Have you ever wondered if you could live on the edge, and save almost every dime you were paid? Then take this money and build wealth? But what is extreme and how does it differ from just being frugal? I have come up with my list of frugal ideas and I want to know your opinion. Let me give you some extremely frugal ideas and then I’ll let you decide if these ideas would be defined as extreme or not.
1. Put up an outside cloths line (like the one my parents used when I was a small child). This is probably one of the last things most families would even think of to save money. Most people would tell you there isn’t enough time in their day to hang cloths on a line outside. That is what a cloths drier is for…
This was how all cloths were dried once they were washed back in the 50’s. Many families couldn’t afford the convenience of a washer and dryer to do their laundry. To wash without a washing machine there was a lot of hand scrubbing, a lot of elbow grease, and making your own washing solutions by hand.
Did you know that regular drying your cloths in a cloths dryer actually shortens the life expectancy of your cloths? Yes, look in your lent filter and you will see the life of your cloths slowly die by the amount of lent (old threads of clothing).
To dry your cloths outside there is a savings of around a $6 dollars a month. A little more if you add the price of anti-static cloths. But this is an extreme way of getting your cloths dry and saving money. You don’t necessarily have to invest a lot of money into wire to make your own cloths line.
Back when I was in my twenties I lived in my own house trailer in Dallas, Texas. I stretched an extension cord from one tree to another and hung my cloths via a cloths hanger on the cord to dry my cloths after washing. It was cheap, did an excellent job, and cloths had a healthy fragrance to them.
What about in the wintertime? I remember my mother going outside to fetch the cloths off the cloths line when snow was on the ground. My Levi’s would be frozen solid! She would (literally) break the ice frozen in the legs of my pants. Fold my jeans into the basket and bring them inside.
Another frugal way of proper usage of your laundry machines: Spin your cloths twice to get more water out of cloths before removing. Then only dry your cloths for 5 minutes in the dryer. Remove your damp cloths and now spread them onto indoor cloths rack to completely dry. This will save on money and add life to your cloths.
Most Americans would not even consider this as an alternative. However, it was a way of life some 60 years ago.
2. Try Making Your Own Laundry Detergent. If you want to get the best cleaning and the healthiest way of achieving clean cloths then at least consider the options you have when making your own laundry detergent. Why?
Because most of the commercial laundry detergents use toxic chemicals as ingredients in their soaps. These toxic chemicals do not get completely rinsed out of your cloths. Consequently, you absorb these toxic chemicals into your body by way of skin contact to the cloths.
Another thing to realize is how inexpensive the simple ingredients are to mix up to make your own detergents. For some Homemade Recipes of laundry detergents, go check out how easy and affordable they are.
3. Wash Dishes by hand – Just think how much water people in California could save by practicing washing their dishes by hand. Many liberals will argue that washing dishes by hand uses as much water as a dishwasher, but that is NOT true. If you wash correctly, it uses far less water and you save money (a little) every day. That adds up to saving a chunk of money over the course of a year.
Don’t leave the water running while you are rinsing off the dishes. That is where you waste water. Only turn on water when you are ready to use it, then quickly rinse. The amount of water you will save will be in the gallons, which is being frugal and helping everyone.
In Maine years ago most houses have very small porcelain sinks. We would buy a plastic tub to set into sink to wash dishes.
4. Take Public Transportation for Work – This is another area where lots of money can be saved. Yes you would have to buy a ticket to ride one of the many forms of public transportation, a bus, a train, etc. However if your hours of work conform to their operation schedule it is something to consider. Why?
In Philadelphia many people commute to work from the suburbs by train. They park their car at the train depot, take the train to work. Then take train back to depot after work and drive home. Saves lots of money (and convenience) from parking fees, traffic, etc.
If ditching the automobile entirely (like many people have done) you save in not having a car payment; No auto insurance to pay; no yearly tax fees or maintenance costs; No parking or fuel cost. Even car pooling is a step in the right direction. Ride a bike or walk to work. The exercise is great! These savings could be in the thousands of dollars per year!
5. Stay in-State For Vacations– looking to go on a family vacation. Here you can save hundreds of dollars if you plan your vacation just right by staying in-state and visiting a popular fun place this summer. You would be surprised at the vast amounts of fun places to visit in just a 200 mile radius of where you live.
You would save on the hotel cost, transportation costs, food costs
and even learn something new about your state along the way.
