How To Lower Your Cost Of Living, Despite High Inflation
Inflation affects all of us, currently the highest in over 40 years. The cost of living in major cities is through the roof. We all have to pay more for housing and food, and it’s almost as if the money disappears paying these bills.
Although we have no control over how much stuff costs, we have control over what we buy every day.
By making smart decisions, you regain control of your finances.
Here are some tips to inflation-proof your finances the same way we did it. By cutting unnecessary cost without affecting our lifestyle.
Cancel Your Cable Subscription
Paying for cable can become a big expense, especially if you have been with the same company for many years. Cable companies are sneaky, they will raise prices incrementally each year, so you don’t notice these changes.
If you are a busy professional, or even if you are just trying to save money, canceling your cable subscription can go a long way.
Other alternatives to cable:
You can access all these services with a cheap Fire stick TV, Apple TV, or Google Chromecast.
Average Americans pay about $130 per month on a basic cable subscription every month. If you choose any of the above services, which average about $15 per month, you will be saving almost $1400 a year.
That’s enough money to build your emergency fund.
Pick a Different Cellphone Provider
Before optimizing our cellphone service, we were paying almost 100 dollars for two cellphones with unlimited data, talk, and text. T-Mobile was a great choice at the time, but I knew we could get a better deal.
After some research, we develop a strategy. This is how we brought down our monthly bill to only $50 a month for two lines, unlimited data, talk, and text:
- Paid our cellphones after two years.
- Made sure our cellphones were unlocked.
- Moved both of our lines to USMobile.
- Picked automatic payments for further savings.
The best thing about US Mobile is that the more people you bring in, the more savings you will get.
This move alone reduced our cost of living by almost $2000 a year.
Related: Help Me Save Money, The Survivor’s Guide To Getting Ahead
Purchase A Smart Thermostat
Cooling and heating expenses can take a big chunk of your living expenses. Knowing how to lower them is essential.
One way to lower your cooling expenses is to get a smart thermostat.
Most of these smart thermostats come with instruction for self-installation, and they save you thousands by learning what are the best times to turn on or off automatically.
A smart thermostat saves you money by learning your daily routines. As a result, a thermostat can adjust your temperature according to your needs, minute by minute.
Also, not having to get up every time you need to change it is a big plus.
Buy Generic When Possible
We all have our favorite brands of food. But the truth is, purchasing the generic version of those foods can save you more without affecting your taste buds.
If you want to have extra money to invest in things that truly make a difference, consider at least trying out the generic version. On almost all occasions, you will not feel the difference. But your wallet will.
Buying generic is a great way to reduce your expenses, if you want to learn more tips on frugality, check out how to live frugally without feeling poor.
Create a Budget and Be Consistent
One of the best ways to reduce your cost of living is by creating a budget for yourself and your family.
Your first budget does not have to be complicated. In fact, a basic budget can help you stick with it with more consistency, and consistency is the key.
- Write down all your income.
- Write down all your expenses.
- Categorize each expense.
- Allocate a dollar amount for each expense category.
- Review every week, also once a month.
Knowing how much you spend every month is crucial to lowering your living costs because the numbers tell the story. You can only change what you measure; that’s why having a budget is essential.
Stop Eating Out
For many couples and families, eating out can be a big part of their monthly expenses.
The average family spends about $3500 on eating out alone.
Now, I’m not saying never to eat out. It’s fine to have a meal out when there is truly something to celebrate, or to give yourself a break from homemade meals.
- Here are some tips to stop leaking money on eating out: Learn to meal prep ( google it)
- Make eating out a special occasion, not something you mindlessly have to do.
- Find great deals on local restaurants. They all have days and times when the food is cheaper.
- Bring your meals to work.
- Help your partner cook a couple of times a week. This will ensure they don’t get burned out.
- Have a list of pre-approved places to eat. Look for healthy, cheap, and local.
Perform Preventative Maintenance
Your air conditioner, vehicle, and even your health need frequent checks to ensure everything is running smoothly.
If your air conditioner breaks, it can be a significant dent in your wallet to get it fixed.
The cost to fix a car can be in the thousands, depending on the nature of the repair.
If you get sick from lack of proper care, such as eating healthy, it can cost you time and money.
How to deal with unexpected situations? Plan for them.
This means settings aside one day a month or even one day every three months to do an inspection and make sure everything is running smoothly.
Here’s a checklist that can help you:
BONUS POINT: Set a date in your calendar to do these inspections instead of relying on memory alone. This will save you money in the long run.
Also Read: Stretch your dollars using five simple budgeting basic
Stop Paying For A Service Contract For Air Conditioners And Appliances
If you follow the advice in the last section, you can look into canceling your service contracts such as Pride, Air around the clock, and others.
