Personal Austerity: 12 Ways to Radically Cut Expenses

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

How often do you hear people talk about how they would live their dreams if they only had a bit more money?  People always dream about moving to a remote area or about staying home with the kids or about relocating to the bug-out location, but often feel that these things are financially unreachable. Do you do this yourself?

If so, then maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at your finances and enact a personal austerity plan to radically cut expenses.  Most people would be surprised at the changes that can be made when they rethink the definition of the word “necessities”.


1.severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding.
2.rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent.
grave; sober; solemn; serious.
4.without excess, luxury, or ease; limited; severe.
5.severely simple; without ornament ; lacking softness; hard

With the gloomy economic forecast, it’s not reasonable or rational to expect things to improve in the near future. If you want to be somewhat immune to the financial difficulties coming down the pipe, you need to perform a financial makeover to pare down the monthly output to the bare minimum.

Does this sound kind of grim? It’s not – decreasing your monthly output provides a different kind of safety net. You can end (or at least reduce) your slavery to the system, where the government helps itself to at least 30% of your paycheck through payroll deductions. With your newfound freedom, you may discover that you have the money to start a business, relocate, or cut back your work hours to spend more time doing the important things in life.

Devastating financial changes are coming to a location near you. Wouldn’t you prefer to make the cuts now and adjust accordingly, instead of having them forced upon you through evictions, foreclosures, repossessions, and other painful methods?

Redefining necessities

If your finances are out of control, the best possible reality check is a stark look at what necessities really are.  It is not necessary to life to have an iPhone, a vehicle in both stalls of your two-car garage, or for your children to all have separate bedrooms.  People in Venezuela and parts of Europe will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over the counter medications like aspirin, and shelter, that “necessities” are those things essential to life:

  • Water
  • Food (and the ability to cook it)
  • Medicine and medical supplies
  • Basic hygiene supplies
  • Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
  • Simple tools
  • Seeds
  • Defense Items

Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.

So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?

Some are more important than others, based on your lifestyle and might be considered secondary necessities.   You might require transportation, work clothing, a computer and an internet connection, electrical appliances, a cell phone – you are the only person who can define which are these are luxuries and which are secondary necessities.  It’s essential to be truly honest with yourself and separate “wants” and “I really enjoy having this” and “the kids will complain without it” from “needs”

For example, I am a freelance writer who lives in a remote area. Without an internet connection and a laptop, I have no work.  For me to make a living, therefore, my computer and monthly internet bill are a necessity. However, because I work from home, a fashionable work wardrobe is not important to me. I can wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every single day, and it won’t affect my career at all. If you have to go out to a job in customer service, for example, then perhaps a computer and internet connection would be less important than a good-looking career wardrobe.

My Personal Austerity Plan

A couple of years ago, I began to see the writing on the wall for my own personal finances. I’m a single mom and my former husband is deceased, so there is no child support coming in. So as far as raising these children goes, I’m the only game in town. I realized that the industry I had been working in for many years was very shaky (automotive) and that I’d better get my financial house in order.

I began to cut expenses as quickly as possible. I was making a very good income and our lifestyle had “improved” with each pay raise and promotion. Although these changes were not incredibly popular with the kiddos, I made them ruthlessly.  I made the following adjustments:

  • Moved from a 4 bedroom home to a small 2 bedroom
  • Cut cable and home phone
  • Began providing a limited budget to the kids for school clothes, winter coats, and holiday gifts. If something “better” was wanted, the difference had to be earned
  • Made the kids do extra chores for privileges like field trips, vacations, and houseguests
  • Began cooking entirely from scratch and limiting meals out to birthdays or long trips
  • Got rid of the current model year car and got an older, more affordable vehicle
  • Began gardening, preserving bulk foods, and shopping through mail order sources

These efforts paid off within a few months, because my prediction was right – I got downsized. Had my expenses been at their former level, we would have struggled to keep the electricity on and food in the cupboards.

