Ask the Readers: What’s the Cheapest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

Hi there, Mrs. 1500 asking the question today. Brace yourselves readers:


Before I tell you about Mr. 1500’s fancy dinner plans, he needs to recap last week’s answers, when we asked you to Tell us about your amazing 2017 plans! He also asked about you to name our future Komodo Dragons:


Dominic, the Gen Y Finance Guy has some huge goals:

  1. Earn $500,000

  2. Complete 250+ workouts

  3. Attract 250,000 page views to my blog

  4. Take 28 days of vacation

Mr. 1500 note to self: Add “ask Dominic for some money” to my goals for 2017. Just kidding! Maybe…


I liked TJ’s goal:

My goal is to think less about the money and try to just enjoy life. We’ll see what happens!

I think about money all of the damn time too, way too much…


Wife from This Wife’s Life has a big list:

  • Pay off a rental property known as 2122
  • Earn $10,000 in side-hustles
  • Fully fund my 2016 Roth IRA
  • Cut back on Boozie spending
  • and more

Go get em’ tigress!


The Happy Philosopher had the best name for my future Komodo Dragons:

Please name your komodo dragons Mr. Roboto, Morpheus and Captain Sparkles.


We REALLY need to scale down our crap, so Reader Thomas‘ goals resonate:

My goal is to put 300 things (about one per day) of my stuff for sale online or just throw them away if nobody wants it.


OK, now on to today’s question, What’s the cheapest thing you’ve ever done?

This question was inspired by Episode 30 of The Financial Independence Podcast, hosted by The Mad Fientist.

In this episode, MadFi interviews his own wife about their journey. He’s American, she’s Scottish, and they met in Scotland during his junior year when he was studying abroad. After that year, he moved back to the US to finish college, and she stayed in Scotland, but they continued dating, and would travel to see each other.

During a visit to Switzerland, which was chosen because of cheap airfare, they discovered that the flight was the only inexpensive thing about the country.

They went to a fondue restaurant and tried to share a meal, which was not allowed. They ordered tap water to drink, which was also not allowed. Says MadFi, “I was freaking out and I was trying to play it cool like I wasn’t, but I was super thirsty and I kept disappearing a lot during the meal and I went down into the mens’ room and just stuck my head under the spigot and drank a lot of water, which I didn’t end up telling you about until probably years later.”


I was laughing hysterically when I heard this, because it is pretty cheap*, but then again who doesn’t serve tap water? (Wonders a girl who’s never been to Switzerland…)

So while this move was really cheap, I was sure I had some that were on par with it.


Mr. 1500, the Ultimate Romantic

Perhaps our upcoming Valentine’s Day Dinner plans would count? It’s a future cheap, but cheap nonetheless.

White Castle Valentine's Day 2017

You see, White Castle is offering reservations on Valentine’s Day. For those of you who are not familiar, White Castle is a drunken-fratboy staple fast food restaurant. Not even remotely expensive, Mr. 1500 is going to get away with dropping less than $20 on our Valentine’s Celebration. And that’s even if I supersize it.

Mr. 1500 note: I was so excited when I learned that White Castle offers a Valentine’s Day dinner, complete with table service. Going out for a Valentine’s Day dinner at the WC would be a huge departure from our usual tradition of doing absolutely nothing.

My Slider dreams were almost deferred when I leaned that the closest White Castle is over 800 miles away in Las Vegas. Alas, all hope is not lost. I remembered that the local grocery store sells frozen versions that have the same bad taste as the restaurant. Valentine’s Day is on baby!

Sorry ladies, I'm taken.

Sorry ladies, I’m taken.

So, dear readers, regale me with your cheap stories. I’m not talking your “I used a coupon!” stories. I want to know the best of the worst of your cheapness.

What’s the cheapest thing you’ve ever done?


*At a later part of the podcast, MadFI asked his wife if she would change anything about their life. Her answer:

No, I would not change anything… …I love it.

So, despite the Switzerland Water Incident, it all worked out for the best. Onward and Upward Mad Fientist and Mad Fientista!


More 1500!: Mrs. 1500 launched a Facebook group recently for the blog. If you fancy more interaction, please join us: Feel free to discuss money, frugality or White Castle.

