There are plenty of money-saving tips around and you’ve probably heard most of them before - budget, shop around for the best deals, car share, stay energy efficient, the usual. But when you’ve managed all of this and there’s still too much month at the end of the money, you might find yourself turning to some less conventional ways of living frugally. Here are some of the weirder money-saving tips out there - it’s not being a cheapskate, it’s making the most of your hard-earned cash.

Think inside the box

Lots of packaging gets thrown away and casually forgotten, taking up landfill space and wasting everyone’s resources. But before you get rid of anything, look at it carefully and think about other ways you can get some use out of them. For example, those plastic bags inside cereal boxes? They’re great for storing leftovers in the freezer or stopping bread from going stale. You can use empty bottles and tubs to collect rainwater for your household plants, cutting your own water bill. If you’re willing to spend some time thinking about the options you’ll be amazed at the amount you could save.

Look for the interest

If a product says it charges zero per cent interest, that doesn’t actually mean it’s interest-free. In fact, all it shows is that the interest is already included in the price. If you are in a position where you can pay cash, it might be possible for ask for that part of the cost back. Be prepared to speak to managers when customer service staff disagree - you may be able to negotiate some form of discount.

Stop buying food

This sounds dramatic, but it’s a challenge worth taking up: make the commitment to stop buying food until you’ve used every single bit of leftovers, tins and whatever else you have lying around in your cupboards, freezer and fridge. Everyone overfills their cupboards by buying more food than necessary; it’s almost guaranteed you’ll find food stuck in the depths of your kitchen that you didn’t know you had. It could mean days or even weeks extra before you have to do another shop.

Smaller plates

You might think it won’t make a difference, but the size of the plate we use directly affects what we perceive as a good portion size, and thus impacts on how much we eat. For the sake of both your budget and your waistline, try eating from smaller plates - chances are you’ll have less, leaving you with plenty of leftovers that will last you a while.

Grocery races

Everyone gets lured by the special offers at the supermarket, but it’s easy to get coaxed into stocking up and things you don’t actually need. Instead of spending hours mulling over the last half-price juicer, set yourself a strict time limit and challenge yourself to get everything you need within that period. Not only will you have to concentrate on only picking up the items you need, but you’ll have more of your day left to do much more interesting things. Rope in a friend and race each other - it could end up being a great source of exercise too!

© Axonn 2015