Live Cheaply – How You Can Win At Living On Next To Nothing

If you look hard enough there are ways to live cheaply or even to live on nothing.

But realistically when you have no money it’s not about learning to living on fresh air alone, what you need to focus on is learning how to live cheaply.

And as cheaply as possible.

If you are like me you will already have read many different articles that talk about cutting $1000 grocery budgets down.

And I know what you are thinking when you read them.

$1000 grocery budgets?

Yeah right – wishful thinking!

You don’t earn the kind of money that allows for $1000 of groceries plus eating out.

You’re living on a low income and right now you are trying to work out how to live on nothing.

What you need are some strategies to help you live simply and cheaply, to get by and grow whilst on that low income.

You need to get creative and be honest about what you can do and what you can’t do.

When you are living on next to nothing it’s not about what you want to do it’s what you NEED to do.

 

woman sat on the floor with notepad using calculator to signify how to live cheaply

 

Firstly – Please Don’t Panic!

You may not realize it but living on next to nothing is possible, really it is.

Of course it’s a huge worry when you have nothing in the bank and are faced with the prospect of trying to learn how to live on nothing.

Which you know in reality is not possible, not nothing at all. So go right ahead and take a little time to sort your thoughts out.

Now that you’ve given yourself a little hug and a shake it’s time for action.

Because you CAN do this and the following tips will help you to find the cheapest way to live for you and your family.

 

womans hands counting coins with notepad and calculator

 

Live Cheaply – How You Can Win At Living On Next To Nothing

(This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read more here)

How can I live with no money? It’s probably almost impossible to live with no money at all.

But you can live on very little money if you are willing to live very differently.

I’m talking living off grid, find a rent free place (which could mean camping).

Foraging and eating food that others have discarded (e.g. dumpster diving – check your local laws first!)

 

How can I live very cheaply?  Consider every cent, every penny you have as a prisoner, not to be released unless all else fails.

You need to be prepared to get completely out of your comfort zone, to jump in feet first into extreme frugal living.

 

What is the cheapest place to live? Every country has some super cheap places to live.

But they can come with downsides, like no local jobs, extreme weather, high crime rates.

Alternative you can think about living in more unconventional places like an RV, a boat, a commune or even a tent.

You choose it, you live it.

For less extreme ways to live very cheaply check out the following 14 cheap living tips. They will help you cut your costs and save money.

 

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

 

pinterest image for how to live cheaply

These strategies are just perfect to help me through the next month. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and live on next to nothing. #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting

 

 

Create A Survival Budget

To be successful in living cheaply you need to have full knowledge of what money you do have and what bills you must pay.

You need to have a budget that is realistic and honest. Your normal budget isn’t going to cut it right now.

Right now you need a survival budget.

A budget that stops you from starving but doesn’t have any excess in it at all.

No luxuries, no fun things.

Because it’s not for ever.

A survival budget is one where you have cut everything to the bone to keep you going whilst you learn how to live as cheaply as possible.

Because it can be done.

Read these posts to get started:

How To Survive, Thrive And Save Money On A Tight Budget

How To Live Fabulously On A Budget (And Save Money)

 

 

various shabby chic kitchen items including wooden spoons in glass bottles and a wire mesh basket against a painted wooden backdrop

 

Embrace Frugal Living

Learning how to live simply and cheaply through frugal living is probably the best thing you can do for your wallet right now. 

Frugal living isn’t about being cheap, it’s about getting maximum value from the money you have so you can learn to love living within your means.

However small your means may currently be.

The thrifty lifestyle will help you understand how to live cheap and save money.

And by living cheap I do not mean being cheap! There is a world of difference between frugal and cheap.

What frugal means to you will be different to me or your next door neighbor.

To help you get started have a look at all these tips:

How To Be Frugal: 200+ Best Frugal Living Tips To Try Today

How To Live Frugally When It’s All New To You

 

 

Develop Your Frugal Living Master Plan

The frugal folk who have worked out how to live cheaply have all started with a plan.

