Everyone wants to live comfortably, but it’s hard to enjoy the good life if you’re falling into debt. Today, you’re going to learn ten ways to save money while still living pleasantly. Before we start, though, there are a few ideas we need to discuss.
When the tips below discuss saving, they’re referring to either “getting something for less than its average retail value” or “finding something of similar quality at a lower price.” If a technique doesn’t work in one of these two ways, it didn’t make our list.
When we talk about comfort, we’re referring specifically to things that make your life easier, more relaxing, or more entertaining. A little bit of effort is needed to get anything done, but anything that requires a lot of work for small savings isn’t the kind of help we’re trying to offer.
With those points in mind, let’s get right into it.
10 Find Comfortable Things That Don’t Cost You Money
The best way to save is – surprise! – Not spending anything at all. Seriously, though, many people don’t realize how many comfortable things are available to them for free, including:
- Public parks and recreation facilities
- Community events and gatherings
- Music festivals and concerts
If you’re looking for things in your home, you can also search around for free or reduced-cost furniture. Many people are happy to dispose of older (but good-quality) furniture as long as you have something to transport it in, and this could quickly save you hundreds of dollars when you’re filling out your rooms.
At the same time, try to pick at least one day a week to spend as little as possible. In other words, look for free activities on a given day instead of paid ones. Reducing your expenses on just one day a week can quickly start to add up into real savings.
9 Be Smart About Sales
Most sales run on a FOMO idea – the Fear Of Missing Out. When you see that something you like is on sale, the urge to get it before the sale ends can be overpowering. However, this emotional focus on what we could get makes it harder to ask if we need to spend that money.
In other words, you don’t need to buy something just because it’s on sale – not unless you’re going to use and go through it.
8 Understand the Quality of Products and Reasons for Discounts
Tying in with our previous tip, it’s vital to know the quality of a product and the cause of the discount being offered. If something’s being sold at a discount because it’s about to go bad – like food near the end of its shelf life – you may have to work harder to get the full value from it. Saving money on discounted food doesn’t help much if you have to spend money to preserve it.
7 Reduce Your Housing Costs
Housing is one of the most fundamental parts of a comfortable life. After all, it’s not easy to enjoy things if you’re worried about where you’re going to sleep. There are many ways to reduce your housing costs, including:
- Downsizing to a more affordable home that still meets your needs
- Refinancing your mortgage to lower your interest rate
- Obtaining assistance from housing programs (especially if you’re low-income)
- Implementing energy-saving changes to your home (insulating water heaters, switching to LED bulbs, etc.)
How much you’ll save here depends on the extent of the changes you’ve made. Broadly speaking, bigger changes tend to mean more savings. A drop of $400 on your mortgage is essentially instant savings, while improvements to your home are only likely to show their value over time.
6 Get a Roommate
Splitting your bills with someone else is an excellent way to reduce your costs and put more money towards the things you want to be doing. There are a few different ways to get roommates.
Sharing a residence with friends is ideal if you enjoy hanging out with them and aren’t too focused on having the place all to yourself. In most cases like this, bills are divided by the number of residents. With two or more incomes, it may even be possible to move into a bigger, better apartment (or house) and pay less than you currently are.
This isn’t as common as sharing a home with friends, but it could pad your income out. Mostly, hosts help foreign exchange students as they go through a study-abroad program. Homestays typically last anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year, and most programs are flexible about allowing you to choose how long you’ll have someone staying with you.
As for the financial part, The Penny Hoarder notes that it’s possible to gain $200 or more each week for doing this. You can also charge more for certain benefits (like access to your home internet), making for a steady and reliable source of income throughout the year. Even if you’re just hosting a student over the summer, you could pad your income by more than $2400 a year.
5 Start Managing Your Food Better
We all have to eat, and the food is another big monthly expense. A $4 drink may not seem like much at any given time, but if you have one every weekday morning, that cost alone can balloon to nearly a thousand dollars a year.
Properly managing your food budget will help you to both save money and eat the things you enjoy. Cooking doesn’t have to be a difficult process, either. Modern tools like slow cookers can produce healthy, delicious meals with only a few minutes of preparation. When that happens, you have more time to spend on the things you enjoy doing.
For even more savings, start doing some serious couponing with your groceries. Money Crashers has an outstanding guide for this subject right here, and it’s worth reading through if you’ve ever felt that your grocery bills are too high.
One note, though – if you’re spending more than three hours a week trying to save money on food, then you’re trying too hard. Don’t work harder when you can work smarter.
4 Adjust Your Sense of Comfort
There are a lot of things that people agree on when it comes to comfort – decent beds, food in our bellies, and a roof over our heads are all popular choices. However, past these basics, we often end up comparing our lives to those of the people we know.
If everyone else seems to have bigger homes, better cars, and more vacation time, we get back to the Fear Of Missing Out that we discussed earlier. A deliberate change in what you think of as comfortable can help you trim out the extra expenses and start focusing on the things you actually need to be happy.
3 Wait 24 Hours before Big Purchases
Some of our greatest expenses come from impulse-driven purchases. Cutting back on these is often as simple as waiting 24 hours before you commit yourself to buying the product. Once you’ve had a night to think it over, you’ll have the opportunity to reassess how you feel about the item.
If you still like it and actively want it in your life, it’s probably fine to go ahead and get it. On the other hand, if you find yourself thinking “It’s neat, but I could live without it,” then it’s better to avoid buying it. No matter how excited it makes you right away, your long-term feelings are what matters for your comfort. You don’t want to end up in more debt with a purchase you regret. If you do find yourself in this position though, Accredited Debt Relief is there to help you out.
2 Recognize the Signs of Frugal Fatigue
Frugal fatigue – or budget burnout – is a kind of mental exhaustion that happens when you feel like you have to carefully weigh each purchase and simply can’t have any fun. If you start to experience this sort of exhaustion, then you need to reassess how you’re saving and change your habits. Otherwise, you run the risk of splurging in ways you honestly can’t afford.
1 Learn How To Be More Creative
Many of the best ways to save money and live comfortably ultimately come down to how creative you are. Some of the best coupon users, for example, develop systems where they can easily track which coupons they have and when those coupons should be used. The more creative you are, the more likely you are to save.
If you need some help with being creative, try talking to friends and family or searching for advice on the internet. One way or another, you’ll be able to get tips from others – and that can make all the difference.
Remember, following just one or two of these tips won’t help you save some serious cash while still letting you live comfortably. This is a lifestyle more than anything else – and once these start to become a habit, you’ll find that it’s easier to maintain than you ever imagined.
Looking for more ways to save money throughout your life? Check out this resource for help with groceries, subscriptions, daily life, holiday decor, and even spending more now to save big over time.