How to Make it on $25,000 a Year (and live like no one else): Part 4
Hi! Thanks for coming back to my 4 part series on how to live on $25,000 dollars (and live like no one else)! We have learned so much together talking about why Mr. Charming and I are living this way, how to change your mindset, and who to listen to when you decide to live like no one else! I am feeling so liberated by gaining control and peace financially, how about you?
The last part of this series is all about practical ways to cut expenses so that you are coming out even every month rather than “in the red”. I do want to note that some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission for products purchased through those links at no extra cost to the purchaser. Law requires I disclose that and usually I just add a little side note in italics, but because this post is about money, I’m incorporating it in our talk. See, this is how I am helping with our budget and finances: by earning nickels and dimes here and there through this blog. So, thank you so much for allowing those links to be here and for your help in making this blog and our lives better!
For help getting your finances organized, check out my Financial Printables!
1. Get a Better Phone Plan
Ok, now, there is one company that I have to mention because they get some credit for our success.
Republic Wireless* is a revolutionary phone company. We absolutely love them! When we needed to get off our parent’s phone plans we shopped, and shopped, and shopped around for the cheapest phone plan out there, but, for the most basic, “dumb phones” we could not find anything under $60 a month!!! That is for phones that do literally nothing more than make calls!
My cousin introduced us to Republic Wireless* which would allow us to have smartphones for $10 a month each! Ten dollars! Oh and that is with no contract I might add.
The reason they are able to work this way is because they have certain phones with Wi-Fi capabilities to allow you to make calls. When Wi-Fi isn’t available, the phones switch to using Sprint towers. They save by not having to build and maintain these structures, so you save. It’s the way of the future.
Giving an honest review: we haven’t had any difficulty with reception (and we live about as deep into farm country as you can get), the phones themselves are great (Moto G* and Moto X* with android), and I’ve had no complaints about the customer service. There’s a lot more to this company, but I’ll let you read about it for yourself.
2. Turn Down the Temperature Control
To save money even more, we’ve turned off the air conditioning (we only have one window unit) and intend to turn down the heat when it gets cold out. This doesn’t give you a boat load of money back, but when you are on this tight of a budget, every little bit helps.
3. Plan Your Meals
Meal planning is also something that has saved us money. When you have a plan and list when you go grocery shopping you are way less likely to spend extra and buy food that is going to be wasted. The Stay at Home Mom Survival Kit 2 also has some great pages for meal planning.
When I say meal planning saves us money, I don’t mean planning to have steak and lobster every night. We make a lot of pasta, rice, and potato based meals because that’s cheap. Is it the healthiest? No, but healthy is expensive. I don’t care what anyone else says, health food costs a lot, so we do our best and eat smaller portions. I figure if my Romanian relatives can eat that way and live well; so can we.
Meal planning once a month saves money because it means fewer trips which means less gas money and less chances to be tempted to splurge.
Meal Planning Printables are available here.
4. Have Fun at Home For Free
Another thing we have learned is to have fun at home for free. It’s so easy to get into the habit of spending money for fun, whether it be at restaurants, clothing stores (or Lowe’s and Home Depot for me…I hate clothes shopping), recreational activities like mini golf, or going to movies, but, besides being expensive, those things didn’t really make us happy.
I’ll give you an example: on Saturday we didn’t have too much planned for the afternoon, so we ended up going outside to enjoy the AMAZING cool weather we’ve been having. Jordan and the puppy had a blast running around chasing each other while Brian and I watched and talked about our hopes for the future. Then, since we were outside anyway, we decided to build a fire and cook supper over it. There is something about a meal cooked outside that has this phenomenal taste and satisfaction. Over and over throughout the evening we found ourselves saying, “This is the best day ever!”
Here is a list of some other things you can do for free to get your mindset thinking that way:
- Go for a walk
- Play catch
- Shoot hoops
- Do a craft with supplies on hand
- Sing songs together
- Read together
- Have a scavenger hunt
- Play hide-n-seek
- Do a puzzle
- Make an obstacle course
- Have an iPhone photo shoot
- Build a fort
- Visit a nursing home
- Visit your neighbors
- Have a Garage Sale (extra points for this because it earns you money!)
- Ride bikes
- Ride horses
- Go hiking
- Climb a tree
- Visit the park
- Visit a zoo (if it’s free)
- Go to the library
- Write letters to soldiers
I know you’ve probably seen lists like this in many places, but have you actually tried doing those things? It might surprise you how much fun you’ll have without denting your budget!
5. DIY Home Decor
The last money saving tip I want to mention is DIY projects. I’m a bit of a DIY enthusiast and it has come in handy with our recent budget cuts. Whenever there is a problem or need in the house, instead of running out to buy something, I’ve been able to brainstorm and figure out a way to make a solution with what we have on hand. Here are some examples:
- Bathroom drawer organization
- Bathroom shelving
- Bathroom mason jar storage
- Kitchen bar table
- Kitchen light fixture
- Kitchen Coffee buffet
- Living room Industrial Cart coffee table
- Living room wingback chair
- Living room farmhouse bookcase
- Living room toy chest
- Living room décor
- Bedroom nightstands
- Dining room farmhouse table
- Outdoor farmhouse table…
…to name a few.
So, you see, with some creative thinking you can have fun, decorate your house, talk on the phone, and plan healthy meals all while living on $25,000 a year! We are living proof that it can be done and well, at that.
Are you ready to triumph over your finances? Whether you are working down debt, paying off a house, or dreaming of staying home with your kids, I hope you have found inspiration during this series on How to live on $25,000 (and live like no one else). I would love to hear your stories of financial victory, or maybe you have some tips on how to save and gather more in. Leave a comment below where it says “Leave a Reply” or email me at charmingimperfect(at)gmail(dot)com. Also, be sure to share this series with your friends so they understand why you are living like no one else!
Part 1: Why We are Here
Part 2: Changing Your Mindset
Part 3: Who to Listen to
Part 4: Practical Advice