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Live On The Cheap
So, you want to learn how to live on the cheap, save money, get out of debt, and get your finances in order, and living on the cheap seems like a good idea. You just need a few tips and pointers to get you started, right?
What Does Living Cheaply Mean?
Living on the cheap means saving money where you can, and living a frugal lifestyle. Instead of buying the most expensive version of the item you need, buy the cheaper more cost-effective version, as, after all, a dollar saved is a dollar earned.
Being frugal and living cheaply also means you should really stop buying things you don’t need or can’t afford altogether. Being honest with yourself when it comes to deciding whether the thing you are paying for is a need or a want goes a long way. Do you REALLY need that Spotify subscription or that extra pair of shoes?
Now that you know what living on the cheap means, let’s dive into our top frugal tips.
How To Live On The Cheap
Use Cashback Apps
The easiest and most efficient way to save money when shopping is by using a cashback app. There are different types of cashback apps for different types of spending, like cashback apps for groceries, or apps to help you save on gas.
We like the DOSH cashback app because it is so easy to use. Just sync your credit or debit cards and you automatically start getting cashback without having to do anything.
Monthly subscriptions can add up fast, and some subscriptions purposefully make it difficult for you to unsubscribe from. That’s where the DoNotPay app comes in. DoNotPay helps you unsubscribe from any service, allows you to sue anyone for a small fee, and so much more.
Work Out At Home
Gym memberships are expensive and so is the gas you need to put in your car to drive there. Why not start working out at home, or taking a walk around your neighborhood instead.
Get A Bike
Getting a bike could save you thousands in gas and it’s a great way to stay healthy. You could even replace your car with a bike if your lifestyle allowed for it.
Use One Car
Sometimes families do require more than one car to keep up with the demands of running a household, but if you can get away with only having one car you would be saving a considerable amount of money on not only gas and insurance but maintenance and registration fees as well.
Related content: Why not try a money-saving challenge?
Take Public Transport
This seems obvious but taking public transport instead of driving is a fantastic way to save cash, get fit, meet new people, and learn more about the area. If you pre-purchase your tickets you can sometimes save money in advance.
Catching a lift to work, school, or even to the shops is a great way to live on the cheap. If you are a parent, ask the other parents at your kid’s school if they would like to take turns in driving the children to school. You would be not only saving money but also time.
Create A Budget
Creating a budget is one of the best things you can do to improve your financial situation as it helps to highlight exactly where your money is coming from, and where it is going.
Lower Your Bills
Lowering your bills as much as possible by implementing simple and effective tips and tricks is one way to live on the cheap. Another way is to use third-party companies like Billshark that can help negotiate lower bills for you. Trim is another amazing service that helps you negotiate your internet, cable, and phone bills.
Related content: Do you have bad money habits?
Reduce Your Phone Bill
Republic Wireless has cheap phone plans starting at $15 per month. Switching phone plans can definitely help you live on the cheap.
Switch Insurance Companies
Are you paying too much for your insurance? Websites like Gabi help you compare insurance quotes online so you can see how you could be saving.
Related content: How to save money on groceries
Vacations can be costly with all the travel expenses and other costs involved. To reduce these costs and still have a great time, you can choose a staycation, where you holiday closer to home. This way you don’t need to fork out as much money, but you still get to take a break.
Get A Smaller Car
Could you do with a car downgrade? Gas isn’t cheap, and if you don’t need a huge car then it might be worth your while finding a smaller more economical car.
Downsize Your Home
Sometimes too much space can be a bad thing. You need to clean and maintain a larger space which takes up time, money, and energy, not to mention your mortgage, taxes, and other expenses. Even though moving house is extremely expensive, if you downsize and move to a cheaper area where the cost of living is quite low, you could save money over the long term.
Save Money On Electricity
There are so many clever ways to save money on electricity that don’t involve too much effort. By implementing a few of the best energy saving tips you can save a significant amount on your bill.
