As a newly wed, wife to a seminary student, and part-time employee, I’m still learning new ways in which to cut the bills and live very, very minimally. Here are some things we’ve done to help lower our expenses:
- Own one car. Being that I work from home, we live on campus, and Jared’s work is a short distance away, this method works quite well for us.
- Own one phone. Again, Jared and I are always near each other or a short walk away throughout the day. So in our current situation, this works quite well for us.
- Don’t own a TV. Cable is a good waste of money.
- Master simple meals. Don’t get too extravagant when preparing food. Being creative with basics is more effective and efficient. Also, potatoes and frozen veggies are cheap resources.
- Don’t buy unnecessary things. This can go for anything: Food, clothes, you name it. Dessert? We can live without it. A new top? Again, we can live without it.
- Don’t buy gifts. This might sound harsh, but if you don’t have a lot of money and want to save money, you can live without gifts. Or at least cut back on how many gifts you buy throughout the year. For example: Jared and I agreed not to buy each other Christmas presents. Another option is to only buy each other practical gifts.
- Master simple routines. Cleaning routines, beauty routines…the principle is the same as mastering simple meals. Cut back to basics and don’t get extravagant.
- Drive as little as possible. We live quite far away from everything. If we need to go somewhere, we make sure to knock out as many errands as possible so we don’t have to make more round trips. Gas is expensive.
- Drink a lot of water. Not only is this very healthy for you, it’s a lot cheaper than buying coffees, teas, and other drinks. Plus, it keeps you hydrated and helps to keep you from mindlessly snacking, thus wasting more food.
- Hunt. We’re eagerly awaiting our state residency prerequisite to be fulfilled. Hunting gets you more meat and for a less price. If you are unable to hunt, buying good meat in bulk is a good way to go as well.
- Learn how to cut your own hair. I routinely cut Jared’s hair. Pretty soon, we’re both going to learn how to cut my hair.
- Don’t spend on entertainment. This doesn’t mean don’t have any entertainment. This means don’t go out to eat, don’t spend money on seeing a movie in theaters, etc. There are many less expensive options: explore wildlife, utilize the library, wait for a movie to be available for rent, etc. Jared and I have only ever eaten out twice in our married life. We just can’t justify spending so much on one meal in our current situation.
- Going on a trip? Pack meals. When Jared and I had to drive to the city for doctor’s appointments over a course of two weeks, we brought lunches with us. PB&J’s to the rescue!
- Ask for discounts. When we set up our Internet, we asked if there were any available discounts for us. The company added two discounts on top of our quoted monthly price! Jared and I are currently the only ones at the seminary paying for our own Internet, so all the help we can get through discounts is wonderful.
- IKEA is great. Stylish and affordable furniture and kitchen/bathroom ware? Yes please.
- Thrift stores are wonderful. If we absolutely need an item of clothing, we only ever go to a thrift store. Sometimes we’ll go through Wal-Mart’s sale rack, but mostly it is thrift stores for us. Wear your clothing to the ground, folks, and stick to clothing basics. They’re usually cheaper, always in style, and last longer.
Remember: Simple. Practical. Minimal. Use less, buy less. Stick to the basics in your cooking, cleaning, clothing, and beauty routine. Living frugally is good, and finding ways to help in doing so is quite satisfying!