Have you ever thought of downgrading your lifestyle to save money?
Yes, it will be extremely hard to switch your life from one lifestyle to another. But when you have a serious financial issue, you would want to do the things that will save you money.
Many of us struggle to keep up with the high cost of living and the pressure to maintain a certain standard of living. But what if I told you that you could achieve financial stability and peace of mind by simply downgrading your lifestyle?
By cutting down on the things you don’t need and focusing on the things that matter most, you can reduce your expenses, boost your savings, and live a happier, more fulfilling life. How?
In this article, I’ll share my own experiences and insights on how you can make this happen, step by step. You can still enjoy your life and add elements of happiness.
Do you know how much you can save monthly if you downgrade your transportation cost?
People spend money every day in commuting to their destination. Either they take public transportation or drive their personal vehicle. Public transport is much cheaper as compared to owning a car. But in some places, owning a car is a necessary commodity to have.
However, by exploring alternative modes of transportation, such as public transportation, carpooling, biking, or walking, you can reduce your fuel and maintenance costs.
Let us consider using public transportation and its benefit.
As the cost of living continues to rise, many people are looking for ways to save money and one way to do this is by using public transportation. In your area, buses, trains, subways, and other forms of mass transit may be readily available, reliable, and affordable, depending on where you live. Besides saving you money on fuel and maintenance, you will also be able to enjoy the convenience of not having to deal with parking, traffic, or vehicle maintenance hassles.
Public transportation can offer many benefits to both individuals and communities. By providing an alternative to driving, it can help reduce traffic congestion and pollution, while also saving people money on gas and car maintenance.
It can also make it easier for people to get around, whether they are going to work, school, or just running errands. And for seniors or people with disabilities, public transportation can provide much-needed independence and mobility.
I have grown up using public transportation only. I used to travel by buses and trains to reach college and other places. Hailing from a middle-class family, I never had the privilege of using a car.
But now, after doing well for myself, I am fortunate enough to drive my vehicle in the city which cost me enough but also convenient because where I am living, public transit isn’t very reliable.
But based on my experience, using public transport is a great way to save money.
Carpooling has many benefits—it is good for the environment, it helps reduce traffic congestion, and it can save you money. Carpooling is one of the simplest, most effective ways to save money on gas. If you live in an urban area, carpooling can also help you avoid costly parking fees.
And if you carpool with someone who lives close to your workplace, you may be able to avoid paying for a parking spot altogether. Carpooling is also a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. When you carpool, you are reducing the number of cars on the road.
I and my husband live in an urban location near to our office and the traffic is worst here. It takes around 40 minutes to reach our respective offices.
My husband often carpools with one of his colleague and it helps us save fuel cost. Someday he drives and someday his colleague. We share the fuel cost though, but we save money on the car maintenance.
Biking & Walking
Biking and walking are free (or low-cost) forms of transportation. They are the most environmentally friendly and cost-effective modes of transportation.
If you are living closer to your workplace, I think you should consider walking or biking instead of driving a car. You will not have to deal with traffic or parking. You can park it anywhere and lock it up. Not only will they save you enough money, both are healthy activities.
Also, they can help you save on gym membership costs.
Buying a Used Car
Not everyone feels comfortable in buying a used car. But when you have a desperate financial issue and you are in the market looking for a car not because of the luxury because it is a need for you, consider purchasing a used one.
Used cars are often much cheaper than their new counterparts. However, a thorough check of the vehicle is a necessary step before you buy. Another thing is used cars are less expensive to insure, maintain and repair than a new car. Certainly cost-wise, you can save a lot of money by downgrading your car preference.
Cutting down on Housing Costs
The cost of housing is one of the biggest expenses. From rent and mortgage payments to utilities and maintenance costs, it can be hard to stay on top of all the associated costs. We all want to make our money stretch as far as possible. With so much of our incomes devoted to housing costs, wouldn’t it be great if there were a way to cut down on those expenses?
For example, my housing costs expenses almost take away half of my monthly income. I know I have to do something and I am working on it to reduce my housing expenses.
It always depends on where you are living and how sizable is your home. There are several ways that you can consider to reduce the expenses you have towards your housing.
Thus, if you want to save money and limit your expenses, you have to reduce housing costs to bring the financial stability.
What could you possibly do to reduce the housing cost?
Moving to a smaller, more affordable home
One of the many ways to reduce housing costs is to look for more affordable housing options. You can move to a smaller apartment, cheaper location and share your apartment with a roommate to split the costs. If you have an extra bedroom, renting it out to someone could help you cover your mortgage or rent payment.
If you live in a pricey city like San Francisco or New York, moving to a smaller town or suburb can save you a lot of money. It gets difficult to handle the housing cost in such an affluent location where more than half of your salary went away in paying the rent and the maintenance cost.
Negotiating rent or mortgage payments
Negotiating lower rates on utilities and maintenance costs can also help cutting down the housing costs. If you have a good equation with your landlord or lender, you can ask them to minimise the rent or the mortgage payment. You can request them to lower the rate of electricity bill by switching to energy-efficient appliances.
Be polite and assertive in your request.
Utilizing home sharing platforms
The cost of living is rising and if you are like me looking for ways to save money on the housing cost, consider utilizing home sharing platforms. Home sharing platforms like Airbnb or Vrbo allow individuals to rent out a room in their home to guests. And that will help mitigate the cost of rent or mortgage payments.
If you’re not familiar with how home sharing works, basically you create a profile on a platform like Airbnb or Couchsurfing and list your property. Travelers can then search for properties in their desired destination and contact you to arrange a stay.
