wasteful and careless with money it is entirely possible to find dollar bills, quarters, pennies, cigarette packs tossed out of cars or strewn on the sidewalk. It probably won't pay the rent, but even pennies are accepted by the public bus system and merchants.

One great place to look is in suburban strip malls and mega malls where there is an outdoor ATM or automatic bank machine. We once made $120 in under an hour scouring the landscaped areas around these places scooping up $20 dollar bills that have apparently blown away and caught under the little bushes. It is important to scour before the landscaping service or litter patrol comes to spruce things grabbing your treasure.

If you drive on a toll road, make a quick look when you stop at the "Exact Change" lane to see if there's any stray change on the ground near the automated toll booth (It's best to do this when traffic is light, since impatient drivers honking their horns can draw attention). People who drop coins usually just toss out another quarter or so if they drop one. You might see enough change to pay for the toll itself!

If you have the time in an urban area, you could make a "route" to search for tossed cash. Any place the public has to fiddle with change is a good target. Check bus stops, convenience stores, fast food drive-thru right next to the window, and bar parking lots. You will typically find more on working class paydays when careless wage slaves have pockets full of money.

Also, do not be that wasteful person that tosses their pennies on the ground. You are never truly broke when you have change.

Even though most of the merchants and banks are happy to give out pennies, they sometimes balk at accepting them in bulk. Even banks may refuse to take pennies unless they are rolled and you have an account there. Cashiers hate being paid with pennies because it holds up the line, making them look inefficient to management, and they have to manually count any change they receive after their shift.

Some banks give rolls to account holders and dollar stores and supermarkets sell rolls in bulk. This defeats the point in us saving change as the rollers can cost 2 USD to 5 USD for packs. However, Coinstar machines will take your pennies, sort them, and give you a receipt you can either cash out or buy items with. While it does charge 8 pennies on a dollar, it can save you time or embarrassment trying to pay with a line behind you. Or, ask a store clerk or bank teller for an empty paper roll, which they often have in the register, and fill it by hand.

 

 

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Interesting topic. Curious to see what people have to say about it.


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"It's not a rest for me, it's a rest for the weights." - Dom Mazzetti

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Living frugally is surprisingly easy... your mind tends to adapt to the frugal lifestyle pretty quickly. For example, in high school I almost always had the TV on in my room. Sometimes I'd actually watch it, other times I'd be doing something else (like playing RS) and the TV would just be on in the background for passive entertainment. After moving to college, I didn't have cable anymore and didn't really miss it. A couple of years later when I moved into an apartment, I never bothered to buy cable since at that point it had become a waste of time and money. Similarly, I never unpacked my video games from my moving boxes and went a year without video games and did just fine.

 

Life without TV seems to have some passive health benefits too. No commercials showing me things that I don't have, but should want to have; no depressing news stories; no unrealistic portrayals of love and romance; etc.

 

I save money on electricity via cold showers, and by adjusting to the thermostat to be close to the outdoor temperatures. I used to hate it if it wasn't 72F inside, but if you keep the thermostat as high as 80 or even 90 in the summer, your body will adapt to that surprisingly quickly. Your guests, however, probably won't appreciate it :P

 

There is a balance you have to find, though, such that you're saving a lot of money without sacrificing too much of your freedom. For example, having my own car and source of transportation is more expensive than public transportation and carpooling, however having to depend on those things for transportation isn't really worth the money saved and loss of freedom, IMO.

 

It also helps if you feel bad when you spend your money, as opposed to getting short-lived gratification out of it.

 

Simply put, the best way to live frugally is to slowly eliminate things from your life and see if you're capable of adapting to the changes without sacrificing your well-being.

 

Additional reading:

Frugal Travel Guy

» How I became financially independent in 5 years – Part I Early Retirement Extreme: Becoming debt-free is the first step to building a better world. Financial independence is the second. Doing what YOU want is the third.


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You have some good tips, and I have some comments on a few of them:

 

Property - I agree, in the long run owning your own home is definitely a better option than renting. Especially since, if you maintain it and nothing causes your area to become a burnt out slum, the value will only go up over time.

