“No you’re not hardcore! Unless you live hardcore!” – Dewey Finn from School of Rock
(Un)frugal to Hardcore Frugal
Last week we talked about how we were a bit unfrugal in 2008. Today I thought I’d address the other side of the spectrum: hardcore frugality. I’ve covered this idea before when I wrote about extreme savers. However, I think it’s time to address this issue again in light of our current economic situation. People are struggling financially. Yet I get the sense that people don’t know how to dial back their big lifestyles and live within their means.
Most of us are probably blessed to be at a point in our lives where hardcore frugal tactics aren’t necessary. But if you’re having trouble paying your mortgage or putting food on the table, it’s simply time for you to cut costs and get hardcore frugal. But those in that situation likely know that and they don’t need me telling them what to do. Necessity, after all, is the mother of frugality.
But these tactics aren’t just for the desperate. If you find yourself struggling to pay off that last bit of unwanted debt, or lacking the extra savings to secure you in these uncertain times, maybe it’s time for you to step up too. So, step up!
Wherever you find yourself across this spectrum, here are some ideas to get hardcore frugal (not for the faint of heart):
How to Be Hardcore Frugal
Cancel All Your Subscriptions and Services – “Seriously?” Yep. Any type of monthly service or subscription needs to go. Examples: cable TV (which we recently cut for lack of use), internet, maid service, gym memberships, dry cleaning. You get the point. Basically any monthly expense that doesn’t fall under the category of life-sustaining utility - get rid of it.
Go for Groceries & Only Dine-Out When it’s Free – Monthly expenses for eating outside the house at a restaurant or fast food joint are huge. My suggestion is to only go out to eat if you have a coupon or gift card that will pay for the entire meal. Otherwise, stick to eating food from the grocery store. It’s way less-expensive and you can buy in bulk. This is kind of understood, but make sure you’re bringing a lunch to work too. Simple stuff, I know. But this is a huge struggle for our “gotta have it now” society. Me included.
Use the Library, Parks, and Museums for Entertainment – Avoid the mall and the movie theatre. Head to your local library to get your entertainment fix. These days, most modern libraries come well equipped with free internet service and loads of free DVDs to rent. You can also find free entertainment at your local parks and museums. Nothing wrong with a game night at home either. You don’t have to spend to be entertained.
Don’t Buy any Clothes or Stuff – Just stop buying crap in general. Don’t spend any of your money on clothes or furniture or stuff for your house or car or collection. Just say no to consuming things! I promise that you will keep your money if you don’t spend it. This sounds like an SNL skit I once saw.
Making serious progress towards your debt reduction and savings goals may require some serious sacrifice with how you spend your money. Most likely not for a long period of time though. Maybe you only need a couple of months to get where you want to be. It’s a new year. Make this the year you get hardcore and get back on track financially!
Did I miss any steps for becoming hardcore frugal? Add your ideas in the comment section.
Photo by paulgreber