5 of Clark Howard’s Most Extreme Frugal Hacks

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Nobody pinches a penny quite like money expert Clark Howard. Below are some of his most famous — or should we say infamous — cheapo exploits!

5 Easy Ways to Clark Your Life

1. Buying a Better (and Cheaper) Burger

Prices at fast-food restaurants have changed over the years. When it’s been more expensive to buy a double hamburger than two single hamburgers, Clark is known to do exactly what you’d expect him to: He buys two single and then combines the patties to enjoy a double!

And then there’s the time Clark was at Krystal and asked the cashier to ring up his five burgers at the standard price of 79 cents apiece instead of the “deal price” of five for $5.

The end result? Instead of paying $5.40 under the promotional “deal,” he only paid $3.95 plus tax.

Sure, it was a savings of only $1.13, but as Clark says, “Every single penny and every single dollar matters.”

2. Making a 17-Cent Razor Last for 12 Months

Years ago, a listener told Clark that by drying a disposable razor after each use, he could make it last for months or even a year. Blades degrade from moisture, as the man explained, not so much from the actual friction or wear of shaving stubble.

Clark followed this tip for years and it became part of his shtick.

“A few years ago, I was doing an affiliate radio station visit in Greensboro, North Carolina, and a morning show guy gave me ‘a lifetime supply’ of 10 disposable blades because he thought my whole deal with using a razor for so long was funny,” Clark confesses.

“The money I’m saving on razors feels better in my wallet than in Gillette’s or Schick’s,” Clark says.

While Clark practiced the 12-month razor blade hack for years, a listener recently convinced Clark to use an electric razor, and now he uses one almost exclusively. You can hear his reasons in this episode of The Clark Howard Podcast (his explanation starts at about the 8:50 mark).

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3. Wearing Cheap Eyeglasses

Why spend hundreds of dollars on prescription eyeglasses when you can get them starting at $7?

Even at a place as cheap as Costco’s optical department, you’ll wind up paying about $109 on average for lenses and frames.

Contrast that with ZenniOptical.com. Basic prescription glasses start at $6.95 for frames and lenses, and shipping is just $4.95.

It is possible to run the price up if you want fancier frames or have special optical needs. Clark’s first pair of glasses with progressive lenses from Zenni cost him $41.

But that’s still a huge savings if you’re willing to think outside of the box and get cheap glasses online like Clark!

Here’s our list of the best places to buy eyeglasses.

4. Buying the Airfare Deal First, Then Figuring Out Why He Wants To Go There

This is Clark’s #1 rule of cheap travel!

“It’s really pretty simple: I don’t pick a destination that I have to go to. I wait for a deal somewhere, buy the deal and then figure out why I want to go there,” he says. “By following that simple rule, I’ve been able to visit every continent except Antarctica and every state except North Dakota. And I’ve done it all on a dime.”

One of Clark’s favorite tools to find deals this way is Kayak Explore. You simply select how much you’re willing to pay, and available destinations in your price range pop up on a world map on your screen. Another feature of Kayak Explore is a price forecast that tells you whether to buy the ticket at the current price or wait for it to drop.

Clark has three methods in particular that he uses to find travel deals. Read about them here.

5. Flying With Only a Carry-On To Avoid Bag Fees

Rather than paying baggage fees, Clark travels with only what an airline permits free as a single carry-on.

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“Another plus is that I never worry about the airline losing my baggage,” he says.

Sometimes getting everything you need into a carry-on can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be. We’ve got steps to pack a carry-on bag for a five-day trip here.

Once on a trip to Europe, the airline Clark flew required his carry-on to weigh less than 22 pounds — or he’d have to pay a nearly $50 fee to check the bag.

“I had to wear multiple layers of clothing in Dublin, Ireland, to make sure I avoided that hefty $50 fee!” Clark recalls. “That meant three layers of clothing so that my bag would be less than 22 pounds. I put on three pairs of pants, two shirts and a sweatshirt on top of that while flying.”

BONUS: Clark.com Readers Share Favorite Frugal Tips

We recently asked our Clark.com newsletter subscribers to share the most frugal things they do. Here are a few of the responses:

Diane in Texas: “We bought cases of toilet paper and paper towels (among other things) from an auction. Auctions are great if you work them correctly.”

Sharon in Arizona: “Everyone thinks I’m nuts. But I get the paper towel rolls that you can tear off a half-sheet. When I wash my hands I take half a sheet, double it over, dry my hands and lay it on the counter to dry.

Billy in North Carolina: “I subscribe to Clark’s razor blade challenge and try to use the same blade for as long as possible. Currently going on almost two years with the same blade!”

Celeste in Georgia: “Don’t buy ketchup and mustard from the store. Request additional packets when you go through your favorite drive-thru. Works great if you’re single!”

Ginger in Arkansas: “I re-use the plastic bread bags that store-bought loaves come in. I give ’em a few shakes once the bread’s used up and BOOM! No need for Ziplocks! As if that weren’t frugal enough, I re-use tinfoil as long as it’s not dirty. My mother always did this and I was horrified. But it’s true when they say you turn into your parents! Oh well.”

Jo Ann in California: “I place a Home Depot bucket in the shower to capture the beginning water, which I then use in my planter.”

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Julia in Georgia: “I re-use the same piece of dental floss for months! It’s much faster than pulling a new piece every time. Just make sure to wash it very clean under running water each time.”

Share your favorite frugal tips and hacks in our Clark.com Community!

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