There is turning down the thermostat to save money, and then there are THESE extreme saving ideas. Some of them are totally out there but ALL of them will save you money!
There are “normal” money-saving tips and then there are extreme money saving tips
I LOVE talking about saving money here on The Curious Frugal! Like I get all giddy with excitement on the topic. #moneygeek
Today we are talking about extreme saving tips that you probably haven’t tried.
This goes much further than buy used clothing, setting a budget and sticking to it, and meal plan to save money on groceries. Those are all great money saving ideas, but they are more mainstream.
We are talking extreme frugal living tips that extreme cheapskates would do.
If you are living on an extreme budget for whatever reason, these extreme saving tips will save you a lot of money and give you some wiggle room in your tight budget.
This post is not for the squeamish and there may be TMI in this post. This is your warning.
(If you prefer something less extreme – but still awesome – head over to read Can a minimalist lifestyle actually save you money instead)
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.
Extreme saving tips that are strange but will save you money
1. Only flush the toilet for #2s. Oh yes, we’re going there.
Ever heard the saying “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down”? Well some people really do this extreme saving tip to conserve water and save money.
I don’t think we need to say anything more about this one.
2. Use cloth toilet paper/reusable toilet paper.
I actually didn’t even know this was a thing until it started cropping up more online. This is definitely more mainstream in “crunchy” groups.
Reusable cloth wipes. For adults.
I mean most of them are still marketed for babies, but I bet we’ll see more crunchy companies targeting adult customers now after the pandemic-that-never-should-have-been-about-tp.
There is even a Kindle book where you can learn to make your own toilet paper.
3. Use a handkerchief.
Okay this extreme saving tip I love.
I have a friend that always carries a handkerchief to use if he sneezes or coughs (he’s been doing this for years…weeeell before covid-19).
I always thought it was so old-fashioned and neat (I wanted to use an old-fashioned word there) and good for the environment too.
But you can also save money by using handkerchiefs and adding them to your wash – it’s quite simple. These handkerchiefs are cute.
4. Use a bidet.
Bidet use was not that common in North America, that is until the Great Toilet Paper Hoarding (and subsequent shortage) of 2020. People were snapping up bidets faster than something really fast (I’m out of good analogies).
Using a bidet will save you about $182 a year (source) and I was surprised at how inexpensive bidets can be. I fully expected them to be several hundred dollars, but not so especially if you go with an attachment to your existing toilet. This bidet attachment and this one are both bestsellers and very inexpensive.
5. Pee in the shower. Hey these are extreme saving tips.
Now hear me out.
This extreme saving habit is not for everyone.
This saves one toilet flush a day, which is about 1.6 gallons of water. Over a year that equates to 584 gallons of water which is saving money off your water bill and is good for the environment. I warned you about these extreme saving tips!
Related tip: An easy way to save money is to automate it. A handy little app that does this is called Trim and it looks for ways to save you money. Trim analyzes your spending patterns to find ways to save you money and then they take action for you. Trim negotiates cable, internet, phone, and medical bills, cancels old subscriptions, and more. I don’t even fully understand how it does this since I don’t work for Trim and didn’t program this app, but I think it’s pretty impressive. And they’ve been featured by The New York Times and Fortune, no biggie. You can sign up for Trim for free here.
6. Become vegetarian.
In some circles this would be far from an extreme move.
But for other people who grew up on meat and potatoes, it would be really challenging to give up eating meat.
It’s a whole other way of eating and shopping and there are lots of people who don’t know the best ways to get enough protein in their diet without eating meat.
But meat is a relatively expensive food. Cutting meat out of your diet saves a lot of money on groceries. A less extreme saving idea would be to have meatless Mondays or even save meat eating for weekends only.
Related tip: If you’re looking for an easy way to save money on groceries, meal planning is one great way to save money on food. But some people HATE meal planning and it can take some time. If this sounds like you, you can join $5 Meal Plan to cut your food spending. You get two weeks free to try it out and then it’s only $5 a month. You get meal plans sent to you along with the exact shopping list you need in order to create the meals. The meals are inexpensive and easy to make.
7. Reduce the frequency of showering.
Only shower every other day to save money on soap, shampoo, and water.
I love having a shower every day so this would be hard! The only time I showered every other day instead of daily was in the first couple of sleep-deprived months after having my daughter, mainly because I didn’t want to fall asleep in the shower.
8. Convict Conditioning instead of expensive gym memberships.
Gym memberships can be SO expensive. They are especially expensive if you don’t go that often since the more you go, the less you pay per visit. Add personal trainers to that, and the cost of keeping in shape could really add if you go that route.
Enter extreme frugal living idea: convict conditioning.
The idea behind convict conditioning is that all the moves could be done in a prison cell, so a tiny space. The author created the workout based on his experience of spending over twenty years in maximum security prisons and keeping himself in shape.
If you want a less extreme saving idea, you could just do a HIIT workout (or any other kind of workout) at home. I hear hiking is nice too. (Side note: I miss hiking!! The trails have been so overcrowded lately so we haven’t gone as much as we usually do.)
9. Take military showers.
Military showers reduce the amount of water used by having really quick showers and turning off the water in the middle part of the shower when you’re lathering.
