When it comes to financial advice, tips like “cut out your daily coffee!” and “don’t eat out every night!” make the list every time. But let’s face it, skipping your Starbucks latte isn’t going to save you hundreds each month or pay off your credit card bill.
The truth is that most of the time, $5 won’t even make a dent in your debt repayment. Usually, it just gets spent somewhere else instead.
So, how can you save big money that will actually help you to reach your goals? Well, to save big you’ll have to make big lifestyle changes. Think of it this way: you aren’t dropping a habit, you’re changing the way you live.
Here’s how to lower cost of living in five different ways, like a true baller. The bigger the change the bigger the potential savings.
1. Try a Shopping Ban
Seems like a no-brainer, right? Just think of the hundreds you spend each month online, at the mall, or at the grocery store and you’ll see why shopping is such a money downfall.
But when I say “don’t shop” I’m talking full Little House on the Prairie. No need to make a grocery list if you don’t go to the store at all. Learn to garden – plant fruits and vegetables year-round in planters if you don’t have a yard. Use your produce to make healthy meals at home and compost the leftovers for fertilizer.
If you’ve got access to a sewing machine you can go even farther. There are thousands of online resources that can teach you to alter, repair, or make just about any piece of clothing you can imagine.
Or, if this is too extreme, commit to a “no new clothes” challenge or shopping ban for a year and see how much you’ll save. This might be an easier way for you to learn how to lower cost of living when it comes to spending less.
2. Get a Better (Paying) Job
No one likes to talk about getting a better job, particularly if you’re happy or like the place where you work.
However, job hopping is actually your best chance to increase your annual salary and earning potential according to this article from Fast Company. And a higher salary equals more money for paying off debt!
On the flip side, getting a better job can also lower your cost of living in other ways, specifically with health and dental benefits. By taking part in company insurance plans or other employee benefits you can cut down a number of extra bills you’re paying while reaping the rewards of a group plan.
3. Get Rid of Your Car
Take a second to think about how much money your car costs you a month. It’s not just a car payment: you pay for repairs, for parking tickets, for insurance, plus you’re at the mercy of fluctuating gas prices.
If you happen to live in a metro area with public transit, you can significantly lower your cost of living by selling your car. Find someone to carpool with to work, start biking, or take public transportation to live the car-free lifestyle.
Going without a car offers you so many ways for you to work on how to lower cost of living in other aspects of your life. Aside from the obvious money you’ll save by not having a car, you also lessen the temptation of going out to eat or going shopping as well.
4. Lower Housing Costs
Housing is often the largest expense in a person’s budget. After all, we all need a place to live!
But do you really need a guest room? If you have rooms that you aren’t using, you could be losing money each month to costs associated with energy consumption and other utilities. Especially if your home is not properly insulated and ventilated.
If you have more house than you need, it may make sense to downsize to a smaller home or condo to snag a lower rent payment, reduce your utility bills, or lower your mortgage costs.
Or, if downsizing isn’t an issue, you may want to consider finding a roommate to reduce your living costs. A roommate can help pay rent and utilities.
Live in a super trendy area? Consider moving to a less trendy area where rents are more affordable. You’ll then be able to funnel the extra cash to your student loan debt.
5. Move to a Cheaper State
This is the most drastic for you to consider how to lower cost of living, but it can lead to the biggest potential savings. There are many states that are super cheap to live in.
There are seven states where residents do not have to pay state income tax, which means they can keep more of their paycheck: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.
These states are cheaper to live in because the cost of living is lower: housing, groceries, and other necessities. It’s similar to how living in the city costs more than living in the suburbs.
However, big urban areas offer more job opportunities than smaller towns, so people are willing to pay a premium to live there.
When looking for a cheap state to move to, consider the median household income and median home price to get a feel for what to expect price-wise. It could be that you can buy a home that fits your needs for significantly less – meaning a cheaper mortgage payment every month.
There are also a handful of cities in the United States that will pay you to move there via tax credits and other economic incentives according to Kiplinger.
If you have a job that would do well in that area, or if you have the luxury of working remotely, it may be worth it to take advantage of these opportunities in order to lower your cost of living while saving more money.
The best thing about starting fresh in a new state? It can be a great way to get started on any of the other lifestyle changes listed above. And once you’ve begun to lower your cost of living, you’ll truly be able to turn over a new financial leaf.
Interested in refinancing student loans?Here are the top 6 lenders of 2019!
|Lender||Variable APR||Eligible Degrees|
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1 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
2 Important Disclosures for Earnest.
To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: https://www.earnest.com/eligibility. Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.
Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.89% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.50% APR (with Auto Pay) to 7.27% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of April 17, 2019, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.
Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.
The information provided on this page is updated as of 04/17/2019. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit https://www.earnest.com/terms-of-service, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on our student loan refinance product.
© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.
3 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.
Laurel Road Disclosures
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the fixed rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular fixed interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
However, if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically by electronic funds transfer (EFT) from a bank account, the variable rate will decrease by 0.25%, and will increase back up to the regular variable interest rate described in the preceding paragraph if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically by EFT from the designated borrower’s bank account.
All credit products are subject to credit approval.
Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $4 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.
4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.
5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown.
All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.49% effective March 10, 2019.
6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|2.50% – 7.27%1||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 7.12%3||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.81% – 8.79%4||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.50% – 6.65%2||Undergrad & Graduate|
|2.55% – 7.12%5||Undergrad & Graduate|
|3.00% – 9.74%6||Undergrad & Graduate|