This “ How To Live Cheap: 17 Ways To Save Money “ post describes what I do that shows frugality. These tips do help my family, and we save a ton of money every year. These are things that many consider as ways of a cheap person but, for me, they really aren’t. This post contains affiliate links/ads. See disclosure policy.
I have been frugal since the day I can remember. I think being cheap started when I was a little boy.
Living cheaply or frugally is something I had to learn early on in life. My family was poor. We didn’t have anything. My father earned less than a dollar a day to try to feed a family of 11.
The dollar was not enough to feed us all. Fortunately, we all survived and we were happy with what we had and didn’t have.
Up to now frugality is still in me. It’s like ingrained in my overall being or I guess it is really who I am. Over the years, I have been able to differentiate being frugal from being cheap.
In general, it’s not easy to distinguish one from the other. But with experience, I have been able to define what is being frugal and what is being cheap. Over the years, I have been able to adopt and find frugal money saving tips that help my family save thousands of money.
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How To Live Cheap: 17 Ways To Save Money
Here are some things I do that show and speak of frugality (i.e. live cheap). I’ve been doing these things for a very long time and I don’t see anything wrong with it. Frankly speaking, a lot of people around me really admire my strength I show how to live cheap regardless of what other people think.
I bring food (i.e. snacks and lunch) to work every day.
I have a small pantry in my cube where I keep all the goodies. I never get hungry and I have never bought anything in our cafeteria ever. Bringing food from home to work especially the leftovers has helped my family and I save a lot of money.
I use the little time I have to blog.
I dedicate most of my time with my family. The smallest amount of time I have left is dedicated to blogging. Of course, I do take a break. I use blogging to keep my mind out of temptation, that is, temptation to buy things I should not be buying. Luckily, this blogging has helped me earn a ton of money. In less than a year, I managed to earn at least $34,000. I spend an hour or so a day on blogging.
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I live cheap by using the clothes and shoes I bought five to ten years ago.
Yes, I still wear the clothes and shoes I bought a long time ago. I take care of my clothes and shoes like they are new clothes. I stitch some of the clothes that need some repairs instead of throwing them of and buying new ones.
I live cheap by not wasting food.
I never waste food not even the tiniest grain of rice on my plate. My plate is always clean, and I like it that way. I learned from my parents to not waste food. As a result, every single food I have gets devoured completely.
When it comes to parties, I only take what I think I can finish. If I finish the food and my stomach needs some more, then, I would go back. I don’t just take a mountain full of food and not finish all of it.
I live cheap by biking to work.
I like being active and I am a very active person. I like to exercise and keep my blood flowing. I always work out, and one of the things I do is biking. I bike to work every day. I bike from work to home every day. It’s my way of staying active and saving money by not consuming gas.
My wife and I have bought one or two clothes for our daughter in the past four years. We don’t need to buy clothes for our daughter. All her clothes come from my sister and friends. Some of them are new, unused ones but most are used. But that’s ok. They look new anyway.
I live cheap because I make my stuff.
I love to DIY. I create things out of other people’s trash (although they’re not trash). I put my creative mind to use and create wonderful pieces of art that my family uses inside the house. I created a food and DIY blog called The Handy Foodie to showcase all the things DIY-related that I do.
I live cheap because I take a bath at the gym.
It may sound cheapskate, but it’s all about practicality. I don’t pay anything for a gym membership because it is one of the perks at my work. I use a lot of hot water, and if I do that at home, I’d be paying a lot of money. Plus, going to the gym has another benefit than having to take a shower, that is, I can work out and keep myself active.
I live cheap or smart because I cook from scratch.
I don’t like eating out. I don’t like eating out because it costs a lot of money to dine out and I don’t know all the ingredients or how the food was prepared. I like cooking in the house/apartment because I know what the ingredients are and how to control the flavor.
For me, home cooked food is always the best tasting food.
I live cheap because I bake from scratch.
There are a ton of cake mixes and easy to prepare foods out there. I stay away from them. I like the idea of making my own bread, pastry, cakes, among others. Just like cooking, baking my own food allows me to control the ingredients, the taste, and the flavor. I also like baking because food tastes better.
I live a smart life because I don’t have cable. I cut my cable subscription a long time ago.
I once thought that having a ton of shows to watch is a dream come true. I realized that I was just wasting money by having cable subscription. Cable companies charge a whole lot. What do I do if I want to watch TV shows? I go to Hulu, Netflix, and even TV/cable networks’ websites to watch the videos.
Most of the time, I go with the store brands when I go to the stores.
Whether I’m buying clothes or foods, I almost always end up buying the non-brand, store brands. They are as good as their branded counterparts and they are cheaper, too. For me, I don’t need to buy branded ones because the cheaper, non-branded ones provide me the benefits I need.
I use a lot of coupons. A lot of people call me the “King of Couponers”. I was once addicted to couponing but it has gone to a steady level now. But in all seriousness, I use coupons all the time. I get free products just by using coupons.
The best grocery shopping experience I had was when I bought almost $3,000 worth of grocery for $0.00. Yes, I got a lot for zero dollars. I donated most of the goods, reserved some for my family, and gave the rest to my extended family. Everyone was happy.
I only drink tap water. There have been a lot of studies, which indicate that tap water is healthier, better, or as good as the water products bought in-store. Plus, tap water is almost free. I say almost free because I still get charged for the water, which is included in the water and sewer fees I pay every month.
I have a car that’s almost 10 years old but runs like a new car. My friends told me that I could easily buy a new car with my credit score and money in the bank. But I chose to stick with what I have. My car runs really good. My friends can’t tell if it’s a new or old car once they’re inside and riding in the car.
I make sure all the car maintenance are current and that I drive or whoever drives my car drive sensibly.
I don’t use investment advisors. Whatever I do with my investments is based on my own research and recommendations. I don’t hire advisors to tell me what I need to invest on or where to spend my money.
I do modest rates of return to the tune of at least 16% annually. That’s on average. There were a year or two when I had bad rates of return. May be in the future I will hire an advisor but for now, I’m ok with managing my own investment portfolio.
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I don’t waste time to get a couple of dollars or cents back. This may sound not frugal but it is. I always value my time. I put a big tag price on my time. Rather than fighting with the customer representative to get cents back, I’d just let it go and take it as a loss and move on. I rather spend my time with my family than fight with people for just a couple of dollars or cents. Now, it’s different if we are talking about hundreds of dollars.
Final thoughts on frugal living:
Way back in the days, my family had to be frugal on just about anything because even a small mistake could mean a big impact to and for our family financially.
Though my father and mother didn’t prevent us from doing what we wanted and needed to do, we learned how to be mindful of our situation and learned what we could and could not do.
I carry that lesson even up to this day. Frugal living is doable though it may be difficult for some people. Frugal living is a way of life and it is a choice.
These are the things I have adopted for a very long time. These save my family a lot of money, sometimes, thousands of money every year. What frugal living tips do you know that help you save and/or make money?