When I lost my job, I began looking for ways to make money from home. I was fortunate and picked up some freelance jobs pretty shortly, but I realized that I couldn’t make ends meet with what I was making, at least not in my then-current location.

So, I began a search for a less expensive place to live. The beauty of what I do for a living is that I can live anywhere – I only require a reliable connection to the internet. Within a few months, we’d located a very distant, very remote little cabin in the North Woods. We sold a bunch of stuff and then packed up the rest and moved 7 hours north to the boondocks, a move that saved over $1100 per month when compared to city life.

Get a Picture of Where You Are, Right Now

I realize that the changes I made are not changes that will work for everybody.  I’m not suggesting the changes are a whole lot of fun either.  Adjusting your own situation requires a brutal analysis of your expenditures.  If you can’t get your partner or spouse on board, it’s all but impossible to do a complete overhaul.  Kids, however, have to deal with it – expect loud complaints but be firm.

Print off your bank account statements for the past 2 months.  On a piece of paper, track where your money is going.  List the following

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Car payments
  • Vehicle operating expenses (fuel, repairs)
  • Insurances
  • Credit card and other debt payments
  • Telephone/Cell phone
  • Cable/Satellite
  • Internet
  • Extracurricular activities for the kids
  • Extracurricular activities for the adults
  • Dining out
  • Groceries
  • School expenses
  • Clothing
  • Recreational spending
  • Gifts
  • Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories gets it’s own category or goes here)

Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I usually don’t spend $400 on clothing so that isn’t realistic.”  If you spent it, then it’s realistic.  You are averaging together two months, which should account for those less common expenses.  Brutal honesty isn’t fun, but it’s vital for this exercise.

So….what do you see when you look at your piece of paper with your average monthly expenditures for the past two months?  Are there any surprises?  Did you actually realize how much you’ve been spending?

It can’t continue like this.  The economy will not withstand it.  Step one is to see where you can cut things out right now from the above expenditures.  Can you reduce your grocery bill?  Slash meals out?  Budget more carefully for gift-giving and school clothes?

Design a Plan to Radically Cut Expenses

Step two – this is where the brutal cuts come in.  What can you change about your life?  Where can you reduce expenditures by several hundred dollars monthly?  This is the point at which most people say, “I can’t.”  Most people don’t want to move to a smaller house, get an old car, or go without premium cable.  But this is where you can truly dig in and change your life.

As I said before, everyone’s situation is different.  You may be locked into a mortgage on a huge house in a market that won’t even cover the balance of what you owe.  It could be the same with your vehicle.  Explore all of your options, though, because paying a few thousand dollars to get out from under it could be worthwhile.  Some people could have reached the point where they must begin to default on payments.  That too, is a personal choice. I’m not recommending that you blow off your obligations.  (However, do consider the fact that large banks get bailed out by the government, and everyday people do not.)  Before making decisions like that, be sure to discover all of the potential ramifications, such as repossessions, garnishing of bank accounts, and ruined credit.

Here are some cuts to consider:

