Tips for Living with very Little Money

Maybe you don’t have a lot of cash and need some tips for living with very little money.  You are not alone.  Today you will learn how to live a simple life with little money. 

It can be stressful when you feel like you don’t have enough money.  But there are ways to make it easier and less stressful.  


In this day and age it can feel impossible to make ends meet with a small income.  And yes, there are times that the only way we can get ahead is by making more money. 

Sometimes there just isn’t enough money to cover all our expenses.  This can often occur if you earn a small wage and you live in a high expense area.

But often there are times we CAN make it work with just a little money.  We need to be consistent in our spending habits, and we need to be careful about it, more so than with someone who has more wiggle room in their budget. 

That being said, it isn’t an impossible situation and you can work with what you have while still enjoying a full and happy life.  You can learn how to survive on no money, or at least what feels like no money. 

Technically you’ll need at least a little money to make things work, but you’ll be surprised on how little money you can actually survive on!  Read on to see how to live on less.



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  1. Avoid consumer debt
  2. Buy your vehicles outright
  3. Grow your own food
  4. Live small
  5. Don’t buy new
  6. Cook at home and drink your coffee at home
  7. Shop for groceries with a frugal mindset
  8. Put money away in an emergency fund
  9. Sell some household items
  10. Downsize your streaming services
  11. Carpool to work
  12. Make big purchases at the right time of year
  13. Dye and cut hair at home
  14. Switch to a bank that offers free banking
  15. Hang your laundry
  16. Keep the thermostat down a few degrees


Avoid Consumer Debt.

When you live on a small income staying out of debt is super, super important. The reason is because if you go into debt and have new monthly payments to have to pay that down, with a tight budget it may be very difficult to come up with those monthly payments.

I’m the first one to say that sometimes, no matter what you do debt happens.  There can be a huge housing repair emergency, or a serious illness, for example.

You might be like us in the past year and will have had an emergency fund, but you’ve had about 6 different unexpected emergencies in the span of one year and your emergency fund has long since run out.

But consumer debt is pretty much avoidable.  Don’t go shopping and put it on credit.  Don’t buy new furniture, or go on a trip and put it on your credit card.  This will go a LONG way in helping you manage your finances.

save money by buying your vehicles secondhand

Buy your vehicles outright.

Most of our vehicles have been purchased outright.  There are two times we did finance our vehicles and I’m gonna be honest, I hated it both times. 

Not having a vehicle payment is amazing.  We currently have two vehicles, neither with a monthly payment.  

Now, there’s a trade off here.  We obviously don’t get nicer, newer vehicles.  But I’ll gladly take my older vehicle over a newer one if it means I own it completely.

Grow your own food

Grow your own food.

It’s almost garden season and if you have very little money consider growing some of your own food.  Now, let’s talk about this honestly.  You can start a garden for A LOT of money.  Maybe you’ve seen gardens like that and decided starting to garden isn’t financially possible for you.

The truth is, if you are gardening on a budget we need to go back to gardening the way our grandparents did it.  Dig up some dirt in our yard, and add some seeds! 

I mean, obviously there is a little more to it than that, but for an extremely tight budget that’s all you need.  For more tips on how to garden on a budget, check out this post where I talk about it.

Live small

Society teaches us that bigger is always better.  We are taught that as we get older we need bigger houses, bigger vehicles, etc.  But bigger doesn’t always mean better. 

If you have a bigger house not only will your mortgage or rent cost more, but so will your heating bill, and so will maintenance.

It’s the same with a bigger, gas-guzzling vehicle.

It’s okay to live in a small house (even with kids *gasp*).  It’s okay to drive around a smaller vehicle. 

Of course, you want one that meets your needs (for example, one of our vehicles is a truck because my husband is a carpenter and needs to be able to transport tools and supplies around) but we need to be realistic about what our needs actually are.

second hand shopping to save money

Don’t buy new

If you were to walk around my house there are very few things I could point out that we bought brand new, and if we did we most likely got an insanely amazing deal for it. 

But most of our furniture, clothes, kitchenware, and even books have been purchased second hand.

drink coffee to save money

Cook at home and drink your coffee at home

I kind of feel like I sound like a broken record on this one, but I can’t stop saying it because eating out and hitting up the drive thru regularly leaves such a huge impact on our budget, and not in the way you want it. 

Cook at home.  Make things like soups, stews, and casseroles to make your meat go further.  And please, please eat your leftovers!

Make your coffee at home.  If getting up and making it first thing in the morning seems to be a stress buy a coffee maker with a timer and set it up the night before. 

Bonus is that you will wake up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee!

Save money with wise grocery shopping

Shop for groceries with a frugal mindset

When you go grocery shopping you’ll want to use all the secrets that can save you money. 

