20 Ways To Live On Less Money
Learning to live on less money can relieve stress when you have less and give freedom and flexibility when you have more.
Whether you find yourself in a season of having more or a season of having less, learning how to practically live on less is a good thing to learn. Here’s 20 ways to do it:
1) Buy things on sale
My wife and I have regularly saved over $100 on a single trip to the grocery store, just by buying things on sale. The trick is to buy enough of whatever is on sale so it lasts you until the next time it’s on sale. That way you never have to buy it at regular price. Sometimes when cereal is on sale, we’ll fill up the whole cart.
2) Eliminate credit card interest
If you have credit card debt, obviously paying it off will help you live on less money, but if you can’t pay it off you can try to consolidate your debt to a lower interest rate, maybe even 0%.
3) Use your tax return as next years budget buffer
So many people spend their tax return before they even get it and then live really tight throughout the year. Your tax return is the perfect budget buffer to give you extra breathing room on a tight budget.
4) Get a programmable thermostat and use it
Turning down your heat when you’re gone or sleeping saves energy, which saves you money. Programming your thermostat allows you to maximize your savings without having to remember yourself.
5) Pay for things with a cash back credit card
As long as you pay it off every month, this can be a great way to get some extra cash. I currently make between $600 – $700 a year using cash back credit cards.
6) Have your kids wear hand-me-downs or used clothing
You can get a lot of really nice quality clothing for considerably less than buying new, especially in a country where the average family has less than 2 kids.
7) Buy used vehicles
The second you drive a new car off the lot it depreciates in value. Buy used and save that initial depreciation loss.
8) Buy your vehicle with cash
I’ve heard so many people tell me how great of a deal they got on a car that they’re paying interest on. If your car was purchased with money on loan with interest, then you need to add the total amount of interest you will pay on the loan, to the purchase price of the car. Now how good of a deal is it? Try to pay cash for your vehicles.
9) Do Christmas different
I think a lot of people buy things when they want them. They don’t think, “Oh, I won’t buy this right now. I’ll ask for it for Christmas.” So when Christmas rolls around everyone ends up spending lots of money on family and friends to get them gifts they don’t need and many times don’t want. Try doing Christmas without gifts. Exchange something else. Pool money together for a charity. Try something different.
10) Reuse leftovers for other meals
Americans are notorious for food wasting. Plan to use your leftovers to make other meals.
11) Eat out where kids eat free
Search the web to find the restaurants and times where kids eat free. It can be a great way to take the family out for cheap.
12) Buy things that last
Think through your purchases. Buying the same cheap vacuum cleaner over and over again could be more expensive than buying one expensive vacuum cleaner that lasts.
13) Do your own taxes (if your taxes are simple)
There are a lot of great, inexpensive, easy to use, websites for doing your taxes. If your taxes are simple, take advantage of them.
14) Have someone else do your taxes (if your taxes are complicated)
If your taxes are complicated it may be cost effective to hire a professional to make sure you’re paying the least amount of taxes or getting the best refund.
15) Buy and/or keep less toys for your kids
Kids are amazingly content with little when they’ve not been trained to expect a ton of new toys.
16) Drink water when eating out
The price of alcohol and soda adds up quick. Ask for a lemon and drink free water.
17) Make coffee at home rather than buying it at coffee shops
This expense often goes under the radar, but it can be a lot when you add it up.
18) Eat out less
Eating out is fun and convenient, but it’s quite a bit cheaper to eat at home.
19) Pay bills on time
No late fees equals cheaper living.
20) Quit smoking
Eliminating this very expensive habit not only saves you money but may save your life as well.
What ways do you live on less?
About Josh Christophersen
Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.