Cheapism.com has created and curated dozens of lists that share tips and tricks for saving money. But this post takes a different tack: highlighting things that probably aren't worth doing even if they save a little money. These behaviors hover right on the edge of being just too weird or downright gross.
EATING DOG FOOD
There have been several exhortations in the "frugalsphere" to try eating dog food. You may wonder who takes this tip seriously, but apparently some people do, and the consenus is that dry dog food is tastier than wet. After looking at how much high-end dog food costs, making the switch might not save much money at all.
Of course, conserving water for ecological reasons is important (do you live in California?), and everyone has those days when a shower just doesn't fit in. But keeping clean seems pretty fundamental. Those who want to pare the water bill when showering should invest in a shower head with an on/off switch. Get wet, turn off the water while lathering up, and then rinse off quickly.
SPLITTING TOILET PAPER ROLLS
Using single-ply toilet paper is not the best experience, but it's not necessarily disgusting. And yes, buying two-ply rolls and splitting the sheets will probably save a little money. But considering the time it takes to split and re-roll toilet paper, are all those wasted hours worth the small change? An alternative way to save on toilet paper is to install a bidet. Buy one online for about $35; installation is simple.
ELIMINATING TOILET PAPER ALTOGETHER
Moving beyond splitting TP rolls or using a bidet, a handful of families have made the switch to cloth wipes, according to the blog EnviroMom. Used wipes are dropped into a bin filled with water and bleach, where they soak until laundry time. For many people, this tip is surely a step too far.
REUSING PAPER TOWELS
Drying and reusing paper towels or napkins is a nice way to limit waste, but there are better ways to save money. This may be a case where those cloth wipes come in handy. Use them as napkins and for cleaning up spills and then throw in the wash when it's time to do a load.
DUMPSTER DIVING FOR FOOD
Yes, most people know one bakery on the other side of town that throws out perfectly good day-old bread. And it's true that many supermarkets throw away food that's far from spoiled, and that some folks have few other sources of nutrition. For the most part, though, dumpster diving is kinda distasteful.
DUMPSTER DIVING AT CEMETERIES
Dumpster diving for food may be a tad gross, but dumpster diving in a cemetery to find flowers seems downright disrespectful. If the temptation to scrounge for flowers is too strong, at least go to the dumpster of a nearby big-box store.
TOILET-TRAINING THE CAT
Actually, this is pretty cool, albeit peculiar. The YouTube training videos may seem a bit bizarre, and the basic premise is certainly way out there, but potty-training the cat will save a load of money on litter and air fresheners.
Hoarding sometimes stems from the belief that when something is super-cheap it's good to stock up, or that it's worth stockpiling necessities "just in case." The upshot can be dangerous. Hoarding disorder may become serious and should not be dismissed with the same lightheartedness directed at the other oddball ideas on this list. Anyone who is experiencing these tendencies, or knows someone who appears to have hoarding disorder, should consult a professional.
Cheapism has written about how to get rebates and discounts by sharing deals and recent purchases with friends, but there's a limit. Over-sharers should cut it out now or they'll find they don't have any friends left with whom to share what's really important.
TAKING IN CAST-OFF FURNITURE
Before protesting, read on. Furnishing digs with items rescued from the sidewalk (or a garage sale) is an obvious money-saving strategy. The piece might need a quick sanding and paint job, or a little spot-clean and patch, and it will be as good as new. But for those who live in an area where bed bugs or other small pests run rampant, bringing an upholstered chair into the home is potentially gross and very costly.
EATING A CUP NOODLES DIET
This is an easy way to live off a few dollars a day, but the Cup Noodles diet provides several times the recommended daily intake of sodium. Don't be surprised if the initial savings are short-lived because one's health from excess sodium may be, too.
Stealing is just plain wrong, regardless the object of desire. At one time illegally downloading music, TV shows, and movies was the only way to get access to a wide variety of media without heading to the store. No longer. With free streaming services such as Pandora or Spotify and inexpensive options such as Netflix and Hulu Plus, it's a snap to find something to listen to or watch on the cheap. Heck, there are even deals at movie theaters for those who know where to look.
KNITTING WITH DOG HAIR
Thanks to the website Cracked for sharing the fact that this is something people do. Knitting with Dog Hair is an actual book, published way back in 1997, that details the ins and outs of recycling the hairs Fido sheds into wearable (?) clothing. It may be time to find a different craft.