When your finances are in a deep decline, going all out for extreme frugality can help you stay on budget.
You can find plenty of advice about how to be frugal and how to save money. But advice on extreme frugality with the emphasis on super frugal living can be harder to find.
Sometimes saving money like other people do is just not enough.
If you’ve tried all the mainstream frugal tips but your finances are still not going in the right direction then perhaps it’s time to look at what extremely frugal people do.
Maybe you’ve just lost your job or maybe you’ve had your light-bulb moment and are determined to learn how to pay off debt fast as possible.
There are ways to ramp up your money saving attempts if you are prepared to go where others fear to tread.
Are you ready?
With extreme frugality you are talking way beyond ordinary and average ways to save money. Extreme is as extreme does.
Extreme Frugality And What It Is Not
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If you have a need to focus more on how to live super frugally then you will already have factored the following money saving ideas in:
- Growing your own food
- Cutting cable
- Using the library to borrow music, movies and books
- Playing board games as family entertainment
- Invite friends over instead of going out
- Use up leftovers
- Buy secondhand things instead of new
The list above are things that extremely frugal people think are pretty mainstream.
For lots more useful money saving tips these posts will help:
How To Start Saving Money: 7 Tricks You Can Easily Do
35 Ways You Are Wasting Money [And How To Stop Right Now]
It can feel hard sometimes to get started with the more extreme ways to save money, where to start? What to do? How? If you feel like that then I encourage you to grab a couple of the books below and dive in that way.
Of course, as we are talking extreme money saving I would prefer it if you grabbed your copies from the library! Alternatively get yourself a used copy from Amazon, no need to pay full price!
Best books to help you live frugally and save money
These books will help you learn more about frugal living and saving money. Packed with actionable advice and creative ways to save money.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette: Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle
My number 1 all time favorite book that has SO MANY helpful tips that stand the test of time.
Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money
My favorite book that helped me build my money mindset.
Six Dollar Family: From Six Dollars to Six Figures
The best tips from a family who went from totally broke to six figures.
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own
A very calming book that helps you (re)focus on what stuff is important in your life.
How do you practice extreme frugality? Extreme frugality is about taking extra steps to save money. Steps that those around you might find strange or odd. Like not eating out for months on end. Or eating offal or never buying new clothes. Practicing extreme frugality is about being very frugal with everything you do. Everything.
What is an extreme saver? An extreme saver tends to be those people who both earn a lot and save a lot. If you are earning more than $100k a year it can be easy to save 50% or more of your income, especially if you live in an RV, and are extremely frugal.
Is it worth being frugal? Oh yes! Being extremely frugal has allowed me to pay my mortgage off 10 years early. To retire 17 years early. To be financially free. All while earning way less than $50k a year – way less.
How do I live super frugal? To live super frugal you should try to be vigilant about all aspects of your money. Being super frugal is not just about cutting back or not spending on impulsive purchases. It’s thinking about how to do things more frugally. Think waste not, want not.
✅ Do you need to save money right now? Want to embrace being frugal and how it can transform your finances? Then find out how to become fabulously frugal here.
11 great examples of extreme frugality
1. Eat offal
Offal is the internal organs and intestines of animals used as food.
Offal is a good source of protein and significantly cheaper than more expensive cuts of meat.
You get the idea, not your everyday meat product.
In the 1970’s with sky high inflation and mortgage interest rates many families, including mine, resorted to eating offal.
One of the frugal stories I have from that time is my mother serving us brain curry. My brothers hated it but I actually liked it!
I’ll be honest and say that now I’m older offal feels like extreme frugality food gone too far.
Although my husband loves kidney and liver, they are not something I actually like the taste of so they are not something we eat (thankfully).
When you want to keep your grocery bill down low then have a read of the best frugal foods to buy when broke.
2. Road Kill
Another example of extreme frugality food is to eat the road kill you may come across on your travels.
In the UK it is widely accepted that if you accidentally run over an animal you cannot pick it up as road kill. However the person behind you can.
I have no idea whether this is an urban myth or buried in some law. But what I do know is there are people who supplement their protein intake with road kill.
And yes, my Mother has picked up road kill before!
3. Moldy Food
In day’s gone past the money mantra was ‘waste not, want not‘.
If food has a small amount of mold on it, does it mean all of that food is now inedible and off?
If you want to reach the heights of extreme frugality then using moldy food can definitely help you save money.