  1. Move to a smaller house.  Contrary to popular belief, no child ever died because he or she had to share a room with a sibling.
  2. Relocate to a small town.  Is it worthwhile to commute to a job in the city from a smaller, less expensive location? This can give you the added opportunity of homesteading and providing for many of your own needs.  Click HERE to read about what you need to know before making such a move.
  3. Get rid of your late model year vehicle.  Look for a decent used vehicle that you can purchase with cash.
  4. Cut back to one vehicle or even no vehicles.  Sometimes public transit and your own two feet can provide all of the transportation you really need at a fraction of the price of owning a vehicle.  This varies by location.
  5. Stop using credit cards.  This goes for any type of lending system that requires you to pay interest.  Stop accumulating debt.
  6. Don’t eat out.  Limit meals out to no more than once a month or special occasions.  Even better, don’t eat out at all.  Dining out, even at a fast food place, is at minimum 4 times more expensive than the same meal prepared from scratch at home. (And far less healthy!)
  7. Look for free or low cost entertainment.  Consider a family YMCA or community center membership instead of gymnastics clubs or private tennis lessons if you need to enroll your kids in some activities. Go hiking, have picnics, explore parks, go to the library, and find out what’s offered for free in your home town. Learn to enjoy productive hobbies like canning, carving and needlework. Switch from cable to Netflix.
  8. Use the envelope method to budget for shopping trips.  For back-to-school shopping or Christmas shopping, decide how much you want to spend.  Put that money in an envelope.  As you shop, place each receipt in the envelope.  When the money is gone, it’s gone.  If there’s something else your child desperately wants, then they need to decide what item they’d like to take back to get it.  Be firm and stick to your guns.  This has the added benefit of teaching your children to budget.
  9. Reduce your monthly payments by cutting things like cable, cell phones, home phones, and/or gym memberships.  Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly.
  10. Shop using the stockpile method.  Shop only the sales and simply replenish your stockpile. Keep shelf-stable food on hand for unexpected financial crunches.
  11. Eat leftovers.  Have you ever stopped to think about how much food you throw out every month?  You can often provide a few “freebies” every month by carefully repurposing your leftovers.
  12. Stay home.  By spending more time at home, you will spend less money.  You won’t be grabbing a bottle of water, going through drive-thru for lunch or putting fuel in the car.  Learn to treasure you time at home with loved ones – it’s worth more than money.

This is not a comprehensive list – when you look at your personal expenditures,  other ideas will present themselves.

Why Now?

Why is it so important to make these changes?

Because if you don’t change your way of life, the government will.  A job loss will.  Inflation will.

When cuts are made, the Powers That Be make sure to devise it so that those cuts affect the average person – the voters.  They can make it hurt, then swoop in and “rescue” us, by further enslaving us.

You want medical care?  Get this handy microchip inserted in your arm.  

You want food for your kids?  Turn in your guns.

You want the electricity turned back on in your home?  Sign on this dotted line – it’s only your freedom.

These upcoming cuts won’t hurt the ones who are making the cuts.  Congress members will still get large salaries and raises.  The First Lady will still spend millions of taxpayer dollars on vacations that would make Marie Antoinette blush.  The White House will still serve gourmet meals while Americans are digging through the garbage to stave off hunger. The budgetary decisions are scare tactics, bread and circuses, all designed to distract people from the collusion going on between the UN, the global elite, the bankers, and the governments.

Realistically speaking, the way things are going, none of us is likely to get a hefty raise. We’ll be lucky to keep the incomes we have.  But expenses are only going to go up.  To keep the true necessities within reach, we need to reduce our expenditures and put away emergency funds and stockpiles.

Personal bank accounts are being plundered across Europe.  People are not just living paycheck to paycheck – there ARE no more paychecks.  They’re living hand to mouth, hunting and gathering what they can in order to stay fed.

Making some difficult changes now can provide a stable standard of living in a world that is going downhill at breakneck speed. By decreasing your monthly output, you can hang on to necessities.  I’d rather choose my own austerity plan than to have it forced upon me.

Picture of Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • great read !

    you should move to montana !

    you’d love it here !

    ;0P slurp !

    p.s. – don’t let you know who get under your skin … you are much loved and missed . ;0)

    • Thank you. 🙂

      Montana was a dearly held dream of mine for a long time, but it seems it’s just not meant to be right now.

      Thank you also for saying something over there.

      ~ Daisy

      • I am a fourth generation Montanan, and it’s very hard here to make a living, especially for single mothers. The winters are long and cold, meaning you need shelter and warmth for months at a time. Growing season is short, so a person must stockpile and can as much as they can – but then that leads to living in an area with enough land and water to grow a garden. The list goes on….

