What is the cheapest thing you had ever done?

@saralee1 (1983)
United States
June 26, 2007 11:35pm CST
I can name a few. It really is kind of odd,but was necessary while going to school on a shoestring budget. one of the cheapest, and silliest things I had done, was take 20 packets of ketchup from Mcdonalds to make meatloaf. and, the meatloaf was 70% bread! My husband and I also used to hurt for money all the time, mainly for bus fare, so we used to tell the driver we were disabled to get 1/2 fare. then, when we went to the dollar theater, which was once a week, I used to take toilet paper off the rolls, and stick it in my purse, and my husband used to swipe the napkins up front, so we could use it later while eating or cleaning. once a year, we would goto the state fairs, where they used to hand out unlimited samples of shampoo and conditioner. needless to say, we got our money's worth! but let's not forget the Avon lady, and all of her free samples! I used to get lotions, and perfumes, and cremes, all in the name of beauty! Back then, we both went to school full time, and we were really struggling to finish at the top of our class. We did, with honors, but we never forgot our struggles, or our newfound creativity. We didn't have a car back then, yet we were going through Automotive school.We did everything we physically could to make sure we got through that school, and do the best that we could. Happily, I can say that between donating plasma, and selling burritos, even working on other people's cars, we didn't do to shabby, and came a long way!
5 people like this
13 responses
@fungurly1 (180)
• United States
27 Jun 07
Hey! Not funny! just kidding! I'm going threw this right now. I only make 80-100 dollars a weeks and My rent is $300 a month. I split $900 three ways. We got a lot of disconuts on the apartment because were students and one of our roommates got us a work discount. But everytime I'm in a fast food resturant with them we always swipe the napkins the packets and spoons and forks...water to wash dishes if exspensive. Laundry only happens once a week. We re-wear cloth if there not dirty and I always do the toliet paper thing. We have so many free samples everywhere in our apartment. I found candles on sale at 90% off and I bought them all for 6 dollars so we don't need to use electrisity, All three of us are in college and struggling to make money safe money and do good in school without over working ourselves. We are scratching by on 60 cent frozen meals from walmart and the free fod stands at some supermarkets. We all carry around water bottles, so we just refill them at water fountains. We never put the ac on even when its 100* we just open the doors or leave and go somewhere theres ac if it gets to hot. If you have any tips on other ways to save money while in school let me know. we need all the help we can get.
2 people like this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
Well, I will tell you how I survived while going to college in Phoenix Arizona. I indeed had a roommate, who was on social security, so she didn't have much money either. I ate on 1.07 a day. Jack in the box, I think saved my hide, because I always ordered the jumbo jack, which has all your veggies on it anyways, and I asked for extra pickles, ketchup etc. to fill me up. I ate at lunch. I payed my roommate 200$ a month, which included utilities, and I made friends, and they would invite me over to beat the heat in their pool. I also spent a lot of time at the library, because as you know, it is a great place to beat the heat! computer labs are also good for this, since they have to keep it cool in there because of the computers. I made extra money selling items on the weekend at the swapmeets, by picking up garage sale items. I worked at the lab on campus in the psychology department for a little extra cash. I dated a lot,because the guy, if he was working, always took me out to dinner, and that was pretty cool, so I never starved. As a matter of fact,I'd only date the guys who had jobs, and usually it was just a date or two, then I was off to the next guy! (LOL) at bars, I would sing karaoke for free drinks. And, I did odd jobs for people, such as caring for their gardens, homes or pets. It is not always easy to work a regular job, if your school schedule is all over the place, like mine usually was. I had morning classes, and evening classes. (and of course, the dinner dates stopped after I met my husband!) another good place to hang out is the coffeeshops. If you have a laptop, you can usually avoid having to pay for internet service if you use these places, though sometimes they charge like a buck.I found it completely necessary to have a laptop in college for assignments anyways. hope this helps!
1 person likes this
• United States
28 Jun 07
Yeah I have a laptop and somehow were stealing internet of the people next door. Its weird, but helpful. I have morning and night classes mon-fri and then I work a 16 hour shify every sunday. Saturdays are my only day when I'm not doing anything and that day is usually for my boyfriend.. So of how bad it gets some times. We don't have a Jack in the Box here but all the fast food places have dollar menus and I always ask for water too. Picking up change works for me too. I usually find change around my friends apartments and on the ground outside my apartment. As soon as I'm done I'll never have to go threw this again so I can't wait to be done,.. Thanks for the helpful tips. It really means alot to know there are other people out there who are going and have gone threw the same thing. Thanks!