 

Electricity - solar/wind/etc.. is not really an option that most people can afford. I don't know what it costs where you live, but I've looked into it here and based on my current hydro bill, it would take almost 17 years of problem-free (ie: $0 in maintenance costs) service from a solar system for it to have saved me any money over simply paying my monthly bill. Once the price comes down, this may be a more viable solution.

 

Food - not everyone has the option of growing/picking their own fruits/veggies, but careful shopping can save you tons of money. My roommate and I used to do this all the time. Sure it took about 7 hours to get groceries, but at half the cost and our bus passes meant we didn't have to pay for gas. |^_^|

 

Transportation - excellent points (see above on a effective combination :P)

 

Television - I don't think there are any open air TV transmissions in North America anymore, so we're kind of rooked on that one.

 

Phone/Internet - you need at least a home phone in this day and age, but a VOIP setup can combine both of these for a minimal cost. My friend pays about $30 a year for his VOIP phone line.


 

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So, Kaida is the real version of every fictional science-badass? That explains a lot, actually...

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When I was on the doll and still not getting enough money to make ends meet, I would go straight from my Jobseeker's appointment, where they would monitor how much I'd tried looking for work in the past two weeks, and I'd go straight to CeX which is basically a pre-owned media store. I could get CDs in there for about £2, £3, perhaps £5 at most. I already had an iPod from my time at college when I had more money, so I used to come home, rip all those CDs and put them straight on my iPod, but even if I hadn't had one, I could have used a cheap MP3 player for the same purpose. I think listening to music is very important to my mental wellbeing (we all have things which keep us 'sane', maybe a form of escapism), and being jobless at the time, I wasn't exactly feeling great about my circumstances or the immediate future ahead of me, so it was a very cheap way of getting through some very hard times.

 

In past threads on Internet piracy, I've vehemently argued against people who say "I'm jobless/poor/a student so I have to get my music free."

 

That's why.

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Those suggestions seem pretty...unrealistically basic. Solar panels? Those cost like 50k to install around here, getting water from rivers? Might as well work for the time you'll be dragging water and earn a profit. Some are good advice though, like owning property and the clothes/furniture.

 

In my experiences and observations, the real key to saving money is to not to spend money. If you have a job that pays decent hours, there's no reason whatsoever that you can't pay for the utilities (water, garbage, gas, and electricity). You should be paying for yourself, not for a roommate or for a girlfriend.

 

Don't spend money on things you can miss out. My sister and her boyfriend blow through their money buying $50 games, $10 snacks, $65 Disneyland tickets, and small $30 collectables like there's no tomorrow, then they wonder why they don't have money by the end of the semester. Don't buy things you don't need.

 

Avoid dependencies. Don't buy weed or beer. I have seen way too many people going through tough times but always hear them talking about smoking joints or drinking alot in their parties. Instead of getting water from a well or taking your garbage to the dump, you could buy half the amount of six packs you'd usually buy. If you don't do drugs or drink often, don't start. Yes, it is your 'entertainment expenses' but those should never hinder basic expenses like utilities, rent, or gas for work.

 

If you don't have a job, then I'm sorry but you're NOT living by yourself unless you rent in a broken down apartment in the broken end of town. A part-time job can cover most of your non-rental needs and a job that does 40 hours evenly you can even have enough to rent.

 

The hardest part of the financial game is if you get kicked out with no savings or are unemployed. In those aspects you really have no choice but to look for a job, ignoring all your luxury needs until you can find a job. There's no much 'savings' you can do here but eating ramen noodles.

 

 

 

Just a few pointers from my personal observations from people. It really bugs me when people dwell on saving so little when they have no objections buying new games for $60, $40 worth of booze, or every day eating out.

 

 

 

ps. Oh thank God Tip.It got the auto-save for posts! Got a blue screen of death during my last paragraph...thanks TIF staff for including this feature!


"The cry of the poor is not always just, but if you never hear it you'll never know what justice is."

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You mean the ramen noodles that taste awful because they're tasteless and sloshy? I know them too well. To be honest, I still eat them even though there's no financial need to; I use them instead of using normal noodles for a chicken stir fry, for instance. Just add a cube of chicken stock to the boiling water... makes the sauce much thicker and only adds a fraction to the meal. More frugality. I've known people eat the "toast sandwich" too. It's literally too slices of bread around a slice of toast that's been buttered both ways, seasonsed with salt and pepper. Costs like 12p to make and it tastes not that bad apparently... but I've never been that desperate!

