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Want to live a cheaper more frugal lifestyle? The concept of cheap living doesn't mean living like a hermit and not having any fun in life. Because I get it, I want to enjoy life to the fullest but I like to avoid overspending on purchases and get good deals. So, what do I resort to? Cheap living, of course.
By finding unique ways to save, I can live frugally, while still enjoying life and having more money in my pocket. I try to beat the personal savings rate among Americans by living this way. In October 2019, the personal saving rate in the U.S. amounted to 7.8 percent according to Statistica. I find it easy to do, as there are many different ways to save on anything from groceries to electricity and even on credit card bills so anyone can live a cheaper life. And there’s no way to think that as you pay less, you’ll also get less. Often, you can still get the same services and buy the same products.
Don't believe me? Here are 30 frugal tips to live cheap and save money.
1. Find out where you're wasting money
One of the best ways to live cheap is by finding creative ways to save money. That's where the free app, Trim, can help as it saves people money through automation. Trim boasts that new users are eligible for up to $30 in cash-back deals as soon as they sign up. Not bad. You simply link your billing accounts and Trim will go to work (for free). For my bills, it found ways to lower my bills and cancel subscriptions, analyzed my spending habits, and more. This free savings app is worth the 1-minute download as it can potentially save you hundreds. In the last month, they've saved their users over $1 million on their bills, they negotiate with any service provider including:
- Time Warner
Interested? You should be, as we feel that more people should be using this free app to help them live cheap.
2. Earning extra cash is important too
Some people love saving money but enjoy making money even more. This opportunity is for those who want to live cheap but also want to earn extra cash for savings. Here's how it works: by using the internet as you do every day, Nielsen invites you to make a difference – and you can really earn some cash.
Here's how: Just by downloading the company's app — you can collect $50. The app will just track your app usage to help them understand consumers. This company has been around since 1923 (they're the company that tracks TV ratings) and now they want to learn more about the modern consumer.
You don’t have to do anything other than initially registering your computer or phone.
To qualify you must live in the U.S. be between 18 and 45 years of age. All you do is download the app and earn $50 a year per device. If you want to be a pro at cheap living, here's an opportunity for you that literally requires zero effort.
3. Get cash back for every purchase you make
You'd be silly not to get cash back for items you would have bought anyway. You can do this by shopping online with Rakuten. Even if you are not a big shopper, when you do shop online, you obviously want to find the best deals. Rakuten is my favorite way to get paid for shopping online through their cash back portal.
Every time I shop online, I start at Rakuten and then I get cash back deposited into my PayPal account. That's it, it's pretty simple, and they are conveniently offering a $10 sign up bonus through this link, so act fast.
4. Get totally free money for scanning receipts
It may be hard to believe, but Ibotta pays you for scanning receipts.
No, really, it does!
The app presents you with a list of offers currently available on a wide range of products, from food to drinks all the way through to cleaning products and if you buy them and scan the receipts — you're getting paid.
Here’s how it works:
- Look for a product you were planning on buying, and click on it.
- Select a participating store that you’re buying the item from.
- Upload a picture of your receipt.
- That’s it! Simply sit back and wait for the cash to show up in your PayPal.
Ibotta is free to download. Plus, you’ll get a $10 sign-up bonus after uploading your first receipt.
5. Save money and get cash back when you shop
Looking for an easier way to live cheaply? Dosh is the free cash back app that finds you money for shopping, dining out, and booking hotels and travel activities with more than 100,000 merchants and brands nationwide.
You probably already heard about apps that give you cash back. However, this new app is giving other rebate apps a run for its money, and for good reason. Dosh not only allows you to get cash back on everyday purchases, but no receipt scanning required! Heard enough? Click here to get started with Dosh and get a $5 sign up bonus.
6. Avoid unnecessary shopping
Shopping is necessary when you are doing it with a purpose. But if you tend to buy unnecessary items, it’ll push you towards overspending. You’ll start window shopping, or surfing online stores with nothing particular in mind.
You’ll surely buy items that you don’t require. That is a very dangerous thing to do.
To stop this obsession, you need to stop carrying your credit cards and keep limited cash in your wallet.
