10 Creative Saving Strategies

No, you don't have to climb into a garbage bin. Here's how to save dough and enjoy luxuries for less.


Slide Show: 10 Inventive Ways to Save

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9. Eat lentils. Well, not just lentils, but they cost little and have tons of nutritional value. Yeager recommends "eating lower on the food chain," which means focusing on fresh, healthy foods, and aiming to spend no more than a dollar a pound. "It's a myth that it costs more to eat healthy. You can spend a lot, but when you think about the kinds of things we should eat the most of—whole grains, legumes, and produce—they tend to cost less per pound than things that are bad for us like red meat and many processed foods that are high in trans saturated fats," he says. Y eager's list of 50 healthy foods that cost less than $1 a pound also includes chickpeas, eggs, yogurt—and of course, pasta.

10. Extreme measures. Chew a half stick of gum at a time. Time your showers with a stopwatch. Use only a pea-size amount of toothpaste. These particular things may out of the realm of what you're willing to do to save a buck, but "most people, I think, have one or two things they tend to be really frugal with," says Foreman. "Why, I don't know … we see a lot of people saving in interesting ways. What they're trying to do now is maintain their standard of living." The bottom line: Don't feel guilty about reusing plastic silverware or squirreling away restaurant soy-sauce packets. "My take is that if it bugs your family and friends to the point that they tease you, it's probably too extreme. But if not and it makes you happy, go for it," says Massello.