 

I think what we're discovering is that, actually, for different people, depending on their backgrounds, frugality means completely different things. There's absolutely no way you could go back to my hometown and say "Want to save money? Just spend a few thousand pounds on some solar panels." People where I live don't have that much in the first place.

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One thing I like is frugality promoting gadgets.

 

For example my desktop computer and living room tv arrangement are connected to plug thingies that purposefully turn off all the plugs using various smart methods so you save power without having to turn all the stuff off.

Eg the longue one is an 8 gang plug. Master socket is for the TV, it has a remote sensor you train to TV remotes standby single. Of the other 7 plugs 2 are permanent on for like DVRs and the like.

You press standby on TV remote and it turns the master plug on.

You can then turn the TV on (if it don't come on of it's own accord).

Once the TV is on it'll turn on the other plugs (so like games consoles, dvd players and like).

When you're done hit standby for TV. It waits about 30 seconds but once it's sure TV is on standby it turns all the plugs back off.

 

It makes being frugal through turning plugs off a heck of a lot easier by eliminating needless standby/effort to turn loads of plugs and or off; yet retains the connivence of plugs etc. being turned on.

 

And these relatively new wifi/smartphone linking boiler controls which mean instead of being like I think I might be home at 3pm, but it could be later better set heating to come on at 2.30pm you can be like right I am now setting off for home best set the heating on. Or once you get into bed be like right heating off from le warmth of bed.


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#1 - Property:

- In some places and times in your life, it will be cheaper to rent than own. There are many places out there where house values are still artificially high compared the rental prices. Do your research. Khan Academy has a video and an online spreadsheet you can use in tendem with your own research into your own region.

- Another alternative is to buy the cheapest house for sale in a neighbourhood and flip it. While you live in your newly bought dump, fix it up in your spare time. Not only will you increase the value much faster than the natural appreciation of houses in the area (remarkably easy to turn a cheap house to average than average to higher than average) but you'll learn a lot about handyman-ish things. The father of a friend of mine did this and he was able to buy a house for pure cash by the time he was 30 (after about 5 flips).

 

#2 - Electricity:

- Where I live, saying electricity is dirt cheap would be overvaluing it. So alternative energy sources would take a lifetime to pay for themselves. That said, there are plenty of places that it makes sense, especially areas that get a lot of sun year round.

- CFL and LED bulbs last long enough to pay for themselves. The saved electricity is on top of that. However, since they're more efficient, they give off less heat. This can often raise your heating costs (especially if you live where it gets down to -30C in winter like me). I have learned that using CFL bulbs in the summer and incandecent bulbs in the winter is the most cost efficient combo. It takes me under 30 minutes to switch the bulbs twice a year. Well worth it.

- If it doesn't need to be on, don't leave it on. My parents leave every light in their house on. Drives me crazy when I go home.

 

#3 - Garbage / Waste Disposal:

Garbage pickup is often included in property taxes, so cutting down doesn't cut always cut down on expenses. That said, composting allows you to make your own fertilizer that is often better than the store bought stuff. Cutting down also lowers your eco-footprint. Not economicly a big deal, but you can feel good that you're doing your part.

 

#4 - Water:

Lowering your water usage is quite easy and saves a lot of money. Water saver showerheads cost as low as $10 as will often pay for themselves in days. Depending on water costs and the cost to heat the water, a 10 minute shower can cost around $2 (source: http://www.atsecosol...nshowering.html). Water saving showerheads use around half the water as normal ones. Half the water means half the heating needed.

As well, high efficiency dishwashers and washing machines can cut down your water use drasticly.

The number 1 irrigated 'crop' in America? Lawn grass. Don't water your lawn and you'll cut down on water use a lot.

 

#5 - Food:

Growing your own food only works so long as you have the space and the climate to do so but is good and cheap.