You will be amazed at how frugal you can become when you put your head to it and planning will ensure you are successful from day one.

 

Your plan should include some or all of these:

  • planning ahead
  • using your time wisely
  • stop spending
  • creating new money habits
  • keeping your heating and cooling costs down
  • keeping it simple
  • simplifying your life
  • reducing your costs
  • building a pantry stockpile
  • saving something every time you get paid
  • managing your housing costs
  • making more money

You may also like:

How To Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck The Frugal Way

The Best Books On Frugal Living You Need To Read

 

overhead shot of woman writing on a a4 ringbound notepad, sitting on a bed with laptop beside her

 

Planning Ahead

Planning is a cornerstone of cheap living. When you don’t have the money then you must recognize that you do have the time.

Plan your time so you can clean your own house, make your own lunch, mow your lawn.

You may be working long hours but time is something right now that you do have whereas money is something you don’t.

If you use money to pay for someone else to do something for you then what you are actually doing is buying their time.

If you are not used to planning your time and filling it up with daily chores then why not use a daily planner to help you create a successful schedule?

When you are not used to doing all the different tasks it can be helpful to have a visible reminder of what tasks need doing and what their deadlines are.

7 Things To Do At The Beginning Of Every Month For Your Money

 

blank ring binder open diary with small succulent plant on white background overhead shot

 

Use Your Time Wisely

When you have money, buying convenience food, having a cleaner, using a tumble dryer are all things its easy to fall into the habit of.

When you plan on living cheaply you need to get out of these habits fast!

There are 168 hours in one week so you have time and you need to allocate a bit of it to doing stuff you might not have done before.

Making your own lunch rather than paying for someone else to make it for you.

Cooking from scratch rather than buying ready made.

Packaged rice takes 2 minutes in the microwave versus cooking your own rice in less than 20 minutes.

Yes you spend up to 18 minutes longer to achieve the same food.

But pre-packed rice is about 5 times more expensive than normal rice.

You have 18 minutes, you don’t have money to waste when you’re trying to live on next to nothing.

Related reading: 27 Brilliant And Effective Ways To Create More Time In Your Day

 

womans arm in black top holding black gift bag

 

How to Live On Nothing – Stop Spending!

I know I’m stating the obvious but if you’re trying to live on next to nothing then you need to stop spending!

Some people are emotional spenders (me!) so when feeling low they shop to make themselves feel better, which it doesn’t because you spend money you don’t have.

If you haven’t already, switch to cash only and use the cash envelope system.

Much harder to part with cash when you know you only have X to last you until next pay day.

Use the 30 day rule for items you need.

Related reading: 

How To Stop Spending Money You Really Don’t Have

How To Spend Less Money (And Save) – 6 Easy Tricks

 

hanging lighbulbs with one shining brightly against blue background

 

Keeping Your Utility Bills Down

Utility bills are often cited as being part of your essential living costs but the amount you use and pay is very much down to you.

The more energy you use the more you will pay so now is the time to be thinking of all the ways you can live cheaply and reduce your usage.

If you can cut your energy costs by 20% then that is money in your pocket and money you don’t have to pay out.

 

Save Electricity

  • Keep your heating down low
  • Turn heating off at night or even lower (we keep ours off or at 12c)
  • Wear extra layers including jumpers and warm trousers and slippers
  • Shut your doors
  • Turn lights off when you leave the room
  • Use LED lightbulbs when you need to replace bulbs
  • Batch cook in your oven
  • Use your microwave more
  • If you have air-conditioning – turn it off or up high and get used to the higher temperatures. A little bit uncomfortable is better than paying out money you don’t have.

More tips available here: How To Keep Your House Warm and Your Energy Bills Low This Winter

 

hanging lighbulbs with one shining brightly against blue background

 

You will also want to ensure you are with the cheapest energy provider.

Until recently this meant using comparison sites to find the best deal and organizing the switching yourself.

