19 Of The Weirdest Things People Have Done To Save Money

Here is a list of the weirdest things people have done to save money

When times get tough, the strange get stranger! From across the internet, we’ve dug up the absolute weirdest things some people have done to save money. Not going to lie, it does get very strange. What didn’t make the list but sets the tone for this piece, someone would wash and hang dental floss as a way to save money. Now that is both cheap and very odd. And little much for a Max Cash® article, but still.

The first set of 5 weird ways to save money comes from confessions on Whisper

1. “I’m so cheap that I buy a book, read it in 14 days and then return it.”

One of the weirdest things you can save money on are books. This first one borders on theft, but as long as it falls within the store’s return policy, it isn’t illegal. There were others that essentially came out to theft, which is why they didn’t make the list. Stealing would obviously be the ultimate way to save money, therefore they don’t count. Not as a legitimate method, for obvious reasons. But this one was just this side of that line, so it made the cut. Maybe bookstores will change their policies to account for this. Though it most likely doesn’t impact their business enough to be a material cost.

2. “I’m so cheap that before a date, I go to the mall to use the expensive perfume because I can’t afford it myself.”

What a genius idea! Here’s one of the weirdest things you can save money on: smell and romance. And again, does not cross the line into out-and-out theft. Taking advantage of free samples is just smart and a great way to save money if you don’t need something like perfume every day. It’s no coincidence that places like Costco find themselves the busiest on days when they offer samples. So think outside the box and find ways to get things you find helpful that may be offered for free. Though you have to wonder if it is worth the cost in gas.

3. “I only go to the bathroom while I’m at work so I save money on my water bill for the month. Sometimes it gets uncomfortable but it’s worth it.”

When it comes to the weirdest things you can cave money on, this is the worst. There was another that was similar about peeing in his backyard. That one ran dangerously close to public indecency, so it was excluded as well. But this one seems ready to become a very embarrassing situation. I don’t think I could hold it and wait that long, and how much money is your water bill that this helps? Surely, the savings can’t make up for the pain.

4. “I’m so cheap I did my own manicure while getting a pedicure done. I told her I wanted to see how the colors looked.”

For the weirdest things you can save money on, this one is just bizarre. Why pay for a pedicure but then do your own manicure? If you can pay for one, why not the other? Or better yet, just do them both yourself and save even more money! I am at a loss for the logic on this one. But it certainly made the list as a very headscratcher way of saving money, that’s for sure. And that makes it worthwhile, for the purposes of this list, anyway.

5. “I am so cheap that I don’t buy my wife cards for the holidays. We go to Walmart and I read her my favorite, and then we leave.”

Definitely, the funniest one on this section of the list. And again, there is certainly no law against reading cards before making a purchase. I think the poster made a good decision in the choice of wife, as not many would be okay with just being read a funny card. But honesty, it makes for a better way to spend your time and money by bonding over an event. Certainly, better than just buying a card that takes no time for either party and tossing it shortly thereafter.

This next set of 4 weird things to save money comes from Quora

These next entries, or should we say entrees, as they are so delicious they have to be shared nearly raw. So don’t go blaming any grammatical or punctuation errors on me. The fine folks over at Quora have some great stories about truly weird things done in the name of saving!

6. Demanding Less of a Refund than the Cost of the Refund Itself

“When I was working for a Private sector bank, I have seen so many customers who neglect small surcharges and who dont even give a damn.

Then came this old man. He was 55–60 yrs old.

Me: How may I help you, Sir?

Him: Please give me printed account statement for recent 3 months.

I gave the same. He sat infront of me for half an hour.

Him:Madam, a week before I received a text message saying 1.50RS(0.022$) has been charged to your account. Now I see in statement that you have charged it for SMS alert service. I didnt ask for any SMS. You sent it by yourself and now charging this amount. I need it back Right now.

Throughout his conversation my reaction was like as if I am seeing a ghost right infront of me. Charges reversal for 1.50RS?????

For reversal through Demand draft, it would take 5Rs which has to be given by bank. Or have to take number of approvals for reversal. But who would listen and reverse this small amount charge?

I thought of giving the amount from my pocket. But it was offensive. I tried to convince him. No. He never listened.

Finally we reversed the same through DD.


7. A Bird in the Hand, I suppose, or the Frying Pan, as it were

“This has got to be one of the most revolting things I have ever seen as well, so here goes.

I have a Welsh friend who lives in Bristol England . He and his wife are retired and they are well off but he is renowned for his penny pinching mentality.

I was round at his house around 1 pm and was expecting some lunch but was in for a big surprise.

We were sitting in his lounge chatting and there was a thump on the window, so we went outside to look what had happened.

There was a pigeon lying on the ground, stunned, dead or whatever.

My friend picked it up twisted its neck to ensure it was dead and took it into the kitchen.

