Most people are uncomfortable living within limits, whether self-imposed or those imposed upon us. If we know that there is a maximum then we want to surpass it, not necessarily because more of something is better, but because the limit itself leaves us feeling edgy. Yet I’ve discussed before a certain freedom that comes with limits. When you set a budget for your household, you are free to spend as you please within that budget knowing full well that your other savings goals are being met. Isn’t that a freeing feeling?Most people are uncomfortable living within limits, whether self-imposed or those imposed upon us. Click To Tweet
Not only have the people below embraced somewhat harsh monetary limits, but by doing so they have found freedoms beyond spending from a bottomless wallet. While all of these examples were partially brought on by the Recession over the last four years, they were truly self-imposed. Let me share with you some examples of others who have embraced extreme frugality.
Author’s Note: I am not suggesting that we should all live the way that these people have chosen to live. Rather, I am fascinated by their choices and hope that it provides both entertainment and ideas for the rest of us.
Examples of People Living in Extreme Frugality
- Man and Family Go on a Money Strike: Raphael Fellmer decided to embark on a two+ year money strike to show the world how bad our excessive consumption has gotten. It should be noted that his wife does use the equivalent of $280 per month for child care, healthcare, and transportation (they live in Berlin, Germany). The couple relies heavily on bartering, such as living in a non-profit house in exchange for fix-it jobs.
- This Man Lives on $7,000 a Year: Jacob from Early Retirement Extreme has lived on just $7,000 for the last decade. And he doesn’t live in a cheap area; he and his wife (spending $14,000 combined, though they keep their finances separate) live in the “cheaper side” of the San Francisco Bay Area.
- Family creates only 1 quart of trash per year: While Bea Johnson and her family do this strictly for environmental reasons, the monetary savings are tremendous. For example, her children only have four bottoms and eight tops per season. They bring their own jars to the grocery store to fill with meat, cheeses, and dairy products. They refill wine bottles, and the wife even makes her own eye liner out of burned and powdered almonds.
- Writer’s Family Embraces Extreme Frugality: W. Hodding Carter, a successful writer, looked over his and his wife’s social security statements from the last ten years and saw that while he had been living as if he was going to have a new bestseller, in reality, his family of six had averaged a $41,000 annual income. When he realized that after paying all of their bills their family had just $550 leftover to spend each month (on things like food, entertainment, clothes, etc.), he immediately started down the extreme frugality path. His family grows a lot of their food now and has even eaten road kill. You can catch up by perusing his archived articles.
Other Articles You May Enjoy:
Extreme Frugality: 9 Unbelievable Stories by Everyday People
Financial Limits and Boundaries Breed Creativity, Not Deprivation
How Frugality can Lead to, and Sustain, an Extreme Early Retirement
Steps to Start Down the Extreme Early Retirement Path