Learning how to live cheap may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be!
When you make the decision to live cheap, all you are doing is making the choice to develop habits to help you spend your money wisely. I think that you will be surprised at how easy it can be to live intentionally so that you are able to save money.
I wrote out some of the most popular (and simple) methods to help you begin living cheap. From drinking water to doing some work on your own, there are so many ways to live within your means and create financial stability in your life.
You can even check out some of these cheap ideas for a girl’s weekend if you still want to go out and have fun on a budget! Saving money in your daily life doesn’t have to be hard or ultra restrictive either.
Know Where Your Expenses are Going
In order to live cheap to the fullest of your abilities, you need to figure out where your current expenses are being used. Look over your bank statements for the last couple of months and put them into categories to help create a budget.
Typical categories could look like:
- Eating Out
- Medical Care
Once you do that, you will be able to see exactly where your money is going. You’ll be surprised at how much is going toward a morning latte or a new pair of yoga pants.
If you want to live below your means, then taking the time to see where you can cut costs reasonably is essential.
Plan Your Meals
So many of us spend way too much money on food- its ridiculous! When you sit down and plan your meals, I can almost guarantee that you will save money.
That way, you aren’t running to the store every other day for ingredients so your temptation is removed from any extras.
Planning your meals will also help you decide what type of food to cook based on how much you want to spend. Beans and rice don’t always sound the most appetizing, but it costs so much less than those homemade burgers and fries.
Make Coffee at Home
Ordering a coffee from the local barista should be an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence. The truth is, some people spend hundreds of dollars every month on coffee that can be made at home for pennies on the dollar.
If you have to have your espresso, I totally get it. Why not buy a Nespresso machine that will help you make your delicious coffees at home and will save you a lot of money in the end?
Buy Items Second Hand
Buying items second hand may not always sound the most glamorous, but when you want to learn the true secret for how to live cheap successfully- you want to buy used.
Whether you head to your local thrift store or look online at Facebook Marketplace, there are so many ways to buy items for an awesome price. You can even get furniture for free!
A good example is toys for young kids. Think about how your baby needs a jumper, but only for a few months.
Why would you buy a brand new one when you could buy one used for a fraction of the price that you know has only been used for a few months at the most?
You can apply this to almost any area of your life when you want to live cheap.
Stop Trying to be Like Everyone Else
Have you ever heard of the phrase keeping up with the Joneses? It is essentially this idea that you need the newest, shiniest things to keep you up with this made-up family, The Joneses.
Always buying the latest gadget to help you appear wealthy isn’t what is going to actually make you wealthy.
When you are learning how to live cheap, the best action that you can do is to stop trying to live like everyone else. Just because your friend with 3 kids has a 5-bedroom home does not mean that you need a 5-bedroom home.
Dave Ramsey always says “live like no one else so now you can live like no one else later”. What he means is that in order to live your best life later, you need to make sacrifices now. You can do it, and you won’t regret it.
One of my favorite ways to get what I need is to barter. If you have a neighbor, for example that cannot push a lawn mower, but can cook delicious food, why not offer to mow their lawn in exchange for dinner a few nights a week?
We recently started doing this with our neighbor and it has been fantastic. Not only does she cook amazing food that my kids love, but it saves us money and my sanity knowing that we have dinner a few nights every single week.
When it comes to bartering, it never hurts to ask. You might get something in return that you desperately need all for a few hours of work.
Get a Second Job
When you want to live cheap, one of the best things that you can do is to earn more money. That way, you can splurge on the things that really matter when the time comes.
Getting a second job doesn’t have to be a huge commitment- do something that you love and find stress free.
Delivering pizzas a few times a night, for example, you can earn extra money and catch up on all of your podcasts for the week. If you’re creative, maybe open up an Etsy shop and sell your creations!
There are plenty of side hustles that you can have to help you earn extra cash for unexpected expenses!
Earn Free Money
Shockingly enough, there are a lot of ways for you to earn free money. From filling out online surveys or using cash back apps, to selling items at a garage sale or getting paid to lose weight, earning free money is totally possible!
