10 Tips to Live on Next to Nothing: Start Saving Money Fast
It’s true, the fastest way to save money is to not spend money. Living on next to nothing is a powerful strategy to build a savings and pay down debt!
When approached correctly, living on next to nothing can be a rewarding life experience.
We’ve not only gathered tips and tricks on how to save money, cut spending, and live within your means, but we’ve also added in a few hacks on how to deal with the mental challenges of not spending money.
You got this!
1. Comb Through Your Expenses
Beware subscription services! If you want to live on next to nothing, you can’t be paying for services you don’t use.
Each month, open up your bank statements to find those long-forgotten subscriptions that are continuing to charge you. Look out for things like streaming services, phone apps, online news/magazines, etc.
If you don’t use it, cancel it! (Pro tip: you only need one streaming service at a time. Stop paying for 4 streaming services when you’re only watching one show. )
And while your bank statement is open, check out your spending habits. Are you spending more than you think on small random purchases? That’s a good thing to notice.
2. Collect Free Money
There are a few apps and services that offer free money. Here are some of our favorite cash back apps and services (they are all free to use):
- Upside: Use the Upside app is earn free cash back at the gas station. You can redeem your money via PayPal, direct deposit, or gift card. Use the promo code AFF20 to grab a 20 cents-per-gallon sign-up bonus. Download the free Upside app.
- Capital One Shopping: Even when you’re living on next to nothing, you still got to buy stuff online. The free Capital One Shopping browser extension is a great way to save money. Capital One Shopping finds valid coupon codes at check out, and it price-checks other online retailers to help you find a lower price. You can also earn free gift cards with loyalty credits. Get the Capital One Shopping browser today.
- Dosh: If you want to put cash-back rewards on autopilot, then Dosh is the app you want. Link your credit and debit cards, and you automatically earn cash-back rewards at participating retailers. It truly is that easy. Download the free Dosh app and watch the cash dash in.
- Scott’s Cheap Flights: Find the best deals on flights coming out of your airpot. Just tell Scott where you want to go. When a deal pops up, an email will be sent to your inbox (deals range from 40%-90% on average). Sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights to grab your free 14 day trial (and save 20% on a one-year membership with promo code BUDGET20.)
- Rakuten: When you shop online, the free Rakuten browser extension automatically alerts you to cash-back and coupon-saving opportunities. Get the free Rakuten browser extension
- Insurify: Insurify is a free service that compares insurance rates across the top home and auto insurance providers. Input your policy information, and Insurify will scan for similar policies at better rates than you’re getting.
3. Try a Budget
When you’re living on nothing, you don’t actually need a budget. Spend as little money as possible–that is your budget.
But a budget is another effective means to accomplishing your financial goals!
Simply put, a budget is a tool that tells you how to spend money so that you can live within your means. It not only helps you spend your money responsibly, but it also allows you to fully enjoy your money.
With a budget, you’re not overspending, you have money growing in the bank every month, and you can enjoy spending a little money on yourself because you know you responsibly can!
A budget will reduce your financial stress and make reaching your financial goals easier.
Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop
The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.
We want to help you do both.
Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt.
What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:
- Hacks to lower your monthly bills
- Hacks to spend less on debt
- Hacks to start investing
- Hacks to increase your income by $20/month (with no extra effort)
This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.
Find out how to save money on just one income
4. Stop Paying Interest
The reason you’ve got to get out of debt fast is because of interest! You cannot live on next to nothing with an interest expense on your shoulders.
If you’re unfamiliar with interest, here’s a simplified version on how it works:
Let’s say you borrow $1,000 at 15% interest. After one year, you will pay $150 in interest (15% * $1,000). That interest does not pay down the $1,000 you borrowed. Instead, it goes into your lender’s pocket. Interest is the fee you pay to borrow money.
The lower your debt, the less you pay in interest. Every time you make a payment on your debt, you save money in interest. Do what you can to do get out of debt as fast as you can.
Cut Interest Expenses to Zero
If you have credit card debt, you may want to consider a Balance Transfer Credit Card.
A balance transfer credit card can cut your interest payment to 0% APR for 12 to 18 months (actual rates will depend on your credit score).
Having 0% interest on your debt (for a period of time) is a huge opportunity to get out of debt fast! When you lose $0 to interest, all of your money can go towards paying down your debt!
5. Fill the Day
When living on next to nothing, it’s helpful to stay busy. That doesn’t mean you should work all day, but you should try to be intentional with your day.
