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By the author of The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living and What to Eat When You’re Broke
Ask anyone with a tight budget and they’ll tell you: the numbers are lying.
Sure, the government and media are swearing to us that our economy is A-OK, but you and I both know that isn’t true. Personally, I hate this kind of gaslighting because it makes people feel like failures if they’re struggling financially. It makes us all feel utterly alone in our difficulties and that’s simply not the case. Sure, you may have made some mistakes over the years, but it doesn’t mean that your situation is entirely the result of a series of terrible decisions.
Regardless of the cause, we’ve got to play cards with the hand we’re dealt. So, here are some ways you can downsize and save some money. As always, not every method will work for every person. But if it will work for you, you might be able to reallocate a sizable sum each month.
Get rid of your car.
As I’ve mentioned here before, my Jeep gave up the ghost, and I haven’t yet replaced it. As a city dweller, public transit gets me from A to B, and when I can, I enjoy walking in all types of weather. Finally, I work from home so that means I don’t need transportation on a daily basis.
There are a lot of savings involved in getting rid of your wheels:
- No car payment
- No vehicle maintenance expenses
- No car insurance
- No fuel
- No parking fees
There’s a pretty big range there in savings, depending on your situation. I myself save several hundred dollars a month, even using Ubers for doctor’s appointments once a month.
Downsize to a cheaper apartment.
This tip is for renters and has to net several hundred dollars a month to be worthwhile. If it’s only $50 or so it’s just not worth the cost of relocating, paying deposits, and moving your utilities.
But if you can cut back and live in a much smaller and cheaper place, it’s possible to save hundreds each month as a renter. Got a lot of stuff? Some folks who have moved to a small studio apartment and gotten a storage unit still report savings of $500-700.
Remember the added costs of transportation and fuel costs for getting to work and school when you calculate savings for a move. If you spend a whole lot of time and money on a commute it might be a better idea to pay MORE in rent and less for transportation. Do the math to see what works best for you.
Get a roommate.
Are you tied into a lease or own your home? You might be able to save some money each month by making the choice to rent out a room in your home.
I’m currently living in two rooms and a bathroom in someone’s house. I have my own small kitchen and entrance, and the only things we share are a wall and a laundry room. It’s worked out delightfully. I pay a lot less than I would for an upscale apartment in a high rise and my landlady gets help paying her mortgage.
Even if you don’t have a separate mother-in-law suite, you might be able to rent out your guest room and share a kitchen with a quiet adult or student. Make sure to outline the rules clearly from the start to help prevent problems.
Downsize to one streaming service.
The prices of streaming services have been going nowhere but up lately. On average, most Americans have three streaming service subscriptions. For ad-free streaming, Forbes shares the costs of the most popular services.
If you have multiple services you could be paying almost as much as cable these days.
I personally have Amazon Prime because of free shipping and other benefits, so I always have that service. For the other services, I rotate. If there are several shows on a service that I enjoy, I wait until the full season is available, then subscribe for a month (often taking advantage of a sale.) I carefully note when the payment renews and cancel before that happens. I go back and forth between Hulu, Max, Paramount, and Netflix, keeping only one a month.
This isn’t as much of a savings as some of the other suggestions but you may find it frees up a week’s worth of grocery money if you have multiple services.
Downsize some memberships.
Speaking of subscriptions, there might be more things you can cancel. Think about all the memberships and subscriptions you have and decide if they’re really worthwhile or just a habit that you haven’t canceled.
Apps on your phone: I used to use the Calm app every day but now use it rarely and can find a lot of the same things on YouTube. GONE. You may have other paid apps like diet and fitness ones, meal planning, motivational quotes, etc. If you don’t use them regularly or could replace them for free, you could save up to 20 a month per app.
Products you get delivered: Do you have any products you have delivered regularly? Are they ones you really use? Do you have a bunch of extra ones stacked up in your closet? And have you recently done some comparison shopping to make sure you’re getting the best deal?
Meal services: Okay, if you’re on this website you probably don’t subscribe to meal services. But, if you do this is the second most expensive way to buy food. If you do this instead of ordering from Doordash or Uber eats, then it might be worthwhile, but otherwise, it’s probably time to just do some weekly food prep for yourself.
Fitness memberships: Be honest. Do you really use your gym or fitness membership or do you just PLAN to use it? If you’re not using it enough to get your money’s worth, it’s got to go.
Memberships that reduce the price of other things: Instacart and Doordash have memberships you can buy each month that reduce the price of each delivery you receive by knocking out some of the fees. But – it’s still more expensive to order Doordash than to go to a restaurant which is more expensive than eating at home.
One reason some people are hesitant to get rid of certain memberships is that they “got a great deal.” Hey, I’ve done it too, but if you aren’t using it or can live a perfectly wonderful life without it, you’re still blowing money unnecessarily.
Subscriptions I kept:
- A few subscribe-and-save necessities on Amazon (otc medications and household goods)
- DuoLingo – practicing languages daily is great for my brain and it’s a product I truly use. I renew every year on their Black Friday sale.
- Lumosity – the brain games have really helped me deal with my scattered thoughts. I use this daily as well. This is also purchased at the lowest price of the year.
- Instacart: Because of a mobility issue, I have an Instacart membership to have heavier groceries brought to my door for a lower price. It’s still more expensive than going to get things myself, but going to get things myself isn’t really feasible in my current situation.
How do you downsize?
Will any of these ideas work for you? Are there any changes you made that save you a significant amount of money? Do you do a downsize audit every year to make sure you are spending money wisely? What are some other ways folks can downsize?
Let’s discuss downsizing in the comments section.
Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, adventure-seeking, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites. 1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty; 2) The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived; and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. Her work is widely republished across alternative media and she has appeared in many interviews.
Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books, 12 self-published books, and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses at SelfRelianceand Survival.com You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.