12 Extreme Ways to Save Money That Could Work for You


Just about everyone is interested in ways to save money — some of us more than others. For many, pinching pennies is the only way to get through the month and cover the essentials, such as electricity and food. (See also: 101 Ways to Save Around the House)

Although most people are familiar with obvious money saving techniques, such as cooking their own food and shopping less, these aren't the only ways to be frugal.

Think outside the box, and you'll discover a variety of clever, and sometimes extreme, ways to hold onto your cash.

1. Stop Eating Meat

Beef, pork, and chicken can drive up your grocery bill, especially if you're shopping for a family. If you cut meat from your diet and plan meals around protein alternatives like tofu, beans, lentils, quinoa, and tempeh, you can knock several dollars off each grocery trip. (See also: Frugal Items for Your Vegan Pantry)

2. Barter With Friends

Get with a few of your friends and barter services to save money. For example, if you need plumbing work or other household repairs, you can trade services with someone who has expertise in the handyman arts. If this person agrees to fix your plumbing issues, you can agree to offer your own expertise and services.

3. Hang Dry Your Laundry

Yes, it'll take longer to dry your clothes. However, using a drying rack instead of your clothes dryer can reduce your energy cost each month, especially if you wash and dry several loads a week.

4. Resole Your Shoes

Old, worn shoes are a good excuse to hit the store and buy a new pair. But don't quickly replace your shoes. Go to a shoe repair store, and you might be able to resole the bottom. This extends the life of your shoes, ultimately saving you money.

5. Move Into a Smaller Place

Most people don't want to give up space. However, downsizing to a much smaller home is a practical way to reduce expenditures. You'll save on housing, and with less room to store items, living in a smaller space might curb shopping too. (See also: How to Downsize and Life Better)

6. Sleep at the Airport When Traveling

If you have an overnight layover, or if your flight's canceled due to bad weather, skip the hotel and bunk at the airport. It might not be the most comfortable sleep, but at least you'll avoid hotel costs, and the cost of transportation to and from the airport (if the hotel doesn't offer a free shuttle service). To keep belongings safe, use your carry-on bag as a pillow or footrest.

7. Stop Buying New

Join the Compact and challenge yourself to buy nothing new for a year (with a few exceptions for food, healthcare, and services). While the Compact is primarily about environmental and economic awareness, nearly all of its pledgees wind up saving hundreds — even thousands — of dollars during the challenge. Many, of course, continue the lifestyle once the year is up — and continue to save.

8. Give Coupons as Gifts

Buying gifts for Christmas, anniversaries, birthdays, and other special events can take a chunk from your already tight budget. Since there is no rule that says you have to spend money on gifts, get creative with your gift-giving.

Save up good coupons that you aren't going to use and gift them to people who would. If you have a rewards credit card, redeem your points for gift cards and give these as gifts. You can also make your own coupons for gifts!

9. Eat Before You Go Out to Eat

Eat at home before meeting up with friends at a restaurant, and you won't have to spend money on an expensive entree. You can order a dessert or a cheap side and enjoy good conversation without the expensive bill. (See also: Frugal Ways to Hang Out With Friends)

10. Use a Single Light Bulb

Keeping multiple lights on in your home drives up your electricity bill. If your house is small enough, only use one light at night — perhaps a hall light — and keep the remaining lights off.

11. Let Students Practice on You

Going to a spa, getting your hair done, and dental visits can be costly. However, you can save money by using students in training.

For example, schedule an appointment with a local hair school or massage school and receive services at a fraction of the cost. And if you live within vicinity of a dental college, you might be able to schedule routine dental services for less. (See also: Get Free High-End Haircuts as a Hair Model)

12. Surf the Internet Outside Your House

Home Internet service isn't cheap — costing $40 (or more) a month. The truth is, if you're not a big Internet user, you can probably survive without the service. Use your smartphone if you have a data plan, and there's always the option of using free Wi-Fi at a fast food restaurant, coffee shop, or the library. Also, if your neighbor has a strong signal, ask permission to use his or her Wi-Fi. Offer to share the cost, or maybe barter something in exchange?

Have you tried any extreme measures to save money? Did they work for you?

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Guest's picture

Hanging laundry? Students cutting your hair? Buying used? Most of those aren't that extreme. So yes, we do.

Guest's picture

Only in the USA would hanging washing on the line, or resoling your shoes be considered extreme! Woooooh! Imagine turning lights and appliances off when you leave the room! Even more shocking: PUT ON A SWEATER WHEN YOU'RE COLD. Shocking stuff.

Guest's picture

Turn down your thermostat by 10 degrees F when sleeping in winter evenings. Use a space heater in your bedroom instead of heating the entire house.

Turn down your thermostat by 5 degrees F at day time in winter. Of course you will feel cold if you wear a T-shirt and a pair of shorts. Wear sweater and a pair of jeans. You will be warm.

Turn up your thermostat by 2 degrees F at summer time. Most Americans keeps their home cold (not cool) in the summer.

Do not buy any clothes for a year. Your closet is full of clothes which can last for 5 years. This will save you $2000 a year.