I account my cast iron stomach (no food poisoning for me) with having been given food that had the mold cut off when I was a child.
My Mother’s response to our disgust at this practice was to point out the premium people pay for blue cheeses like Stilton – moldy cheese!
There is a whole no-poo movement of people who no longer use shampoo or other chemicals on their hair.
There is a transition stage you have to go through which is off putting for many people. Your hair will be/feel more oily and likely look different.
But get through those 4-6 weeks and you should come out the other side with lovely shiny hair.
And more money in your pocket as you are no longer buying shampoo, conditioner or likely any other hair products.
5. Stop Shaving – Both Men AND Women
Beards are very much in fashion these days so no shaving for men is not difficult to achieve.
Nor is it extreme. You won’t seem different from many others around you, indeed you’ll blend right in.
But how about no shaving, waxing or hair removal for women? Are you willing to use extreme budgeting tips like this in order save money?
6. Cut Your Own Hair
Again this is more aimed at women than men as men often invest in a set of clippers and cut their own hair.
But how about us women?
Are you up for going down the route of extreme cheap living and never visiting a hairdresser again? Visiting the hairdresser is something I just don’t do.
With long straight hair it’s fairly easy to cut my own hair although Mr2p now does the honors.
Are you willing to allow your partner to cut your hair in your quest to save money?
7. Collect And Reuse Grey Water
There are plenty of typically normal ways to save money on your water bill.
But how about reusing your bath water to flush your loo?
Or using water from your washing machine to water your plants?
When you are going all out to learn how to be as frugal as possible, reusing your grey water makes financial sense.
8. Be Sparing With Your Heating
Reducing your energy bills is good practice whatever your financial circumstances.
Being more conscious about your energy usage is a good frugal habit that also benefits the environment as you are using less fossil fuels.
But to hit the heights of extreme energy saving you need to take your energy usage to a whole new, lower, level.
I feel extremely frugal when I have the heating off during the day and the temperature drops to 55F.
But how about:
- not having the heating on at all
- wearing your day clothes in bed to keep warm
- wearing hats and gloves whilst watching TV
- only having 1 light (bulb) on in the house at one time
- having a cold shower instead of hot
Related post: How To Save Electricity Doing Absolutely Nothing
Recommended products to help cut your bills
Monthly bills can really eat into your budget. These products will help you reduce the amount of energy you use and bring your bill payments down.
Power Strip with 8 Ft, POWLIGHT Surge Protector with 12 AC Outlets and 4 USB Ports
Organize all your electronic wires in one place and protect your gadgets from power surges with this surge protector power strip.
SYLVANIA ECO LED Light Bulbs, A19 60W Equivalent
Long lasting eco friendly LED bulbs with a soft white light for your home. Cut your monthly energy bills with these.
Frost King V73/9H Indoor Shrink Window Kit
Create your own extra window insulation and cut your heating costs. Shrinks to fit using your hand held hair dryer.
Eco Power High Pressure Water Softener Filtered Handheld Showerhead
This water saver shower system cuts consumption by up to 35% (great for your bills and the planet). Connects to any standard hose.
Honeywell Home 7-Day Programmable Touchscreen Thermostat
Heat and cool your home only when you need it. & day program to account for your busy life. Save money and keep heating costs down with this thermostat.
Foldable Laundry Rack for Air Drying Clothing
Dry clothes inside without a dryer and save on energy costs. When you can't dry outside, this laundry rack will get the job done, cheaply.
9. Other People’s Leftovers
Using up your own leftovers is just good practice to reduce food wastage and lower your grocery bill.
But how about taking the leftovers from work meetings, events and parties you have attended?
Events like these often have food left over and the super frugal won’t hesitate to ask if they can take these extras home.
After all it’s free food!
55 Cheap And Easy Meals You Are Going To Love
10. Dumpster Diving
Checking out the things other people have thrown away is perhaps not that extreme. Especially if you are focusing on skips and dumpsters left by the side of the road.
My Mother is renown for not being able to walk past a skip without having a quick nose through it’s contents.
But what about checking out thrown out food?
There are plenty of frugal living stories about how some people will go to great lengths to source free food and are happy to dive into dumpsters and skips in this search.
Caution: Venturing onto private property in search of free stuff is trespassing, always ask permission.
11. Super Cheap Meals
If you are looking to save money then your grocery budget is always a good place to start.
Getting your grocery bill down to the extremely low levels that super frugalista’s achieve involves scrutinizing every meal and thinking outside the box.
