Seven Extreme Ways to Save

Taking drastic steps can quickly put your finances back in order.
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To save money, it's sometimes necessary to resort to extreme measures.

While you should be able to get your finances in orderby strictly following

basic debt-reduction steps, the time may come when you'll need toradically reduce your monetary outlays to get your finances in order. Times like these include when you get laid off from work or have debt that continues tomount.

Drastic spending reduction steps are something most people would only consider as a last resort. But they are a way to take a large expense out of play. Most people won't dothem because of the inconvenience, but whenhard times hit and you need to slash your expenses, here are some steps:

Ditch the car

: No matter how much you think you need your car, chancesare that you can live without it. It will be a lot more inconvenient,but it will also save you a lot of money.

You can commute by public transportation or join a carpool. For short trips near your home you can use a bike, and when the occasion occurs when you need a car, youcan either take a taxi or rent a car for the day.

For most people, getting rid of their car will greatly reduce their monthly expensessince it eliminates the cost of purchasing a car, any car financingcosts, insurance payments, car repairs, maintenance costs and gas.These can add up to thousands of dollars saved over the year.

Downsize your home

: Chances are you live in a house which isbigger than you really need and you could live comfortably in a muchsmaller place. Selling your current home and replacing it with asmaller one is not an option that most people consider, but it wouldmean a lower mortgage payment, lower upkeep costs and lower taxes. Dueto the smaller space, it would also mean needing less to decorate thehouse. Best of all, you'll have a place where you don't have to worryeach month how you're going to make the mortgage payment.

Bringing in boarders

: Another option to downsizing your home is tofind live-in boarders to help pay for the mortgage. While most peopledon't want to have strangers living in their house with them, doing socomes with a lot of financial advantages. The boarders will help payfor the mortgage costs through rent and will also usually help pay aportion of utility bills and other expenses. Many of the basic upkeepcosts for the house such as repairs, landscaping and improvements tothe boarder's rooms may also qualify as tax deductions.

Don't pay for housing

: Some people have learned how not to pay forhousing at all by becoming a house-sitter. In exchange for performingbasic maintenance such as taking care of the yard and keeping thehouse clean while the owners are away, the house-sitter gets to livein the house rent-free.

House-sitting lengths vary, but usually arefrom three months to a year at which point you must find another house-sitting opportunity. This can be an excellent way to reduce a big costin a budget, especially if you live in an area with high rental andhousing prices.

Go without a cell phone

: While it may seem impossible to live without acell phone these days, it wasn't that long ago when virtually nobodyhad them. Not having a cell phone can be a lot less convenient whenyou can't reach your friends or other acquaintances in an instant, butit's still fairly easy to survive without one. This should reduce yourexpenses by about $70 per month according to a recent J.D. Power andAssociates Report.

Trash the TV

: The

cost of watching TV is a lot more than you probably imagine. Getting rid of it will likely have a large positive effect on yourfinances. This is not just the cost for a TV or the cable programming. Going TV-free is bound to decrease the amount of commercials you see, which in turn helps you reduce your spending. It will also give you the opportunity to use thetime you were spending in front of the TV to do other things that potentially could increase your income.

It's important to note that these are all steps that will work bestwhen planned well before you reach financial desperation. While each ofthese will cut the amount that you need to spend each month, some willtake time to organize and set into motion before you get the reducedcost benefits. The sooner you commit to them, the greater the savingsto your pocketbook and the better the chance of avoiding a money crisis.

All of the above steps are fairly radical. But if you follow them you will see positive results for your finances in the future.

Jeffrey Strain has been a freelance personal finance writer for the past 10 years helping people save money and get their finances in order. He currently owns and runs