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Saving money isn’t something you start once, get the ball rolling on and then walk away from. In fact, it’s a lifestyle that you have to maintain and a set of skills that you have to sharpen to really be good at it. Chances are if you’ve been living frugally for a few years, you might think you’ve learned everything you could and that there are no other areas that you can cut back. These 10 money saving tips for the extreme saver might just prove you wrong and help you find even more ways to save. Keep in mind that for some people, these tips will just be way over the line of what they’re willing to do to save and that’s fine. They’re lean, mean and of course, extreme ways to save.
- Cut the a/c – Have you looked at what your air conditioning is doing to your electric bill? If not, let me help you out a bit. A friend of mine recently shut hers off for good. Her bill dropped from $300.00 a month on average to $90. Instead, purchase a few box fans and open the windows.
- Downsize – How big is your house? More than you need most likely since the average American home is twice the size of how big homes were built in the 1950’s. We need bigger homes these days to accommodate having more “stuff.” Want to save big? Sell the extra stuff and move to a smaller home. Your kids can share rooms, you don’t need a finished basement, attic and 2 car garage and you don’t need that pile of clothing that you haven’t worn in 2 years. For the really extreme saver? Move your family into a tiny home or an RV.
- Go Cloth – Did you know that just about everything you buy in paper form can also be bought (or made) in reusable cloth? Diapers, paper towels, feminine napkins and more. You’ll pay more upfront, but save big in the long run as these items typically provide years of use versus using them one time and tossing.
- Stop using shampoo – Commercial shampoos are actually not all that healthy for your hair. Instead, clean your hair with a baking soda/vinegar combo. Your hair will need some time to adjust to not being chemical laden, but your budget will thank you.
- Kick the washer (and dryer) to the curb – Do you really want to save? Stop using your washer and dryer and instead, wash your clothes in a homemade hand washer. Hang a clothes line to dry your clothes and you’ll save. (You should line dry anyhow because your dryer is the single most expensive appliance in your home to operate since it uses the most energy)
- Go Grey – Have you ever heard the term greywater? Simply put, it’s the water that goes down your drains. Want to save on your water bill? Put your grey water to use. Remove a pipe from under your sink and collect that water in a bucket. Use it to water your plants (NEVER use grey water that contains soap residue or food particles to water plants as it can kill them), flush your toilet or wash the car (obviously only use clean greywater on the car).
- Banish the Stove – Summer cooking heating up your kitchen? You’re not only wasting energy and money by cooking on the stove, but you’re also costing yourself in cooling costs (even if you’re running fans only because they have to run longer to cool the house). Instead, when the weather is permitting, cook only on the grill, in the slow cooker or take it one step further and cook in a solar oven.
- No more t.v. – Netflix and Hulu might only be eight or nine dollars a month, but that can add up to over one-hundred dollars per year. Want to take your savings to that extreme level? Cancel those subscriptions and use the library only for your movie and t.v. watching. Really want to step it up? Get rid of the t.v. all together and save on the energy costs.
- Get a “stupid” phone – These days everyone has a smart phone and the data charges to go with it. Even if you’re on a prepaid plan, you’re still paying more just for that data. To go extreme, dump the smart phone and downgrade to a “stupid” one. In reality, all you really need is the ability to call someone and a non-smart phone will do that for you…for a lot less.
- Keep the furnace off – Along the same lines as the a/c, your furnace really jumps your costs. By keeping it off as long as possible each year, you’ll save big. To keep warm, layer clothing, use lap blankets and slippers and add a portable heater or two to the room you’re in. These heaters are generally portable so they can easily be moved around and one of them will heat a decent sized room quite easily using a lot less energy. When the weather is simply too cold to keep it off any longer, turn it on, but set it to a lower temp such as 65 degrees and continue to use the heaters, blankets and layers to supplement. You’ll still save more money than you would if you turned the furnace onto a higher temp.
What do you think? Will you take your savings to the extreme level or are you perfectly happy with what you’re currently doing to save?