From taking home leftovers from the office party to adopting a freegan lifestyle, learn how to save a bundle when it comes to food.
- Live off the land. Grow your own vegetables and herbs and raise your own livestock for consumption to cut your grocery bill considerably.
- Use a diaper in your plants. If you are growing vegetables in containers, put some of the absorbent material from a baby diaper at the bottom of the container–below the soil. When you water the plant, the excess water will be absorbed into the material, then when the soil dries out, the water will soak up into the soil, eliminating the need for frequent waterings.
- Cook from scratch. Learning to cook your own food from scratch can save you a bundle.
- Hunt for your meat. Rather than rely on purchasing meat, for the price of a hunting license and a gun, you can find your own meat.
- Take home leftovers. Volunteer to clean up after the office party or fundraising events at school. All that leftover food that usually gets thrown away can be yours for the taking.
- Free groceries. Take advantage of your store’s buy-one-get-one-free deals or check out websites and blogs that are devoted to finding these types of saving opportunities.
- Restaurant freebies. Sign up on many restaurants’ mailing list to get free food. Don’t forget to include your birthday to get free meals then, too.
- Save restaurant packets. Put all that salt, pepper, hot sauce, and other condiments you keep getting when you purchase fast food in your pantry to use later.
- Shop at farmers’ markets. Especially if you go at the end of the day, you can usually get bargains on the fresh food direct from the farm.
- Cut out alcohol. Alcohol costs plenty of money. Stop drinking to really save, or learn to make your own.
- Ignore expiration dates. While this is not recommended for safety reasons, there are plenty of people who ignore the expiration date on food so it will last longer.
- Become a freegan. Freegans forage food tossed out by grocery stores and restaurants. If you can get beyond the concept of dumpster diving, this is an awesome way to get free food.
- Extreme frugality meal plan. If you want to learn how to eat very cheaply, then take a look at this meal plan.
Health and Medicine
Everyone has concerns about the cost of health care, so here are some extreme ways to help you cut back.
- Learn about alternative healing methods. Many herbs and items found around the house can be used for both promoting wellness and healing.
- Use students in training. Whether you want a hair cut, need to see a dentist, or want a relaxing massage, all of these services and more can be obtained from students-in-training at a fraction of the price you would pay to see more established professionals.
- Become proactive. Eating naturally and organic, staying physically active, and knowing your body are all excellent ways to stay healthy and avoid costly medical bills.
- Learn first aid. Treating minor illness and injuries yourself will reduce unnecessary medical care that can be done at home.
Entertainment can eat up a budget in no time, so take these suggestions to reduce your cash outflow without curbing your entertainment.
- Entertain at home. Instead of going out to a bar or restaurant, have your friends come to your place for an inexpensive, yet fun night in.
- Free TV and movies. With sites like Hulu.com and even the major networks themselves offering free downloads of their shows, there’s no reason to pay for cable or to see a movie.
- Free music. When you sign up for a free account with places like Pandora or Last.fm, you will get free music customized to your taste.
- Free concerts. Most cities offer free concerts. Check local listings and see what’s available near you.
- Go for dates at lunch. Restaurants typically offer reduced prices for lunch specials, so take your next date out for lunch.
- Surf the Internet outside your home. Don’t pay for Internet connection when you can surf at libraries and free Wi-Fi spots.
- Share Internet. If you really must have Internet at home and live close by neighbors, share your Internet and reduce the cost.
- Find museum days. Most museums offer days or partial days where admission is free. Do a little research and get your culture for free.
- Free popcorn. If you do pay the outrageous price of admission to a movie theater, don’t spend anything for popcorn, just scavenge what is left over from the prior movie-goers who left theirs behind.
- Exchange cards in the store. Instead of spending $5 or more on birthday or anniversary cards, take your sweetie to the store, choose a card for each other, share them, then replace them on the shelf and leave.
From getting rid of your car to becoming a bike commuter, find out how to save money on your transportation expenses.
- Conserve gas. There are some pretty extreme ways to conserve gas, such as not driving every day, using alternative fuels in your car, and even turning off your car when coasting down hill. (This last one isn’t very safe, by the way.)
- Sell your car. This definitely feels extreme for some, but selling your car will save you a ton of money. With so many other forms of transportation available, why opt for the most expensive one?
- Walk. Walk or ride your bike when your destination is only one or two miles away.
- Become a bike commuter. Biking to work will save you a ton of money and has awesome health benefits too.
- Public transportation. Take public transportation any time you can. A monthly pass for the bus or light rail is probably cheaper than gas, maintenance, and parking expenses.
- Move to be closer to work or school. Make sure you live close enough to walk or bike to work or school so you don’t have to own a car.
- Car share. Join a car share program for those times when you really need to drive a car, but without the expense of car ownership.
- Drive a scooter. Scooters are relatively inexpensive and get awesome gas mileage, often around 100 mpg.
Other Extreme Ways to Save Money
These suggestions range from literally freezing your credit cards in ice to adjusting your bedtime to match the sun rise and set to some rather unusual pet tricks that can all save you plenty of money.
- Voluntary simplicity. This movement has gained momentum recently with participants voluntarily simplifying their lives in a number of ways with benefits on the wallet as well as the Earth.
- Stop buying. It is extreme, but see if you can stop making purchases all together for 30 days. Not only will you save money, but you will also begin to see ways to do things without spending money for the long term.
- Freeze your credit cards. Learn from this blogger’s aunt how to literally freeze your credit cards so that you won’t have access to them just any old time.
- Make gifts. When birthdays and holidays roll around, make gifts to give to friends and family.
- Free samples. Sign up for free samples and get everything from cosmetics to household items. Set up an email address just for getting email samples so your regular email isn’t inundated.
- Live like a farmer. Go to bed when the sun sets and rise when the sun rises so that you use less electricity.
- Enter contests. Some people almost make a career out of entering contests. Your winnings can really add up if you stick with it.
- Look for spare change. Every time you pass a vending machine, newspaper dispenser, or anything else that gives back change, check the change-return slot and on the ground around the machine for loose change.
- Hide cash. Hide $5 or $10 bills around the house in odd places. You won’t be tempted to spend what you don’t see.
- Negotiate everything. No matter what you are buying, try to negotiate for a lower price.
- Sell pigeon droppings. A church in Hartford, Connecticut, sold pigeon droppings they collected from their church and made $30,000.
- Have your dog earn his own money for food. Send Rover out to make money himself like this dog does.