#3. Make Something Yourself That Takes a Lot of Time and Expertise
Everyone cries about how our society has become so specialized and dependent on technology and we can't fix our own crap anymore, and back in the day we churned our own butter and built our own houses and knew how to fix our cars, which I'm sure is a very interesting subject, but crying about it doesn't change the fact that we can't very well build our own cellphones, and very few people even have the time and expertise to sew their own clothes.
Still, people persist in suggesting that you can save a lot of money by making your own (insert household item here). This website suggests making your own beauty products with natural ingredients like eggs, oatmeal and avocado.
Part of a nutritious breakfast!
I do like the idea of taking 15 to 30 minutes putting together an entire cooking recipe whenever I want to use a beauty product, since none of that crap will keep. Plus, some of the "simple household ingredients" people suggest you can handily grab aren't really that common. A lot of people suggest using gelatin and milk to make a mask to replace Biore pore strips, which are sticky strips that masochists like myself use to rip blackheads out of our nose pores.
For some reason, used Biore strips are a common subject of macro photography on the Internet.
Unfortunately, very few people have gelatin just lying around their houses, and apparently not a lot of supermarkets here have plain gelatin lying on their shelves, either, so unless I want to give myself a strawberry Jell-O facial (I can't imagine the sugar and red dye #9 are good for skin), this "money-saving" tip is going to cost me a lot of driving around and wasted time.
Other people suggest making your own beer and wine. I've had other people's homemade beer and wine, and it tastes fucking awful. Sure, some talented individuals make good homebrew, but odds are it is not going to be you. If you just want to produce alcohol in order to get drunk, I guess this works, though.
Like, I guess if you learn how to make your own toilet wine, you can save a lot of cigs.
Still others suggest making your own clothes, which, again, works for people who are good at making clothes. That blogger suggests that making a sleeveless top takes "about one hour," which means it would take me like five hours, and that they save the $40 they would have spent on a similar top at the store, which means that "the store" is probably Nordstrom's.
Did you know you can save a lot on a top already by not shopping at Nordstrom's? Maybe go to Target or Walmart or Old Navy? Or if you must have a brand name, Ross or T.J. Maxx? I can probably get a sleeveless top from Old Navy for $10, so I think I can find better things to do with an afternoon than earn $10, like earn a lot more than that at my job.
I work for an organization that teaches cats to read.
Something else you can make yourself is hair extensions, which require nothing more than wig clips, a needle and thread, and packages of "wefted human hair." I don't even know what wefted human hair is, but I have a feeling that it is going to be even harder to get than gelatin.
#2. Give Gifts Nobody Wants
You know when underprivileged youth come to your door selling magazine subscriptions because it's the only thing keeping them off the streets? If they've never tried to sell you magazines, at least they've tried to sell them to the main characters of Office Space, so you can watch that.
Or maybe you've registered for something on the Internet, and when you're done they offer you a "thank you gift" in the form of free magazine subscriptions that you have to start paying for in three months.
Well, one Oprah.com reader knows exactly how much delight magazine subscriptions bring everyone and is going to force them on all her friends for Christmas.
Sure, some people might actually be happy to get Better Homes & Gardens for a year or whatever, but a lot of people avoid magazine offers like the plague and hate the thought of yet more mail clutter they have to sort for the recycling bin, not to mention having their address sold to mailing lists that want to advertise to people who like whatever the magazine is about.
Apparently unused magazine subscriptions is a big enough problem that it prompted this other list to give this tip:
There is kind of a weird synergy between the two tips, where you could keep getting magazine subscriptions from the one person and keep canceling them per this tip. It's almost a sort of circle of life.
There's a similar kind of tip when they suggest making something for yourself that hardly anyone wants, like if your white clothes get stained, make them into tie-dyed clothes. Honestly, if I had to choose between the two, I would rather just wear the stained clothes.
#1. Things Most People Can't Do
It's pretty expensive to live in California, or New York. So if you're trying to find some small ways to trim your budget, why not move to Iowa?
I should mention that this list is billed as "Little Steps: 100 Great Tips for Saving Money for Those Just Getting Started," and these are described as "simple little moves you can make to improve your financial situation." Like, you know, moving to Iowa.
Other tips don't involve completely changing your life and uprooting your family, but might be impractical for most people, like riding a bike to work. It's a great idea, but most American cities and even suburbs are not terribly bike friendly, which means you need to be some kind of daredevil to get from one place to another.
I seriously think this might be a safer commute.
Even if you are a daredevil, some commutes are just impossible. A lot of people have to take freeways to get to work, or drive more than 25 miles. Blame the government or whoever, but there's no bike lanes in most places, many drivers are terrified/angry/confused when they see a bike, some roads can't even be traversed without a car (some bridges especially), and you add all that up and you really have to either be some kind of extreme adventurer or the planets have to perfectly align so that your work can be reached by a bike route that connects to a pedestrian overpass that connects to a regional trail that connects to another bike route. And it all has to take about an hour or less because you don't have all day to show up for work.
I don't know if there's any stats on how many people could potentially ride their bike to work without seriously considering term life insurance or making a multi-hour journey out of it, but I think whatever percentage it is, you can count it on your fingers.
So the conclusion I've come to is that the best way to have a little money in your pocket at the end of the month is to get someone to pay you to write money-saving tips on the Internet, because I guess you don't have to try very hard.
He thinks we will use the money to buy more food.
For more from Christina, check out 5 Weight Loss Tips for Cynical Bastards and 5 Topics Guaranteed to Elicit (Condescending) Advice.