Two weeks ago I wrote a post about taking a machete to your finances in order to get ahead. I wanted to talk about tough (and unpopular) choices that are on the table for almost everyone. I’d like to highlight stories from others where they have chosen to take drastic measures in order to free up more of their money and thwart foreclosure/bankruptcy or a grim retirement.

A note: what is extreme to someone may not be extreme to another person. Interestingly enough, I asked several bloggers for articles on their extreme financial moves, and there is quite a continuum on what is considered extreme. Also, some of these you might not consider for reasons other than finances—the point to this article is to highlight what others are doing so that you can become inspired to tweak your own financial life.


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Faced with Graduate School, NoDebtMBA decided to start a $25-a-week grocery challenge. They eat almost vegetarian meals, stock up on staples, and eat at home for their meals. Six weeks in they were going strong.

Prairie Eco-Thrifter posed a grocery challenge to her husband to only purchase dairy and fruit from the grocery store so that they could eat through their excessive food supply; after 8 weeks, they had only spent $200 on groceries. Typically they spend $400 per month on groceries.

Here’s another great blog to check out that details their grocery shopping of just $30 a week in New York City. They offer weekly receipt breakdowns—pretty neat!

Cable and Cell Phone

Money Cone was previously paying $720 for their cell phone plan, and now just pays $100 per year by switching to prepaid. Moneycone also cut cable television for a savings of $700 per year. They purchased rabbit ears for $10 which gives them 13 HD channels. They also use Hulu, Netflix, and Roku.

100% Money Down on Home Purchase

Money Saving Mom offers a great series on how her family saved 100% of the money needed to purchase their first home outright. This is a great series—everything that they did will certainly not work for everyone, but it is very inspirational. Some of the highlights include the wife being a stay-at-home Mom and the father attending and finishing law school debt-free due to their convictions, choices and opportunities.


Super Frugalette shared a car with her husband for six years, and discusses the pros and cons of ditching the second car in her article.


The Saved Quarter spent a grand total of $68.75 on holiday gifts for friends and family last year, and has started her $100 Christmas Challenge again for this year. Her strategy includes mystery shopping, making homemade gifts, playing the drugstore game, earning free gift cards, etc.

Other Articles You May Enjoy:

Fresh Vegetables Vs. Frozen Vs. Canned
Living Cheaply in College
Frugal Tricks, Making Broken Things Work
10 Ways to Stash More Cash


15 replies
  1. Kylie Ofiu
    Kylie Ofiu says:

    This is a fantastic post! So much to read and so many ideas. Thank you so much for sharing. My husband and I are in super save mode, so I’ve got lots of ammo now!

    Thanks heaps.

  2. jana
    jana says:

    I love the Money Saving Mom series on paying 100% down on a house. I wish I had read it 7 years ago before I bought my house. I would have done so many things differently!

  3. Kellen
    Kellen says:

    Thanks for sharing these! I am inspired by these stories, especially cutting grocery costs down, because there’s no reason for myself, as a singel person, to be spending more than these couples/families cutting way back on their food spending. They show how it really is possible.

  4. Jackie
    Jackie says:

    The most extreme thing I did to save money (really, to avoid going further into debt) was to live without air conditioning for over a month. In Phoenix. In July.

    • FruGal
      FruGal says:

      That is pretty extreme! I once went an entire summer in South Florida without A/C in my car. Fortunately work was just a mile away.

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