Offbeat tips on saving money

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There are any number of predictable and pedestrian suggestions on saving money that recur in collecting advice on the subject, and then there are savings tips that qualify as wacky.  Here’s a group of the latter, as a demonstration that saving does have a creative side.

Purchase goods and services abroad.  Medical tourism is a popular example.  If you’re researching the price of an elective medical procedure and you’re shocked by its high price, may be able to help with your purchase, or you’re trying to avoid a long waiting period, you can look into travelling to another country in order to have the work done there.  Regions often mentioned as favoured destinations for medical care include Central and South America (particularly Costa Rica, Argentina, and Colombia), the Far East (Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore), and the Middle East (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates).  In addition to ordinary medical treatment, medical tourists often seek cosmetic surgery and reproductive or fertility treatments.

Collect packets of condiments.  If you visit fast food restaurants, you can gather as many envelopes of ketchup, sugar, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper as your conscience and management permit.  You can also pocket paper napkins, and to save on your fast food bill bring your own refillable bottle of tap water instead of purchasing a restaurant drink.  These collections do require a degree of shamelessness, but proponents report that comes with practise.

Travel with hot dogs.  If your favourite cheap meal is the hot dog, you can boil yours ahead of time and keep them warm in a Thermos flask until you combine them with the cheap buns you carried in a brown bag and the condiments you nicked on your last trip to buy fast food.  Do not pack them tightly in a small-mouthed flask, because if the hot dog’s contents include any sort of filler that expands in the presence of moist heat you may be unable to remove them without breakage.  That tip comes from a mum who did pack the hot dogs too tightly and fed her kiddies a lunch of delicious fragments.

Recycle cemetery rubbish.  This tip comes from people who go in search of the crafting materials used in assembling floral tributes, like polystyrene bases, wire, and silk leaves or flowers.  There are reports of lads who have been known to lift posies for their sweethearts directly from the recently deceased, on the theory that the owners have no further use for them, but the general feeling is that exceeds the bounds of good taste.

Reclaim errant golf balls.  You can save more money if the golf balls in question originally belonged to someone else, but tracking down your own wanderers also qualifies as thrift.  There are two tricks involved:  one is locating the lost balls and the other is securing access to the golf course, but if you can train yourself to dive in the water hazards those are often a rich source of supply.

Invent a baby to take advantage of Amazon Family offers.  Normally babies are identified as cost centers, but if you analyse the Amazon Family membership structure and determine the programme can save you money, you can invent a fictional baby in order to qualify.  Amazon offers a three-month trial period during which to assess the benefits of membership and decide whether it’s worth your while to remember details of the data you entered for your “baby.”

Reduce the capacity of the water tank in your loo.  This can best be accomplished by filling a plastic bottle with a heavy material that won’t decay if exposed to moisture (sand is recommended, but not mandatory).  The more water you displace, the less water will be used every time you pull the chain.  You will have reached the point of diminishing returns when you find yourself flushing twice to accomplish the task.

Sarah Pinkerton

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