Amused yet slightly fed up by her "cheap husband," John, Amber Horne took to TikTok to share his creative and out-the-box hacks for saving money. They range from surprisingly smart to outright bizarre...
Dating on a Budget
John and Amber may be sensible with money, but that doesn't mean there's no spare cash for dates - during the day, that is! "Who says you have to wait till the evening to go out on a date?" John proposed.
"Go out a little earlier, go to the theatre and get a matinee rate, go to a restaurant, you can have a nice meal at the lunch rate!" he exclaimed. "You can save money and still have a nice time together!" It's also a great way to ensure you both don't leave the date exhausted!! Win-Win.
"Free Trial" Fees
Signing up for a free trial subscription always seems like a good idea - until you forget all about it and end up being charged monthly unknowingly. "I'm gonna help you save money on recurring subscriptions. You're gonna be shocked at how much money you're spending every month," John promised his followers.
"There are a number of apps out there that attaches to your bank account and identifies those recurring charges. Some apps, you'll even select those charges; it will get rid of it for you, saving you a ton of time and a ton of money!" Some examples of these apps are Rocket Money, PocketGuard, and Simplifi.
Joint Bank Account?
If the spending has got a little out of control recently, this is a challenging yet highly effective way to help rebalance the books. "If you're in a relationship, you gotta agree to this one together, but pick an amount of time, when you're gonna start when you're gonna do it. Absolutely no spending," explained John.
As for the duration of the ban, that depends on the individual and how long they think they can realistically part ways with their plastic credit card. "Could be a week, could be two weeks, could be a month," John noted. Of course, the longer, the better - but we'd say even 1 day is an impressive achievement!
Bills Are Negotiable
One might think that utility bills are a fact of life, a feature that cannot be changed... but John Horne believes otherwise. "My husband loves to barter down our bills, and sometimes it can be really embarrassing," Amber told their followers. "It can save you a bunch of money!" John defended himself.
"We put together a list of ten things you can typically negotiate, things like utilities and late fees. Hop on the phone, and give them a call. You'll get transferred a few times, and it will take a lot of patience, but you're gonna get a much better deal. Potentially $30/40 a month, saving you over $400-500 a year!"
Unplug the Unnecessary
For those desperate to reduce their burdening electricity bills, frugal John believes he has a simple answer to your problems that will not require you to give up anything. "Some say up to 25% of your electricity is being wasted because of things that are plugged in that are not currently in use," he explained.
Based on this 'data,' John concluded that unplugging them would greatly improve the power outgoings of the house. "So go around your house, unplug those things if you're not using them, and you're gonna save on your electricity bill!" he excitedly said while unplugging a detached laptop charger.
Endless Dish Soap
The dish soap bottle may appear empty and ready to be thrown out for a new one, but according to John, "you're not really out of dish soap." As he demonstrated in this TikTok video, there is a simple way to bring the bottle back to life, ensuring every last drop is used.
"When you get low, fill the bottle up about halfway with water from the tap. Then put that lid back on, and shake it up. You have a lot more dish soap, and it saves you some money!" he exclaimed proudly while holding up a half-full bottle of fairy liquid. We'll admit, it's worth a shot.
You’re Using the Dishwasher Wrong
Fed up with the dishwasher consuming so much electricity and driving up the bills significantly yet not willing to give up on the dishwashing assistance? "Make sure the setting 'heat dry' is off," John suggested. "Then, after that cycle has gone through to clean it, just make sure to open the door and drawers up, and it will air dry."
Additionally, John recommended that instead of rinsing each utensil and then loading it into the dishwasher, it's better to rinse and stack all the dishes on the countertop before switching off the tap and putting them all in at once. This will save on the water wasted while you turn each time to load. Whatever you say, John!
Same Laundry, Less Bills
"When starting your washer, don't ever wash on the permanent press," maintains John. Why? "Because the fact is almost 5 additional gallons of water are used in a permanent press cycle just to get that extra rinse in. If you're worried about getting totally rinsed, just use a little bit less laundry soap."
While on the topic of laundry hacks and efficient ways to reduce water usage, John believes everyone should be washing their towels less! "Each person gets their own towel," he declared. "You dry off your clean body with a clean towel and then hang it up, so it's ready for the next day."
Think there's no way to save money while working in the yard? Think again! John has a unique hack for every aspect of life. "Instead of filling up a whole planter with expensive topsoil, go to the Dollar Tree and grab some of these pool noodles and cut them up," he explained suspensefully.
"Fill up some of the bottom portion of it with this before using that potting soil," he narrated while throwing the noodle pieces into the large plant pot. "Once they're quarters full, go ahead and plant your flowers right there on top with some nice topsoil, and save yourself some money!"
Let the Grass Go Brown
One of the less popular but most effective hacks is the brown yard. "Water can be one of the more expensive utilities," John declared. "If you don't water [the grass] during the summer, you can save anywhere from $100 to 200 dollars a month on water, depending on where you live and how much it costs."