Extremely frugal meals can still involve meat but often involves a lot of pantry staples that hopefully you have stockpiled at a low price.
Ingredients such as rice, pasta, beans, pulses and super cheap seasonal produce including potatoes.
Fiona successfully challenged herself to spend just £50 a month on groceries for 2 people whilst others aim to only eat food from the reduced section.
For more help in saving money on your grocery spending join the FREE grocery budget challenge:
Is Extreme Frugality Really That Extreme?
What extremely frugal ways to save money looks like to me might seem more like being an extreme cheapskate to you, or maybe it feels just like mainstream living?
My Mother knows all about how to be extremely frugal because she absolutely was when I was a child.
At the time I hadn’t realized my Mother was being super frugal, I just thought she was being eccentric!
And that could sum up how others may view you when you are aiming to become very frugal – slightly eccentric.
Is that a bad thing?
Is being focused on extreme cheap living and saving money really eccentric?
At the end of the day we follow our own paths, we must all manage our money and if you need or want to be very frugal then you go for it.
It’s your life.
Help With Practicing Extreme Frugality
If you would like more advice and help in learning about the lifestyle that some people may call extreme cheapskate money saving then why not check out the books below?
My advice with buying books is firstly to always check them out of the library if you can – it’s the frugal way!
If you like what you read or your library doesn’t stock it then buy it used from Amazon. The books I buy often cost me just shipping and a penny or so.
The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn
This book has so many different frugal stories about how to save money and is one you can dip in and out of all the time.
It’s my go to book for all things frugal and I love it. I’ve had the book for over 10 years and still pick it up every so often to give me some thrifty inspiration.
Personally I find some parts verging on the extreme cheap living side of money saving but overall it is an absolute gem packed full of ideas and helpful tips.
The book is actually a collection of the monthly frugal living newspaper Amy published in the 1990’s and laid out in a similar style so a very easy read.
Early Retirement Extreme by Jacob Lund Fisker
Confession – I bought
It’s not for the faint-hearted and I found it quite heavy going but if you want to focus on creating a framework for your new lifestyle then do have a read.
There is less on day to day tips or frugal stories and more on setting up your life in order to maximize your frugality and savings.
For all my recommendations on the best books on living frugally, check out this post:
The Best Books On Frugal Living You Need To Read
Essential products to help you live frugally
Frugal folk know the value of having the right tools to help them save money. These are all essentials in my book. They will pay for them selves in the savings you will make in a matter of months.
Contigo Snapseal Insulated Travel Mug
Insulated travel mug. Brew your own coffee (or tea) and take it with you. The no.1 gadget every frugal person has. Get your own and save money every single day.
Wool Dryer Balls - Natural Fabric Softener, Reusable, Reduces Clothing Wrinkles and Saves Drying Time
An eco-friendly and frugal alternative to dryer sheets. Can reduce your appliance usage and electricity bills by shortening drying time up to 25%.
Aucma Stand Mixer,6.5-QT 660W 6-Speed Tilt-Head Food Mixer
Cooking at home saves you so much money. A kitchen mixer is an essential tool in your frugal kitchen to make delicious meals, breads and snacks. Worth it's weight in gold!
4-arm Rotary Outdoor Umbrella Drying Rack Clothes Dryer Clothesline
Dry clothes outside when the weather is fair and save money. Line drying reduces creases, saves money (no dryer costs) and helps clothes last longer.
Power Strip with 8 Ft, POWLIGHT Surge Protector with 12 AC Outlets and 4 USB Ports
Organize all your electronic wires in one place so you can turn them off and save electricity. Don't use standby!. Protect your gadgets from power surges with this surge protector power strip.
Modern Water Bottle with Straw Lid Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Metal Thermos
Keep cold drinks cold and save money by taking them with you from home. A frugal must for everyone wanting to save money.
Examples of extreme frugality
As a child I didn’t realize my parents were practicing what we might call today extreme frugality.
Indeed I don’t think they would consider they were being super frugal at all. Careful with money yes, extreme no.
These days my parents aren’t poor by any standards yet my Mother still picks up roadkill if she finds it.
She still cuts mold off food. And if she passes a skip/dumpster I bet she can’t resist taking a look. It’s not that she can’t get out of a poor mindset – she didn’t have one.
She just enjoys living within her means in some aspects of her life because she wants to spend her money in other ways!
You may also like: 20 Frugal Living Tips For Seniors
Extreme Frugality Or Extreme Cheapskate?
