Extreme Frugal Living Tips: What We've Learned in the Past 2 Years

Frugal Jo
by Frugal Jo

I’m Frugal Jo and I wanted to share with you how things have changed for my husband and me since we embarked on two years of extreme frugal living. I’m also going to go over extreme frugal living tips that we learned along the way.

Two years ago…

Let’s flashback to two years ago when this started. We realized after going over our finances that if things didn’t change, we would never have enough money to buy a house.

At that point, my husband’s job suffered hourly cuts due to the pandemic. As soon as the pandemic hit, I lost all of my gigs working as a musician.

What we cut out

We decided to work with a bare-bones budget for one year and cut all unnecessary spending. We shopped for food only at Aldi to take advantage of their sales. We cut our meat and dairy consumption down quite a bit, too.

We also did a lot of meal planning so we didn’t waste any food. I did try growing food in our tiny backyard, but it wasn’t all that successful.

What we earned

We lived on my husband’s wages and anything I earned was put straight into our house fund. My YouTube channel was monetized early last year and that was very exciting. That money also went into our savings account.

I also earned some money doing focus groups and surveys. I made a habit of looking on the ground for change when I was out walking the dog. Every little bit went into the house deposit account.

What we saved the first year

In the first year, we managed to save about 4,000 pounds ($4866). It was a little bit disheartening because it was nowhere near the house deposit that we needed. Plus, house prices kept going up and up.

Welcome to Yorkshire sign

One year ago…

During the second year, the biggest change I noticed was our attitude. We were able to eat well and have free entertainment. We never felt deprived.

During this time we were told the landlord would be selling the house we lived in. So, we started to look around, but there were not a lot of homes to rent. So, we started thinking about our other options.

My husband started to look for places he could transfer to with his work. He found a place in Yorkshire and it’s quite a nice area.

When we got to Yorkshire…

We moved to Yorkshire and my husband was soon given a promotion at work. But amazingly enough, it meant another transfer to a store in the area where we wanted to live. He commuted to that job for a while since there were no houses to rent in that area.

I also found a part-time work-from-home job and we put all of my salary into the house deposit fund. The part-time job turned into full-time work. I still do surveys and focus groups, and I sell things we don’t need. All of this helped our house deposit fund grow quite a bit.

We’ve become more creative

Our life has changed a lot due to our two years of extreme frugality. Besides now living where we want to live, our creativity has increased. If something needed repairing, we tried to do it ourselves.

If we couldn’t do it ourselves, we thought about whether we really needed the item. If we did need the item, we tried to get it repaired or buy it secondhand. But, our fridge broke down and we had to buy a brand new one.

Eco-friendly products

We’ve become more eco-friendly

We are now living more sustainably by default. As soon as we got off that consumer treadmill, we bought and consumed very little. We bought a lot of secondhand items. We also were able to find a lot of free items on Freecycle or Facebook groups that give away free items.

I am incredibly grateful for my free Shark vacuum. We also gave things away to those groups when we could because that’s how the community continues to build itself.

We found we liked a simple lifestyle

We had less money to spend and our lives became much simpler. Instead of traveling somewhere, we’d spend time walking our dogs, going to local art galleries, or just sitting by the river with a good book and a flask of coffee. We found out that we really preferred these kinds of activities. 

We became motivated to increase our income

As the money in our savings grew, we felt more motivated to earn more. We have more than doubled our income from when we started two years ago with our extreme frugality lifestyle.

We bought a house

We finally had enough money for a house and all the associated fees! We are thrilled! It is hard to believe that we changed our lives so dramatically in two years.

Extreme frugal living tips

Those are the frugal living tips that made a big impact on our lives. But we will still lead a frugal life because we plan to pay off the mortgage early. Plus, there are several renovations we’d like to do.

I hope that these frugal living tips and our experiences helped you realize the possibilities in your life. Let me know in the comments if you are living an extreme frugal lifestyle or want to head into one and why. We’d love to hear your stories.

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