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Extreme frugal living isn’t about cutting cable from your life or turning up the thermostat to 80 degrees in the summer.
I think we can all agree that switching to YouTube TV from Directv is easier than ever. You’re not really sacrificing anything by canceling cable.
Today I’m sharing the most extreme things that cheapskates do to save more money. I’m not a huge fan of deprivation to the point of not being able to enjoy life, but there are some benefits to frugality that so many people overlook.
Some people have been successful in cutting their lifestyle to the bare minimum during their debt free journey while doing something crazy like donating blood plasma to bring home an extra $400 per month.
For others, this is a slippery slope that could end in multiple financial mistakes. Before you know it, the local car dealership is pulling your credit report and you’re financing a new car. This is exactly why you want to be cautious before committing to this minimalist lifestyle.
First: Words of Caution Regarding FrugalityWhen you start a workout program and meal plan that’s super strict (like the Keto diet or intermittent fasting) and deprive yourself of something you’ve had access to for a long time, there’s a huge possibility of relapse.
Personal finance success, much like fitness, is a lifestyle decision. If you practice extreme frugality for a short time (just to pay off debt), you might find yourself rewarding your good behavior after the debt is paid off. Gazelle intensity is great when you’re on a high, but when the debt’s paid off, what happens to the adrenaline rush? It goes away.
The last thing you want to do is to sabotage your efforts by leasing a new car or buying the boat you’ve always wanted on credit just to keep up with the Joneses.
With that being said, here are some examples of extremely frugal ways to save more money.
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Extreme Frugal Living Tips
1. Flush Toilets Once a Day
You read that right. It doesn’t matter if it’s a number one or a number two or if someone is sick with diarrhea and vomiting (sorry..had to go there).
People legit only flush once a day to save money.
I can’t imagine having company over under these circumstances. I mean, port-a-potties are only cleaned out every so often, so I guess it’s no different, but….YUCK!
2. Eat Expired Food
Got moldy bread or cheese problems? That’s okay!
The cheapest of the cheap simply pick off the mold and eat the remaining portion. After all, if you can’t see the mold, it must not be there, right?
3. Shower Less Often
Filling the tub is a no-no when you’re practicing extreme frugality. You’ve got to take showers only and limit to once every few days (at most). Been to the gym? Apologize to your significant other for me!
That time of the month? No problem! Take a sponge bath!
Y’all, I’m cringing as I’m writing this, but there are people who practice this method of frugality. I will admit that I only wash my hair when it starts to get greasy (once every 3-4 days) and use dry shampoo in between washes.
Extremely frugal people have probably researched health sharing ministries as a way to save money on healthcare. We had our first claims last year after my son broke his wrist. Two surgeries and $60,000 later, we only had to pay $1300 out of pocket.
4. Live in an RV
Now I know a lot of people who are doing this! And I know some who’ve tried it (with kids) and just couldn’t handle being that close with no room to spread out.
One of my favorite stories is from the creator of the affiliate marketing course I’m taking called Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing. Her name is Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, and she’s earning over $150k per month on her blog but lives in an RV and travels the world with her husband.
Even though she’s a millionaire, she and her husband spend about $3000 per month on living expenses! I wrote about their affiliate marketing success story here. They are truly living the dream!
5. Sell Everything but the Kids
Dave Ramsey is a controversial guy. You either love him, or you hate him. But he does offer solid financial advice when it comes to making extra money to pay off debt faster.
By hosting garage sales or selling items in your local Facebook groups and Craigslist, you can earn decent side hustle income. A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it in six months, it needs to go.
This also helps you get a sense of organization and cleanliness in your home, which of course, results in a better quality of life. I’ve sold furniture, clothing, toys, electronics…you name it.
Have you heard of the new Netflix series Tidying Up With Marie Kondo? Marie offers tips on tidying and you can even make some extra cash by selling some of your unwanted junk in the decluttering process.
If you’re looking for a list of 17 things frugal people don’t do, check out this post.
