Mastering the Art of Frugality: Realistic Ways to Slash Living Expenses

Life is expensive, costing normal people about $56000 per year on average. This lofty figure doesn’t even include taxes, healthcare, or childcare! 

With the average cost of living skyrocketing, it’s more essential now than ever before to save money on living expenses. 

How to Save Money on Living Expenses

bags of money balancing on a scale with a model of a house on the other side represening home equity.
Photo Credit: William Potter via

Saving money on living expenses isn’t as easy as the gurus would have you believe. Many of the tips offered are unrealistic for those already struggling. While renting out a bedroom on Airbnb can increase your income and help you afford life, most people don’t actually have extra bedrooms to spare, and those who do may not want to share their precious space with strangers. 

There are far more realistic ways to save money on living expenses. 


Man putting plastic up over a house.
Photo Credit: Barbara Ash via

Heating and cooling is one of the top budget busters. Whether you use electric or gas HVAC systems, the costs continue to skyrocket, and those living in warm climates dread the summer while Northern residents fear winter’s price surges. 

Insulation is critical to saving money on HVAC, whether you’re dealing with hot, humid summers or frigid winters. 

Setting Your Thermostat

Fingers adjusting the dial on a digital thermostat.
Photo Credit: Olivier Le Moal via

Maintaining a temperature outside your ideal comfort zone will also help. Set your thermostat a little lower than ideal in the winter and a little higher in the summer. Make up for the difference with clothing or fans to help circulate the air. 

The Right Foods

red lentil soup with parsley on top
Photo Credit: Oksana Mizina via

Choose foods that help your body maintain its temperature in various weather conditions: stews and soups in the winter versus fruits and salads in the summer. 

Turn It Off

pushing a light switch
Photo credit: carlos larrechi via

Save money on power and water by turning off all the lights and faucets when they aren’t in use.

Cold Water Wash

Colorful shirts hanging out to dry on a clothes line.
Photo Credit: Africa Studio via

Choose cold settings for washing your clothes. You’ll spend less on energy and your clothes will be just as clean. 

Stop Browsing

Back view of a woman looking in the refrigerator and scratching her head.
Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov via

Avoid “browsing” the refrigerator, looking for the perfect snack. Keep that door closed. 

Energy Efficient

Couple looking at a dishwasher
Photo Credit: hedgehog94 via

When shopping for new appliances, consider choosing energy-efficient models that will reduce your costs over time. 

Cut Cable

pointing remote at large television screen with numerous on screen viewing options
Photo Credit: Proxima Studio via

Most of us still pay exorbitant amounts for cable television and the internet. Save money by cutting that cable cord. I haven’t had cable in over a year, and honestly, I haven’t missed it. 

Opt for cheaper streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. You’ll find there’s more to watch at a far lower cost.  

Get a Roommate

male friends smiling and hugging.
Photo Credit: Dean Drobot via

If you are fortunate enough to have a spare room, consider a long-term roommate to split some of the basic costs.


happy couple packing their house into boxes getting ready for a move.
Photo Credit: gpointstudio via

No energy for a roommate? Downsize. Find a smaller place that better fits your budget. Smaller places also tend to have lower utility bills. 

Moving Away

The open back of a full moving truck parked in a residential area.
Photo Credit: Andrey_Popov via

Although moving is a giant hassle, sometimes embarking on a new adventure to a lower cost of living area is the best way to save money. If you work remotely, geoarbitrage can save you a ton of money. 

Alternative Housing

Two people lounging in a van. You can see the scenic mountains from the open back door.
Photo Credit: Pawel Gluza via

A lot of younger people are turning to alternatives for reduced housing costs. Van life, tiny homes, and communal living are all soaring in popularity due to the rising cost of housing. These are options to explore if you can’t afford a home in your area. 

Save on Groceries

woman browsing aisle at the grocery store
Photo Credit: antoniodiaz via

There are lots of ways to save money at the grocery store. You can clip coupons, compare prices per unit, use the store’s loyalty program, and choose generic offerings. Limiting unhealthy snacks and skipping sugar-laden soft drinks will also save you a bundle – and are better for your overall health.

