Do you wince every time your energy bill arrives?
Does it seem like you’re spending more on groceries, petrol, and rent than ever before?
That’s no coincidence, I’m afraid.
The current inflation rate in the UK is over 10%, and experts predict it could rise to 13% by the end of the year.
It’s a similar story in the US.
11 million Americans spend at least half their income on rent, while there’s not a single state where a minimum-wage job covers the cost of a two-bedroom apartment.
So, what’s the solution?
Well, you may not be able to control these soaring costs, but you can find other ways to live cheap and save money.
In this post, I’ll walk you through some of the cheapest ways to live, as well as other practical tips to help you better manage your money!
Here’s your go-to guide for how to live on the cheap.
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Cheap Ways to Live: Creative Housing Options
Who says you have to work long hours to cover the rent or pay a mortgage?
Slash your housing costs by considering one of these unique ways to live cheap.
1. Live with Family
We all love having our own space, but one of the simplest ways to live cheap is to share your space with others.
In fact, nearly a third of Britons between the ages of 20 and 34 live with their parents or another older relative.
If money is tight, ask about temporarily moving in back home with your folks.
You could also ask a grandparent, uncle, aunt, or another family member who has an extra room (and, ideally, who you get along with).
Remember: it doesn’t have to be forever.
Why not stay with family until you can get on your feet financially?
If necessary, do some research on how to live peaceably in a multigenerational home!
2. Get One or More Roommates
If living with family isn’t an option, you could share your living space with a roommate.
Ask around to see if any of your friends are colleagues are also looking for a place to stay. If you have a room to rent in your home, spread the word.
Otherwise, ask if anyone you know is seeking a new roommate in their home.
If you can’t find anyone you personally know, take your search online.
Facebook, Craigslist, Roomie Match, and other sites are full of people looking for places to live or people to live with.
Just make sure to do your due diligence and find someone who you not only get along with but is also an honest, trustworthy person.
3. Live in an RV
Sales of motorhomes and campervans are at record highs in the UK.
Meanwhile, more than a million Americans already live full-time in their RVs.
Is this the right choice for you too?
It could be if you still crave your independence and want all the comforts of a regular home — albeit in a much smaller living space.
Of course, #vanlife isn’t always as glamorous as it looks on Instagram.
In addition to regular maintenance on the vehicle, you’ll need to consider where to park each night and how you’ll connect to power, water, and sewer lines.
If you plan to live with a partner or kids (or both), you also need to consider how everyone will manage to share the small space.
Will you travel around regularly, or will you keep your RV in one place?
What will everybody do for work, school, and leisure time?
Living in an RV can be one of the cheapest ways to live, but it all depends on how you do it.
If you’re thinking of going this route, do plenty of research before you take the plunge.
4. Live in a Tiny Home
Tiny homes are all the rage right now, and it’s not difficult to see why.
They provide all the comforts and conveniences of a traditional house, often for a fraction of the price.
Some tiny homes are completely mobile.
You can load them onto a flatbed and drive them anywhere you wish. For others, you’ll need to buy or rent a plot of land to build your tiny home.
DIY types can get bare-bones kits to build a basic tiny home for well under $10,000.
If you hire professionals to build one for you, you’re looking at an average of $45,000-$60,000, depending on the size and materials you choose.
If you’re serious about how to live on the cheap (without sacrificing too much of your current lifestyle), a tiny home could be the perfect long-term solution.
5. Live on a Boat
Who says your home has to be on land?
Depending on your locale, it may be just as reasonable to consider living full-time on a sailboat or houseboat.
You might be able to pick up a used boat for a few thousand dollars or pounds.
Then, all you’ll need is a place to dock it (monthly marina fees cost far less than traditional rent payments).
If you don’t want to commit to buying your own boat, perhaps you can find an owner who seldom uses their boat.
They might be happy to rent it out to you to recoup their own docking and storage fees.
Just like living in a van or RV, remember that #boatlife isn’t all champagne sunsets and exotic islands.
You’ll need to be willing to roll up your sleeves and maintain your boat so you have a comfortable home for years to come.
6. Become a Live-In Caregiver
By 2030, 1 in 6 people worldwide will be over the age of 60.
By 2050, more than 425 million people will be over the age of 80.
This ageing population (coupled with rising costs of healthcare) means more opportunities for caregivers.
Most seniors prefer to stay in their own homes as long as possible, but the effects of ageing can make living alone a real challenge.
Another option is to look for a position as a nanny or au pair, where you’ll take care of children in exchange for a place to live.
If you’re good with people and you like the idea of helping out, you could look for a live-in caregiving role for an elderly person or a family with children.
Often they’ll provide room and board (and sometimes even a salary) in exchange for helping with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning, or running errands.
Many live-in caregivers have a background in nursing or childcare, but it’s not always necessary.
Do some research about what skills or qualifications you’ll need if you’re interested in this “cheap living” route.
7. Become a Housesitter
What if you never had to pay rent again?
It sounds too good to be true, but this is the reality for many singles, couples, and families who have taken up full-time housesitting.
As the name suggests, housesitting involves staying in and taking care of someone’s home while they’re away.
It might also include tending to their garden, farm, and/or pets.
Depending on the gig, you might housesit for someone for a few nights, a few weeks, or even a few months.
Usually, this amounts to a free place to stay, although you might get lucky and land a paying job too.
Want to give it a try? Sign up for an account on a local or international housesitting site.
Create an awesome profile and then go above and beyond during your first few housesits!
Once the positive reviews start rolling in, you’ll have the opportunity to travel and live anywhere you like.
8. Move to a Cheaper Part of Your Country
The cheapest way of living doesn’t depend only on the type of roof you have over your head.
