Extreme Frugal Living in 2020? Would you go THIS far?

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Everyone is talking about extreme frugal living in 2020.  Luckily, it seems to be a bit of a natural state for me.  When left alone I will gravitate towards frugal living.  I love anything that saves me money and double points if it is environmentally-friendly too.


Over the last few years I (not so much Mr. Pennies) have made a few choices that could be called extreme frugal living.  Most people I know would never even consider some these choices.  But wow! I think I love them all.  I have more money and am closer to my zero-waste dream.


So here are my top four extreme frugal living tips for 2020:

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extreme frugal living 2019

Extreme Frugal Living: Your Children

Ok!  Not the whole child, just their nappies.  Cloth nappies are almost mainstream now.  I can go to most baby or toddler groups and find at least one other parent there who is either using them or has tried them.  But for every one I find there are probably 10 others who have given me odd looks.


Well the joke is on them.  As frugal living tips go this one is easy peasy.  You can buy cloth nappies on the high street now and they pretty much work like normal nappies.  The only difference being that rather than chuck them in the bin to spend an eternity attempting to decompose in landfill, you stick them in the washing machine.


“What about poo?”  is a phrase I get a lot.  Well you’ve got a couple of choices: 1) if you can, shake it down the toilet, or 2) if it’s runny, just chuck it straight in the wash.  Occasionally we get a few “lingerers” but we just remove and rinse again.  And when it is your own kids , it doesn’t actually seem quite as bad.  Well I don’t think so anyway.


We use Bambino Miosolos (found here on Amazon).  They come in the cutest patterns and you can get them from lots of High Street retailers, such as Aldi, Boots, Asda etc.

Extreme Frugal Living: Your Hair

Confession: I didn’t use shampoo or conditioner for a whole year!  No I didn’t stop washing my hair completely but I did stop buying specific products for it.  And my hair loved it!  It was clean, bouncy, shiny and just magical.  And I saved so much money.


Rather than using shampoo, I switched to something called the “no poo” option.  Instead I washed my hair with various things including bicarbonate of soda and apple cider vinegar (ACV).  Both of these products were already in my cupboard.  If I ran out of either of them I would just use something else that I did have.  Like coffee or beer or fruity tea.


Alongside the benefits that I noticed to my hair and my bank balance, I also had far less waste.  There was no longer a collection of different plastic bottles in my tiny bathroom bin.  No poo is pretty low waste.  If you buy the basics you need in bulk they will last you ages.  This is because you can only wash your hair every four days (longer is the goal) and you use so little of them anyway.


Alas, two kids and a job meant that I didn’t keep this one going forever.  It was more time-consuming than a more traditional hair washing schedule so it had to go.  But I do now use shampoo bars rather than normal shampoo.  Shampoo bars are the perfect half-way house.  They last a longer time, contain fair less nasties, come in less packaging and do just as good a job as the stuff you buy in the supermarket.


Related posts:

Your money or the environment? You can save both!

10 things you can do to save money this month and every month


Extreme Frugal Living: Your Period

After using cloth nappies on my eldest I got a bit jealous of that cushion-y softness.  Plus I learnt that nappies are just awful for the environment and feminine hygiene products (horrible phrase) are just as bad.  It was my turn to do my bit.


There exist washable sanitary towels.  And crocheted tampons.  And menstrual cups.  All of these products will save you money eventually.  Like cloth nappies they involve a higher initial cost but them long term savings.  I was able to save even more money by making my own pads.


I’ve not had many periods (2 in total I think) since I feel pregnant with my eldest nearly 4 years ago.  But the few times I’ve used my cup or my towels they’ve been excellent.  They do everything you want them to do and are super comfortable.


I even went a step further and used reusable maternity pads and didn’t need to buy a single disposable pad.  I now have a lovely collection of night time pads to use when Aunt Flo decides to show up again.  Much nicer than those crunchy old things rustling all night.


Pads are used like your normal disposables and normally have a popper to hold them in place.  You keep them in cold water until you are ready to wash and then chuck them in with the rest of your laundry.


Cups are used internally and take a bit of practice.  (This is the one I’ve got: Diva Cup)  They will need sterilising before use and then emptying and rinsing up to every 12 hours.  I’ve less experience with tampons but from what I hear they are inserted in the standard way and then stored and washed like pads after use.


This was a daunting step to take but I love them.  There are loads of great designs and every time I use them I feel like I am claiming my period back from the corporations and the patriarchy.  #feministthroughandthrough


Extreme Frugal Living: Your Toilet Roll

We use family cloth!  Or reusable toilet roll! Yeah we went that far! Well I did and the kids.  For me this was the ultimate.  I’d done cloth nappies and I’d done reusable menstrual products.  The big hurdle was just poo.


