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The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


This an updated version of my original post 
"The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money Like an EXTREME CHEAPSKATE!".

This post isn't about just being frugal, it's about going all out and making sacrifices to ensure your bank account grows like wildfire! So, if you want to retire early, save up for a wedding, a new car, vacation, a new home or break the chains of debt quickly, then dadgummit this post is for you.

My husband and I have had to live like this for years so I'm not sharing with you anything I haven't had to do myself! It's totally possible to live frugally and live a happy, healthy life!

 Here are over 200 ways to save tons of dough!

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▼ ENERGY▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

Turn off the overhead light, lamps, TVs, radios, game consoles and other electronics in any room you're not in.


When not in use, unplug chargers and any device that has a light to show it's plugged in such as irons, coffee makers and chargers.


Lower the temperature on you water heater.


In the summer, turn the AC off, wear less clothing and open the windows. (I live in Texas. This is probably the toughest one on here for me personally.)


In the winter, turn the heat down and bundle up.


Weatherproof your home. Tint window, fix drafts and air leaks to cut down on your heating and cooling costs. Check out this blog post from The Green Optimistic8 Affordable Ways to Weatherproof Your Home.


Turn off the lights during the day and open the curtains for natural light.


Put your water heater on a timer.


Unplug devices after charging.


Upgrade to energy-saving appliances.


Reduce air-conditioning costs by as much as 10 percent by keeping AC condensers and window units shaded, perhaps by installing overhead awnings over each window.


Paint your roof white. Via Bankrate.com: "A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Heat Island Group found that in sunny climates, buildings with white roofs required up to 40% less energy for cooling than those with black roofs. At current utility rates, that means you could save more than $100 per year in cooling costs."


 Place your regular light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.


Install a programmable thermostat.


 Put your computer to sleep when it's not in use.


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▼ LAUNDRY ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


If a garment has been worn for only a brief period of time, there's really no need to wash it. Hang it up and wear it again.


Buy generic laundry products.


Cut your dryer sheets in half. One box will last twice as long and your clothes will be just as soft. OR just skip the dryer sheets all together.


If you don't own a washer and dryer, skip laundromat costs all together by doing your laundry at friend's or family member's house.

Hand wash your clothes and hang them up to dry.


Only, wash full loads of laundry. If the load is tiny or you need just a couple items washed, wash them by hand instead.


Clean clothes in cold water only.


Stop sending your clothes to the dry cleaners and learn to clean dedicates yourself.


Make your own laundry detergent.


Shake out your clothes before putting them in the dryer. Loosely packed clothes will dry faster.


Unless your clothes are super dirty, use the shortest washing cycle on your machine.


Half-dry your clothes in the dryer and hang them up to dry indoors or out to finish drying.



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▼ IN THE KITCHEN ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Don't buy disposable dishes, plasticware and paper towels. Make sure everything you buy is reusable.


Wash dishes by hand instead of using the dish washer.


If you insist on using the dish washer, turn off the dryer function, open the door to the washer and let them dry overnight.


Cut sponges in half or use a dish towel instead.


Don't buy specialized appliances and gadgets that only serve one purpose like egg peelers, strawberry hullers, butter spreaders.


Reuse glass jars and plastic food containers for leftovers, lunches, etc.


Wash and reuse aluminum foil and ziplock bags.


Or invest in reusable food wrap and food storage baggies.


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▼ GROCERIES & DINING ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Don’t shop hungry! When you shop hungry you buy more food than needed because everything looks so darn tantalizing.


Keep your meals simple.


Practice portion control and eat only as much as what you're actually supposed to eat.


Hang on to condiment packets, napkins and plastic-ware from fast food restaurants.


Learn to garden and save hundreds of dollars on produce a year.


Hunt/fish. Nature will provide you with free meat!


Eat expired food? Yes, the "sell by" date is when stores should pull an item from the shelves. That doesn't mean it's not ok to eat. Most perishables are good up to two weeks after the sell by date. Use common sense with this one: if something looks weird, smells funny or is obviously spoiled, please don't eat it.


Use coupons for groceries, restaurants and even online buys.


Plan your meals around the sales and deals at the grocery store.


Make your own wine and beer.


Forage for wild edibles.


Bring your own grocery bags to stores that charge for bagging.


Stock up on meat and produce when it's on sale and freeze it.


Learn to can your fruits and vegetables.


Befriend a farmer and get the hookup!


