Super frugal living - have you done it?

Super frugal living - have you done it?
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In this month’s story of people who paid off debt: A couple who kicked their frugality into high gear when they faced a large mortgage payment and student loan balances that kept growing. Melissa and Ben Panter hardly went to the movies, and gave each other homemade Christmas presents.

What are some big (or little) sacrifices you’ve made to save money?

PS – If you have a debt story to share, send us an email at


I had to get super-frugal in college for awhile, during a period when I was barely making enough to pay the rent. Fortunately, my roommate and I both worked in restaurants and were allowed to take some of the unused food home, but I remember eating a lot of buttered pasta, ramen noodles and blackberries picked from a vacant lot nearby (Seattle actually had those, back in the day). I scraped through that period and college in general without having to take out loans, but that’s when college educations, health care and rent were all relatively affordable.


@lweston, ah yes, the ‘shift meals’ got me through early college days debt-free as well! (I feel like I learned a lot working in restaurants: How to cook, clean, sharpen and use knives, and just the general hustle!)


Thanks for sharing! I’ll share my experience working as a summer intern. Not the best experience for my health, looking back, but hey I was 22.

I had an unpleasant surprise when I found out my living situation for the summer was going to cost thousands of dollars more than I had first been led to believe. I also didn’t want my family to know how much it was or try to pay for it, so I saved up my intern’s salary to pay it all off. That meant a whole summer of cooking at home or, very often, a snickers bar from the vending machine for lunch. (Those really do fill you up!)



Hey, Snickers has protein! Peanuts and egg whites. Plus milk chocolate, so dairy, kinda. My meal replacement for awhile was Guinness. Very filling. Don’t recommend.