When it comes to cheap living ideas, everyone has something to add because we all want to reduce our expenses as much as possible, while still enjoying a lovely lifestyle. Therefore, we have all developed our own little ways through which we use less energy or water, we spend less on food and clothes, and so on. Building on that collective knowledge, we have put together for you the ultimate guide when it comes to cheap living. Here are all the tips and tricks you need to know to start living frugally right know.
Tips and Tricks for Cheap Living
#1. Eating for Less Money Equals Cheap Living
Food is one of the things on which we spend the most money every month. Even if you don’t eat out every day and shop at the supermarket for food and even if you don’t have lobster and caviar but stew and French fries, food still ends up costing you a lot. With that in mind, here are a few ways in which you can cut down the amount of money you spend on food.
- Cook at home, from scratch
The most important thing here is to understand that, when you do decide to cook at home, you need to do it from scratch. That means no pre-made meals, no semi-cooked pasta and rice, and no buying ready-made sauces.
If you get on board with the ‘cook from scratch’ idea, you’ll find out that a pasta sauce is, in fact, incredibly easy and cheap to make and that you don’t need to pay so many dollars for a store-bought one. Not to mention that it’s also a lot healthier.
When cooking at home, it’s also a good idea to make a bigger batch of food. In other words, don’t cook a single meal at a time, as it will cost you more and take up a lot more of your day. Instead, cook in generous pots and freeze the leftovers for a later meal that same week.
- Groceries need a list
Maybe you’ve never been the ‘grocery list’ type of person, but when you want to get aboard the ‘cheap living train,’ you will have to become one. Prior to going shopping build a list of all the food items you need. When you get to the supermarket, stick to the list. Do not buy absolutely anything that you have not written down, as it will up your costs in an unnecessary way. Remember – if you didn’t put it on the list in the first place, you don’t need it.
Avoid expensive supermarkets and shop for groceries in other places instead, such as a farmer’s market.
- Get couponing
Using coupons is a great way to save a lot more money than you could have ever imagined. Try to find as many product or store coupons as you can and strategically plan all the meals you cook according to what you can gather. For example, if you find a coupon for cheese, then make it a mac and cheese night.
#2. Invest in Your Free Time Wisely
Another thing we pay a lot of money for each month is our entertainment. We go to the movies, to the theater, to different shows, to clubs, and parties and all these forms of keeping ourselves happy take their toll on our wallet. But what if we were to tell you there are other ways to do it? Here are a few of them.
- Take advantage of the entertainment resources provided by your community. If there are such things as free concerts, outdoor movie nights or street theater, attend those instead of the ones for which you need to pay.
- Buy your own games. It can be board games or video games, which you can play on Xbox or PlayStation. The initial investment might cost you a bit more but after that, you will get your money back by enjoying great and cheap fun. Apart from that, to be able to cover the initial price, you can ask your friends to chip in for the games. Take turns to use the games.
A few examples of game sets you can buy and play at home are Cards Against Humanity, The Settlers of Catan, Apples to Apples or If you can find these games on sale, even better. The trick is to get months of fun for very little money.
- Catch up on your reading as a means of entertaining yourself. You can get a library card for almost no money at all and borrow all the books you want. If you are a fan of the digital page instead of the printed one, there are also a lot of books you can download for free.
#3. Spend less on furniture
If you need to redecorate your house or a particular room, and you want to do it on a budget, you can go to thrift stores and shop for your new furniture there. Apart from that, you can also join different online groups where people give away used furniture for free. You might need to browse a bit until you can find something to your liking but it will be worth it. You can get anything you want, such as tables, chairs, or rugs and use them in your decorating.
You must keep an open mind and not think you’ll only find things that cannot be used. Most of the furniture is nice and modern looking, fit for any décor. The best part of these online groups are local. Therefore, you are bound to find one near or in your city.
#4. Quit Your Gym
How long have you been waiting for someone to tell you it’s time to leave your gym? Now is the time, as part of your new cheap living endeavor. Cancel your gym membership and start jogging through the park or very early in the morning when there are very few people on the street.
#5. Travel in Style but as Cheaply as Possible
Whether you want to travel nationally or across borders, it doesn’t have to cost as much as you think. Here are a few ways to vacation as cheaply as possible.
- When traveling abroad, don’t go for expensive and luxurious hotels. You can just as easily check into AirBNBs, hostels, or even take your tent with you and sleep in campgrounds.
- If you plan your holiday in detail as early as possible, you can save a lot of money. Early-bird tickets and check-ins are typically cheaper than last-minute ones.
- If you go outside the season, the tickets and accommodation will also be more affordable.
- Stay off the path. Travel areas which are flooded by tourists are also very expensive for that particular reason. Go to less conventional areas, meets the locals, and have the time of your life, all for a lot less money than traditional travelers.
#6. Shopping at thrift stores and during sales
Cheap living is all about finding less expensive clothes as well. One way to do that is by avoiding the malls or designer boutiques and going to cheap and vintage thrift shops. Apart from that, you can also watch out for seasonal sales and do all your shopping then at half or even less the price you would have typically paid for your clothes.
Cheap living translates into finding the right options for your budget. We live in a world where most of the things we use and consume are overpriced. Therefore, why not balance things out to some extent?