How to Be Extremely Frugal with these Extreme Thrifty-Living Tips
A penny saved is a penny earned!
Frugal living is a lifestyle
To be extremely frugal, frugality must be a lifestyle. Frugal living is a mindset that becomes a way of life. The "extreme" comes in being creative to go even beyond your regular means of saving and cutting back.
Perhaps you have started making out a monthly budget and are following that perfectly. Maybe you have started putting ten percent of your income in a savings account. You may be frugal out of necessity, or you might be practicing the frugal lifestyle in order to accomplish future goals, such as putting money away for a vacation, a house, or retirement.
By living extremely frugal, you will achieve your goals much faster. You might even find that you enjoy the frugal lifestyle, as you feel good about living on what you need without all the excess. Extreme frugal living is challenging. If you are the type of person who loves a challenge, you might see that finding ways to live even more frugally is really quite fun.
What does "frugal" mean?
To live frugally means to live cheaply, perhaps to scrimp, to cut back, sometimes to excess. "Excess" is an ironic term to be used with "frugal," but it indicates the extreme direction that frugality can take.
While "frugal" and "thrifty" are sometimes interchanged in their usage, frugal refers more to cutting back and saving money. Thrifty living does include cutting back and saving money as well, but being thrifty also contains an element of innovation and managing things well. In order to practice being "extremely frugal," we have to commit to be both frugal AND thrifty in our daily living.
Frugal living may require sacrifice
For many, especially those not used to the frugal lifestyle, living frugally will require sacrifice. The thought of buying used furniture and used cars is hard for some. On a smaller scale, frugal living may require cutting out pizza delivery, satellite television, and gym memberships.
Living frugally doesn't mean, however, that you have to cut out everything you enjoy. Practice extreme frugality in some areas in order to be able to splurge in other areas. For example, if you love going to the gym but don't care much for watching television, keep your gym membership, but cancel your cable or cut back to the most basic package. The beauty of extreme frugal living is that you can sacrifice in certain areas on order to splurge in others.
Frugal Moms save on the big stuff
What to Cut Out of Your Budget
In order to be extremely frugal, you will have to get by as cheaply as you can in certain areas. You will have to cut back on luxuries, at least for now. Let's consider some possible luxuries that you can cut:
1. Eating Out--Eating at home is much cheaper than forking out money at a restaurant. You can feed a whole family for a few dollars with a pot of beans, cornbread, and a side of corn or spinach, for example. Cook in bulk and freeze what you don't eat for later. Eating out just doesn't fit in with the frugal lifestyle.
2. Shopping--If you're shopping just for fun, stop! Only shop for necessities. Buy foods on sale and don't buy household items that you can do without. Buy necessities at garage sales and thrift shops. Buy used clothing or hold clothing swaps.
3. Vacations--If you're really wanting or needing to be frugal, you're going to have to put off vacations. Even a simple vacation will require at least food and gas. While you're trying to cut expenses, cut vacations, or opt for cheap ones. Enjoy your local parks and lakes. Visit the museum and other free exhibits. Be creative in your "vacationing."
4. Internet--Visit your local library or coffee shop for internet access to save $20 to $30 per month.
5. Cable TV--Save $20 to $100 per month on cable television. Evaluate your family's usage. Do you mostly watch movies? If so, cut cable and rent $1.00 movies at Red Boxes or buy them at yard sales.
6. Telephone--Sure, you need a phone to reach the outside world, but do you need both a cell phone and a landline, too? Evaluate your usage to consider which one to eliminate.
7. Gym memberships--Do you use your gym membership regularly? Even if you do, you have cheaper options. Walking and running are free. Live near a lake or pool? Go swimming. In the winter, bring out those cheap weights and exercise videos that you bought at garage sales over the summer.
Preparing a monthly budget helps. Sit down each month to decide what you will spend in each category--food, utilities, clothing, medications, etc . . . . See how much money you will have leftover at the end of the month. Apply that extra money to any debt you have (even paying more on the mortgage principal) or put it in savings.
Look every month at your expenses and brainstorm on how you can cut back even more. In the meantime, also look at different ways to bring in more money.
What You Can do to make MORE Money
Extremely frugal living isn't all about what you can cut, but it is also about what you can add. Where are areas in which you can bring in extra income? Here are some ideas.
- Have you own yard sale to make some cash.
- Sell items on eBay or Craig's list. Look into buying items at wholesale to resell.
- Open a flea market booth to sell your extra items of value.
- Find a savings account with a higher interest rate (often online).
- Plant at least a small vegetable and/or fruit garden in the spring.
- Take time to itemize on your taxes--home mortgage, donations, medical expenses, more.
- Take a part-tjme job to earn extra money for expenses or splurges
More Tips on Living Frugally and Saving Money
- How Do People Save Money? Ways to Save Each Month
How do you save money? Don't spend, live below your means, and do without. Examples of how I have saved!
- 21 Frugal Living Tips for Single Moms
I learned these money-saving tips from watching my mom as I was growing up. She taught me how to live frugally, and I have incorporated many of these tips into my own life.
Rewards of a Frugal Lifestyle
By practicing an extremely frugal lifestyle, you will reap benefits in several ways. You will have less worry, as your income will cover your expenses, perhaps with money left to save. In exploring extra ways to make money, you may discover a talent that you enjoy and can utilize to bring in more revenue.
You may be able to get out of debt sooner than you expected. At some point, you may have money to splurge on a vacation or other desire. If you are interested in living green, your less wasteful lifestyle will serve to reduce your carbon footprint on the earth.
Start slowly and practice being extremely frugal in certain areas of your life. You may find that the challenge is something you enjoy. Find ways to cut costs while looking for ways to bring in more money. Keep that frugal mindset, and frugal living will become a way of life. Try it! The rewards are immeasurably satisfying.
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© 2012 Vicki L Hodges