Money Saving Tip for the Recently (or Soon-to-Be) Unemployed

By now most of us have heard about the list of 101 money saving tips that Northwest Airlines distributed to workers facing layoffs. Although many of these tips are actually solid ideas for stretching a dollar (see below for the full list), this wasn’t the most sensitive move on the part of NWA. Beyond this, I also realized that their list is incomplete! In fact, the missing nugget dovetails quite nicely with #101 (contact utility companies about reduced rates) in that it’ll help reduce your water bill. So… Without further ado, I bring you money saving tip #102:

If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.

As a side note, I find #53 (bicycle to work) to be particularly ironic in view of the fact that they handed this list to a bunch of people who had just lost their jobs!

Here’s the full list…

1. Set your thermostat to 64 and turn it down to 60 at night. (They’re talking about winter.)
2. Use the phone book instead of directory assistance.
3. Use coupons at the grocery store.
4. Carpool.
5. Ask for generic prescriptions instead of brand name.
6. Do your own nails.
7. Rent out a room or garage.
8. Replace 100 watt bulbs with 60 watt.
9. Make long distance calls at night and on weekends, instead of mid-day, mid-week.
10. Throw pocket change in a jar and take it to the bank when it’s full.
11. Always grocery shop with a list.
12. Buy spare parts for your car at the junkyard.
13. Go to museums on free days.
14. Quit smoking.
15. Get hand-me-down clothes and toys for your kids from family and friends.
16. Meet friends for coffee instead of dinner.
17. Request to get interest on the security deposit for your apartment.
18. Take a shorter shower.
19. Write letters instead of calling.
20. Brown bag your lunch.
21. Make your own baby food.
22. Use public transportation.
23. Drop duplicate medical insurance.
24. Buy old furniture at yard sales and refinish it yourself.
25. Apply for scholarships and financial aid.
26. Exercise for free — walk, jog, bike, or get exercise videos from the library.
27. Form a baby-sitting cooperative with friends and neighbors.
28. Buy your clothes off season.
29. Go to a matinee instead of an evening show.
30. Share housing with a friend or family member.
31. Hang clothes out to dry.
32. Do not use your calling card.
33. Volunteer two hours a month for reduced cost food through the Share Program.
34. Change the oil in your car yourself regularly.
35. Get pre-approval from your medical insurance company before undergoing any procedures or tests.
36. Buy “no frills” vitamins.
37. Take a date for a walk along the beach or in the woods.
38. Make cards and gifts for friends.
39. Shop in thrift stores.
40. Have the water company do an audit so you are not charged sewage fees for water used in your garden.
41. Refinance your mortgage.
42. Grocery shop on double coupon days.
43. Trade down your car for a less expensive, lower maintenance one.
44. Convert your cash value life insurance to term.
45. Shop around for eyeglasses.
46. Don’t be shy about pulling something you like out of the trash.
47. Recycle.
48. Move to a less expensive place to live.
49. Use low flush toilets or water saving devices in the tank.
50. Drop unneeded telephone services like call forwarding or caller ID.
51. Buy fruits and vegetables in season.
52. Avoid using your ATM card at machines that charge a fee.
53. Bicycle to work.
54. Shop around for auto insurance discounts for multiple drivers, seniors, good driving records, etc.
55. Ask your doctor for samples of prescriptions.
56. Borrow a dress for a big night out, or go to a consignment shop.
57. When you buy a home, negotiate the sales price and closing costs.
58. Turn the hot water heater down and wrap it with insulation.
59. Never grocery shop hungry.
60. If you qualify, file for Earned Income Credit on your taxes.
61. Shop around for prescriptions including mail order companies.
62. If you pay for childcare, make use of the dependent care tax credit or your employer’s dependent care flexible spending account.
63. Buy, sell, and trade clothes at consignment shops.
64. Shop around for the lowest banking fees.
65. Caulk windows and doors.
66. Iron your own shirts.
67. Plan your weekly food menu before shopping.
68. Buy a good used car instead of a new model car.
69. Purchase all of your insurance from the same company to get a discount.
70. Cut your cable television down to basic.
71. Go to an optometrist for routine vision tests or to change an eyeglass prescription.
72. Buy pre-owned toys and children’s books at garage sales.
73. Have potluck dinners with friends and family instead of going out.
74. Use the library for books, video tapes, and music.
75. Inspect clothing carefully before purchasing it.
76. Don’t use your dishwasher dry cycle; open the door and let them air dry all night.
77. At the grocery store, comparison shop by looking at the unit price.
78. Make your own coffee.
79. Use old newspapers for cat litter.
80. Shop at discount clothing stores.
81. Skip annual full mouth X-rays unless there is a problem; the ADA recommends X-rays every 3 years.
82. Water your garden at night or early in the morning.
83. Shop around for long distance rates.
84. Hand wash instead of dry cleaning.
85. Grow your own vegetables and herbs.
86. Shop around for auto financing.
87. Donate time instead of money to religious organizations and charities.
88. If you are leaving a room for more than five minutes, turn off the light.
89. Shop at auctions or pawn shops for jewelry and antiques.
90. Keep your car properly tuned.
91. Request lower interest rates from your creditors.
92. Trade in old books, records, and CDs at book and record exchanges.
93. Pay bills the day they arrive; many credit card companies charge interest based on your average daily balance.
94. Buy software at computer fairs.
95. Search the internet for freebies.
96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.
97. If your car has very little value, you probably only need liability insurance.
98. Cut the kids hair yourself
99. Increase your insurance deductible.
100. Buy in bulk food warehouses.
101. If your income is low, contact utility companies about reduced rates.

