The recession might be showing signs of ending (at some point), but those benefits have really not trickled down to the average, everyday consumer. In fact, quite a few people are still struggling with money, some even struggling to pay their regular bills, much less sock away a few bucks for savings. The traditional course of action here is to budget, but budgeting is often not quite enough to do the trick. If this sounds familiar, then there might be hope yet – extreme budgeting. What is extreme budgeting and is it something that you should know about?
First, let’s take a look at what extreme budgeting is (and what it’s not). It is really nothing more than taking drastic steps to save money. What it’s not is a fad. There are some very extreme changes being made out there, and some of these are being made by people who enjoy good financial health. Here are some examples of extreme budgeting that may (or may not) help you save money and get your financial situation in check.
One of the most popular ways to budget for those with serious cash flow problems is to ditch the personal car and hoof it. Before you balk, think about the situation. If you did not have your car, what would you save? You would no longer have to pay:
- A monthly car payment
- Insurance payment
- Maintenance and repair costs
When taken together, those fees and charges add up to a significant amount! Instead of driving your own car, you can take the bus, use the subway or metro, walk or use other forms of public transportation. Of course, this tip only works if you live in an area where there is public transportation.
Scale Down Your Home
Another example of extreme budgeting is the growing trend to downsize homes. Some have even taken this to extremes. There are some people out there that think tiny homes are the way to go. These homes are usually about 100 square feet (that’s a 10×10 square, by the way). Obviously, that isn’t going to work for everyone. It’s hard to find room for a family of four to sleep in a 10×10 house. But you can downsize your home to something smaller. There is a lot to be said for having only as much room as you need. You’ll save by cutting down on:
- House payment
- Insurance payment
- Utility costs (heating and cooling)
- Stuff (when you have a smaller home, you buy fewer things, simply because you have less room)
Downsizing your home is actually a growing idea, and you might expect to see the size of the average American home begin going down in the near future.
One of the ways that money trickles out of your hands the fastest is by dining out. Eating out can be fun and enjoyable. However, it’s far, far more costly than cooking at home. Even when you factor in the utilities needed to cook at home, for the cost of one meal out at a good restaurant for a single person, you might feed four people at home.
Cooking seems to be one of those things that people either don’t have time for or feel intimidated by. However, cooking need not be time consuming or frustrating. There are myriad cookbooks out there that offer simple, tasty meals that require almost no time to prepare and taste great. Dining in allows you to save by:
- Feeding more people for less
- Cutting out tips
- Reducing fuel costs (driving to and from)
Dining in is one of the best ways to free up a surprisingly large amount of money in your life. However, you need to dine in at all times – eat breakfast at home, pack your lunch for work and dine in for dinner.
Water It Down
While not as extreme as ditching your car or downsizing your home, watering down the products that you use can help you save an immense amount of money, particularly if there are quite a few people in your home. Many of our daily products can be “cut” with a little water and not reduce the benefits.
For instance, you can water down your shampoo and conditioner and make them last longer, as well as saving money on resupplying. You might be able to water down your kitchen cleaner, or you might opt to do a number of other things. The point is that with just a little forethought, you can save a ton of money on the products that you use in your regular life and slash your expenses. Watering it down offers you these benefits:
- Spend less
- Make products last longer
- In some cases, this can even benefit the environment (fewer new plastic bottles in the landfill, etc).
Watering down might not be “totally extreme,” but it can be a great way to save money.