Get Out of Debt By Being Weird


I desperately want to get out of debt, and I’m willing to be totally weird to do so!

2016 is the year I’m getting financially fit and you should join me. Do you want to get out of debt by being weird? I’ve got a few suggestions for you!

get out of debt by being weird

#1 Take Pictures of Trash

I used to get home from the grocery store or Target, crumple up my receipts and throw them in the trash. Times have changed and now my receipts are precious! For several months, I have been taking pictures of my receipts with multiple apps on my iPhone.

After each shopping trip, I take pictures of my receipts for Receipt Pal, Ibotta, and Receipt Hog (which I will review soon). These apps are all a little different but each helps me earn gift cards or cash back for my normal, every day spending.

It’s an extra step after shopping (and before, if I want to look for available rebates) but it is worth the time and effort.

For example, my Ibotta earnings are now up to $52 (as of this writing), after only using the app for less than two months! 

That’s $52 extra that I can send towards my medical debt! These aren’t pennies we’re talking about, it’s significant money! And that’s exactly why I think you are crazy if you’re not using this app!

#2 Act Like A Crazy Lady

Take a tacky-looking notebook with colorful flowers and glitter on it into every store you shop at. Write down prices of products you frequently buy in the notebook. 

If you forget your ugly notebook (that you bought from the clearance rack at CVS) at home, take out your smartphone and take pictures of price tags and close ups of packaging so you know how many ounces or pounds of product they contain.

So far I have done this in Walmart, CVS, Costco and Target. I get a lot of “looks,” but this is a worthwhile endeavor!

I’m building the price book that I mentioned in my financial fitness plan. Before I buy anything I look in my price book to make sure I am not paying too much. 

This habit will allow me to pay the absolute best price on everything my family needs throughout the year (from groceries to household goods and beauty products).

My ugly little price notebook has already paid off! Here are two examples of the benefits (and savings) of using a price book.

First, my husband wanted some Nizoral. I checked at Walmart and a 7 oz bottle was $14.97 (it’s pricey stuff, but it does the job!). Next, I drove to CVS and the same 7 oz bottle was $20.99! That’s a major price difference! 

BUT, I had two coupons for CVS – $4 off any purchase and $7 ExtraCare bucks (their version of a rewards program). So I purchased the $20.99 bottle of Nizoral at CVS, but only paid $9.99 out of pocket!

Second, my price book has showed me that not everything is cheaper at Costco! My sister gave us a Costco membership for Christmas. My husband and I excitedly browsed the aisles imagining all the savings! I took diligent notes in my crazy little notebook.

But when I went home and looked at the numbers, I discovered that not everything at Costco is such a good deal. Coffee and oatmeal were cheaper there, but apple juice and beans were cheaper elsewhere.

Diapers and baby wipes are one deal at Costco that is excellent and we are excited to use our membership for those savings.

As an added bonus, Ibotta paid me $10 for buying Huggies diapers and wipes at Costco. They were already the best price in town AND I got $10 back! That’s a win! 

If you sign up for Ibotta (I can’t recommend it enough!) you will get $10 when you verify your first rebate and I’ll get $5! Read more about it in this post.

#3 Wear Tattered Boots

I have a pair of boots that I bought at Target probably three or four years ago. They have held up surprisingly well after a lot of use, but I knew they wouldn’t last forever. 

This year, they have finally decided to start falling apart. The back of the left boot has a decent sized tear in the outer fabric. I noticed it recently as I was on my way out the door.

Guess what I did about it? Nothing!

I didn’t run out to Target to buy a new pair. I didn’t even change into a different pair of shoes. My boots have a rip in them. Big deal. I don’t want to spend money on boots right now.

They still work, they still keep my feet warm, and I have a better quality pair to wear if we ever get a snow day here in Virginia. 

Is it slightly embarrassing to walk around with torn boots? Not really. If someone points them out, I’ll gladly tell them how badly I want to change my life and get out of debt! I’m convinced I can use the tattered Target boots through one more season!