12 Responses to “Money Saving Tip for the Recently (or Soon-to-Be) Unemployed”

  1. Anonymous

    I’m 6 years late to the party, but what Rodger said way back when is only true in some places.

    Dumpster diving laws vary from town to town. In addition, the comment about getting a decent job may or may not be erroneous whether the job asks if you’ve ever been arrested, arrested for a felony or if it asks if you’ve ever been convicted or convicted of a felony.

    All that being said, if it’s illegal where you live, it’s best to just not dive.

  2. Anonymous

    In response to:
    “98. Cut the kids hair yourself”

    I don’t think that’s a good idea unless
    1. You know what you’re doing
    2. Your kids don’t mind being “un-popular” at school
    3. Your kids are oversized from flunking a few grades and his peers would be too intimidated to comment on his bowl haircut

    Basically, what I’m trying to say is that when I was in fifth grade, I bought my own set of clippers from Walmart and mastered how to cut hair myself. It took me about 3-4 years of experimenting until girls would finally talk to me but it was totally worth it. Since I cut my hair every 2 to 3 weeks it’s saved a tremendous amount of money. I’m 27 now and cut hair for tons of friends and family.

    Can you create a hybrid rule to combine
    “96. Compost to make your own fertilizer.”
    and #102?

    If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, to the lawn.?

  3. Anonymous

    The amount and quality of things that people throw out is amazing sometimes. There’s nothing wrong (and a lot right environmentally speaking) with picking up items put out for curbside pickup. Dumpster diving may be illegal in some areas (not all….look into it before you try…I haven’t tried this yet) I hear a few rules are to stay away from dumpsters that are locked/on locked property, and to always leave a dumpster area cleaner than you found it. It certainly wouldn’t bother me to come home with some great finds!

  4. Anonymous

    If #102 ain’t illegal, it sure as heck should be 🙂

    Seriously, my sister’s kids were over one evening literally right before we went on vacation for a week, and, unbeknownst to us, one of them decided to “let it mellow”. After a week, that can be pretty rank!

    So, the moral is, let it mellow for a predetermined, shorter length of time. Maybe keep a handy “last flushed” chart….

  5. Rodger: Did you actually read the beginning of this entry? I said specifically that this list is the one that was given out by Northwest. It’s not my advice, it’s theirs. Poking fun at their heartlessness was pretty much the entire point of this post. The only thing on this list that’s mine is #102, and I’m pretty sure that’s not illegal.

  6. Anonymous

    I looked at you list to save money and your number 46 is illegal as a couple of weeks ago two men were arressted and got six months in jail for dumpster diving. Now they have a record and that hinders there chance to get a disent job when it comes up. That is the same list that was given to Northwest Employees for those laid off of work due to farming out jobs to a lesser employer. Nice going. Follow your advice and get a rap sheet.

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