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Discussion Starter #1
ISTJs are the best to come up with ideas about extreme frugal living. You can imagine yourself in very poor circumstances. What would you do then? How would you live your life?

Though you may not live frugally, please share any ideas you may have.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I'll go first.

I'd go to restaurants to steal these:





Then I'd go to public places such as stores, shopping malls, parks, or anywhere that has a bathroom. I'd open up and steal the toilet paper.

I'd shower/bathe myself in public places (obviously I don't have to take off my clothes until I get privacy). Such places include shower stalls close to beaches/lakes or public swimming pools. Some high schools have showers in the locker rooms, and I could sneak in.

Some restaurants throw away food that have passed a certain day. They are still edible and in good condition. I could find a way to get that food.


I've never done any of these things. This is an extreme route, as if I'm going to be homeless and I have no one to rely on.
 

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Not the extreme route, but I find planning all meals in advance and sticking to a set grocery list - shaving off unnecessary items as necessary - allows one to get all their required nutrients while saving.

I think I read somewhere like grocery budget should only be around 10-15% of gross pay; so I've reduced my original spending accordingly to try and hit that target; and as stated above - continuously revising for variety and as needs change. A bit of work initially, but it really helps! Also, it still gives me an opportunity to binge on some cheap junk every once in awhile. i.e. all. the. time. xD

Some high schools have showers in the locker rooms, and I could sneak in.
I would definitely avoid this one, unless you're going for the extreme extreme frugal route of getting everything for free... in prison! Instead I'd probably just go to something like a city hall and try to find a single room washroom and do a full body tap/towel wipe down. Not sure where to get things like soap though, would probably have to steal some from something like a local dollar store. Oh wait, just use hand soap duh.
 

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At one point when very much younger, I lived on roughly $135 a week for a bit over 1 year (something like 14-15 months):

* $95 a week for rent
* $8-10 a week for power

No phone. Water was free at the time. That left me about $30 a week for food.

Food from the supermarket included:

* rice
* potatoes
* eggs
* sugar
* flour
* salt
* milk (not much)
* cheese
* butter
* bread
* onions
* frozen vegetables (peas/carrots/corn mix)

You can do this by buying in bulk. As in, enough rice or flour or potatoes in one hit to last a month or two. Stagger things between weeks.

Note that there was almost no meat. No chicken, no beef. Eggs, cheese, butter, and milk were the only sources of protein that I had on a regular basis. Very rarely (once or twice a month) bacon and lambsfry (lamb liver).

I also bought at roadside stalls (the produce was better than in the supermarkets - who eventually complained and got the roadside stalls closed down, too much competition on fresh produce):

* tomatoes
* fruit (apples, watermelon, pears, depended what was in season at the time)

I was lean and very, very fit - basically ripped.

This would not be possible now. If nothing else, the price of food has doubled in the past 20-25 years. You will not get a 1-bedroom apartment for $95 a week, more like $350+ around here. Electricity will be more like $15-20 a week. You have to pay for water.

It does illustrate the principle though.
 

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I forgot that I also had pickle back when.

I will describe my "very frugal living/camping" for a couple weeks up Cape Reinga and Coromandel later, when I get a chance. (Hint: don't shower for 4-5 days, swim in the ocean instead.)
 

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Rambling and random, pick out what you might need at the time. A lot of this involves stuff for camping, which is a great kit to have on-hand for emergencies (power outages for days and bug-outs if there are forest fires/tsunamis/hurricanes/earthquakes).

Clothing: the US Army used to do it right. What you're wearing plus: 2 pair socks, 2 pair underpants, 2 pair shirts, 1 pair pants. There's your basic, you're going to wash things every day or two. Try to look ordinary rather than a complete mess/slob/tramp. Have a spare pair of shoes in case yours get wet. One or two towels.

Insulation: multiple layers of clothing. (Not all cotton - if that gets wet your insulation is gone. Try newspapers/cardboard to cut wind. Plastic poncho for wet, you do need somewhere to sleep that's dry and non-windy.)

Sleeping in the car: warm jacket (that you can roll up into a pillow), sleeping bag (it's just a bag - you don't have to sleep on the ground with it), don't leave the windows down when there's mosquitoes around. Not recommended if there's snow, though you can manage with a really good sleeping bag and light snow.

Food from supermarkets: like restaurants, supermarkets are better for dumpster-diving (fruit and vegetables). Some students in NZ did this as part of a study, it ended up in the local newspapers. The food is still fresh enough for that day.