“Well that’s nice we can have a free lunch now” he declared.

I still thought he was having a joke at this point but when he dressed and plucked the bird I realized he was serious.

He carved the meat off the breast of the bird and proceeded to fry it up and prepare lunch.

Now I will eat most things but this was just a yard or two beyond normality as far as I was concerned and I left at that point.

To be honest, even now the thought makes me a little sick, not sure why but it just does.

What was worse, I think, is that for months after he was so proud of having had a ‘free lunch’ he told everyone he met about his money saving exploits.”

8. Who Really Needs Hot Water Anyway?

“Many years ago, I had a landlord who was incredibly cheap. Super-Duper cheap!

I’m talking so incredibly cheap , that in the profitable business that she and her husband owned, and worked in 80 hours a week, for 37 years?

She was too cheap… to have a hot water heater installed in their business. One of the weirdest things to save money on is hot water!

Gross!! SO Icky!!!! How in the heck can you wash walls, and floors ,and windows or countertops ,and refrigerators… In your business? If you don’t have any access to hot water ??

And don’t even get me started on how do you wash your hands ….after using the restroom ….thats so unsanitary it’s just disgusting!

One of her sons’ friends told me that they lived this insanely dangerous, frugal lifestyle , at home as well . And even though these people were more than comfortably wealthy? Cheap ruled that house!

When her washing machines’ manual, plastic dial broke ? Well, she wouldn’t consider paying for the repair part (25$ repair?) ….so when she needed to do laundry?

She would throw the load of clothes in , and stand in front of the washing machine ….WHILE holding the dial , and pulling it out … by hand, for the entire 30 minute cycle ! This woman had four boys, a husband, a business, and three big dogs ! She worked full time, and?? I’m sure she did 3 loads of laundry ,minimum, every day until her kids left home !!

How cheap do you have to be ….in the corners of your soul ….in order to waste one hour a day ,every day ,for at least 23 years… Because you won’t spend $25 …..

I have never been able to wrap my head completely around that behavior.”

9. Loopholes Usually Get Closed for a Reason

“It is a blurry line between frugality and brilliance. And it is within that haze that most caveats and fine print are written.

This was true in the story of a very unique and anonymous Chinese traveler, who will pit your admiration and contempt against each other.

This is how it all went down

The Chinese airline industry is highly competitive — even by industry standards.

As is the case in the US, most profits are achieved through business travel and add-on purchases and gimmicky credit card sales.

Eastern China Airlines was trying to expand its footprint in 2014. They ran a new promotion that allowed first-class travelers to eat in their special VIP lounge.

On a sunny day in late 2013, a traveler walked into the Xian airport’s VIP lounge.

He sat down at a marble table, surrounded by wealthy passengers with layovers. A waitress came and served him food and drinks as he read his newspaper. One hour later, he stood up and left to go catch his flight.

The following day, he walked through all airport checkpoints, through security, and all the way back to the VIP lounge. He sat down at a table on the other side of the restaurant and repeated his previous transaction.

Then, he repeated this sequence each day. A few waiters in the lounge recognized him but never made any issue of it.

As he repeated this each day, a few employees at the lounge recognized him but never made any mention of it.

After more than a month straight of this passenger showing up at the lounge, at the exact same time, they got more suspicious. The waitress went over and asked, “Do you have your ticket?” Sure enough, he pulled out his ticket. It was real and scheduled for a flight that very day.

Another person had the cops check on him and they followed up with him, later saying, “He is a valid traveler.”

So what didn’t make sense was that he was traveling every day for days on end. How could be flying from the same airport each day for weeks on end? The days of being able to walk up to the gates without a boarding pass are long gone.

They were missing one of his steps

After he left, he walked back through security, and back to the entrance where the check-in counters were.

Then he spoke with agents and said he had an emergency and needed to push his flight back a day. The fine print allowed him to reschedule his flight for free.

His first-class ticket also allowed him to eat for free at the airport VIP lounge. He’d found a loop and was intentionally staying within it for his own benefit.

What’s off is that even security guards were recognizing him. He always came through the metal detectors each day every day without any bags on him. This continued for months.

Finally, a full 300 consecutive days later, the gig was up.

After getting his daily caloric haul in the VIP lounge, he walked up to the airport ticket counter to reschedule his ticket. The lady took his ticket, scanned it to reschedule and her computer began jamming.

She fumbled with it some more and then realized what was wrong: an internal page limit had been reached.

Each time, he’d rescheduled, it was adding a notation to his case file, causing his confirmation file to get bigger until the system couldn’t process his ticket anymore. When she realized what had happened, she went to get her supervisor.

The man immediately realized his hustle was up. He rushed over to a counter on the other side of the room, got his refund, and got the hell out of there.

