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You don’t have to deprive yourself to live frugally. There are plenty of ways to still have fun and enjoy life even if you’re on a budget.
In this article, I’m going to share tips on how to live cheaply and still do the things you love.
But first, let’s look at the term cheap in this context.
What does it denote?
Does it involve denying yourself the pleasure and enjoyment by going for the poor-quality and the inferior?
Will you have to trick yourself out into getting the rubbish just because it’s low-priced?
Cheap, as used in the term cheap living, is essentially spending less.
But instead of focusing on the price tag, living cheaply is understanding you don’t need to spend large amounts of money to enjoy life.
Living cheap means you’re acknowledging to yourself that you may need less yet still have fun; that you can still have a great time without putting a huge dent in your budget.
Now, that being said, it doesn’t mean you have to completely shut yourself out of the finer things in life.
Yes, you may still enjoy the expensive stuff. But first, you need to focus on your priorities like creating an emergency fund, saving for a comfortable retirement, or just setting aside money in a savings account.
Need tips on how to live cheaply?
How to live cheaply, you might ask.
Living on the cheap doesn’t mean you’ll be eating instant ramen noodles for the rest of your life. It may be a low-cost meal but it’s far from nutritious.
And just because you’re paying less doesn’t mean you’re getting a benefit from it.
Oftentimes, buying the same item (for example, food) over and over again can get tedious and boring. Then here comes a new product that’s a bit pricey but brings a whole new pizzazz.
It’s good for your sanity to try out this thing that excites you even if it’s more expensive.
The cheapest way to live doesn’t have to mean you have to deprive yourself, even of the simplest joys in life.
So how to live cheaply without the misery of frugal life?
Here are the ways.
If you save on food costs, you can save money.
Did you know food is one of the three biggest expenses in most U.S. household?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said an average home spends around $7,700 every year on food alone. The other two big expenditures are on transportation and housing.
But unlike the other two, food costs are a whole lot easier to tackle. You can have better control over how much to spend on food.
Just make the necessary changes and you can save on your food bill.
You don’t have to give up on your favorite brands to cut your food costs.
Here are some of my money-saving tips to get you back in the driver’s seat of your food spending.
1. Cut your grocery expenses with cashback apps.
The reality is the prices of basic commodities rise while your salary can’t keep up with the pace.
So how do you address this issue?
Save money on your grocery costs (or at least earn them back) through these apps for cash back.
If you’re looking to lower your costs and stay with your budget, you might want to consider using these cashback apps.
It’s one of the first apps for cashback. A partner of many retailers, around 1,500 shops that include Amazon, Walmart, and Target.
Plus, if you want to try out new items that are previously unreleased to the public, you can use this cashback app for product trials.
You can use this cashback app for online and offline shopping.
Ibotta is perfect for your regular grocery items like milk and eggs.
You can also use Ibotta when you want to dine in restaurants or buy electronics.
If you’re looking to shop online, you’ll be happy to know Ebates is affiliated with over 2,000 stores. Plus, you can also use it to shop in actual, physical stores.
Use Ebates when you need to buy health and beauty items, home products, clothing and accessories, and baby stuff.
It’s easy to get Ebates.
You can install it as an extension on your Google Chrome browser or download the app for iOS or Android.
Do you want to get started?
Earn cashback points with Drop.
When you reach 5,000 points, you can redeem them for gift cards at Amazon, Target, and Starbucks, among other participating outlets.
The great thing about Drop is that it is a partner to many online and actual shops. So getting those cash backs points is easy to achieve.
If you’re looking to score cashback rewards on veggies and produce at the supermarket, use Checkout 51.
It’s one of the best and highly rewarding cash back apps, offering great promos and special offers. Plus, it’s easy to earn your points for cashback.
With Checkout 51, you can shop anywhere. After buying your grocery items, all you need to do is scan the receipt. You will earn your points within 48 hours, crediting it to your account.
You might want to check out its featured offers. Around 40 to 50 new offers pop out every week at a time.
For our friends who are looking for a vegetarian option in their food selections, check out Berry Cart.
This wonderful app helps you maintain your healthy food lifestyle since its theme is about all-natural, organic, gluten-free, and vegetarian choices.
Berry Cart is available in over 100,000 outlets, including Target, Whole Foods, and Walmart.
2. Create a grocery list and stick to it.
It’s easy to lose track of your priorities when you don’t have a list to follow.
So before you go to the supermarket, have a shopping list ready. It’s an easy way to cut your grocery costs since you’ve already set out what important things to buy, focusing on only those items.
If you’re running out of your staples, go through your pantry and fridge. Make a list of your essentials for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including your snacks.
Now, when you’re in the grocery, make sure to buy only what’s on your list.
Even if you think you left an item in your list, don’t buy it. This will teach you to curb impulse buys and the importance of planning your supermarket trips.
3. Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry.