At the end of the day it’s your choice. It’s your money to save or spend.
If you followed all of these super frugal tips would they make you a cheapskate? I don’t think so.
It’s about making the choices that are right for you and your circumstances. If you need to stop living paycheck to paycheck then saving every penny will help.
Personally some of these are ingrained frugal habits of mine and some aren’t. Not because I think they are cheap, but because they don’t fit into my life right now.
Always wear the badge of a super frugalista with pride!
For more help in becoming the best frugal you, join the FREE frugal foundations email course
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Last Updated on 10th January 2022 by Emma
11 thoughts on “11 Extreme Frugality Tips To Be Super Frugal”
I’m just starting back in to full time work soon and want some hints and tips on budgeting.and saving and paying of debts.and where’s the best place to start-first please.thank you as it would be very much appreciated. As most of you people have been through it yourselves and you’ll know the best place to start and what to do next and you’ll have a good piece of advice for us which is what we need right now.so we look forward to hearing from you soon take care bye thank you bye.
Hi Diane. Going back to work full time is a big step but a great opportunity to make the changes to your budget and start paying of those debts. I would suggest the following for starters:- write down everything you spend and review it every week to see where your money is going. Take a packed lunch to work from day 1, make that a habit so you don’t spend on takeout at work. Create a meal plan every week so you know in the morning what dinner will be that night. Keep it simple, max 30 mins cooking/prep time as you’ll be tired from work. Don’t fall into the mindset of ‘you’ve worked hard so you deserve to have takeout/new clothes’. You deserve to be debt free and have savings. Always remember that. For more hints and tips check out my archive page which lists all the posts I’ve written archive page here. I wish you the best of luck and know you can do it. Thanks for stopping by!
“Cheapskate” means saving money at the expense of others.
Hi Barbara, you are so right. You can be extremely, super frugal and never be a cheapskate. Thanks for stopping by!
Good morning Tuppenny,
As I wander around Pinterest, I always land on your site🤗
To some of the previous comments,
I am extremely frugal, however, do not take advantage of others in my pursuit of ensuring I don’t run out of money….
Frugality frees me from having a cluttered life💃
Hi Bidz! Sorry for the late reply 🙁 I love that you can see how being frugal is actually something that frees you. I feel exactly the same. I still occasionally feel an urge to go shopping for something but always return empty handed. I see things I like but then can’t think where I would put them, so they remain on the shelf and my money in my pocket. Thanks for stopping by!
Hello ) it’s amazing how different can be views on what’s extreme in different countries. I’d love offal to be seen as frugal food in Russia 🙂 while liver and stomachs are about the same price as a whole chicken, hearts can be pricy, and tongue is more expensive than good beef. Alas! But what do you british people think pate is made from? It’s liver ) and it’s a delicacy, isn’t it? Especially homemade.
And road kill advice looks so funny for me! In the coutryside where my parents live, road kill is, sadly, stray cats and dogs, with lots of toads seasonally. I guess you mean more like deers and wild boars?
Thank you for your blog! I find lots of great advice here, but probably even more valuable is that you share your mindset.
Hi Anna! Yes, roadkill (that people would eat) is usually deer and pheasants. We do also get squirrels, badgers and foxes but these are much less likely to be picked up and eaten. Wild boar are only found in a few places so unlikely to be found on the road. For some reason pate is much more acceptable than liver in it’s natural state and it can be difficult to even buy cheap offal as so many stores do not sell it at all! Thank you for your kind words, my aim is to help as many people see the benefits of being frugal – it makes life so much easier, simpler and more enjoyable. Thanks for stopping by!
Use less detergent in the clothes washer. Most of it end up being undissolved and form attachments to the garments. Use a hand microscope or magnifying glass. You can see the detergent residuals being wasted. Two tablespoons of detergents per wash is enough. Add bleach to the wash, which is cheaper than detergents.
Hi M. Love the idea of using a magnifying glass to see the residuals – that’s my kind of extreme. I use about half the recommended dose of detergent – works fine for me and I’m saving money every time. Thanks for stopping by!
Using less detergent is a good idea, but how about NO detergent? I’ve been using the ceramic laundry balls for at least 1 year and I love them. I live a very sedentary life, so I don’t know about heavy, ground in dirt or heavy sweat smells. I looked in Amazon and had many options. The ones I got came in a set of 2 and each are rated for 1,000 washes.