Corporate later spotted the exception in their report and confirmed the incident. But the man hadn’t broken any laws and wasn’t liable for anything. He’d juked the airline for 300 free meals without consequence.

While writing this article, I developed split personalities.

One part of me — that hates airports, airlines, and everything about them — thought the guy was brilliant. He had me doing a fist bump in the air.

Then, as I thought about it more, I realized the guy was being a wee bit of a jerk. By canceling and rebooking, he was wasting the employee’s time and airline space.

Additionally, it’s guys like this who end up creating more rules that cause more hassle to us in everyday life.

Now, there’s probably some lame rule that you have to eat within an hour of your flight time or the offer is invalid.

And I’m sure someone at Eastern China Airlines got yelled at for not having caught the 300 rebookings in their data report. So now they’ll have another daily task to check as well.

One can give someone credit for being slick, while also wondering if it was all worth it. Three hundred trips to the airport, and all the logistics, scans, and headaches, just for those meals.

He must have been very hungry, short on cash, or was super, super, cheap.

It wouldn’t work in the US so don’t bother trying.

Airlines are squeezing so many costs that we’ll soon be bringing our own pee buckets.

He’d just have ended up paying hundreds of dollars per meal and getting only an expired soda and a cheap hotdog in return. And maybe a kick in the pants if he asked for an extra napkin.

The line between laziness and genius has always been a place of great innovation.

But not always for the better.”

The Third Set of 4 Weird Ways People Got Free Stuff

And that’s the same as saving money, right? Well, only if you were going to pay for it anyway. That’s how stores get ya. Look at all this money you saved by spending hundreds of dollars that you probably wouldn’t have spent in the first place. My advice, don’t fall for it. Only buy the things you really need, with an occasional splurge now and then. Treat yo self! But in moderation.

10. I Wouldn’t Take A Used Swimsuit From The Lost And Found

Maybe I’m just strange, but I don’t think I’d be so cheap as to take a used swimsuit from the lost and found. But perhaps I’m just weird.

A man checked into a hotel and found out they had a swimming pool. This cheapskate actually grimaced when the clerk suggested he buy one at the mall next to the hotel. Instead, he asked if they maybe had one in the lost and found. They did and even let him keep it since it had been there for more than 30 days. He claims it is still his favorite swimsuit.

A used swimsuit to me is like used underwear. At a certain point, frugality just equals unhygienic. And this would definitely define the line between those two. Gross.

11. I think I Saw This On An Episode Of South Park

One woman was so cheap that she would attend those awful timeshare pitches for the free stuff they offer. That sounds about as fun as getting a root canal at your dentist. The list of things she got does sound worth it, potentially. She got free meals, show tickets, and even a luggage set out of her voluntary torture.

But the advice she gave holds up well. If you have more time than money, take advantage of offers. Determine how much your time is worth and act accordingly. If you are young and have no money, go for it. If you are older or have more financial resources, you’ll find that your time is more precious. Better to spend it on something worthwhile than for an opportunity for free stuff.

The main caveat, of course, you should never ever buy a timeshare. They are definitely not worth it and certainly not worth the free gift. Just sit through it and leave.

12. A Burrito, A Burrito, My Dignity For A Free Burrito

One young gentleman in college must have really liked Chipotle. They do make good burritos but is it worth the cost to your dignity? He and his friends decided the answer was yes. One year, Chipotle offered a free burrito on Halloween if you showed up in costume. The question remains as to whether it was any costume or a burrito costume specifically? Did you know that the weirdest thing you can save money on is burritos?

But apparently, all of them went to six different Chipotle locations to get a free burrito from each! The lessons he learned from the experience are that broke students will do nearly anything to get free food. Also, lettuce will not stay good for longer than two days in a leftover burrito from Chipotle. Very good advice and maybe don’t try to get so many at once, no matter how limited the offer.

13. Who Knew There Was An Actual Limit To How Much Free Ice Cream You’d Want?

Most restaurants and stores offer some sort of discount or freebie on your birthday. One guy collected over 20 on his birthday. He’d planned to go to 100 places but quickly found out that free doesn’t make your stomach any bigger. The limit to how much free ice cream you can have in a single day is also apparently five scoops. Any more than that would just be ridiculous, as we all know. Maybe the weirdest thing to save money on is ice cream!

Just show your license with proof of your birthdate, and you can get free food, gift certificates, and coupons as well. Of course, that means you’ll have to drive over town all day trying to get all of your freebies. It goes back to the earlier entry about how much your time is worth to you. I’d rather relax on my birthday, maybe hit one or two favorites. But it remains an option, particularly if you need free items or discounts.

Just try to remember that the human stomach has limits and sugar overdoses are a very real thing! But free gift certificates last forever. Or at least longer. Free things are some of the weirdest ways to save money!