7. Live in a smaller house
Just because you can afford a big house, you shouldn’t buy one. Know your requirements, think about the future. Living in a small house can be comfortable.
Choose a house according to your needs, don’t overdo it.
You can save thousands of dollars every year by living in a small house. It is because the associated costs with a smaller house are also very low.
8. Visit local library
Another good way to focus on cheap living is to save money by using your library membership. Many libraries offer free movies, TV shows, and audiobooks. Some libraries may offer local attraction passes to their members free.
Most libraries have free Wi-Fi and lots of other facilities for young members.
9. Save on monthly grocery costs
The price of groceries may increase day by day. But you can’t avoid buying such items as eggs, milk, cereal, meat, veggies, etc.
How can you feed your family well if you do not buy such items?
In that case, you need to apply some common sense. You should buy seasonal veggies as much as possible, as their availability is good and cost you less.
Try to buy in bulk and freeze them well. The same rules can be applied to egg and milk, but you should always check the expiry dates before buying.
10. Get yourself a roommate
It is like having a tenant in your room who can share the costs If you live in an apartment or even rented a house with a bigger space, look for a roommate who can share costs with you and also help you to maintain the place.
Sharing the expenses will be much helpful for you to lower the overall monthly housing costs.
11. Lower your cable bills
Having a cable subscription nowadays is practically a waste of money. Our cellphones have already re-animated the meaning of entertainment worldwide.
Now we search and watch everything on our smartphones. But still, cable companies charge a whole lot whoever uses cable facility.
So, it is best to cancel your cable services and upgrade your cell phone connection package. You’ll notice you are paying less in data services than the amount you paid earlier as cell phone data package and cable services combined.
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12. Use cash for retail buying
Retailers know that consumers normally spend 30% more on shopping if they carry credit cards than cash. So, practically, using hard cash to buy things can save you a lot.
You may not control your impulse buying habit but due to lack of cash, you will have to stop.
13. Prepare a list before shopping
In my opinion, this is the best option to save money on shopping. You do not have to avoid credit cards, you do not have to limit carrying cash, just stick to your list and that's it!
When you’re shopping without a list, most of the time you end up overspending money due to impulse buying and unplanned purchases.
Creating a list before going for grocery shopping is especially important. You’ll be able to buy items that fit your meal plan and stop wasting.
14. Save on bank fees
Practically, the bank charges fee more than what we receive as bank interest. So, talk to your bank about this. If they don’t cooperate with you, it's time to switch banks.
Opt for a bank with better security and fewer bank charges. Once you save the money, it's best to put it somewhere safe, where you can get high interest on your saved funds.
15. Manage high-interest debts
If you have multiple high-interest debts like credit card debts or payday loans, you may have a hard time managing the monthly payments each month.
That big amount will affect your monthly budget. You may have to arrange an extra amount to adjust all the expenses apart from monthly debt payments.
So, you should look out for suitable debt help solutions that can solve your debt problems once and for all. Once you get rid of high-interest debts, it’ll be easier to save more without doing any side hustles.
16. Use coupons to cut down bills
Before making the payment for any goods or services, make sure you check out your coupons. If you have sufficient coupons with you, you might be getting that item free!
Try different coupon searching websites like RetailMeNot to get various kinds of coupons to help with cheap living. But remember, too much couponing may also generate the risk of overspending.
17. Always maintain records of income and expenses
You need to know where your money is coming from and how much, and also where it is going and how much. For that reason, keeping a record is necessary for everyone. It will provide proof of your hardship and achievements. Many people track it themselves using Excel spreadsheets or free online budgeting tools.
Plus, keeping a daily and weekly spending record is the first step toward establishing a monthly budget.
18. Celebrate a “No Spending” week every month
Check out your spending pattern of the previous month, and choose a week to stop any kind of spending.
For that, you need to gather items that you require almost every day. Once you gather all the essentials, lock your credit cards and cash in your locker and hide the keys.
Do not spend a single penny throughout that week.
You’ll notice that this process can help you to save from your monthly budget every time.
19. Invest your pocket change
Another way to live cheap is by using investing apps. With apps like Acorns, you’ll start small and stack up change over time with the Acorns “round-up” feature. That means if you spend $15.25 on your connected debit or credit card, for example, 75 cents gets dropped into your Acorns account.
