Inside: Looking to jumpstart your path toward financial freedom, save money, or pay off debt? These extreme frugal living tips will give you the momentum you need to make it happen. Extreme frugality takes sacrifice, but it works! Let’s get to it!
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So you’ve tried the traditional method of saving money and paying off debt. You’ve cut your grocery budget, limited entertainment, and cooked meals at home until your oven mitts fall off.
But you’ve still got a ways to go, right?
When you’re desperate to get your financial house in order, you’ll try almost anything.
Nothing is sacred. Anything can go. As long as it gets you closer to your goals, you’re ready for it!
It’s time to get extreme.
Extreme frugality isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, extreme frugal living will earn you sideways looks in the grocery store. You’ll hear and countless “You did what?!” from your friends and family.
But a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do!
How to Commit to Extreme Frugality
You’re at the edge. But before you jump in, make sure you’re ready for the plunge! How can you make sure you’ll actually stick with these extreme frugality tips?
- Write down your “why.” What is the goal that keeps you from giving up?
- Don’t do it alone. Find an accountability partner. Share your “why” and give her full authority to remind you of your “why” when you want to throw in the towel!
- Give every dollar a home. When you use these extreme frugal living tips, you’ll free up big chunks of change in your budget. Don’t let it slip through the cracks! Give every dollar a place to go and make sure it gets there.
- Track your progress. Write down your successes and keep them in plain view to help stay motivated!
Here’s the thing… Not every tip on this list is right for you. But what if you just borrowed one or two of these strategies?
Can you imagine what a leap forward your finances will take? It’s all about living with extreme frugality now so you can live freely later!
5 Extreme Frugal Living Tips You Haven’t Tried… Yet!
Frugal Tip #1: Downsize your house.
Ouch. Let’s go ahead and get this one out there. If your family is like most families, your monthly housing costs eats up most of your budget.
Naturally, slashing your housing costs is one of the most effective ways to be extremely frugal!
Consider downsizing to a smaller house. According to the US Census Bureau, the square footage of the average-sized home has increased 40% in the last 40 years. Is bigger really better? Or is less space a welcome trade off for more wiggle room in your budget?
Move to a different neighborhood. Maybe less square footage simply isn’t an option. Shop around for a similar house in a slightly less “marketable” neighborhood!
Move in with family. Yes, this one is extreme! We lived with my in-laws for eight months when we were in-between houses. It was hard, but we saved hundreds every month and had plenty of free babysitting!
Downsizing your housing alone could save you hundreds per month!
But before you get started:
- Be sure to do your research. Do you have equity in your current home? Is selling a wise idea?
- How will current interest rates affect your monthly payments?
- Check with a realtor and let them help you make a plan!
- Use this mortgage calculator to find your ideal mortgage.
Frugal Tip #2: Downsize your car.
Ouch, again! Listen, I’m totally on the bandwagon of automatic doors, bells and whistles, and all that good stuff. But is it really worth it?
When my husband and I paid off over $13,000 of debt, one of the first things we did was trade in his new SUV for a smaller used model.
Did it hurt to give up that status symbol? Oh, yeah. But it freed up a few hundred dollars every single month.
It was worth it as we saw that debt grow smaller and smaller every month!
Try these strategies to downsize your transportation:
- Trade your newer model for a car just one or two years older for instant savings.
- Look for pre-owned cars at a dealer’s auction. Ask around to see if a friend has a dealer’s license!
- Two car family? Go drastic and trade in one car for a motorcycle or scooter. Use the car for kid transportation, the scooter to get one parent to work.
- If you live within distance, ride a bike to the market, work, or wherever you can!
Frugal Tip #3: Save on Energy.
You may already be living more frugally by bumping your A/C down one degree. But there are more extreme ways to save tons on energy costs!
Energy costs are a big part of your budget, especially if you live in extremely cold or hot climates.
Try these drastic energy saving measures:
- Turn your A/C or heat completely off. Bundle up in the winter and use fans in the summer.
- Take cold showers. (It’s better for your hair and skin, anyway!) Or just turn the temperature on your water heater a few degrees cooler.
- Wash clothes in cold water only. Buy a clothesline and hang clothes to dry.
- Switch to rechargeable batteries for household items. Or swap out batteries between high-use items and low-use items around the house!
Frugal Tip #4: Get Uber Frugal with Food.
For most families it goes like this… Make a meal plan. Cook one or two of those meals that week. Get rushed. Get busy. Eat out the rest of the week.
Getting extremely frugal with your food means you need a plan for what you’re going to do when everyone’s hungry and you don’t have anything defrosted yet.
Use these extreme tips to help save on food costs every month!
- Cook from scratch. Every single meal. If it takes more time to prep, it probably costs less! Dry beans and whole chickens are your friends!
- Reuse tea bags or coffee grounds for the next day. In fact, reuse everything!
- Pick fruit and veggies from U-Pick farms to freeze or preserve.
- Eat tons of eggs. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
- Check with your child’s school about free breakfast and lunch for students. You may qualify!
- Ask restaurants for unused (but unspoiled) food items they’re about to trash.
Frugal Tip #5: Go on a Spending Freeze.
What’s the fastest way to save money? Don’t spend it to begin with! If you’re ready to take your frugality to the next level, consider taking on a zero-spend challenge.
It’s as simple as it sounds, but guaranteed to build financial momentum!
Before you begin, set some ground rules:
- Write down a specific time frame.
- Write down clear rules for your spending freeze.
- Tell someone about it to keep accountable!
What kind of spending can you freeze to free up more room in your budget? Obviously you need food and shelter. But if it’s not essential, it can go!
Try these ideas to start your own no-spend challenge:
- Clothing: Only budget for clothes for growing kids. No adult clothing purchases! Shop your own closet or organize a clothes swap between friends.
- Beauty: Dedicate 6-12 months to freeze beautician or hairdresser costs. Do it yourself or trade services or babysitting for a hairdresser friend to cut and color yours for free.
- Toys: Yes, the kids can participate, too! Try a few months with no new toy purchases. Instead, rotate toys to keep their interest fresh.
- Home Items: Those cute little farmhouse decorations add up fast, don’t they! Make yourself a household spending freeze challenge and only buy consumables like detergent and cleaning supplies.
Ready to finally gain some financial momentum with these extreme frugal living tips? What are your favorite ways to live frugally? Share your experiences and stories in the comments below!