Have you been to the grocery store lately? Over the weekend we stopped to get a few necessities and I could not believe how quickly the prices had jumped. Wow! Are you prepared for more price hikes? When was the last time you went to a doctor? Learning how to live well and save money may seem overwhelming, but it does not have to be!
As I walked through the store I had to keep repeating this phrase in my head to overcome the fear, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Try it the next time you are overwhelmed about empty shelves or prices going up. All people want to do right now is put fear in you.
When you make the decision to save money, all you are doing is making the choice to develop habits to help you spend your money wisely. I think that you will be surprised at how easy it can be to live intentionally so that you are able to save money.
Want to learn some of the best ways for you to learn how to live well and save money? Keep reading…
- Know Where Your Expenses are Going
In order to live cheap to the fullest of your abilities, you need to figure out where your current expenses are being used. Look over your bank statements for the last couple of months and put them into categories on paper and throughly go through your list.
Once you do that, you will be able to see exactly where your money is going. You’ll be surprised at how much is going toward a morning latte, a new pair of yoga pants or even that pack of smokes.
You’ll also notice what are your most common items, going to the store multiple times because you needed water, bread or milk can help you save too. Grab the amount you really need the first time and you don’t have to waste gas money going back repeatedly. On that note, I suggest downloading GasBuddy and using it to see when gas prices are down in your area before you fill up.
If you want to live frugally, then taking the time to see where you can cut costs reasonably is essential.
- Plan Your Meals
So many of us spend way too much money on food- it’s ridiculous! When you sit down and plan your meals, I can almost guarantee that you will save money. That way, you aren’t running to the store every other day for ingredients so your temptation is removed from any extras.
Planning your meals will also help you decide what type of food to cook based on how much you want to spend. Beans and rice (now is the time to start stocking up on rice, beans and pasta) doesn’t always sound the most appetizing, but it costs so much less than those homemade burgers and fries. If you want to know how to live cheaply, you definitely want to plan out your meals as best as you can.
You can print your free Recipe Cards here.
Don’t forget to pull out those sale ads for the grocery stores you plan on shopping. If you can figure out what is on sale and make a menu off that you’ll save even more. Just make sure the prices are lower than normal. Don’t just believe it is on sale because the paper says it. Have a price list of things you typically buy to bounce it off of.
Are you the type that likes to go out to eat? I know someone that hates to wait so instead they go to drive-thru fast food and order a breakfast sandwich every morning. A Sausage, Egg, & Cheese Croissan’Wich can cost close to $7 per day, if you only get one M-F you will still pay $35 a week. Instead, make these at home, you could even prepare these on Sunday and just heat them up throughout the week. The kids and I did this when we lived in California and it worked beautifully.
- Make Coffee at Home
Ordering a coffee from the local barista (Starbucks) should be an occasional treat, not an everyday occurrence. When you want to learn how to live well and save money, this is one of the hardest lessons. Trust me, I’m currently living this.
The truth is, some people spend hundreds of dollars every month on coffee that can be made at home for pennies on the dollar. Did you know the price of a Starbucks Frap can cost up to $6? Imagine getting one a day for a week. $42 in a week, now if you could make this at home you could spend a lot less. Imagine saving $40 a week, $160 a month.
If you have to have your espresso, I totally get it. Why not buy a Nespresso machine or a Nescafe machine that will help you make your delicious coffees/hot beverages at home and will save you a lot of money in the end?
- Buy Items 2nd Hand
Buying items second-hand may not always sound the most glamorous, but when you want to learn the true secret for how to live cheap successfully- you want to buy used.
Whether you head to your local thrift store, Goodwill, or look online at Facebook Marketplace, there are so many ways to buy items for an awesome price. If you are lucky enough try joining Facebook groups that will bless others like those Freecycle groups.
A good example is toys for young kids. Think about how your baby needs a jumper, but only for a few months. Why would you buy a brand new one when you could buy one used for a fraction of the price that you know has only been used for a few months at the most?
This trick to living cheap can be applied to almost any area of your life when you want to live cheap.
