5 Cheap Living Tips For Financial Freedom

5 cheap living tips for financial freedom


Being thrifty and incorporating cheap living tactics into our budget has changed our life drastically.

At least twice a week I wake up and wonder how we managed to save enough money before we turned 40 to allow us to live debt free.

I’m not ashamed to say I’m cheap, frugal or find just about any way to save money so I can invest and grow it.

I didn’t say I was a cheapskate either, just cheap which means I watch where our dollars go.

You don’t need to alter your lifestyle completely to incorporate cheap living tactics either.

I think this is the belief that you either have to earn lots of money or you have to be so cheap that you are eating hotdogs for dinner every night.

That’s not the case.

Cheap Living For Your Future

No matter which way you shake it, life is expensive and so is having debt.

There are so many perks that come with financial freedom but the main one is less worry about our future.

That doesn’t mean we won’t have bills when we retire because we sure will no matter if we downsize our current home or not.

Besides, one of us may need to be put into assisted living or other accommodations that could further dig into our savings.

Unfortunately, our retirement lifestyle plan that we set out today may look nothing like this tomorrow.

As much as we want to say that financial worry has disappeared we can’t, but it has come to a smooth landing.

  1. Job Loss
  2. Health Issues
  3. Family Issues
  4. Relationship Breakdown
  5. Legal Issues

Those are just five of the issues that could happen which could turn your financial freedom upside down.

Everyone always needs to air on the side of caution with anything related to their finances because nothing is guaranteed.

Cheap Living into Retirement

Last week we sat with our financial advisor to review our retirement portfolio and what our future path might look like.

Related: 6 Retirement Concerns We Are Thinking About Today

It turns out we will be millions of dollars more than fine and our son will be well taken care of if we were to pass away today. 

His school will be 100% funded so he will have no educational debt to worry about unless he decides to stay in University past 4 years.

Even when we are both gone our son will have enough money that will allow him to get that kick-start in life that we never had.

Generational Cheap Living

In a way, I felt jealous that he will have this opportunity but then I thought that as long as he manages the money he can pass it on to his children.

We began to understand that there had to be a beginning and that each generation will give up something for their kids to have a better life.

Even if you go on to have no children in the back of your mind you should always be prepared for, “what if’s” which can significantly dent a savings account.

For example:

My wife’s father taught her how to garden and re-use items so that they would stay out of the landfill.

By utilizing his cheap living ways it allowed his daughter to see how she could save money instead of rushing out to buy something new.

He did not have buckets of money nor did her parents fund her education which took her 10 years to pay back.

There were no frills growing up but there were lessons, lots of them and most started at the kitchen table around food waste.

  1. Housing
  2. Food
  3. Clothing
  4. Transportation

Those were four of the main concerns for their parenting style in the ’70s right up until he passed away last year.

If you had all of those you were considered rich because they are the basics of life which some people don’t even have.

This was the generation that educated my wife and she took it one step further as did I since my parents are quite frugal.

Today we teach our son about living a simple life so that he can pass on his knowledge to his kids (if he has any).

Money Saving Chart

Money Saving Chart

To get him started he has a giant piggy bank that he fills with extra coins her earns from birthday’s or doing small chores around the house.

Just recently on a trip to the thrift store, we bought him a big-boy wallet as daddy has.

I find he’s wanting to be more like me or follow whatever I do no matter what the challenge.

To inspire him to earn money this summer we told him that every time he read a book we’d pay him $5.

I honestly never thought he’d take us up on it, but I wrong.

That night in bed he read his bedtime story to me and I gave him a kiss and said goodnight.

As I reached to turn the light of he says, “but daddy, where’s my five dollars?” and my eyes lit up.

I was proud that he remembered to ask for payment after he finished a task and extra proud that he put the money in his wallet the next morning.

We created a money saving chart on the wall so we could track how much money he was saving.

It’s a simple chart with the date he earned the money, purpose and a running total.

Cheap Living Is For Life

I know that many people give a bad rep to kids who have money left on the counter for them when their parents pass away but don’t. 

We spent many cheap living years to save up money to allow us to have what I described above however it’s a life-long battle.

Cheap living doesn’t come easy and when we started on our budgeting journey it was about ‘us’ as we did not have a child.

After the meeting ended with our financial advisor we left knowing we will continue our cheap living ways.

To some people that might sound ridiculous however we pick and choose our financial battles.

What does picking a financial battle mean?