In the UK there is a fantastic new service called Look After My Bills that will automatically switch you to a new provider as your existing one becomes more expensive.

Not only is LAMB free to join, they keep checking the market and switch you again as your existing deal ends. So you know you will always be on the best deal.



 

If you are in the US then TRIM will negotiate on your behalf to switch and lower bills such as your internet, cable, phone AND medical bills.

TRIM also helps you save money by finding old and unwanted subscriptions.

Advert for the TRIM app

 

Water

  • don’t leave the tap running
  • turn the shower off whilst you are soaping & shampooing
  • wash your fruit and vegetables in a bowl of water, not under the running tap
  • wash full loads of clothes only
  • do the sniff test before washing, does it really need a wash?
  • fit an aerator to your tap to halve your water flow

More tips available here: 10 Ways To Save Money On Your Water Bill

 

happy young child making pizzas

 

Meal Plan To Make Simple Meals

When you need to live on a really tight budget, your grocery bill is a place you can make some big savings.

There are many easy ways to save money in the kitchen but food is potentially your biggest win.

Meal planning helps you to use the ingredients you already have and plan your meals for the week so you do not get tempted to buy a takeaway or have a restaurant meal.

Use your slow cooker/crock pot, batch cook and freeze extra meals.

Simple meals with less ingredients cost less and will help you when living on a tight budget.

They also lend themselves to being batch cooked which means you cook once and eat twice or more.

The simple but homely meals I batch cook include:

  • chilli
  • bolognese
  • lasagna
  • sausage casserole
  • chicken curry

These meals don’t need a ton of expensive meat. Indeed my chilli often has more lentils and veg in it than meat!

You can make basic, homely meals using cheap meat, the cheaper, in-season vegetables and tinned or frozen veg.

All of which helps you to live cheaply.

Batch cooking also reduces your energy bills as you will cook less and do more re-heating.

55 Cheap And Easy Meals You Are Going To Love

10 Frugal Meals For When You Feel So Broke

 

 

However if this all feels a little overwhelming right now then the $5 meals plan could be your savior.

For just $5 a month you not only get a weekly meal plan, you get a grocery list of all the ingredients you will need to make those meals.

That’s less than $1.25 a week to ensure you don’t waste food and have easy, yummy meals to make every night.

Given we can waste up to 30% of all the food you buy, $5 a month for recipes and a grocery list emailed to you every week will definitely save you a ton of money over the next few months. 

And with a 14 day FREE trial, you can try before you buy.

 

Try $5 Meal Plan Today!

 

Related reading:

7 Meal Planning Strategies All Beginners Should Know

9 Meal Planning Mistakes You Need Solutions For

 

Simple living to help you manage your finances

 

Simplify Your Life

Leading a more simple life can be one of the cheapest ways to live. Consider everything you do and consider whether you can simplify it.

Cut down on activities your children are doing – they will be just as happy and possibly more so being creative at home and having downtime.

Learning how to live simply and cheaply is not about doing without but doing things differently.

It’s about finding alternatives to your usual spending patterns.

If you need inspiration have a read of what rich people do.

They don’t splash their cash at every opportunity. They make their money work for them, as hard as possible. 

Related reading:

How To Simplify Your Life When All Around Is Chaos!

Living A Simple Life – Simple Inspirations For You

 

woman at at a white table putting money in a pink piggy bank with a calculator and a spread of money notes to signify how to live cheaply

 

Reducing Your Costs

We can all spend on stuff we don’t really need. Think about ways you can live on less money. Ways like:

Purchasing only reduce to clear bargains – this can mean completing your grocery shopping at more than one store to pick up the bargains in each store.

Coupons – If you have coupons link them in with the items being on sale.

Never use a coupon if it will cost you more cold, hard cash than buying an alternative brand.

Swap phone plans – consider using the likes of Skype or WhatsApp chat to keep in touch with friends and family.

Line dry your clothes – I line dry even if there is a frost on the ground, clothes get 80% dry then can be finished off inside on a drying rack.