Do It Yourself
Instead of hiring someone to do something, have you considered learning to do it yourself? You might be surprised!
I have a cousin whose front lights kept going out in her car. She took it into the shop and they said that it would be $6000 to fix the wiring. That’s crazy!
So, she went onto YouTube and learned how to fix it herself. To buy the new parts herself cost her less than $30 and, after an afternoon of work, the problem was fixed. In the end, she saved thousands of dollars.
This could be you! What projects do you want to see completed but can’t afford? Why not research how to do it yourself and get started?
Whether you are going out or staying in, choosing to drink water for free is much cheaper than ordering a drink. I know, a soda can be a few dollars, but trust me, that can add up to over a hundred dollars in the year.
Plus, water is so much better for you than soda or other drinks that contain sugar and other additives. And it makes you feel good!
Negotiate Better Rates
I know it may sound scary to negotiate better rates, but it can save you a LOT of money. The more comfortable you get with negotiation, the more you will save.
Schedule out some time in the afternoon and start calling anyone that you pay a monthly bill to. These companies have employees to help you find the best deal, so why not reach out.
I am always surprised at the little things that I am paying for that I don’t need to be.
I reached out to my car insurance a few weeks ago and I was still paying for thousands of miles driven each month, despite the fact that my work had gone remote. I was barely driving but paying for coverage I didn’t need anymore.
They helped me adjust the coverage and save money. You can do the same- just call!
Buy Store Brands
If you look at the ingredients in most of the items, they are exactly the same. The only exception? The price.
I have been buying store brands since as early as I can remember and rarely find a difference, especially when it comes to toiletries.
Try it for yourself and you will be surprised at how similar products are.
Cut the Cable
I have talked about the importance of cutting your cable before, but only because it is one of the easiest ways to save money There are so many other options for you to view your entertainment.
A simple purchase of an Amazon Firestick and being an Amazon Prime member will save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars every month. They offer almost every show and live sporting event that anyone could want to watch.
I haven’t had cable in over 7 years and have never missed it. I can watch any show that I want to watch without the added expense of cable each month. Between Netflix, Hulu and other streaming options, cable is obsolete!
Do your own Hair and Nails
This trick for living cheap doesn’t have to be crazy difficult, but it can help your financials become much more stable. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars a month at the nail salon, why not buy a home shellac kit yourself and have a DIY spa day?
I haven’t been to a nail salon for years. Honestly, I don’t really miss it.
Stop Impulse Buying
One of the top tips for how to live cheap is to make the decision to stop impulse buying.
Think about all of the times that you went into a store and didn’t know that you needed something until you got there. That is impulse buying and we are all guilty of it. The problem with it is that you end up spending money that you didn’t originally intend on spending.
For grocery shopping, creating a meal plan and sticking to it will help prevent you from impulse spending at the grocery store.
My best advice when it comes to impulse shopping is to give yourself one week. If you in one week decide that you need that special thing as much as you wanted it when you first say it, then find a way to fit it into the budget and go get it!
This gives you time to see if you really want it and to shop around to see if you found it for the best price. Most of the time, there is no rush so take your time and only purchase when you are 100% sure its essential.
Get Used to Looking for Ways to Save Money
One of the best habits that you can develop is to always look for ways on how to save money – like learning how to get free appliances!
At the grocery store, for example, take your time and look at every row of an item. Typically, the middle row is on sale, but the top or bottom have a better price.
There is almost always a better deal if you take the time to look.
Try a Money Saving Challenge
There are so many money saving challenges that I love. Some are more of a commitment than others, but they are totally worth it when you want to get into the habit of saving money.
This 52 week savings plan is actually a great place to start saving money because you get to start small.
You will not regret it- especially when you learn that these tiny habits can help pay for a luxurious vacation or to help you get out of debt.
What are your favorite tricks for living cheap? Tell me in the comments below!
Hi I’m Ana. I’m all about trying to live the best life you can. This blog is all about working to become physically healthy, mentally healthy and financially free! There lots of DIY tips, personal finance tips and just general tips on how to live the best life.