Life's too short to be like everyone else. Be different. Consider these ten totally radical money moves. Are they over the top? Or can you see yourself using one of these money moves to radically change your financial life?
[In Pictures: Top 10 Cities with the Most Debt]
Save up to buy your house in full. Instead of taking on that big mortgage, avoid thousands of dollars in interest payments by saving up to buy your house in full. Get there faster by purchasing a smaller home. Work your way up to the home of your dreams. Lindsay Binegar of Greenfield, Ohio bought her first home at just 18 years old, using money she saved from her 4-H winnings.
Work your way through school. College isn't just for the rich or those who are willing to take on student loans. You can get a bachelor's degree by paying as you go. You may need to start at a community college and expect it to take longer, but it's still possible. Don't believe me? Check out an option like College of the Ozarks, otherwise known as Hard Work U, where your tuition is covered by employment at an on-campus job.
Save 50 percent of your income for retirement. If you're in your 50s and just now starting your retirement savings effort, this may be necessary if you want to retire on time. And if you're young, but plan on retiring early, 50 percent will definitely help you to get there quicker. Still, it sounds, and is pretty radical to think about living off of only 50 percent of your take home pay, doesn't it? But some people can do it.
Avoid credit cards. Even when you use them responsibly and pay them off each month, you run the risk of one day missing a payment or incurring an annual fee. Some families choose to go without the use of credit cards completely, opting instead to use a rewards debit card to help them get cash back for their spending.
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Don't buy anything new for a year. Besides the necessities (food, fuel, health and safety items, and, of course, underwear), don't buy anything. Nothing. For a year. Could you do it? The people who started The Compact did. They used resources like www.freecycle.org to barter for things they needed.
Become a one-car family. This isn't uncommon in the city. But in the sprawling suburbs, dropping down to one car would mean a big sacrifice, especially for those with kids and busy schedules. But it would likely radically change your monthly auto expenses. And it would definitely bring you closer together as a family.
Shop for groceries only once a month. One of the quickest ways to cut costs in your budget is to spend less on food. Most savvy shoppers learn to buy certain products in bulk to make their dollar stretch further. But most of us still end up at the grocery store 2 or 3 times in a month. The Economides family of Scottsdale, AZ, also known as America's Cheapest Family, claims to spend only $350 a month on food and cleaning products for seven people by going grocery shopping once a month. They are able to save by using coupons, shopping around, and buying in bulk. And if you're wondering, they freeze their bread and milk to make it last that long.
Rent out your home and live in the garage. Michelle de la Vega of Seattle, WA did just this. She purchased a full-size home with a separate garage, and then converted the garage into a fully-functional home at a cost of $32,000. For a time she rented out the house in front to provide a steady income.
Spend your nights and weekends building a business. Instead of watching hours of TV each night, use that time to create something that can help you make extra money. Spend two or three hours with your family right when you get home from work, then spend the rest of your evening building your business. Who knows, in time you could turn it into a day job.
Give away your fortune. Finally, once you build up your wealth, give it all away. Karl Rabeder, Australian Millionaire, is giving away his £3 million fortune to create a micro lending business in South America. He claims his money has made him a miserable man. Could giving away all of your money lead to more happiness?
What do you think? Could you do any of these? Can you think of more radical money moves? Leave your best tip in the comments below.
Phil Taylor is the author of the popular 52 Ways to Make Extra Money. Find out how to save more money and get the latest news on the best online savings accounts and the best online stock brokers at his blog, PT Money: Personal Finance.