It also depends on where that roof is located.
It’s no surprise that major cities like London, Dublin, Paris, New York, and Los Angeles have some of the highest costs of living in the world.
Moving to the suburbs or a rural region (or even to a smaller city) may help you save on rent, utilities, groceries, and other everyday costs.
9. Move Abroad
Want to take this idea a step further?
Dust off that passport and consider spending a year or two (or the rest of your life) living in a foreign land.
The cost of living in many countries — such as Costa Rica, Malaysia, or Portugal — is often a fraction of what you’d pay in the UK, US, or Australia.
In addition, you’ll often enjoy better weather, delicious food, and the opportunity to make friends with locals and other ex-pats.
How to Live Cheap: 50 Top Tips
Of course, changing your living situation isn’t the only way to save money!
Slash your cost of living even further by implementing some of these quick-fire tips.
1. Grow your own food, even if it’s just a few potted plants of herbs, berries, or small vegetables.
2. Plan your grocery list each week to include ingredients you can use in multiple meals.
3. Consider bundling necessary insurance (homeowners, car, life, medical, etc.) to save costs over buying them individually.
4. Get rid of cable or satellite TV and subscribe to a few streaming services instead.
5. Upcycle whenever possible, whether it’s reusing a glass jar for an art project or salvaging and repainting an old wooden door.
6. Learn practical life skills, such as budgeting, sewing, and basic home/vehicle repair work, so you can DIY instead of hiring a professional or buying new items.
7. Look for paper or digital coupons to save on groceries and household items.
8. Stop using disposable paper and plastic items and instead use washable, reusable items.
9. Don’t use credit cards; instead, only make purchases with the cash you already have.
10. Take shorter showers and turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth to save on your water bill.
11. Raise the thermostat a few degrees in the summer and lower it a few degrees in the winter to save on heating and cooling costs.
12. Use a floor fan or ceiling fan to stay cool in the summer rather than running the air-conditioning.
13. Use electric blankets or space heaters to stay warm in the winter rather than running the heat.
14. Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach; it’s more difficult to resist impulse buying.
15. Cook your own food at home and bring your own lunch to work or school whenever possible.
16. Making your own coffee at home instead of buying a daily cup at the coffee shop could save you up to $1,200 a year.
17. Ask friends, neighbours, or family members if you can borrow items rather than buy them new.
18. When you do need to shop, start with thrift stores or second-hand shops rather than immediately heading for the mall or department store.
19. Look for gently used items online rather than paying full price for new items.
20. Check out books, movies, and music for free from your local library.
21. Wait until you have a full load of laundry or a full load of dishes before you run the washing machine or dishwasher.
22. Turn a hobby into a side hustle and bring in some extra cash — every little bit helps!
23. Never throw away leftovers; get in the habit of preparing food you know you’ll also eat the next day.
24. Consider shopping wholesale and buying commonly used items in bulk.
25. Line-dry your clothes or use a drying rack rather than an electric dryer or a trip to the laundromat.
26. Save and reuse glass, plastic, and sturdy cardboard containers and boxes.
27. Find free or cheap things close to home you can enjoy, such as going for a hike or taking a picnic in the park.
28. Check your local newspaper for free events in your area (i.e., concerts, festivals, museum days, etc).
29. Utilise your freezer space by buying in bulk or preparing and freezing meals in advance.
30. Save eating out for special occasions only and get used to enjoying the majority of your meals at home.
31. Buy meat products whole (i.e., a whole chicken or fish) and learn basic butchering skills to cut them into useable segments.
32. Downcycle older items; for example, your worn-out exercise sneakers could be perfect for working in the garden.
33. Don’t skimp on vehicle maintenance; keeping up with routine care will save you thousands in the long run.
34. Start a compost heap with food scraps to provide free nutrients for your garden.
35. Trade items, skills, or time with friends, neighbours, or other professionals rather than buying or paying for new goods and services.
36. Reduce the amount of meat you eat and learn to cook (and enjoy) more vegetarian meals.
37. Buy a reusable water bottle and take it everywhere so you don’t have to buy expensive bottled water when you’re out.
38. Take care of and update your current electronics (cell phone, laptop, tablet) rather than buy a new model every year.
39. Cancel your gym membership and watch free workout videos at home (or take your workout outside to a nearby trail or park).
40. Walk, ride your bike, or use public transportation whenever possible, rather than driving your car everywhere.
41. If you need to print something out, use both sides of the paper.
42. Bundle errands so you don’t have to make multiple trips out of the house.
43. Host virtual gatherings with friends rather than paying for big parties and get-togethers.
44. When you need to buy new clothes, choose items that can be used in both casual and professional settings.
45. Buy generic brands instead of name-brand items.
46. Lower the temperature of your water heater by a few degrees to save on energy costs.
47. Swap out those old incandescent lightbulbs for energy-saving LED lights.
48. Use smart devices or programmable outlets to turn off devices you aren’t currently using.
49. Check your credit cards for subscription services you no longer need or use; then be sure to cancel them.
50. Stop comparing yourself to others, if possible, and learn to be content with what you have!
Try the Cheapest Ways to Live
There’s no way of knowing how long inflation will last or how much more prices will rise.
What you can control is where and how you live.
Bookmark this guide and return to it anytime you need a fresh perspective or new ideas.
You may be able to incorporate several of these cheap ways to live, or you may need to try a few different options before you find the ideal one for your circumstances.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!
Keep persisting and you can slash your cost of living without sacrificing your quality of life.
Now that you know the cheapest ways to live, what’s next?
Stay right here and keep browsing my site for more stellar advice on becoming wealthier, healthier, and wiser.
These powerful money affirmations could be a good place to start.