What do you do when life suddenly kicks you down, and you have to stretch every dollar you have? Injury, illness, losing your job and many other causes that defy prediction since life has a tendency of being at least two times fuller of surprises than it is of forecasts and solutions.
It certainly is terrifying to be all of a sudden bound to make recourse due to severe limitations when you were accustomed to a cornucopia of everything. But that’s not the sole reason for using extreme money-saving methods – there are people who do it for fun or to see how far they can push their limits.
“Okay. I want to go cold-turkey on this supreme frugality, but how do I do it?”
In order to make them less chaotic and confusing, we’ll split them into categories. The first is:
Penny Pinching Personal care
It doesn’t look like it but even frugal people spend small fortunes on personal care products each month. Shampoo, soaps, bath salts, toothpaste, balms, creams – they all cost good money. Here’s how you go frugal out of the blue in regards with personal toilette:
- Take showers instead of baths: short showers once every two days. Unless you work in a mine or constructions, you don’t need to shower daily. Your water bill will be considerably lower.
- Use less shampoo: you don’t need a fistful of shampoo to foam your hair. First of all, excessive shampooing will damage your hair. Second, you will probably have to buy a new one each week.
- Dry the soap: if you let the soap wet after you’ve showered, it will melt.
- Get a razor: instead of spending mindlessly on Gillette shaving razors, get an old razor like the one your grandfather used to sharpen on his belt. They can last a lifetime if taken care of properly.
- Stop shaving altogether: more of a choice than an actual tip on how to become frugal, but hey, you don’t need to buy razors and shaving foam anymore.
- Start making your toothpaste: baking soda, salt and a few drops of your favorite essential oils is everything you need to get a good toothpaste. It’s chemical-free, healthy and insanely affordable.
- Cut your hair yourself: you don’t need to go to the hairdresser to get a decent haircut. You can do it yourself or someone from your family can. If not, just let your hair grow. It’s becoming a trend for men, too.
- Sew torn clothes and socks: don’t just throw away socks and clothes with minor defects as holes or tears. Sew them. It will save tons of money you’d otherwise spend on buying clothes and throwing them away again at the first rupture.
Penny Pinching House
Extreme measures can also be taken to save money on housing, powering your house and financing it. So, here is what frugal family living involves:
- Live in an RV: this is actually more of a dream for many people than a drastic way to save money. It is like caravanning forever, and you won’t have to pay any rent or bills for water and electricity. Plus, that is how you travel anywhere you like without investing too much.
- Solar panels: you might have to spend some considerable money into purchasing them, but think of the greater picture: your house will be powered for free for the rest of your life.
- Let lessees in: a great way of making more while spending less is to let boarders live in your house if you have spare rooms. That’s a supplementary income right there, no working hours, no CEO to boss you around all day long.
- Build it: purchasing a house is an impossibility for most people if they don’t take loans or leases. Building it from scratch on cheap land can cost you a quarter of the price you’d pay for purchasing it.
- Learn how to do maintenance: you don’t need a background in constructions to patch up your roof, just like you don’t need to be an electrician to change a light bulb or repair a faulty socket.
- Harness rainwater: if you have a garden and you live in an arid region, you consume tons of water on watering your vegetables. Collect the rainwater whenever it is possible and make use of it instead of using the hose.
- Make frequent garage sells: sell everything you don’t need for extra money. Keep necessary things only. You can sell furniture that you don’t use, for example, and even derelict machines, TVs and old phones to be stripped for parts.
- Learn to appreciate candlelight: a great deal of people actually prefers candlelight to electric light. You can cut the electricity bill in half or even down to a quarter. What’s more, if you are in a relationship, it’s far more romantic to have dinner in the comfortable light of the candles than that of a 60-watts light bulb.
- Wash clothes by hand: not that many years ago, washing machines were pretty much utopias, and the very idea was a laughingstock. Wash the clothes yourself and dry them on the clothesline to save money on the electricity that goes into the washing and drying machines.
