No matter how you are living your financial life, you should know that it’s possible for anyone to change their financial situation and live cheaply.
You only need is to take the first step towards the correct path and follow the direction to get things moving in your favor. But most of us don’t know that like many other things, that the very first step is the hardest part.
On the one hand, there is making more money to get out of debt, but this article will focus on the other side of things – Saving money and frugal living.
To get started with the idea of living cheaply, take a look at this checklist of multiple money-saving ideas. These will help you to live on your own along with saving money on every day of the month.
1. Move your accounts to another bank and earn more interest
You might be paying a monthly fee to the bank for keeping your checking or savings account. Did you ever think of moving to your account into another bank, who can give you more benefits and charge fewer fees
Now, it is the best time for you to choose another bank and do some research about its offers. Few other banks may offer sign-up bonuses when you open an account there. Depending on your deposit amount, they might offer attractive interest rates to you as well.
2. Reconsider your cell phone plan
Are you paying for an unlimited data plan but you really don’t need it at all? Are you paying for a low-end plan which costs you more money on extra charges? In both cases, the problem is not picking up the correct plan.
For many consumers, text messages are one of the core reasons for frequent overspending. It may also happen to you if you share your plan with a spouse or kid.
In AT&T, you may add unlimited texting service at a cheaper cost, only $30 a month. The individual plan may cost for the same service for $20 a month. If your network provider is Verizon, then you can get a 500-text-per-month for $10, per line, or a $5,000 text bundle for $20 per month/line.
The ultimate thing is, you have to research before choosing your cell phone plan. Consider your usage, type of services you use the most, and when you use your phone mostly. But, you must also remember, too much cell phone use is injurious to your health and mind.
3. Turn off your TV
One big idea to save money on your power bill is cutting down the frequency and duration of watching television. There are a lot of financial benefits you may get through this habit. Watching less TV means less exposure to lucrative ads, less power consumption and lower electric bill, and a lower cable bill if you downgrade your subscription.
Not only your financial life, but your family life will be improved through this habit. You may focus on other things in life, such as reading, playing indoor games with kids, having a discussion with your family, etc.
Watching too much TV may also cause health hazards such as eye soaring, itchy eyes, watery eyes, and even vision problems.
4. Buy a used car one instead of new
While buying your first car, most of us may dream of a brand new Chevrolet Camaro, or Porsche Caymans, or might be a FORD Mustang. But have you ever think that these cars may cost you millions which is beyond your affordability? I guess not.
Buying a used car instead of a new one can save a lot from your wallet. If you really want to drive your own FORD Mustang, you may look for an old one with good condition. A little repair/paint job may turn an old car just like a new one. You may also look cool if you ride a car with a vintage look.
When it comes to riding a car, being an owner you may choose hypermiling. It is nothing but using different basic and advanced techniques in minimizing fuel consumption. These may include:
- Coasting – Turn off the engine when you are stopped at a traffic light or coast down the hilly roads in neutral so that you do not have to accelerate.
- Drive slowly – Driving the car on moderate speed so that you do not have to break more. It’ll increase your car’s fuel efficiency.
- Inflate tires to the correct pressure – This is one of the easiest ways to save money on fuel. The tire pressure can indirectly affect your fuel consumption. Low pressure on tires can increase the rolling resistance and robs your fuel.
- Change engine oil periodically – You should use the recommended engine or motor oil by your vehicle manufacturer. Always check the oil and change it timely. Your car engine will be protected from dust, friction, and other damages if you use a clean, good quality engine oil.
There are many more options that you may use to increase the mileage of your car.
6. Use public transport
If you think that you are spending too much on your car, then you should opt for public transport to reach your daily destination. Instead of driving the car, you can take the cycle or even walk to your office. Once you stop driving, you can easily cut down a lot of expenses (gas, maintenance, parking charges, etc). This habit is way cheaper and also save a decent amount of time.
7. Use a programmable thermostat
With few tricks and modifications, you may lower your electricity bill into half. While you’re at work, you need to program the thermostat to either turn off automatically or adjust to a warmer or cooler temperature. You may control some thermostats remotely by using apps. So, even if you are outside you may still set your desired temperature before you leave.
As per Fixr, the average cost for a programmable thermostat is $200 to $300. As per Homewyse, if you opt for professional installation, it will cost you from $300 to $350. With proper adjustments, you may save more than $1,000 in the summer and winter season.
8. Lower your power bill by taking strict measures
Install LEDs & CFLs which consume less energy and a much longer lifespan. Lower down your water heating temperature and save you up to 3%-5% for every 10 °F reductions in the temperature. Turn off the lights if you are going outside and save a lot of bucks on your electricity bills. Unplug unused electronics to save a little bit of amount (Approx. 50$-75$) annually.
9. Sign up for free customer rewards programs
In your neighborhood, you’ll find multiple retailers who can offer you rewards for shopping at their store.
