Unorthodox Ways to Save Money

There are a lot of “frugal zealots” out there who already know just about every money-saving trick in the book. I didn’t want to rehash the same old tips, so I came up with a few that are a bit unorthodox.

You might have thought of these… and maybe not. I hope they will at least get you thinking in new directions.

Unorthodox Money-Saving Tip #1:

Stop Cleaning Your Ears with Cotton Swabs

Here’s what it says on the side of a box of Q-Tips (a.k.a. “cotton swabs”): Do not insert into ear.

The reason it says this is putting a cotton swab into your ear canal can damage your ear drum. Plus, there are more and more cases of people getting ear wax compacted in their ears such that they must have a medical procedure to remove the wax.

Ear wax is like mucous in the nose: It’s there to prevent certain things (like dust and germs) from entering your body. So ear wax is a barrier against sickness. If you remove the ear wax, no more barrier.

Plus, the way the ear is designed, you shouldn’t have to clean your ears with cotton swabs. Whenever you chew, the area inside your ear moves and expresses ear wax. It naturally moves out.

So: I conclude that cotton swabs are not necessary. You can stop buying them and you’ll be fine.

Unorthodox Money-Saving Tip #2:

Shave Once a Week Instead of Daily

I’ve never had a problem with shaving too frequently. Even when I worked at Merrill Lynch, I shaved once a week. Still do.

Most guys shave every single day. And no matter if you’re using an electric or a blade, you’ll go through them 7 times faster if you’re shaving daily versus once a week. If you use a blade, you’re also spending money on shaving cream.

If you reduce shaving to even every other day, you can cut your shaving costs in half — a significant savings over the course of a year.

Grow a beard and you’ll save even more. ;-)

Unorthodox Money-Saving Tip #3:

Break Down Your Trash to Fit More Trash Per Bag

I’m amazed by people who finish a box of cereal and just throw it in the garbage. The right way to do it is to take the bag out of the box, then break down the box so it lies flat. Then recycle the box.

When you don’t “pack your trash” by breaking it down, you fill plastic trash bags with, essentially, air. What an incredible waste.

Would you buy plastic trash bags, fill them with air, then throw them away? Sounds stupid, yet this is exactly what millions of Americans do.

Throwing away a cardboard milk carton? Flatten it first. Cereal box? Flatten it. Plastic cartons? Crush them.


At our house, we use the plastic bags we get from the grocery store for our trash. Saves us a ton of money. And since we recycle a bunch of trash, we only put out one trash can a week, usually half full. That’s for a family of five, with one kid in diapers.

Trash bags are expensive. If you’re going to buy them, at least fill them properly.

Unorthodox Money-Saving Tip #4:

Drop the Comprehensive Insurance & Go Liability Only

State laws differ, so this may not be possible where you live. But as soon as you pay off a car loan, drop the comprehensive insurance and go with liability only.

This will save you a fortune over the lifetime of your car, assuming you don’t cause a major accident.

When you get rid of comprehensive insurance, guess what? You become a lot more aware of your driving. You take fewer risks, drive safer. That’s because if you CAUSE an accident, all the costs to repair your car will fall on your shoulders.

Now, I still recommend having liability insurance as well as uninsured driver’s insurance. I have both. But I save hundreds of dollars annually by not paying comprehensive insurance.

Unorthodox? Yes. Certainly not for the faint of heart.


Hopefully some of these tips will be useful to you. Do you have any unorthodox money-saving tips of your own?

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4 thoughts on “Unorthodox Ways to Save Money”

  1. I break down boxes too because I realized how much space they take up in the bag. Sometimes I will just carry the boxes out to the trash without even trying…like when I order pizza.

    Can’t drop the insurance on my car yet because I am still paying the loan.

  2. Agreed, a lot of things people do without really knowing why.

    I don’t use Q-tips, instead I just wash my ears with water when I shower (with a washcloth). And my ears are just as clean as my GF’s, even though she uses Q-tips.

    And unless you have a new car you really don’t need full coverage. It’s nice, but I have yet to know anyone who got back more than they put into the policy. Just roll the savings from that into your emergency fund and you will be okay.

    Now if you have a NEW car with a loan, the cost of replacement for the first 2-3 years could get a little outrageous (plus you have to finish paying it off…). So if you have a car with a loan attached, it’s usually a good idea to have full coverage. But TBH, 99% of us should be driving used anyway. :-)

  3. Stop buying toothpaste? Flossing, brushing and gargling with salt water are more than enough. Nothing will survive a salt water gargle.

    Most primitive tribes have beautiful teeth. And they don’t even got tooth brushes. Dental health, I’ve read from reliable sources, is mainly a dietary problem not a toothbrush/flouride problem.

    Really, your mouth will feel much more clean gargling and rinsing with salt water. It’ll also help a lot preventing throat infections and colds.

    Which will save you from sick days from work, which equals more money.

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