How to Live Cheap & Well: A Realistic Guide

Here's an actionable guide on How to live cheap. Follow it to save money and live well!

Simple living is all about mindful spending, it does not mean that you have to live poverty-stricken or you are a moneygrubber because you practice simple living that means you spend your money wisely. 

When you are into simple living you become a smart spender and it can save a lot of money which can help get you out of debts, secure your future such as retirement, and also benefits in cases of emergency.

Also Read: How to Stop Spending Money

Some simple tips to live cheap & lead a simple life

1. Create a budget

Creating a budget is a boring project which no one wants to spend time on but it’s necessary if you want to save money. To create a budget, make a list of all the things you need to spend money on starting with the most important ones such as rent, house expenses, food, and so on. Concentrate to spend the amount you have targeted on your budget list, not a penny more and force yourself to leave the store which tempts you to spend more.

2. Live in a smaller house

A spacious house is ideal if you have a big family, but if your family is 4-5 in numbers move into a smaller house. As being said that the bigger the house the more expensive it is. Rent alone can drain you financially and if you add other bills such as electricity, phone, internet bills, and more, you can find out that you have very little left to spare. Sharing a smaller space brings families together and also helps you to declutter unused things and disciplines you to keep the things you need.

3. Use public transportation

If you own a car, the expenses that you spend on cars are not minimal, since it needs maintenance, insurance, fuel and fixing of other little problems such as engine overheating, tires bursting and more, all these needs are essential to your car but can hit your bank balance. Walking or Cycling to short distances not only keeps you healthy but also saves money. For long-distance travel try using public transportation such as bus or subway which has more impact on saving money and also gives you the freedom to enjoy the scenery too.

4. Cook your own food

Cooking your own food is a good way to save money. If you compare with ordering food outside and cooking food at home, the money that you spend for takeouts is 5 times more than the cost of preparing food at home. Also, home-cooked food is healthier than eye-catching foods at restaurants.

5. Stop using credit cards

Credit card debts are the number one cause of financial handicaps in a lot of people. If you are carrying your credit cards with you it may cause you to be tempted to make purchases that you do not need. Always making payments on your card makes it difficult for you to achieve financial freedom, to prevent making needless purchases carry some cash with you and try to leave your credit cards at home. This will help you to live on the finances that you have at hand, purpose to use the credit cards for emergencies only.

6. Do it yourself

Do it yourself or DIY is knowledge of doing little home tasks, you don’t have to call someone to help you with it. Simple living teaches you how to handle domestic tasks and also by learning some handyman skills comes in handy saves you money and your precious time too.

7. Sell what you don’t need

Decluttering your house allows you to keep what you need to live with and the less stuff you have the fewer expenses you have to spend with which saves you money. But you don’t have to throw away all the things you don’t need, you can donate them to charity or you can sell those items which are cashback on your wallet. You can save money by decluttering your home and earn money by selling the items that you have decluttered from your home.

8. Cancel gym membership

The gym membership fee could also run you off from saving money. You can save your gym fee and also be fit by utilizing outdoor space. You can work out at any place you want to free of charge. Adopting a minimalist living helps you get creative while also saving you money.

9. Unsubscribe premium services

In this age of simplified online subscriptions that you could make with just one tap, many premium subscriptions have been popping up in big numbers with huge discounts. These subscriptions can clean out your bank account and can hardly notice because most of them have automatic renewal policies. To save money why not be away with the meaningless subscriptions that waste your money.

10. Buy second-hand clothes

You can save money by buying clothes from thrift stores, the stores that are run by national charities. These stores sell good quality second-hand clothes at cut-down prices. These second-hand stores have up to 50% sales where you can buy clothes at half prices. 

11. Buy seasonal products

Some foods are obviously seasonal and because of globalization, we are able to get all sorts of food in all the seasons even though they are not in actual season. If you want to buy spring seasoned fruits or vegetables in the winter season obviously the price would be 2-3 times more than the actual seasoned price. So prefer buying seasonal foods to save a good amount of money.

12. Get a library card

Getting a library card is free and also you can get to know your community and people that may live around you. You will have so many options in the library to spend time like books, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs. It's also a great way to get out of your house and read so many books that you can get for free.

13. Stop or reduce smoking

Smoking is really huge for your wallet as well as your health. Smoking is really awful for you and it’s also very expensive. So really think of cutting back on smoking, it’s so much better for your health and also for your wallet.