You may open a Gmail or Yahoo Email account (you probably have one of these), collect every reward card possible, and fill up your contact details with the mail id. You’ll get a few more extra coupons from the retailers periodically.
You can add to those rewards and discounts by using rewards credit cards. This way you may earn points on shopping at a wide range of stores. You can redeem your points whenever you want, for cash back or other benefits.
10. Negotiate with your credit card company
If you’ve been a good customer since the beginning, your credit card company can lower your interest rates. There’s no hard-written formula to do that. You might have to ask them to reduce your interest rate by applying through an Email, or by calling them directly or raising a service request through the official app.
If you are regular with credit card bill payments over the years, or if you threaten to transfer your balance over to another credit card company, your current credit card company may agree to reduce your interest rate.
If they are unwilling to do so due to your huge credit card debt, you may consider a 0% APR card to consolidate all credit cards into one.
11. Use coupons wisely
Couponing can be a mind-blowing option to save money and live cheaply. But make sure you do not overspend on items that you don’t need at all.
Use coupons wisely, for items that you use on a regular basis. The average face value of coupons is around $1.56 as per Inmar. So, using coupons frequently may add up good savings on a monthly basis.
For lucrative deals on restaurants, and gas stations, check out The Coupons App, and for saving printed coupons to your phone, check out SnipSnap.
12. Avoid buying gifts from the store
If you want to live cheaply and save money, you may create your own homemade gifts for people. You can prepare cake, fresh-baked bread or cookies, candles, soap, pictures, and all kinds of creative things at home quite easily and cheaply.
You don’t have to buy expensive gifts to impress your loved ones. You can make amazing gifts for others at home with unused objects, and give it a personal touch that no one can buy from a store. You may include a personal handwritten note with the gift, and make those people happy.
13. Invite friends at your home instead of going out
Spending an evening together with your friends can be amazing as well as costly. If you have a plan to spend such an evening, do not make any booking to costly restaurants or hotels. Going out to eat may totally ruin both your food budget and your entertainment budget in one moment.
Instead of going out, you may ask your friends to visit your place and have a dinner party with home-made food. You may play cards, sit around a fire pit, or watch movies with your pals. You may even call for a potluck party to save all the food costs and have a blast, there many things to do for fun that are free or nearly free.
14. Increase your car insurance deductibles
It is a wise decision to increase your deductibles being a safe driver. For example, you might be paying $200 each month towards your car insurance, where you are also paying $350 in the event of an accident. If you increase your deductible to $2,000, you might be able to reduce your car insurance payments down to $120 or $140 per month.
You should give a call to your insurance company and find out how to reduce your monthly insurance payment. On the other hand, you may also go online and find out what other insurance companies are offering to you. Multiple car insurance companies may give you lucrative discounts and offer where you can get maximum coverage with a decent, affordable monthly payment.
15. Reduce traveling expenses wisely
Practically, to get cheaper flights you need to be flexible with your dates. Try to fly at an unpopular time, especially early in the morning to get discounted tickets. Flight rates are usually high on holidays, so try to avoid flying on those days. Mid-week days could be useful to fly cheaply, so book tickets preferably on those days. Traveling on a budget requires you to do good pre planning (but that’s fun work!)
16. Avoid consuming fast food
Instead of eating fast food, make yourself dinner when you get home. Fast food not only makes your health miserable but also cost you a lot, which can drastically affect your budget.
So, if you want to live cheaply, you need to avoid fast food from your everyday meal. Without consuming fast food, try to eat seasonal fruits daily once.
17. Maximize yard sales
Yard sales are best for buying and selling old working things. You may find lots of items you need anyway like shoes, clothing, or even sports equipment. But make sure you don’t buy things just to get the benefit of yard sales. Impulse buying is bad, whether you are getting it at a cheaper price.
18. Opt for DIY car wash service
Try to wash your car at home, all by yourself. You just need a bar of soap, a bucket, and some old rags. A car wash service may cost you a lot, and mechanical car washes often miss hard-to-get dirty spots that you may fix through a hand wash.
19. Buy Electronics and Computer things online
You may save quite a good amount if you buy electronic goods and computer peripherals online. You may check out TigerDirect, Rakuten.com, or Newegg to find your items with the best deals. Buying such items online would be a wise choice as you have the option to compare prices of the same products from different sellers.
20. Quit smoking and drinking
Believe it or not, these things cost you more than anything from your budget, and without giving any kind of health benefit. Smoking is injurious to health as it causes cancer. Too much alcohol consumption can make your liver rotten like hell. So, through them out of your life, and save your money, and yourself too.
Living Cheaply Summary
Living cheaply can be easy if you have the proper mindset and will to do the right thing. You may need to sacrifice a lot to tame your spending urges. Read a personal finance blog and remember what you have learned from there. Don’t forget that there are a lot of people out there fighting the same fight. Get inspired by their stories and keep going, no matter what happens…never give up hope.