Skip the sirloin and buy cheap cuts of meat. Check out this post: 25 Easy Ways to Make Cheap Cuts of Meat Taste Expensive.


Eat meatless meals at least once a week. A couple of great meals to try are bean burritos,  potato soup and eggplant Parmesan. You won't even miss the meat! Want more ideas, check out this book Everyday Flexitarian: Recipes for Vegetarians and Meat lovers alike by Nettie Cronish. 


Don't waste! Eat those leftovers!


Cut back on sodas and other sugary drinks. You don't need them anyway...


Strain, store and reuse cooking oil again and again.


Go for a simple cup of coffee instead of overpriced energy drinks.


Buy a good water bottle and refill it as needed instead of buying bottled water.


Buy food in bulk.


Use vegetable scraps (broccoli stalks, celery greens, cauliflower centers, and the like) to make vegetable stock for soups and other recipes. Freeze the stock until you are ready to use.


Buy raw meat in a large pieces and cut it up as needed . When you buy meat already cut up, like sectioned chicken, you're paying more for the convenience.


Don't buy pre-chopped and diced fruits and veggies. Buy them whole and be your own food processor!


Eat free samples at the grocery store because... free food.


Look for quick-sale stickers on food items at grocery store. These foods can be over 50% off!!


Write to your favorite food brands about how much you love their stuff and they might send you a coupon for free food.


Share a meal with someone when dining out. Most restaurant portions sizes are HUGE and there's usually plenty to share.


Fill up on the free bread (or chips and salsa) so can't finish your meal. Why? So you'll have more food to take home to eat later!


If you go out to eat, go at lunchtime. The prices are lower during lunch.


Only order water at restaurants.


Don't frequent bars and lounges. The drinks are way overpriced. For the price of three beers at the bar, you could buy a whole six-pack at the grocery store.


Either cut back on drinking alcohol or quit altogether.


Only go our for drinks if someone else is picking up the tab.


Some bakeries and donut shops sell their food for a discount at the end of the day. Go right before closing and you might score some free noms.

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▼ ENTERTAINMENT ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

Cut the cable and try out lower priced options like Netflix and Hulu.


Get books, magazine and DVDs from the library and/or borrow from friends and family.


Have less frequent outings and date nights. Try going out only once a month, versus once a week.


Leave credit cards and debit cards at home when you go out for date night, movie night, dining out, etc. Take only a reasonable amount of cash with you.


Limit visits to the cinema to once a month or stop going all together. The movie will be on Netflix or in the Redbox in just a few short months anyway. (Get Redbox coupons and other deals HERE from retailmenot.com)


Eat before going to the cinema to avoid the desire to buy that super expensive snack-bar food.


Instead of paying for lessons, search You Tube for videos on how to knit, tap dance, play the banjo, decorate a cake, etc.


Look for free entertainment in your town like art shows, free museum days, local festivals, movies in the park and open mic nights.


Volunteer to usher at theaters so you can get to see plays and other productions for free!


Quit smoking. Not only will quitting save you tons of money a month, it'll save you thousands in the long run! AND it's a very good thing to do for yourself. If you smoke a pack a day at $7 a pack every day for a month that equals to $210 a month... $2,520 A YEAR! Need help? Check out these products form Amazon.


Turn off the TV, turn off the lights, light a candle or oil lamp and read a book like in "olden times".


When throwing a party, go pot-luck style instead of spending a fortune on catering or making foods yourself.


Plan vacations to nearby hot spot destinations instead of taking super expensive trips overseas or cross country.


Want to go shopping for fun? Take only a small amount of cash with you. Leave credit/debit cards at home to avoid the temptation of charging or getting more dough from the ATM.


Cancel magazine subscriptions. Get your info online or borrow magazines from the library or a friend.


Keep snacks in your vehicles to avoid having to stop for fast food or over priced convince store snacks.


Cancel newspaper subscriptions. There's not much in a newspaper that's not already online.

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▼ CLOTHING ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Collect hand-me-downs.


Hit up yard sales.


Borrow. Need something you're only going to wear once like a formal gown for a gala or a nice suit for a funeral? Borrow what you need from friends and family.


Learn to sew, knit, crochet, make jewelry, etc and make your own clothing and accessories.


Check out daily deal online boutiques like Groopdealz, Jane and Zulily. It's not uncommon to find goods up to 85% off.


Mend it, don't toss it! It only takes very basic knowledge of hand sewing to repair most clothing.


Buy clothes when they're out of season. Example buy your bathing suit in the winter or your coat in the summer and get it for significantly less than when it's in season.


