Well you know what they say, a penny in the pocket is a… wait, what’s the saying? Is there even a saying? Whatever, just go read about these cheap people, OKAY!? We all know you’re not here for the intro, anyway.
1. They don’t say cat food is for cats ONLY.
I have a friend whose grandfather would take out all of the grandchildren to Dunkin’ Donuts. He would buy a single doughnut and then cut it into six pieces for each of the grandchildren. Then he would take a huge handful of napkins and take them home with him. At home he would cut them in half to use.
This same man also bought cat food when he first came to America because he thought that it was cheap tuna for people and that the cat was a mascot selling the tuna.
2. Just because you have money, doesn’t mean you have to spend it.
My wife always talks about her great-grandfather’s frugality. He hand built most of their furniture, had a black and white TV in the 90’s, and drank Sam’s Choice beer.
The neighbors had a dispute with him concerning the overhang of his outside shed it apparently was too close to their property line. So this rickety old man filled his Sam’s Choice beer cans with homemade concrete, somehow raised the entire shed by himself, and rolled it on the cans 6 inches away from their property. Entire endeavor cost about $8. This man was slick.
Weird thing is, he had money. Lots of money. He was an engineer for NASA during the Gemini/Apollo missions. I guess doing it right for a cheap as possible was ingrained in him. He died before I met my wife. He would have been fun to talk to.
3. Here, this will cover the cost.
When my grandpa was alive, he griped at my dad for leaving the Num lock on on the keyboard because it was wasting electricity. My dad gave him a nickel and was like “there, that just covered the next two years.”
4. Hey, they’re free for a reason, right?
My grandpa takes everything from restaurants he can get his hands on. Crackers, mints, ketchup packets, napkins. Not like one. Like a lot.
5. Sometimes, you’re not really saving that much money.
The year before I went to University I had a sudden realization that I would need to start thinking about household essentials in a way I hadn’t before. I was paying for everything myself, so I thought it would be a genius idea to start saving up as many free things I could, that way I could have myself covered for those basic costs. Every time I went to a restaurant I would take home fistfuls of ketchup, mustard, straws, napkins, sugar, salt, pepper, and other of those little free giveaways.
I must’ve collected hundreds and I was pretty proud of myself, too, until my mom came in one day and asked me what it all was. “Oh, I’m saving this stuff for university,” I said. My mom looked at the sugar packets and was like, “You know you could buy a full bag of sugar for like two dollars, right?”
6. Hey, that’ll add up!
In Canada, we no longer have the penny so when you’re total comes to 2.33 it rounds up to 2.35. Or 2.32 would round down to 2.30.
Whenever a friend of mine makes a purchase he waits to see the total, if it’s going to round down he pays in cash, but if it’s going to round up he pays with card since the machine can actually charge you the correct amount. He saves pennies a day!
7. Now that, is seriously genius.
This guy offers to go on a lunch run for everyone in the office. The place they go to has these “Punch this card 5 times get a free lunch”.
He’s basically got to get 5 people lunch and his is free, all he has to do is take a 10 minute walk.
Pretty smart if you ask me.
8. What wouldn’t you do for free food.
In college I worked as a barista, and we threw out a ton of pastries, bagels and sandwiches. The owner was very clear that we could not take anything out of the case and bring it home but there was nothing stopping us from digging through the garbage. So at closing time we would take out the day’s trash then divvy up the food to be thrown away put them in small bags gently set them inside the clean trash bag for a second then take it out and go home. Free food loophole.
9. There is something to be said about dumpster diving.
This was in the mid-90s, but I worked with a guy who knew the “throw out routines” of several close-by fast food restaurants: McDonald’s, Schlozky’s, etc.
Back then, McDonald’s would just make a ton of everything, put them under a heat lamp, and they would just get picked up as people ordered them.
Items had a fairly short shelf life, so they would get tossed. He said most of the time they would all go in the same trash bag, everything in their individual wrappers.
He somehow knew which bags were which and would bring home a big bag of Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and whatnot.