"So, let it die during the summer, it will come back nice and green once the temperature lowers and the rain comes, and that will save you a bunch of money." We guess it's true what they say. The grass really isn't always greener on the other side...
Flying for Less
Showing she's perhaps just as frugal as her husband, Amber shared the couple's hacks for finding cheap airline tickets, allowing them to travel numerous times a year. "We love to use google flights; we like to purchase one-way tickets. A lot of times, we will fly into Vegas and then out of Vegas," she explained.
"The way google flights works is it pulls up a whole calendar, and if you're flexible on the dates, you can choose the date that is the cheapest. It pulls from all airlines except for Southwest. You can pick the cheapest flight on the cheapest day and go from there!"
Turn Your Pillowcase Into a Suitcase
In another travel-themed cost-saving hack, the frugal couple put forward their great way around the budget airlines' strict luggage allowances. "My ticket only allows for a personal item, so I have a backpack, but that's not nearly enough room for the three weeks of travel that we have planned."
While many of us believe the only answer is to layer up our travel outfit and pass out from overheating, John has a more comfortable solution. "I grabbed a pillowcase, took out the pillow, took a bunch of my clothes that I needed, stuck it in the pillowcase, folded it over; it's like a little pillow, soft for your travel."
Bye, Bye Impulsive Buys
We've all been there - wanting something so badly, we buy it in the heat of the moment, only to regret it later. Thankfully, the Hornes can relate to this issue and have come up with a nifty way around it. "We talk a lot about wants and needs," John prefaced the money-saving hack.
"If you have a purchase you really feel like you want, not necessarily need, go ahead and write that down on that list. Ponder it, think about it. Thirty days from then, if you still feel like it's something you want to purchase, go ahead and get it. That will save you some purchases and, of course, save you some money!"
Grocery Store Discounts
Before we could wonder what a Hornes family grocery store trip must be like, they took their followers along for the ride, sharing all their top tips for saving as they went. "Find what's on sale and stock up! Don't knock the store brands; they're usually so much cheaper than the named brands!" they said.
"Each month, when we go to the store to the grocery store to do our major grocery shopping, we always purchase a gift card at checkout. We put about $150 dollars on it, to be used exclusively to replace any perishable items for the remainder of the month. This ensures we stay within our food budget and save a lot of money!"
Beat High Gas Prices
While 'regular' folk might have thought that filling a fuel tank is all the same, cost-cutting John maintains that the final bill can be significantly influenced by the time the job is done. "Make sure to fill your tank early in the morning or later at night when it's nice and cool because the fuel is denser at that time."
"This way, you can get more gas for the same amount of money and save a lot of money over time with the price of gas the way it is right now." Another thing to remember is that "speeding, braking and accelerating, all those things in the car can waste a lot of gas, anywhere from 15%-30% of gas."
Valentine's Day Freebies
When it comes to the monumental and festive calendar days, there is often significant pressure to splash the cash in its honor. John and Amber used their platform to remind their followers that these fun memories don't necessarily have to break the bank.
"You always need to be looking for free opportunities to have a great time," John declared. "It's Valentine's Day coming up, and we're going to a dance at the church. It's free; it's gonna be a great time, and dessert will be provided!" Another option is to "wait till right after when everything is a lot cheaper!"
Tracing Your Steps
Coming in as one of the more unique entries on this list and one of the first videos responsible for getting the couple to go TikTok viral was John's stair-walking hack. In a video recorded by Amber, she watched in embarrassment as her husband showed their followers how he navigates between their home's floors.
"When I go up and down our stairs, I make sure to use the outside of the steps to reduce the overall wear and tear on the carpet, and it will last years longer!" he said as he spread his legs widely and proceeded to move up and down the staircase in this way. This one, some of us might give a miss.
Extend Gas Mileage
For anyone who refuels their tank to its maximum capacity, only to be alerted of its emptiness just one week later, there may be some things worth doing differently. In order to help get better gas mileage, "go ahead at least once a month, when you stop and get gas, and fill up your tires."
"Inflate them to make sure they're at full pressure, where they should be," John instructed. "That will increase your gas mileage dramatically and, of course, probably save you a potential blowout as well. So that will save you some money in the future!"
Our Oven's Double Purpose
When it comes to cooking large meals or hosting dinner parties such as Thanksgiving, it's common for the oven to be a revolving door for dishes, ensuring it remains on for an extended period of time. A direct and practical solution to this is to combine numerous foods in the oven at one time.
"We cook multiple side dishes in the oven at the same time at the same temperature," John noted. "This will greatly reduce the amount of time your oven is on throughout the day and save you some money." Once you're finished up, open the oven door and allow the heat to escape, heating the room and saving you more!
Power in Numbers
Now that the food is all cooked and the guests are beginning to arrive, don't feel pressure to increase the temperature of the room mechanically. "You usually have a bunch of people over on Thanksgiving, so don't turn up that thermostat," John and Amber instructed.
