25 Extreme Ways To Save Money

Sometimes, no matter how much we think we are cutting back on spending, it’s not enough. Cutting back on things like gym memberships and Starbucks might be a good way to save money, but sometimes we need more. Instead, we need to resort to living on an extreme budget and finding extreme ways to save money.

Extreme ways to save money

I remember my family went through a tough time one year, and we ate nothing but chicken and rice for a full year. Why? Because my mom found a really good deal on chicken from a local farmer.

I couldn’t eat chicken for years after that, but my mom’s ingenuity helped keep food on the table even when money was tight.

If you’re looking for some ideas for saving, we’ve got you covered. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be forever, but over the short term, this approach can be very helpful for your finances.

Why would you want to find extreme ways to save money?

There are many reasons why you might want to find extreme ways to save money. Maybe you lost your job and have to live on your savings while you look for another job. Or maybe you want to finally pay off your credit card or other debt.

Living on an extreme budget can even be a good way to build up your emergency savings or build up your retirement savings fund. You might even find that some of these ideas not only save you money but simplify your life as well.

If you’ve fallen on hard times, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. In fact, over 37 million people live in poverty in the country of the U.S., according to the United States Census Bureau. But hopefully, these extreme money saving ideas can help you save a bit, even when times get tough.

Extreme ways to save money: 25 Ideas

So, are you ready to start cutting the budget and try out some of our extreme money saving ideas? You can try a couple or all 25. One thing is for sure: if money is tight, you will build your savings fast with these ideas!

1. Make your own toothpaste and deodorant

Did you know that you don’t need a lot of fancy ingredients to make your own toiletries? It’s very easy to make your own toothpaste and deodorant. All you need is some coconut oil, baking soda, essential oil, and a few other ingredients.

It can also be better for you, especially if you have sensitive skin and gums. Not to mention the environmental benefits. You can find some toothpaste and deodorant recipes on The Zero Waste Collective, as well as some other DIY skincare ideas.

2. Become vegetarian

Meat is expensive. Especially red meat. A quick way to save some money at grocery stores is to cut meat out of your life and become a vegetarian.

There are plenty of delicious vegetarian recipes, so you don’t need to cut down on taste, either.

Keep in mind that a vegetarian diet can be expensive if you’re buying out-of-season or are eating specialty products. And you’ll need to make sure you are getting enough protein through foods like nuts and chickpeas.

However, cutting meat can be beneficial if you are living on an extreme budget!

3. Turn off the A/C

Another extreme money saving tip is to turn off the A/C. I know this might sound too extreme. But did you know that A/C isn’t as common in some other parts of the world?

It makes sense, too. A/C takes up a lot of energy and can really drive up your electric bill

While turning off the A/C might not make sense everywhere in the U.S., at the very least, you can raise the temperature a little bit more than normal. Or consider a hand fan or good old-fashioned cold water clothes.

4. Lower the heating

On a similar note to the idea above, another extreme way to save money is to lower the heating. Like A/C, heating takes up a lot of energy, and the bill can be crazy, depending on the type of heating you have.

You can also try to insulate your house or apartment, which will help keep your home warmer. Put up plastic sheeting on your windows and make a door draft stopper with rice and an old pair of jeans or pants. Keep the doors of rooms closed as well, so your heating system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat up each room.

5. Mend your clothes and darn your socks

I started darning my socks as a way to be more sustainable, and I find it very relaxing. I usually darn socks while I am watching Netflix. Best of all, I haven’t had to buy new socks in nearly four years, thanks to darning.

You can use the same darning method to fix holes in your sweaters. Not only does this make your clothes look better but it also helps keep them in shape and lasting longer. You can learn something new and save your pennies!

6. Make your own cleaning supplies

Just like with toiletries, you don’t need tons of expensive products to clean. The most effective cleaning supplies are lemon, white vinegar, and baking soda.

In fact, baking soda is good for so many things around the house I always try to have at least two packets around.

