How to Live as Cheaply as Possible

If you are tired of working all the time and feel like you are just working to pay the bills, you are probably looking for ways to cut your living expenses. Can you live on next to nothing? Yes, it’s possible but you have to be willing to forego many of life’s luxuries. You’ll have to decide between the real necessities of life (food, shelter, heat and electricity) and what are the frills (cars, movie rentals, etc.)

Cutting the Cost of the Necessities

Typically the biggest expense for most people is shelter. Take a look at what you are spending for your mortgage or rent. Is it possible to move to a cheaper place, or perhaps room with someone or get a roommate? Sometimes you can get free rent in apartment buildings in exchange for doing maintenance.

The second biggest expense is food. Watch the grocery store flyers and buy bargains in bulk whenever you can. Consider growing some of your own food in a garden. Buy a freezer so you can take advantage of sales on meat. Shop in the late evening or early morning when stores put out their 50 percent off items that are about to expire. Drink water and don’t waste your money buying bottled drinks and flavored beverages.

Turn your furnace off and put on extra layers of clothing instead. If you have a fireplace, consider chopping your wood and heat your house with the wood. Often municipalities have areas that need to be thinned out and will allow you to cut standing dead trees for the price of a permit. If you live in a hot area, plant vegetation around your house to provide a cooling shade so you don’t have to pay for air conditioning.

Say No to Frills and Work Less

Running a car is also a big money expense. Can you live without a car? Perhaps you can move closer to where you work so you can walk or bike. Even if you have to rent a car occasionally it’s often cheaper than paying all year long for the convenience of a car. If you do own a car and have a place to park it, you can take the insurance off and let it sit for part of the year. Then put the insurance on for only half a year, that way you still have the convenience of a car for vacations and other needs, but don’t have to pay as much for it.

Eating out all the time is very expensive and one of the easiest ways to save. Make your own coffee rather than buying it, and pack a lunch.

Look at how much you are paying for your cell phone service and decide whether it’s cheaper to have a landline phone or a cell phone. If you are paying for Wi-Fi services consider using the local library or other free Wi-Fi spots that are available in coffee shops and malls.

Entertainment like going out to movies, or expensive sports like skiing, can eat away your money. Consider getting together with a group of friends at your house and playing cards or a game instead of paying for entertainment. Sports don’t have to be expensive. For example, if you love skiing consider backcountry skiing that doesn’t cost anything, rather than skiing at a ski hill.

People spend thousands on vacations, but you can travel to exotic areas for cheap if you use home exchange programs or stay at hostels. If you have family you can visit, see if you can plan a vacation taking advantage of their hospitality, using their home as a base for excursions.

Watch Your Bad Habits

Alcohol, cigarettes and gambling are expensive habits. Dropping these habits can literally save thousands a year. Even making your own wine, or rolling your own cigarettes will help cut costs if you can’t quit smoking or drinking.