(Stay at home yogi is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Have you ever acted weird to reach your financial goals? Share your weird ways in the comments below!

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  1. Love this! I just started on Ibotta a couple of days ago myself, and I was amazed at the savings. You gotta love money back on milk and produce you were buying anyway.

    Your boot story is awesome! I’ve decided that if I can replace an item from Goodwill for $3, I will consider it. Otherwise, we’re just gonna deal with it. #yearofno
    Jamie @ Medium Sized Family recently posted…5 Ways We’ve Saved Money This Week 17My Profile

  2. I used to write down prices all the time in one of my jobs as a retail price auditor, and I’ve kept the habit going. Not that you need to write them down every week, but from time to time it’s always good to check the stores you shop, as well as the stores you don’t!

    As for the boots, you don’t need to replace everything that gets a little worn, but there’s also the option of taking them to a shoe repair shop for a touch-up. It usually costs a lot less than replacing them and makes them last longer.

    • Thanks for stopping by Gary! I’m hoping the price book will give me a good awareness of what things are worth. Eventually I won’t have to carry it around everywhere like a crazy person. πŸ˜‰

  3. I totally wear tattered boots… I must be really hard on shoes because it doesn’t take long to beat them up!

    Kudos on the dedication to paying off debt. Sacrificing in the short term means a better future!
    Femme Frugality recently posted…New Year’s Resolutions: Pay Off Credit Card DebtMy Profile

  4. Love your boots! I had a pair of Uggs that were a hot mess by the time I have up wearing them. They were literally wrapped together with gaff tape. But they were still warm and comfortable the whole time. I only finally threw them out when I got a bunch of road salt on them while they were wet and they shrunk. I got my full money’s worth out of those shoes.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Financially Savvy Saturdays #124My Profile

  5. I love that you called it “Taking Pictures of Trash.” Very creative. πŸ™‚ Also, out of curiosity, which part of Virginia are you in? I’m near Charlottesville. Always fun to run into local bloggers!
    Sarah@TheOrthodoxMama recently posted…Healthy Habits for a Healthy Year: Drink More WaterMy Profile

    • Hi to a fellow Virginia blogger! πŸ™‚ I’m about 2 hours north of you! Really close to the WV line. πŸ™‚ Love our state.

  6. Erin, I really love this post! You should totally turn your price book into an app (which I could then download and use, because my handwriting is usually illegible even to myself).
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…When Free Games Get ExpensiveMy Profile

    • Thanks Emily, your kind words mean so much! I think there are price book apps out there already, but I am weird (hehe) and like handwriting things! Although just like you, my hand writing isn’t always legible!

  7. Great tips Erin for those who are trying to get ot of debt fast! I have thought about writing down best prices, but how would you recommend organizing a book like that? I feel like I would never find what I need…there mustan app for that! If not, then a great opportunity! πŸ˜€

    Another great way to get out of debt by being weird in this day and age is to only use cash! Using debit and credit is so common right now and its so much easier to overspend! A cash only diet is a great way to trick yourself into spending less, but you’ll probably look like a crazy person counting your change out πŸ˜‰

    Tori Hamilton recently posted…How Do I Know if My Newborn Baby is Getting Enough Breast Milk? An OB Nurse’s Guide.My Profile

    • I think there are apps that exist already Tori, but I am weird (lol) because I like hand written things sometimes! πŸ™‚ I just made a list of my most commonl y purchased items, put them in alphabetical order and then wrote them in my small (ugly) notebook with space between for writing prices/dates/stores. It’s not a perfect system at all! πŸ™‚ You are so right that cash is weird these days, but that’s a great idea!

  8. Love your ideas! I can’t think of a single “weird” way I have saved money. Mine just seem ordinary in comparison to yours. Maybe I need to look at them through your funny glasses πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing and making me smile!
    Amanda @ The Fundamental Home recently posted…January: Organization Month- Developing an Organization StrategyMy Profile

  9. Stopping by from Making your home sing linky. What a great idea about the price book.

  10. I love how you went funny with this post πŸ™‚
    Julie S. recently posted…Give your child a beautiful personalized book #iseemebooksMy Profile

  11. I’ve never done a price book, but I definitely think I should start!

  12. Love the humor in this post πŸ™‚ I’ve had a lot of success selling in my local Facebook yard sale groups. Always feels a little weird meeting people to sell things out of the back of my car in parking lots though lol… but hey, it’s making money and decluttering my house at the same time!