Join the 10s who have signed up already!

Subscribing will improve your life in incredible ways*.

*Only if your life is pretty bad to begin with.

Powered by ConvertKit
This entry was posted in Ask the readers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to Ask the Readers: What’s the Cheapest Thing You’ve Ever Done?

  1. Tawcan says:

    We went out to a Danish restaurant during this Danish vacation and order tap water. It cost 10 DKK per person (almost $2 CAN). 🙁 Eating out in some of these European cities can get extremely expensive.

    Cheapest thing I have ever done? Oh there are so many…
    1. Slept in a bus station so I didn’t have to pay for accommodation
    2. Made a home-made dinner for Valentines Day because I was too cheap to take Mrs. T out.
    3. Walked for 10 minutes to save $5 worth of parking.
    4. Splitting the meal cost on a first date (amazed that Mrs. T still said yes for our second date!)

  2. Pretty much most of Europe only does bottled water in restaurants. That being said there is one bonus. In some countries like Germany the beers cheaper then the water! In all serious the cheapest thing I’ve ever done… My then two year old threw a harmonica at our relatively new big acreen. It ended up with a 1 mm crack vertically across the center viewing area. However it still worked like that, for another year. Yes, the ftf watched a tv with a giant crack distorting our view for an entire year. Given my wife and I probably watch at least one thing on Netflix a night that’s no small feet. It was actually my wife’s idea. To this day if we rewatch a disney movie with our child he asks where’s the rainbow mid screen… ahh kids.
    Full Time Finance recently posted…Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness, Money Buys Options.My Profile

  3. There’s a pretty long list – but since you mention Valentine’s Day…when I was first dating Mrs. Freedom 40, I actually took her to Cosi (a fast casual place) for Valentine’s day dinner. Part of my calculus was that she should know right up front in our relationship what kind of idiot she was dealing with. The date was not one of our best, but we’re still hanging on strong today 🙂
    Freedom 40 Guy recently posted…Five Simple Tips for Saving Money this WinterMy Profile

  4. The cheapest thing that I ever did was take my Prom Date to McDonald’s. We had won the District Championship in baseball but the game had gone into extra innings on Prom Night. I then asked my date if she preferred to go to the expensive place where we had reservations or if she preferred to grab McDonald’s and go to Prom. She chose McDonald’s where the take thru was broken. So we decided if we’re already in here we might as well sit down and enjoy it.
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Why You Need a Financial MentorMy Profile

  5. Cheapest thing I’ve ever done? Probably going to Costco for the free samples even though I wasn’t going to buy anything. I was young and unemployed at the time, and it was the cheapest way for me to get food.

    • The free samples are awesome. There was a couple of us that would do that occasionally for our lunch break at work. If there wasn’t enough free samples to eat, then we would add on a $1 slice of pizza each and we were all set.

  6. Just like Mr.Tako, the cheapest thing I’ve ever done was going to Costco during lunch and after dinner for free samples because I was lazy and didn’t want to make food or spend money.

  7. Ms. Montana says:

    So… in my early 20’s I took a month off of work to travel coast to coast with by best friend.
    Here was the breakfast/lunch plan:
    1. Stop at a gas station in the mornings to buy gas.
    2. Ask if we could fill our cups with hot water and use the microwave. (Never denied, but I was much cuter in my early 20’s so that might have helped.) We would pop a bag of popcorn we had packed with us. Fill 4 coffee cups with hot water.
    3. In the car we would use two of the hot water cups to make instant oatmeal for breakfast. 2 cups of hot water to make tea with our own tea bags. Then eat the popcorn for lunch.
    Between the two of us, we spent $1456 for the month long trip. Although we did have our tent collapse under snow (in Yellowstone) and get blown over (in South Dakota). So not total luxury accommodations.

  8. Shay says:

    Recently California banned plastic bags in stores and you can bring your own or pay $. 10 a paper bag. I made my husband go to the car and get the bags because I was too cheap to pay the 10 cents. The kids still teas me about this.
    I also made my own syrup for a while because regular syrup in the store was so expensive. But my family thought I was too cheap and my husband vetoed it. I’m always looking for ways to cut my grocery bill. Homemade Taco seasoning is another one.
    I would get rid of toilet paper if I could, but that is going a bit far for most people.

