In need of some extreme measures to save money each month? Shoestring Jane has some more ‘unusual’ ideas for you to consider.
You might think yourself quite savvy with money. Perhaps you have conquered your daily takeout coffee habit, started cooking meals at home and sorted out a budget. So what next?
Can you find even more ways to shave the pounds and pennies from your spending?
Once you have started to develop a frugal mindset, perhaps it’s time to look at some more extreme ways to save money! Here are some slightly unusual ways to save.
My top five extreme ways to save money
1# Buy only second hand
This year I have set myself the challenge of buying nothing new if it’s feasible to pick it up second hand. So I can purchase underwear, food and consumables, and items that can be used to upcycle or repair, but nothing else.
I am thoroughly enjoying the challenge, and have already saved hundreds of pounds on things such as clothing and furniture. I have even managed to pick up toiletries that are unopened or barely used.
2# Have a no spend year
You could go even more hardcore than buying second hand and choose to spend nothing apart from money you need to use for essentials, such as housing, utilities and food.
If the idea of a whole year is too terrifying, how about starting with a month, or even a week? I frequently choose January as a no-spend month to help recover from the costs involved with Christmas.
It’s actually easier than you might think, and I find that having a no spend rule is simpler than trying to spend less.
3# Move to a cheaper home
You can save large amounts of money by rethinking your accommodation costs. For example, if your children have all moved out, could you downsize? Could you move out of your fancy city apartment to something less trendy but a lot cheaper in a cheaper area? How about renting with a friend to cut your expenses?
Some people take this idea even further and invest in a campervan, a tiny house or a boat to live in.
YouTube has some great examples of people who have turned their back on the drudgery of long working hours to pay large mortgages or rental properties, opting for a better quality of life in a very small space.
For example, check out this woman’s amazing campervan home on YouTube.
4# Go dumpster diving
We call it skip surfing in the UK. Basically dumpster diving involves searching through skips or dumpsters outside houses, supermarkets or blocks of flats to see what can be salvaged before it gets taken off to landfill.
We happened to be in the right place at the right time when a restaurant was being cleared out, and picked up perfect, quality plates and bowls for free. Some of them were even new in boxes!
Now I always have a nose as I pass skips outside my neighbours’ houses to see what they are getting rid of. Do ask permission before you help yourself though!
It’s not always possible to access supermarket bins in the UK, but in the US there are a whole tribe of so-called Freegans, finding much of their food for free. Often it is dumped because the packaging is damaged or it is slightly beyond the recommended best before date but still perfectly edible.
My favourite dumpster diving channel on YouTube is Freakin Frugal. They seem to feed themselves almost exclusively on scavenged food!
5# Ditch the loo roll in favour of ‘family cloth’
I have to admit that, although kitchen roll is a thing of the past at Shoestring Cottage, we have yet to move to reusable wipes – aka ‘family cloth’ – instead of toilet paper.
However, many people have, using rags and sometimes a bidet to keep themselves clean after the loo. The shortage of toilet paper at the start of the pandemic may have encouraged a few others to try it.
Some people reserve family cloth for no 1s only, using paper for their no 2s. However, others go the whole hog and do away with toilet roll altogether. If you fancy trying it, this post from Red&Honey will help you navigate the process.
The odd thing is, once you have tried some of the more extreme ways to save money, after a while they don’t seem that odd any more.
If you want to power up your spending efforts, how about giving some of them a go?