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Pinching Pennies

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by fishy, Jun 3, 2011.

  1. fishy

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    While sitting at work today, I realized I tend to do things to save myself money. I don't mean I've switched to cheap beer, or have shopped around for car insurance. I do things to save myself pennies.

    Today:
    -I'm drinking water from a regular plastic water bottle that is approximately 2 months old. I just refill it from the water cooler. Every few days I put a drop of bleach and some hot water in there and sterilize it.

    -I brought 2 hard boiled eggs everyday in a Ziploc for breakfast. I use the same Ziploc everyday, I just bring it home at night and recycle it. Same thing for my Ziploc full of carrot sticks.

    -I have some homemade bread to go along with my soup for lunch. I brought the bread wrapped in aluminum foil. After lunch, I will take the foil home and save it for next time I bring bread to work.

    I can easily afford to just throw this stuff away and start from scratch everyday, but I can't bring myself to do it.

    Focus: What small things do you do to save yourself money that most people ignore? Are you embarrased about it, or do you proudly reuse Q-Tips?
     
  2. DrFrylock

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    I don't know if most people ignore it, but I purposefully don't use those reusable shopping bags because the plastic ones are perfect little trash bags and they give them to you for free.
     
  3. kuhjäger

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    I have noticed that there are always coins littering the floor of my liquor store. I pick them all up. I have made more doing that than my bank pays me in interest so far this year.
     
  4. bewildered

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    I do this, too. Walmart bags line every single desk/bathroom trashcan in my house.

    I use banana boxes from Walmart/local grocery store for my moving boxes, and also use them to store my extra crap in the top of my closet or under my bed.

    Egg cartons make great places to seed new plants (especially the cardboard ones...the Styrofoam ones you have to poke holes in the bottom of for drainage, of course).

    I use Mardi Gras cups on a daily basis for my beverages.

    Any loose change in my line of sight gets picked up. I posted a little story on this board previously about the level of OCD that I have about spare change.

    Sometimes I have food already in packaging that I place in a larger freezer bag to protect it from freezer burn. Those big bags rarely ever even touch food and as a result I reuse them until their seams break.

    Used dryer sheets make the inside of your car smell good, especially down here in the south where the weather is so damned hot. It's almost like sitting in a dryer.

    Kind of off topic, but I also recycle pretty much all the packaging from new items that I buy. I'll start using food scraps for composting soon, and that will cut down on virtually all my kitchen garbage. I'm a big believer in reusing as much of your stuff as possible. I buy used furniture and repair broken possessions instead of buying new whenever I can. Part of it is not wanting to be a wasteful consumer and part of it is that I would rather someone else eat the inflated price of new items. Plus I am a tightass with money...and poor. That spurs me to action, too.
     
  5. Nom Chompsky

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    I am the best at saving money. Bar none.

    • I save precious waffle iron money by making them Nom-style. I just cut up a pancake and glue it back together at different angles.

      I bring a sandwich to work every day in the same Ziploc bag. This is fairly common; however, I take it to the next step and use this as a cost-cutting measure for birth control.

      I view coin fountains and wishing wells as a two-way street.

      I'm part of Vector marketing's "Cutco Knives" division. While I have yet to actually make a sale, going into people's homes to sell cutlery is an absolutely fantastic way of saving money on toilet paper.

      Most bars have happy hour specials. These are for suckers. The real savings are on bringing in your own malt liquor.

      You can make your own rock candy at home with nothing more than a handful of gravel and several teaspoons of powdered sugar.

      I steal loaves of bread from the supermarket once slice at a time. If I am ever caught, I simply mash the thing into a ball and swallow it as quickly as possible. No evidence, no crime.

    For these and other cost-saving tips, please visit my penny-pinching blog at <a class="postlink" href="http://www.ryanholiday.net" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;">http://www.ryanholiday.net</a>.
     
  6. lostalldoubt86

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    Besides also being really OCD about loose change (my last visit to CoinStar, I made $500. Although, it took me a year of saving.) I save fast food cups and use them as my everyday cups. I only throw them out when they start to leak. I reuse them right away so that I can take advantage of the extra ice that hasn't melted yet.
     
  7. zyron

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    So you paid Coinstar what, $50, to count that amount of change. That is not pinching pennies, that is giving it away.
     