Camping shelter: a 3-man dome tent is cheap and roomy, a bivy bag is lightweight and more cosy. Practice with it occasionally beforehand. Remember that mosquitoes *will* get through any netting.

Skin protection: sunburn sucks. Insect bites suck. Flies getting into everything sucks. Get a combination sunscreen and insect repellent if you can. Lightweight floppy hat with a full brim.

Libraries: great for warmth in winter, cool in summer. Daytime only of course.

Extra food/survivalist stuff: depends how you want to go. It's worth looking in the library for various books on native food (you don't have to check the book out, just read it and go looking). (YMMV, I live in quasi-rural NZ - can drive 15 minutes and be in the bush/native forest.) If you can, get a copy of The SAS Survival Guide for both bush/forest shelter and trapping/fishing.

Soap: public toilets are no longer the place for this type of thing - they use liquid soaps and hand sanitizers. Get the hard varieties (oatmeal preferred), the soft/cutesy varieties turn to mush. Use in the hair as well, you don't need shampoo. When it's warm swim in the ocean/stream/pond/lake/river (so long as they aren't polluted to hell).

Teeth: *do not forget toothpaste and toothbrush*. You can get by without flossing for a few days to a couple weeks, teeth/gums going bad will really screw you though.

Hand sanitizer: use before cooking, after loo, to clean utensils. Being. Sick. Sucks.

Sanitizer wipes: use on utensils and to wipe yourself down every couple of days. Especially the "intimate areas". Being. Sick. Sucks.

Sanitation in general in the boonies: have a folding shovel in the car. Don't forget toilet paper - sometimes available facilities run out.

Cooking: butane cook stove, basic camping cookwear, learn to use a Dakota fire hole. (Waterproof matches are preferred over a lighter - learn to use a featherstick and find yourself a decent flint striker. Have a sharp hunting knife and a means of sharpening it.)

Water: this is going to be your biggest hassle. Filling up at the local toilet is not a good idea sanitation-wise. It may not even be possible. Look for taps around the back, there may not be a handle though (specifically to stop assholes from wasting water all night - keep a small crescent in your car). If you're camping/rural, many places have free water for campers and camper-vans. If near a stream or river or pond or the like, you will either have to boil water for 10 minutes or use some form of filter or use water-purification tablets. Or just buy in 10 liter lots.

Large all-night Wal-Mart's, K-Mart's, etc: warmth, bathroom facilities, dumpster-dive for food, park the car as far away from the entrance as possible (like employees) so you can kip down in it for a few hours without being hassled.

Abandoned buildings: you need a sheltered place to sleep/stay. Watch out for rats, strays, and assorted vermin. Pick a place that isn't going to fall in on you in the middle of the night.

Emergency food stash: generally for camping/emergencies. A week of tinned food is cheap per person. Some ideas:

* Uncle Ben's rice with a tin of tuna
* some form of prepackaged heat'n'eat meal (I keep a few Kaweka Food Co meals around)
* potato flakes
* tinned stew, beans, spaghetti, fruit
* powdered/UHT milk (powdered is better IMO, though I've not used milk when camping at all)
* dried meat/beef jerky (cheap to buy in America/Australia, I make my own in NZ because they charge the earth)
* dried fruit (currents/raisins/sultanas, nuts, pineapple, papaya, etc)
* couscous (just soak in boiling water for 2-3 minutes - if still hard, add a little more boiling water)

And that's enough from me on the subject, have fun testing this stuff out.
 

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I love this thread idea. It's so hilarious because of how resourceful my fellow ISTJs are, but also because it's true. I too, struggled a bit as a college student supporting my family almost a decade ago. We are more than good now, thankfully. This is how I allocated my expenses frugally:

Rent and utilities: that took up almost everything, this category was what I could never play around with.

Food: can't afford to eat out with friends much. Mostly ate simple, home cooked meals. However, like Yardiff, I was the thinnest I ever was back at this time. That was a great result of eating at home. I might spend $20 to eat out once in a while, like for a few birthday celebrations. We ate whatever was on sale at the markets, and my mom was really smart and frugal too. Whenever there is a sale on things we eat often (rice, meat, etc), she wouldn't care how much bags she would have to carry. Even if her fingers turned white from the strain of the bags weight. She would buy in bulk and carry it home on the train, then walk like 10-15 minutes from the train station or bus stop to get home. I would go along with her sometimes too when I wasn't in school to help. These were the times of struggle, but I do not regret them at all. It was the best we could do and we were happy. There was a time where I lived off of about $30 a week too, that wasn't that long of a time, but I remember sitting at the wall crying because I couldn't afford milk. Milk. Yeah. It got better though after college.

