Live For Less: Best Hacks For Achieving Cheaper Living

Monica Gray - November 7, 2023

There’s nothing wrong with striving for cheaper living. Oftentimes, we try to live a cheaper lifestyle, only to realize we’re spending just as much money if not more. It doesn’t have to feel like a hassle to cut down on costs, which is why these hacks are so useful. By changing your lifestyle and doing things like having a cash-only budget, shopping by yourself, collecting rainwater, and using window films, you’ll achieve a cheaper lifestyle in no time. That means you’ll have more cash to treat yourself to a nice dinner or a good glass of wine!

Yahoo Finance

Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

You probably know buying in bulk is a great way to help the environment. But buying in bulk also contributes to zero waste, which will help you save money. By using your bags and packaging, you’ll reduce the cost of buying plastic bags. Paying 15 cents per plastic bag adds up over time, and it’s just not worth it. By using your bags, you’ll save about $80 a year (The Good Life With Amy French).

Bonnie Plants

Get Involved In A Community Garden

One way to reduce the cost of buying vegetables is to get involved with your local community garden. Not only are you supporting local farmers, but you’re also helping the environment, reducing waste, and reducing the damage in your wallet! Besides, homegrown garden vegetables are always cheaper and always taste better than grocery store ones wrapped in plastic and pumped full of pesticides (NCBI).

Page Fly

Check Out Facebook MarketPlace

You’ll find some of the most affordable vintage items for your home on Facebook Market Place, which is key for cheaper living. This is where people sell their old tables, chairs, blenders, beds, and more. You can usually haggle it down to a cheaper price and save even more money. There’s no point in buying something brand new and spending all that cash when you can usually buy the same thing on Facebook MarketPlace if you’re lucky. Besides, it’s always better for the environment to reuse items instead of buying brand-new ones (Facebook).

London Library

Library Membership

There’s no need to buy books if you have a library membership! You can easily achieve cheaper living in the world of books by using your local library. They might even have movies, which means you won’t need to pay for a monthly membership to a movie streaming website. Your library will probably give you access to Hoopla and Libby, both movie streaming services. They’ll also give you free admission to zoos and museums, and might even have musical instruments lying around, free to use at your disposal. You could spend the entire day in a library purely entertaining yourself with all their free items (Life Hacks).

Confer With

Use Smaller Carts (And Skip The Baskets)

There’s no better way to reduce the amount in your shopping cart than by using a smaller cart. Smaller carts can discourage impulse buying and help you stick to your shopping list. If you suddenly walk past a shelf of delicious biscuits, the lack of room in your cart might deter you from picking them up. This is a great way to live a cheaper life and only pick up the items you need. And it’s best to skip the basket altogether to prevent instant gratification. According to the Journal of Marketing Research, “We demonstrate that arm flexor contraction makes individuals more likely to choose immediately pleasing options,” which means you’ll pick up unhealthy items and items you don’t need (Business).


LED Night Lights

Nothing screams cheaper living than LED night lights! These replace traditional night lights with energy-efficient LED ones, which use less electricity and last longer. They’ll help lower your electricity bill, saving you big bucks over time. Plus, they’ll make your home look pretty cool. Make sure you turn them off in the morning to further reduce your bill and help you save money (Lohas LED).

Perfect Water

Rainwater Collection

If you boil and filter your rainwater you can use it for drinking! You can also use rain barrels to collect water for outdoor use, like watering your plants and garden. In the USA, each house is allowed up to 110 gallons of barrels for rainwater collection. This is a great way to manage water consumption and save money on buying plastic water bottles from the stores (4PerfectWater).

The Balance Money

Cash-Only Budget

With a cash-only budget, you’ll limit impulse purchases thanks to the limited funds you have in your wallet. Even though this isn’t necessarily true, it’ll trick your mind into thinking you have less money to spend, which means you’ll only purchase what’s truly necessary. According to LinkedIn, one way to do this is by withdrawing “a certain amount of cash every week or month and using it for all your expenses, except for fixed bills like rent or mortgage.” It might sound jarring, but you’ll find it’s much easier to achieve cheaper living and keep track of your budget (LinkedIn).