Thrift shop.


Say no to designer labels but if you insist, hit up eBay or outlet stores.


Realize that just because something is marked down, doesn't mean you should spend money on it. A $300 purse marked down to $100 might sound great but think about this: would you rather have a $90 purse with $10 inside or a $10 purse with $90 inside?


Only shop online clearance sales.


Only shop online when free shipping is available.


Re-purpose and up-cycle old clothes.


Shop at consignment shops. You can also make a bit of money selling your unwanted clothes at them too!


Set a cost-per-item limit. Example, never buy shirts over $5, jeans over $10, shoes over $15, etc.


Check out my blog post Dressing a Family of Four for Less Than $200 a Year.


Sew clothes from thrifted curtains, bed sheets, scarves, etc.


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▼ BATH, BEAUTY & HEALTH ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}



Collect and use the samples from magazines, Avon, anywhere!


"Steal" those little hotel soaps, lotions and shampoo, shower caps even the coffee and cups. You paid for it! It's yours! (Umm...please don't take the towels and bedding.)


Wash your hair less often - it's better for your hair and you'll use less product.


Invest in reusable menstrual cups and washable cloth pads.


Use only a pea sized dollop of toothpaste. That's really all you need.


Shave less often, ladies and dudes! Save on razors and shaving creams.


Skip the salon and do hair dyeing and cuts yourself.


Let your hair grow or and only get your ends trimmed as needed.


Have an experienced friend do your hair for free.


Offer to sweep up hair and clean the salon in exchange for a free cut.


DIY manis and pedis or do without them all together.


Downgrade beauty products. Often times off-brand is just as good as name-brand.


Make your own beauty products. Click here for a huge list of products to DIY and this one for MORE!


Skip tanning salons. Sunshine is FREE.


Shorten showers or use less water in your bath or...


Share baths and showers.


Skip the bath. If you've been sitting around in your pajamas marathoning Bob's Burgers all day, what do you need to wash off? The guilt of being lazy? Pringles crumbs?


Switch to reusable cloth wipes instead of toilet paper. If this sounds like too much, try wiping tinkle with wash cloths and only use TP for... poo wipes. If you really want to be frugal cut up a baby's receiving blanket or burp cloth into squares instead of using good wash cloths.


Put a brick in your toilet's tank.  You'll use less water with every flush.


Don't flush every time you go. Ever heard the saying "If it's brown flush it down. If it's yellow it's all mellow"?


Buy generic over the counter medicines.


When bath and beauty products in a tube run out, simply cut off the bottom of the tube - there's more in there!


When your last sliver of soap is too small to use, lather up a new bard and stick the old sliver of soap to it.


Ask your doctor if there's a generic form of your medication that if less costly and just as effective.


Skip the gym and workout at home. No equipment or special DVDs are needed. There are plenty of free exercise videos on YouTube for yoga, strength training, cardio and more.


Only buy used exercise equipment like treadmills, weight sets, elliptic machines. If someone is selling that stuff they're probably sick of it taking up space in their home and will most likely be willing to part ways with it for a very low price.


When you hair conditioner is out, fill up the bottle with water and shake it well to make leave in conditioner with . It's great for taming frizzy, super curly and dry hair.


Take good care of your teeth to prevent dental problems that'll require costly trips to the dentist.


Learn proper skincare for your skin type to reduce or prevent blemishes and lines so you can use less makeup.


Cut your cotton pads or makeup sponges in half.


Many makeup products can serve many purposes. Matte eye shadow and be brow filler, shimmer eye shadow and be highlighter, lipstick can be check stain, etc.


Explore the many uses of Vaseline! It makes an extremely efficient makeup remover and foot and lip moisturizer.

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▼ BABIES - TEENS ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

Don't go crazy stocking up maternity clothing. You'll be surprised how much of your clothing you'll still be able to wear even when you're super big pregnant.


Breastfeed. It's free!


Use cloth diapers. From birth until your kid is fully potty trained, you might find yourself around $2,000 on disposable diapers but only $775 on cloth.


Check out my post: 10 Things  Your New Baby Doesn't Need.


Buy second hand clothing or ask for hand-me-downs.


Get toys at garage sales or thrift stores.


Switch to generic baby formula. Both of my babies drank generic and they are very healthy!


Swap toys with a friend when your kids start getting bored with theirs.


Make your baby's food.


Start collecting loose change for a college fund as soon as a child is born.