Eat At Home More
Eating out less and eating at home more is a great way to live cheaply. You can learn to cook cheap meals on a budget and brush up on your culinary skills at the same time. When you do eat out, find places that are offering deals or 2-for-1 specials, and if you have kids, check out all the places that offer kids meals for free.
Save On Water
Saving water can save you quite a bit of money. Here’s a quick list of water-saving tips:
- Take shorter showers
- Take baths instead of showers
- Check your toilet for leaks
- Place a plastic bottle in your toilet
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before turning it on
- Check taps for any leaks
- Sweep your driveway instead of hosing it
Buy Used Items Instead Of New
Ask yourself if you really need the new version of the item you are wanting to buy, or if you can make do with a used or second-hand version that does the same job and is in good condition.
Make Your Own Food
Instead of buying your lunch when you are out, make your own food at home and take it with you. Preparing your meals the night before can be a huge money-saver.
Learn To Cook Cheap Meals
There are so many amazing food blogs and YouTubers out there with free recipes and cooking tips. Why not take advantage and learn to cook your favorite dishes using fresh and healthy ingredients?
Get The $5 Meal Plan
How does the $5 meal plan work? Each month you are sent a meal plan with delicious recipes that cost around $2 per person. If you find yourself dreading meal planning, this might be the answer for you as if takes all the time, planning, and guesswork out of feeding yourself or your family.
Drink Water Instead
Water is healthy and hydrating, so swapping sugary or alcoholic drinks for water is not only good for your health but good for your wallet.
Free or Cheap Entertainment
Instead of going out and blowing all your cash, look online for free or cheap entertainment in your area. You’d be surprised at the things you can do for next to nothing.
Get Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime helps you save money by giving you award-winning movies and TV shows, ad-free music streaming, and free Amazon delivery. They even give you a 30-day trial so you can if you like it or not.
Turn Down The Temperature
Turning down the temperature even just a few degrees can save you money by lowering your electricity bill.
Work From Home
Working from home helps you save on gas bills, car maintenance, eating out, clothing, public transport, and more. If you aren’t working from home, ask your boss if you can work remotely.
Sell Your Stuff
Everyone has stuff they don’t want or need anymore, and selling your things on eBay can be a huge moneymaker for you. Not only does it make you some extra cash, but you gain more space.
Stop Using Your Clothes Dryer
Using a clothesline or a clothes horse instead of a dryer to dry your clothes is a really simple way to live on the cheap. It helps you save money on electricity as well as keeps your clothes in good condition longer.
Wash Your Clothes Less
Try to only wash your clothes when they really need a wash. This isn’t to say you should walk around stinky, but sometimes certain items can be worn a few times before needing a good clean.
Become A Minimalist
Living a minimalist lifestyle can help you live on the cheap because you are reducing all your belongings to those that are truly necessary. If you don’t need it, sell it, recycle it, or toss it.
Give Up Your Bad Habits
Bad habits like smoking are a money pit. Quit smoking, drinking less, eating less candy, and staying healthy saves you money on medical and doctors bills in the long run. The book Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Quit Smoking is hands down the best book to help you quit and save money.
The 30-day rule helps you curb your spending by really making you think about things you buy. Just say you want to buy a new jacket; the 30-day rule says you need to stop, write down the name of the store, and the price, then mark it down on a calendar 30 days later. If in 30 days you still want the jacket, you can go ahead and buy it as you know it isn’t an impulse buy.
Buy Food In Bulk
Buying food in bulk is an excellent way to live on the cheap. When you buy larger quantities, you get a better price. Stock up on things like flour, pasta, tinned food, and other essential items.
Instead of buying books, go to the library instead and read the book for free. If the library doesn’t have the book you are after, ask them to get it in for you; they will oblige more often than not.
Reduce Housing Costs
Reducing your cost of living by minimizing your housing expenses can save you a bucketload of cash. Check out the list below for some ideas:
- List your house or room on Airbnb
- Get a housemate to help pay rent and bills
- Rent out your car park
- Rent out your garage
Earn Side Money
These days with the internet, creating a side hustle is easier than ever. Making some extra money helps you pay off debt, create an emergency fund, and stress less when it comes to paying your rent, mortgage, or bills.