  • Awesone website and comments on “other” blog. I’m a single mom as well and its hard enough taking care of business let alone prepping too. Keep on keeping on and if you ever find yourself on the eastcoast look me up!! The kids would have a blast! love ya sista’

    • Dr.Mama ~

      Thank you! It would be so much fun to get together with the kids! 🙂 I lived on the East Coast for many years and absolutely loved it there.

      Have a great day and see you around!


  • Stacking health is extremely important, maybe the most important. Cutting the gym membership should only be done if you are replacing it with an effective plan. I walk/run my GSD’s 3 miles 3 or 4 times a week, that is good for cardio. But my muscle strengthening is weak because I let the gym lapse, dumb bells at home never work out unless you are highly motivated.

  • Good article. Thank you. I’ve been downsizing for a couple of years now. My wife and I didn’t agree on some things and she decided to leave. In the process we got rid of over 20 years of “stuff” – some of it I didn’t even know we had any more. The house went so I had to make a decision as to where I would live. An apartment – spare me. A big city – no thanks. I finally ended up buying a travel trailer and setting up housekeeping for one in it. Moving into a travel trailer soon shows you what you can get along without just fine. I own an 18 year old car that runs and drives just fine – A Ford Crown Vic. Great car but not too good on gas mileage. But it’s been paid for for a long long time. All in all, Ive learned to live on about 1200.00 a month. And I have some extra for a couple of six packs – the cheap stuff, of course. 🙂

  • Stupid Ass!

    We’re already doing it! On clothes, groceries, entertainment.

    It’s inevitable, anyway.

    What nerve you have telling THE People that! Go advertise it to tptb!

    See if they’ll listen, or throw your sorry ass in jail!

  • we have done all of this out of necessity sorry to say. the only thing i kept was cable because we don’t go out for entertainment very often.(birthdays, special occasions, visitors, etc) are really only times) even then it is a big stretch on our budget.

  • we need to factor in medical expenses on the list of basics. we are pretty healthy here but my husband had a recent one day stay in the hospital and we incurred about $2000 worth of out of pocket medical bills, which is $2000 more than we have.

  • Austerity is only hard when we compare it to something else. Many children during 29-39 Depression have written that they did not realize they were poor. Much credit should be given to their parent(s).

    Today, even reasonable frugal measures are considered austere. When I have had a conversation with someone who admits to debt and financial trouble, I have admitted to some of the money saving measures that I have used for many years. Instead of being interested, they think I am over the top. Believe me, they aren’t. They don’t get it that a little savings here and there at the end of the month, and the end of the year, add up.

    The one thing I would add to your list of absolute essentials would be a “washing machine,” but more specifically a wringer. After all, it is a simple tool. Due to special situations, I have washed and wrung clothes by hand in the past. The washing part isn’t too bad, but it is a problem with the wringing. I am glad that they were short periods of time. It is a killer on the hands, especially heavy materials.

    I would also add that while “simple” tools are not a problem, the right tool for the right job to be completed correctly and effectively is important.

    There are other good ideas for washing machines, but my father has told me about the WWII South Pacific “washing machine”

    • I grew up pretty much as austere as a family gets. But mostly we just called it being dirt poor from where I was raised. But I suppose when people like to think they have a little bit of a choice in the matter they use finer words.

      I’m just past halfway through my 35th year so I don’t suppose I’m what many would call old but I do have what some call an old fashioned upbringing. I gathered eggs and plucked chickens skinned rabbits and squirrels and cleaned fish all by the age of 12. The first time I lived without indoor plumbing I was 11. We went outside for the lady’s business rain or shine, day or night, summer and winter. We carried water inside to bathe from the front yard pump if it wasn’t frozen solid in the winter. We hauled from town or the neighbor’s house if it was.

