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'Cheaper than cheap': Tips for ultra-frugal living

Some folks take extreme measures to save some pennies.

By Karen Datko Oct 7, 2009 1:02AM

Some frugal-living tips -- turning two-ply toilet paper into one-ply -- seem over the top, but others, like reusing Ziploc bags, are accepted practice in lots of households. The Happy Rock provides six "cheaper than cheap" tips "that border on fanatical to the point of being humorous" and asks readers to vote on their usefulness.

"Rock" provides a thorough explanation of each über-frugal tip as part of an ongoing series of posts, complete with how-to links in case you need some help implementing them.

Treat every squeeze of shampoo and dish detergent as if it were your last. Rock realized that he uses less toothpaste, etc., in each application as the supply in the container gets low. He suggests refilling empty bottles with just enough "to keep the frugal skimping side of you in control." (We think this would be kind of hard to do with toothpaste.)

Separate the two-ply TP. Reader Double Eagle commented, "Honestly, I'm all for trying to cut out the spending excesses, but this borders on neurotic."

Use canvas or used plastic bags at the grocery store. His store gives a 5-cent refund for each personal bag you use. The math looks good. Rock says, "If you buy five bags for a $5 investment, those bags are paid off after just 20 trips. If the bags last another five years, you could earn about $62.50 assuming you go to the store 50 times a year." 

Reuse plastic sandwich and other food-storage bags. Our partner blogger Trent Hamm at The Simple Dollar has written about the merits of this. Rock says, "Depending on the amount of bags that you use, you can easily save $20 a year."

Use creative ways to save on gas. Check out the photo at this post. Also, Rock tells a funny story. Rather than driving his own car to his wife's surprise birthday party an hour and a half away, he stowed away in the trunk of her car. "Presto -- $20 in gas saved, cramped legs, but, boy, was my wife surprised!" Now, that's creative.

Published June 11, 2008

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