How To Live On Very Little Money: Extreme Frugality

How to live with very little money
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Even if you have the slightest doubt, let me reassure you — you’re not alone. It is possible to live on very little money. In fact, live a better life.

At least that is what I encountered while living on very little money. Being frugal made my life better and happier.

You can live a better life on less money too if you are determined.

You could be both — deprived and miserable, or happy and fulfilled, living on very little money.

It’s all up to you. You choose happiness or misery in every situation.

I know that making ends meet on a low income is super challenging. Day-by-day increase in the cost of living and decreased wage rate makes it hard to survive. But if you lower your needs and wants, and be content with even the little you have, you can be happiest, and vice versa.

Some people might think you’re a cheapskate. That’s because they don’t understand the difference between being frugal and cheapskate. Because they consider incurring debts to pay for extravagance completely normal.

How to live with very little money: EXTREME FRUGALITY

The grass is always greener on the other side.

If living with less money can make someone feel deprived then I don’t know what being under the burden of debt appears to be.  Will you be able to truly indulge in luxury?  Will it have the best flavor or you’ll feel clamped under the liability?

I mean no disrespect for rich people. Just the idea of getting into debt for living a high life? I’m not a big fan of it.

Today, we’re going to discuss how you can live a full and happy life living on very little money. A couple of these tips are big financial decisions. But they’re crucial to make it work on a low income.


1| Downsize home:

In today’s “bigger the better” rage downsizing your home sounds distressing. Still, it’s imperative to live with less money.

The mortgage or rent is usually a massive chunk of your household budget.

A bigger home means larger pay upfront. Additionally, higher — mortgage, interest rates, property taxes, home insurance, repairs, and maintenance. And elevated utility bills too that you’ll meet every single month.

It’s always wise to downsize a home to something you can comfortably live in.

There’s no point in paying for extra rooms or square footage if that space is mostly vacant and unutilized. And if you have to buy extra stuff (unwanted expenses) to fill in those spaces.

In my opinion, a good house should be sufficient for your family to accommodate in, be in good condition (requires low maintenance on your part), be functional, and be reasonably secured. Most importantly, it should be within your budget and have low-cost monthly installments.

When buying a home, little smartness pays off. Like, you can make do with an old-fashioned kitchen or bedroom interior, that can be revamped easily in the future, but it should be operational at present.

By downsizing your home, you also increase cash flow by not purchasing unwanted stuff back again. Since you labor getting rid of your stuff.

2| Move to the lower-cost living (low lifestyle) area:

Except that you live near forested areas. Which I find extreme and do not encourage. A few miles away from the town/city is a good solution.

This helps in a lot of areas. Like, my mom and I live across the town. But the living expenses such as rent, groceries, healthcare, utilities, and clothing, are pretty low where my mom lives. With little adjustments, I can see people living there lead a good life.

I call it ‘adjustments’ and not ‘sacrifice’ or ‘compromise’.

Because these words make you feel good or worse. When you have more money you’re able to buy convenience. But when you can’t afford or refuse to buy comforts/material pleasures you think you’re making sacrifices or compromises. Not true.

Settling for something ordinary and decent is important to get by low wage. No shame in that. In fact, by moving to such inexpensive places you can live in peace. And rather focus on increasing your earnings and savings, unlike upscale cities, where this would be really difficult.

3| Learn to live below your means:

Stop keeping up with the jones. Human wants are boundless. It’s only going to be disheartening and depressing at the other end.

Getting a manicure every week is not going to do good for your budget. In order to live on very little money, you need to work things around. Put time and effort into everything possible that you can do yourself.

For example, if you love getting your nails done, get yourself a couple of nail colors and a topcoat. Paint your nails at home. There are top-quality affordable options available on the market. You can put that money (saved on manicures) in your credit card debt and so. Avoid making consumer debt.

Another thing is food.

The basic food ingredients — rice, beans, potatoes, flour, oil/butter, salt, and pepper is all you need to create wholesome, hearty meals at home that taste a whole lot better. And are better for your health too.

Talking about homecooked meals, they need not be elaborate as they used to be in grandma’s time. A bowl of simple vegetable rice with a side dish should be good enough.

Why rice? Because it is eaten worldwide and can be a complete meal when served with beans or vegetables.

When it comes to spending less — spending on clothes, deserves attention. Again, I don’t advocate buying second-hand. But consider buying fewer, good-quality items that’ll last you longer.