"Keep it low; the oven's gonna be going a lot of the day; that will provide a lot of heat," they explained. Even if one applies the previous hack and keeps the oven on for a reduced time, there's another electricity-saving source of heat to rely on - body heat!
Ceiling Fan Science
After spending some time on the couple's money-savvy TikTok page, the overall message is that money can be saved in many different ways that one would never imagine can make a difference. One such example is the case of the ceiling fan and the direction in which it spins.
"It can help us to be more energy efficient," John explained. "In the spring or summer, we want that rotating clockwise. It pulls the air down, circulates it, and cools the skin. In the winter, you want to have it counterclockwise, so that pulls the heat up, throws it against the wall, circulates it, keeping the house a lot warmer."
The cost of kids' clothing can be a burden, especially if you're like Amber and John, who had five children in the space of a few years! As their offspring grew out of their clothes faster than they could buy them, they understood the value of 'hand-me-downs.'
"Find families in your neighborhood that have kids just a little bit older than you that buy high-quality clothes. Ask them if they wouldn't mind, instead of donating to goodwill, donating to you the clothes that their children have grown out of. It's a great way to get your kids lots of wonderful clothes and save you money!"
Saving Shower Water
Although not commonly referred to as the most prominent cause of water wastage, John believes there is room for conservation when the water is let out before the shower water reaches our optimal temperature. "When you're getting ready to shower, grab a pitcher and stick it under the faucet," he said.
"As you turn it on, and the water is heating up, you're collecting that rather than wasting it. Then when the water is heated, go ahead and take a shower. Save that water. That can be used outside for plants or flowers, maybe for the dog bowl, or even to do some dishes and rinse before putting it in the dishwasher."
The Perfect Gift?
"For Mother's Day over the years, we have given Amber great gifts such as an iron, a laundry basket, or maybe an ironing board. Things have broken, things that are really practical, things that are really important in the household," John proudly told their followers about their gift-giving, cost-saving hack.
Before trying this one out at home, Amber confirmed our suspicions that this idea may not go down so well with the mothers out there. "All things that you should not get a woman for mother's day," she refuted her husband's argument in the video's conclusion. Yeah, attempt this one with caution, folks.
Recycling Paper Towels
When one hears John Horne talk about the concept of reusing paper towels, they're likely to think he's referring to the reusable paper towels that are explicitly designed to be washed and reused. However, these people would be wrong, as John has something else in mind...
John means literally reusing the traditional paper towels we've all come to use and throw. "When you use a paper towel, all you have to do is hang them up on a clothesline to dry, and they'll be ready to use again. Saving you money." This one might be a little harder to get the family on board.
Although society has us convinced that we must purchase cable, internet, wifi, and cell phone plans, John Horne puts forward his belief that having it all is unnecessary. "We don't have cable, we don't have internet or wifi," he relayed to their followers.
No, the Horne family doesn't live like cavemen. Instead, they pay for just their cell phone plan and ensure it will also do the job of wifi and cable. "We have unlimited data on our phones, so we can use those hotspots!" Although this may make them more vulnerable to service outages, they're saving a dime.
Most of us dread going to the barber/hairdresser regularly - and who can blame us? In addition to the staggering costs, who has the energy for that painful, awkward small talk while sitting in the chair? This Horne family hack helps to kill both these stones in one.
Instead of heading to the local salon, get the entire family trained in haircutting and take turns doing each other's hair. Not only will a fortune be saved, but all those uncomfortable social interactions can be avoided - when it comes to family, there's no such thing as an awkward silence!
Never Run Out of Toiletries
"My husband is so cheap that, when I'm out of lotion, I don't just go buy more lotion," Amber introduced yet another TikTok video with her now-famous catchphrase. "That's because we're actually not out of lotion," explained John. He then proceeded to show an exhausted Amber just how it's done.
"All you do is grab some scissors, cut it, open it up, and we've got a lot more to use - enjoying it for more time to come. Similar to shampoo. When you think you're out and you're empty, just unscrew the lid, put some water in it, screw it back on, shake it up, and you've got a lot more uses."
Securing the Samples
One might think their Ketchup bottle is finished and ready to be replaced, but John would say otherwise. To the relief of Heinz fanatics everywhere, the cost-saving man is not suggesting we refill it halfway with water. He has something a little different up his sleeve for this one.
"Whenever you go to the local market or deli, grab a few extra packets [of ketchup], and you can refill the ketchup container," he recommended to his followers. This definitely isn't the quickest or cleanest way to stock up on the condiment, but we can't argue over its cost efficiency. Ketchup ain't cheap!
The Right Way To Roll
"You can even save money by how you put the roll of toilet paper on," John surprised his followers. "Toilet paper companies want us to put the roll over the top, so when you pull on it, all of this is wasted," he said in reference to the many squares of paper hitting the floor.
"When having it come out of the bottom, it rips so much easier, and there isn't a bunch of waste here. Some research actually shows that 30% of your money is saved by rolling it out the bottom." While some might say John has taken things too far with this latest hack, we're willing to roll with it...