2 people like this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
Hey, not a problem! and BTW, you are not "stealing" internet access. as a matter of fact, you are simply using a resource that person has decided to share with you! there is a lock on the laptop so that you do not have to "share" wireless service. Instead of bringing it to their attention, just do something nice for them, like help them with their gardening or something. This way you don't have to feel guilty that you are getting something for nothing. I actually have wireless in my apartment, and my whole complex now gets free wireless. I have experienced some great joy in my neighbors being extra friendly to me, (the ones with laptops, LOL!) and it is definitely worth it. More power to them!
1 person likes this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 Jun 07
Most of the times I remember really having to scrounge were when I was a child. I picked up money under the swings on the playground where it fell out of other's kids' pockets, and would use it to buy food, because there really wasn't any at my home most of the time. I remember taking home pockets full of jelly packets or peanut butter from restaurants where I ate with friend's families, in order to take it home to stretch bread into whole meals. I also remember begging my friends to order more food in restaurants just so I could take their leftovers home. I haven't had to do nearly as much scrounging as an adult. Even when things have been fairly tight for me husband and myself, we've done okay. Right now a lot of people think poorly of us because we don't have a car or house, but our rental place is nice and us and our child have plenty to eat, wear, etc.
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 Jun 07
I feel the same way! I know so many people who have had a lot of help in their lives who can't seem to understand that it doesn't work that way for everyone! Whenever I talk about my financial situation, people always ask why I don't just ask my family for help, and it's frustrating. They never seem to understand what it is like not to have that option!
2 people like this
@lecanis (16664)
• Murfreesboro, Tennessee
27 Jun 07
*nods* I often have questions about that sort of thing, and it's hard to explain why I can't ask anyone to help me. I mean, how do you politely say that your family abused you for your entire childhood, stole every penny you tried to keep for yourself, and then kicked you out when you were so ill you weren't sure you were going to live? Right now my husband and I do things the best we can for ourselves, and things are going okay. =)
1 person likes this
@cutepenguin (6457)
• Canada
27 Jun 07
I haven't really done anything that i consider out of the ordinary - we're struggling right now, and so there is a lot of eating very boring food, and some food provided by our parents, who send us home with leftovers whenever we go over to their places for dinner. We're careful to use coupons and try to get free points for stuff, and sometimes I'll take a bunch of recycling in and I might take other people's recycling too. (Like our parents').
2 people like this
• United States
27 Jun 07
Can you really make money off cans and plastic bottles in so where?
1 person likes this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
Look in your yellow pages under recycling, and do a little investigating on prices. There are quite a few recycling plants in the US anyways, that recycle glass, aluminum,copper, paper, plastics, etc.
1 person likes this
@nancygibson (3738)
• France
27 Jun 07
We try to make our money go as far as possible, so we just do without anything we can't afford. We wouldnt go near fast food, but always cook from scratch to get best value as well as decent nutrition from our food, and we walk a lot. Mostly its about common sense, use home made soap for cleanig bathing and laundry, don't buy things that date and be creative with everything. I wouldnt want to feel I had to stoop to stealing napkins though, thats pretty fard own the line for me, I would use washable cloths before I had to do that, but each to their own I suppose. Free samples do come in handy though.
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
stealing napkins? I guess you never had a teller hand you like 100 napkins or something? most people just throw them away, anyways. No, I always ask first. except the toilet paper. My rule of thumb is this, if there is a bundle of napkins, and you take the whole thing in the bundle, that is stealing. however, if they are left on the counter for you to use, there is no limit to how much you can take. 1 or 100 it is still the same. and, what about TP? if you take the whole roll, that is stealing. but if you just take off some from the roll, I am sure they wouldn't complain, or notice. BIG DIFFERENCE.
1 person likes this
• United States
27 Jun 07
When I was in college, and lived in the dorms, I had a boyfriend who didn't live in the dorms and didn't really have a lot of money for food. We discovered that with my meal plan, I could go to the Student Union Building and buy two sandwiches for the cost of one meal. So there were many nights that I would pick up the two sandwiches, and that was our whole meal. Also, when I started grad school, I didn't have enough money to buy my first semester's books. I checked out the majority of them from the school library, at least to get me started in the semester. One of the professors came into class one day and hadn't re-read the book we were supposed to read, because, as he said "the library copy is checked out." I was kind of amused that the professor didn't want to buy the book either. :) I eventually bought some of my books that semester, but less than I would have had to otherwise.
