How many times have you heard the phrase living below your means? We're guessing plenty of times. But what does that mean? It's a concept that when applied intelligently, allows you to create a great budget, save a lot of money, make the absolute most of what you already have, reduce your debt, and, most importantly of all, live your best life for less.
In this article, we have listed for you 50 easy and creative ways that are perfect for lowering the cost of living. These are tips and tricks that you can apply to your everyday life and that will help you save money!
1. Start meal planning right now!
If you want to learn how to cut expenses, it's always better to plan your meals for an entire week than to buy groceries for one meal at a time. This will allow you to save as much as a few hundred dollars every week.
2. Cook extra portions ahead of time
One of the main reasons you spend extra money is because you don't have enough time or energy to cook every day. You can solve this problem by cooking in bulk on a Sunday and enjoying the food for the rest of the week.
3. Use everything you have in your pantry
You can drastically cut expenses on weekly groceries if you learn to cook using everything you have right now in your pantry. Browse the Internet for creative recipes that allow you to use only ingredients you already have in the house. It is that simple and doable.
4. Become a coupon master
There is absolutely no doubt that groceries are one of the most expensive items you spend your money on. As a result, look for coupons that will help you save some money each time you go to the supermarket.
5. Don't hang on to items you don't use!
Take a look around your house. How many objects do you have that you haven't used in years? This includes clothes, toys, books, or decorations. You can easily make extra money if you sell some of this clutter.
6. Lowering the cost of living - buy used things
Whether you're planning on buying some new clothes or furniture, do your research and find high-quality thrift stores in your area. They will help you drastically cut expenses and save some money instead of buying new items.
7. Never buy things you don't need
Online shopping has made redundant purchases extremely easy for all of us. However, if you're trying to save money, you should always think twice before you buy something. Do you really need a hard copy of a book or can you buy the less expensive e-book?
8. Save as much gas as you can
Even if you can afford to maintain a car, walk or use your bike whenever you can. It is a much cheaper, safer, and healthier option. Not to mention the money you will be saving on gas!
9. Buy household items in bulk
If you want to reduce your monthly list of expenses, you should always buy the items you use most in bulk. This includes soap, toilet paper, sanitary pads, or dish washing liquid. Buying a larger quantity will cost you less.
10. Cancel your cable package
It's no secret at this point that cable is extremely expensive and no longer useful. It is much cheaper to subscribe to a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon, or Disney+. This will help you save money on bills and provide better content.
11. Give gardening a chance
You can reduce expenses and save money. Not to mention that you can enjoy a brand-new hobby if you start gardening. This means that you can start growing your vegetables whether you own a yard or you live in an apartment.
12. Learn how to lower your electricity bill
Your monthly list of expenses can be cut down if you use fans instead of your air conditioner on hot days or if you wash your clothes using the cold cycle. These super simple tips will lower your electricity bill.
13. Having fun is free!
There are plenty of fun things you can do for free, without paying for a ticket. Examples include having a picnic, organizing a bonfire with your friends, taking daily walks to the park, or going to the beach.
14. Always make your coffee at home
As trendy as it might be to get your coffee on the outside, it's also super expensive. However, if you make your own cup of Joe at home and add cream and flavors to it, you could be saving more than $1000 a year.
15. Workout in your living room
This is far easier than it sounds. Not to mention cheaper. When you break down expenses, a simple calculation tells us that on average, you could save as much as $2000 every year if you opt to work out at home by following fitness gurus online.
16. Stop window shopping right now!
As much fun as it might be, window shopping always leads to you making an impulse purchase that you probably don't need anyway, such as a pair of shoes, sunglasses, or a bathing suit. Only go to the mall if you actually need to buy a specific item.
17. Start forming your water habit
This will teach you how to cut expenses on the family budget but also how to become increasingly healthier. Most of the coffees, teas, and sodas we drink have plenty of sugar and calories that are unhealthy. Replace them all with water!
18. Stop buying convenience food
This includes junk food, frozen foods, microwavable goods, and anything pre-packaged. They are all much more expensive than fresh food and far less healthy. If you want to try lowering the cost of living, switch to cooking.
19. Dry your clothes outside
If you have the possibility, stop using your dryer. It only takes a few seconds to hang your clothes on a clothesline. Your dryer uses a lot of electricity which means a higher bill. Plus, it destroys your clothes much faster.
20. Eat as little meat as you can
Of course, this doesn't mean that you have to become vegetarian or vegan. However, if you have your monthly living costs on your mind, try to reduce your meat intake. Vegetarian dishes such as pasta, curries, and salads are fantastic and they take very little time to make.
21. Switch to a very frugal Christmas
There is no doubt that Christmas is one of the most expensive moments of the entire year. We spend huge amounts of money on everything from food to presents, decorations, new clothes, parties, and traveling. However, there are ways to cut back on these expenses. Here are some examples.
22. Start the holiday season later than usual
A theory suggests that one of the main reasons we spend so much money at Christmas is because it actually lasts for months instead of just a few days in December. You can change that and have a trim budget by decorating the tree on December the 15th.
23. Implement Christmas family traditions
Make sure your family members and children understand that the holiday is more about spending time with each other and making memories rather than getting presents, eating as much food as possible, and buying new clothes.
24. Keep children’s expectations realistic
One way to trim the budget on Christmas is by being honest and realistic with your children. Involve them in the family budgeting and make sure they know just how much the family can afford to spend on presents.
It's a great way to reassure them they will not be disappointed.
