Many of us have those "in the old days" stories of the craziest thing we ever done to save money and get by. Actor and comedian Jim Dailakis says years while trying to make it, he lived in his rusted out car in New York for two months, even parking in hotel lots to be safe. He used the money he saved to finally rent a place. Today Dailakis owns two houses, makes a good living and says, I would say that living in my car was an unpleasant but definite character building experience. We asked experts and GalTime readers to tell us the craziest thing they've ever done to save money. Some do things like bring their own snacks into movies and drinks into ball games on the down low. Others say it sounds crazy, but they're doing away with their TVs, canceling cable and watching their favorite shows and movies online. Overall, we got some very interesting and savvy answers, stories and tips!
Marc Ramondi,Homeland Security Expert When I was young, I made no money starting out. I had compiled a list of happy hours around Washington that had free food and I hit the circuit to eat. When I got a raise, I started to splurge a bit and was able to star eating out on Thursdays for lunch and had a budget of $10. When I was detailed to NYC, the agency I worked for ran out of money for travel, so I rollerbladed to meetings to save cab fare and slept on my office couch in NYC for 26 nights to save hotel costs (we had a gym with a shower in the office so it wasn't bad.)
Mary Lock Albrecht Senior University Relations Specialist Division of Continuing Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison When I was in my 20s and just graduated from college, working at my first professional job with a very low salary, I lived in Madison, WI--a city with 40,000 college students. Because I had been a student in Madison, I knew that many students bought Christmas trees for their dorms or apts right after Thanksgiving and discarded them on the curb in mid-Dec. when they went home for Winter Break. Thus my husband and I always had a choice selection of many good (albeit smaller) Christmas trees. Because I walked home (about 10 blocks through campus) from work, one night I carried one tree for about 6 blocks--only to arrive home and find that my husband had brought home 2 others!! Our apt was very tiny but we laughed at our treasures that didn't cost a penny.
Wine aficionado Jay Essegian, co-founder of "Boston Uncorked" Certain restaurants in Boston have been known to offer a "corkage" program where you can bring in your own bottle of wine. They usually charge around $15.00 - $25.00 for the bottle, but it sure beats the $50-$60 you would've spent! Also, if you're really nice and offer your waiter a glass, they may even comp the fee :) Always call ahead to confirm!
Billee Sharp, author of, "Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It" A family can save $5000 annually just by making some simple changes in their food buying and preparation. By baking their own bread a family could save at least $1500 a year, and by substituting soy protein and beans for meat and fish five days a week they could save an additional $2000. Cutting out junk and treat foods or reducing them to a once-weekly treat would save $1500, bringing the savings to $5000 annually.