6. Grow your Own Fruits and Veggies
What’s more organic than living off your own land? You can start a garden with a few packages of organic vegetable seeds and in no time you’ll be able to chop salads with fresh vegetables. You can even take it a step further and sell your fruits or veggies.
An example of this would be planting pumpkins and in the fall, when they’re ripe, using them to bake pumpkin pies or pumpkin bread. You can either use them for your Thanksgiving meals or sell them and make a profit! You could also sell them for decor! A package of pumpkin seeds might cost a few bucks and yields 20 pumpkins weighing 50 pounds or more!
Imagine your profit selling pumpkins in the fall in nice neighborhoods as outdoor decor! This is a great way for families to bond and share in enjoying the fruits of their labor! This is one extreme frugal living practice I can stand behind!
7. Become a Tap Water Only Household
Adopt a tapwater only rule for your household. When you stop buying sugary drinks such as sodas, juices, Gatorade, you’ll not only save hundreds of dollars every year, but you’ll also become much healthier! That is…if you don’t live in Flint, Michigan!
After the Aquafina tap water scandal, I guess we can agree that as long as you don’t have black mold in your toilets and sediment you can see in your glass, drinking tap water is perfectly safe.
8. Raise your Own Farm Animals
We all know hunting is a good way to supply meat in the freezer for months. You can buy a young calf and have a farmer raise it, and you can triple your investment and eat good, quality grass-fed beef for months off of that single purchase.
Likewise, I know women who have chicken farms and raise hens for eggs!
You’ll definitely need a deep freeze for storage, and Amazon Prime has several options to choose from with free shipping (especially handy if you don’t have a truck)!
Adopt an Abundance Mindset and Increase your Income
I realize there are a lot of bloggers online preaching meditation and positivity. I do think these things are very important to overcoming a scarcity mindset. That being said, one of the best things you can do is to increase your income so that you don’t have a scarcity mentality.
You can do this by working double shifts, overtime, and holidays. Or you can start a side hustle in your spare time. Here are 76 legit ways to make money on the side this year.
By adopting these extreme frugal living tips, you can hang with the cheapest of the cheap. But at what cost? There are many other ways to live frugally without sacrificing your quality of life. Now I want to hear from you!
Have you tried any of these ways of living frugally? How are you making a conscious effort to save money in your everyday lifestyle? Leave a comment below!
I’ve done all the things! Girl, I’ve washed my face. I’ve trashed everything that doesn’t spark joy. I’ve walked the baby steps. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.
Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That’s why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.
22 thoughts on “9 Extreme Frugal Living Tips You Probably Haven’t Considered”
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You’ve got loads of great ideas here. Thanks for sharing. Times are tough so you’ve got to be creative. People need this now more than ever.
So true, Charlotte! We’re all going to be more conscious of our spending going forward!
All of these ideas are just that…ideas that are in the range of unsanitary to down right crazy. I am 60 years old and have 5 siblings. There are plenty of great ideas that I grew up doing…..we had a freezer (read huge here) and we filled it as well as hundreds of mason jars from the garden we all worked in. If you like to work hard it will save but you must have a plot and a place to keep live stock and chickens. These things are ok if your chosen life style is farming. It is a full time commitment. But I have no desire to go back there and wash jars, string beans, hoe , shell peas, or feed animals at the butt crack of dawn. Smart shopping and living on less than you make are much easier and come in almost the same…as with anything I respectfully submit that it is what it is worth to the person living it. Not bathing or not flushing are just gross.
I absolutely agree that many are disgusting. That’s the point…they’re extreme and most people wouldn’t even consider them (myself included). Thanks for reading and sharing other ideas!
We live in an RV and I look at what we spend and challenge our budget monthly and yearly. This year I am focused on site fees…trying to get to zero currently it is mid July and we’ve spent $150 on fees. We are working which included our site and utilities including very good WiFi. I have cut some trivial expenses but still eat out on a budget. We also hike and bike for entertainment. We only have a few bills which makes budgeting much simpler. I think most people get overwhelmed with fugal mindset. My advice just pick one area and work on it to see a change. Then move on don’t try to do it all at once.