Make Money Save Money

Rent Out a Room

If you’re paying a mortgage and want to try and lessen the monthly payment, consider renting out a room if you have extra space. That’s where platforms like AirBnB come in. It’s a win-win for hosts and guests. The hosts make passive income, while the guests pay a lot less than they would if they were staying in a hotel. It’s a lot cheaper to stay in someone’s spare room than to rent out a hotel room (Money Saving Expert).

Apartment Therapy

Build A Loft

Instead of paying for an extra storage unit or paying for additional space in your home, consider building a loft. This DIY project is easy, and affordable, and will add additional storage space for a cheaper price. Talk about a win-win! Even if you don’t want to use it for storage, you can use it as a reading nook or even a guest bedroom (Apartment Therapy).


Attend Free Workshops

If you’re looking to expand a certain skill set or knowledge, why don’t you attend free workshops? Free workshops are just as good, or even better than workshops you have to pay for. You’ll get the benefits of cheaper living, while also learning something new in the process. You’ll also have the advantage of networking with like-minded people and possibly building new friendships in the process (Quora).

Good Housekeeping

Grow Your Herbs

Instead of going out to buy herbs, why don’t you try growing them in the convenience of your own garden or kitchen windowsill? You’ll have delicious, healthy herbs, without any of the additional plastic or herbicides they put on herbs at the store. Author Hollie Newton recommends, starting with “the dependable, everyday-cooking herbs, like basil, sage, coriander, mint and rosemary. But you can try out so many interesting varieties. I am currently growing Moroccan mint outside my back door, and lemon thyme which works amazingly with chicken. I also love growing chives, because the flowers are edible and they look great in salads.” With so many different varieties, you might even have a hard time selecting a few to grow! (Good Housekeeping).

Tasting Table

Shop Alone

Have you ever ended up with a bunch of unnecessary items after taking your kids grocery shopping with you? That’s why shopping alone is a great hack for cheaper living. Grocery shopping alone can help you stay more focused on your list and avoid unnecessary purchases, like that big box of cookies or jug of soda you normally wouldn’t buy. Your kids will probably appreciate a small treat here and there, but it’s best to make it a once-in-a-while thing to save some cash. Grocery stores are built to distract you from your strict list, so they’ll help you stay focused, get in, and get out (Tasting Table).

Green Match

Window Films

There’s nothing worse than cranking the heat in your home in winter, only to lose most of it to your faulty windows. That’s where window films come in. These cost-effective films will make it cheaper to have your heating on in the winter and will reduce heat gain in the summer, which means you won’t have to crank the air conditioner as high. They’re easy to install, and most use a 3m double-sided tape (Green Match).

Nerd Wallet


There’s nothing better than the oldest hack of couponing! You might have made fun of your grandparents for whipping out the coupon book, but they were seriously onto something. Use coupons and cashback apps to save on groceries and shopping. If you use them religiously, then all those savings will add up over time. Pay attention to annual sale cycles, buy in bulk, and only use coupons to buy items you need. Coupon expert Jenny Martin says, “You got your 10 items, you used all of your coupons, you saw that the store didn’t treat you horribly — and they took everything. And you saw how much you saved, and that’s the best part.” Keep track of your savings to notice just how well you’re doing with living a cheaper life (Nerd Wallet).

The Spruce

Get Creative With Your Closet

If you optimize your closet space, you won’t have to spend as much money on storage. It works similarly to a loft. You won’t have to worry about hiring a rental unit if you can creatively use every inch of storage space in your closet. There are tons of ways to use your closet for storage. Besides, if you have an organized, clutter-free storage space, your mind will feel more clutter-free (Real Homes).

Apartment Therapy

Use A Bookshelf As A Room Divider

Have you always wished for a second room in your studio apartment? Instead of spending money to build a second room in your studio, or moving to a bigger place in general, consider using a bookshelf as a room divider. This is great whether you have a loft, studio, or small apartment. It can serve as a cozy reading nook, with pillows and cozy chairs, in addition to private sleeping quarters. According to Skillshare, “If you use a bookcase to divide your room, the shelves on that bookcase are bound to become a focal point of the space. Make a real statement with that focal point by styling your books and other items accordingly. You might opt to colorblock your books or add your favorite decorative pieces into nooks and crannies.” This is a great hack for making use of what you already have (SkillShare).


