6 Examples of Extreme Frugality That Might Surprise (Or Inspire) You

Some people go way beyond cutting coupons and searching for deals. Here are six examples of commendable but intense frugal behaviors that you might consider trying out for yourself.

1. Dumpster Diving

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure; Dumpster diving has been around since people have been throwing things out. Most of us are familiar with finding an end table or other piece of furniture by the side of the road and throwing it in the backseat.

But many extreme frugal folks take it even further, strategically choosing dumpsters close to restaurants or bakeries that might throw out perfectly good food. If you have the stomach for it, it’s a tested and proven way to save on food expenses, albeit an unorthodox one.

2. Foraging

Foraging is much less unorthodox and can still save you money on food costs, but the trade-off is that it requires some naturalist skills so you don’t get sick. You’ll want to learn about which plants are toxic, local laws about foraging, and where you can forage to make the most of your trips. It’s one of the few examples here that has the added benefit of feeling more connected to nature, which we could all use a little more in our lives.

3. Extreme Couponing

You might already be cutting coupons as a hobby. But for extreme couponers, finding and securing deals is a way of life. These individuals can often find so many deals that their total bill for groceries can be next to nothing (and sometimes actually nothing).

The trade-off?

You’ll probably make couponing a full-time job. That doesn’t make it the most efficient way to be frugal by a long shot; time is money, but if you have the time and the tenacity, it could be a thrilling way to save.

4. Using Cloth Toilet Paper

Another entry that’s bound to divide the readers is the idea of reusable toilet paper.

It’s a practice that could save hundreds of dollars a year, but we’ll level with you — with the introduction of bidets into the West and having them at home being more normalized, it’s probably best to invest in a bidet once, use significantly less toilet paper, and leave the cloth for other things. But no judgment if this is your thing; it’s undoubtedly a valid way to save money, even if it seems extreme.

5. Reusing Water

Wastewater, or “greywater,” can be reusable in specific scenarios. For example, the water you use to bathe in or do laundry might be recycled as water for the garden. It’s significantly less controversial than the cloth toilet paper concept, but it’s still not going to be for everyone. It’s also not necessarily going to save you that much money that you’ll be raking in the savings, but every penny counts!

6. Unplugging

Unplugging things when you aren’t using them isn’t necessarily extreme, either. However, once you start unplugging and replugging everything in your home every time you start and stop using it, it becomes much more of a commitment.

The best thing about this extreme frugal hack is that it’s not difficult to do once you get into the swing of it. It’s probably the one thing on this list we’d recommend more people try, even if they only do it with electronics and appliances, which are more likely to zap energy when not in use.

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