Everything else: basically don't buy anything you don't truly need (extra clothes, makeup, junk food, go on trips) and you can save thousands a year. A little here, a little there does add up. Also, try to stay healthy. Doctor's visits can be expensive, so try to be preventive.

Okay now to the extreme section like in the second post (LOL, sorry):

I mean yeah if I was on the verge of homelessness (no jinx), I would do the same things. Take whatever I can that is considered free to the public. Here is my detailed plan:

Water: if it's not free in my home, I would go to the park in the wee hours of the morning with 2 giant multi gallon containers, and fill up those containers. I would bring a cart with me, so I can wheel it back home.

Food: Places like Sam's Club offer free samples on weekends. I could go around and eat samples, repeat the cycle until I was just full enough. I would probably laugh a bit cutely to avoid them telling me no, I cannot have seconds. I would also buy in bulk whenever stable food was on sale to save for the future.

Clothes: There are clothes in the goodwill bins. If I had time, I could sit near the goodwill bin area and wait for people to come and ask them if I can just have the bag of old clothes since they're dropping it in there anyway.

Medicine: If I had free healthcare, I could go to the doctor and tell them I was sick, and save up medicine for like the cold and flu.
 

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To add to the list:

-Learn new Skills: there is so much a person can do with a little research and effort. If something needs fixing, for example, don't hastily conclude you need hired help. Do an internet search; how- to videos are your friends and can show you how to do things yourself.

- Make use of everything your local Library has to offer: and it offers so much more than you're led to believe, including eLibrary privileges (AKA Overdrive.) Plus, it's a good resource for learning new things and is filled with books aimed at the everyman in a way that makes it seem you really can learn to do most anything.

- Use Electronic devices wisely: there are a surprising amount of free apps/ software to help you with a variety of things. Take notes/ create art while wasting no paper or pens; office supply costs can really add up, especially when you're an extreme organizer.

- No shame in buying used stuff (or in taking the time to research the most cost effective way of purchasing an item)

- Pet Stuff: buy food in bulk, NEVER feed dogs the bag guidelines, use the online dog food calculator (trust me on this, guys, the difference may seem drastic but there's a reason so many dogs are obese and unhealthy.) Train them well, don't buy from pet stores, don't waste cash on toys unless there's a "we will replace toy if it is destroyed in 6 months" warranty; those are the best. Make sure your neighbors love your pets and they'll be glad to watch them for free or low price while you're away. If you want to get a new pet there is no cheaper way than the animal shelter; they come to you with health, shots, prior training, extra goodies to send home and staff that is willing to help with any problems, so you're basically investing in a lifelong deal. (Plus, you'll be doing a good thing. A win win.) (Oh, and hate to burst puppy dreams, but realistically, they are the most expensive, both on day of purchase and thereafter. My job practically revolves around people who had no clue what they were getting into :wink:)

- Note all of your expenses and keep track; and don't let food expire, it's such a waste on so many levels. Plan meals.

- Forget cable: it shocks me how so many people hang onto this; the internet + streaming devices is where it's all at. Not to mention you'll save so much time, and they do say time is money.

- Help your friends: not that friendship should revolve around favors, but for me, friendships are beneficial to many things, including the fact that you can "trade" your skills or resources.

- Make use of the many uses a single item in your possession contains

- Try to combine errands to save gas

- old clothing can be used as cleaning rags or sewn into other fabric items.

- Yard sales: can't be the only one who gets joy outta finding a good deal, right?

All I got for now. You guys have really gotten this frugal stuff down, I'm basically repeating some stuff.
 

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I once wrote a booklet on this. By wrote, I mean borrowed and adapted information from the Internet. I'm not sure where it is today.

I spreadsheet everything. Over time I stop recording as I know what I can and can't spend, I know my limit. So basically I put a weekly budget in a spreadsheet. I grabbed my utility bills for the last year, added them all up and divided by 52 to get their approximate weekly cost. I revise these figures every year but they tend to only move marginally.
 

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Dollar Tree for cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene supplies. Salvation Army for clothes, or discount clothing shops like Ross. For food go to Aldi's.

Ride your bike or walk more, save gas :)
 

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Dollar Tree for cleaning supplies, and personal hygiene supplies. Salvation Army for clothes, or discount clothing shops like Ross. For food go to Aldi's.

Ride your bike or walk more, save gas :)
Riding your bike and walking also improves your physique a lot :)
 

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Riding your bike and walking also improves your physique a lot :)
For sure! I used to live in an area where I didn't need a car and could bike ride/walk everywhere. It was lovely. Sadly where I live now forces me to drive for the most part. But they've gotten better at putting in sidewalks over the years.
 

