I recently read a good article from Yahoo Finance about 6 Extreme Ways to Go Frugal and Save. It was a great article with some great tips for going frugal but in many ways I thought the title was a little misleading. Not one of their options seemed even slightly extreme to me. In fact I would say in the current economic climate all 6 tips are perfectly normal things to do when trying to cut back a little.
I thought it would be more fun and interesting to look at some real extreme ways to go frugal based on the idea’s set out in the Yahoo article.
So here goes…..
1. Walk everywhere…. and I mean everywhere!
When I lived in Montreal I took this frugal extreme even on the harshest of winter days. Walking is a multi-purpose frugal activity and when taken to an extreme it’s extremely good for your health and really helps you get to know your area. I still walk pretty much everywhere here in Cairo too when I can. I would say anything under 6 miles is fair game to start with and as you get used to it you can start some longer ones in with good time planning. Who needs a car?
2. Rent out your home and live in a trailer (or even sell your home!).
I personally think trailers have a worse reputation than they should. Whilst spending time in USA I visited a few people living out in the woods in permanent trailers and I hardly even noticed that they were not just small houses (especially the double ones). They are much cheaper to rent and if you rent/buy a run down one it may be a fun little project. The cash from renting out your property could possibly pay for the trailer rent/loan and give you some left over to throw into your debt or savings.
If your property is going to rent for less than the cost of the mortgage then just try and sell the money pit. This may not be the sound financial advise of most people but if you really want to release a weight that could be the way to go!
If you already rent then this is easy. Hand in your notice, get rid of all your stuff and move into a trailer. Easy peasy.
3. NEVER use credit cards or credit again.
Financial Highway has been warning of the dangers of credit cards with posts such as Why Credit Cards Can Be So Devastating and Your Credit Card is Not An Emergency Fund. I am also a big advocate of giving up using credit all together and if I ever buy a house I plan to use cash, in fact I have Pledged to Never Use Credit Again.
Credit is basically borrowing money that you do not have and for anyone seriously wanting to be frugal it’s absolutely nuts to even consider taking on more debt in any form, if your car is falling apart, so be it, take the first tip in this article and walk. if you need to get a new phone, get a $10 phone from Virgin and get by until you have the cash to buy a more expensive phone. There really are no excuses when you think about it!
4. Don’t buy any food!
This isn’t very easy but it is possible. You would have to learn the art of foraging and spend some cash getting a small garden together. Any staples you do need could be acquired by bartering with local farmers, your friends and your neighbors. You may be amazed how much food your neighbor would give you for moving their lawn or clearing their drive of snow!
Foraging can produce a huge amount of food for you from your local woodlands. Many plants and leaves are good for salads, you may find nuts and berries and all sorts of other things you have never thought of eating.
Growing a small garden can be done starting with easy veggies like cabbage, spicy peppers, zucchini’s and tomatoes.
5. Dump all electronics
Who needs a television, mobile phone, computer? Even I stop the line at a computer but if I really, really needed to cut back I would sell the computer. Many people get by without any of these things. They do really strange things like read books, go on hikes or actually visit their friends in person (weirdos!!!).
The amount of cash saved and time freed up by purging your home life of electronics may be liberating after you get over the immediate feeling of loneliness and boredom!
I would love to know what frugal extremes you have gone too and if you have tried any of the 5 extreme ways talked about in this article.