Go On A Staycation

Instead of spending all that money on a vacation, why don’t you opt for a staycation instead? Explore your local hometown or city, go to a new restaurant, or visit a new museum. This is the best way to feel like you’re on vacation, but doing it for a much cheaper price. Staycations remove many of the travel expenses you’d get abroad, like flights, package deals, and taxis. This means more money for food and drinks during your staycation! You could even set up a tent in your backyard to make it feel like you’re exploring the great outdoors (Boundless).

My Chic Obsession

Capsule Wardrobe & Sustainable Fashion

Embrace a capsule wardrobe and invest in quality clothing. A capsule wardrobe has a minimalist collection of clothing that can be put together in a variety of ways to create several different outfits. This maximizes the number of outfits in the wardrobe, giving the impression you own more clothes than you do. This is a great way to live a cheaper life because you won’t feel the need to always purchase new clothes. A capsule wardrobe is thoughtfully curated, with interchangeable items. You might even come up with more outfits in a capsule wardrobe than you would with too many clothing choices (Modern Minimalism).

Alcove Rooms

Use Facebook Groups For Shared Housing

There’s no better place to look for a potential roommate than Facebook! Many cities around the world have Facebook Housing Groups where people in need of a second, third, fourth, or fifth roommate post that they’re in need. If you want to live in cheaper accommodation, then shared housing is your best bet. Besides, it could be a lot of fun living with a bunch of like-minded people, and sharing a kitchen and living space with them (Alcove Rooms).


Freelancing Or Side Gigs

Consider exploring freelancing or side gigs to generate additional income. This extra cash can be handy for covering expenses like groceries, gas, or clothing without impacting your primary budget for rent and bills. Freelance opportunities abound in various fields such as writing, tutoring, gardening work, or babysitting, offering flexible options that align with your skills and interests. Engaging in such side activities not only provides financial flexibility but also opens up avenues for personal and professional growth.(Forbes).


DIY Cleaning Supplies

Cleaning supplies can be costly. They can add up over time, especially if you’re trying to keep your household tidy. It’s best to make your cleaning products using simple ingredients like vinegar and baking soda, which will not only make it cheaper to clean your house, but the natural ingredients are a lot better for your home (Good Housekeeping).

Universal Student Living

Meal Planning

To avoid waste and only buying what you need, try meal planning. This is a surefire way to not waste any food, and only consume what you will finish. It’ll also save you precious time throughout the week, which means you won’t have to spend as much time cooking. It’ll also prevent you from eating unhealthy meals that you can grab on the go. It’s also easier to stick to a budget with meal planning (Broke in London).

Thrifty Frugal Mom

Homemade Gifts

There’s nothing better than receiving a homemade gift from someone you love! Create handmade gifts for special occasions. These won’t hurt your wallet, and just because you’re giving a cheaper-priced gift doesn’t mean it has any less sentimental value. Chances are, you’ll create a gift that’s even better and more meaningful than one you’d give by buying it at the store. Some ideas are personalized wooden hangers, pillows, and coasters (Thrifty Frugal Mom).

The Guardian

Negotiate Bills

You might not think this is one way to get cheaper bills, but it works! Negotiate with service providers for better rates on utilities and internet. Most people don’t negotiate, so you might get a better deal. The worst thing they can do is say no, but it’s worth a shot. Saving even ten bucks a month adds up over time. If you’re not comfortable haggling over the phone, try sending them an email or contacting them over live chat (The Guardian).

Appliance House Blog

Energy-Efficient Appliances

Efficiently managing your household appliances can contribute significantly to reducing electricity costs over time. Every penny saved makes a difference in your overall savings, and being mindful of appliances that consume excessive energy is a prudent financial choice. Investing in energy-efficient appliances not only translates to substantial cost savings but also aligns with environmentally friendly practices. These appliances are designed to use less energy, minimizing their impact on both your monthly bills and the broader environmental footprint. Making informed choices about your appliances is a wise investment, providing long-term financial benefits while fostering sustainability. (BBC Good Food).

Money Saving Expert

Shared Services

Optimize your budget by sharing services such as Netflix, streaming subscriptions, and gym memberships with family or friends. This approach allows you to divide the monthly costs of these services, making them more affordable for everyone involved. Many platforms offer family deals, enabling multiple individuals to be part of a single subscription or membership, thus significantly reducing the overall cost per person. As more people participate in these shared memberships, the financial burden is further lightened, making it a practical and cost-effective way to access otherwise expensive amenities. (Money Saving Expert).