December 14, 2010

Extreme Frugality

I was reading an article a few weeks ago about extreme measures for frugality. It got me thinking about what I would and would not do to save a buck. I love finding ways to save money, but somethings are even a little over the top for a self pronounced cheapskate. These are few unconventional savings tips I found around the web, and then I added some (snarky) commentary.

1.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.
Uhhh, no thank you. My shower is one of my few indulgences. I love hot hot hot showers, but now I set a timer for 8 minutes. The kids get 5. The sailor takes navy showers when he is on a ship, he shouldn't have to do it in the comfort of his own home.

2. Cut the cell phone.  A cell phone is not a necessity. It’s a convenience. When people needed to make a call, 20 years ago, they either waited until they got to a destination, or pulled over and used a pay phone.
This is not such a bad suggestion, but I am not getting rid of my cell phone. I didn't have one until four years ago. I didn't need one. I was at home with three kids. Who am I gonna call on my cell, that I couldn't call on my home phone. Then the kids went off to school and I wasn't always home. In comes a cell phone. Now we don't have a home phone. Go figure!

3. Go paperless. No paper towels, paper napkins or toilet paper. The family cloth, as it is so gently put.
Okay, I am two thirds of the way okay with this one. I don't buy paper towels or napkins. I really love using my cloth napkins everyday. But no toilet paper? I have to say I am really intrigued, but I have a problem getting my family to replace the roll of toilet paper. This is by far more complex. 

4. Cut the cable. It cost a fortune and there is never anything on.
I agree with this one. The point is though that we aren't giving up TV, we just aren't paying as much for it. Hulu is free and the sailor can hook up his computer to our TV and BAM! It's like we have cable. Netflix is amazingly cheap and that streams through our Wii. (Very easy to set up by the way)

5. Raise your own chickens. This could actually spread to the whole livestock spectrum depending on your space availability. Eggs and chicken are always on the menu in a frugal home (unless your a vegan/vegetarian).
Again, not a bad idea but it is definitely a lot of work and there are upkeep cost associated with this. Not to mention it may not be plausible where you live. I would try this if we had the space, I think the kids would love it.

6. Dumpster diving. Whether it is for recyclables, furniture or food, the garbage is full of unused resources at no cost.
I know that as a country America throws away too much of everything. Most people don't ever think to upcycle their unwanted stuff. But I won't go through a dumpster, again. I have before but it wasn't for frugal reasons, well I guess it was. I had accidently thrown away the sailors orders which had his flight information on it. If I hadn't found them we would have had to pay for a new plane ticket. At the time we lived in townhouses and shared a dumpster with 13 other families. I went through about four bags before I found them. Not to mention the embarrassment when three people saw me. Try explaining it while you are straddling the side of a dumpster to your friends and neighbors. I will tell you it was not fun, I won't ever do it again.
Another thing, this is potentially illegal.

I suppose that is all I got for now. Is there anything you do that you consider extreme? Or on the other hand is there anything you would not absolutely do?