Getting Help

Silhouettes of two figures climbing a mountain. The figure on the top is reaching down to help the figure still climbing ascend.
Photo Credit: vchal via

If you’re truly strapped, consider going to a food bank. Numerous charities offer food to households in need. However, please don’t use a food bank if you can afford to buy your own groceries

Eating Out vs. Eating at Home

group of happy people at a restaurant
Photo Credit: djile via

Eating at home is obviously much cheaper than dining out. When you have the time and energy, you should opt to stay home to save as much money as possible. 

Easy At-Home Options 

Smiling woman eating a salad.
Photo Credit: Ground Picture via

Allow yourself some easy home meal options for those stressful days when you don’t feel like cooking. Frozen pizza is far cheaper than delivery and just as easy. Premade skillet meals heat up in an instant, and frozen lasagna boxes are perfect for days when you don’t feel like cooking. 

Sack Lunch

sandwich and apple peeking out of a brown paper lunch bag laying on a table
Photo Credit: Africa Studio via

Bring a sack lunch to work instead of eating out. A simple lunch consisting of a sandwich and chips costs about ten bucks per week – which is what one day of fast food would cost. 

Packing your lunch is a frugal choice that’s also better for your health. 

Stick to Water

Server carrying tray of water
Photo Credit: Andrew Angelov via

A great trip for reducing the costs of dining out is to forgo their beverage options and stick to water. Although many places offer free refills, the initial cost constantly creeps up. Most restaurants charge $2-3 for a soft drink, which adds up when you have a large group or go out often. 

Alcohol is one of the biggest budget busters. Servers ask if they can get you anything from the bar for a reason: the restaurant makes big bucks off your drink. You’re better off grabbing a six-pack on your way home. 

Buy Used

Car salesman on a lot pointing at the price on a car's windshield.
Photo Credit: Gunter Nezhoda via

The new national average car payment soared above $700 at the end of 2022. With cars getting more and more expensive and financiers extending the terms of loans for longer and longer, it’s getting hard to get by without a hefty car payment.

Cars decline in value the second they leave the lot, so opting for a used car is a great way to save money. However, good deals are getting harder and harder to come by, with the monthly payment for used cars reaching over $500 a month on average. 

Keep That Old Car

Women on the left side of the car pointing out the car window and smiling
Photo Credit: Ground Picture via

Far too many people trade in their cars well before they’ve paid off the loan. The new loan then gets bundled into the old, and they’re trapped in a never-ending cycle of debt and underwater car payments. 

Stop the cycle. 

Stop getting a new car every 3-5 years. Take care of your vehicle, and keep it for as long as possible. 

Increase Your Deductable

couple meeting with an insurance agent
Photo Credit: G-Stock Studio via

If you have a hefty emergency fund, you may want to increase your deductible for monthly savings, but if you can’t cover a $1000 emergency, it might be better to pay a higher monthly premium for that peace of mind. 

What Are You Going to Do With All Your Savings? You Need a Plan

hands working on a financial plan
Photo Credit: Atstock Productions via

You don’t need to pay a financial advisor to craft a financial plan. Here’s how to do it on your own!

Read it Here: How To Make a Financial Plan

Keep Your Spending on Track with Achievable Financial Goals

piggy bank and money jar next to a chalkboard that reads "financial goals" on a blue background
Photo Credit: kenary820 via

Determining your financial goals and making a plan to achieve them is essential for a happy life. Here are some examples of financial goal to set and how to achieve them

Achieve Financial Independence with Stress Free Part Time Work

Happy attractive barista serving a coffee drink to represent Barista Fire
Photo Credit: tsyhun via

Wouldn’t it be great if you could work part time at an easy, stress free job you love? Barista Fire is the path to financial independence that lets you do just that!

Turn Your Hobby Into Cash!

cutting pieces for crafting with little craft boxes filled with tiny items
Photo Credit: LanaSweet via

Want to make money doing something you enjoy? Consider one of these excellent hobbies that make money!

Read it here: Cash in on Your Passions with the Best Hobbies that Make Money

Enjoy a Hobby for Less: Cheap Hobbies To Enhance Your Life

woman working on a cheap hobby, like making jewelry at home, to represent cheap hobbies
Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images via

Hobbies don’t have to be expensive. Here are 62 more cheap hobbies you can try to enjoy your life in your spare time!

Read it here: 62 Free and Cheap Hobbies You Can Start Today