    • Mrs. 1500 says:

      I go back to the car to get bags because I hate the waste of the plastic bags. We don’t get charged $.10 for a bag, but get a $.10 credit for every reusable bag we use, so I guess it’s the same thing.

      I’d make my own syrup if I knew how.

      • Scooze says:

        My Dad always made our syrup when I was growing up! It’s super easy. You just boil down a bunch of sugar water and add a tiny bit of Maple syrup extract. 😛 Sorry I don’t know the amounts.

        • Dorf says:

          I was too cheap to buy the plastic bag at our department store and did the rest of the day shopping clasping a handful of underwear and the receipt.

      • BentPurple says:

        Look up instructions for brown sugar syrup. It doesn’t taste like real maple, but it’s much better than any imitation sold in stores. It’s super easy.

        Or, cook down apples with a little sugar, a little water, and a generous sprinkle of cinnamon and have that with pancakes or waffles. Strawberries don’t even need to be cooked. Just sprinkle with sugar and wait. They’ll make their own syrup.

        Homemade taco seasoning = chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, salt, and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Cheaper than the packet, plus you know exactly what’s in it.

  9. Matt Miner says:

    Great stuff all! We love frugal dates of all kinds in our house.

  10. Mrs. BITA says:

    I had been working for a couple of years and I was sent on a business trip to Germany and Amsterdam. At the end of this trip I decided to do a little personal travel and went to visit my sister who was, at the time, studying in Sweden. This was in February, the absolute best time of year to visit Sweden. I highly recommend it, especially if you are vampire and not so fond of the sun. My sister lived in a teensy tiny town in the middle of nowhere. I was flying out of Stockholm back to India, and I had an early morning flight. I was too cheap to pay for a taxi (the conversion rate from INR to EUR made my precious INR shrink alarmingly fast), and the bus service didn’t run all night, so I took the last bus in the night to Stockholm and planned to spend the night at the airport. This plan didn’t go well. Shuttles from the bus depot in Stockholm to the the airport didn’t run all night. So I settled down on a bench for 40 happy minutes and then was asked to leave because the bus depot shuts down for the night! So I was standing outdoors, in multiple feet of snow, with two suitcases and about five hours before I could get back into the bus station and on a shuttle. I spent the night at a 24 hour coffee shop. I only found said coffee shop after walking around in the snow with my suitcases that got heavier by the minute for what felt like an eternity. Worst. Night. Ever.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…To Buy Or Not to BuyMy Profile

  11. Joe says:

    Cheapest? We got married at the courthouse and didn’t have a wedding. That’s mostly due to the hatred of wedding planning, though. Other than that?
    Cut my own hair
    Slept at the airport
    Slept in our rental van because we were too cheap to pay the campground fee in New Zealand. It was pretty cool to sleep by the lakes and rivers, but probably won’t do it now. I’d rather pay a bit and have access to the bathroom and shower…

  12. When I was in college, I was invited along with my wife (then girlfriend) to an acquaintance’s wedding. I was so broke at the time that I got them a pizza pan for $20 from their registry. What made it even worse was that the wedding turned out to be really nice with excellent food. I still feel horrible about that gift to this day and even think sometimes about going back and giving them a real gift one day.

  13. I… adore the idea of eating at White Castle for Valentine’s Day. Hell, Mr. Picky Pincher and I had our first Valentine’s Day at a divey pizza joint. It was empty and the tables were sticky with God knows what. It was a $6 pizza though!

    The cheapest thing I’ve ever done? Hmm. Probably wearing clothes with holes in them. I also reuse tissues to within an inch of their life. I literally blow holes in tissues before I will throw them away. It freaks out Mr. Picky Pincher, which is 50% of why I still do it.
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend!My Profile

  14. Zaxon says:

    In college. Natural Light. Lots and lots of Natural Light. Beast (Milwauke’s Best Lite) if we were in desperate straights. There’s a reason you beer bong that stuff…

    I also don’t know if it was cheap or smart. But they had 5 cent ears of corn at grocery one day. I filled over half the freezer with those bad boys and it lasted forever! When everyone was living on ramen this bad boy had corn!

