With extreme frugality tips and realistic ideas, you could save tons of money.
We all know the importance of savings.
Having money stashed away for later use in investment or an emergency brings peace of mind and is a positive sign of effective money management.
Overspending and the consumer lifestyle may feel good at the onset but leads to scarcity in no time.
Sadly, the good news about savings is not enough to motivate people to save more.
Studies have shown that the average US family has an estimate of $40,000 stashed away—an amount that’s short of a comfortable retirement option.
What is even more concerning is that 14% of the US population does not save at all.
However, the Covid-19 pandemic has increased the desire to save, which explains the net household savings rising in 2020.
When you practice extreme frugality, it comes with tons of benefits, including—but not limited to—savings.
Please, do not be put off by the word ‘extreme.’
You do not have to join a monastery or live in an ascetic manner to achieve saving goals.
It is called extreme because it goes beyond the regular savings patterns.
It is also unconventional and may require some changes in the way you live, yet the end result is worth the means.
What is Extreme Frugality?
You’d need to know what it means to be extremely frugal before getting tips on it.
For that purpose, let’s explain extreme frugality.
The Marriam Webster dictionary defines frugality as a “careful management of material resources and especially money.”
Synonyms of frugality include thrift, penny-pinching, and parsimony.
When you’re extremely frugal, you take things up a notch in money management, going beyond typical saving methods.
You manage money in a way the average person wouldn’t.
Extreme frugality is not:
- becoming a miser;
- being a 21st century Scrooge;
- intentional suffering;
- ignoring your needs;
- choosing poverty over riches.
No. It is a simpler way of life.
What are Examples of Extreme Frugality?
Now that you know what extreme frugality is all about, how does it play out in the real world?
Some people have opted for this way of life and prefer it for its simplicity, modesty, and emphasis on priorities.
They don’t eat out, preferring to cook their meals. They may opt for public transport rather than use their car to avoid fuel bills.
The aim is to spend with purpose and saving more.
Other examples of frugal living include:
- trying DIY methods rather than call a professional for repairs;
- having a garden where you grow edible crops;
- not buy that latest product;
- trekking close distance rather than opt for public transport;
- working out at home and not the gym;
- recycling teabags.
While it may seem more tasking than ‘normal’ living, do remember that we all need to learn how to cut down expenses, save and make the wealth grow.
Extreme frugality is a good option for that, though not to everyone’s taste.
Is Extreme Frugal Living Right for Me?
At this point, you may be contemplating if you need to take this path.
Won’t it make you weird?
Are you ready to give up that early morning coffee or burgers?
What are the pros and cons of being extremely frugal?
The extreme frugal lifestyle is certainly not for everyone. We all have different preferences.
It is equally not a 100% perfect choice as it comes with its drawbacks and limitations.
Consider those before deciding whether or not you want to be extremely frugal.
Having said that, even if you do not want to live this way, get some lessons that can help you save better.
Some of the tips are beneficial, regardless of whatever your views of extreme frugality might be.
If you are interested in this manner of living, here are some benefits to encourage you.
Frugality can help you to:
- Go on early retirement.
- Live simple and healthy.
- Save more.
- Be self-disciplined.
- Gain financial freedom.
- Improve your creativity.
- Keep a better environment.
- Donate more.
- Live intentionally.
- Not get caught up in the rat race.
Is Being Too Frugal Bad?
Just like anything else, frugality is a coin with two sides.
There is a thin line between frugality and miserliness. You need to ensure you do not cross that.
One way to do this is by not denying yourself basic needs and also satisfying some wants.
Also, while you learn how to save, know how to invest too.
You should equally not neglect to earn money as it is the foundation for savings, spendings, and investments.
How do you Become Extremely Frugal?
Frugal living requires changes in your mindset and choices as you go about your day-to-day activities.
It is not a one-time event but a process that develops over time.
You can’t wake up and become frugal with a wave of the wand like in fairy tales. It requires effort.
Here are some steps you need to take if you want to become very frugal:
1. Trash the misconceptions
As stated above, frugal living demands a change in thought.
Drop off the myths you may have heard about being frugal.
Some people picture a dull, soulless existence where even laughter seems like a waste.