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I don't be negative but heck
I'm pretty sure my (ENTP) sister's ex is ISTJ and he was very frugal, so much that he was highly controlling of her and their expenses, he always went for the cheapest possible option and overall had a very miserable outlook on spending money. He only ate sandwiches, had the same towels and robes for so many years they were just a thin layer (my mother was utterly disgusted). He would have fights with my sister about spending money for her choices in food (i.e. plant milk) and demanded that they pay separately for groceries...
So they broke up about 3 months of living together cause she couldn't handle him and his misery anymore.

Just a warning xD
 

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I don't be negative but heck
I'm pretty sure my (ENTP) sister's ex is ISTJ and he was very frugal, so much that he was highly controlling of her and their expenses, he always went for the cheapest possible option and overall had a very miserable outlook on spending money. He only ate sandwiches, had the same towels and robes for so many years they were just a thin layer (my mother was utterly disgusted). He would have fights with my sister about spending money for her choices in food (i.e. plant milk) and demanded that they pay separately for groceries...
So they broke up about 3 months of living together cause she couldn't handle him and his misery anymore.

Just a warning xD
That does sound miserable. I think most of us ISTJs are not like your sister’s ex unless we were in an extreme financial situation lol. We are known to be dependable people, which includes frugality to a certain degree, but I think his case was to the far end of the spectrum, for whatever reason it may be.
 

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That does sound miserable. I think most of us ISTJs are not like your sister’s ex unless we were in an extreme financial situation lol. We are known to be dependable people, which includes frugality to a certain degree, but I think his case was to the far end of the spectrum, for whatever reason it may be.
I dunno why he was like that either, it's not like he was piss poor or anything, it's like a case of frugality taken too far.
So with this example, I'm reminding you to never stop enjoy things in life!
 

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I don't be negative but heck
I'm pretty sure my (ENTP) sister's ex is ISTJ and he was very frugal, so much that he was highly controlling of her and their expenses, he always went for the cheapest possible option and overall had a very miserable outlook on spending money. He only ate sandwiches, had the same towels and robes for so many years they were just a thin layer (my mother was utterly disgusted). He would have fights with my sister about spending money for her choices in food (i.e. plant milk) and demanded that they pay separately for groceries...
So they broke up about 3 months of living together cause she couldn't handle him and his misery anymore.

Just a warning xD
That does sound miserable. I think most of us ISTJs are not like your sister’s ex unless we were in an extreme financial situation lol. We are known to be dependable people, which includes frugality to a certain degree, but I think his case was to the far end of the spectrum, for whatever reason it may be.
I dunno why he was like that either, it's not like he was piss poor or anything, it's like a case of frugality taken too far.
So with this example, I'm reminding you to never stop enjoy things in life!
Sorry to hear that your ex bro-in-law was like that. The only aspect of his behavior that I can even remotely relate to is reluctance to replace my own clothes and such... but that is more about hating the shopping process and "breaking in" new items than anything to do with excess frugality.

I'm absolutely, positively of the "buy the best you can afford" mindset rather than the "cheapest you can get away with", and that has nothing whatsoever to do with status or "keeping up with the Joneses". My wife of nearly 40 years has always had free reign on shopping and such, and more often than not if we do clash it's because I would have preferred her to spend more for a better model/version (she is more of the 'least I can get away with" mindset and never pays attention to actual functions/features/quality before she buys).
 

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Sorry to hear that your ex bro-in-law was like that. The only aspect of his behavior that I can even remotely relate to is reluctance to replace my own clothes and such... but that is more about hating the shopping process and "breaking in" new items than anything to do with excess frugality.

I'm absolutely, positively of the "buy the best you can afford" mindset rather than the "cheapest you can get away with", and that has nothing whatsoever to do with status or "keeping up with the Joneses". My wife of nearly 40 years has always had free reign on shopping and such, and more often than not if we do clash it's because I would have preferred her to spend more for a better model/version (she is more of the 'least I can get away with" mindset and never pays attention to actual functions/features/quality before she buys).
Not "in-laws" but yea and the worst is that they broke up after 10 years. All it took is 2-3 months of living together after a decade. He didn't like living with her dog either, a dog he picked up for her from the street when he was a puppy - a gift after their first breakup I think or to win back favor. Pretty bad mindset the both of them, for relationships, but I digress.