Don't spend tons of money on video game consoles and other electronic entertainment. By them used or not at all. If your kid loves gaming, there are plenty of free games online.


Help coordinate and participate in school fundraisers - the more money you can help raise, the less out of pocket expenses you'll have to spend on things like sports equipment, uniforms and field trips.


Encourage your kids to pick up a hobby to eliminate the desire for expensive video games and electronics. Check out this article Hobbies for Kids from Care.com


Buy kids and teens low-cost phones with pre-paid plans.


Shop around for the lowest price for lessons, ballet, gymnastics, piano, karate, etc.


Cut kid's hair at home, have an experienced friend do it or just let it grow. Little hippies are cool.


Find another couple with children and swap babysitting instead of hiring a babysitter.


Encourage kids and teens to get jobs to earn their own money.


Take advantage of free activities in your community: Go to a park, visit your library, indoor playgrounds and free festivals.


Just say "no". You don't have to give your kids everything they ask for.


Check out my post 6 Easy Ways to Get FREE Clothes for Your Kids.


Don't buy pre-made convenience lunches (like Lunchables) for kid's school lunches. 5 pre-made lunch kits can cost as much as a loaf of bread and a package of fine deli meat.


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▼ TRANSPORTATION ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Trade in your vehicle for something more fuel efficient.


Buy used cars. Yes, you can buy very new, gently owned cars, pre-owned.


Clean or change out your car’s air filter. This can improve your gas mileage up to 7%.


Shop around for the best gas prices. The GasBuddy mobile app can help you find the cheapest gas in the area.


Bike, skateboard, walk or carpool to save money on gas.


Never take your car to be washed and detailed. Do it yourself. Borrow anything you might need like a vacuum and other interior cleaning gadgets.


Always shop around for the lowest car insurance costs.


Take public transportation- especially if you don't get out much.


Change your own oil or have a trusted, competent friend or family member do it for free.


Don't speed. Speeding decreases the fuel economy of your car, meaning you'll get fewer miles to the gallon.


Drop collision and comprehensive coverage. If your car is worth less than $2,000 you're probably paying more to insure it than you could ever collect on a claim.


Take care of your car.  Your car runs more efficiently if you keep your tires full, keep the gas tank full and get regular oil changes. As an added bonus a well maintained vehicle has a better resale value.


Combine insurance policies. Check to see if your company provides renter or homeowner insurance as well as auto. You could save up to 15% with a combined policy.


Get rid of any vehicle that rarely gets used. It's a huge waste of money to pay for insurance or maintenance on a car that you and your family can live without.


Avoid traffic violations (parking, speeding, etc). Tickets cost money and can make your insurance go up.
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▼ WORK ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Move closer to your job and cut down on transportation costs.


Pack your lunch. Bringing your lunch to work should only cost $0 - $2 a day if you're doing it right! Going out to eat at $6 - $8 a meal can cost up to $40 a week, $160 a month, $1,920 a year!


Buy uniforms, scrubs and other business-wear from thrift stores and consignment shops.


Make coffee at home and take it to-go instead of buying coffee at a coffee shop every morning. Or just wait until you get to work and drink the coffee there. It's free!


Stay out of trouble at your job! There's not better way to lose a ton of money than to lose your job!


WORKING FROM HOME

Lower the printing quality on your printer to save ink, specially on black and white only documents.


Buy computers and other office equipment  used or refurbished.


Don't throw away barely used paper. Reuse it for jotting down notes and reminders. Cut it into squares to make your own post-it notes.


Refill your own printer cartridges.


Use free computer programs. You can find all kinds of awesome programs for photo storage, document writing, social media management, photo editing, accounting and much more.


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▼ PETS ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Don't by fancy pet gadgets like water purifiers, auto-feeders and self cleaning litter boxes.


Learn to groom your own pets.


Create a monthly pet budget and stick to it.


Make sure to keep up with vaccines to keep your dog healthy to avoid costly vet bills.


Your pets don't need clothes...


Make your pet's toys.


Don't get high maintenance dog or cat breeds that require a ton of special grooming.


Don't get exotic animals that require special equipment, food, toys and vet care.


If you're not very attached to your pets - cut pet costs all together by finding them a new loving home. Please don't send them to a shelter! There are plenty of people out there looking for a pet who would love to avoid shelter fees.


Shop around for a veterinarian with the lowest fees.


Free mutts are just as good as expensive purebreds.


Get your cats and dogs spayed or neutered! Puppy and kitten care isn't always free - not to mention it can be pretty darn stressful.