They liken frugality to selfishness and avarice, painting a caricature that makes it easy for them to discount this concept.
They label it ‘weird,’ dump it by the roadside (figuratively speaking), and hit the supermarket for some unnecessary shopping.
Extreme frugality is not that far out from the norms. It is not an insane lifestyle, neither is it dry and sad.
The lessons and skills you pick up along the way are just as indispensable as the stability and peace of mind that comes from being debt-free, independent, and simple.
If you paint frugal living, you’d need to use colors. It is as fun as consumerism, perhaps more so.
2. Change your interpretation of the YOLO philosophy.
People use the ideology of ‘You Only Live Once’ to justify huge expenses and satisfy cravings.
If I could only live once, why not buy whatever I want and do what I like? Life is too short, right?
However, this interpretation does more harm than good to you.
Not only do you put yourself at health risk (thereby living that short life in the hospital), you may end up sinking in debt, getting broke, and living with anxiety.
A better conclusion to the YOLO philosophy is this: If you only live once, then you need to live it right.
The frugal lifestyle takes away the pressure of conformity and performance that plagues us today.
It reduces stress and helps us be intentional. Isn’t this a better way to live?
3. Drop the excuses
In addition to changing your mindset over frugality, look out for the excuses you think would stop you from living frugal or explain that needless spending.
When you find these excuses, take them as challenges and seek solutions.
For instance, let’s say you feel you can’t do without that morning coffee.
The challenge here is that of an addiction to caffeine, which should be resolved, not babied.
4. Separate your wants from your needs
We use the expression ‘I need…’ in a way that makes it seems like we can’t do without everything we buy:
- “I really need that dress.”
- “Oh, I need to get some chocolate.”
- “I need to get on Netflix tonight.”
However, what we tend to term ‘needs’ are often ‘wants.’
Our needs are what we need to survive—water, clothes, a house, food. You should prioritize these over your wants.
5. Don’t live to impress others
It probably goes without saying, but living to impress others is futile.
Remember your baby pictures? Unless you are a twin, you were alone, the way you came into this world.
If you attend a funeral, you’d realize the dead person is alone too.
It doesn’t pay to care too much about what others think.
In fact, it makes you spend more.
You end up living above your means to meet some standard that will drain you and your income.
Ready for the ways to be extremely frugal? Read on.
20 Extreme Frugality Tips & Ideas That’ll Save You Thousands
So far, you know what it means to be extremely frugal with examples.
You also know the benefits of frugal living and few steps to take to get on the road of frugality.
Now, let’s look into 20 extreme frugal living tips you can implement that will save you tons of money.
Remember, even if you do not want a completely frugal lifestyle, you can still benefit from these tips.
1. Take advantage of gift cards
Gift cards give you an opportunity to buy what you need at zero cost.
Use them to cover expenses like grocery shopping and save the money you slotted for it.
Some programs like InboxDollars offer easy ways to get paid in gift cards after performing some tasks like reading emails and playing games.
Companies like PayPal and Amazon also offer gift cards that would come in handy.
With gift cards, shopping becomes fun.
2. Keep fruit peels
Once you’re through with fruits, make good use of the peels.
Fruit peels have medicinal qualities which are suitable for your health.
Banana peel, for example, contains potassium and vitamin C.
Use fruit peels to spice up your meals, eat healthier, and have more money to save.
3. Don’t spend on entertainment
Entertainments are neither basic needs nor essential wants, yet they are expensive.
Ditch paid entertainments and find ways to have fun free or with little cost.
Go to a picnic, read a book, have a bonfire night, or do indoor camping.
4. Grow a garden
Another frugal hack for you to implement is growing your garden.
In this garden, plant fruits and vegetables you would later harvest and use for meals. This saves you from buying them.
Growing your garden also has health benefits as you get to eat natural fresh vegetables and fruits.
5. Take care of your pets
Pets are fun, and you get an opportunity to learn responsibility, but grooming them with the aid of a professional can be costly.
To reduce those costs, learn how to take care of them yourself.
Do some research and read books that would give you how-to guides to ensure that you groom your kitty or doggy right.