4| Create and stick to a budget:

Having a plan for your expenses is crucial to living on very little money. You must know where your money is going;  whether your spendings are under control; and if you’re spending sensibly.

I have written an article on how to create a budget and stick to it.

5| Save Save Save:

Curious whether you can save money on a low income?

Every penny counts when it comes to cutting corners. People who build wealth consider saving even the cents.

With this outlook, you definitely can save money on a teeny-tiny budget too.

We have a bunch of articles here on that talk about numerous ways to save money. You can take a look at them below:

52 Best Frugal Living Tips To Save A Ton Of Money

18 Smart Ways To Cut Your Grocery Bill In Half

10 Painless Ways To Save $100 This Year

9 Habits Of Highly Frugal People

6| Build an emergency fund:

The same applies to building an emergency fund. Building an emergency fund on a tight budget is achievable.

How long it should take to build up an emergency fund? Well, that entirely depends on the amount you’ve decided on and your monthly savings plan.

First, set an emergency fund goal (the total amount you want to put in your emergency fund) with a deadline. Then, decide on a monthly goal. I suggest keeping the numbers low here to make it less challenging.

Keep the emergency fund remote to avoid the urge to use that money. Now, whenever your receive your salary or income, pay yourself first. Put the money in your emergency fund plus other savings, and start using it after that.

7| Lower your distractions:

To lower your wants and desires, you need to be in lesser situations that would trigger the same.

For example, if you endlessly follow social media accounts showing lavish homes, high-end makeup, clothing brands, or be friends with spendthrifts. You won’t help yourself getting sidetracked and crazed over buying those things for yourself.

That’s human nature.

Although, you won’t be affected for much time if you’re someone like me, centered on purpose in life. But yes, sidetracking happens.

You mostly like or want things that others possess, no matter how good versions of the same thing you already own. It’s always the quality, the color, the pattern that someone else owns that is better than yours. Right?

You can focus on your life and live a content life with less money only if you watch, read, or be amongst those that are on the same mission. There’s no other way around it.

Ditch the comparison game. Be yourself. Be resourceful. Design and live your best life irrespective of the amount of money.

8| Have at least one no-spend week in a month:

On a no-spend week, you spend money on nothing extra or unnecessary. Rather you only spend money on bare essentials like groceries, medicines, fuel, etc You can still manage to not spend money (except for medicines) by planning and buying them ahead of time.

Check your monthly calendar for birthdays, events, or vacations. If there aren’t any plans, it is a good time for a no-spend challenge.

Every month, this window could be your no-spend day. Employ this time, or else the ‘perfect time’ never exists. You’ll certainly be able to save a lot of money on your no-spend challenge. (More on the no-spend challenge, shortly).

9| Transportation:

The three easiest ways you can save a ton of money on transportation are — owning only one car, getting yourself a bicycle or walking your way in the neighborhood, and using public transportation.

Only these three steps can help you save a good amount of money.

By owning only one car, you can prioritize paying it off in less time. And ditching the second and third car you would be free of payments, insurance, fuel, and servicing costs.

You require a car for work, groceries, or special events. Still, you can consider meeting up and riding together with friends or colleagues. Apart from these events, you can ride a bike or walk in the surrounding areas, which is completely free of cost.

If you live in a city, take advantage of mass transit. I have taken public transport for years for work a long time previously, and I can assure you with good music on your phone, it is not as bad.

10| Budget-friendly entertainment and festivities:

Giving thought to birthdays, anniversaries, and festivities, they can be made special at home.

With a host of ‘budget-friendly birthday parties and anniversary celebrations’ ideas on the internet, you can use your imagination.

If I recall the celebrations in my childhood, I don’t remember my grandma doing anything much fancy.

We stored the same decor items in a bag and reuse them until they were outdated.

My mommy, aunts, and grandma cooked food at home as they hardly had an alternative to outsource.

What made it special was the traditional food they made. The amusing games. The warmth of family and friends who accompanied us. The love and affection that came from everyone. The thoughts that went into trying to make it special. No one cared about the fanciness. They just celebrated wholeheartedly.

Final words:

These steps may sound extreme to a lot of you, but they’re practical to get by with very little money.

So now why I said being frugal made my life better and happier. If you see, life is so relieved and comforting living off the low income — no pressure of pleasing anyone. No thinking of cakes and ale. No overworking to pay for big houses and cars. Just plainly focusing on purpose in life.

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thank you so much for reading.

Never spend your money before you have earned it — Thomas Jefferson

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