Lush Living Made Simple

How Far Would You Go? AKA Extreme Frugalism - The Lean Times


Mar 31, 2014 Frugality , , , , 7 Comments

It seems as though everyone has jumped on the frugal bandwagon recently.  I have always tried to be frugal from way back when I lived in New York, worked in fashion for a lowly wage but still had to try to keep up appearances.  It was ramen noodles and walking all the way.

As in any group there are always the kids in the front of the class screaming for the teacher to call on them.  These are the brave souls that delve into the murky world of extreme frugality. Everyday I seem to be reading another story about people going to extreme means to save a few pennies.  Here are just a few. Drop me a line on what you think is going that bit too far.

Over at Living the Frugal Life – Kate has suggested to make a breakfast scramble out of last night’s dressed salad.  I would just serve the salad undressed then you could have it the next night. Her readers think it is a great idea so maybe not so extreme just not to my taste.

The next one that comes to mind is giving up on hair care.  I believe that you should do everything that you can afford to have a good-looking hairstyle since you wear your hair everyday.

Nina Willdorf who wrote the great book, City Chic, did an experiment to see how long she could go without having a hair cut, she lasted five months.  She seemed to have pulled it off with style, being very smart about the original haircut.  I think if your average person tried that experiment we would be looking and even more tight scraped back ponytails.

And since we are on the subject of hair – one of my biggest pet peeves is people that have stopped washing their hair regularly.  If you take public transportation the smell of dirty, greasy hair on someone standing close can take your breath away.  How can people go to work looking and smelling like that? It looks terrible, collects dust, leaves and goodness know what else.

Do you know anyone who practises extreme frugality?  Leave me a comment, as I will probably like to touch on this topic again especially if the recession continues and more people jump on the bandwagon.


  • Recessionista(UK)
    May 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    I prefer to try and live well on less and try to look as if I am still living the same life as before the Recession by using discount codes, cashback sites, shopping in sales etc but as for eating last nights salad for breakfast-no thanks! Altough I am happy to reheat old jacket potatoes, as I did on Sunday.

  • Viviana
    May 13, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    Hello and thanks for commenting – I feel exactly the same way about living the Lean Life. I whole heartily believe in leftovers, cooking a bit extra to save time on another day but the salad scramble for me is one step too far.

  • Cheapchick
    May 19, 2009 at 2:34 am

    I like being thrifty but I draw the line at:
    1. gross…last nights salad into todays breakfast? gross. I am with you…leave off the dressing and use with tonights meal.

    2. dirty. I am a neatfreak including my house, clothing and personal hygiene. I prefer to get things on sale to be frugal. I do sometimes push haircut time to the limit but take a shower every day (short but clean!)

    3. dangerous. Germs are dangerous. Washing is good. Using up leftovers are good but only when done in a safe way in a timely and tasty manor for your family’s wellbeing

    There are a lot of ways to be frugal. I prefer clean and healthy.

  • Viviana
    May 19, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Hi Cheapchick,

    Thanks for commenting, I agree with you 100%.

  • Charlotte
    Oct 29, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    To bathe on the cheap daily, you can heat a gallon of water to boiling then pour it into a larger pan and add cool water. Lather up a hand towel with a good soap and scrub your body well then rinse off with the warm water. A cheap plastic pitcher can aid in rinsing off the soapy lather if you don’t have a small pan or coffee can. You can cut a large bath towel in half and dry off. This halved towel cuts the laundry task in half. For a disinfectant, add a capful of bleach to the bath rinse water. Even clear creek water can be made safe to bathe in with boiling and a little bleach.

    Note: don’t drink rain water that fell through tree branches. It picks up bug and bird poop on the way down. Gather rain water from open areas.

  • Viviana
    Oct 30, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for commenting. That is a great tip about the rain water.

  • Moonwaves
    Apr 12, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    People who don’t wash their hair can’t necessarily be accused of extreme frugalism, I don’t think. They’re just being dirty. Just because I’ve given up using shampoo and conditioner doesn’t mean I’ve stopped washing my hair – I do still wash it weekly (or more often if I’ve been doing lots of sports or it’s very hot and I’ve been sweating a lot) and I brush it well every day. And just because I don’t shower every day, doesn’t mean I don’t wash myself thoroughly every day. I agree that some people doing the extreme frugality thing do take things overboard (I look on it as them having missed the point and still subscribing to a “keep up with the Jones'” mentality). I just think the example of people not washing isn’t a terribly good one, as that’s not, I would imagine, really caused by frugality, unless very misguided. Haven’t seen that about the salad scramble but the name alone is enough to put me off. However, I have eaten leftovers for breakfast – sometimes it’s my favourite thing to have. I’m not hung up on having only ‘breakfast’ food for breakfast really. Sometimes on the weekend I’ve even gotten up and made myself breakfast in the form a traditional ‘dinner’.

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