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Extreme savings: how to save money like a crash dieter


Warning: these tips are not to be used for long-term planning.
Also warning: I have no credentials at all to offer financial advice.

So, saving money and being good at finance is kinda like eating well and being healthy, right? We all know what we're supposed to do for both:

To eat well/be healthy: cut out processed foods, eat more vegetables, exercise more, etc.

To save money/be good at finances: stop buying things you don't need, stop using your credit until it's paid off, etc.

But sometimes you just need to lose 10 lbs to fit into a dress for a wedding, and sometimes you need to save money really quickly for a trip or something. So here are some tips for CRASH MONEY SAVING which are not sustainable in the long term, but will help you reach a short-term goal.
(*Like crash dieting, though, you'll probably spend lots of money right after, so it's obviously not meant for using for a very long time. Consider this the Plan B for your spending habits)

I'm not saying to stop driving and start hitchhiking... but I'm also not saying that.
OK, OK, a safer option could be biking or taking the bus. The bus is not so bad, really. No, really.

1) Stop buying crap you don't need! Not forever, just until you've saved up as much as you need. Makeup? Don't buy it. New outfit? Don't buy it. Need a haircut? Don't do it. Mani/pedi? Don't do it. Going out for any meals ever? Don't do it.

2) You obviously need to eat, but you have to do it as FRUGALLY AS POSSIBLE. It's totally true you buy more stuff when you go shopping a) hungry or b) without a list. On top of that, I'd suggest making a meal plan including as many cheap foods you already own as possible. Websites like Supercook let you enter in what you already have in your fridge, and suggesting recipes from there.

Cooking in your underwear may seem frugal (i.e. saving money by not getting your clothes dirty so you don't have to do laundry), however the possibility for grievous kitchen-related injury kind of balances that out. Put on some pants, is what I'm saying.

3) Seriously, just eat up what's in your kitchen already. I went a week once without buying any new food and it was totally fine. You can probably eat what you already own for a few weeks, just supplementing with new eggs, milk, and maybe flour or something.

4) Put your debt repayment on hold for a few weeks. Pay the absolute minimum on your credit cards, and put all of your extra money into a savings or checkings account.

5) Cancel anything you can while maintaining your quality of life. Cable? Cancel it. Netflix? Cancel it (OK, it's already pretty cheap, but every $$ counts here). Internet? Cancel it (use public wi-fi signals instead). Cancel the data plan on your phone! The bonus is that when you reinstate these services, you may get a discount because it'll be like you're a new customer? ALTERNATELY: switch carriers for your phone/cable/internet. Usually when you switch, you can get a cheap plan for the first few months so you can save money while keeping your luxuries. Warning: that is kind of a jerk move though.

Then... go on your trip or pay for your house or whatever you're doing*! Enjoy!


... and then get back to responsible living afterwards. Remember, these extreme strategies are best used RARELY and only for SHORT PERIODS OF TIME. Also bear in mind: I don't know what I'm talking about, really.

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