- Get a Second Job
When you want to live well but save money, one of the best things that you can do is to earn more money. That way, you can splurge on the things that really matter when the time comes.
Getting a second job doesn’t have to be a huge commitment- do something that you love and find stress-free.
Delivering pizzas a few times a night, for example, you can earn extra money and catch up on all of your podcasts for the week. If you’re creative, maybe open up an Etsy shop and sell your creations!
There are plenty of side hustles that you can have to help you earn extra cash while you are living cheaply.
- Earn Free Money
Shockingly enough, there are a lot of ways for you to earn free money. Even if you are living as cheaply as possible, earning free money is completely possible on those purchases that you do have to make.
Think about what you can get rid of to earn money and declutter your house. Imagine all the things you no longer use that can help someone else in need.
- Do It Yourself
Instead of hiring someone to do something, have you considered learning to do it yourself? You might be surprised!
I have an older daughter, her front lights kept going out in the car. She took it into the shop and they said that it would be $6000 to fix the wiring. That’s crazy! So we went onto YouTube and learned how to fix it. To buy the new parts herself cost her less than $30 and, after an afternoon of work, the problem was fixed. In the end, she saved thousands of dollars. This wasn’t the first time we went to youtube to figure out how to fix something on one of our vehicles.
At the beginning of the pandemic, I wanted a garden box, at Lowe’s they were costing about $70 just for a small narrow one. We looked it up online and got all the wood we needed to build our own and we had fun making it.
This could be you! What projects do you want to see completed but can’t afford? Why not research how to do it yourself and get started? Remember many public libraries offer FREE classes thtat will teach you a life skill or crafts.
- Drink Water
Whether you are going out or staying in, choosing to drink water for free is much cheaper than ordering a drink. I know, a soda can be a few dollars but trust me, that can add up to over a hundred dollars in the year.
If you want to get into the habit of living cheap, choose the free option of water and get hydrated at the same time. I will not lie I do actually purchase bottle water, but did you know if you drink a cup of water before dinner or before shopping you won’t be as hungry as you normally are.
- Stop Impulse Buying
One of the top tips for how to live cheap is to make the decision to stop impulse buying.
Think about all of the times that you went into a store and didn’t know that you needed something until you got there. That is impulse buying and we are all guilty of it. The problem with it is that you end up spending money that you didn’t originally intend on spending.
My best advice when it comes to impulse shopping is to give yourself one week. If in one week you decide that you need that special thing as much as you wanted it when you first say it, then find a way to fit it into the budget and go get it!
This gives you time to see if you really want it and to shop around to see if you found it for the best price. Most of the time, there is no rush so take your time and only purchase when you are 100% sure it’s essential.
- Get Used to Looking For Ways to Save Money
One of the best habits that you can develop when you are learning how to keep your money in the bank is to always look for ways on how to save money.
At the grocery store, for example, take your time and look at every row of an item. Typically, the middle row is on sale, but the top or bottom has a better price.
There is almost always a better deal if you take the time to look. Sale ads are another way but so are joining sale groups that always list secret deals that are out that no one is noticing. Clip those coupons and watch those rebates too! Make sure to use those reward/lowlalty programs tom save more money.
Sale items (yard sale, facebook sale group, ebay, etc) you can no longer use and put that money in your bank or grocery envelope. If you haven’t set it up yet you may want to take a page from Dave Ramsey and create some cash envelopes and divide up your money. Never using more than the amount in the envelope and saving the rest.
11. Discontinue services and subscriptions
By watching what is going through your bank accounts you will begin noticing those little fees you forgot about like a subscription service. Consider whether or not you can do without it. Discontinue all those ones you aren’t currently using. Check to see if there are better deals for the ones you are. You never know if you threaten to discontinue they may offer a better deal.
Making it a priority to learn how to live cheaply is a wonderful idea. Take your time and develop lifelong habits that will save you a lot of money in the end. You will not regret it- especially when you learn that these tiny habits can help pay for a luxurious vacation or to help you get out of debt. Try to live cheap- you deserve it!