Ready to be Extremely Frugal?

These five measures may leave you cold, but you'll also be richer.

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While the economy is recovering, many people’s finances are still tight. If you need to trim your budget or just want to cut your expenses, here are five extreme frugal measures you can take to save money. These frugal measures are probably too extreme for most people, so I have also included some less extreme alternatives.

Take Cold Showers. This will save you the electric or gas expense of heating up the water. It will probably save money on your water bill, too, since you might be less likely to dally in a cold shower. If that seems too extreme, you could try taking navy showers, which involves keeping the water off while you lather up. If that is still too extreme, just try to take a quicker shower.

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Go carless. A car is usually one of your biggest expenses. If you go without a car and rely on using public transportation, biking, and walking, you can save a ton of money. That is probably too extreme or just not practical for most people, but you should consider the option of sharing a car. I share a car with my significant other and although it is sometimes inconvenient, it does save us a lot of money. Or just try using your car less.

Get rid of the fridge. Not having a refrigerator will save you some money on your electric bill, but if you aren’t careful it could end up costing you more on your food bill. You can read how one person lives without a refrigerator here. If giving up your refrigerator seems like too much of a sacrifice, getting a smaller or more energy-efficient refrigerator is an easier alternative.

Live in an RV. Most people will immediately dismiss this idea but it can be done. Many people live in RVs and love it. For example, this couple lives in an RV in the San Fransisco Bay area, which makes it possible to keep housing expenses quite low. If that doesn’t sound like a reasonable option to you, then perhaps you could just try living in a smaller place. Living in a smaller place should result in a smaller rent or mortgage payment and lower utilities.

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Stop buying stuff. This may not sound too extreme but it can be. Those who are part of The Compact vow to buy nothing new for a year. There are some exceptions such as food, medicine, and hygiene products but otherwise they buy nothing new for a year. If you want to try your own version of The Compact, you could try not buying anything new for a week or a month. You will save the money you would have spent buying the stuff plus they money you would have spent maintaining the stuff. While these frugal measures may be extreme, implementing them or the less extreme alternatives can save you a lot of money and help you keep your budget under control.

Give some of these frugal measures a try -- you might be surprised and find they don’t seem as extreme as your originally thought.

Andy Hough writes about frugality and living well on a small income at TightFistedMiser.com.