For meats, I like to buy in 'bulk'. Buying a large roast and cutting it up yourself can save a decent amount. Also, look for discount meat. At supermarkets it's fairly common to find 30% or 50% off meats that are close to expirary but still good. And if you freeze your meat, it's going to taste just as good as regular priced cuts of the same type.

When making dinners, make a little extra and use the leftovers for the next day. I know a lot of students who eat at fast food places because they 'don't have any food at home' when they do, they're just too lazy to prepare it for lunch.

 

#6 - Transportation:

Cars cost a lot. Up front cost, gas, maintenence, insurance, gas. If you don't need a car, don't get one. A half decent road bike will get you through a city faster than a car anyway.

 

#7 - Sewage:

City sewage is well worth it for the convenience of not having to deal with septic tanks. Cut down on water usage, you cut down on your sewage output. Water efficient showerheads, appliances, and toilets can save a crop-ton of money. And there's the age old 'if it's yellow, leet it mellow' addage. Just make sure you flush before you get company ;)

 

#8 - Clothing:

Shop the deals. If you're near a clothing store, just stop by and check the sales. You can save a lot by buying only when you need clothes.

Don't buy new shoes every month. If you don't need them, don't buy them. I had to borrow my roomate money to pay her rent, which I had no problem doing for her. Then going through her finances for her, I found out she bought 4 pairs of decently expensive shoes within the last month. Let's just say she got an ear-full.

 

#9 - Furniture:

Furniture stores often have very good sales on 'last years' items. Since you're not going to get a new couch every year, no one will ever know you got it a year late.

Used items are quite cheap, but unless you know where it's coming from, you should be careful. Bedbugs and fleas have a nasty way of completely ruining people financially.

 

#10 - News:

Do people even pay for news anymore? That's so 20th century.

 

#11 - Television:

Replacing TV with internet based services is often a good choice. Just be sure you don't have data limits that will cost you heavily if you pass them. I canceled my TV and used the money saved to buy faster internet. Not only do I save money, but my internet is now half decent.

 

#12 - Phone (land line):

Get a cell phone.

 

#13 - Phone (cellular):

Nowadays cell phones can do everything, so they are quite useful. Just don't get too expensive of plan if you don't need to.

 

#14 - Music:

Radio

Youtube

Streaming internet radio

Buy individual songs when you just 'have to have it'. Often people only listen to their favourite songs on a album and ignore the others. So instead of paying for the album, buy songs individually and use Youtube on the rare times you want to listen to the whole album.

 

#15 - Internet:

Like phones, this is a neccesity for our modern world. You can get cheap internet, but if you cancel your TV and such, you will need decent internet.

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Buying quality clothes comes around cheaper in the long run. Not drinking at bars also. Brewing your own beer tastes a lot better, the marginal cost of a beer is probably half that of a store-bought one here in Ontario. Probably the same for growing your own pot, but that's probably illegal and complicated. Rent your textbooks or buy them used. Also, wheneverI want to get a manicure, I check Groupon for deals.


Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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Those suggestions seem pretty...unrealistically basic. Solar panels? Those cost like 50k to install around here, getting water from rivers? Might as well work for the time you'll be dragging water and earn a profit. Some are good advice though, like owning property and the clothes/furniture.

Some of the suggestions that were mentioned would be fairly unrealistic in an urban environment, however they would work perfectly on a farm. Likewise, other suggestions work perfectly in a city, but not on a farm (e.g. public Wi-Fi and transportation). There is a movement nearby where wind energy companies would offer to place wind turbines on local farms in exchange for energy and cash. This proved to be fairly successful, although now there is a counter-movement that wanst to see the end of such projects because they cause unstudied side effects from the noise produced. Don't ask me what that means, I never bothered to look into the matter too much, and I might have my facts wrong if I did :? .


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Television - I don't think there are any open air TV transmissions in North America anymore, so we're kind of rooked on that one.

 

It’s only been 3 years since the DTV transition in the US...

 

http://en.wikipedia....e_United_States

 

You have let the satellite and cable providers brainwash you; there is indeed over-the-air terrestrial television in the US, Canada and Mexico.

 

You could buy an antenna, or you could even build your own:

 

http://www.digitalho...enna/design.htm

http://www.jedsoft.o...tv/gapless.html

http://uhfhdtvantenna.blogspot.com/

 

For most people, it will be easier to buy one.


