I'm always looking to save money in unexpected and creative ways. My newest method for doing so is the use of olive oil instead of lotion. The cheapest lotions don't seem to moisturize sufficiently, especially when it comes to middle-aged skin. I've been using olive oil for a month or so and have found it works quite well.
How do I use it? First, to make it a truly cheap alternative, I purchase olive oil at Sam's Club. There you can buy olive oil in bulk. I then transfer the oil to a smaller container that is appropriate for the bathroom. When I first enter the shower, I use the oil, letting it soak in. I then wash my hair and proceed with my shower as usual.
If you're looking for a cheap alternative to lotion, then give olive oil a try. It works even for those of us who need a bit of extra moisturizer.