9 gross things people actually do to save money

There are plenty of practical ways to save money. You know, like clipping coupons, only purchasing items when they’re on sale and creating and sticking to a budget. But for some people, that’s simply not enough. They’ve taken the idea of living frugally to an entirely new level.

And by new level, we’re talking some extreme, creative and downright gross ways to go about saving a few bucks.

Here are some of the highlights we’ve found:

1. Turning An Old Jar Into A Toilet

The TLC reality show, “Extreme Cheapskates” is known to showcase some pretty unusual ways in which extreme savers stash more cash in the bank. And pretty much nothing is off limits. One woman on the show shared how she likes to save money on water, which she does by using an old jar or bottle as a bathroom to cut down on toilet flushes. She even dumps her urine into a compost bin after her bottle is filled.

“I thought wow, I can pee in a jar, grow my compost and not have to flush my toilet,” the woman stated on the show.

Flickr | How can I recycle this

2. Dumpster Diving For Food

Well I guess this is one way to save money on groceries, but definitely not recommended. One woman, who was also featured on TLC’s “Extreme Cheapskates” said she likes to look in dumpsters behind groceries stores for her next meal.

“I have been eating dumpster-dived-for [food] regularly for two years now,” Kay, who was featured on the TLC show “Extreme Cheapskates” says. She even served scavenged food to her friends when they came over for dinner. This is a common practice of freegans, people who employ unconventional strategies in order limit their consumption of resources.

Flickr | Lili Vieira de Carvalho

3. Reusing Paper Towels

Roy Haynes, who was also featured on the TLC show “Extreme Cheapskates” would hang up his paper towels to dry so he’d be able to reuse them multiple times.

“And they are still functional,” he proudly says.


4. Digging In Movie Theater Trash For Free Refills

Another thing Haynes does to save a few extra bucks is sift through the trash of movie theaters in search of used drink containers. Once he rinses them out, he’ll take the drink cups up to the counter to get a refill.


5. Dumpster Diving In Cemeteries

BankRate.com asked their readers to share some of the most outrageous things they’ve done to save money, and one woman admitted that she would go dumpster diving in cemeteries in search of artificial flowers.

“A few years ago, I was into crafting artificial flowers. A neat way to save money on my hobby materials was to go Dumpster-diving at cemeteries to pick up artificial flowers and miscellaneous decorations left behind. I would go into the cemeteries, take what was thrown out in the dumpster and use the items instead for my crafting!”

Flickr | Kristian Thøgersen

6. Entering An Eating Contest

When money guru Dave Ramsey asked fans on his Facebook page what they’ve done to save money, one person wrote that they entered a Whopper-eating contest because not only was it free, but he wouldn’t have to buy food that day.

Streeter Lecka/Flickr

7. Not Using Toilet Paper

The idea is that if you stop using toilet paper and instead use cheap washcloths from the dollar store, you can save on the expense of toilet paper. However, you’d probably have to bleach the washcloths pretty frequently in order to keep reusing them.

Flickr | Vivian Chen [陳培雯]

8. Recycling Cut Hair

In a list of outrageous ways to save money on WiseBread.com, one tip was to take old hair and use it to stuff pillows. The logic is that hair is soft, free and biodegradable. If you’re wondering how you might come across your own supply of cut hair, the article suggested you ask your local barber shop.

Getty Images | Chris Hondros

9. Dining On Roadkill

From the TLC reality show “Extreme Cheapskates,” Vickie and John admitted they will skip a trip to the grocery store and instead search for roadkill that they can then turn into dinner. Gross. What’s even worse is that they like to serve the fresh-off-the-street roadkill to guests who come over for dinner.

Flickr | Brian Leon of Ottawa

While we’re all for saving money, we’d suggest sticking to some of the more practical ways to stash a little extra cash in the bank…that don’t involve jumping head first into a grimy old dumpster.

About the Author

Megan Fenno

Freelance Writer. Accessory Designer. Blogger. Digital Content Producer. Lover of Cincinnati, Ohio and living a savvy lifestyle. Wife. And mom to a 6 year-old stud. More.

More to explore