Living on Less: 75 Money-Saving Tips

These 75 money-saving tips will help you live on less. From food, clothes and entertainment to rent, health and education, learn how you can have fun and save money, while spending and consuming less and ultimately living a better, wiser life.

| October/November 2007

  • If you live in a forested area, cut your energy costs by heating with wood. And wherever you live, never skimp on insulation — you’ll save money and energy.
    Illustration by Brian Orr
  • Stock up on produce when it’s in season and at its cheapest, then can or freeze it for later use.
    Illustration by Brian Orr
  • Make a habit of eating at home: It’s almost always cheaper, healthier and better-tasting than eating at restaurant or fast food joints.
    Illustration by Brian Orr
  • If you build your own home, take full advantage of natural materials already on the property, such as timber, sand or clay.
    Illustration by Brian Orr
  • Rediscover the radical notion of a public library: Get books, music and movies for free!
    Illustration by Brian Orr

Discover these 75 money-saving tips to live on less. These inspiring ideas will help you enjoy life more while spending and consuming less.

Living on Less: 75 Money-Saving Tips

On paper, my wife and I are poor. How poor? In 2005 we made $4,303.84 combined; in 2004 we made half that. We’re in such a low tax bracket that I have trouble convincing the government of our tax return’s accuracy; they simply can’t believe Americans can live on that kind of money.

Yet in many ways, we’re better off than a Wall Street banker: We’ve saved enough money to buy land without a mortgage, we have no credit cards or monthly bills, I work 20 flexible hours a week from home, and my daughter has two stay-at-home parents.

Simply put, we never want for anything, and we have a lot of fun.

We’ve arrived where we are now through a decade of daily financial decisions. Because we didn’t want to spend our time earning money at jobs we didn’t like, we instead focused on how to stretch our money. We found that by controlling our day-to-day expenses, we could save a lot of money without sacrificing our quality of life. Neither my wife nor I will ever be confused for financial wizards; there’s nothing we’ve done that you can’t do if you’re serious about saving money. Here are 75 money-saving tips to consider, drawn from our own experiences. Find what works for you and enjoy living on less!

Good Cheap Food

1. Buy raw ingredients instead of prepackaged foods. If you don’t know how to cook, learn. You’ll save on food bills, and your body will thank you for it in the long run.

t brandt
1/15/2013 11:55:29 PM

I've been practicing medicine for about 40 yrs: Medicare was less than 10 yrs old when I started and CTs & MRIs hadn't been invented yet. Back then Medicare payed so little compared to private insurance, most docs didn't really want to accept it. But then the privates caught on and refused to pay more than the govt, so we have now, in effect, socialized medicine anyways: the govt sets the prices de's a myth that people without insurance are a burden on the system. The hosp has to pay the gas & electric bills anyways and have so many nurses & lab techs on duty, so a few extra "no pays" doesn't really add up to much. If you show up at hosp without ins, they treat you and dunn you for the bill if you have means of paying.(BTW_can you show up at a restaurant hungry and expect to be fed if you have no money?)...Our costs here are doubled the rest of the world because we have to deal with malpractice courts. That adds 50 -75% to the cost of treatment. It's not enuff that your doc knows what he's doing based on training & experience & clinical expertise. He 's also got to have printed test results to prove it in court to 12 people too dumb to get out of jury duty....The biggest problem in medicine in the US is the unreasonable expectations the public has, encouraged by the lawyers & courts....Insurance is a rip-off. The average person spends only 3 days in his life in hosp. Any idea what your $500/ month premium would be worth when you're 65 had it instead been invested @ 5%/yr? MANY millions of dollars...If ther govt had really wanted to fix the healthcare system, they could have. But they didn't. They just wanted to reward their political benefactors. They bought votes with our tax money. ..Americans are compassionate & generous. We only disagree about how our charity should be provided: thru private entities & acts of kindness or thru the govt. I prefer to have a choice to whom I donate my charity. That's called Freedom.

1/14/2013 11:29:08 PM

Would all of these people feel just as passionately if we substituted free public education system into all of these comments instead of national health care? What about all you "freeloaders" sending your kids off to public schools? And since when is the only community contribution worth anything to our world based on how much income you produce or taxes you pay?

Paul Myers
1/14/2013 9:28:48 PM

Does anyone understand the difference between caring for the needy and supporting the author's healthcare? There are some genuinely needy people in the world, and we SHOULD provide for them. On the other hand, the author seems to be able-bodied, and has chosen to earn so little money that he cannot pay for his medical care/insurance. There is a huge difference. I don't think this guy deserves a cent of MY money to pay for HIS healthcare. You make your choices and live with them.

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