13 Ways to Practice Extreme Frugality

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Do you feel like you’ve slashed your spending as much as possible and there’s nothing left to save?

Does advice like cut the cord, stop eating out, and adjust your thermostat ring a bit hollow?

If you’re already super frugal, you may be ready to try some more extreme frugal living tips.

Here are 13 ideas to have you practicing extreme frugality and saving money fast.

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1 – Cut Your Own Hair

Extreme Frugality - Cut Your Own Hair - Woman cutting her own hair
Do you know how much you’re paying for haircuts?

In 2016 the average cost of a woman’s haircut was $45. If you’re getting monthly haircuts, that’s over $500 a year! And that’s not even factoring in any special treatments or coloring you may get.

If you’re looking to get extremely frugal, cutting your own hair is a great place to start.

2 – Start a Garden

Extreme Frugality - window-box herb garden
Planting your own herb or vegetable garden can save you money.

According to a recent study, US consumers waste close to a pound of food a day! Almost 40% of that is fruits and vegetables.

Depending on the season and whether you’re buying organic, that could be a good chunk of your food budget you’re literally throwing away.

To avoid the expense of wasted produce, try growing your own.

Your local library may be a great resource for getting started. Ours has pamphlets and flyers detailing what plants thrive in our climate and when the best time to plant them is.

They even have donated seeds so you can get started completely free!

3 – Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

Extreme Frugality - Homemade laundry detergent
Save money by making your own laundry detergent.

If you have a big family or clothes that need frequent washing this try making your own laundry detergent.

In addition to saving you some money, making your own laundry detergent will help you avoid harmful chemicals and dyes as well.

4 – Line Dry Your Clothes

Extreme Frugality - Clothes line drying outside
Line drying can help your clothes last longer and smell better.

Do you know how much energy you’re using each time you run the dryer?

Depending on your dryer’s wattage, how long it takes to dry your clothes, and how many loads you’re drying, you could be spending anywhere from $100-$300 a year in extra energy costs.

You can eliminate this cost altogether by line drying your clothes outside. Plus they’ll last longer and smell fresher!

5 – Use Cloth Diapers

Extreme Frugality - basket of cloth diapers
Switching to cloth diapers can save you thousands of dollars.

The average cost of disposable diapers over a 2 year period ranges from $2000-3000.

Even if you opt to go with the priciest cloth diapers, you’ll cut that expense in half.

Cloth diapers may have a larger upfront cost, but you’ll eliminate the recurring expense of disposable diapers.

If you plan to have multiple kids, going cloth from the start will save you even more money in the long run.

6 – Get a Bidet

Extreme Frugality - Bidet spray nozzle
Get cleaner and save money at the same time.

According to Scientific American, Americans are using over 36 billion rolls of toilet paper a year.

I’m not sure how big the rolls they’re using are but assuming you use one or two per week that adds up to between $50 and $100 a year.

Not a crazy high expense, but even accounting for the cost of a new bidet system, you’ll save money with the switch.

7 – Use Wool Dryer Balls

Extreme Frugality - stack of wool dryer balls
Dryer balls will help you dry your clothes faster

If you opt-out of line drying your clothes, you can still save some money by using wool dryer balls instead of chemically-laden dryer sheets.

Not only are wool dryer balls a reusable resource, but they can cut down on your drying time significantly. That’s another way to lower your energy bill!

Wool dryer balls also eliminate the need for fabric softener so you can cut that cost too.

8 – Make Your Own Bread

Extreme Frugality - Homemade artisan bread
Nothing beats the taste of fresh homemade bread.

A quick scan of our bread aisle reveals prices for a loaf range from $2-5.

Using this recipe for artisan bread you’ll spend closer to 30 cents per loaf.

The downside to making your own bread is that you’ll likely eat more of it, and much quicker since it tastes so much better than the store-bought stuff.

But even accounting for increased consumption, you’d have to eat over 4 times as much of your homemade bread to match the cost of the store-bought loaf.

9 – Make Your Gifts

Extreme Frugality - Woman making her own gifts
DIY gifts aren’t just cheaper, they’re more thoughtful.

Instead of being a Scrooge and opting out of gift-giving when it comes to special occasions, go the DIY route and make something yourself.

Pinterest is your best friend when it comes to generating ideas.

Keep it simple and focus on sentimental or experience type gifts if you’re not super crafty.

And if you are a crafting genius, just make sure you don’t end up spending more on supplies than you would have on a gift.

10 – Unplug Everything

Extreme Frugality - unplugging cord from wall
Save money on your energy bill by unplugging your electronics.

Unplugging your appliances and electronics when you’re not using them could save you hundreds of dollars a year in wasted electricity costs.

Depending on how tech-filled your home is, the effort may seem to outweigh the benefits. But by investing in some power strips you can simply flip a few switches to get it done.

11 – Ditch the Smart Phone

Extreme Frugality - Close up of a flip phone
Want to be extremely frugal? Go retro with a flip phone.

If you’re addicted to checking in to Facebook or posting to Instagram, this tip might be too extreme for you, but if you’re serious about practicing extreme frugality you could save a fortune simply by ditching your smartphone.

It may be surprising to learn, but you can still get flip phones. And at a fraction of the cost.

In addition to cheaper hardware, you’ll save on the cost of your plan since you won’t need the data portion.

You’ll likely enjoy more quality time with those around you as well since you won’t have a need to check your phone every 30 seconds.

12 – Ride a Bike

Extreme Frugality - Man riding a bike to work
This guy’s smiling cause he’s saving thousands of dollars.

If you want to radically reduce your expenses, trading your car in for a bike is one of the fastest ways to do it.

