For the first time in decades, American shoppers are having to deal with inflation — the widespread, general rise in prices for goods and services. Since you’re reading this post on a site called Living on the Cheap, you’re probably looking for ways to stretch your dollars to cover some of that increase.
Inflation or no inflation, Living on the Cheap has been helping people live more frugally for years. Remember: It’s about thriving, not just surviving. By using the following tips, you can still save money for a big purchase or enjoy the everyday splurges that are meaningful to you without going into credit card debt.
Here’s a roundup of Living on the Cheap posts about how to save money on almost everything, including utilities; car expenses; groceries; entertainment and TV; dining out; clothing; college; and pet care.
We have all kinds of advice to help you save money on home heating and cooling costs, including the best inexpensive home improvements to make to save energy and 31 ways to stay warm and cozy this winter. In some parts of the country, like the Southwest, your water bill may be your second-most-expensive utility cost. Here’s how to save money on water and help conserve a valuable natural resource.
Gasoline, cars and car insurance
Gasoline prices have jumped almost 60% in the past year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index report. One of our posts takes a look at “hypermiling,” or employing obscure driving techniques to save gas. We report on what the TV show Mythbusters said about whether the tips actually work and review additional tips for saving fuel so you can spend less on gas for your car.
Of course, there’s also an app for that. We look at apps that save you money while traveling — not just for gas, but for hotels, parking and more.
Finally, you may be wondering if you can do without your car, or one of your family vehicles. Here’s what you need to know if you’re considering giving up the car keys.
But if you can’t live without a vehicle and you’re in the market for a new or new-to-you car, be prepared to pay a lot more. According to Consumer Reports, prices for new cars and trucks are up 9.8% over the past year, driven by pandemic-related factory shutdowns and a shortage of computer chips. Used-vehicle prices have climbed 26.4%. Before hitting the car lot, read the nonprofit consumer organization’s articles “How to Buy a Used Car” and “How to Navigate Surging Used-Car Prices.”
And when it’s time to buy auto insurance, or renew your current policy, be sure to read our post on how to be a savvy car insurance shopper.
You don’t have to clip coupons to save money on groceries. We tell you how to shop without spending time going through the Sunday paper. (But if you want to use an app to save money on food purchases and more, read our post about Ibotta. And there are less-extreme couponing strategies that can save you time and money.)
Meal planning is another key to sticking to a food budget. Use this freezer plan, read about strategies for $4 a day meal planning, and check out these adaptable recipes for cheap and healthy meals every week, without stress. Here’s a whole selection of slow-cooker meals so you don’t get stuck ordering out because the family is starved and nothing is ready when you get home. Or how about some easy and healthy soup recipes?
And since groceries are so expensive, tossing out food is like throwing money in the trash. Use these tips to keep saving money after you shop by reducing food waste. And, find out if vacuum sealers are worth the price.
Finally, if you’ve ever wondered whether you can save money at Costco or if a Sam’s Club membership is worth it, we’ve got answers.
Entertainment and TV
If you’ve thought about saving money by ditching your cable contract, we tell you everything you need to know, depending on what you most want to watch. Our tech and financial expert, Eric Rosenberg, wrote the ultimate guide to saving money by cutting cable for pro sports fans, college sports fans, movie lovers and fans of regular old TV shows.
Our Living on the Cheap local sites are also great sources for discounted entertainment deals.
Use our tips above for smart grocery shopping and meal planning and you’ll have money for the occasional meal out. We regularly publish timely dining deals on Living on the Cheap, along with lists of restaurants with discounts for seniors, where kids eat for less, where you can eat free on your anniversary or birthday, and tips on how to get a free meal at restaurants for people of all ages.
Frugal doesn’t have to mean frumpy. Here’s how to start a minimalist wardrobe or build a new job wardrobe on the cheap. For kids’ clothing, here’s a guide to shopping consignment sales.
Student loan debt is a crushing burden for many Americans. We tell you when and how to apply for college financial aid with the goal of graduating with as few loans as possible.
Some of the most heartbreaking posts to read on Next Door are the ones from people seeking to rehome pets because they can’t afford their care. There are resources available to help with pet care during hard times; here’s our post, along with more tips to help cut the cost of having a pet.
The last word on living on the cheap
If you want to see how serious you are about saving money, read our post about how to do a no-spend challenge. You’ll learn a lot about your spending habits and will probably find even more ways to be thrifty and thrive.