      Sometimes my Mother would be needed to milk the neighbor’s cow in the evenings and after school I would through hay to the milk cow and the horse. In the summer I would take my soap and shampoo to the creek so I could swim and bathe at the same time. That was the year I met my Dad. We were still poor but we changed houses had one with indoor facilities but my Dad was very Frugal. He was born in ’39 by parents who had just come through the depression and who already had an older daughters few years older.

      I learned many things from him that I hadn’t and would never had learned from my mother. Like how to fish, and forage and how to cook and sew a hidden seam and a whipstitch, and how to do beadwork, about stones and gems, to making flint tools and leather and rawhide. But my Dad also taught me that all ladies were women but all women were not ladies, and just because a man opened the door for a lady he was not insulting her independence or her femininity. He taught me how dance a box step and I surprised him through the years by all the times I repeated something that he had said when he was sure I was ignoring him.

      But never was I prouder of my childhood and upbringing when my son an infant my husband a truck driver out on the road, my car broken down, and not a soul in town that I knew to call for help. I needed to go to the market it was 2 miles one way with my baby stroller and only what we could fit in the basket underneath coming back. So I was shopping often. We didn’t own a washer or dryer either so I washed and rinsed everything in the bathtub and hung line in the back room to dry them since I had no way to mount anything to hype concrete pillars on the porch and only so much line no way to get more til my husband came home again in weeks, or months, who knew. Didn’t even have clothes pins. We had been living in truck stops driving team up to that point. Hadn’t needed anything.

      I learned how to sew at 15, cooking since I could reach the stove, I learned to can and preserve different types of foods, I joined the military so I know tactics, defense, weapons, combat life saving techniques, I’ve been learning medicinal an edible plants since I was 12, I have always tried to be prepared for outdoor survival readiness in many different terrains and I started learning these things when I was 12. Not when I joined the military and had it forced upon me but camping learning how to build a fire from natural surroundings, how to lose a hundred years of tech and still not die of starvation, or dehydration, or because I couldn’t tell the difference between Queen Anne’s Lace and Poison Hemlock.

      Most people like you are not thinking of the bigger picture. But you may have you think bigger as well. When total anarchy reins and chaos ensues finding a wringer washer isn’t going to be priority. It will get there but there’s going to be a lot of death and dying before anyone is going to be worried about needing pristine clothes again. Then there may only be a community laundry. Kind of how women made livings without being prostitutes throughout history when things got bad. Laundresses, seamstresses, schoolteachers, governesses, cooks, housekeepers, even spies. I don’t figure if the country collapses, then rules of men and God won’t either. Women might be near equal of men right now but I wouldn’t expect the women’s suffrage movement to suffer at the hands of anarchy.

      Every one has strengths and knowledge that can be utilized and if not there is plenty of room in the old nugget to find a place for more necessary knowledge for the betterment of the community.

  • Great suggestions! Another thing I would suggest is taking a look at your auto/home insurance and seeing if you can increase the deductible in order to lower your monthly premiums. I did this a few months ago and was able to cut a little over $100/month by increasing our deductibles to the max. We are careful and haven’t had a car accident in many years and only had one claim on our home in all these years.

  • I did my own austerity downsizing years ago and now am living a much financial headache free lifestyle. Never eat out. NEVER!! I Only buy what’s on sale at the supermarket and put into my 5 cu ft deepfreezer for later or stash in my storage area. Have saved a bundle on that alone. For a $160 deep freezer I’ve saved that many times over for the past 6 years.

    I have a 1994 car that has 186K on it and will keep it as long as it holds together. Haven’t had a car payment in years just the regular upkeep with license tags, insurance, oil changes and major repairs are needed. People who just HAVE to have the latest car are just throwing their money away each month with car payments and higher insurance rates. I have full coverage on my 94 car for less than $50 a month towing and rental car included!! A new car insurance monthly payment would be 4X that easily. Also fuel additives like Lucas for your gasoline can definitely boost your MPG numbers. I go from 14MPG to 19 or 20 when I use it. Only an oz or two is needed…not the whole bottle. A big bottle of the stuff is $12 and lasts me a long time. Instant gas mileage improvement that won’t hurt your engine if used in moderation.