I kept a pile of cloth wipes (we used these ones from Cheeky Wipes) next to the toilet along with a box to keep the dirty ones in.  After I’d done my business I would wet a cloth and wipe and chuck it in the bucket.  When it came to washing time I would just chuck them in with the cloth nappies.


Now the pros of this are that it wasn’t costing me anything.  Zero cost!  I already had the wipes but I could easily have used cut up bits of old t-shirt or towel instead.


Second benefit was that I was feeling much…erm…fresher.  The use of water made me feel cleaner and there were no leftover toilet paper tails as I like to call them.


And lastly they are great for the environment.  Even recycled toilet paper needs cleaning and bleaching and goodness knows what else.  These just needed a wash.


If I’m being honest the reason I’m using the past tense here is because I stopped using them.  I don’t really have good reason why.  I think I stopped because I didn’t have good storage systems.  Mr Pennies would whinge that everything looked messy and in the end he wore me down.  That said I’m currently plotting the return of family cloth.  I just need some pretty baskets to store them in.


Do you want even more extreme frugality tips to kick start your journey?  Check out this post.


Could You Try Extreme Frugal Living in 2020?

Would you try these ideas?  Or have you gone even further in your attempts to save money or the planet?  Have you tried extreme frugal living? Send me a message or comment below.


Don’t forget to check out what my fellow UK Money Bloggers have done in their frugal living efforts.


Disclaimer:  Remember the information you read here does not represent financial advice.  Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you.  Read the full disclaimer here.


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20 thoughts on “Extreme Frugal Living in 2020? Would you go THIS far?”

  1. Eco Friendly Mama

    I haven’t gone as far as “family cloth” level, but we’ve made similar changes that “non greenies” might find extreme. For instance, I recently cut up a favorite pair of worn out flannel PJs and made napkins from it. We’re slowly replacing our reliance on paper towels in the kitchen with absorbent Swedish dish cloths, and I bring my own bulk item containers and produce bags to the grocery store. It means a bit more laundry to do and requires a bit more thought, but I’d rather do that than continue to add to our landfills with un-recycleable plastic.

    1. Charlotte Jessop

      Glad I’m not the only one who cuts up old clothes! I have been saving my daughter’s old baby grows to turn into cloth pads. The prints are the best! Thanks for visiting!

    1. Charlotte Jessop

      Oh there are so many things you can wash your hair with! Like with shampoos, you make your selection based on what your hair needs, so moisture, volume etc.

  2. I really regret not doing cloth nappies, I just didn’t know enough about them. I’m probably never going to give up toilet paper, but I’m onboard with the others 🙂

    1. Charlotte Jessop

      I was on the fence with the toilet paper issue, then I had to see a consultant about some bowel issues and he actually advised me to use family cloth. That tipped it for me!

  3. sakshi @tripleamommy

    Thanks for this – many of these are the way of life from where I come – India. Cloth nappies – and now cloth diapers. We are famous for using and reusing stuff – all the time cutting up old cloth for new purposes! and as for your last point – we just use water :-). Unfortunately – many people in urban areas are now moving to less sustainable lifestyles now.

  4. This post really opened my eyes to the needless waste in my home. I’m all for cutting out shampoos, but reusable toilet roll is just unthinkable for me.

  5. I’d love to try the no poo method, but my scalp gets sooo itchy when I don’t wash it every other day. I know I would just need time to adjust, but gosh, it’s horrible. I’ve tried a few different shampoo bars and am still on the hunt for the right one for my hair. My menstrual cup is the greatest period related item I’ve ever purchased though. I tried converting all my friends to using one!

  6. While I’m not a parent I do like the idea of using cloth to cut back on environmental impact. I may switch to reusable menstrual products just to save some money and not put as much of a toll on the environment.

  7. Family cloth user here, for the past ten years. I love it–saves money, I feel cleaner, and it uses up old tee shirts and flannel pants. I just cut them into 5 x 7 squares. I use them and drop them into a plastic bucket with a lid. When it is full, I drop the whole thing into the washer with a bit of homemade laundry soap and a quarter cup white vinegar. When they are done I toss them into the dryer on low. After that I just put them back into the little blue basket that I keep by the toilet. The Redneck (aka spousal unit) doesn’t use them, but he is gone at work for over 12 hours a day, so we are still saving a ton of money.

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