At some point in your life, you will probably be broke. Alas, it comes for us all at one time or another. It could be a big move that wipes out the bank account, or unforeseen medical expenses.
Buying a car, paying down debt, taking car of the car – something can and will come up. I believe that’s a law of the universe. But even when money is tight, you can still save a few bucks here and there.
I’ve been broke for a long time now, and I like to consider myself a master of the broke lifestyle. I pay all my bills on time, I save a little each month, and I have fun! Take my hand and join me as I’m going to show you how to live like a broke woodland nymph of frugal fun.
I think it’s important to note that being broke doesn’t mean giving up fun and it doesn’t mean depriving yourself. Being broke and living frugally continuously doesn’t mean going without. It means reassessing what’s important to you and spending money deliberately. It doesn’t mean no spending ever.
Here are 8 awesome ways to save money when you’re broke.
1) Avoid Your Pitfalls
I’ve found that half the battle is simply eliminating your biggest temptations. If you know you like a cold beer after work, going out with your co-workers to happy hour is a sure-fire way for you to blow cash.
When you’re broke, buying food and drink out definitely falls into the “luxury” category. Not the “I deserve it category” or the “mental health” category. I used to snag a Twix every time I checked out at the grocery store and it really added up! Now I use the self-checkout where there are no candy racks. Remove yourself from known temptations and you’ll start saving right away!
2) Fix Your Clothes, Don’t Replace Them
When you’re broke, your shopping-for-fun days are definitely on pause. But what if a the sole of your shoe breaks or a skirt rips? What if you stain something? Don’t you need to replace it? The answer, my frugal friend, is no!
Learn how to sew (it’s super easy) to fix any holes. I just sewed up a rip along a seam of my yoga pants a few weeks ago and they’re still going strong! Replacing the soles on your shoes or replacing a stuck zipper can give years more of life to a few items in your closet.
3) Wash Your Clothes Less
Along the sartorial lines, wear your clothes more than once and wash them less. It’s better for the fabrics, as it helps them retain color and shape, plus it saves you money on your water and electricity bill. I love a good 2-for-1 frugal trick!
Even things like sweaty sports bras I usually wear at least twice before washing. They’re mostly just damp with sweat, so I rinse them out in my post-work out shower and then let them air dry. I only put them through the wash when they truly reek. Rinsing gets rid of the smell and helps them last longer!
This can be a huge money saver. Call up your car insurance, internet or cable provider, your phone company – whoever sends you a monthly bill. Ask for specials they’re running, or tell them your needs have changed and you’d like to lower your prices. Be firm, be consistent, and don’t be afraid to walk away. Most will be willing to work with you, and if not, you can always try calling back later in hopes of getting someone else on the phone.
5) Eliminate Bills
If you can’t get a lower price, or if you’re so broke you need to eliminate some bills, that’s totally doable! You can use your local library for free internet, free movies, books, and discussions. So go ahead and cut your cable altogether. Free TV show sites like Hulu and Netflix let you keep up with your favorite shows. Cable is really a luxury, not a necessity. If you’re paying for it now, put that on hold for a minute until you get back on your feet. A gym membership can also be canceled in favor of working out outside.
6) Exchange Labor for Perks
One of my favorite frugal things is to look for exchanges as opposed to purchases. If you’ve been paying for guitar lessons, ask if you can trade cleaning time in the studio as payment to continue lessons.
Maybe you have some web savvy and their website or social media could use some help in exchange for those dance classes you’re taking. Asking never hurts and you can save some serious cash.
Plus, if you have a serious side hustle, this is a great way to get referrals!
7) Prepare Bulk Meals
Making breakfast, lunch and dinner at home is a surefire way to save you some money. Making bulk meals is next level saving though. Lentils, rice and beans are super cheap and go a long way.
Buy a bag of lentils, a can of tomatoes and an onion and you’ve got a lentil soup that will last you two weeks. Make a huge batch of rice and beans and switch off eating it with cooked veggies or a taco bowl. A soup can be frozen too, making it easier to not get bored by eating the same meal every day.
8) Free Entertainment
Now is the time to get creative with how you entertain yourself. Instead of going to a new movie that costs $15, try going for a walk through downtown. Familiarize yourself with your town again. See new places that have opened up, do some window shopping.
Hikes, biking and meandering strolls are all free and healthy ways to entertain yourself. Keep a journal, start writing that screenplay, or get really into pressing flowers.
Tinkering around your home is a great way of passing time, improving your house, and learning new skills. Outside of these more engaging activities, look into free days around your town. Business’ often have a “free cone” day or a “yoga for all” day. Take advantage of specials to mix up your routine for free!
How do you still have fun on a tight budget? Have you ever had to drastically lower expenses before?