Tumbler dryers cost money to buy and money to run.

Have a large freezer – you can freeze purchases of meat and other perishables.

Buy a second hand freezer cheaply from Ebay, craigslist or a local Facebook group.

You might even get lucky and pick up a free one from Freegle or Freecycle.

Support Schemes – ensure you are signed up to support schemes that are aimed at low income families.

You might get reduced energy bills or free loft insulation.

Cook from scratch wholesome food – home made bread, potatoes, beans (dried then re-hydrated is cheaper), rice are all cheaper than their processed equivalents

Learn new skills – through YouTube or asking a family member to fix things yourself.

Don’t automatically think you need to buy a replacements.

You may also like: 12 Traditional Frugal Living Tips To Supercharge Your Savings

 

cupboard shelves full of food packages

 

Build Your Store Cupboard On The Cheap

Your grocery budget can be a big chunk of your budget after rent/mortgage.

You can slash your grocery budget in many ways and spend next to nothing for a while if you have a solid store cupboard to feed your family from.

Plan your food through a weekly or monthly meal plan and also take note of sales.

Over time you will recognize when an item is at its lowest sale price – stock up then with enough to last you until the next sale.

Within a few months you’ll have an idea of how often you need tins of tuna and stock up on the next sale.

This works really well with dried goods and tins. Just make sure you are going to use them.

If money is really tight right now then try to buy one pantry item each week, even if it’s just one big bag of pasta.

Over time stockpiling will get easy.

The key to a successful pantry stockpile is knowing what you have, their best before dates and using them.

No point stock piling if you don’t use the item to take advantage of its low cost.

Related posts:

How To Stockpile Food On A Budget – 10 Easy Tips

Why You Should Eat Your Pantry Stockpile

 

 

woman with red open purse pouring coins into her hand

 

Save

It wont be much to start with but create a new money habit of saving every payday whether its £10 or a little less.

Save Every Month

I know we started this off and you didn’t have any money, but the thing is you have to find ways to save money in order to change where you are and make a long term difference.

Every time you get paid whether that’s weekly, bi-weekly or ad-hoc make sure the first thing you do is save something.

You are saving for your future self and prioritizing yourself and your family.

By paying yourself first even if it’s only a few pounds you are demonstrating to yourself that you matter.

As time goes on you will be able to save more and more.

These savings can be the start of your rainy day fund.

Not to be touched unless it really is an emergency. Such as car repairs to get your car back on the road and you to work.

Not a top up grocery shop or a take away because you’ve had a long day at work.

Sorry, emergency is emergency and nothing less.

You may also like:

 Why You Should Have Two Emergency Cash Accounts

21 Money Saving Tips For Beginners – How To Start Saving Big NOW!

 

white thatched country cottage on lane

 

Cheaper Housing Costs

It’s not easy to instantaneously reduce your housing costs. You might have a mortgage or a rental contract.

But there can be things you can do depending on your individual situation.

  • Do you have a spare room you can rent out?
  • Can you get a lodger?
  • Can you do Airbnb?
  • Could you move to a smaller place to free up some money?

Some people advocate living in an RV/mobile home as a great way to live cheaply.

Can you refinance your mortgage or extend your term to reduce your monthly repayments?

Thinking outside the box will help here.

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Early (So You Can Be Free)

15 Things We Gladly Gave Up To Become Mortgage Free

 

Make Money To Save Money

There are 168 hours in every week. How many hours do you spend working?

How many hours are you spending stressing about having to live cheaply because you have no money? 

Why not try and find a way to make a little money at home or online.

The first place to look for making money is to sell anything you currently own that you don’t need.

Less clutter will help reduce clutter in your mind and selling it will bring in a few pennies.

You’ll be amazed at what people buy.

Use your local Facebook groups or Gumtree as these are free to use.

Ebay is of course a great place to sell as well, just remember that their fees can add up to 10% or more.