6. Give yourself a haircut
It may sound far-fetched, but it is possible and beneficial as you get to learn a new DIY skill and save money.
A friend can help you if it isn’t a task you want to accomplish alone.
7. Eat leftovers
Suppose they are not spoilt, no need to throw them in the bin.
Eat your leftover meal to reduce the stress of making a meal and save money.
Do not eat a meal if it’s spoilt. Frugality should not be at the detriment of your health.
8. Rent a room
If you have a spare room at your house, make a few extra bucks by renting it out to willing tenants.
Do some background checks on them to know who you’re dealing with, of course.
Over time, this strategy gives you passive income that you could channel towards savings or clearing debts.
9. Make your own shampoo and laundry detergent
Reduce the cost of items like laundry detergents and shampoo by making them yourself.
With just a few guides available on the internet, you can do this.
Factory-produced laundry detergents not only require you to use your money—the same goes with shampoo.
It is, thus, cheaper to make them at home.
10. Don’t own a car
Cars are expensive to buy, maintain and use.
Also, they don’t appreciate, which makes them a liability. Find alternatives to owning and using them.
Some alternatives to owning a car are:
- Public transport
- Carpooling with a friend
- Strolling (if it’s a relatively short distance)
11. Don’t shy away from freebies
From free coupons to gift cards and more, make the most of every free opportunity you get.
You can get free stuff—eBooks, gift cards, movies, music, and more—on Amazon, free drinks from Starbucks, and even bonus toiletries from hotels you can use at home.
12. The thrift shop is a place to be
In place of stores, go to thrift shops to get a better bargain on clothes and other items.
Getting these things at a cheap price covers your needs and leaves you with enough to save.
You also aid in reducing waste, contribute to the growth of your community and even keep up with the latest trends.
13. Plan your meals and don’t eat out
Plan your meals in advance and shop for the recipes to save cost and time and avoid that last-minute pizza call.
You can start with weekly plans of 2 or 3 recipes to avoid time consumption.
It is also economical, satisfying and healthy to cook home-made meals compared to eating at a restaurant.
This way, even date nights can be made romantic indoors.
14. Eat raw food
Change your diet from costly processed food to raw, unprocessed ones.
You get to save utility money and what you’d spend to get ingredients.
Far from being a health risk, raw food lacks chemicals involved in processing meals, making it safer.
15. Save energy and water
By switching some electrical appliances, regulating utilities, and keeping track of bills, you can save energy and cut down costs.
Do a little research on what appliances consume less energy. Don’t limit this to only electricity.
You should also monitor your use of water to avoid wastage.
16. Get a cheap internet plan
The use of the internet to watch movies, play games, and stream music can burn a hole in your wallet.
Social media, with their addictive traits, also contribute towards spending a lot on the internet.
To reduce this, get a cheaper internet subscription. Furthermore, regulate the time you spend on the internet.
There are other ways to entertain yourself that do not require fixing your eyes on a screen.
17. Keep your change
It is tempting to use up that spare change from your purchase. After all, it isn’t much, right?
But if you gather them together, you can get something substantial.
You may get a piggybank or an unused jar to drop those pennies. They may come in handy one day.
18. Control laundry and dishes
If your cloth isn’t dirty after you wore them once, why wash them?
You can save water and electricity bills your washing machine will consume.
Don’t be quick to use the dishwasher and washing machine.
Hand wash is a cheaper option, especially when you don’t have an overwhelming basket of dirty wears or a sink filled with dishes.
This tip manages energy too, which cuts your utility bills.
19. Always keep track of your finances
A good way to know your progress and make needed changes in your finances is by making a budget, tracking how much you earn, what you save, investments you make, and what you spend.
If you have an addiction or unneeded want, tracking your finances would point it out.
20. Learn from Frugal people
There are a lot of people practicing the extreme frugal lifestyle permanently or otherwise.
Chances are, you know someone like that. Approach them and ask for help.
Not only would they put you through, but you’d also get support.
The Bottom Line on Living Extremely Frugal
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Bear in mind that you do not have to use every tip at once. Remember the Chinese proverb? Take a single step.
Enjoy the benefits of extreme frugal living as you practice what you’ve learned from this article.
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