I have tried this extreme saving tip. I can say it’s not very pleasant to turn off the lovely warm water mid-shower. But by doing that it makes you realize how much water is going down the drain while you’re not really using it during a regular shower.
Related tip: Sign up for Personal Capital to see just how much money you spend on all the stuff in your life. This can be a great revealer of where your money goes. It tracks income, expenses, and all of it and gives a nifty report at the end of the year. Best part… It’s a completely free app.
10. Hang clothes to dry.
We are so used to the convenience of dryers but it’s easy to hang your clothes to dry.
It takes a bit of extra time, but hanging your clothing outside to dry saves money on electricity. Plus your clothes get infused with that fresh air smell, from actual fresh air and not Fresh Air scented dryer sheets.
11. Don’t have kids or only have one kid.
Here comes a controversial and extreme saving idea.
Sure this sounds super extreme but it will save heaps of money. Kids are expensive. The cost to raise one child from birth until age 18 is $233,610 (this excludes the cost of college).
Of course there are plus sides to having kids like Miss O is the best best thing that ever happened to me, I can’t imagine my life without her, and I’m head over heels with being a mama.
But from a savings standpoint? Couples without kids save big bucks.
Related tip: Sign up for a website like Rakuten where you can earn FREE cash back for just spending like how you normally would online. All you do is click on a store that you want to shop through (there are tons of stores such as Sephora, Groupon, Pier 1, Toys R Us, Michaels, and SO many more), and shop like usual. Rakuten makes a commission for referring you to the store you just shopped at, and they give you some of that money back as a thank you. And when you sign up through my link, you receive $10 cash back for signing up!
12. Move to a tiny house.
With house sizes ballooning compared to previous generations, the cost of owning and living in these bigger houses can be too much for people’s incomes.
Incomes are not keeping up with the rise in housing prices.
For some people this means massive mortgages that won’t be paid off in their lifetime.
Some people have made a conscious decision to buck the bigger homes trend and go for tiny. Tiny homes range from just over 100 sf to over 400 sf.
There are some people that are even able to buy the tiny home outright without a mortgage, and those that do have a mortgage will have a MUCH smaller one than your average sized house mortgage.
There are huge cost savings in going tiny.
Check out some pics of the cutest tiny homes (and see where people are buying them from – it’s surprising!)
13. Live in an intentional community.
These used to be called communes but that word can make you think of the movie Wanderlust and I’m pretty sure that movie wasn’t true to life – ha!
Moving to an intentional community where many resources are shared would be a radical lifestyle change, but one that would save lots of money.
This extreme money saving tip might be on the fringes right now, but there are components of intentional communities that are more mainstream. Co-working spaces are getting more popular, and are a way for businesses or self-employed folks to save money on office expenses.
14. Extreme saving, extreme hair.
Cut your own hair.
With the pandemic and sheltering in place, many people have been forced to give themselves haircuts since salons and barbershops are closed.
This is not always a good idea aesthetically:
But it does save a lot of money!
When we are all allowed back in public (sporting our new do’s) you could keep the savings going by continuing to cut your own hair.
Extreme saving idea that might lead to extreme haircuts!
15. Cool your bed in the summer with water bottles.
Freeze water bottles and put them in your bed instead of using an air conditioner. They will keep you cool and you will save money while you sleep.
Personal note: Though I never did that tip myself, when I lived with my parents they refused to put the a/c on unless it was a legit heat wave. Some nights were so sweltering that I would go to sleep with my hair wet just to stay cool for longer and help me fall asleep. My hair was definitely interesting the next morning – ha!
16. Use hot water bottles to warm up your bed in the winter.
In the winter, sleep with hot water bottles in your bed instead of turning up the heat. Or, you know, cuddle up to the person next to you.
Extreme ways to make money
The other way to improve your finances is by increasing your income so you don’t have to use extreme saving tips.
Take online surveys
This is a really easy way to make extra money that can fit in with your life. If you sign up for more survey sites, you will get sent more surveys and make more money.
I recommend Survey Junkie and Swagbucks.
Sign up here for Survey Junkie.
Sign up through this link for Swagbucks and they will give you a $5 bonus.
Sell everything but the kids
Sell as much from your home as you can, to not only make extra money but also declutter at the same time.
To find out the best places to sell your stuff for the most money, check out an easy way to make $500.
Get paid for searching the web
This way of making money online barely sounds legit, which is why I consider it an extreme way to make money.
While I’m sure there are some scammy scams out there, the four options in this post are legitimate ways to get paid for surfing the web – and I do one of them myself as a side hustle and I love it!
And ending with…one of the most extreme ways to make money:
Donate blood plasma
I know this extreme way to make money will not be for everyone!
This is something I could personally not do because I am squeamish about getting shots and having blood taken.
But it can be an easy (for some people) way to make money fast and it is so needed. Blood plasma can save and improve lives of people with certain disorders and diseases, and is needed in some surgeries.
As for compensation, you can earn up to $400. An extra way you can earn money as a plasma donor is by referring friends to donate. For every person that signs up through your special link, you will get $25 and they will get an extra $5 on their first donation.
For less extreme ways to make money, check out 20 Stay-at-home mom jobs that will make you good money.
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Would you try any of these extreme saving tips?