14. Drink alcohol within limits

Alcohol is very costly and also not fantastic for your health. But if you love drinking alcohol, reduce the amount of alcohol that you drink which is good for your health and also a way better for your wallet.

15. Buy used products

Whenever possible buy used furniture and home decors. When you buy used things there is such a heavily discounted price. So think about the products that you can buy used to save your bank balance.

16. Track your expenses

You can track your expenses by maintaining an excel sheet where you can write down the expenses which helps you to find whether you are achieving your financial goal of the year. It also helps you to find where you are wasting your money and you can correct yourself.

17. Cut your own hair

Cutting our own hair by ourselves can make us save money. You can buy trimmers once and use them to trim your own hair by yourself or take help from other housemates. This can also add to your savings.

18. Save electricity

Minimizing the use of electricity can have a great impact on savings. Instead of using dryers, you can dry your hair in sunlight so that electricity used for dryers can be saved, which in turn minimizes the electricity bills.

19. Buy for holidays before holidays

When you want to shop for a holiday or for a festival try buying stuff for a month or so. This can help you to invest less in buying clothes at full price instead you can buy things when they are on sale or when they are on deals.  

20. Wash clothes only when they are dirty

Wash your clothes when they are actually dirty, you don’t need to be washing your pants or your sweaters every single time that you are wearing them unless they actually have gotten dirty or they smell. You can save water and other washing products that you use to clean your clothes. So get into the habit of only cleaning things when they are dirty.

21. Try not to use toll roads

Toll roads are becoming a more main streams thing now but when you have already paid the road taxes to travel on regular roads, why do you want to pay more. 

22. Live within your means

Always try to live within what you earn. If you can not afford the things which you want to buy try to get off from the place. Don’t spend more than you earn.

23. Grow your own food

Growing our own food is really simple these days. You can make use of your backyard or terrace to grow your own vegetable or fruits, which cuts off your vegetable shopping and also promotes good health.

24. No bottled water

When you are traveling try carrying your own water bottle instead of buying water bottles outside which costs you more depending on the place.

25. Pay off your debts

If you have got debt currently, you are spending extra money each month with that interest whether it's credit cards, student loans, car loans. Try to pay it off as quickly as possible so you pay less in interest.

26. Movie nights at home

Movie nights at home can be really fun and free. You get time to spend with your family having fun with kids. On the other hand saves money which you can spend out at theatres.

27. Use cloth napkins

Instead of using paper towels and regular napkins, make use of cloth napkins which can be washable a number of times and can be used.

28. Pack your snacks

When you are traveling, if you get hungry and you want to stop at the store you end up getting a pack of cookies and maybe some crackers. You are spending a lot of money on bad food. If you just carried a banana or an apple then you would have money and some calories.

29. Be content

When you become content then you don’t want to buy other things. You can become content by learning yourself, meditating, yoga, exercising, spending time with yourself, spending time with your family, learning who you are and you become content.

30. Eat less or no meat

Meat is expensive, you can have a meal without meat. There are enough protein-filled vegetables, beans, legumes that you do not need meat. You can save a pretty good amount of money by not eating meat.

31. Check for the expiration date

The grocery store is not always good about putting expiration dates, so always check for the expiration date before buying the products. 

32. Avoid Convenience

Already chopped up fruits and vegetables, pre-packaged snacks, these things all cost money. They may take away the time that you need to do them but you can chop your own fruits and can save that money.

33. Save bonus money

When you get a raise or bonus save the difference. When you get an extra 10% of your salary don’t even look at it, just make sure that it gets automatically drafted to your savings account.

34. Don’t buy things if you can’t pay cash

If you can’t pay cash then you are likely going to pay a whole lot more than the worth of the product. If you buy things in EMI, you have to pay interest on it. It’s probably going to be 2 times the actual amount.

35. Have no spend day challenges

You can watch how long can you go without spending. You can challenge somebody in your office or at your home and test yourself that how long can you go without spending money.

Conclusion: How to live Cheap

Finally, if you want to live a simple and peaceful life, love yourself. Being content, being patient, knowing yourself, start loving yourself can take you a long way in saving money because people who are not content and don’t love themselves are constantly searching through bad habits such as spending money, eating things that they should not, etc. are searching for that happiness. If you can find it within you without needing it through things, people, or food, you have probably won your life.