Unless you were born into wealth, you have definitely gone through a rough period in your life, or you’re going through one right now.
Whatever the case is, frugal living isn’t as easy as some would like you to believe, it’s actually pretty hard and things can go south really quickly.
If you’re trying to make ends meet, here are some tips for living with very little money.
How to survive on less money when you have to:
1.Make a Budget
Honestly, knowing how to draw up a reliable budget is a life skill that should be taught to children from a young age. Instead, it’s only regarded as an essential tool for frugal living.If you’re wondering how to live with very little money, drawing up a budget is a great way to start, because you’ll allocate your funds to actual basic needs instead of wasting your money on unnecessary and irrelevant things.
You can use your budget to keep track of your spending habits and also to identify which expenses use up most of your money, so you can try to reduce them.
“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went”
Dame Ramsey says it all in his quote. You’ll be surprised by the amount of money you practically flush down the toilet when you purchase items you don’t really need, especially small insignificant items. Your reasoning might be that they’re small and they won’t put a dent in your budget, except they add up very quickly and in the long run, they end up costing you quite a lot.
2. Keep your Heating Low
I know how hard it is to keep your heating low, especially in colder weather, but if you don’t have much money to go by, you’re going to have to make a few subtle sacrifices.
Most people are unaware of this, but any appliance or machine that produces heat uses up lots of power, because of a component called resistance. Consequently, the more power an appliance uses, the bigger the dent in your electricity bill.
To put it simply, your home heater could be costing you anywhere between £4 to £15 a day. I’m not saying that you should turn off your heater indefinitely, because that would be impossible, considering how low the temperature drops in winter. What I’m suggesting is that you don’t keep it on at maximum power the entire day.
3. Rent out your Spare Room
It may seem a bit bizarre to have a stranger living in your spare room, but it’s actually a normal thing to do, in fact, it has become an increasingly popular practice around the world. Renting out your spare room is a quick and inexpensive way to get another stream of income.
To be honest, it’ll take you a while to wrap your head around the idea of renting out your spare room, but once you get used to it, you’ll find that it comes with lots of perks in addition to extra income.
It’s worth noting that for this arrangement to work, you’ll have to agree on a number of things with your tenant, especially if you plan to do this on a long-term basis. Tenants tend to overstep their boundaries, to avoid this; you should draw up a contract or at least a set of rules that your tenant will have to abide by.
4. Walk to Work
The yearly average cost of commuting to work is about £796 per person, that’s about £4 a day. It doesn’t seem like much right? Except, on average, people spend about 4 pounds a day on food. That said, walking to work instead of other modes of transport saves you money that you can use on groceries or other useful items.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that it’s easier said than done and that may be true, because setting up your alarm a few minutes earlier and having to walk home after an exhausting day of work doesn’t sound too tempting.
Walking to work doesn’t have to be all too miserable, you can make it a little more interesting by listening to upbeat music, or you could think of it as killing two birds with one stone; you exercise while simultaneously saving money.
For safety purposes, it’s better to always walk with someone or a group of people headed in the same direction as you, and you should always let someone know of your itinerary and whereabouts.
5. Read More
You probably weren’t expecting this to be one of the tips for living with very little money, but reading will help you get used to the idea of living on a tight budget. Binge watching your favourite series on Netflix may be entertaining, but reading provides more than entertainment, it introduces your mind to new opportunities.
An anonymous millionaire who lost almost all her fortune to the Madoff scheme was asked how she managed to get through and she said by reading more. You may not have lost all your fortune but reading could still be beneficial to you in many ways.
It’s not enough to read novels and other entertaining pieces; instead you should focus your efforts on reading educational books and articles.
6. Start freelancing
The freelancing world has gained a lot of traction over the past decade. Nowadays, more and more people across the globe are shifting from traditional jobs to either remote work or freelancing. Freelancing allows you to provide a service online, without ever living your home or even meeting face to face with your clients.
There are tons of freelancing opportunities online, so if you have a particular skillset, you can hone it to turn it into a full-time online business. You can freelance as a writer, video editor or even a virtual assistant and many more.
On the downside, when starting out, you’ll have to work extremely hard to win over clients and once you have clients, you’ll be bombarded with lots of admin like invoicing clients, writing proposals and doing your own taxes.
7. Don’t Cook Every Single Day
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should starve yourself. You don’t realise this, but in addition to power usage, cooking requires ingredients, so instead of cooking supper every day, you should cook enough super to last you two to three days. I know it’s not exactly exciting for your taste buds but your budget will thank you for it.
In the event that you’re one of those people who love to switch it up when it comes to food and you can’t eat the same thing twice or three times in a row, you could try cooking meals that can be eaten in a variety of ways. For instance you can make meatballs and have it with rice one night and have it with spaghetti the following day.
8. Go Grocery Shopping Once a Month
It’s no secret that buying certain items at bulk price is a lot cheaper than buying the same quantity of those same items separately. For this reason, going grocery shopping once a month makes sense because it allows you to take advantage of the cheaper bulk price per unit.
In addition to more affordable items, you also get to spend less on fuel or otherwise money you would have used to go to the store.
9. Don’t Go Out if you Didn’t Budget for it
Living on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you should stop living your life. There are plenty of things you can do with very little money or even no money at all, i.e. walking in the park, and going for swim or even bicycle riding if you own a bike.
Once in a while you will be tempted to go out with friends and while it’s easy to say you’re not going to go beyond your means, the opposite usually happens because you’re having so much fun and you get carried away. That said, it’s best to not go out spontaneously.
10. Take Part in a Stress-relieving Activity
Unintentionally living a frugal life can be stressful to say the least and one thing to know about stress is that it accumulates until it becomes impossible to endure. That’s why it’s important that you find a way to destress and cleans your mind.
Exercise is a good way to not only relieve stress but also to release negative energy and absorb positive energy. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, even a simple jog or run in the park will help you destress.
The key to making ends meet with very little is self-discipline. You have to be rigorous about how you allocate your money to various expenses, you have to follow your budget to a tee and you have to keep your mental wellness in check.