    I shop the Dollar stores and find great bargains there in all departments. You’d be surprised at what great kitchen utensils they sell.

    Coffee is another luxury I enjoy daily but at rock bottom prices as I have discovered espresso coffee from Puerto Rico and Cuba that is grown in South America at a fraction of what Starbucks wants for ground or whole bean espresso. Just because 10 oz costs less than $3 does not mean it’s cheap tasting either. I’ve discovered 2 brands of great espresso – Benita and Pylon that are less acidic and less bitter than Starbucks. The folks in Puerto Rico and Cuba aren’t dumb. They love strong coffee at reasonable prices. Much better than Maxwell House or Folgers as these two brands don’t have all the filler in the coffee.

    Also check out your local electric company for any financial help they offer on your monthly bills. I save about $600 a year by signing up for their programs.

    Also shop by internet can save money. I usually can’t find items locally where I live so I depend on finding bargains online all the time. No matter what it is I can generally find it lower priced (including shipping) online. Just a little patience is needed when ordering. I avoid going to local stores unless I call first to price check.

  • I fear for our country when the inevitable happens. How will people deal with food shortages and no electricity. It’s coming.

  • Walmart Cell phone $30
    Shop at Trader Joes
    Bulk food from pleasant hills grains
    emergency essentials from
    defense … buy a gun and amo
    if you don’t have a job then
    buy a suit at Goodwill
    become a telecom agent
    solicit B2B and lower peoples phone bills
    more tips – buy a home water distiller
    get a safe – stock up on bullion 1 oz silver coins
    network with a church – best is Orthodox
    pray and detox – no alcohol nor drugs
    eat a raw foods diet if possible
    Good Luck – stay well … make a back up plan

      • not a pawn shop…walk not run from there. google for local coin shows, and find a dealer who sells “scrap silver”. thats 90% silver pre-1964 coins. It usually will sell consistent with spot prices. Check for current spot silver prices, and you can google the current 90% silver conversion rate chart so you have an idea what it will cost before you go. For bullion, dealers will charge a small premium, usually based on what it cost them to get the bullion plus shipping they paid, and a little extra so they make something off of it (some will mark up A LOT, or may be stuck with silver they bought at a higher price and cannot cut the price) shop around the show for the best price. Look for someone advertising “We buy junk silver”.
        My husband (ronsrarecoin at aol dot com)deals in bullion, and sells bullion only as coins, because the bullion is “monetized” and therefore not taxable. You cannot tax the “tranfer” money~~at least not yet. But the little bullion bars, ingots and tokens can be taxed. Straight up American Eagles, Canadian Maples leafs (not collector variations) and Mexican Libertads carry the lowest premiums.

        I hope this helps, remember when buying PMs educate yourself and don’t get duped.

  • We have downsized at home too.

    We drive old paid for cars. Have a fully stocked pantry of items we purchased on sale. Rarely eat out–pack when going on a road trip or one of the kids activities. The kids love to shop at second hand thrift stores. Take our coffee with us in the mornings. Got rid of our home phone.

    Thanks for all that you write about!!!

  • “People in Southern and Eastern Europe right now will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over the counter medications like aspirin, and shelter…” – can you please be specific. Which Eastern European countries?

  • Excellent essay. Just a few observations:

    * I can wear jeans and a t-shirt to work every single day, and it won’t affect my career at all. In fact, you could even be NIFOC (naked in front of computer) and no one would know! Not recommended during those Canadian winters, though. 🙂

    * Stop using credit cards. That should read “Stop carrying a balance on credit cards.” If you pay in full each month, your interest rate is zero. If you have a Discover or other “reward” card, you can even turn a profit. A few years ago I used the cash reward from my Discover card to buy a handgun. Now I use it to pay down the mortgage. Also, if you wind up with damaged or undelivered merchandise, getting redress is far easier if you paid with plastic. And good luck renting a car or doing many other things without a credit card.