6. Read Non-Fiction Books Instead of Taking Vacation – The best exercise you can do for your children is to have them learn to read well. What better way to learn to enjoy reading than through the summer months take your children to the local library, check out some books about far away places and learn about different lands, cultures and places. Use the savings to pay down on your debt.
7. Give up your smart phone – this is one of America’s biggest expense and another non-essential item in saving hundreds of dollars a month. Those savings add up to thousands of dollars a year. Not to mention the amount of accidents because of texting while driving. You say you just can’t live without your smartphone?
I was one of the last people in my home town to own a smart phone, and I lived just fine without it. I don’t much like talking on the phone anyway, but I don’t need the aggravation of annoying people contacting me or the possibility of some Hacker stealing information from my cell phone.
8. Be a coupon expert in your Family – you have probably seen the TV shows about the savings from being the extreme coupon-er, but it’s true, and it could be you too! It just takes a little time and some practice but a family of four could be saving some serious cash every month from their grocery bill. It is more than worth the little inconveniences to learn this savings technique and you could be saving hundreds a month from your grocery items.
9. Rent out a Room– I rented out a spare bedroom for years which helped pay my utility bill every month. For the most benefit, ask your roommate to split all bills with you, including electricity and water, so that they will be respectful about their usage.
10. Grow your own food – This not only saves you lots of money from your grocery bill every month, but you gain access to higher quality organic foods which are better tasting and more healthful for you. Another way of saving money and thinning out your waistline, all at the same time!
11. Make Your Own Gifts – Now with just a little bit of creativity you can make your own gifts to give on those special occasions, birthday’s, anniversaries, graduations, Christmas, etc. Many times these gifts will hold more meaning to the recipient. You can save a lot of money this way, get your family involved and find hidden talent in your children.
12. Patch Your Cloths, don’t throw away. – My wife was a little perturbed at me when I insisted on her repairing my work jeans, instead of buying new ones. I had worn a hole into each pair of jeans from carrying a razor-knife in my pocket. She bought a patch-kit for less than a dollar, and patched each pair of jeans. I saved the costs of replacement of each pair, around $23 each pair of jeans – over a hundred dollars saved!
13. Save on Internet expense; Use from your local library – If the costs of Internet access is too constraining on your monthly budget, you can use your local library to access the Internet. Yes a little inconvenient but well worth the savings.
Another smart idea is to find free ways of making money online.
14. Give up cable TV – Today you can watch all your favorite shows on the Internet and do without the $100 dollar plus cable bill every month. For only $49 one-time fee, you can actually save more money in streaming video on the Internet, plus the ability to watch TV when it is convenient to your schedule. I use a “All TV Antenna” so I get free broadcasts of local TV. I save over $120.00 a month not having Cable TV. Some people will save much more money ditching cable TV.
15. Use Your Own Entertainment at Home– Instead of paying $20 dollars plus for each ticket to the movies, don’t spend any and stay at home a play one of your favorite board games. This not only saves lots of money per week, month, yearly but aids in quality family entertainment. Kids love to play card games.
16. Cook more, dine-out less – This one treat alone will save your family at least one hundred dollars a month. Not to mention the higher quality of food and the better more nutritious the food can be. I like this because dining out you have many costs involved, from transportation costs, to not knowing where your food came from. You can at least control these costs by cooking at home.
17. Shop at thrift stores more – Big Lots was one of my wife’s favorite stores. You could buy good quality utensils and furniture way below the price of your usual store prices. You can definitely find designer cloths if you look hard enough. Also, be sure to go on 50% off days if your local store has them! Dollar General and Family Dollar are the other popular thrift stores. Don’t knock it till you try it.
18. Make Your Own Cleaning solutions – About 60 years ago vinegar was a necessary staple that was in every home because of the versatility. It could be used for almost anything to clean with, from pre-soaking cloths to cleaning and disinfecting the toilet. You can also find several homemade recipes that use vinegar as the main ingredient. It cleans, it disinfects, removes stains and is non-toxic. Commercial bought products can’t boast about being non-toxic, because they are not. They might smell good, but I would much rather avoid the toxic chemicals instead of getting a nice frangance.
19. Use a programmable Thermostat for your Home – Setting your temperature higher during the day when you are gone can save you lots on your cooling expense, when used correctly. Remember, it takes less energy to heat a warm house; likewise less energy to cool an already semi-cool house. Turn the thermostat to less cooling at night while using a ceiling fan.