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Real-world money saved since FT/W: Hundreds of Dollars
Real-world time saved since FT/W: Thousands of Hours

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For next year, I plan to do my garden for the first time just for me. Planning on spinach, cabbage, lettuce, carrot, tomato, broccoli, peppers, and corn if I have any room left. Marigolds, sweet basil, and oregano around the plots to help keep some of the pests away. Might look into canning but that has a very large start-up cost and I dunno how my money will play out. It'll already be costly enough buying fencing to enclose the little plot so the critters don't get in @[email protected] At least I'll be able to grow from seed though. That saves a lot of money -- greenhouse nurseries have really jacked up the prices on their young plants with the new demand for 'victory gardens.'

 

And thank you Nerefast for the flour tortilla recipe...I think I know what I'm having for supper tonight haha.


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I'm frugal to a point, but I don't really believe I should go so far out of my way to save a few dollars where it then becomes more of a chore.

 

I do prefer to ride my bicycle if I'm going somewhere within about 3 miles from my apartment over driving because it's usually more convenient and then you also don't have to deal with finding parking either. I also go for my bicycle too more so out of habit then anything. I grew up 10 miles outside my local town in WA so naturally anytime I ever really need to go anywhere that required a car, it was of a great distance from my house.

 

I also buy items more so based on quality then price, believing that the better quality of the item, the longer it will last making for a greater overall investment like my jeans for example.

 

I've also cut down on the amount of nights I go out, and how often I go out to eat for lunch. It's kind of amazing how much you save when you don't go out to eat, even avoiding quick options like Subway. Subway is great though if you want to be extra frugal and buy a $5 footlong and only eat half one day and then save the rest for the next.

 

I'm also always on the lookout for free things to do, and living in Los Angeles makes this super easy to do, like next Sunday I'm going to this huge block party downtown feature A-Trak, Danny Brown, Chromeo and a bunch of other artists, for free.

 

I also furnished my apartment with items I found off craigslist or got second hand from friends/relatives.

 

I try to buy 50% of the music I listen too but I mostly torrent everything before I choice to buy as a way to preview new music. I've also started taking more advantage of Rdio and Spotify recently to listen to music I don't already have. I truly recommend them. Right now I prefer Radio over Spotify if anyone was wondering.

 

Movies, I usually do a mix of torrenting, movie theaters, and buying used off amazon. I feel the majority of movies (and music for that matter) are vastly overpriced. I believe a person should never pay more then $10 for a dvd or $20 for a blu-ray unless it's some amazingly special box set or something. Not to mention the outrageous prices for a movie theater ticket. I don't think I've paid less then $13 for a movie ticket since moving to LA. It's crazy.


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Don't use plastic razors and shaving gels. They're a ripoff, and you can get better products for a better price.

http://www.painlessfrugality.com/tag/safety-razor/

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Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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Check out Badger & Blade, too. Lenticular tipped us off on this back in the day, actually. Wonder what he's up to now.


Matt: You want that eh? You want everything good for you. You want everything that's--falls off garbage can

Camera guy: Whoa, haha, are you okay dude?

Matt: You want anything funny that happens, don't you?

Camera guy: still laughing

Matt: You want the funny shit that happens here and there, you think it comes out of your [bleep]ing [wagon] pushes garbage can down, don't you? You think it's funny? It comes out of here! running towards Camera guy

Camera guy: runs away still laughing

Matt: You think the funny comes out of your mother[bleep]ing creativity? Comes out of Satan, mother[bleep]er! nn--ngh! pushes Camera guy down

Camera guy: Hoooholy [bleep]!

Matt: FUNNY ISN'T REAL! FUNNY ISN'T REAL!

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I see a lot of people knocking the news section. You should buy the Sunday papers at gas stations or wherever else they sell the paper daily and cut out the coupons. You don't have to go full on hardcore coupon hunting but it's a great way to save money assuming you get more than the price of the paper discounted. It may require you to abandon brand loyalty to make full use of the coupons.

 

Ditch brand loyalty. Generic brand stuff is made in the same factory as the brand name stuff half of the time.

