We’re coming out of a very perilous time for our economy, and some might even say we haven’t escaped it. There is a lot of stabilizing that needs done, and in the meantime, we’re all having to scrimp and save where we can. You can feel the squeeze in your bones.
So how do we tackle this? How do we make things easier on our wallets? We don’t have the solution, but we have tips. Take a look at all the ways you can lower your cost of living.
Plan out your budget
The first step to spending less on your cost of living is to be aware of what you are spending. Do you work in the city and so a majority of your spending money is going to eating in the city or commuting? Do you have a bunch of subscriptions you don’t use anymore, or could do without?
Create your budget in a spreadsheet if you can, outlining what is going in and out, and go through each of your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. Is there an area where you could save money by cutting back? Compare rates for your utilities, start going to the cheaper gas station even though it’s further away, look up buying cheap home insurance online, learn to work out at home rather than the gym, and amongst it all, plan to save, even if it is only a few dollars to start off with.
You will need a rainy-day fund eventually, and if you are counting every penny, that will be even more important. So, incorporate a portion of your spending money into savings, and you’ll have something there to fall back on should something go wrong.
With everything laid out in front of you, you can learn to identify where your biggest money holes are, what your weaknesses are, and where you can improve them. Be brutal, go through your bank statement and ID anything that keeps popping up, whether it’s the train tickets or the visits to the local corner shop.
Deal with your debt
Debt is very easy to get into but punishingly hard to get out of. It should be first on your list of priorities to make everything easier since it will be the first thing to come off your money after bills and will affect every financial decision from now on.
You might have to be brutal to get it all paid off. No wants at all to be serviced, only needs. You can make it easier by getting a balance transfer card or renewing an auto loan, but depending on how bad your debt is, it will require some sacrifice for a year or so to get rid of it. It might sound counterproductive but put any spare money you have into paying off your debt. The faster you get it paid off the less interest you will incur and the less you’ll pay overall.
But it will be worth it. Your minimum monthly payments will vanish, and your cost of living will be drastically lower.
Also read: Top Most Important Things in Life
Look after your things
We’re living in a very materialistic world, where the concept of fast fashion is becoming a hot topic. The idea is that we wear something once, have been told we can’t ever be seen in it again, and toss it out to replace it with something else. And it can be applied to just about anything. Technology, appliances, furniture, etc.
Learn to look after your stuff and you will spend a lot less money replacing them. Instead, stick a patch over that hole in that bag, sew that button back on, repurpose that dresser your aunt is getting rid of, or mosey around the charity shops for something good.
Consider a move
Sometimes the area you’re in is simply too expensive. If you’re in the heart of the big city you’ll be plagued with skyrocketing rent and mortgage prices due to demand, but even walking around, you’ll notice everything is a good chunk more than you remember it being back home. Public transport, eating out, a haircut, etc. can all rise in price simply due to the demand being there, and because they can.
Do some research in other areas. Maybe you’ll find something cheaper in other areas. Think about your job too. There are a lot of jobs that are moving online now, so ask your employer if there is some way you can work from home. This can be fine on its own or you could move and take your job with you. If you’re in something more niche than an admin position, remember that more rural areas are crying out for professionals of all trades.