Close off the rooms in your house you aren’t using to save on heating and cooling. Around here we close off the bedroom when we get up and open it up an hour or so before bed. In the spring/fall, use the weather when you can. Open up your windows at night to catch cool breezes and close them before it gets hot again outside the next day.
20. Make A Weekly Meal Plan – You can avoid those evenings when you can’t decide on what to have for dinner then opt to go dine somewhere. This will help you save in two ways; you get a meal plan plus the savings from buying only the food on your meal plan. You can use up leftovers from the night before and re-use it in a different dish, eliminating wasting food.
21. Increase Your Insurance Deductibles – This will save some serious cash every month off of your insurance premiums. Use those savings to pay down on your mortgage, or your credit cards.
22. Create An Emergency Fund – This is a no-brainer but seldom used. Everyone should have an emergency fund to be used for emergencies. Forget about using a credit card for emergencies (like many people do) because soon ordinary expenses become emergencies.
You should have 3 months to 6 months of expenses saved in a regular savings account to be used only for emergencies. Life happens, so you know you should be prepared for those emergencies, like car repairs, roof leaking, doctors or hospital emergencies, etc.
23. Wash your own car – Saving an average of $7 dollars a week would save you $364 a year. I can do a lot with that much money! The added benefit is the pride you get from washing your car, the exercise, and the enjoyment of maybe washing the car together with your children. This teaches them to be frugal as well.
24. Learn How To Make Your Own Repairs – Once you become a homeowner, making your own repairs becomes mandatory because of the expense to hire a repairman. Many simple repair duties around the house may include, light switch, light bulbs, ceiling fans installation or repair, painting, hanging blinds or curtains, shower tile/grout repair, window screens and plumbing repairs.
25. Cut Your Own Hair – We save around $60 dollars a year on doing our own hair duties. The hair cutting kit was only $21 dollars (the cost of one haircut). It is very easy, fast, and convenient.
26. When Dining, Share a Meal – When we go dine, we buy two meals, one for my daughter and the other meal to share between my wife and I. Do this twice, and you just saved enough money to dine out for free the next time!
27. Stick To A Written Budget – The hardest thing people claim is to follow a budget and a diet. I agree on the diet because they do not work. But a budget does work, if you can learn to control those compulsive buying habits you have grown accustomed to. The biggest lesson you can learn but also teach your children are the differences between “wants” and “needs”. For example, when going to the grocery store: Plan your weekly meal plan and only write down those food items. Once in the store only buy what is on your lists.
Remember, just because the store is running a “sale”, it is not necessarily in your best interest. More often than not it is not really a sale or an item you would normally buy. Sticking to your budget will build a great supply of discretionary funds that you can use later on things that are really important.
28. Landline or Cellphone – Do you have both a home phone line and a cell phone account? Chance are you do because most families have both. But are both really necessary? Lets think about this a moment.
You get free long distance calling from your cell phone, but you pay extra using this convenience on a home phone. Adding services like Tango on your cell phone, you can call for free Internationally so you can really save a lot of cash. Your cell phone account is probably your biggest expense because of the plans you are on.
If you have a high speed internet connection, consider loosing your home phone long distance carrier and use a program like Skype to talk for free. Or consider Magic Jack or Uma. Very very low cost phone service.
I have found when you elect to drop your family or personal account and buy minutes (once a month at any grocery store) I save $30 a month. I don’t get a free upgrade, but so what. I don’t need the fancy do this, do that new cell phone.
29. Unplug It From The Wall – Consider unplugging anything that is sucking the “ghost power” from the electric grid. This invisible electric usage robs your electric bill several dollars a month. What I did was to connect all my items that get plugged into the wall onto a powerstrip. This way I only have to switch each power strip off when I leave for the day.
30. Change your own oil – This can easily be done by a guy or a girl. This will save the quarterly expense of changing your automobile oil. If you have more than one car (like many do), this could be another considerable savings. do all the cars at the same time for convenience, and also easier to schedule and not forget.
Thank you for reading my article and I would like to hear from you if these were extreme or usual techniques in frugal savings. Please comment or let me know of your suggestions.
Want to know another frugal idea? How you can use Hydrogen Peroxide for more than just minor cuts? Click on my Home uses of Hydrogen Peroxide.
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