The Last Set of 5 Weird Things Really Boggles The Mind

These last ones are actually about saving money rather than getting free stuff. But both the previous section and this come from a wonderful article on GoBankingRates.com. Check it out if you want the direct quotes and to hear even more crazy ways people saved money. We just cherry-picked our favorites here for your convenience.

14. Unplugging Appliances Is NOT Recommended

This one may win for most extreme, and probably least useful. Unplugging any appliances when not in use was one man’s strategy. Probably not the best idea, as even he admitted. The inconvenience probably doesn’t make up for the savings. As well as the fact that he didn’t have a way to measure how much electricity was being used by each appliance. Therefore, he couldn’t narrow down which ones were worth it. Buying such a device would also probably offset the savings anyway. Maybe only do this if you already have one and know what you are doing.

Certainly weird enough to make the list, however. Even if it didn’t make the cut as an effective savings method.

15. Taking Your Trash To Work Is Greener, I Guess?

Definitely one of those that you shouldn’t try at home and certainly not without permission. But one hard worker asked his boss if he could just bring what trash he had at home to dispose of at work. He already recycled and composted most of his waste, so he actually didn’t produce much actual garbage. He claims he saved almost $200 each year, so there’s that. Far more effective at saving money than turning off appliances.

It does illustrate the value of examining your own circumstances. I know I would have too much garbage for this to be worth it. But others could find it very valuable, just as something would suit me and not others. Try to think creatively and come up with new solutions that fit your lifestyle, as this gentleman did. 

It certainly turned out an odd way to save money. Odd but effective, and that is all that really matters. Particularly on this list.

16. If The Fee And Savings Work Out Positive, Worth It?

This falls under that cost/time savings calculator as mentioned above. One renter, with a decent cash-back credit card, would pay his rent every month with that card. The fee to pay with a credit card was $10 but he earned $30 in rewards from his card. So a net of $20 a month in his pocket every month. For the low price of filling out a credit card rent form every month. The weirdest things you can save money on could make a difference though!

But that shows the importance of making that calculation for yourself. Is filling out a form every month for $20 worth the annoyance and inconvenience? It would also matter how long and annoying the apartment rental office made the process. Five minutes and I have to stop, sure. Half an hour of tediously filling out the same complicated form again? Not so much.

But don’t overlook ways of saving just because a fee comes attached. If the reward or savings equals more than the fee, go for it!

17. Pushing Back Holidays Could Work, If Family Is On Board

Another young man talked about how his family would always celebrate holidays a day or so late. The whole family decided that saving money with the after-holiday sales was more than worth it. Travel usually costs less after peak times as well. He stressed the value of the holidays lies not in the date, but in quality time spent with family and friends . One of the weirdest things to save money on is the holiday season!

Getting others on board if they aren’t as cheap as you may be the hard part though. But the idea is very sound indeed. And then it can almost have more meaning, as it becomes a private time with your loved ones rather than the same thing everyone else is doing. And maybe others will wonder why exactly you’re all dressed up two days late.

Think about how much cheap candy you can get after Valentine’s and Halloween! That alone could make this idea one of the best on the list.

18. Somehow Longer Distances Equals Less Price? I Never Got That

One college girl took advantage of so-called high-volume routes when planning a cross-country trip. She road-tripped from North Carolina to Montana but then bused to L.A. to get a flight back from LAX. It somehow worked out cheaper, since flights from L.A. to North Carolina were more common than from Montana.

She also got to stay on beachfront campus housing, which sounds more than worth it to me. The money savings just worked out to be the cherry on top. I remember my college days being far more strapped for cash than some of these, I must admit. But saving money where you can makes for a great lesson, the younger learned the better.

Throw in friends and beach fun, and it only gets better!

19. If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Replace It! Or Something Like That

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, as the saying goes. Or gift MP3 player, as it turned out. One of the weirdest things to save money on is through music! One person was given one for free as a present and used it for years and years. New models may come and go, but free stuff is forever. At least until it finally gives up the ghost. He listened to the same 12 songs that were on the player, long after he could change it, for years, apparently.

It just goes to show that thriftiness is not just in your spending but buying habits. He waited until he could no longer stand the annoyances and then budgeted for and purchased a new one. Once it was a high enough priority, then he made the decision to buy a new player. The same lesson applies to everyone. Do you absolutely need a new widget gidget, or just want one?

But maybe when you can’t add or remove songs from a digital music player. That might be the line.

Max Cash Finds The Weird And The Cash!

We are always searching, for great information to bring you as well as the best deals on the market. When it comes to the weirdest things you can save money on, we’ve got you covered. We offer all kinds of loans as well as multiple credit card offers. We’ve done the hard work so that you can find the best deal from multiple loans from our many partners. So click here to start an application and get the loan or credit you need today!

By Jordan Radcliff

Jordan is a writer for Max Cash who covers a wide range of topics, including personal loans, credit scores, and side hustles.