Yea that's the best mindset to have, it's what we do in our family and it's why my sister got so freaked out about his behavior - it was miserable and eventually controlling. My mother calls it "a sickness" to be like he is. In the end he tried to bargain with us about my sister's things, like the kitchen and dresser and stuff, because it's my mother who paid for them as gift, but she wanted none of that and we took them all back.
 

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Here are some of my tips that I picked up when I was out of work for two months; some of them I still use now:
1. I wash EVERYTHING in cold water. I rarely wear whites so the "dingy" factor doesn't really apply to me (I also can't stand bleach, it stinks and makes me eyes burn, so I don't use it).
2. Unless it's towels, etc., I hang the majority of my clothes up to dry. Most of my clothing will dry overnight. I just hang them up on the shower rod and take them down when they are dry.
3. The amount of detergent you use in the washing machine is probably too much. It's the agaitation that gets the clothes clean. I usually use about half of what is recommended and my clothes turn out fine.
4. In that same vein, I cut all of my dryer sheets in half and get twice the amount for the same price. My towels are just fine.
5. Facial oil blotters = toilet seat covers in the public restrooms do the same job. Cut them up into facial-sized pieces.
6. My version of park + ride = drive to a crowded grocery store on the public bus line (I live about 1½ miles from the end of the furthest bus line so walking every day in inclement weather [rain, 10 degree weather, snow] isn't really an option) and then catch the bus wherever I need to go. Saves on fuel + wear/tear on the car, plus I don't have to pay the parking fee that my job imposes.
7. Wifi at home and at work, $20 pre-paid plan every 3 months for the rest. I usually run out of data before the end, but whatever it is, it can usually wait until I'm at home or at work. Paid $30 for a dumb smartphone (generic smartphone that has the internet and other basics like email, etc.)
8. I swear by my electric blanket. It costs FAR less than cranking up the heat, especially now that it's like 4 (F, not C) degrees outside.
9. Invested in a coffeemaker at work. I can either brew my own or just run a pot of hot water and have coffee or tea for super-cheap and not waste money at the rip-off specialty places, yet still have an "indulgence".
10. ... and the old standby, reusing old butter containers for leftovers instead of wasting money on Tupperware.
 

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Here are some of my tips that I picked up when I was out of work for two months; some of them I still use now:
1. I wash EVERYTHING in cold water. I rarely wear whites so the "dingy" factor doesn't really apply to me (I also can't stand bleach, it stinks and makes me eyes burn, so I don't use it).
2. Unless it's towels, etc., I hang the majority of my clothes up to dry. Most of my clothing will dry overnight. I just hang them up on the shower rod and take them down when they are dry.
3. The amount of detergent you use in the washing machine is probably too much. It's the agaitation that gets the clothes clean. I usually use about half of what is recommended and my clothes turn out fine.
4. In that same vein, I cut all of my dryer sheets in half and get twice the amount for the same price. My towels are just fine.
5. Facial oil blotters = toilet seat covers in the public restrooms do the same job. Cut them up into facial-sized pieces.
6. My version of park + ride = drive to a crowded grocery store on the public bus line (I live about 1½ miles from the end of the furthest bus line so walking every day in inclement weather [rain, 10 degree weather, snow] isn't really an option) and then catch the bus wherever I need to go. Saves on fuel + wear/tear on the car, plus I don't have to pay the parking fee that my job imposes.
7. Wifi at home and at work, $20 pre-paid plan every 3 months for the rest. I usually run out of data before the end, but whatever it is, it can usually wait until I'm at home or at work. Paid $30 for a dumb smartphone (generic smartphone that has the internet and other basics like email, etc.)
8. I swear by my electric blanket. It costs FAR less than cranking up the heat, especially now that it's like 4 (F, not C) degrees outside.
9. Invested in a coffeemaker at work. I can either brew my own or just run a pot of hot water and have coffee or tea for super-cheap and not waste money at the rip-off specialty places, yet still have an "indulgence".
10. ... and the old standby, reusing old butter containers for leftovers instead of wasting money on Tupperware.
I use most of these tips in my everyday life, but not # 5 because I'm paranoid somebody has pee/poop on their hands and touched many sheets at once. However, using hard napkins at the hand washing area also works well for oil blotting.
 

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I use most of these tips in my everyday life, but not # 5 because I'm paranoid somebody has pee/poop on their hands and touched many sheets at once. However, using hard napkins at the hand washing area also works well for oil blotting.
Yeah... I always discard the first few sheets and use from the middle of the dispenser. Wendy's (fast-food restaurant) napkins also do a good job in a pinch. Buy something super-cheap, grab a huge stack of napkins on the way out. The workers generally don't care. As an added bonus, now you also have nearly-free napkins!
 
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