How to Survive on Less Money

Spending less than you earn sounds easy in theory, but the reality isn’t as simple. Especially if you’ve got a shaky job, are trying to save for something big, or have a penchant for spending. But it can be done.

No matter what your situation is, here’s how to get by on less.

Keep Track

This can be easier to do if you only spend cash. A friend of mine worked in a bar, saved her whole pay cheque and lived off the $200 or so she’d make every week in cash tips.

Sure, that was a while ago, living at home as a student, but there’s no reason you can’t withdraw the cash you need for the week and try to live off that.

Avoid using credit cards for a self-imposed period of time, and see what happens. If nothing else, it should at least keep that online shopping addiction at bay for a while.

Look After What You Have

Chances are, you’ve already got a bunch of stuff you don’t need.

So rather than forking out money to replace everyday items every few months or years, make a bigger effort to look after what you already have. From your phone to your fridge, put in a little extra effort to keep things running smoothly and looking great.

Hand wash clothes that require it. Use protector spray on leather shoes. Do regular maintenance checks on whitegoods. Don’t drive your Corolla as if you’re Craig Lowndes racing around Eastern Creek. You’re not.

Your car and your wallet will thank you for it.

Identify What You Don’t Need

Unused gym memberships, a 16th pair of shoes, a tenth round of beers… We’ve all got our weaknesses. But try take stock and think about whether you really need that extra purchase.

Rather than paying for a gym membership that never gets used, cancel it and head outside for some exercise. It’s getting warmer outside and a run or kicking a ball around with some mates is free.

Instead of spending a small fortune at bookshops or record stores, join the local library or get a subscription service. Swap clothes with mates instead of buying a new outfit for every social occasion and think second-hand for essential household items.

Stop Comparing

Your mate might have a new car, designer handbag or just booked a sweet holiday to the Maldives. But this doesn’t mean you need to as well.

It takes a little practice and self-control, but once you stop comparing yourself and your situation with those around you, it’s much easier to make do with a little less. That’s not to say you need to start dumpster diving, just appreciate what you’ve got and forget about that mate who seems to have it all.

Someone is always going to do more and have more than you. Get over it. There are plenty of people with a lot less than you, so think about that next time you’re miserable about someone else’s new car, holiday or engagement ring.