 

Don't be fooled by sales. 3 for $5 isn't saving you any money if you only needed 1 of the item. Those deals are for people who know that they will be using a lot of the product over a long period of time.


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t. I don't think I've paid less then $13 for a movie ticket since moving to LA. It's crazy.

 

Between 4 to 5:30 in my town a movie ticket costs like 6 bucks. On regular days if it's 3d it'd be like 9 or 10 bucks.


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Three months banishment to 9gag is something i would never wish upon anybody, not even my worst enemy.

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You should buy the Sunday papers at gas stations or wherever else they sell the paper daily and cut out the coupons.

 

Many local papers will also sell sunday paper only subscriptions which can be slightly cheaper, if only in saved gas alone, than buying at a convenience store. In addition to your local supermarket circulars put out weekly, they will also come (in the east coast of the states) Redplum and SuperSaver booklets of coupons. Couponsuzie, Redplum, Coupons, buxr, and dealhack also have printable coupons -- though you should only print the coupons you're going to use to save ink, which is [bleep]ing expensive.

 

Check which stores price match to other supermarket's circulars or listed prices and compare. Sometimes it can save you 50cents per pound on a whole cooked ham or something that is normally very expensive. Always ask for rain-checks if a really good priced product/meat/cheese is out of stock and redeem later on.

 

One of the supermarkets by my house gets a lot of its beef locally from the many livestock farms in the area. Unfortunately they never seem to sell fast enough, and they start to oxidize. The good news for the consumer is if you're in the area, you can get a ridiculously cheap cut of meat that you can marinade and cook that night for a fraction of what you'd normally pay because they just want to get rid of it. During the growing season, they'd also do this for produce. Perfectly good peppers and tomatoes with only a few blemishes were being discounted to 50c for two honkin' tomatoes/peppers/whatever. Chop em up, use them in a vegetable roux, freeze them, cook with them, whatever. They were a great bargain.

 

Also, everyone should have a box of herbs growing on a windowsill. Frozen herbs will last a bit to allow you to keep a fresh-picked flavor. They make great gifts. They're easy to dry and store in bulk. Fresh picked always makes a meal that much better. herbsherbsherbsherbs<3 Get the soil from your back yard and pick up a bunch of seed packets as the planting season starts to pass at a discounted price. If your soil is especially hard-packed, has a high iron/alkali/acidic/whatever, or bugs are big concern for you, get a nice bag of Schultz potting mix. It cuts away from the frugality, but it also cuts a lot of problems out of the equation if you don't know how to correct these things yourself.

 

Oh. A lot of people throw away overripe bananas, but freeze them instead. Chuck em in the blender with yogurt, ice, and anything else you like for a quick and tasty smoothie rather than wasting them. Add milled flax seed or other seeds for extra cheap nutrients. Or save them for a tasty and cheap banana bread. (Make muffins instead for easier portions. Freeze them to store, put them in the toaster oven for 10min at 300 to defrost, longer if you want em toasty. Have for a nice breakfast/lunch with yogurt or fruit.)


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Along the lines of meat.... Stuff like ground beef and chicken breasts can be frozen for long periods of time, and quite commonly, these items can be pretty cheap if you know when to buy them. Stocking up on cheap meat and freezing it is definitely the way to go.

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Boneless chicken breasts can be very expensive. Bone in breasts tend to be slightly less expensive and you can use the bones for stock (freeze'm until you have enough). Thighs and other dark meat (bone in of course) are even more affordable and often tastier with a little bit more work. But almost all meat will hold up well when bought fresh and stored asap after bringing it home for 6 months and more. Deep freezers and ridiculous sales around holidays are your best friend. (Almost typed breast friend fml)


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Around here Asda dramatically reduces the price of food that are almost out of date. They typically do this at 8pm and a lot of stuff is 20p because they want to clear it. You can get bread, cookies, scones, sandiwches, fish. It depends on what they haven't sold. The downside is that you have to eat them quickly.

 

Also shop at supermarkets like Aldi or Lidl instead of Tesco/Asda/Waitrose because they'll have cheaper stuff. And don't buy big brands if you can help it. Food quality may be bleh but it is very cheaper.


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