It means that just because you have something or know you will have something in the future doesn’t mean you blow it all today.

This is how people get themselves wrapped up in debt and why we plan on having a retirement budget.

The power of  ‘Spending Ahead‘ or believing that you will get something in the future can be deceiving for anyone.

Let’s take a look at a simple scenario that could easily cause someone financial strain because they believed they were getting something.

  1. Work Bonus

Your work typically offers employees a yearly Christmas work bonus for years of employment.

Since you’ve worked for the company for 10 years so you know your bonus will be at the highest level of $1000 at year-end.

You find every reason possible to spend that $1000 before you even get the money because you believe 100% you’re getting it. 

By mid-year, you’ve spent almost all or all of that $1000 bonus on credit card and pay only the minimum payment.

Near the end of the year, your company decides that they no longer can afford to give employees a yearly Christmas bonus.

They’ve gone ahead and made changes to the program and now only offer long-serving employees like yourself $300 a year. 

Now, you’re not only angry because of the change but because you are on the hook for $700 that you spent that you thought you were getting.


Your credit card has debt on it that you need to pay in full but you can’t so you pay minimum payments which could take up to a year or more based on card balance.

It will also cost you far more than the initial $1000 you spent.

5 Cheap Living Tips That Gave Us Financial Freedom

If you want to live cheap so that you can save money for the things you really want or need it is very possible to do.

Over the years we’ve struggled but looking back the struggle was to put us in a place where we could rid of money stress.

Let’s take a look at some of the cheap living ways we’ve adopted over the years that save us money.

Spend Less Than You Earn

This was the number one reason we were able to pay our mortgage within 5 years.

We didn’t just start spending less than we earned because it was something that our parents passed down to us.

If you’re reading this later in life there is never a bad time to start but the earlier the better.

Over the years we both managed to save up enough money to make sure we boosted our ability to get ahead.

The idea is that whatever you net each month you spend less than that so you’re not going into debt.

Thrift Shop What You Can

I don’t care what anyone says but I’ve found some darn good deals at the thrift shops.

Yes, you need to pick and choose your way through the deals and piles but it’s worth it.

Although prices have increased over the years you can still pack a budget saving punch by thrifting.

Take your cheap living ways to garage sales on the weekends and save even more.

Pay Yourself First

It’s all fine and dandy to give yourself an allowance when you budget but the bulk of the pay yourself first goes into retirement savings, emergency savings or general savings.

I consider going to work part of a business so the money we net at the end needs to pay the employees first.

You’re not only the CEO but you’re an employee that needs to get paid first.

If your budget does not allow any form of savings you need to reconsider where you can cut costs or earn more money.

Re-use and Re-purpose

You don’t want to take re-use and re-purpose to extremes so your house looks like hoarders live in it but consider each item before you discard it.

If you feel that you can put an item to use then keep it.

Many of you may renovate your kitchen at some point in time and what may look like old materials can be turned into something beautiful.

The photo below is a repurposed kitchen cabinet shelf that sits in a bathroom to hold toiletries and towels.

This is what I’m talking about.

repurposed cabinet door shelfSource: 19 Best Repurposed Cabinet Door Ideas

Move Closer To Work

I’m not a huge fan of commuting to work so buying a house that was within a 20-minute drive was imperative for us.

If I could bike or walk to work which would cut down on petrol for my vehicle that was even better.

I find that many people are spending far more on vehicle maintenance in comparison to what they earn.

Besides, being on the road instead of at home with my family in the evening was far more appealing.

I was also able to save on insurance costs since I wasn’t commuting which helped us save money.


We don’t plan to tell him that he has quite a bit of money invested for him when he gets older either.

There’s no reason and perhaps when the time comes we will have taught him what our parents taught us.

Money doesn’t grow on trees but apples do so feed your home and your home will feed you.

Discussion: What are your thoughts about thrifty living until the end?

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  1. Make thrifty living fun!

    Hubby & I love to score a deal…have the fun at the time, share our story and re-live the fun and then enjoy our deal getting a third round of enjoyment. Forget about the doom and gloom some folks associate with a “budget”. This is a contest…can you win? How many ways can you find to enjoy your win? It’s all about maximizing your pleasure!

    1. I like that idea mary about the contest and the win. Budgeting has always been associated with the gloom of not having enough money or it’s over-complicated. Money needs to be fun and when you can save it, even better. I always love your deals and how excited you get when Larry scores a deal on his own.

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