25. Set a spending limit for Christmas gifts
If you're trying to drastically cut expenses around Christmas time, you can always set a spending limit for your friends and family. You can make it as low as $5 or as high as $50. In this way, everyone will know just how much money they can spend.
26. Only shop when stores offer sales
Keep an eye out for your favorite shops by checking their websites from time to time. If they advertise a sale or random discounts, it's time to go shopping. Only for the products you need!
27. Use homemade cleaners
Homemade household cleaners are just as efficient as store-bought ones. You can make them yourself using products you already have in your cupboard such as lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda.
28. Learn how to fix things around the house
We know it's far easier to call the proverbial guy. However, when learning how to cut expenses on the family budget, you can always fix things around the house yourself. Most tutorials are available online or on YouTube.
29. Organize trade weekends
Talk to your neighbors and see if they are willing to participate in trade weekends. These consist of sessions where you swap different items or products that you no longer need for items, they have which you might find useful.
30. It's time to say no!
One of the most useful things you can do when it comes to your monthly living costs is to learn how to say no. People will always try to sell you things, borrow things from you, get you to subscribe to things, or invite you to things that you have to pay for. No!
31. Store brand is just as good
Here's something you might not have known. Store brands are as good as famous brands when it comes to food items, despite the fact that they are cheaper. So, you can easily save a lot of money by reaching for store brands.
32. Don't shop at the supermarket!
A lesser-known fact when lowering the cost of living is this - supermarkets have very expensive items. As a result, you should always shop at farmers’ markets. If you have no choice but to go to the supermarket, shop in the ethnic aisle.
33. Make your laundry detergent
One of the things most people complain about is just how expensive laundry detergent is. Not to mention how much it pollutes the environment. As a result, go ahead and make your own. There are plenty of recipes floating online just waiting for you to try them.
34. No more paper!
In this day and age, there is no need for you to use paper. It’s extremely damaging to the environment and it's very expensive. Paper products account for a huge chunk of your weekly grocery budget. Replace them right now!
35. Make your own pet food
We know just how much you love your dog or cat. However, store-bought pet food is extremely costly when you break down expenses. Look for recipes online on how to make your own pet food and give it a try.
Your little friend will end up being spoiled.
36. Start making your own soap
Do you know how easy it is to make your own soap? YouTube is absolutely filled with tutorials on how to make beautiful loaves of multi-colored soap that will last you for years. And it only cost a few dollars. A bargain!
37. Always reuse product containers
This includes jars from products such as store-bought jams, mayonnaise, or peanut butter. You can reuse them as canning supplies, to store different things in them, or to plant flowers and vegetables.
If they are made of glass, they will save you a lot of money because they are priceless.
38. Rent the extra room
If you have an extra room in your house, a garage, or an attic that you no longer use, you can turn them into an Airbnb. Rent them to make extra money and improve your monthly living costs.
39. Thrift stores are your best friends
A few examples that most people who are trying to lower monthly bills love include Once Upon a Child, Goodwill, Thredup, and Letgo. These are perfect if you have growing children who need new clothes all the time.
40. Unsubscribe from email lists
We are absolutely sure that you have an inbox full of emails from your favorite stores and supermarkets which send you their weekly or monthly deals and sales.
If you're trying to save money, unsubscribe from all of these email lists, so that you are not tempted to buy any unwanted items.
41. Only eat out during Happy Hour
Even if you're trying to cut down on your expenses, you will still want to eat out once in a while. That's fine, as long as you do it during happy hour. You can also share a meal with your partner.
Both of these ways will be perfect to save some money.
42. Never buy alcohol at restaurants
The main reason for this is that restaurants and bars have a huge markup on alcohol. This means that the same brands of beer and wine you can buy at the supermarket have prices that are five to eight times higher at the restaurant.
43. Engage your kids in free activities
If you have children, you know they require a constant stream of activities to keep them entertained. However, this can also be super expensive. Find some activities for them that are free of charge such as collecting pebbles on the beach, playing with the neighbor’s dog, or taking a walk in the park.
44. Go to your local library
Your local library can be seen as an amazing source of entertainment for both adults and children. They usually have not just books that you can take out for free, but also DVD movies, video games, and toys.
45. Don't wash your clothes every day
Most people only wear their clothes once and then pop them straight into the washing machine. If you're trying to cut down expenses wait until you've worn your clothes a few times before you wash them.
46. Never own more pets than you can afford
Let that budgeting meme of the counting dog who can't afford the cat be your inspiration. If you realize you can't afford more than one pet, then it's better to find a new loving home for them.
47. Do not use disposable plates and cutlery
This is one of the most expensive habits you could possibly have. Using plastic or paper cups, cutlery, plates, or towels might seem cheap at the moment but it will add up in the long run, causing you to spend a lot of money.
48. Don't buy things to impress other people
Believe it or not, a lot of the stuff we buy is not for our own benefit but purely to impress the people around us. Our huge houses, our expensive cars, and our designer clothing that costs much more than they should. Such expenses are simply not worth it.
49. Have date nights at home
Remember that if you and your partner are in love you can be just as romantic in your living room as you are at a fancy restaurant. Especially if you want to know how to cut expenses. Love is free!
50. Always travel on a budget
Travelling is without a doubt the most expensive thing you will attempt to do. Just travelling across the country can set you back a few thousand dollars. But you can drastically lower these prices if you plan ahead and go for the cheapest options.
What's the conclusion?
Remember that saving money does not mean sacrificing what you love. Quite the contrary. Learning to live below your means is the way to enjoy your life to the fullest by only spending money on what truly matters to you instead of wasting money on unnecessary things that only end up cluttering your life.