Key tip: try to avoid habit-scrolling social media. It’s neither productive nor relaxing which makes it a massive time-suck.
Stay productive when it’s time to be productive. Try to see cooking and chores as opportunities to fill your day.
It’s also important to be intentional with you-time (i.e. less social media). Play your favorite game; research something of interest; try learning to draw; or light an incense, turn on some spa music, and take a bath.
Copy these genius habits of women who never overspend!
6. Go for Free Entertainment
Play cards; walk in your local park; take a hike; or check out books, audiobooks, music and movies from your local library.
If you haven’t been to your local library for some time, we highly suggest you check it out. Books and audiobooks are a great way to fill time, so to have endless options for free is such a cool opportunity.
If you’re trying to save money on a low income or as a college student, use these genius tips!
Going for a walk? Earn free gift with Sweat Coin
If you decide to walk in the park or go on a hike, be sure to download Sweat Coin, the app that pays you S-coins to exercise. Exchange your S-coins for free gifts in the SweatCoin Marketplace. It doesn’t get any better than that. Free gifts for exercise.
7. Drink Water
Buy yourself a quality thermos, a water filter, and drink more water! Because when you cut out those other drink options, you save.
Definitely avoid bottled water. You’re not going to save any money. Either get a new filter for your fridge, or get a Brita filter and then your hydration gets cut down to the price of tap water.
There are so many healthy benefits to drinking water. As soon as you cut the sugar drinks (I’m talking fruit juice, too!), you’re going to feel much better mentally, physically, and financially.
8. Eat More Veggies
If you know how to make veggies taste good, you can save massive amounts of money on food.
Fresh veggies are cheap! When you make them delicious, you get to eat as much as you want and not feel guilty (about money or calories)!
Green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, the list goes on!
How do you make them delicious? Add avocado oil, minced garlic, salt, and roast them in the oven at 415F for 30 minutes (stir midway through).
Add whatever spices you like. We like chili powder and garlic powder.
Try this! If you can enjoy getting full on veggies, you will save good money on food.
>> This is our favorite site to find easy and healthy recipe ideas.
$5 Meal Plan Offers Delicious Choices and Dishes up Savings
If cooking at home is new for you, it can seem like a bit of a challenge.
Your taste buds will be introduced to new dishes, like balsamic chicken wraps or avocado egg breakfast sandwich.
The recipes spell out what you need, how to prepare it, how to cook it, and what you can do ahead of time.
Regain precious time when you no longer have to worry about what to cook.
Discover new dishes and never eat a boring meal again.
Sign up for a free trial of the $5 Meal Plan and see how much you will save when you whip up wonderful dishes for just a couple of bucks per serving.
Related: How to Stop Overspending For Good!
Give these tips of women who always have money a try!
One of the reason it is hard to live on nothing is that we don’t get to buy stuff. It’s agitating!
While in the midst of living on nothing, start decluttering your home. Go through a drawer, a closet, or clear that cluttered surface that keeps accumulating more stuff.
If you don’t use it, get rid of it. You can donate it, sell it online, or throw it away.
Okay… but why declutter?
As you declutter, you recognize that new-found open space and the increased functionality in your home is incredibly rewarding.
Then you realize that the stuff you had been collecting was actually suffocating your home. Stuff can make your home feel agitating, hard to clean, and a burden.
When you recognize that stuff takes away space, buying stuff doesn’t feel as tempting. So decluttering helps you not want to spend money. Perfect! It’s the perfect thing to do when you’re busy living on nothing.
- Related: How to Stop Impulse Purchases
✅ Top ways to get organized using the Netflix famous Konmari Method!
10. Enjoy Being
It’s not easy to live on nothing. There can be waves of boredom, agitation, and melancholy from not allowing yourself to spend money.
In order to better ride these waves of emotion, it can be helpful to practice finding enjoyment in being.
Sit in silence. Feel yourself breathing. When you notice yourself in thought, can you drop the mental dialog and come back to now? Listen to the sounds around you. Feel yourself breathing.
Becoming more skillful at letting go of a thought can be of great help when you’re facing those strong, “I don’t get to spend money” thoughts and emotions.
Notice the mental dialog, try to drop it, and come back to now. Feel yourself breathing. Then maybe take a walk, play a game, or go eat a big bowl of veggies. When you let go of the thoughts, you let those difficult sensations pass on their own.
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