Just mix up one part white vinegar and one part water, add in a lemon and let it infuse for a week. Then put it in a spray bottle, and you’re good to go!

It cleans just about anything. You can sprinkle some baking soda for tougher stains and dirt.

7. Freeze your food

Your freezer can hold just about anything and is the best resource when you’re living on an extreme budget. You can freeze fresh herbs in olive oil, freeze old bananas to use in shakes or bread, and even freeze leftovers so nothing goes to waste.

About 60 million tons of the food supply in the U.S. is thrown away each year, according to Recycle Track Systems. Freezing your food before it goes bad not only saves you money but also keeps it from sitting in landfills. Just make sure you keep track of what you have and eat it before it gets freezer burn!

8. Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk might seem counterintuitive at first, but buying in bulk can save you money in the long run. The only downside to this extreme saving strategy is that you might need more money upfront to buy in bulk.

Household items that you use often, like toilet paper, and even pantry staples like rice and pasta, are cheaper in the long run when you buy a lot of them. Practice better budgeting by adding your bulk spending into your budget in advance.

9. Get free cosmetics samples

You can sometimes get free samples of makeup and other beauty products.

In fact, my favorite lipgloss lasted me three years and was from a Sephora sample I received.

On top of that, you can actually request free samples in-store, except for a few products like mascara and lipstick. Big department store beauty counters also offer free samples too!

10. Dumpster dive

You never know what you might find in the dumpster. This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re an extreme money saver, you can find a lot of things that people throw away. That can include everything from clothes to furniture.

Just be careful about dumpster diving on private property.

11. Live with roommates

Living with others is a good way to save on big costs like splitting rent and utilities.

In fact, if you want to go really extreme, you can even share a bedroom. I did this one summer during a college internship in D.C. because, as an intern, I couldn’t afford the outrageous cost of living.

12. Use coupons

Coupons and coupon websites are still a thing and can really help you save money if you are living on an extreme budget. You can find coupon codes online these days, so do a quick Google search if you’re shopping online.

You can also watch for sales and only buy things you need, like new clothes or electronics when they go on sale. While it might seem like a lot of work at first, couponing can soon become a money-saving habit.

13. Attend networking events for free food

One extreme money saving hack I used during college was to go to opening events and networking parties. Why? For the free food.

Those days, that would often be my dinner. And I was able to network and meet some interesting people as well.

14. Stop using paper towels

Not only are paper towels bad for the environment, but they cost so much money. I always feel like the more paper towels I have, the more I need to use. A really great and cheap alternative is to use towels or even rags.

You can even start upcycling fashion or reusing clothes that are falling apart by cutting them up into rags, extending their life even more. Ditching paper towels is an excellent idea for those wanting to try extreme saving!

15. Use restaurant condiment packages instead of buying them

Every time I go to McDonald’s or Taco Bell, I feel like they give me so many condiment packages. So much so that I don’t even feel the need sometimes to buy ketchup bottles at home.

Another extreme and easy way to save money fast is to keep all the condiment packages and even ask for extras. You can even store them in your condiment bottles so you don’t have to worry about an overflow of small packages in your fridge. Saving condiments is a simple tip that doesn’t take much effort.

16. Save restaurant napkins

Getting extra napkins from restaurants is another one of those extreme ways to save money without much effort! I always ask for extras and carry a few in my purse. You never know when you’ll need them.

And why buy paper napkins when you can get them for free (well, minus the cost of the meal).

17. Brew your coffee or tea twice

This extreme money saving hack is a trick from my great-grandmother, who lived during the Great Depression. According to my dad, she would brew coffee in the morning and save the grounds to brew coffee again in the afternoon.

I’ve tried this hack, and while I find it difficult to brew my coffee twice, it’s a good trick to use with tea.

18. Always shop in the sale section

Whenever I need a new pair of jeans or a jacket, I always wait for the sale season and then head to the sales section. I don’t even bother looking at the front of the store but always head for the back. You might have to dig a little, but you’ll find what you need and save big bucks while you’re at it.

