I can still remember the delight on the little girl’s face when she saw I was working at the local ice cream shop.
“Look, Mommy! It’s the girl who makes the ice cream cones big!” she yelled across the shopping mall.
That little girl knew that because I may have regularly bent the rules and given out a bit more ice cream than the paltry amount I was trained to give, she got more ice cream for her money.
Getting Just a Little Bit More For Your Money
I’ve been a saver since I was young, and once I realized that there were simple things I could do to stretch every penny, I couldn’t stop doing it. The habit of finding ways to save and getting every last bit of value from a purchase is so instinctual for me now, that I don’t even give it much thought.
So, when an e-mail landed in my inbox sharing Dylan Grosz’s 6 Techniques to Get 86% More Chipotle Burrito (for free!) , I found myself chuckling. Here’s a guy who gets it! Through a series of experiments, he’s figured out how to place an order that results in the most food for his money at Chipotle. And that is an amazing feat considering how much food you already get for your money at Chipotle!
It made me think of all of the ways you can make the most out of your trip to the salad bar. Or how to properly navigate the buffet.
Then there are the little tricks you do to get the most out of your drink at a fast food restaurant: Use less ice to get more soda in the cup. Drink your drink at the restaurant, and then be sure to refill the cup just before you leave.
My husband and I have studied YouTube videos on how to get the most Lego bricks in your Pick-a-Brick cup at the Lego Store. If you’re going to pay the $14.95 to fit as many square Legos in a round cup as you can, you have to be smart about getting the most bricks for your bucks.
Train yourself and your kids to use the bathroom at public restrooms before you leave to save on toilet paper and water.
You can cut open the toothpaste to squeeze the last little bit out of the tube and flip the couch cushions over to double the life of your sofa. Use those coupons to get what you need for free or cheap.
Shake the container to get more product into it. Slice the cheese thinner. Buy the largest watermelon (or green pepper or pumpkin) you can get for the flat price. Shake the water off the produce to make it weigh less. Eat the free samples. Use smaller cups.
The savings possibilities are only limited by your imagination.
Now, there’s a fine line between being a little cheap (like the above examples), and turning into a Stingy Scoundrel. When it comes to saving money, you really have to do what feels right to you. I would never tell you to sacrifice your personal values for the sake of saving a buck.
But finding little ways to stretch your budget (like getting a little bit more meat in your burrito) is a relatively harmless way to feel like you’re winning. And it can be the start of a habit to getting more value for your money.
When we flex our savings muscles in different ways, we make them stronger. And that strength can change futures.