Do you want to shave some serious money off your day to day living expenses? If trying to balance your budget means you need to clip more than a few coupons and always buy on sale this list could help you slash your expenses in a significant way.
10 Ways Thrifty People Drastically Reduce Their Expenses
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1. Live In Less
Rent or mortgage is the highest expense in most budgets, especially when you add in the cost of heating, cooling, insurance, maintenance, water, trash and all the other bills included in owning or renting a home.
Could you find a home that would mean less mortgage or rent? Could you take it a few steps further and find one that not only means a smaller month to month payment, but also means lower utility and upkeep cost, i.e., a smaller home? How much space does your family really need?
If you are single or perhaps a couple starting out you might want to do something radical and join the van life movement. Get your calculator out and figure out how much you could save each month if you didn’t have to pay rent or a mortgage and all the utility payments that come with it. Spend some time on YouTube searching for and watching van life videos. You might just come away being surprised by how doable it really is.
2. Drive Less
How many vehicles does your family currently own? Do you honestly need that many? Could one of you bike, walk or share rides to work?
If reducing the number of vehicles isn’t possible, how about the value of them? If you have car payments, could you sell the ones you currently own and buy ones of lesser value for cash, thus eliminating the monthly vehicle payment? Experience has taught me that once you stop paying the dealership you need to start paying a savings account a monthly payment so you can buy a new to you one when you need to. However, what you need to put aside each month to stay forever out of vehicle debt probably will be less than your current vehicle payment.
You also need to think about gas mileage. If your commute is long, you could save a considerable amount by purchasing a car with better fuel economy. Of course, you could also save on gas and gain family time by moving closer to work. You might even reduce the need for a vehicle by doing this.
One last way to significantly reduce auto cost is to drive less–as in trying to combine errands as much as possible. If the place you need to go is less than a mile away, consider walking. If it is under five miles, consider biking.
3. Talk Less
Cell phone bills can be outrageous, but they don’t have to be. Very rarely do people really need the unlimited data, text, and talk plans they are paying for especially now that free wifi is widely available.
Our family of five, for instance, uses pay-as-you-go companies and we pay right around $20 per month per smartphone–that is $10o a month for service to five cell phones and most months it is well under $100. Three of us are on a share bucket month-to-month system at Ting and two are at Tracfone where we pay a flat fee once a year and spend perhaps $5 a month or less topping up data or text packages when needed.
Here are two articles I wrote about my experience as a Ting customer:
- Get service to whatever smartphone you want for $20 a month
- How Our Family Spends Just $45 A Month For Service To Three Smartphones
4. Sweat The Small Things
I know this post is supposed to be about ways to significantly save money, but small things can really add up. If you find 10 ways to save $10 a month, that is $100 more in your pocket each month.
Go through all your monthly bills and see if you can figure out a way to save at least $5 on each of them. Just this month I discovered we could save $10 on our internet/landline bill by switching to a different long distance plan. We could save even more by dumping the landline, but we have relatives in different countries and the landline works better for those calls.
5. Think Outside The Box
If you take action on point one or two on this list, you are probably going to come across people who look at you weird when you tell them what you did to save money–be okay with that. Thinking outside the box and doing something different than the norm will better your financial future.
Don’t just apply thinking outside the box to where you live and what you drive though–apply it to all areas of spending. My husband is the king at out of the box thinking. He once bought a 30-year-old cube van to move our family close to 3,000 miles. When we were all moved in he sold it for what he paid for it making our moving costs just gas, food, and accommodations–most of which we would have had to pay anyway if we had just driven the family van behind a rented moving van.
6. Shop At Home
Think you need groceries? Go through the fridge, freezer, and cupboards first and see how many meals you can create from what food is already in the house. When I do this, I often realize I have at least two to three days worth of food left–sometimes more.
Need wrapping paper? How about the plain insides of a brown paper grocery bag. Decorate it with stickers or stamps.
Need a gift? What craft supplies do you have on hand already that could be used to make one? Does the person rave about your baking? If so, do you have the ingredients already to bake her or him an edible gift?
And don’t forget about the power of a good roll of strong duct tape (our family loves this brand the best). We have used it to fix our vacuum cleaner and so much more. A roll kept in the house at all times has stopped us from going out to buy something new on several occasions.
7. Stack The Savings
Here is an example of what I mean here. My boy needed jeans. We found a good sale online. Before placing the order first, I looked to see if I could get a discounted gift card (we have used Cardpool with good success, but I have heard Raise works well too). I did find one and saved a few dollars there. Then I went to a cashback site (Ebates is a good one, but often I find higher rates through MyPoints) and used it to click over to the site we found the jeans at when I did I activated a cashback deal that saved us a few more dollars. I finally sweetened the deal with a free shipping code.
All together I stacked four ways to save money on top of each other which significantly increased my savings.
8. Never Stop Learning
I have read every saving money book I can get my hands since my first year of marriage, which was over 20 years ago. Sure, each new book I read now isn’t stuffed to the brim with money saving tips I don’t already know, but I do find something new in every finance book I read.
Speaking of money saving books–I wrote one! Check it out here.
9. DIY When It Makes Financial Sense
You can learn how to do just about anything through YouTube videos and good blog tutorials, but that doesn’t mean you should attempt to fix everything or build everything. There is still something to be said about natural talent and time investment.
If you earn $20 an hour or more and the DIY job takes you three hours and saves you $5, then it is probably best to skip it and buy ready-made–unless you have a passion for making it yourself.
Sharing your time, talent and possessions with others usually leads to them sharing their time, expertise and possessions with you and that can save each of you some serious money. However, this has to be done with the right heart. Do it expecting nothing in return, if you do get something you can consider it a bonus. What our family has found is often the returns don’t come from the same people you helped, but from an entirely different source. Again–we always check our heart first. If we are not truly doing it just because we can and we want to help, we don’t. Doing things with the wrong motive and attitude always backfires.
These ten things are crucial to making a big difference in just how little you can live off of. I hope this list gives you some ideas of ways to cut your expenses. However, sometimes people can do all 10 of these steps and still have more month than money. If this is you, here are twelve ways to increase your income that almost anyone can do.
For a list of 52 different websites, apps, and stores our thrifty family uses to help us keep our expenses low, click here to visit our Thrifty Tools Resource Page.
3 More Posts That Will Help You Save Money:
- 10 Ways Thrifty People Save Money On Groceries
- 20 Websites Thrifty People Use To Save Money On Clothing
- 250 Ways Thrifty People Save Money