Top 4 ways to live on less money

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Australian Dollars
Some simple strategies will help you to save a few dollars every day. Photo: Kritchanut, Bigstock.

We all know that the cost of living is increasing by the year. From petrol to public transport to food, it is all becoming more expensive and in some industries, our wages aren’t increasing to keep up with rising costs.

We all have responsibilities that we need to take care of. For many of us taking care of our families, pets, bills and mortgages are just some of the ways we spend our money and why we need more money. However, sometimes what we think is necessary to spend on may not be crucial. Many of our needs may actually be wants. Of course, there’s no fun in just spending on necessities and not on other things that make us happy.

Yet, if we can learn how to live on less, overall it should make us happier, more in control and not at the mercy of money. Here are some top ways you can live without wanting more.

Figure out your non-negotiables

We all have those things that we just can’t live without. For some people, they won’t comprise on the quality of their food. Others won’t budge on their pampering spend. Whatever your non-negotiable may be, write these things down.

If you are getting confused between conflicting wants, here are some common things that people wont give up:

  • Fresh fruit, vegetables and produce
  • Going out with friends
  • Getting their hair done
  • Gym memberships and other exercise activities

Once you have figured what you aren’t willing to let go of, this will actually give you a good foundation to start living on less money. When you can tell yourself that you won’t be missing out on the things you love, then it can be easier to get into the mindset of cutting back on other things.

Do a clean out

Most of us have items that we really don’t need anymore. Some of these items can include old clothes, appliances, books and DVDs. Start small and concentrate on getting rid of items room by room.

When we start de-cluttering and cleaning up space, it can make us feel better and clearer headed. Once you understand the benefits of having less, it can make you become more determined not to start spending again and clutter up your life and home once more.

When you are happier with less, then you won’t want to spend on things that you don’t need or be inclined to impulse buy.

Focus on non-material happiness

Once we have de-cluttered our material possessions, then it’s time to get in the mindset of being happy with things that don’t require spending. Think of particular activities that don’t involve spending money. For example, doing physical activity, going to the beach, gardening or spending time with loved ones.

Whatever the activity, in order for us to spend less and live on less, we need to find things to do every day that aren’t reliant on money and more focused on real happiness.

Money is fleeting. It can be taken away from us as easy as we get it. However, things that don’t involve money are less flimsy and will allow us to save, as well as feel grounded.

Embrace minimal living

Lastly, it’s important to actually love living on less money. That’s not to say that we start looking at money as the enemy, but more that it’s not the be all and end all.

When we start actually living our lives with a focus on friends, family and non money related activities, rather than how to make money and ways to spend it, then we can learn to really embrace minimal living. When we do this, we won’t feel tied down or dictated by money, and this is a freedom that many in this modern age can benefit from.

It doesn’t matter how much you earn, everyone can learn to cut back and live on less. Remember to firstly look at what it is that you absolutely won’t give up. This will be different for everyone, but when you identify these things, it will put you in a better frame of mind to start cutting back on other stuff.

Do a de-clutter of your home. Even starting simple, with your wardrobe can get you on the path to giving away or throwing out items you no longer need. This will show you that having less can actually be a good thing, not a negative.

Finally, really learn to love living with less. For some this will come more naturally and for others it can take some time. It’s about making an effort to ensure your happiness is coming from non-material possessions, and then seeing that this is actually better for your mind, health and hip pocket.