  8. StayFrosty

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    Exactly. Get some free coin rolls from your bank, roll it yourself, and save yourself that bullshit 10% fee. Yeah, the people at the bank might not like having to weigh or count them, but fuck em.
     
  9. bewildered

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    Yeah, I pick up a ton of change myself. In fact, I get a lot of it under the edge of the Coinstar machine, when it is too full and disgruntled people toss their change down (or drop some accidentally). If you can manage to suck up your embarrassment when you crouched down 200 times to get $500, you can suck up your embarrassment when you roll it yourself and deposit that money into your bank.
     
  10. lostalldoubt86

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    The CoinStar I am referring to is at my bank. When you give them the ticket, they deposit it in your saving account and then you withdraw it. There is no fee.

    Edit: I see my mistake now. I call it a CoinStar because it's an easy way to explain the machine, but it doesn't say CoinStar on it. Sorry everyone.
     
  11. zyron

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    Just to let everyone know, there are still some banks that will count your change for free (Like every bank used to do with a simple machine), just ask next time you go if yours does.

    Edit: Like I see she just posted.
     
  12. dubyu tee eff

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    I am incredibly poor, but I have found it is really quite easy to live on a small income, especially if you have no one to support but yourself.

    Use credit cards instead of cash. Each dollar spend gives me a point and that point is equivalent to a penny in their cash back reward. Those pennies=free money, and you don't have the hassle of carrying around cash or change.

    I live in South Carolina and my apartment costs $315 a month which includes electric, gas, and water. The bus stops right in front of the complex, so no need for car expenses.

    I have never heard of a place in America where tap water is not potable. As such, it is all I drink. I can't begin to understand why someone would buy water bottles.

    No eating out. Even fast food is way too pricey to be worth it. It takes maybe a minute and a half to make yourself a decent sandwich.

    Learn to cook.

    Make your food more vegetable than meat based. I need a bit of meat with every meal but veggies are way cheaper and way healthier.

    The easiest and cheapest way to turn a bit of food into a lot of food is to put it on pasta or rice.

    Buy fruit instead of snacks. A bag of chips will run you maybe $2.99, and half of it is full of air. The bag will be gone in maybe 2-3 sittings. You can buy tons more apples, bananas, pears, etc. with the same money. Hate how fruit spoils? Buy varieties of citrus fruits.

    As others have mentioned, plastic bags from wal-mart and grocery stores work wonderfully for garbage cans. I can't believe anyone bothers to buy bin bags.

    Hanes' t-shirts are incredibly comfortable and come in a variety of colors. Why even bother with anything else if you are tight on funds? I need to buy maybe 2-3 packs of these along with a pair of jeans a year, plus underwear and socks for all of my clothing needs. Hanes also makes incredibly cheap plain sweatshirts for the winter time.

    I pirate all of my media consumption. I know this isn't exactly ethical but I'm sure artists would rather I pirate their creations than not experience them at all, right?

    Plastic "disposable" plates, cups, and utensils are very easy to rinse off and use again.

    Pinching pennies is easy peasy.

    edit: Another big one I forgot: Don't shave. I keep a light scruff partially because the cost of razor blades is so unpalatable. My trimmer was a one time cost of $20 and has worked fine for I think at least a year and a half now. Plus, you have the added bonus of no razor burn or cuts. You save three times over on the blades, foam, and aftershave.
     
  13. zyron

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    The rest of your post wants to make me set up a fund for you but this is good advice as long as you pay your bill off in full at the end of the month. If you don't this is not good.
     
  14. dubyu tee eff

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    Definitely. That should be another bullet point: Always always pay your credit card bill in full at the end of the month.
     
  15. Dyson004

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    That's how I lived before I got funded. To an extent, I still do. On a side note- the free section of craigslist is indispensable if you live in a metropolitan area. My entire apartment is furnished with furniture I got from the free section, besides my bed. This includes:

    My couch.
    My desk.
    My two end tables.
    Both of my bookshelves.
    My locking file cabinet.
    My two lamps.
    My cordless phone.
    My Luggage.
    My bar Stool.

    The other stuff I bought off of craiglist with a deep discount:
    37 inch Sony Trinitron TV for 50 bucks.
    100 lbs. Everlast Heavy Bag and Stand for 100 bucks.
    Vacuum Cleaner for 20 bucks.
    A replacement desktop computer when my motherboard in my old computer died for 50 bucks.
    My kick ass dell computer speakers and 10 inch subwoofer for 25 bucks.
    Asus Netbook for 100 bucks.
     