You’ll easily swerve from your grocery list if you shop hungry. It can be difficult to resist the tempting snacks on the shelves.
So have a light snack before you go to the supermarket.
4. Eat at home often.
When you order food, you’re paying extra for the convenience of having your meals cooked and prepared for you.
Need tips on how to eat well and still get savings?
Develop your own meal plan, consisting of healthy stuff. Get veggies in there.
What’s great about cooking your own food is you get to have control over the ingredients.
Want less sodium?
Need to put less sugar?
Get your healthy food choices on your daily menu by preparing your meals.
How to be cheap? Cut your expenses.
You probably cut services that you seldom use already. However, they can still bleed money every month.
Perhaps consider cutting them off. Or at least choose a subscription plan that costs lower than what you have now.
5. Is your monthly phone bill getting out of hand?
If you have features on your phone subscription that you don’t need, you might want to consider going for another plan that’s cheaper.
6. Cancel your cable TV subscription if you seldom use it.
If you don’t watch TV often, you might want to opt-out of your cable TV subscription.
Anyway, there’s a lot of video streaming services online if you want to binge on movies.
7. Did you know there are many ways to get free wifi?
Want to increase your savings?
A typical connection will set you back around $50 a month. It’s more if you opt for the premium package. The higher the internet speed, the higher the monthly cost.
Have you considered opting for free internet instead?
You don’t have to shell out hundreds of your hard-earned dollars to get connected online.
In my other post, I’ve set out the ways to get free internet access. Check it out.
The Cheapest Way To Live Is To Spend less.
You don’t have to pursue the cheapest way to live. If you want to be frugal without sacrificing your comfort and convenience, you can start by spending less.
Here are some tips to help you save money and still make your life easier.
8. Ditch the paper towels and use napkins instead.
Yes, they are handy when cleaning up messes in the house, but paper towels can be expensive. One use and then you’ll have to throw it.
Plus, paper towels are made of paper, and paper is made of trees. The more you use it, the more you’re hurting the environment because you’re not helping in conserving the trees.
So ditch the paper towel. Use napkins instead.
You can use napkins to clean up the mess as you eat. And when you’re done, you can simply wash and reuse it. No wastage.
9. Get a safety razor.
Do the men in the house need to shave often?
Imagine buying new razors every week to keep up.
Indeed, shaving can get pretty expensive if you add up the costs of this routine.
Plus, what’s worse is that all that plastic that comes with the new razor gets dumped in the landfill. And because it’s plastic, it’s bad for the planet.
Want an alternative that’s friendly to your wallet and to Mother Earth?
Try using a safety razor instead.
It’s made of metal. And since it’s not disposable like the plastic variety, it can last a long time. The replacement metal blades are cheaper too.
10. Have you considered buying your clothes on sale?
Of course, you have. Everybody loves a good deal, especially on everyday items like our clothes.
You might also want to check out thrift shops for good finds.
Look into Facebook groups and communities; these pages also offer savings hacks and frugal-type living tips.
If you don’t mind giving feedback to brands you can try these ways to get free clothes.
11. Save on credit card costs by paying your dues on time.
If you miss your credit card payments, you’ll face a hefty penalty plus interest. That will create a mountain of debt for you.
But as much as we want to avoid using credit cards, it can be necessary at times. Especially when the cash is low and there are important purchases to make.
So the best thing you can do is to minimize its impact on your finances. And to do that, you’ll need timely pay your dues.
You can save on penalty or interest fees when you pay your credit card bill as soon as possible and within the deadline.
12. Have you considered using coupons?
Coupons are usually associated with how to live cheaply. And it’s not a bad thing.
Once you get into couponing, you’ll realize why many people are sort of addicted to it. There’s a certain thrill and enjoyment of buying items are a huge discount.
In fact, around 96 percent of shoppers use coupons for their purchases.
Forget clipping all the coupons you can find in newspapers and magazines. You can find the best ones on the internet.
Looking for the best coupon websites?
Check out Swagbucks. From cashback rewards to special coupon codes, you can find it here. You can save hundreds of dollars with its huge deals and price-offs.
There’s also Ebates. Just like Swagbucks, it’s also a cashback and coupon site.
Now, Groupon is a great site when you want to check out awesome deals on entertainment, beauty and spa, hotels, and restaurants.
13. Just go back to the basics.
One of the best tips I got on how to live cheaply was to just go back to the basics.
No fuss, no unnecessary or excessive expenditures.
Limit your spending as much as possible. If you need to resurrect and reuse your old stuff, do it.
When it comes to your purchases, there’s no need to buy branded products if the generic ones offer the same benefits.
Final thoughts on cheap living.
Living a frugal lifestyle is doable. It doesn’t have to be difficult, depriving yourself of the pleasures of life.
However, it takes careful planning and sticking to it to make cheap living possible.
Care to share your tips on how to live cheaply?