Shop on the day when they put out the discounted food that may be expiring soon (every area’s store does this on a different day so be sure to check when your local store does it.) 

Shop the sales.  Meal plan.  Don’t buy things like pre-grated cheese – just grate it yourself. Buy generic.

Also, if you have little ones, if you can avoid bringing them with you on your grocery trip this helps a lot. 

While I know this isn’t always possible depending on your situation, it really does help because it’s amazing how easily we get sidetracked when the kids see things they want tossed in the cart as well!

Put money away in an emergency fund

This can be incredibly difficult to do when you have very little money, but even if you can put ten dollars a month in an emergency fund it makes a difference. 

Do whatever you can, but just put SOMETHING in there.  That extra money may come in handy when you need it most.

Sell some household items

Most of us can walk around our homes and find things we don’t really use.  Why hang on to it if you don’t need it?  You can make some extra cash from it by selling it to someone else who wants it.  Have a yard sale, or sell it on an online marketplace.  

There’s a couple advantages to this.  Not only do you get to make some extra cash, you also declutter your house a bit.  It’s a win-win!

Downsize your streaming services

Look, I love a good streaming service as much as the next person, but do we really need three of them?  If you have multiple streaming services, cut some out and limit yourself to one. 

If the streaming service you pay into has multiple packages and you have one of the expensive ones, consider downsizing your streaming service account.

We got rid of a couple streaming services a year or so ago and while I was a little nervous at how it would go over, everyone adjusted to it and no one even misses it anymore.

Carpool to work

Buying used vehicles as opposed to new can help you live on a small budget, but you can take that one step forward and carpool to work with others.  

Gas is SO expensive these days, and if you can find a few people who want to split the cost this option will make a considerable difference in your expenses each month.

Make big purchases at the right time of year

If you are in the market to buy a big item, research what the best time of year will get you the best price.  For example, if you shop for a boat in late spring or early summer, you’ll pay more because people know they can sell them at a higher price due to an increase in demand.  If you look for a boat in the fall season, when boating season is over, you will probably score a deal.

Now, I know what you are thinking, “but then I can’t use the boat till next summer.”  While that is true, if you plan with the mindset that what you are purchasing is for the next season, it isn’t as difficult to wait.  If it saves you thousands of dollars it’s totally worth it.

Dye and cut hair at home

Salons aren’t cheap, and the more you can do at home, the more you will save.  If you have boys in your house it’s very easy to cut their hair at home.  Buying a pair of clippers will save you hundreds of dollars over the years.  Cutting women’s hair is a little harder at home, but not impossible and there are plenty of tutorials online.

Instead of going to the salon to dye your hair, consider dying your hair at home as well.  The boxed dyes are much cheaper and they are very user friendly.

Switch to a bank that offers free banking

My husband and I have had our free banking accounts since before we were married.  I thought over the years as our finances got more complicated our free banking accounts wouldn’t work, but they haven’t been an issue. 

Every little bit of money you can save counts and if you don’t have to pay banking fees you might as well take advantage of that!  Try Ally bank for some free banking options.

Hang your laundry

It may seem like a small thing, but dryers are HUGE energy hogs.  If you hang your laundry as much as possible you will notice your electrical bill decrease.  Plus, your clothes will smell amazingly fresh after spending the afternoon out in the sun!

Keep the thermostat down a few degrees

Most of us don’t like to be uncomfortable, and so our heating in your house in the winter is nice and high.  However, you can save some money on your heating if you decide to put on a sweater and turn the thermostat down a few degrees.  

At night you can put it even lower while you are cozy under your blankets.  You can even set a timer so the house warms up before you get out of bed, because, let’s be honest, no one likes to wake up to a freezing cold bedroom!




Honestly, it depends on where you live, and how many expenses you have.  If you live in a high cost area you are going to need more money. 

But if you are willing to move, you can live on a lot less.  Some areas you are going to need only about 2000 dollars a month to cover expenses, while other places may require 5000 or more.  We’ve lived on on average of between 2,500-4,000 dollars a month.

Sometimes moving is worth it, if it means a better financial situation for you and you need to be in a place where living on less money is possible.

But, remember, just because you are living with not much money doesn’t mean life has to be filled with sadness.  If you can manage your money well you will find that a life without a lot of money can still be a life full of joy! 

But, that joy will be felt when you are doing the things you need to do to live within your means.  

That being said, sometimes you get in a tight financial spot no matter what you do and in those times I find it helpful to remember that God’s got me through other hard financial times and He’ll do it again. 

It may take a few months to get myself back to where I need to be, but if I remain focused on the task at hand, it can be done. 

So remember, you’ve got this!


1 thought on “Tips for Living with very Little Money”

  1. Lenzie Lee George

    These are all great suggestions. When your budget is balanced and you are running a surplus the money just piles up around you. Living far below your means has the greatest rewards.

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