  16. Stealth

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    I've taken to using proper razor blades with a razor to shave.

    At around 40cents a blade, compared to the typical multiblade razor cartridge at over $2 each it makes financial sense.
    Although, sometimes if I am in a rush or don't prepare for the shave properly, the ensuing cuts and loss of blood can look like a bit of a horror show.

    Also, to save on toilet paper, I try and use the toilet facilities at work before leaving for home.
     
  17. Frank

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    I'm in the pay the credit card in full to rack up points club, I'll use credit everywhere unless I specifically can't, even for 99 cent purchases.

    In converse to the plastic bag thing, I bring re-usable bags with me. The grocery stores we go to give us 5 cents per bag, even for produce bags. We usually bring four grocery size bags and five produce bags for a 45 cent savings every time we go grocery shopping.

    This isn't an obvious one, but I use these:

    [​IMG]

    For pretty much all my liquid carrying needs. Yes, they are expensive, but they are amazingly reusable and I haven't bought bottled water in a while. You know that lingering taste you can never really get out of a plastic bottle, even a Nalgene no matter how hard you try? Or that very minimal, but still slightly noticeable taste of soap you can't quite get rid of no matter how many times you rinse it? Yeah, not an issue with these. Hell, even the Sigg's which I've touted as being great before retain some of the flavors, in a bad way. There's also the fact that they keep the temperature of whatever you're drinking for longer than anything else I've ever used, besides thermoses of course, though they do have one which my GF says is the best she's ever used. And perhaps most important of all, you can't see through them so you can load one or more of them up with booze and people will be none the wiser, for reference, 2 of those forty ouncers can hold over three bottles of wine.

    Oh and I guess drinking out of steel is suppose to be healthier than plastic or some other bull shit.

    But as someone who use to spend a lot of money on bottled water because he drinks over a gallon a day and his Nalgene didn't taste quite right after using it to carry Jack and Coke I've probably saved a small fortune.
     
  18. kuhjäger

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    Lets see, now that I am not drunk I can detail how I save money. As mentioned, I am moving, and need to save a lot of money.

    I don't pay for stamps, I just stick things I need to mail into an envelope at work, and mix it in with all the other stuff we mail.

    Lights are out in the house if no one is in the room. Going to bed? I kill the power strip on the TV/wii/playstation. Basically nothing at home draws power while it isn't being used.

    Heater? Nope, put on a sweater and stop complaining woman.

    Food? I eat as cheap as possible. Our grocery bill for 2 this week was 58 bucks.
     
  19. caseykasem

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    Like others, I never buy bottled water. I use a klean kanteen or a nalgene. It saves a shit load of money and I only put tap water into them. Fuck brita and all of those other water filtration systems. After doing water tests in my biology class a few years ago and finding out that tap water is actually better than many brands of bottled water, (I'm looking at you Arrowhead) I will never buy bottled water or some sort of filtration system that isn't for wildnerness use again.

    I try to eat out as little as possible. Whenever I go to a restaurant, I ask myself if I could make what is on the menu, if I can, then I won't order it. The only things worth ordering are things I cannot make in my own kitchen. Taking your own lunch to work can also save hundreds of dollars per year and you also avoid the hassle of waiting in lines and dealing with the lunchtime rush.
     
  20. lust4life

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    Or, write the address you want to send to in the upper left corner of the envelope and address the piece to yourself. With no postage, USPS should "return to sender." I've never tried this, but it sounds good in theory. Except for the fact that mail fraud is a felony.

    Best penny pinching we do is shop at Costco and buy our staple items in bulk. I also go thru all the grocery store flyers and make a list of sale items and bring it and the flyers to Wal-Mart. They'll match the price. This typically knocks $20-25 off our weekly grocery bill.

    We review electricity provider rates every 6-12 months and change accordingly. When you run 2 large AC units 9 months/year and pool equipment year-round, this makes a difference.

    We also use our American Express cards for most purchases as well as direct payment on cellphone bills, FiOS, Sparklett's water* for reward points. Depending on the purchase, many qualify for 2X or 3X bonus points. When either one of the airlines or Starwood Properties offers a 2 or 3 for 1 exchange, we swap them out.

    *Tap water here is heavily chlorinated so we don't drink it or cook with it.