The average American saves approximately 4.2% of their income, but there are some individuals who are able to put away much more than that because they live ultra frugal lifestyles.
In fact, they manage to save approximately half of their take-home pay. While this may involve some rather extreme strategies, such as never using hot water for anything (including showers), some people are fine with that. Some are also resorting to dangerous acts, such as driving their car with the engine turned off occasionally. Of course, turning off the car and coasting in neutral isn’t exactly the best way to save money, especially when doing so could result in some premature wear and tear. But there are some strategies that are useful and can allow people to live on as little as $500 per month, depending on what city they live in.
Money Saving Strategies
Basically, the idea is to cut as much as you can in as many areas as you can. After scaling down, some people wonder why they tried to live beyond their means in the first place. Here are 15 ways you can boost your savings:
1. Just use cold water
Use cold water when washing clothes and taking showers. You may also want to cut down on hot water use when washing the dishes. While hot water can help in the cleaning process, cold water is perfect to rinse with.
2. Use public transportation
Is your car really that important? Can you take a cab, the subway, or a bus? Maybe you can bike or walk to work. If you can do any of these things, you can avoid having a car payment and you won’t have to pay for fuel. The cost of public transportation is significantly less than having to fill up a gas tank every week.
3. Ditch the fridge
There are some individuals who have actually made it without a fridge. They don’t mind scraping mold off of their cheese. However, this is not recommended if you have children because they need to eat certain foods, drink milk, drink juice, etc. and those items need to stay cold.
4. Get rid of the house
If you don’t have a family, it may benefit you to ditch the house and go with an RV. Some people, especially retirees, are happier living in an RV because they can go anywhere in the country and take their home with them.
5. Bake in your car
If you live in a hot climate, you can bake certain goodies in your car rather than the oven. For example, place a barrier between the dashboard and the cookie sheet and bake some cookies. Simply park in the sun on a hot day and you are saving energy and reducing your carbon footprint without sacrificing your cookies.
6. Reuse plastic bags
Rather than buy garbage bags, use the bags you get at the grocery store. You can also reuse your plastic sandwich bags because they are easy to rinse out and dry. As long as you don’t place raw meet inside the bag, washing a plastic bag is hygienic, saves money, and is better for the environment. This can save a family of four an average of $30 per year.
7. Drive your car while it’s off
Okay, this one is not really safe and you should not do this. Repeat, do not do it, especially if you are not already experienced with doing so. Even if you are experienced, the American Automobile Association warns against it. However, there are individuals who save gas by using the car’s momentum to drive downhill or glide into parking spaces. What this does is enable you to get where you’re going without having to use fuel, but you also don’t have your power brakes and power steering.
8. Make your own cleaning solutions
Vinegar and lemons are fantastic cleaners for the kitchen. They also get rid of bad smells. If there is an odor you just can’t shake in a room, just put a small bowl of vinegar in the room. You may also want to check out Pinterest for ideas on making your own laundry detergent, dish soap, and other cleaning supplies.
9. Ditch the soda
Drinking soda consumes so much cash. If you stop drinking soda, you can cut back on the grocery bill. In fact, it is estimated that a family will save around $50 a month if they drink water from the faucet. If you are concerned about water quality, buy a filter for around $20. One filter will last months and can save your household from consuming hundreds of bottles of water, thus saving money.
10. Visit mom and dad for a while
It doesn’t matter how old you are, mom and dad may not mind a prolonged visit. You may tell them that you need to stay a while, but they know you are moving back in when you start bringing back your toys. If you must move back in with your parents and you have children, you can also save money on childcare. At the same time, your parents get a free pet sitter and house sitter, as well as some help with their bills. In the end, everyone wins. Just make sure your parents are okay with it.
11. Build a stockpile
This is one that will appeal to the couponer. If you are not couponing, then it isn’t too late to start, as you can find deals that will allow you to stockpile cans of food, toilet paper, and all of the necessities. Now is the time to do this since there are retailers that are beginning to tighten up their coupon policies.
12. Buy in bulk
It may seem like buying in bulk costs more, but buying in bulk is actually cheaper. You won’t have to go back to the store to replenish an item. Instead, you can wait until next month.
13. Price match
There are many retailers that will price match. This means they will charge you the same as their competitor. Make sure you shop with the ads from different stores so you can show the cashier that their competitor is selling for less, forcing the price to be matched.
14. Cook big meals
Cooking one big pot of chili is cheaper than cooking chili three separate times. Foods like chili and soup can be frozen for consumption in the future, saving you money on your grocery bill.
15. Plan everything
Make sure you plan everything ahead. This means planning meals, planning activities, and planning the other items you need to buy on your shopping trips. Go online and compare prices so you can find the best deals.
All or Nothing
Basically, the way to save a significant amount of money is to go all or nothing. Look at every aspect of your life and scale down. If you dine out too much, stop doing that. If you go out two times a week, just go out once. If you are always buying new toys, create a reward system for yourself so you only buy yourself things when you accomplish something. There are so many ways you can change how you spend money so you can have plenty in the bank for a rainy day or year. If you never have to access that money for emergency reasons, then buy that RV when you retire and travel the country.