You set the price for your rental and collect payment from the traveller once they arrive. While home sharing is often thought of as a way to make money, it can also be used as a tool to save money.
For example, you live in Dubai, and you have a sizable house. You plan to use a part of your house as a home sharing platform. Initially, you do some investment in your property and list it out in the platforms. Let others see your property.
Once they book for a stay you can earn money for the accommodation and services you are providing. If your guest leaves a positive review about their stay, it will attract more guest and this will open the door for you to make money.
Thus, you can get the benefit of saving money and making money.
Minimizing Energy and Utilities
Minimizing energy and utilities usage is a simple and an effective way to reduce the housing costs. By making some small significant changes, a person can save money on their monthly bills.
How can you save money on utilities?
There are a number of easy ways to conserve energy that will help lower your utility bills and shrink your carbon footprint.
Some energy saving habits are:
Turning off lights and electronics when not in use
Use energy-efficient light bulbs. These use less energy and last longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.
Unplugging chargers when not in use
Fixing leaks promptly
Educate yourself and others about energy saving practices. The more people who are aware of how easy it is save energy, the greater the impact we can make collectively.
Use natural light as much as possible. During the daytime, open up your curtains or blinds to let in sunlight instead of turning on lamps or overhead lights.
All these small habits can help save money on your energy bills, and lowering your monthly energy costs.
Switching to renewable energy sources
As the cost of traditional energy sources continues to rise, more and more people are turning to renewable energy sources as a way to save money. While the upfront cost of installing renewable energy systems can be higher than the cost of traditional energy sources, the long-term savings can be significant.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, hydro power, generate electricity without producing greenhouse gases or depleting finite resources.
Here are some ways where renewable energy can help save you money:
Renewables often have lower maintenance costs than traditional energy sources. For example, solar panels have no moving parts and require very little maintenance, while wind turbines need only occasional servicing.
Your property value will increase if your home is well-equipped with renewable energy systems. It will make your property more attractive to potential buyers.
Many governments even offer incentives and tax reduction to encourage homeowners to switch to renewable energy.
When you switch to renewable energy, you are making an investment in your future that will pay off for years to come.
Cutting down on water usage
Water is precious and an essential resource that we all are rely on to sustain.
In the United States, the average person uses about 100 gallons of water per day. That is enough to fill a small swimming pool! While most of us do not think twice about turning on the faucet or taking a long shower, the truth is that water costs money.
In fact, your water bill is probably one of your largest household expenses. But what if I told you that there are easy ways to save water and money at the same time?
One of the most obvious ways to save money is by reducing water usage. Most communities charge for water for the amount you use. The more water you use, the higher your water bill will be.
When brushing your teeth or washing dishes, turn the faucet off when you are not using it. This simple step can save you up to 200 gallons of water per month. In the kitchen, avoid running the dishwasher or washing machine unless you have a full load. When washing dishes by hand, fill up the sink instead of letting the water run the entire time. These minor changes can add up to big savings.
There are many such simple actions you can take to reduce your water usage and save money. Taking shorter showers, fixing leaks and installing water-saving devices can also save money by reducing water usage.
Food and Dining
Eating out and buying groceries can be one of the largest expenses in a household budget. However, with a little planning and effort, it is possible to reduce these costs.
You can do meal planning. Having a weekly meal planning can help you avoid impulsive purchases at the grocery store.
Cooking at home gives you more control over what you are eating and how much you are spending. It will be cheaper and you can experiment with new recipes which can be fun.
You can also grow your own herbs and vegetables in your garden or small balcony. People these days love to have their own garden where they can grow whatever they like to and produce organic vegetables. Certainly, a small investment is needed here but it can save your money in other ways. Health-wise you will be happier and fit.
Using leftovers is another way to save money on food and dining.
I am sure you have always leftover food in your fridge. How you use them is the trick. Get help from the internet and learn thousands of new recipes using just the leftovers.
This will save you both money and time in the long run.
Entertainment and Leisure
This one could be a little challenging. When you are looking to save money on entertainment and leisure activities, look for coupons, promo codes, and deals.
For example: I use my credit card coupon for watching movies once a month. I get about 80% discount on the movie tickets. Or, you could rent movies and enjoy watching them at home with home-cooked meal.
Not only that, I use coupons to enjoy on drinks in the pubs on weekends. You do not have to spend a lot of money to have a good time.
Another way to save money on entertainment and leisure is to be creative and DIY. Many people enjoy going out to eat and drink, but this can get expensive quickly. Instead, host a dinner party at your home with friends or plan a potluck picnic in the park. This way, you can save money.
How to adopt a more mindful approach to spending?
When it comes to spending money, we can all be a little mindless sometimes, despite having a budget. And it is acceptable. You may feel like pampering yourself sometimes, getting yourself a spa or shopping. But if you overdo this, you may end up overspend and ruin your financial goal.
By becoming more aware of your spending habits and implementing some simple changes, you can break the cycle of mindless spending and start making more mindful, intentional decisions about how to use your money.
So, you have to be aware of your triggers that influence your spending habit.
You must always make conscious choices about your spending items. When shopping, ask yourself if the purchase aligns with your goal and need.
Practicing gratitude will also help you adopt a more mindful approach to spending.
In conclusion, downgrading lifestyle has numerous benefits. From reducing stress to improving relationships, from saving money to increasing happiness levels, the list goes on and on.
It is important to remember that this change in lifestyle isn’t an overnight fix but a combination of approaches such as mindfulness, re-prioritising your goals and releasing yourself from materialistic wants.
Although it will take some effort at the beginning, you will eventually be able to reap the rewards of living a simpler life with greater appreciation for what really matters most— experiences and connections worth cherishing forever.