You can even find gifts for birthdays or holidays this way and save even more!

19. Take online surveys

While it might seem like everyone has an opinion on the internet, some people will actually pay you to give them your opinion. Places like Swagbucks and Survey Junkie pay you to answer surveys and sometimes even test products. It’s an easy way to earn some cashback.

20. Rent out a spare room in your home

If you have a spare room in your place, you can earn extra income by renting it out through Airbnb. The site has a calculator on its website to make it easy to figure out how much you can earn a week by renting.

Keep in mind though that you may have extra costs like cleaning. Plus, you will need to be okay with having strangers living in your house for a few days or weeks.

21. Sell your old clothes

Have an old pair of boots you thought were really cute but you never wear because the heels hurt too much? Instead of throwing them away or keeping them to collect dust at the back of your closet, you can sell them through marketplace apps like Poshmark.

It’s very easy to set up and takes very little time to maintain. Just snap a few well-lit photos, decide on your price, upload, and wait for someone to snatch up your old clothes.

22. Stop using the clothes dryer

If you want to save money, use your clothes dryer less or not at all. In the summer or whenever the weather is warm, you can dry your clothes outdoors pretty easily. In the winter, a drying rack comes in handy and saves you money on electricity.

To take it a step further, try using cold water in the washing machine. It can save energy!

23. Be mindful of your energy use

Take an assessment of the appliances and electronics in your home to see what’s plugged in and consuming energy. Be intentional about only plugging in appliances when they’re in use to save energy.

For example, the coffee pot, the toaster, and the phone charger only need to be plugged in sometimes. Obviously, some things like your refrigerator must stay plugged in constantly, but save where you can!

24. Start a garden

If you don’t mind some outdoor work and time, you can start a vegetable or herb garden to save money on groceries. Rather than purchasing these foods at the store, you can grow them in your garden!

Although there are many factors that determine the cost of a garden, you do have a chance to save money.

Here’s a great beginners guide to starting a vegetable garden.

25. Downsize your home

If you really want to lower expenses, consider downsizing your home to save on costs like rent/mortgage and utilities.

You can move to a smaller apartment or even explore tiny house living if you currently have too much space, and this adjustment will suit your lifestyle. If you are focused on an aggressive savings plan, this could be a good idea for you too.

However, if you have a large family with kids, downsizing may not work for you. Just do your research to be sure that your rent or mortgage and associated utilities will be cheaper.

Also keep in mind that downsizing a home can take time, especially if you need to sell your home or wait for a lease to end before you can downsize.

Expert tip: Extreme living does not have to be permanent

Living in an extreme way to save money can be difficult. It helps to remind yourself that this isn’t something you have to do indefinitely.

You might choose to do this for a few months while you find a new job, or for a year while you save up an emergency fund or pay off debt.

Have an end date in mind if you are trying out extreme ways to save money, and know that it will be worth the effort.

What causes extreme frugality?

Extreme frugality might be caused by necessity, or it may be that someone just really wants to save more money. There are many reasons, including job or income loss, a big savings goal, or wanting a simpler lifestyle.

Regardless of why you choose this, know that there are multiple ways to save cash!

How can I save insane amounts of money?

You could save insane amounts of money by being mindful of your spending and by being willing to make some serious lifestyle changes.

Extreme saving involves things like at-home meal planning, repairing items rather than buying new ones, learning to make your own household cleaning supplies and products, and learning how to coupon.

If you found this article about extreme ways to save money helpful, check out these great reads next!

Use these extreme ways to save money to bulk your savings!

If you’re looking for extreme ways to save money there are lots of ways to save a bit of cash. From dumpster diving to clothes mending to taking surveys, with a bit of creativity and luck, you can easily save a few extra dollars every month.

And while it might not seem like a lot, after a few months, it will definitely add up. Get even more extreme frugality ideas here!

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