The high expense of transportation probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but being willing to dump your car and ride a bike is definitely the mark of extreme frugality.

The cost of gas fluctuates daily so this chart may be a bit outdated, but at its cheapest, filling your tank costs over $400 a year. Depending on where you live it could be thousands of dollars.

If you have a car payment that’s even more you’re shelling out each month.

Making the switch from a car to a bike could save you thousands of dollars a year!

13 – Get a Roommate

Extreme Frugality - Sign advertising a room for rent
Rent out a room to cut your mortgage in half.

Housing is most people’s largest expense, so consider finding a roommate to help you slash it.

With just a single roommate you could potentially cut your housing bill in half. The more roommates you can have, the more you can save.

If you own your house, look into renting out your space on Airbnb as well.

Depending on your location, you may be able to command a higher rate without the hassles involved with finding a roommate.

How Many of These Would You Do?

I have to admit, extreme frugality is not my thing. But there are a few of these I’ve either done or would consider trying.

It’s also nice knowing there are still options to save money even if you think you’ve exhausted them all.

Leave me a comment or drop me a line if you have other unorthodox or extreme frugality tips to share!

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5 thoughts on “13 Ways to Practice Extreme Frugality”

  1. We have done a number of these things. One you didn’t list was dumping cable tv. We have an antenna and get 28 local channels free. More television than we need without paying for 100 channels we won’t watch.
    We have a garden with fruit trees, berry bushes, tomatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and other veggies we can and freeze. Picking 5 quarts of blueberries in a day knowing they go for $8 a quart in the store in a nice savings. We freeze a lot of them as well as baking and making jams which I give as gifts as well.
    I saw the image of the woman with her eyes closed taking shears to her hair, I cringe at how that would turn out if she actually did cut her hair.
    Hubby is the family barber and stylist. He gives my two boys their haircuts monthly using a combination of the clippers w/different attachments and the hair shears. He always does a great job, better than the barbershop. I get mine trimmed every other month to keep my ends neatly trimmed and remove splits. He does his own in the bathroom with two mirrors. I figure it saves me over $500 a year on the boys considering haircuts would be $15 each for them, plus transportation costs and probably close to the same for mine as it would be $75 for mine because it is past my elbows. I get compliments on my hair and hubby has cut my mom’s hair and gives haircuts to a couple of my friends. We were invited to a barbecue last weekend and my friend told me to make sure he brings his scissors as the last time he cut her hair was just before Christmas and she is overdue. Well after we ate and were hanging out on her deck, she asked him if he brought his scissors. He said he did and went to the car to get his bag of hair tools, while she got a stool from her kitchen. He then gave her a haircut while we chatted and sipped wine coolers. As he was finishing up her hair, One of her friends complimented his work and said my friend was lucky to get such service coming to her house. She then reached back and pulled her extremely long ponytail around to the front, held up the ends and said she really needed a trim. Hubby said no problem, he could do it if she wanted. I think we were all quite surprised when she said that would be great as she took her hair out of the ponytail and took a seat on the stool. She had to lift her hair up so that she wouldn’t be sitting on it, it was really quite long. He asked how much much did she want taken off, and she told him enough to have it straight across the bottom. Her ends were pretty ratty and hubby told her that would be about five inches to get it all even. She asked him to take it up to where she wouldn’t be sitting on it. It had been over two years since she last had it cut. So he did as we all watched. When he finished she looked down and mentioned that was a lot of hair on the floor, was that all hers and he told her pretty much so. She had my friend take a picture so she could see how it looked in the back, than thanked him for doing such a great job. So I think I have it pretty good when not only my friends ask him to cut their hair, but my friend’s friend asks him to cut her hair, especially as long as hers is. I can imagine that they would have easily charged her over $100 in the salon.
    We also change the oil in our vehicles, mower, snowblower and hubby sharpens the blades and changes belts as well. We insource whenever we can, and only hire out things we don’t have the capability to do.

    1. Wow! Not only am I impressed, but I am a bit jealous. You should have your hubby turn that into a side gig. Turn that money-saving skill into a money making one!

      1. To charge for a haircut, he would have to have a license. The time and cost to get a license is not something he wants to invest in or make a career of. So while he does have a knack for it, his hair cutting skills are used on family, friends and an occasional friend of a friend. He never takes a penny from my friends, even though they have offered to pay him. He does seem to enjoy doing the haircuts, but is not a fan of doing the coloring, although he has done the henna color for me, my mom and best friend. I think we were all really surprised when the woman with the extremely long hair asked him to cut hers. And we all watched intently as he took off a good 10 inches, I had never seen anyone with hair as long as hers getting a haircut. It really did look a whole lot better after he cut it as her hair was straggly looking due to going so long without having it cut. She doesn’t trust salons and the last time she had it cut was by a friend of hers, who didn’t do such a good job getting it even. So being she had just watched my husband cut my friend’s hair and do such a nice job, I guess it wasn’t such a crazy thing to do on her part. I wouldn’t be surprised if she comes with my friend to visit when she next wants a haircut and asks him to cut her hair again.

          1. It costs between $5000 -$15000 tuition, 1000 hours of experience under a licensed stylist before you can take the exam and then pay for a license. He is not going to spend the time and money to do that. And I don’t know if you would even call it a hobby, but it is a skill he picked up along the way, he seems to enjoy seeing the results of his work, and the compliments on how great a job he does, certainly strokes his ego. Especially when the lady with the really long hair mentioned to him she needed it cut, he did not hesitate to offer to do it for her, and of course she did not hesitate to say please do and she eagerly took a seat for a free haircut.

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