If you're desiring a specific breed ALWAYS check the pound before buying from a breeder.

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▼ GENERAL HOME ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Instead of buying, borrow items that you know you'll rarely use or only need once - tools, movies, games, books, etc.


Ditch the land-line and stick with cell phones.


Ditch the contract phones and get a pre-paid phone.


Reuse and re-purpose, jars, boxes, grocery bags, ziploc bags, food containers - the list goes on and on!


Split the wi-fi bill with a trusted neighbor.


Downgrade your home: find a house or apartment that is smaller and cheaper.


Only buy used appliances and furniture.


Something broken? Learn to fix it yourself or have an experienced friend fix it before you hire a pro.


Dumpster dive for furniture and home decor. Often times you don't even have to get inside the dumpster! Larger items like furniture and appliances will be sitting right outside the dumpster.


Rent out spare bedrooms for money.


Get a roommate or two and split the bills.


Paying for a storage space? Invite someone to share the space with you and split the bill.


Is your paid storage space full of stuff you don't need? Sell the stuff, make a little money and get rid of the storage space.


DIY home decor. Pinterest is full of tons of great ideas and tutorials for making your own stuff.

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 ▼ MONEY MATTERS ▼


The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

First: learn to manage your money better.



Shop  BOGO or "buy one get one" with a friend. They buy something, you get something FREE.


Barter (trade). It's a great way to get what you want and get rid of things you don't need. You can also offer a skill you have (sewing, tutoring, cooking, lawn maintenance, car mechanics, etc) in exchange for goods.


Dive into the wacky world of extreme couponing.


Cancel unused club memberships.


Enter sweepstakes, contests, birthday clubs and giveaways... a lot.


Watch less TV. The less TV you watch, the less often you'll fall prey to catchy advertising.


Shop around for the best price for anything.


Mail in rebates.


Sign up for online cashback programs like Swagbucks so you'll always get a little something back every time you shop online.


If you're not working on building credit and/or you can't resist the urge to use your credit card on splurging, then cancel it.


Pick up that penny! Collect every single coin you see.


Pay your bills on time to avoid late fees.


Watch your bank account like a hawk to check for unauthorized service fees and automatic payments. AND to avoid overdraft fees.


Sign up for customer reward programs, especially those with referral bonuses! Check out my post HERE for a list of companies with referral programs that payout big time.


Use your bank's ATM to avoid fees.


Recycle aluminum cans and paper for cash.


Never turn down an opportunity to make money. Unless it's... you know... illegal or immoral.


Follow your favorite restaurants on social media so you can stay on top of hot deals and sales.


Join local Facebook classified ad groups. There are people selling all kinds of stuff on there for dirt cheap and sometimes even for free if you come pick up the item.


Always read reviews for products before buying to avoid wasting money on items that don't work or  are poor quality.


Never ever EVER shop online with using HONEY!!! Upon checkout at thousands of websites, Honey FINDS COUPON CODES FOR YOU!! Seriously. You install the app or Chrome extension and when you hit the checkout button at pretty much any online store, a little box pops up and Honey starts searching for and applying all the available coupon codes to your purchase. What's so cool about it is as the codes are being applied, you can see the total amount of your purchase go down and down - it's so exciting to watch! I friggin' love Honey. Sorry.

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 ▼ WHAT NOT TO DO ▼

The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}


Do not steal ANYTHING.


Do not swap tags on items at stores. That's a form of shoplifting and there's a great possibility you WILL be caught. It's immoral and not worth the consequences.


Do not make up false claims to get free meals at restaurants.


Do not lie about your age or your children's ages to get freebies and special deals.


Do not eat perishables from the garbage unless you know the exact history of the food and how and why it's in the garbage. It's called "freeganism". Yes, it's a thing. I'm not too crazy about the idea but plenty of people do it and they're just fine. They're called... freegans...


Do not perform surgeries at home, tooth extractions, stitches, c-sections... amputations...etc....


Do not ignore serious medical issues to avoid hospital bills.


Do not inconvenience cashiers, clerks and waitresses with counting out a buttload of loose change to pay for things. Roll loose coins or cash them in somewhere. Opt for gift cards instead of cash at coin-counting machines to avoid fees.


Don't be a Scrooge. If someone needs financial help and you have the money, please help them. You might find yourself in the same situation some day.


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The Ultimate Guide to Extreme Frugality {How to Stop Spending So Much Money}

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3 comments:

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