Cancel Or Get Cheaper Cable
Cable subscriptions can add up and become quite costly. Consider canceling your expensive subscription and replacing it with something like HBO which is a much cheaper alternative.
Why not get paid for being on your phone? You’re on it anyway, so you may as well make some money from it. Taking surveys online or on your phone is a super simple way to make some extra cash without having to put much effort into it.
Form Good Money Habits
Getting into the habit of making good financial choices could be the difference between living comfortably, or drowning in debt. Set yourself up for success by forming new productive money habits that are sustainable.
Become A Live-In Carer
Paying for rent, a mortgage, or for board takes a significant chunk out of your income and can really drag you down if you don’t have a high-paying job. If you have caring and nurturing nature you should consider becoming a live-in carer. You get to help the elderly or disabled in their own homes in return for free rent, and if you’re lucky, free food.
Walk Instead Of Driving
Walking is a great investment for your health and can save you quite a bit of money that you would have otherwise spent on gas and car payments. If the public transport in your area is good, why not consider getting rid of your car altogether?
Make Gifts Instead Of Buying Them
Buying gifts can often be expensive, and if you belong to a large family of gift-givers, it can really add up. Creating thoughtful handmade gifts can help you live cheaply, and, if people really like your handcrafted gifts, you could consider turning your craft into a legit side hustle and make some money from it.
Stop Using Credit Cards
Credit card debt is often extremely hard to pay off and can ruin your credit score if you miss payments and can’t cover the monthly repayments. Use your debit card instead to make purchases, and only use your credit card when it is absolutely unavoidable. Syncing your debit card to the DOSH cashback app will also help you live on the cheap.
Build Your Own Furniture
If you have space and the tools required to build your own furniture it can be a really rewarding hobby and a great way to live on the cheap. You could also try selling some of your pieces on eBay or Etsy.
Build A Tiny Home
There are whole websites dedicated to teaching you how to build a tiny home on wheels. If you don’t mind small spaces and like to travel, a tiny home could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in housing costs.
Paying full price for travel is no longer a necessity now that we have the internet to help us find the best deals. Shop around to find the lowest price – your bank account will thank you.
Is your bank charging you unnecessary fees? Consider switching banks to one that is more aligned with you and your lifestyle. There are even ethical banks that offer cashback rewards, plant trees, and don’t fund fossil fuel exploration or production.
Shop With A List
Making sure you stick to the items on your list is a great way to live cheaply. Going rogue and diverting away from what you actually need just means you will end up with impulse buys you could do without.
Don’t Shop Hungry
Shopping when you are hungry leads to all sorts of weird and wonderful purchases. Lots of unhealthy snacks sneak their way into your cart because your belly is grumbling.
Cut Your Own Hair
Now, this isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you are good with a pair of scissors or clippers, why not save yourself the time, money, and energy of getting a haircut? There are even YouTube videos dedicated to teaching you how to cut your own hair you can watch for free.
Go Meatless Monday
Meat can be expensive so giving up meat for one day is a nice way to live cheaply as well as doing something good for the planet. It’s a win-win.
GasBuddy is an app that helps you find the cheapest gas prices near you. All you need to do is download the app onto your phone and start saving.
Live In An RV
Are you the type of person who enjoys adventures and moving from place to place? Living in an RV can be a lot of fun and you don’t need to pay for a mortgage, rent, water, or electricity.
Live In A Truck
Similar to living in an RV, living in a truck is a great money-saver if you like small spaces. You get the freedom to drive around and check out new locations without all the responsibilities and bills of adulting in a house.
Become A Housesitter
If you love traveling and pets, housesitting could be the perfect way to live on the cheap. People pay you to stay in their homes and look after their pets while they are away.
Live In A Storage Container
A super cheap housing solution is to live in a storage container. These shipping containers can be modified to accommodate your needs and can be pretty spacious.
Living on the cheap is easy once you know how it works and what tools you have available to you. Creating a budget and looking at all the places you are spending money is your first step to figuring out how to live on the cheap.