How to live better on less money

Just because you are cutting back on expenses does not mean your quality of life has to suffer. In fact, living a more pure and simple life allows you to live better on less money.

Woman with coupons

To live better on less money your attitude has to be in the right place. “Once you change your focus to what you can do, then your world starts to change,” says Joanna Chodorowska, nutrition coach. “Negativity leaves the body and you just feel better.”

Focus on buying needs, not wants

“Wants are luxury items and it is not always necessary to bring happiness just because you have a new piece of clothing, shoes or [want to] check out the newest restaurant,” says Chodorowksa. She says when shopping, make sure you are buying those things you need, not just items you want. You will soon discover that having money in the bank brings more happiness than a new pair of designer shoes.

Ask for specials

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call your cable company, cell phone provider or credit cards to ask if they have any specials you can take advantage of. “Call your cable company and see what specials they have going on and then ask — I’ve saved clients 40% on their monthly bills,” says CPA Joellen Sommer. “Do the same with your cell phone provider, lose the insurance on your phone… if it breaks, buy a used one or some of the cell phone companies now sell refurbished phones with a one year warranty.”

Are wholesale stores worth it?

Wholesale stores, like Costco or Sam’s Club, allow you to buy large qualities in bulk, but will you just end up wasting the food? “There’s no reason why food should ever go wasted! What you aren’t going to eat right away, throw right into the freezer,” says Kathy Spencer, author of How to Shop for Free.

Spencer says she does not belong to wholesale clubs. “I’m not a member of any and the reason why is that I can save more money by applying coupons to individual items on sale versus buying a bulk package at a discounted price. Forty small bags of Iams dog food that I scored for nothing is a better deal than a giant bag that has been marked down. Free always wins in my book.”

Store credit cards

Spencer says store credit cards do offer perks, but they can also get you in trouble. “Signing up for store credit cards can get you into all kinds of trouble if you’re not careful, which is why I always caution my girlfriends to use them sparingly and pay them off immediately,” she says. “Why not advocate total abstinence? Because truth be told, having a store credit card can, in many cases, make the difference between a great deal and an AMAZING score. Credit card holders are often rewarded with high value coupons, percentage-off perks and free gifts. Just remember: pay it off ASAP.”

Finding designer brands for less

Spencer says you can buy designer clothes for you and for the kids by hitting the clearance sections. “Not all clearance sections are created equal, so it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the clearance rack, aisle or bin in every store you shop,” she says. “In my neck of the Northeast, the best deals I’ve found are at Target and Kohl’s. For appliances, electronics and baby gear, Target cannot be beat. Their ridiculous markdown schedule gives me goose bumps. At Kohl’s, I shop the 80% off clearance racks. I regularly find brand-name denim on those racks for chump change. What woman doesn’t love a bootylicious pair of name-brand jeans for two bucks?”

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