Raising farm animals isn’t cheap. Even chickens require a bit of up front cost if you plan on keeping them alive for very long.
You’re right about that! I wonder how long it would take to make back your investment and actually turn a profit?
My great-grandmother used to hang up toilet paper to dry after using it so she could reuse it again. She was alive during the Great Depression – probably in her 20’s – so such extreme frugal things weren’t so extreme back then.
Oh, goodness, Joe! I cannot imagine doing that!!
Jesus! Came here from a tweet – the first 4 points look more like extreme survival techniques than frugal living. I like the rest of the list though, I wouldn’t mind growing everything I eat and selling anything I don’t need.
Haha it’s true, but some people do it! I was just talking with a girlfriend at breakfast the other day, and she straight up doesn’t shower but once every 3-4 days and her kids only bathe twice a week. That’s a little hardcore for me personally! Thanks for the comment!
LOL! I love it, Melissa. Extremism in the name of frugality is no vice. Mrs. Groovy and I just moved into our new constructed farmhouse in early December. Once the warm weather returns, I’ll try to convince Mrs. G to let me buy some chickens. I got my fingers crossed. She has total veto power, but I think she might let me run with this one. Fresh eggs are extremely enticing. Anyway, great freakin’ post. Cheers.
Thanks for your thoughtful comment!! I would love to have chickens! Would teach the kids a lot about responsibility, too! But, alas, no chickens for us either. My husband hunts sometimes…does that count?! 😛
I wonder how much of this is serious and how much is tongue in cheek. I am dubious that raising a calf with its associated costs of feed, veterinary care and the farmer’s profit margin is cost effective. There is also the butchering costs and transportation of meat especially if you live in a densely populated urban area.
I will add two things that are not quite so outré.
1) The expiration date on many food items have nothing to do with food safety. It is imposed by the manufacturer for purposes of aesthetics. For example, canned corn usually has an expiration date. That date has nothing to do with food safety. It has to do with the color and consistency of the kernels. After the expiration date, the corn loses some of its yellow luster and becomes less firm.
2) I know people with gym memberships who use the gym as the primary place to bathe. I also know people who use stainless steel bar soap but my personal experience and what I read cast doubt on the effectiveness of this method of hygiene.
I’ve never heard of stainless steel bar soap! ????
I was thinking about this frugality concept, it can go too far and I found that thinking about money too much made me think smaller. I’d rather have enough coming in to not worry and have enough to save and invest.
Definitely behind the living off the land and investing in farm animals, the rest is going too far unnecessarily.
I agree 100%, Mohammed! I know there are a lot of people that would sell their kidney for financial freedom. I believe that’s taking it a bit far! For those that are able to, increasing income and productivity are two much better options. Of course it’s smart to watch your spending, but at what expense? Thanks for commenting!
We switched to tap water only for 90% of the time, primarily however for health reasons. Eating expired food, well it depends on how bad or what kind. Expired canned goods, all the time because I hated to waste them and they were still perfectly fine. 🙂
I tried growing my own food because I love gardening, only I’m not so good at it. I ended up sticking with non edible easy to maintain house plants lol.
I’ve never understood selling everything as being frugal. Frugal would be not buying it in the first place. 🙂
I agree completely, Bonnie! I think many people start trying to be more frugal after they’ve realized they’ve been blowing money on stuff that doesn’t help their situation.
I couldn’t grow food either. First of all, the deer would probably get it. Then the rabbits would get leftovers. That is…if I even brought anything to fruition! lol
You’ve nailed it, Melissa! These are extremely frugal! Let’s face it…there are just some things I can’t bring myself to do!???? Even in the name of frugality! I love my daily showers!
I was, however, raised on “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…but if it’s brown, flush it down!” Haha!
Great post! Gets you to thinking of other ways we can save more money!????
Lol I haven’t heard that saying in forever, Kimberly! You just made me laugh so hard! 😛