  13. Lol tattered boots. I was obsessed with this pair of black cowboy boots that belonged to my mom. When I found I could wear them, I wore them every day with everything. Dresses, jeans, shorts, whatever. It became apart of my signature look. If I ever find another pair, I will probably sell all my shoes for the money and just stick with those!
    Hollie recently posted…The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money Like an EXTREME CHEAPSKATE! {frugal living, get out of debt}My Profile

  14. I’ve never thought to use Ibotta to help pay down debt faster. For me, I use Ibotta to help earn Amazon gift cards to buy things we need or things we want but couldn’t afford otherwise. But using it for debt pay down is a great idea! (visiting from the Thrifty Couple link-up)

    • That’s how I have always used my Swagbucks Julie! To stretch the budget through Amazon purchase! We are determined to eliminate some medical debt ASAP though so I’m taking advantage of Ibotta’s paypal option! πŸ™‚

  15. I love this! I don’t know if I knew about Ibotta. We’re out of debt except for our mortgage, but this is the year we finally make and stick to a budget – out of necessity. I’m so glad I found you at newbie news link up – I’ll be following along!
    Angela @ Setting My Intention recently posted…My One and Only (New) New Year’s ResolutionMy Profile

  16. This was a fun post to read! I have been working on getting out of debt for almost 2 years. Before Christmas, I hadn’t been shopping for myself for a year. I’m a few months away. I’ve learned that charging is NOT worth all the work to pay off. From now on, anything that I want I’m going to try and save for it. Thank you for sharing at #100HappyDays!

    • Congratulations Valerie! I’m so happy to hear all of your hard work and sacrifice has paid off. Credit is not really worth it at all!

  17. Your post is great. I can’t say I’m doing anything weird, but I do use coupons, only buy clothes when they are on sale (usually the end of year sales), and use reward apps.

  18. Great ideas! I use coupon apps too, Ibotta is one of my favorites! I also do a lot of shopping at Aldi’s, they have a great gluten free selections, so I save a lot of money there. But we do all kinds of things to save money, or make money. It certainly helps to fill in the holes, doesn’t it???
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…#WAYWOW Social Media Blast #3My Profile

  19. Thanks for letting me know about these apps! #DowloadingNow

  20. Taking a picture of receipts sounds easy enough. I’m looking for ways to save a little extra money this year (always) and just did a post about it (great minds?) but didn’t include any apps as I don’t currently use any. I’ll have to check those out, thanks!
    Jean recently posted…Simple Savings StrategiesMy Profile

  21. That price book is an interesting idea. An one that I should give a try.
    Heidi’s Wanderings recently posted…The Final Great Blog TrainMy Profile

    • You should try it out Heidi! I’m sure I’ll update in the future as to how it’s going for me. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  22. I’m a big fan of the make do (and mend, although I’m not very good at the mend part) but I do make do as quite often you don’t need new things, it’s just a case you want new things. I also like to get good value of my purchases by wearing them to death!

    Sally @ Life Loving
    Life Loving recently posted…Tarka Dahl RecipeMy Profile

  23. Love this! The receipt apps sound like a a great idea, I’ll have to check them out.
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Mountfield: Dining RoomMy Profile

  24. I love your tone of writing! I can’t wait to be stateside again, because that price book idea is brilliant!

  25. I love this post, and I love your sense of humor! So glad you linked up at Friday Frivolity this past week!! Pinning and tweeting. πŸ™‚
    Sarah Eliza @ devastateboredom recently posted…Encouraging Quote Printable – We Either Make Ourselves Strong or We Make Ourselves Miserable – Carlos Castanela – Free Inspirational PrintMy Profile

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