I took his advice and went to Schlozky’s right after closing. I opened their dumpster and, sure enough, there was a big garbage bag FULL of their fresh-made bread and nothing else. I took that bag home, froze most of it, and ate for a year on Schlozky’s bread.
That was my only time dumpster diving, but the guy was definitely onto something.
10. Who needs to buy drinking glasses any way?
My dad refuses to buy drinking glasses. Instead, he will buy the cheapest spaghetti and alfredo sauces that come in glass jars (ragu, I’m looking at you), use the sauce, and save the jar. He cleans the jars, removes the label, and voila new drinking glasses.
11. There are perks to working in waste management.
It was me. When McDonald’s used to give those stickers out with their coffee, after you filled one up with four stickers you could get a free coffee. I worked the recycle truck and would stockpile every cup I’d find working a suburb.
Free mocha frappes for months on end.
12. It’s not always about massive savings, sometimes even the littlest amount can help.
Whole Foods takes 10 cents off your bill for every bag you bring with you. If you bring two bags, they’ll give you 20c, although everything you bought could easily fit in one bag. The easiest way to get your bill from $168.40 to $168.20.
13. You know what, he probably had a great looking lawn.
My friend’s dad would make the family collect the water you run in the shower before it heats up. He would then use that water to water his yard.
14. That is one awesome manager.
In high school, I worked at a pizza place that would clean the refrigerator on Thursday nights for a supply shipment Friday mornings. Anything in the refrigerator that was fresh (onions, tomatoes, etc.) or not frozen anymore (meats, certain sauces, dough, etc.) were to be scrapped. One of the managers that closed on Thursday nights would instead of throwing out all this food, have us make whatever we wanted to take home.
After 2 weeks of working the closing Thursday shift, the manager requested I help out permanently on Thursdays. We would clean the restaurant and then make whatever we wanted then do the dishes. I would generally take home 10 pizzas or so to my mom and sisters (I grew up pretty poor so pizza was a treat) and have dozens of hot wings.
15. Not sure if that’s entirely morally justifiable.
Had a friend who would camp out behind the Good Will / Salvation Army, and when people showed up to drop off donations, would walk up to the car and ask if they wouldn’t mind if he looked through what they had first. He was up front about it, and most people seemed to be okay letting him.
16. Well, that was an easy fix.
My friend’s family used to struggle over dish-washing duties: the parents would frequently get mad at the kids for leaving their dishes in the sink and not emptying the dishwasher.
One day, I was at their house with all the kids home, and when we left the dishes in the sink, the parents blew up: it was time for a family meeting.
Not sure where to go, I awkwardly sat in the next room, but could still hear the meeting conversation. After a few minutes of bickering, it turned out that the reason the kids unload the dishwasher was that they didn’t know if it was clean or dirty was because the mom would always turn off the “clean” LED light on the dishwasher to save energy. When I heard that, I just burst out laughing, which relieved the family tension and the mom realized the ridiculousness of her statement. No more turning off the LED unless you empty the dishwasher.
17. Now, that’s the entrepreneurial spirit!
I know a lady, who keeps on collecting those small ketchup sachets you get for free at food joints. She is known to have collected up to a kilo of ketchup in a day in her handbag from all the different food joints in the city. Later she fills up small bottles and sell it as her homemade ketchup to unsuspecting people.
18. Maybe get a bicycle instead.
I know a bunch of people that will burn a gallon of gas driving across town to get the “cheapest” gas. Come on man, it’s like 3 cents cheaper and you have a 12 gallon tank.
19. I guess that’s as good a reason as any to go to the gym.
Going to the gym every other day which is my hair wash schedule and showering there to save money on hot water.
20. Why not just get an aquarium!?
A large catfish in the only bathtub of my friend’s house. He told me they fatten them and purify them for a few days before eating it by feeding it a special diet.
Oh, and they showered with it.
21. Now, that is discipline.
Guy joined our unit in the Army stationed in Germany, over a decade ago. Only eats in DFAC (Dining Facilities), only wears PT uniform off duty. Owns only a couple other pieces of clothing. Buys nothing, even puts socks on layaway at the PX.
