Living well on less is an admirable goal that many adults strive to achieve. However, many people aren’t sure where to start.
A goal like that can feel overwhelming, but I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be! In fact, a few small changes can help you take the steps that you need to live well on less.
You can certainly live an amazing life without needing to spend a ton of money. You’ll be surprised at how living a simpler life can actually make you happier.
I created a list of my top ways for you and your family to start your journey to live comfortably but not spend a fortune. Take a look and choose one or two that you can begin implementing this week- you got this!
Why Try to Live Well For Less?
The overall goal of living well for less is to spend less than what you earn while still living comfortably. There is zero reason why someone would need to go into debt while trying to live a nice life for themselves and their family.
Plus, living below your means will allow you to sock away money for early retirement. Becoming financially free is the ultimate goal, isn’t it?
This list breaks down simple ways for you to break spending habits and help you live well on less.
Related: Frugal vs. Cheap
Best Ways to Live Well on Less
Here are a few ways that are some of the simplest ways for someone to live well on less. These changes can be implemented almost immediately and can help you spend your money wisely.
Related: How to Stop Spending Money
Stop Eating Out
Eating out at a restaurant even a few times a week can add up really quickly. Instead of ordering that amazing salad from the corner bistro, why not try to get the ingredients yourself?
Chances are, you will be able to recreate this amazing salad for much cheaper, especially if you learn how to save money on groceries.
This is the same for almost any meal- cooking food at home is simply cheaper. Another bonus is that you will be able to customize the meal exactly how you like it. Don’t like tomatoes? Don’t add them!
Buy Generic Brands
Did you know that most generic brands of foods are the exact same as their competitors? It’s true- look at the ingredients list.
The biggest difference between the store’s brand and their competitor, in most cases, is the price. In my area, I have found that true for almost anything- from peanut butter to medicine to baby formula!
Save your hard-earned cash and try out the generic brand of a few staples in your pantry- you might just be surprised!
Sitting down and creating a monthly meal plan is one of the most efficient ways for a family to save money. Planning where and how you will use the food in your kitchen not only will prevent food waste, but it will help you save money.
Meal planning is one of the best secrets to moms looking to stay within budget. It helps you map out what everyone is eating for the week and how you will spend your money.
If you want the expensive steak one night for a celebration, you can supplement that with some boxed mac and cheese another night.
A meal plan is an awesome tool to help you live well on less.
Make Coffee at Home
We are allllllll guilty of indulging a few too many times in the week on the espresso stand down the road (trust me- I get it!). Here’s the deal though, if you want to spend less money then you need to start making coffee from home.
Think about it this way- the average latte is around $4. A cup of coffee at home, however, is closer to $.35. That means, with every trip to the coffee house that you skip, you are saving a few dollars (which totally adds up over time).
Did you know that when appliances are left plugged in, they still take in electricity- even if they aren’t on? That means the toaster you leave on your counter is actually charging you just by being plugged in.
Take a few minutes this afternoon and walk around your house. Look for things that are always plugged in that don’t necessarily need to remain plugged in. Maybe a lamp in the guest room or a phone charger beside your bed?
Try it and be surprised when you get your power bill for next month!
For Splurges, Get a Side Job
My partner recently wanted to upgrade our gym equipment, but we didn’t have the funds to do it. I tried saving on expenses here and there, but in order to save enough money would take years and I simply don’t have that sort of patience.
So, in order to pay for the equipment, I got a side job and within a month we had the money to do it.
I am telling you this because sometimes if you want to live well, you might need to find a side job for a few weeks to make up for the extra expenses. You could do anything- offer to clean houses, bake cakes, or become a freelance writer.
Try searching all of these Side Hustles for ideas!
Join a Buy Nothing Group
Buy Nothing Groups are an amazing phenomenon in most communities that give people the opportunity to give away things that they don’t need to people that actually need them.
For me, that means getting a lot of kitchen equipment, clothes, and tools. In my experience, most of the stuff that I have received is great quality and can help you save a lot of money.
