7 Literally Disgusting Ways to Save Cash

by Shawanda Greene

Money in waste basketIf you’re like most Americans, you’re probably pretty wasteful. I don’t know what it is; we love throwing stuff away – used and unused alike. Until I kick my paper towel addiction, I’m not one to talk.

However, I feel obligated to let those of you in the intermediate stage of frugality know about some relatively simple, yet advanced techniques to save extra cash.

Warning: These methods are uncommon. They involve the handling of bodily fluids that would make the average citizen of the industrialized world uncomfortable.

If you’re feeling brave, take a deep breath and read on. Come to think it, don’t take a deep breath – not thru your nose anyway.

Peeing in the Shower

Shower head

This habit is probably born more out of laziness than thriftiness. Never the less, you can’t deny its efficiency. After all, the water is going down the drain whether you pee in it or not.

Why be wasteful by going in the toilet?

It should go without saying, but relieve yourself as soon as you turn the water on. What’s the point in getting all lathered up, scrubbing up, and then pissing yourself? That doesn’t make any sense.

Although this savings technique is kinda icky, no one has ever gotten sick from shower pee. It’s just that the thought of it gives you the heebie jeebies.

Now, the people who share a shower with you probably won’t like it, but they don’t have to know. Then again, they’re probably peeing in the shower too.

Reusable Sanitary Napkins

Colorful reusable sanitary napkins by MoonpadsDisposable sanitary napkins are gross.

The reusable kind are doubly gross.

However, I do find them intriguing. And I’ve always wondered how earlier women managed to keep things clean during their periods. Since disposable sanitary napkins weren’t widely used until the 1900s, women used old rags, fabrics, scraps, and what not for menstrual protection.

In their unused state at least, the modern, reusable sanitary napkins look all girly and pretty. If I didn’t hate pads so much, I’d try one.

The Menstrual Cup

The Diva Cup - Menstrual CapI first heard of the menstrual cup while reading The Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn. My immediate response was something like, “Eeeeeew! That’s so nasty.” And then I was like, “I wonder how much money I’d save by using one.”

In case you’re not familiar with the menstrual cup, here’s what it does. Unlike a tampon that absorbs, – eh, I don’t wanna say it – blood, a menstrual cup collects it. You have to dispose of the contents and cleanse the menstrual cup for reuse.

Although I never got around to buying one, I still might give the menstrual cup a spin. It’s healthier for you and only $21. Plus, I hear it doesn’t dry out your vagina like tampons do.

Not Flushing the Toilet After Peeing

modern bathroom with black toilet bowl and bidetFor those of us who grew up under this rule, it’s not that big of a deal. My mom constantly reminded us how expensive the water bill was when we flushed after every use. She also zealously stressed the importance of flushing if we left anything other than pee and paper in the toilet.

With this one, you have to use your judgment. Clearly, if you’re gonna doodoo, you should flush before using the toilet. No one likes to handle their business over urine.

Of course, you can’t go on for days without flushing the toilet.

So, when do you know it’s time to flush? The toilet will tell you.


Pretty, feminine handkerchiefs by Arlene FerrinoI associate handkerchiefs with old men. They’re the only demographic group who uses them. Well, they’re the only ones who use them the way I’m suggesting.

Try as I might, I can’t think of a way to sexify them for anyone born post-World War II.

I bring up handkerchiefs because I could save quite a bit of money by using them. You see, I am, literally, a snotty woman. The quantity of mucus produced by my body on a daily basis is untold.

Personally, I think anything you blow your nose into should be incinerated. Unlike the other items I list in this article, I’m concerned using a handkerchief to blow your nose isn’t worth the savings for anyone. I don’t want you carrying that thing around and spreading germs.

Cloth Diapers

Cute purple cloth diaper with hearts by Nicole SmallI’ll be honest. I’ve never changed a poopy diaper in my entire life. Frankly, the whole process is messy, smelly, and downright disturbing to me. I’d hate to prolong  the activity by continuing to handle poo after the diaper was changed. But it is a legitimate method parents use to reduce waste and save money. And it seems they pay dearly for it.

