You’ve probably read and heard a lot of tips on what you can do to save money. Cooking at home, budgeting, meal planning, and the like all seem so repetitive and maybe even boring to you.
Today, I will talk about the 3 weird things that Mr. FAF and I do or have done to save money. These are the things people normally don’t do, avoid, or scoff at.
If you’re diplomatic, you will say it’s unconventional. If you’re frank, you’ll just say it’s straight out weird.
But for us, it helps us cut costs and has become part of our habit and identity.
Without further ado, here they are:
1) Use toilet paper as napkins
When Mr. FAF and I first started dating, we were eating dinner together one time, laughing away at our jokes in Mr. FAF’s shared apartment. Then some food left its mark on Mr. FAF’s cheek.
Mr. FAF stood up, took out a roll of toilet paper from his room, and tore out 3-4 sheets to wipe his face. I was in shock.
We were on a date, and he just acted like nothing happened. There was no excuse, no embarrassment, and no apology.
Mr. FAF then went on laughing and talking, but the rest of the night just wasn’t the same for me anymore. Still I decided to marry him.
It was almost four years ago. Now I’m used to using toilet paper as napkins. Actually, when I thought about it, my parents used to do the same thing when I was young because it was just cheaper than tissues. It’s pretty common in some Asian countries even now.
After all, it’s clean paper. The only difference is that it’s rolled up and tends to be used more in the bathroom. 2 packs of Vanity Fair napkins retail for $7.75 ($0.02/Count) on Amazon. You can use 4 sheets of Kirland toilet paper for $0.00188/sheet * 4 = $0.00752. It’s almost 1/3 of the price of a napkin ($0.02)
When we have guests, however, we do take out the generic-brand napkins we bought for special occasions so that the guests won’t feel awkward. If it’s just me, Mr. FAF, and Baby FAF, we’re happy with the multi-purpose Kirkland bath tissue.
Who needs napkins when we have Kirkland bath tissue? Apparently, we don’t.
2) Not wash our car
Now you may think it’s gross, and that our car must be really dirty. But it’s not. We clean the inside of the car often and don’t keep trash or food inside it. However, we don’t want to spend $5-$30 or more just to make the car look nice.
Instead, we just let the rain do its job: washing the car for us. Whenever it rains, we jokingly tell each other that our car is getting a natural shower.
If some stains are just too hard to get off even in the rain, we will wash those spots ourselves. Usually, it’s because some birds decide to do their business right above our car. It happens every once in a while.
3) Live in the office
I don’t recommend this to anyone. Mr. FAF used to share an office (with closed doors and no window) with a colleague. His colleague worked from home most of the time, so Mr. FAF had the office to himself 99% of the time.
At one point, we needed to save a lot of money to prepare for Baby FAF’s birth. Mr. FAF and I weren’t living in the same city at the time. In order to save on rent and utiltiies (about $350-$450 if he could find a place), Mr. FAF decided to (secretly) live in his office for a month.
This is what he did to maintain a normal life:
— Bedding: Mr. FAF kept a simple set of bedding (a thin foldable futon, a pillow, and a blanket) in his office cabinet. He took them out at night and put them away during the day.
— Heating: It was during the winter. Luckily, the building management never turned off the heat completely since there were always people working in that building. When it did get too cold, Mr. FAF used a space heater to warm up the place.
— Food: Mr. FAF would buy groceries and cook at his friend’s place on the weekend. He then put the food in the fridge in his office kitchen. He also kept a rice cooker and breakfast food in his office.
— Shower: Mr. FAF had access to a free gym, so he showered there every day.
— Parking: Mr. FAF would move his car to a different parking spot every day to avoid attention. He never had any trouble with that. Other than that, he also saved a lot money on gas and parking tickets. The commute time went from an hour every day to zero minute.
However, it wasn’t 100% perfect. Mr. FAF would have trouble sleeping at night sometimes. He’d feel anxious about security guards checking his office randomly and found out he was living there (which fortunately didn’t happen).
Sometimes the food ran out faster than he thought, so he’d have to make a one-hour trip to his friend’s house to cook or buy some cheap food to get by. He’d feel bad for taking up the kitchen space at his friend’s place, especially because his friend also had roommates.
Eventually, Mr. FAF found a cheap room for $250 including everything. He gave it a lot of thought and decided to move there. I whole-heartedly supported his decision and encouraged him to do so since he started to have insomnia.
We still use toilet paper as napkins and don’t spend money on a car wash. But I don’t think we want Mr. FAF to live in an office ever again.
It was a stressful time for us. I’m glad we saved up almost $500 from Mr. FAF living in his office (technically homeless). But it came at the expense of his health.
What about you? Do you have any unconventional ways of saving money? I’d love to hear from you 🙂