    * Regarding cell phones, if you simply must have one then get a TracFone or other pre-paid phone. One hour of time for three months costs all of $20. (Some phones offer double minutes.) And as long as you pay for everything with cash, it’s totally private.

  • YES!!!!!!!!!
    Finally I am reading something that defines the sanity behind our family choices that have been implemented over the past 15 years. We decided a very long time ago that we were not going to play the game of spending like a drunken sailor to further enrich the already wealthy, greedy, pigs at the top of our economic food chain.
    For us, giving up all the money robbing life expenditures that were not ESSENTIALS became a delightful game. With every change we m are that kept more of our money and life control with our family, we celebrated the fact that we were depriving the WEALTHY.
    Think about it folks. If we all drop the extras right now the media companies DIE! The cellphone pigs DIE! The corrupt bankers DIE! We can BREAK THEIR BACKS if ONLY we will all do what is smart.
    This is a hunting trip I have enjoyed for many years. I love being home with my family. We have not had a television in our home for YEARS now. What a blessing that is. Try it and you will be amazed at how YOU, as a human being, change and reclaim yourself.
    Thank You so much for this article. It feels so incredibly honest and really is a genuine effort in helping others to understand what needs to happen if people wish to be empowered.

  • i did call the cable company and told them i was dropping services. they immediately put me through to the retention dept. and i was able to negotiate a much better deal than i had. negotiation is an important tool in trimming the budget. i shopped around and negotiated for some major dental work about a year ago also.

  • we decided to cut out satellite tv (and cable) we only have netflix. the kids don’t even know the difference as their shows are always on and for only $8 a month
    I discovered canning! I will never buy processed jam ever again.
    Like others our cars are older models but paid for 🙂
    One splurge we do make is our children’s sports (hockey, lacrosse and swimming lessons) but access every free activity that our small town offers. The library staff knows all of my kids names (as we are there all of the time!)
    Even our furniture reflects our cost saving lifestyle. We got rid of 95% of our belongings when we moved to another province and have rebuilt our furniture threw second hand shops and cast offs of new friends.
    We love living simply and don’t look upon our new lifestyle as a hardship

  • Don’t forget yard sales and church rummage sales. You can pick up all sorts of things. Board games and movies usually go for around a dollar a piece, clothing is super cheap and I’ve seen boxes of canning jars given away just to get rid of them.

    Try to get to the chruch sales in the upper class neighborhoods, it’s practically like shopping in a department store…and it’s good family fun, my kids love it.

  • Lots of good ideas here!

    I think when you grow your own food, are thrifty, and live simply, you appreciate more what you have.

  • A brilliant read and well worthwhile to take up some if not all of the advice given here. Too many people are caught up in the trap of materialism and the powers that be are fully aware of this-and even actively encourage it!The sooner people realise that basic necessities are really the only things you need the sooner the material peddlers power is diminished…excuse me the secret police are knocking at the door…keep up the good work!

  • I feel the most important first step to living simple is to get rid of the credit card! I found myself a SLAVE to them. Paying outrageous interest and barely making a dent in the principal every month really did enslave me from doing the things I had planned for my life. Now I am my own credit card company, I use the money in my rainy day fund as my bank. If I borrow from it I use the same credit terms as a credit card company, 30% interest, $30 late fee. This makes me take a very serious look at what I think I need to buy compared to what I need to make my life better. Cutting into my regular budget to pay ME the bank first effects everything on my already sparse income and reinforces my commitment to living a simple comfortable rewarding life style. Wait till you see how much money you were sending to faceless, nameless strangers just so you could have that new toy! At least this way if you buy that toy you are still investing in yourself.

