Living on less money can be painful but if you’re trying to get out of debt or save money, that’s one of the best ways to be successful. The only other alternative is to increase your income—which might not be as simple.
Living on Less Money: Reducing Your Food Budget
Food can take a big bite out of your budget no matter if it’s just you or you have a family. If you’re like me though, you don’t want to live off beans and rice and rice and beans.
The first thing that needs to go is eating out of the house. Restaurants make it easy to spend a lot of money and avoiding those will save you lots of cash. If you must go out to eat, try only doing it once per week or even once per month.
Find a couple of cheap meals you like and make those 2-3 times per week. For the other meals you can do something different and a little more expensive. Or if you want to save more money just flip the script and eat something nice 2-3 times per week and your budget meals the rest of the time.
Our budget meals are spaghetti, fettuccini alfredo, and frozen pizza. Yeah. Not super fabulous if you’re trying to go for health—I know.
What to Do about Clothes?
If you need to start living on less money, you can save a lot by spending basically nothing on clothes. Seriously.
Get some quality bottoms and tops and make sure they are interchangeable and boom. You’ve got enough of a wardrobe. Don’t get all caught up in wearing something new all of the time.
Shopping thrift stores can work sometimes if you’re lucky. A lot of times though, you might not be able to find your size of something you like.
Transportation Expense Hacks
If you own a gas guzzler, it’s time to buy a vehicle with better gas mileage. If you have a big family, it might be a little more difficult, but you can find something that doesn’t take all of your money in gas.
Driving something that isn’t in pristine condition might make you flinch, but if necessary—get a vehicle with a few dings to avoid massive car payments.
Entertainment for Less
Learn how to enjoy doing things that are free. Going to the park, watching old movies, playing board games, putting together puzzles, reading books.
There are a lot of free materials you can get at the library and many libraries even have virtual memberships now.
We don’t have cable but we do use HULU and since we have Amazon Prime, we have access to Prime Video. We do movie nights on Saturday nights with the kids.
There are a lot of ways to have simple fun without spending a lot of money.
Figuring Out What’s Most Important
I used to be obsessed with having super nice things—and I still like nice things and am grateful for what I have. But I also will not buy things that will cost me peace of mind and big payments.
The fastest way to living on less money is to reorder your priorities. For instance, instead of valuing the newest car, maybe value being able to work fewer hours and homeschool your kids. Or instead of having to take a vacation out of state, opt to have a staycation.
Whatever the case, you have to figure out what is most important to you and that will help guide you toward how much money you need and what you need to do to get it.