Buy Things Used When Possible
If your family is in need of something and the price is just out of reach, why not look around for the same item used?
Or even free? A few months back we wanted to build a retaining wall at our house, but it was going to cost us thousands of dollars just in material. So we got free telephone poles from my partners job and built it out of those.
The lesson here is that you can get high quality items that have been used for much cheaper or even free that your family will still love.
Call Your Current Providers and Ask for a Discount
Sometimes that means you need to renegotiate your current prices in order to continue enjoying their services.
You might dread it, but spending the afternoon making a few phone calls to your cable providers, cell phone company, or auto insurance company can save you a lot. Simply calling and asking them to explain your bill and asking for ways to save money is worth it.
Think about it this way- these companies have trained customer service teams to help you remain a customer. Why not call them and see if there’s any way for you to live well on less?
Utilize the Libraries Resources
Did you know that the library offers a ton of resources for free? There are countless books for you to borrow, of course, but there is even more.
Most library systems around the world offer technology services, audiobooks, and even classes to help you expand your mind.
Cancel your Cable Subscription
I’ve said it before and I will say it again- you do not need a cable subscription!
These days, there are plenty of ways to view shows for entertainment for much cheaper. I am sure you know the streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and all you need is an Amazon Fire Stick to help you get going.
While a cable subscription is typically in the hundreds, a few streaming services will cost you around $25-$50. You still get excellent TV, but for much less.
Have you looked at the cost of living where you currently live? If you want to live well on less, it might be time to move.
Your rent for a 900 square foot apartment in one city might equate to a 4-bedroom house with a fenced yard a few towns over.
It’s not just rent you want to think about either, in some areas even a gallon of milk can be a few dollars more expensive just because of the area that the store is in. Moving to an area where the basic essentials are more cost effective can help you on your journey to living well on less as well.
Pay Off Your Debt
Take it from me- paying off your debt is awesome. Not only is the unwanted pressure and stress of having debt removed, but suddenly you can use your money on anything you want.
I had a credit card bill that was so annoying. Each month, it took away hundreds of dollars that I wanted to use in other areas, but couldn’t. Once I was able to pay it off, though, it was like I had a pay increase!
It was awesome. Suddenly that extra money belonged to me again.
If you want to get out of debt but you aren’t sure where to start, check out this article on Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. It walks you through my favorite system to become debt free.
Buy Your Cars for Cash
Not having a car payment is a wonderful feeling! If you are able to, save up a few thousand dollars and buy a used car. Just make sure it is a quality car with a good foundation.
Have it checked out by a mechanic or someone that you trust that knows cars to make sure you are getting a good deal.
In the long run, you will end up loving that car more than any other vehicle because it is 100% yours. I haven’t had a car payment in almost 10 years and it’s awesome!
Avoid Impulse Purchases
We have a rule in our home to never buy things over $100 as an impulse buy– no matter how good the deal may seem.
When we see something that seems like an amazing deal that we are over the moon about, we go home and wait up to a week. If it still feels like an amazing deal, then we go back and buy. If not, then we move on with our lives.
This also gives us time to search around and make sure that we have truly found the best deal.
Live Mortgage Free
Sometimes, the best way to live well on less is to work toward a mortgage free life. There are plenty of ways to live mortgage free and it is completely possible for you to do!
When you make the commitment to live mortgage free, that is truly the best way to be living well for less. Think about how much money you spend every month on your mortgage- if that was paid off then you could do so much more!
The goal to start living well on less may seem like one of those big, hairy goals. Honestly, it can be done by anyone with a few simple changes.
Choosing to go mortgage free or looking to purchase things used, for example, are great options to help you live well on less.
Making small, impactful choices on your everyday spending is an essential way to help you spend less and still live extravagantly.
Do you enjoy living well on less? What are some of your top tricks to saving money and not sacrificing on the way you live? Tell me in the comments below!