  15. RocDoc says:

    When I was in undergrad in Montreal about thirty years ago we only had one washer and dryer in the dorm for about 100 students. I can’t remember how much it cost per load but I remember the dryer was so crappy (probably from years of student abuse) that you’d have to pay for about three dryer cycles for each load to get them dry. Also, you’d be waiting for days to try to find the washer and dryer empty. I started hand washing my clothes every time I showered and then air dried my clothes in my dorm room. I don’t think I paid for a washer or dryer for almost four years.

  16. Casey B says:

    My wife and I could simply buy gifts we plan to return for each other, but rather skip that whole process as we walk about town we say “I thought about buying you that.” It’s the thought that counts anyways.

    I’ve slept in airports to save, but I think one of my better cheaper moves was cowboy camping with a friend amongst the trees outside the all-girls dormitory after the Chicago Jazz festival.

    I have in (boulder colorado) watched as middle-aged women leave food on their table. My plans to scavenge it (something I do regularly if I’m out and see free food or beer left over) were interrupted by a quick waitress. She was working our table, so I called her over, and pulled the piece of pizza off the plate in her hand and ate it. She was dumbstruck.

    Same town, I’ve scavenged a half-empty pint. Tasted it. Didn’t like it and took back to the bar and had it replaced with a full new one of my choosing. Some question my ethics, I say I’m just getting the customer’s dues, but paid to me.

    I’ve many useful items others have lost or discarded. Along High Lonesome trail, I found someone had thrown out underwear as trash. I packed them out as litter, but at home washed them and these are in my rotation. I used to bike Longmont to Boulder. I’ve found: a leatherman, a Rubbermaid lid with someone’s name on it which as filled need in our Tupperware line-up, other items.

    I do many bargain things, but you’d have to ask people around me, as I barely remember doing them anymore. Seems like life at this point.

  17. Sara says:

    I am happy with hand-me-down clothes from my mom. We have a similar style and size. This winter, my favorite jacket and cardigan came from her.

  18. Amanda S says:

    Hmm, there were some invaluable tricks that I learned in college that really saved some supplies and money (that I may or may not use still…):
    -rip dryer sheets in half to make the box last
    -use my tea bag more than once – which lead me to start buying loose leaf tea
    -going to all the free food events
    -going to the discounted food area in the store
    -buying only the discounted meat and finding out from the manager when all the meat was discounted
    -using my school card to get into museums during the breaks for cheap entertainment

    There’s probably a ton of things that I don’t do anymore but probably save me a lot of money during those years! Thank goodness I’ve upgraded to healthier meat choices!

  19. Scooze says:

    Well, as an adult (not a starving student) I did once bike 50 miles (with all our stuff on the bikes) to go to a B&B for a night in a cute, romantic town. We had a super cheap rate on the B&B and took our own picnic for the dinner. Can you say Chuck Shaw? The whole two days cost very very little.

  20. I was so distracted by jealousy that y’all were gonna do the White Castle Valentine’s (we haven’t done Valentine’s Day in a decade, my insistence), that I forgot what mine was but another commenter reminded me. I was so tight on money at the end of college (you can tell I’m still embarrassed by this a million years later because I’m already justifying it), a friend unexpectedly invited me to her wedding and my budget was bare so I bought her baking pans, not even the ones on her registry, for less than $20 and had to cover up the “CHEAP PRICE HERE” printed on the box with stickers. Still mortified by that. And she was the nicest person, I had just already bridesmaided in four weddings that summer and could not afford a nicer gift. I hope she doesn’t remember!

  21. After arriving at the train station in Edinburgh, we thought – why pay for a taxi, we can walk this! At the time I also had a fever and the worst headache of my life as I unknowingly had lyme disease. After an hour death march we finally made it, too stubborn to hail a taxi along the way.

    It looked so close on the map 🙁
    Mr. Need2Save recently posted…The Saver’s Credit: Can It Help You?My Profile

Comments are closed.