We invited him to the clubs and he would only go if we paid. For everything. Didn’t drink though, only water. Middle of a deployment and he’s about to ETS (End of Term of Service = leave Army). He only had a 2 year contract. Ships back to Germany before flying back home to San Francisco. Buys a 3 series BMW with cash before going home.
You think you have discipline? This guy was on a different level.
22. Going to study or get a book is not the only reason to frequent the library.
I had a roommate in college with a back up battery. He would go to the library and charge that thing all day then use that to power his PC at night. I managed the bills in the house and I noticed $8~20 monthly reduction in electricity once he started doing that.
23. The worst house to go to on Halloween.
Took the kiddos trick-or-treating this past Halloween. One house had a bowl on the porch that only had restaurant peppermints and fortune cookies.
24. Never need to buy a microwave.
Someone I know bought a microwave. Knowing the store has a 90 day return policy, they return the microwave for a new one every 89 days, citing a new “problem” and often making up a problem of their own.
They’ve never had to replace a microwave and are always at the pinnacle of microwave technology.
25. It becomes a real lifestyle.
1) My great grandfather bought insanely cheap cigars and then cut them open for chewing tobacco.
2) 10 years ago, he lost his leg to something like gangrene because he was too cheap to go to the doctor. After they took his leg off (below the knee), he opted out of the prosthetic (it would have cost him some money, I don’t know how much but anything over $20 would be too much) and carved himself a pegleg.
3) He drank one Hamms Gold beer a day. That was his beer because he got 12 packs for $2 at a drugstore by his house. Cheapest beer available.
26. Yeah, that could get VERY awkward.
A friend of mine had converted her loft space into a spare room, which her ex boyfriend moved into after they split up. They were not living together prior to the split. I always found that a bit weird, because he had to go into her bedroom and pull down the loft ladder to access his own room. It must have been awkward when they had new boyfriends/girlfriends staying over.
27. You only become better at it with age.
One of my grandmothers would rarely flush her toilet. “But my dear, water is SO expensive.” Riiight. Also she’d often sit in the dark in the evenings to the extent you’d think she wasn’t in. “The price of electricity these days!” She had money. She’d just got weirder and weirder as time went on. Lived on long life canned food and powdered milk. She was 92.
28. That way, you know you’ll always get a good result.
I cut my own hair. I haven’t gotten a haircut from a barber in 3-4 years. At first it was because I could never find a decent barber, but nowadays, it’s easier for me to take care of it.
29. Pregnancy trumps everything else.
My husband grew up very poor and his dad won’t use air conditioning. Their house is hot as balls in the summer. He tried doing that with our house but my pregnant self put a stop to that real quick.
30. A good way to save money, a terrible way to keep friends.
Back in college, I had an acquaintance who was the king of dipping out of a bill. He would pay the first round of the night because he knew everyone would remember it and it was usually the cheapest (college bar beers). Then he would not even bother to chip in the rest of the night.
The worst was dinner tabs. He would all of a sudden get sleepy (pretending to be too tipsy) right before the bill was coming and put his head down when it showed up. He would than magically wake up and be perfectly fine after the rest of us split it up. Funny thing is he was so smooth at this that most people never even noticed. But I did. I remember you, jack. Don’t be like jack.
31. If washing dishes wasn’t already such an annoying task…
Not actually saving money, but simply wasting energy…
My Grandma would collect the cold water from the hot tap, then re-heat it up on the stove, to dump back into the sink to wash the dishes by hand before putting them into the dishwasher to run.
32. 15. In this case, may not be worth the money they’re saving…
A guy that lived in the room next to me in university only ate rice to save money. He got scurvy.
33. Taking ‘free refills’ to a WHOLE new level.
I had a friend that would carry around a Mcdonald’s and Subway cup in his backpack in the summer, and if he were ever thirsty he would stop off at the nearest location, get a free refill from the machine, and be on his merry way.
He said you had to refill something like 22 times until they started losing money, so he would use the cups that many times, then buy the next time, and so on. For a kid in high school, I thought it was bloody brilliant.