- Buy second-hand things: previously owned and used items aren’t as bad as people say they are. You can get really nice things for little to nothing in second-hand outlets; you can get bags full of clothes for the same price you would have paid for a single pair of jeans.
- Get a good analysis of the trash: you wouldn’t believe your eyes what some people can throw away; it’s not unsurprising to find things in perfect condition, hurled when someone moved and didn’t want to burden with carrying them around. This is different than dumpster diving, so don’t start sweating that your neighbors are going to start pointing fingers at you.
Penny Pinching Food & Beverage
There are plenty of ways of saving money on food; refrigeration, having your own orchard and learning how to cook are just the tip of the iceberg.
- Buy meat and vegetables in the market: farmers have cosmically better prices than supermarkets. On top of that, you can rest assured that they’re not full of harmful chemicals.
- Grow your own: if you have enough land at your disposal, start planting everything you would otherwise pay good money for. If you’re willing, you can even grow your own animals for meat.
- Save the salt and pepper from fast-food: these are those little packs that are given to you when you order fast-food. If you don’t use them for that particular meal, don’t throw them away.
- Blow past the expiration date: you would be surprised how many people don’t care about the expiration dates of the products they’re consuming. It’s hazardous, without a doubt, but then again, there are persons who don’t
- Frugal eating diets: this can be considered only when the body isn’t deprived of the vital nutrients it has to receive each day. There are several recipes with minimal ingredients, but rich concentrations of vitamins and proteins.
- Leftovers: take home any leftovers from parties or social meetings. They’re going to be thrown anyway, so you better take them.
- Reuse coffee grounds: coffee grounds make a good fertilizer, they can be used to unclog the sink, they are efficient in making your hair look lustrous and absorbing bad odors from the fridge, the trash bags, and your shoes.
- Cut the sodas: you must learn how to appreciate water. Sodas are bad for you, in the first place. Why pay for something to damage your health?
Penny Pinching Leisure
Entertainment can dissolve more than a half of your income. You didn’t give it much thought before, did you? It is nonetheless true. Sad, but true.
- Watch movies at home: it’s surreal how expensive cinema is nowadays. Why pay a fortune to see a movie when you can just get the DVD and watch it from the comfort of your couch?
- Cut down the cable: there’s not much use of cable TV when you have Internet. You can watch your favorite TV shows online, and you won’t feel the need to go to punch drywall because advertisements keep getting in the way.
- Invite your friends over: instead of going out and spending good money for even as little as a dinner and a beer, tell your friends to come over, pitch in, cook and have fun.
- Borrow music, books and movies: you can do this at any library. You don’t have to purchase any of them when you can listen to CDs, read and watch movies for free.
- Get music from free websites: there are too many sites with free music than one can count on the fingers of both hands.
- Free-entry concerts: it’s true, you probably won’t see any giant of the music industry for free, but there are so many bands that do it for the pleasure of doing it. Moreover, the underground is packed with bands that never get the recognition they deserve.
- Picnics: an extremely cheap and, at the same time, incredibly entertaining way of having fun without relying on the good, old wallet.
- Board games: this type of games is becoming a full-blown hype if it didn’t already. Instead of crushing half your budget on a night out in the city, you stay indoors and have lots of fun with your friends.
- Get an artistic hobby: start painting, singing or writing. You’d be amazed how entertaining it is to work your brain and to look, listen to or write something you’ve done yourself, with no outside It is certainly more advantageous than going to the mall and getting out with five bags of things you didn’t need.
Maybe some of these tips aren’t as extreme as you’d thought they would be but put them all together and you will notice a big difference in your savings. It is going to take a while to accustom yourself to the new lifestyle, and it is entirely up to you if the experience is going to be rewarding or not.
Basically, you’d have to take everything that human beings do and spend on and just cut the resulting mass in two. How much you’re going to use these tips depends on how deeply rooted your desire for change rests.
Author Profile: Mr. Beatles blogs about frugality and personal finance at Stacking Pennies. His blog is dedicated to his families pursuit of paying off debt and living a frugal lifestyle.