Terrible money-saving ideas

Emma Woollacott
Cassidy, a pomeranian dog with six months of hair growth, is groomed at New York Dog Spa and Hotel to remove matted patches of h
Cassidy, a pomeranian dog with six months of hair growth, is groomed at New York Dog Spa and Hotel to remove matted patches of h

"Take one grape to the till. It won't register on the low-tech, insensitive scales so you will get it for free. Repeat this procedure 100 times or so and you have yourself a free bunch of grapes."

That, it has to be confessed, is a top tip from Viz Magazine. But believe it or not, there are people out there with genuine money-saving advice that is almost as bizarre.

These are all real examples, culled from newspapers, television and the internet; just think carefully before giving them a try.

Buy only one light bulb

Young mother Stephanie had a great tip for viewers on a US TV programme last year. To cut down on electricity costs, she suggests, do as she and her family do: just have one light bulb, and take it around the house with you as you go. A candle in the bathroom means you get some privacy, she says, and the family saves £40 a month.

Knit your own clothes out of dog hair

Can't afford a new sweater? Then knit your own. But only a mug pays for wool. Mother Nature Network recommends picking up dog and cat hair from around your house and spinning and knitting it yourself. "Instead of seeing that fur as a nuisance, why not see it as a soft blanket, a warm sweater or even a business opportunity? it suggests. Apparently, lots of people are doing it, and there's even a book to show you how.

Use an old calendar

Everybody knows that you can't use the same calendar from year to year because dates fall on different days of the week. Eventually, though, things get back in sync, meaning that an old calendar is accurate again: not only a saving for you, but potentially "a cheap gift", suggests the Daily Finance website. This year, for example, you could be using a calendar from 2003, 1997, 1986 or 1975. And if you write on it in pencil and hang on to it at the end of the year, you'll get another chance in 2025, 2031 and 2042.

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Simple Energy and Money Saving Tips
Simple Energy and Money Saving Tips

Save toast crusts
In an interview with Tatler, Baroness Rawlings – who lives in a 13-bedroom mansion - suggests making the most of your left-overs. "'I love melba toast," she says. "We have it with dinner on Friday and Saturday, but keep the crusts. These can be fried and served as soldiers with boiled eggs." Or, of course, let them all eat cake.

Pocket condiments at restaurants

"I always ask for extra ketchup packets when I order from fast food restaurants," writes one forum contributor. "I save them all in a box in my pantry and they are great for when I forget to buy ketchup from the grocery or even when I just feel like saving myself from that particular expense." Others on the site go even further: "I stopped purchasing paper towels as I get a handful of napkins when I purchase my morning coffee," writes one.

Scour the streets for pennies

Blogger Brian says he's found $855.42 since 1998, just by keeping his eyes on the ground; " I think my ultimate goal of showing my son the value of money is working," he says. Meanwhile, Jeffrey Strain makes around $100 a year, and says many others do the same. The best places, he says, are pavements and gutters, stations bus stops, and near parking and vending machines.

Get someone to sponsor your wedding

It's the biggest day of your life - why wouldn't you want to spend it plastered with corporate logos? Certainly if it means you can have the wedding and honeymoon in Thailand. That's the thinking, at any rate, of Courtney McKenzie and her fiancé Jamil, who are currently touting for sponsors for their wedding. They're after $30,000 (so not backpacking, then) in return for logos on the wedding dress, the honeymoon clothes - and the elephant.

Toilet train your cat

Cat litter can cost £10 or more per month - money not necessarily well spent, say some. Apparently, it's not difficult to train your cat to use the toilet, cutting back on both bad smells and expenditure. This one might actually make some sense - as long as the cat is thorough about flushing, of course.

Check the bins at cemeteries

Plastic flowers are already a good way to save money, of course: they last so much longer than the real thing. But why even pay for them in the first place? Here, Anne from Iowa points out that they often get thrown out by cemeteries: just help yourself from the bins, she says.

Get your face tattooed

"The cost of lipstick can add up quickly, particularly if you invest in top-quality brands," this blogger writes. "A tube of good lipstick can run upwards of $18 or more. It is advisable to get new lipstick every few months. That adds up to quite a lot." The answer? Visit a tattooist like her to get yourself permanent makeup. You'll even save money on laundry, she adds, as you won't get lipstick stains on your clothes any more.

Read more about saving the pennies on AOL Money:

Rip-off Britain: 10 astonishingly bad deals

Five ways to stop yourself spending money

The best voucher code sites