Ever since I’ve had debt, I have been interested in living on less. When I was drowning in debt with an entry-level salary back in 2014, being able to live on less money was essential. Now that my debt is paid off and my family is more financially stable, I truly see the value of living on less. Spending less is not always a bad thing. In fact, you could probably be happier without extra financial burdens.
Plus living on less helps free up more money to save and remain debt-free. If you’re wondering how to make drastic changes like cutting your spending down by 30% or 50%, check out these 7 ways to live on less and still be happy.
Live Smaller and Optimize Your Space
I love tiny houses, but I could never live in one. However, we still do have a pretty small house. It’s about 1,300 square feet. For the most part, I’ve found that it works for my family but everyone should decide on the right home size for them.
Living in a smaller house has so many benefits. There’s less to clean, less to maintain, and space fills up fast. This helps us be mindful of what we buy and ultimately saves me money.
Having less space has also helped me become a master at optimizing my space. We’ve added floating shelves in the bedrooms to store books and other items. We also use our attic to store out-of-season clothes, I have shoe storage under my bed, and a storage bench at the foot of my bed to store spare blankets.
Keeping things hidden and out of sight is my motto. Another thing I didn’t think was possible with our small home was having a pantry. However, I was able to order some utility shelves from Wayfair and put them in some unused closet space to create a pantry for extra food storage.
When you have a smaller space, you can still create a cozy home with inspiring decorations and features. You just have to be creative.
Consolidate Your Stuff
Being able to live on less often means consolidating your stuff. Growing up, my mom always had my sisters and I declutter and donate or give away items every few months. I’m grateful for this experience because it created a lifelong habit for me.
A few years ago, I started reducing my amount of stuff and got rid of clothes and other items. It was one of the best decisions I ever could have made.
Recently, I’ve started reading Declutter Like a Mother by Allie Casazza and it was such a game-changer for me. In the book, Allie talks about decluttering your home in a way that gives it the intent you want when you walk into a room. Too often, our homes are a source of stress and overwhelm and it’s often due to how much stuff we have to sift through, clean, and sort.
Declutter Like a Mother is a must-read because it teaches you how to go back to your values and feel happier in your space once you declutter and consolidate all your stuff.
Don’t Be Afraid to Hunt For Deals
Let’s face it. We still need to buy things every now and then. When it’s time to shop, don’t be afraid to hunt for deals and discounts. Whenever I’m buying clothes, I always check the clearance rack or even shop used. For example, when we bought our home we had no landscaping supplies. My mother was nice enough to give us her lawnmower to use.
Then, we used the Facebook Marketplace and Offer Up to score deals on used items like a hedge trimmer and a weed trimmer. We still use these items to this day.
Nowadays, it’s so easy to just look for a coupon code online in seconds or download an app. Try using apps like Ibotta and Fetch Rewards to earn rebates on your groceries and home goods.
Then, use Rakuten to earn cash back for online purchases.
Enjoy Nature to the Fullest
Money isn’t always the key to being happy. You can live on less and still be happy if you focus on slowing down and embracing your values. One shared value that a lot of people have is being outside and exploring nature. If the weather permits, get outside and go for a hike or a bike ride.
Have a picnic with your partner or go fishing. Camping is another fun activity that doesn’t cost much.
Just being outside and doing simple things is usually free and relaxing. A year or two ago, I spent $10 on a badminton kit and had such a fun time playing with my husband and my son. Activities like this always fill my cup and keep me in a good mood.
Practice Self Care Daily
Whether your goal is to live on less or not, self-care is always important. Thankfully, practicing self-care doesn’t have to cost much time or money. Self-care involves activities that prioritize your mental, physical, and emotional health. They are also activities that fill your cup rather than drain you.
Some popular self-care activities include reading, exercising, meditating, and even eating healthy, and making sure you get the proper amount of sleep. Choose a few quick and easy self-care activities to add to your day to make sure you’re prioritizing yourself.
These basic activities will allow you to slow down and focus on what truly matters without having to spend a ton of money.
Embrace Frugal Fun
There are plenty of ways to find frugal and free entertainment in your area. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on the fun each week if you don’t want to. Check out happy hours at local restaurants, free trivia nights, or free attractions or events in your area.
Most cities have a website that lists out events. Or you can check your local library or park district.
Team Up With Likeminded People
If you’re trying to live on less and not feel deprived, it’s helpful to have friends who share similar values. When the people in your circle are interested in frugality and living simply, it makes it easier to build a lasting relationship.
You won’t have to worry about friends pressuring you to do things that exceed your budget. Nor will you have to feel like you need to keep up with certain people to fit in.
Summary – Setting Your Priorities Straight
It’s definitely possible to live on less and still be happy and not feel deprived. First, your mind has to be set on contentment and valuing what you do have. It also helps to know your budget and define needs vs wants. Then, realize you have the power to create the life you want even if you’re not wanting to spend tons of money. Get creative and steer toward cost-effective solutions and habits that allow you to still live your best life.