Kids these days call these “life hacks”, although they were formerly known simply as “good ideas”.
They are listed in no particular order, but there are two unifying themes:
- They should all save you money.
- I have tried all of them (except for the bonus tip at the end), so they come with the Loonie Lover stamp of approval.
- Remember when I was whining about losing my free online newspaper? If you work at a place that orders several copies of a newspaper (for clients, or the breakroom, or whatever) then your employer is probably entitled to an equal number of digital editions of that same newspaper. Call the paper and have them arrange to set up a series of accounts for you and your co-workers (who will now hold you in even higher esteem).
- Thinking of buying an e-reader? You can test-drive an e-reader (and get somebody to show you how it works!) for free at many municipal libraries. After I saw how these devices worked, I had no hesitation plunking down my money to buy an e-reader for my daughter. It’s now one of her most prized possessions.
- Need a bit of paint to finish off a project? Eco stations often give away small amounts of “used” paint for free. This is how we finished off my son’s birdhouse, which was itself made from remnants of the neighbour’s fence. (Yes, he took the fence down first. (The neighbour, I mean.))
- Remember when people used to buy stacks of CD’s or DVD’s? If you still have some of those cases sitting around, they make excellent conversation-piece yet practical bagel transport devices.
- Lower the brightness of your LCD TV. Those display settings were for attracting buyers’ attention in brightly-lit stores. Aside from not burning your retinas, you’ll save money on energy costs.
- Make your own coffee at work. After set up costs, coffee could cost you $30 per year instead of $30 per week.
- Young kids really have no idea of the price of gifts. Save your money for when they’re older, when they will become acutely aware of the cost of everything.
- Lower your Internet/cable/telephone bill by following this one easy step: Call your provider and ask. The worst that can happen is that they will do is say no, but in my experience, they usually don’t.
Special bonus entry: The worst idea I have ever heard for saving money:
I’m not making this up. This was actually in a book my father found at a second-hand bookstore for a buck and gave to me.
The next time you need to mix drywall compound (which most of us do on at least a semi-regular basis – Loonie Lover’s editorial comment) mix the compound in an upturned toilet plunger. When you’re done, let the excess compound dry, and then turn the plunger inside out to empty it.
Tragically, I recycled the book years ago, and I can’t remember the title, so you’ll have to be satisfied with that one gem that I remember.
The floor is now open to the rest of the Internet. What clever ways have you found to get some satisfaction out of save a few bucks?