  • This is a great article for beginners. However, as a mother of 5 I have more those sacrifices long ago & learned even more ways to trim the budget. First, we combined families. My mother-in-law had a 4 bedroom paid for home, with just her, but she needed F/T care & the house needs repairs. We barter with friends for almost anything, for example: help with those repairs, clothes, new to us computers while they love for me to cook them some of my homemade food or I’ll clean or babysit, whatever I can do and my husband will trade his expertise as a tree trimmer or fix their cars. We always have our kids, who are teens, help with these projects. I advertise those extra skills our family has on Craigslist, as well. We can bring in a lot of extra money that way. I also advertise on Craigslist if there is something I need but can’t afford, like when I needed home medical aids to take more intensive care of Mom or pallets for those great projects you post (I found a guy who had 50 at $1 a pallet!!!) I only shop thrift stores and I not only donate to my clothing bank I also shop there, too, because kids are constantly growing out of clothes. Hand-me-downs are a must. With food shopping, I’ve learned what to buy at what store in my town and to always get the sales papers on Wed and coupons from the internet & Sunday paper. I spend $150/week for 9 people! And I cook items based on sales and coupons but also I make things like soups, stews, casseroles, etc that have left overs so they last for 2 dinners. We also eat a lot of rice. Snacks are a rare treat normally bought only when there at fantastic prices. At the local flea market, they have a stand where they have single wrapped snacks for 5/$1. Produce, eggs, honey, homemade cheeses at the local farmers market are cheaper then stores. I’ll leave it at that, but remember: when budgeting/making money, it’s imagination and information that makes the difference.

  • Getting the partner on board IS truly all but impossible. Not sure how to convert her thinking process. We are totally not on the same page regarding the simple lifestyle. After several months of trying, I’m just now breaking ground on a gun purchase (home defense) and I’m not even sure how close I am on that yet because she has zero interest in anything discussed above in the article.

  • Another idea: Get off the computer upgrade scam. Every few years the software monopoly in Redmond, WA comes out with a new operating system that you just ‘gotta have’. The new system takes more horsepower than your old computer so you have to get a new one too. Sound familiar? I switched to open source Linux which does have a learning curve. Some Linux distributions like Slackware (my favorite) will allow you to keep your old computer and it has the same functionality as the new bright shiny one.

  • I am preparing for financial meltdown and cutting back on spending money. I buy fresh produce when it is in season and on sale and can it. It’s is simply to do. If you oil fresh eggs and keep in refrig they will last for months so I wait until they are on sale. I also dehydrate some fruits and vegetables for storage. Use a rain barrel to water that home garden and compost it with scrapes veggies, egg shells, coffee grounds etc. It cost more money to flush the toilet than run water so we w
    don’t flush every time. I got rid of the IPhone and have a prepaid cell phone. I make my own laundry detergent which saves lots.
    So many ways to save and be prepared for what is coming.

  • This is how my wife & I cut back. We do not have a cellphone. (There is no way we will ever pay for those contracts, we have a house phone and those phones are way too small to go on the net with). We get $30/month liability coverage only for our cars from We have 1 credit card for emergencies only!. If you cant afford it do not buy it, its that simple. (That is where many people mess up). Our home is refinanced at 3& 1/2%. The only way I think we could cut back more (and we are thinking about it) is dumping cable tv and watching shows online.

  • Great Read! I love reading stuff like this! I just want to inform your readers that there are also alternatives to gasoline usage. Many don’t know this but with a simple software update to their vehicles, this will switch them over to a flex fuel system and allow them to use other means of fuel. Definitely worth looking into.

  • “And far less healthy”

    Only if you’re a fat North American who thinks “dining out” means “McDonalds®”.

    • I don’t think that just applies to fast food.

      Of course, it’s possible to make good choices, but in most restaurants, the servings are far too large, people eat baskets of bread, and the meals tend to be significantly higher in fat than the foods we make at home.

      As with anything, it’s all on your choices.

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