Cloth diapers are cuter and more stylish than their counterparts of old. A quick browse of Amazon reveals cloth diapers commonly fall in a price range of $12 – $20. You moms can do the math. Plus, you  have to wash those adorable little suckers frequently.

Given the somewhat high start up costs, your dollar will go much farther if you use them on multiple children. There’s always the option of grabbing used cloth diapers from the thrift store, Freecycle, or a friend who no longer needs them for her kids.

Even though you may not save a ton of money by choosing the less traditional alternative, kids who wear cloth diapers are potty trained sooner than those who don’t.

Dumpster Diving


Before you imagine me flipping into a rodent infested dumpster covered in garbage juice, let me explain.

You can dumpster dive with grace. I’ve done it.

My apartment is partially furnished with other people’s unwanted stuff. Fortunately, they were considerate enough to leave their cast offs next to the dumpster rather than in it. However, I can’t promise I’m above digging a piece of furniture out of the trash.

My dad was a garbage man, so I’m probably more comfortable around trash than most people.

My mother and I would go to the local Coca-Cola plant to fish out two-liter sodas from their dumpsters. That lasted until an employee caught us and demanded we stop. What a meanie.

Again, you have to be smart. Steer clear of anything that’s made of fabric. It could be saturated with all types of bodily fluids and crawling with bed bugs.

There you have it. Seven ways to save money that are literally disgusting, but likely won’t make you physically ill.

What non-traditional methods do you use to save money? If it’s really embarrassing, just tell us your friend does it. 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Barbara Friedberg September 6, 2011 at 12:01 PM

I like it! Way to push the boundaries! I've done a few of these, but I'm not mentioning which ones :)


Shawanda September 6, 2011 at 11:41 PM

Thanks! I think most people have, whether they admit it or not. :)


Tushar September 6, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Eeeewww! :) The first few options are the worst, but probably do save some money.


Shawanda September 6, 2011 at 11:42 PM

Yeah. It does seem like the worst ones were put right up front.


FamilyMoneyValues September 6, 2011 at 8:50 PM

I hate to admit to it, but I've used 4/7 of your listed items.


Shawanda September 6, 2011 at 11:44 PM

That's pretty good. I've either done or considered all of them but one.


@Annienygma December 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I've used family cloths, menstrual cloths (I stopped when I moved here because I no longer have a washer), handkerchiefs, cloth napkins and towels instead of paper, and even dumpster-dived. I prefer family cloths and menstrual cloths to the disposeable ones but unless you own a washer it is the more expensive route. I save a fortune with handkerchiefs alone.


Shawanda December 27, 2011 at 7:18 PM

Whaaat? I gotta tell ya. The menstrual cloths might be a little much for me. However, I've thought about adding the Diva Cup to my Amazon shopping cart since I wrote this post months ago. I guess some would find that thing just as cringe worthy as the reusable sanitary napkins. *shrugs* Oh well.


Kat April 24, 2012 at 6:42 AM

I use a cup and love it – it's been almost 4 years now that I've gone without pads and tampons. My boyfriend and I follow the 'if it's yellow let it mellow if it's brown flush it down' rule pretty regularly too and sometimes that grosses me out. Ah well. All in the name of preventing waste.


Layla June 22, 2012 at 5:18 PM

Diva cups aren’t so bad – you wash it really well. It’s like fingers – you wash those too.

Handkerchiefs aren’t so bad – I only really use mine in the winter, when my nose starts running but it’s not gucky or anything.


Jacob @ iheartbudgets July 6, 2012 at 6:35 PM


Also, we’ve been doing cloth diapers for 6 months now, and it feels cleaner than traditional diapers. Now that our little one is switching to solid food, I think the real adventure is about to begin. We’ll see how that goes…

But we got GREAT deals (probably a little less than $10 per diaper with inserts), and are saving a bunch over disposables. Also, very had VERY FEW rashes and hope to potty train sooner than most. I’d recommend it to those on the fence, for sure.
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Carly December 2, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Hope you’ve tried the DIVA CUP, sweetie!
Not only does it save loads of money, doesn’t fill up landfills, is cleaner and more “balanced” for your body, and travels well……. it lasts me 8 hours instead of 3. And is so SO secure at night! Hope you do it…. took me 3 months to decide, too xoxo


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