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Four Extreme Lifestyle Choices That Save Money

Many of us don’t realize that our every day habits and pleasures cost us. Some of our lifestyle choices end up costing us in the long run.

In order to save money at all costs, there are some rather extreme (at least in our society) things that you can resort to. Consider your situation, and what might work best for you. And remember, that there are some things that are better than having money:

1. Avoid Having Kids

It’s a bit late for this one for me. I already have one. The cost of having kids [3] continues to go up. According to the USDA, it costs more than $200,000 to raise a child from birth to age 18. Of course, there are plenty of people that dispute that. The USDA’s calculator estimates that my son should cost me more than $26,000 a year. But I’ve run the numbers, and he doesn’t cost me that much [4].

However, he does cost enough that it would make a significant difference in my budget. But I love my son, and enjoy him. Even though there are studies that say people are more miserable when they have kids [5], I’m not sure that’s the case for me. I know I’m supposed to say that my son makes me happy. Sometimes he doesn’t, though. Sometimes, he’s a pain in the butt. But I still think he’s worth the cost, especially as he gets older and more interesting. I think parenting has long-term joy factors, even if you are miserable in the short run.

That said, though, if you are really serious about saving money, and you aren’t into the long-term sentimental stuff, cutting out the kids can be one way to do it.

2. Stay Away from Pets

I’ve seen how much my parents spend on their two dogs. They are medium-sized dogs, but the costs of caring for them really start to add up. When you have a pet, it will cost you in terms of food and care, as well as medical attention. Some pets require a little less expense than others. We have fish. These are relatively inexpensive. My husband’s cousin has rats. They aren’t too bad, but still cost more than the fish. And I have a cousin with horses. Now there’s an expensive pet.

Even with the pet costs [6], though, some people really like their animals. And that’s fine, as long as you don’t mind spending the money on them. But be prepared to pay a lot if you kids and pets!

3. Don’t Go to College

One of the big debates right now is whether or not college is worth the cost. The cost of college continues to rise [7], but you might not need a degree to succeed. There are professions that just require some training, and you can benefit from a decent salary. The cost of college includes tuition, books, fees, room, and board. In fact, it costs so much that few people — even with some scholarship money [8] — can afford to attend college without debt.

Starting out life with crushing debt seems like a poor way to begin, even with a college degree. It makes sense to carefully consider a career path, and the possibilities, before plunging into college. Be realistic about the salary from a college degree, and whether or not it is worth the cost you pay.

4. Never Buy a House

We often think of buying a home as one of those financial milestones that amounts, basically, to a requirement. The conventional wisdom is that you should buy a home because renting is just throwing money away. But could it actually save you money to rent forever [9]?

Housing costs go beyond just your mortgage payment and interest. You also have to consider maintenance and repair costs, as well as property taxes and other costs. Once you add everything up, over the course of decades, there’s a real possibility that you won’t even break even, despite tax deductions for interest and appreciation. This is especially true during a market crash. You could save money each month by renting, and then invest the difference. You might come out ahead.

What do you think? Would you try any of these extreme money saving ideas?

(Photo: darrenleno [10])