Related posts:

The Best Work From Home Jobs When You Need Flexibility

41 Awesome Hobbies That Can Make You Money Right Now

 

young couple holding their heads in their hands with bank statements on table to signify how to live cheaply

 

Living Cheaply Reduces Your Stress

Living cheaply because you have to rather than because you want to can be stressful.

Having no money is stressful.

Reduce your stress by being active in doing everything you can to find the cheapest way to live for you.

You deserve not to be stressed over money which means you need to take charge and get your spending down and your saving up.

Most people at some point in their lives have a really, really tight money phase.

It could be because you’ve lost your job, got a chronic health condition that limits your work capability, had a marriage relationship breakdown.

All super stressful in themselves.

Add in money worries and you are one stressed bunny.

If, despite trying everything you are still struggling to live cheaply then seek out help in your local area.

There are people, charities and government agencies, that can help you.

Don’t shy away from this help, reach out to them. They have experience and it is what they are there for.

Related post:

How to Stop Worrying About Money – Banish Worry With 15 Simple Tips

What To Do When You Can’t Afford The Snowball Method

 

For more help in saving money grab your copy of the Money Saving Mini Bundle today!


 

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

pinterest image for how to live cheaply
These strategies are just perfect to help me through the next month. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and live on next to nothing. #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #budgeting

 

 

These strategies are just perfect to help me through the next month. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and live on next to nothing. #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #budgeting
These strategies are just perfect to help me through the next month. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and live on next to nothing. #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #budgetingThese strategies are just perfect to help me through the next month. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and live on next to nothing. #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting
These strategies for living on next to nothing will help you save money and live cheaply. When you're broke and have no money you need money saving tips to budget and get through to your next paycheck. #beingbroke #livecheaply #cheapliving #livingonnexttonothing #moneysavingideas #moneysavingtips #savemoney #savingmoney #budgeting

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

8 thoughts on “Live Cheaply – How You Can Win At Living On Next To Nothing”

  1. This is such a comprehensive post! My husband lost his job earlier this year and we had a tough time adjusting to the income drop. It is so scary, and we definitely panicked a bit haha.

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Steph! Losing a job unexpectedly is always scary so its understandable you panicked, I think we all would. Hope you are both in a better place financially now. Remember to top up your emergency fund as well to give you some peace of mind. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  2. The thing that I love about this list is that it makes sense whether you are trying to live on no money or not. The other thing I love is that almost all of these ideas will have zero, or minimal, impact on your lifestyle while saving you loads. It’s the very definition of working smarter!

    Great set of ideas!

    Reply
    • Hi Caveman, thanks so much for your feedback. You’re so right, working smarter is absolutely what us frugal people want to be doing. I’m all for saving money whilst still enjoying my lifestyle!

      Reply
  3. such an amazing article very helpful me and my family are going through a tougher time of late (just set up our youngest in university) so we really need to build up our savings again as they have been totally depleted. Thank you for making me realise that I can make positive changes if I just take a minute to breathe and think clearly and plan instead of panicking and freaking out.

    Reply
    • Hi Kelly! Yep, sending kids off to uni is never cheap is it? When you start to worry about money and not having savings it can feel like you don’t know where to start. The main thing is, you’ve had savings before, you will again. Don’t panic, sit down and make a plan. When you have a plan I bet you will feel so much more in control. This time next year you’ll have those savings – I wish you the best of luck in getting there in no time. Thanks so much for stopping by.

      Reply
  4. We retired at 59 and 60 sold a big home in a big city moved to a small town bought a small house. We save money every month . We cancelled magazine and newspaper. Read everything online or at the library. Never baked bread or cooked much of anything but I learned how from u-tube. We hang clothes on the line to dry and planted a garden. We walk to stores , library etc. We can go on vacation when we want. Keep learning and grown. Think outside the box be peaceful try your best.

    Reply
    • Hi Linda. I love that you are so open to continually learning and am so pleased you have learned so many new skills since you retired. Try your best – it’s all we can ask of ourselves isn’t it? Try to be the best version of yourself. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.