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Cashier Number 15 Please
This post isn’t exactly related to renting out rooms, but it’s a way to save a few bucks or pennies, which is what I’m all about.   So I thought I’d share it with you guys if you want a very cheap way to avoid the ATM fees.

Here’s the Scenario:

You know when you’re out and about and you need some cash.  So you scramble to find the nearest ATM and find that it’s not affiliated with your bank and it charges you $2,50 to $3.50, which is pretty hefty chunk of change to access your own money!

So when I don’t have immediate access to one of my bank’s affiliated ATM, I often find a retail store that accepts debit cards so that I can buy an inexpensive throw away item and get cash back.  This tactic seems easy enough and some of you may already employ these tactics with such throw away items as:

  • Candy Bars/ pack of gum
  • Bottled drinks
  • Pens/pencils
  • Stickers

The problem with throw away items is that these $1.50 to $2 items add up if you tend to do the cash back option several times a month.  Also often times, I don’t find value from these throwaway items and don’t really want them, but I rather exercise the cash back option than give the banks $2.50 or $3.50 in ATM fees.  Instead of buying relatively expensive throwaway items and be wasteful with them, I figured I can save $10-$15 and not be wasteful of these throw away items if I could buy extremely cheap throw away items that cost $.10 or less.

The Uber Cheap Throw Away Item

My initial approach was to buy a gift card with $0.01 and get the cash back.  However, nearly every retail store required at least $5 on a gift card.  So that kills that idea.

I visited my local Lowe’s home improvement and Home Depot in search of small hardware such as a flat washer so that I can buy it and get cash back.   What I found was a ¼ inch hex nut that costs $.06, which is significantly cheaper than a bottle of soda or a candy bar and I don’t mind throwing away a $.06 cent nut.  If you want to follow my lead and buy this item, the SKU for ¼ hex nut from the aforementioned retailers are as follows:

Home Depot – 655414

Lowe’s Home Improvement Center – 63301

With the SKU number in hand, just go straight to the cashier and tell them you want to purchase one of these items and they’ll do it.  You don’t actually need the item in hand to purchase it.

After several visits to Lowe’s Home Improvement Center(it’s less than 3 miles from my townhouse), the cashier knew what I was doing and offered to help me out.  She told me the cheapest item in Lowe’s was a $.02 poly bag.  Instead of buying the $.06 ¼ hex nut, I now buy a $.02 poly bag.  The $.02 is a cheaper throwaway item than any candy bar or soda.  This is my go to option when I’m in need of cash.

The SKU for the poly bag is: 128521

Final Thoughts

I know this is being very cheap with your money, because it’s a matter of saving a few bucks.  But I think of it as throwing away a perfectly good food item or a $.06 nut/ $.02 poly bag.  I can hear arguments such as “why don’t you buy something you need and get the cash back.”  That’s a perfectly legitimate argument, however, I use my Amex Starwood Preferred Guest credit card to make my everyday transactions because I feel it brings me most amount of value in terms of credit card points.  I’m just simply giving an alternative to buying a candy bar or soda at a super market to get cash back.  Ultimately, it’s your money and you decide on how much you’re willing to pay to access your own money.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Lee Jordan

  • Julie March 12, 2011, 2:05 pm

    I usually just go to the grocery store, and buy something you can always use and get your cash that way.

  • Yez April 11, 2011, 2:59 am

    I usually buy water since I drink it all the time, but I suppose if you’re THAT cheap, you’d never buy bottled water. ; )

  • Peili August 29, 2011, 11:24 pm

    seriously hilarious post. i dont think people realize how cheap they can be until they become a home owner. even the non-cheap homeowners know where you’re coming from.

  • Lori September 19, 2011, 9:49 pm

    I was looking for a cheap item to use to fulfill my coupon requirements. I had a coupon for $10 off a $50 dollar purchase. My total was $49.98 so I thought how big is four cents really. After taxes it will be over and no problem…right??? WRONG the cashier insisted I purchase a coke. First I didn’t want the coke. Second it was the same cost as a 2 liter at the grocery store. Thanks but no thanks. I took my coupon and told her to keep the merchandise and went home. Guess I could buy 1 nut or 2 bags and not wast any money. Thanks for sharing!


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