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Cheap living isn’t about skimping out on your server’s tip. Learning how to live cheap without being ridiculous is actually a fine art.
There are two ends to the financial spectrum:
On one end, people are super consumers, buying and financing everything they possibly can just to keep up appearances (or keep up with the Joneses).
The complete opposite side of the spectrum has people who practice cheap living and extreme frugality.
So where’s the balance? Can you even find balance?
I believe the balance comes once you’ve gotten into a rhythm: an ebb and flow of money coming in and going out to take care of debt.
People who have paid off all of their debt and experienced financial freedom say that only then can you truly feel secure. The stress of lacking money and owing everyone is gone.
If you’re buried in debt and want to take care of it once and for all, living cheap can help you accomplish that goal.
Cheap Living Ideas to Save Money
1. Stop Eating Out
I had a financial coaching session this week where I talked to a client who earned really good money but wanted to tackle his car debt so he could buy a home.
A major realization was that he was spending a lot of money on restaurants and entertainment.
By budgeting a specific amount of “fun money” every paycheck to these categories, he’ll be able to pay off his car within a year and save a good down payment for a house next year.
If you’re interested in financial coaching, you can check out my booking page here. I’ve had clients book a quick call just to ask for advice on how they should tweak their budget. I am obsessed with budgeting, and I love helping people!
2. Cancel Cable or Satellite
One of my guilty pleasures is watching TV. I actually love watching TV every night with my husband (even though he hates watching The Bachelor).
But we switched to streaming on YouTube TV several months ago, and it was a great fit for us!
This isn’t the first time we dropped DirecTV, though. We actually tried streaming several years ago, but Sling TV wasn’t doing it for us.
YouTube TV is only $49 per month, and we’re able to get all of our local channels (no blackouts), all of the sports channels (a MUST during football season), and all of the true-crime and kid channels your heart desires.
I do pay for Netflix as well as an annual subscription to Hallmark movies, and these were well worth the investment. We never run out of good entertainment at home.
3. Switch Cell Phone Providers
We have Verizon cell phone service, and we will gladly pay for it because of the parental controls that only Verizon offers.
We’ve tried Bark and other parental control apps, but Verizon Smart Family allows me to track my kids’ location and set location alerts (so if my teenager thinks she’s going to sneak out of my house or even her friends’ house at night, I’ll receive a text that she’s on the move).
It also allows me to turn off all usage (other than phone calls), and I can allow or block specific apps like Snapchat or TikTok.
Verizon offers prepaid plans, and while I switched from Verizon to Cricket years back, we ultimately came back to Verizon because their service is second to none.
I’ve partnered with Verizon to offer you $60 back when you switch to a prepaid plan through my referral link.
4. Meal Plan and Prep
If you’re going to be eating at home more and eating out less, you’ll need to learn how to meal plan. This is my least favorite thing to do, but it saves us a ton of money.
I hate cooking, and my kids are really picky eaters, so I have to get creative.
We save hundreds every month on our grocery bill by shopping at Aldi and sticking to a grocery list.
I put together a grocery budget of how I feed my family on $60 per week. It can be done, and you don’t have to eat beans and rice every day either!
5. Start a Budget
This goes without saying, but I’m going to mention it anyway. You have to tell your money where to go by creating a budget that works for your family.
The first time you start budgeting, you’re probably going to go over-budget and will have to make some adjustments (which is totally fine).
You’ll get the hang of it, but you’ve got to start tracking bills and expenses so that you can adjust your spending according to your goals.
A cheap cash envelope wallet system can help you keep track of cash and sinking funds.
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Have you signed up for my free 5-day budget boot camp? It can help you build a better budget so you can start achieving your financial goals!
6. Sell your Car
Your car is your second most expensive debt in the budget typically (behind housing), and your car might be keeping you broke.
If you live in an area that is bikable, consider selling your car. You could also opt for public transportation.
If you’re upside down in your car loan (owing more than it’s worth), check out how I was able to sell my upside down car ($10,000 in negative equity).
You’ll receive no judgment from me here, y’all. I’ve made the same mistakes you have and then some. And I always share the “sober truth”…even if it ain’t pretty.
7. Don’t Live Cheap – Start a Side Hustle Instead
If you’re reading this list thinking “This doesn’t sound like fun at all…I’d much rather just make more money so that I can enjoy life”, here’s a tip for you.
Start a side hustle and increase your income so that you don’t feel like you have to sacrifice quality of life.
Starting a blog was the smartest decision I ever made. I quit my banking job because I only grossed about $30,000 per year, and child care was eating up my paychecks!
Now, I earn more through blogging than I did as a personal banker. And I get to work from home as my own boss!
You can learn how to start a blog here, and if you sign up for hosting to start your blog through my Bluehost coupon, you’ll save nearly 70% and I’ll send you over a copy of my 1-hour blog video tutorial.
Just drop me an email at melissa [at] perfectionhangover.com, and I’ll confirm and send it right over to you!
Frugal Living Tips Summed Up
Frugal living and cheap living are one and the same. These cheap living tips can help you save money and live frugally, and remember that earning extra money from home can help you find balance.
Need side hustle ideas? Here are 81 work from home ideas to make extra cash this month.
I’ve done all the things! Girl, I’ve washed my face. I’ve trashed everything that doesn’t spark joy. I’ve walked the baby steps. I’ve cried. I’ve prayed, but my perfectionism has really held me back.
Perfection Hangover can be crippling. Stop comparing yourself to others and start living your best life! That’s why PH exists! I want to encourage you to take control of your money, your blog, and your business.