Scrimping and saving money has become trendy, which is good news for people like me. I have never understood the thinking behind spending money on overly expensive items like a $500 on a designer handbag. After decades of living above our means, Americans have come to realize that spending money and paying for everything with credit can come back to bite us on our very delicate bottoms. It’s time to start saving money and be smart. Here are five ways to live well beneath your means.
1. Downgrade your car. For a while, it seemed like everyone was spending money on up keeping an SUV. With gas prices climbing to astonishing levels, it’s hard to imagine a $100 gas bill every time you pull up to the pump. Instead of going into debt on car payments and gas, saving money by driving a small, used car can still get you where you need to go, cheaply.
2. Buy only what you need. Bulk stores became popular many years ago, and it seemed completely reasonable to be spending money on 24 rolls of toilet paper at a time, even if you lived alone. However, if you want to be saving money by living on less, buy only what you need and do not waste anything by spending money on what you might need in the future.
3. Shop at thrift stores. If you like designer clothing but shudder at the price tags, you could be saving money by checking out thrift and consignment stores in your area. You can often find high end labels for a lot less than you’d pay at the mall, spending money smartly on the same exact items.
4. Cook. Eating out is one of the easiest ways to be spending money without even realizing it. Cooking at home does not have to be dreadful. Invite some friends over for a potluck, or check for really scrumptious recipes online. Saving money by cooking at home will not only let you live beneath your means, it will also provide food that tastes much better and is healthier for you than what you’d find at the food court anyway.
5. Quit the gym. This expense that should have you wondering if you belong to a gym to get into shape, or to be social. If you are spending money on a membership simply for the social benefits, you are wasting a lot of time and money. If you belong for the exercise, consider how much better it would be saving money and exercising for free in the great outdoors. Start running, walking to the park, playing tennis, or swimming laps at the community pool. All great ways to stay in shape while saving money!