This is because most repairs can be done for a lot less by finding either a handyman or an expert in the field.
Most people overpay for service contracts because they try to get the most coverage for unexpected events.
But if you are taking care of your stuff, the likelihood of something breaking down on you is very low. Not only that, but when it does break. It will cost you less to call a handy person or a friend that can fix it for you.
Start building a list of contacts for most of these services:
- Handyman ( they can fix plumbing issues).
- HVAC technician.
- Termite exterminator.
Remember to shop around when you have to call them also. This will further reduce the amount you have to pay them.
Buy At Wholesale Stores
Saving money sometimes means buying in bulk. You can do this by purchasing a membership at Costco, Sam’s club, or BJ’s.
The advantage of purchasing at whole stores is that you can save money by getting more units for less per unit.
Some things are worth buying in bulk, but certainly not everything. Because of this, it is a great idea to make a list of things that you need before you get to the store.
Make sure you have enough storage space in your place when you buy in bulk.
Pay Off All Your Debt
Something affecting your cost of living is paying interest on the debt.
The three most common sources of debt, in order of importance, are:
- Car loan
- Student loan
- Credit card debt
While tackling debt is easier said than done. It is one item that will make the most difference.
Imagine how much easier your life would be if you had no debt. What would you do? Where would you go?
The best way to pay off the debt I listed above is to start with credit card debt first and work your way up. Credit cards carry high-interest rates and make a big difference in lowering your cost of living.
You can teach yourself how to save $6000 in 6 months by following a few quick tips. This extra money can help you pay off credit cards.
Focus On Your Health
Yea, yea, everyone knows they have to exercise to have better health. But did you know that health concerns can wipe you out financially?
All the hard work you’re doing now can be gone when you become sick. I’ve seen entire savings accounts get cleaned out by paying for medical bills.
The question is:
How do you spend the least amount of time exercising to gain the most benefits of exercise?
Here are some things I did to cut down costs on a gym and still look and feel great:
- Cancel your gym membership ( if you had one)
- Purchase cheap resistance bands.
- Learn basic movements that target major muscle groups.
- Focus on the core, legs, chest, and back.
- Aim for 30 mins strength training twice a week.
- Walk every day for 15 to 20 mins as a cardio alternative.
You will be more motivated if you work out at home because you don’t have to drive anywhere, and the bands workout won’t make you sore either.
Saving money on gym memberships feels great. The savings avoiding long-term diseases cannot be measured, though.
Find Cheaper Car Insurance
If you are a good driver, chances are you will pay less for car insurance. Many people don’t realize that some companies will give discounts to safe drivers.
Here’s how to find cheaper car insurance:
- Get quotes from several companies.
- Compare the rates and choose the cheapest one with the least coverage.
If you have paid your car, you can even choose an insurance with lower coverage.
Return Your Leased Car And Purchase A Used Vehicle
Car leases can be a significant expense if you are trying to save money. Most people don’t know you can give your leased car back to your dealer.
They will try to give you a hard time, but you can get away by paying a minimum penalty.
So what do you do after you return your leased car?
Purchase a used vehicle in good condition.
This will save you thousands of dollars a year not only in the price of the car but also in the price of the insurance. With a paid car, you can pick lower-cost insurance.
If you need help saving for a car with no debt. You can check out our guide.
Guide: How to save $6000 in 6 months
Know The Difference Between Wants And Needs
Mindless spending can take a toll on your financial health. Purchases that do not contribute to your overall goals create a drag on your financial stability.
Knowing the difference between wants and needs can help reduce your cost of living by spending money on things that will take you closer to your goal.
In addition, adjusting your mindset to spend money on necessities rather than material purchases will help you lower your monthly costs and build financial discipline.
Get A Roommate
Renting a room in your house could be a great way to increase your disposable income.
If you don’t feel like cohabitating with someone the entire time. You may look into Airbnb. If you do Airbnb, you can set the dates you are willing to host and have more freedom.
Move To A Location With A Lower Cost Of Living
Housing will be your biggest expense. Moving to a city with lower cost for housing can bring down your expenses.
This is a tough one for most people, since you may be established where you are. But if you have the chance, choosing a location with lower taxes and better affordability can reduce your monthly expenses.
If you already live in one of the cheapest states in the country, good for you. This will keep your bank account at its maximum efficiency.
In summary, lowering your cost of living expenses is not impossible. Anyone can reduce their monthly bills by following some of the advice listed above.
With the cost of everything going up, it is hard to think about different ways to reduce your expenses.
Paying attention to your costs is a great way to start. Follow that with a good budget plan and you will be saving money faster than anyone else.