Then the app does the whole investing thing for you. It’s that simple. Now you can brag to your friends, too.
The idea is you won’t miss the digital pocket change — you know, out of sight, out of mind. And those automatic savings stack up faster than you’d think.
The app is free to download on the app store or google play, and the service costs $1 a month for balances under $1 million — plus you’ll get that $5 bonus just for starting out. Or you can sign up with your student email and it’s free.
The sooner you start investing, the sooner your money can start to grow toward your goals. Get started with this Acorns bonus today!
20. Scan your receipts and earn
Yup, it’s true! There are several companies out there that will give you free money just for scanning receipts.
Fetch Rewards is a mobile rewards app that pays you for shopping (from any store).
This is a great way to make money, the easy way, and can add up to a large wad of cash with time.
Enjoy your cheap living!
21. Repair old clothes and use
Don’t toss out your old dresses just because they are old and have broken buttons or minor stitching issues. Repair those clothes with some closely-matched thread and buttons.
If you like, you can add some extra pieces to make them new again.
22. Drink water to reduce healthcare bills
Drinking plenty of water will help you to flush out toxins that body releases. Drinking 1 glass full of water before bath helps you to reduce blood pressure. So, it’ll help you to save on healthcare costs.
It also has financial benefits. Drinking a big glass of water before each meal makes you fuller for a long time. As a result, you'll eat less.
23. Avoid addiction for cheap living
Do not smoke, do not drink, and absolutely…say NO to drugs!
Smoking causes cancer. Too much drinking causes liver diseases and many other health problems. If you want to add years to your life and save a good amount each day, keep yourself away from this hell.
24. Save on power bills
Adjust your thermostat heating to save on power bills. Apart from that, use energy-efficient CFLs or LEDs to light up your place. Buy branded, quality electrical appliances that will last longer and give you more savings.
25. Travel frugally for cheap living
Plan so that you can get as much as a discount on tickets, hotel fare, bus rides, and foods. Pick up a location during the off-season, it’ll help you to bargain with hotel fare.
26. Use your head before using credit cards
If you have a habit of buying things only using credit cards, it is better that you must keep them in a locker and hide the keys. Do not carry credit cards in your wallet.
The idea is to keep your cards “out of sight and out of mind”. This way you can control your urges and can lower the usage of credit cards.
By reducing credit card usage, you can also put an end to overspending. Once you reduce overspending, you will be able to lower your credit card debt.
27. Go with one car for cheap living
Your car is the most expensive item after your home. Today, most of the average housing families maintain two or more cars. But if you have one car and planning to buy another one, think again!
It is better if you carry on with only one car, if possible. More than one car means, more fuel expense, more repair and paint job costs, more cost on insurance, and several others.
So, pick one of your dream cars and stick to it. Maintain that car well every year.
28. Buy used electronics
Electronics items are one of the most consumable goods that can add up.
We always buy new, latest electronics goods, gadgets, phones, etc without thinking about their prices.
This habit should be stopped and we should try to buy old electronic goods, in working condition. Secondhand, working condition goods can be much cheaper than brand new products.
Gazelle is a website that buys and sells used smartphones and other devices, try it once and see if you can save some dollars.
29. Cook your food at home
This may sound quite funny and absurd., But, if you stop eating out at expensive restaurants and start cooking every meal at home, it will be way cheaper than the other option.
Restaurants may serve you the same food you can prepare, with adding too many surcharges and taxes. Apart from that, there is no guarantee that they will serve you fresh food all the time.
You may try multiple experiments with your food and add ingredients as per your choice. The food will be fresh at home, with no preservatives or harmful coloring.
30. Turn off your television
You may cut down a big amount of money from your monthly expenses once you lower your television usage. There are multiple benefits you may get by doing this.
You’ll see fewer promotional ads, a lower electric bill, and a lower cable bill after downgrading your subscription.
Cheap living is possible!
Never give up! These are just 25 cheap living tips that came to my mind randomly.
Cheap living doesn’t mean eating rice and corn, use the same clothes throughout the weekend, and use old goods.
You can think about a lot more options and can even invest some! Let me know what you have implemented and how the wheel of saving is spinning. Good luck.