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
Yes,very creative! One of the things that really killed me in college,was the expense of the text books.And,they were always coming out with new editions the instructors insisted you needed, so you could not get the books used! makes college very difficult when you are paying for your own classes.
• United States
27 Jun 07
I think the times I have struggled the worst have made me appreciate my life as I have it. I appreciate my used clothes and my mismatched dishes because I know I am doing the best I can and I know what really matters To me. When we were at our poorest I would make soup from everything. We would stock up on all the little packets and make hot dog soup. It wasnt great but we were full and satisfied. Not that I ever want to get there again.
2 people like this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
27 Jun 07
Hot dog soup! that is pretty creative!
• United States
27 Jun 07
I don't think I've really done anything that crazy/odd to help the budget, but it's happened in the household. My grandmother absolutely refuses to throw anything away. So if they eat out at a fast food place, they'll end up bring home packets of ketchup and what not and they'll use those, or rather she'll use those. The only thing I really do, is I request a lot of free samples online, and get free samples of stuff I know I'll use when I can. If I'm too lazy to really buy anything that I may need, I may grab a handful of napkins or something if I know they'll come in handy rather soon and I'll use them so I don't have to waste money on something I'll only use once and then leave around.
2 people like this
@eaforeman6 (8983)
• United States
3 Jul 07
I think it just shows you that there is more then 1 way to make it and get by. Once I used ketsup to make sauce for spagettie because I was on a tight budget and it was what I had at the time....and I ordered freebies from the freebie sites to help tie over the budget....
1 person likes this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
3 Jul 07
that is actually good thinking there, stuff to do with ketchup packets! I am sure that if you didn't tell anyone, add a little Italian seasoning, and some Parmesan, it would be hard to tell the difference?
@FlaKNMB (831)
• United States
3 Jul 07
I've done a lot of cheap things. The most recent was last week. I'd gotten a coupon in the mail for a free box of Glucerna cereal. Walgreens had a deal where you got a coupon for $4.49 off (anything) your next purchase when you bought a box of Glucerna cereal (which cost $4.49). I got the first box free with the coupon and got several more boxes all for free with the cash register coupon/catalina. The deal ended 6/30. I can use the last $4.49 catalina I got toward anything I buy in the store.
• United States
30 Jun 07
When we lived in our apartment, we didn't have a washer or dryer. It always seemed like we didn't have enough money to pay the bills, so doing laundry at the laundromat was pretty much out of the question. I worked at an assisted living facility at night. I was the only one there, so I would bring our clothes to work and get them done in between doing the resident's laundry. I used there soap and everything.
1 person likes this
@mari_skye (1638)
• Philippines
28 Jun 07
Wow! That's what I would call determination. My parents too were not that well off, but I guess I have never been through those things that you have mentioned. Although I remember I did struggle a bit when I was just starting with my job here in Manila. I was too proud to ask for my parents for anything. I wanted to make it on my own two feet.
1 person likes this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
29 Jun 07
Good Job! My husband and I never took anything from family, or friends. We wanted to get by on our own, so I know how you feel! It is good that you have been set on the right track, and didn't need to struggle much. unfortunately, we are not all that lucky.(it would be nice though!) Sometimes just lack of advice from a caring person can send someone in the wrong direction. There is more to parenting than just giving birth, and it may take longer than 18 years. (LOL!)
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
27 Jun 07
well, i got two 'cheapskate gazette' books at a garage sale! (and i sold them at another sale!) my parents give us day old donuts from our local donut shop, we get a lot of hand me downs among other things...
1 person likes this
@saralee1 (1983)
• United States
28 Jun 07
those day olds are great with coffee. (chuckles)
@carolscash (9500)
• United States
9 Sep 07
i see nothing wrong with what you have done and you were getting by. There have been times that my husband and I have wondered where our next dollar would come from and I have done some of the same types of things. Luckily, my husband knew a gret paying recycling place and so for a couple of years we picked up pop cans every day and took them in for money. I have taken extra napkins and packets before as I see no need to waste them. It is not the way that we chose to live but it was the way that we chose to get by. I have used dish detergent for laundry detergent and stuff like that several times.