The 17 Top Things You Can Live Without to Save Money

things you can live without to save money

It’s easy to get it in your head that you must have certain things to live or live well, but the truth is, most of what we have fill wants not needs. We can do with a lot less in our lives, so here are 17 things you can live without to save money.

things you can live without to save money

(You can read how I got myself drowning in debt here and how I got out of it here and here.)

Let’s start with some of the big stuff.

1.Things You Can Live Without to Save Money – Your Car or Vehicle

Let’s face it unless you live in the middle of nowhere like I do where there is no cab service, buses, or subway, you really don’t need your car.

Sure, a car is super convenient, and not having one takes some getting used to, but you can do it.

When I was in graduate school, I didn’t have a car. So, I either walked, rode my bike, took a cab, or a bus

While there were days I wished I had a car, I certainly didn’t miss the:

  • Car payment
  • Insurance
  • Gas
  • Maintenance
  • Repairs
  • Parking and/or parking tickets
  • New tires
  • Oil changes

And so on…

If giving up your car seems like an impossible task, just take a week and don’t drive it. Discover how you can get around to the places you need to go without it. 

Do it for a week, and there is a good chance you will realize you don’t need a car.

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2. Give Up Your House or Apartment

While you do need a place to live, in a lot of cities housing prices are completely out of control.

I honestly don’t know how normal people afford to live in New York City or San Francisco, for example. Even Seattle is out of control price-wise.

Whether or not you live in an expensive area, you can reduce your monthly expenses by downsizing or selling your house.

Find a less expensive apartment that may not feel like it is perfect for you, but is good enough. Sell your house and buy a smaller one or rent.

There are many pros and cons of renting and buying. Make a list and see where you can come out ahead. 

We all need a lot less room than we think we do. Look around you. I guarantee you that you don’t need most of the stuff you can see in your house right now. 

Grandma’s salt and pepper shaker collection is nice, but it isn’t a necessity and the space it takes to keep it is costing you money.

things you can give up to save money3. Get a Roommate

This is a tough one for me as I like my privacy, but if you are looking for things you can live without to save money, that extra bedroom is one of them.

You don’t really need an office or a den. So, if you have an extra room, rent it out. Not only will you save some money you will make some as well.

You could look for a full-time renter or depending on your location consider turning a room into a vacation rental if you live in a vacation hot spot. 

4. Find a Room to Rent

This is the other side of the coin. Instead of finding yourself a roommate, you can become someone else’s roommate. 

It will be a lot cheaper than having your own house or apartment and you might meet some fun new people.

5. Things You Can Live Without to Save Money – Live in a Van or RV

While we are on the subject of housing, it is my personal opinion that everyone needs a roof over their heads, but what kind of room is up for debate.

If you are in a position where you feel comfortable and safe to do so, consider living in your van or an RV. There are many people that make this a lifestyle. I admire them for doing so.

I’ve considered it myself many times, but have never had the courage to do so. Maybe one day.

You can even go one step further and live in a tent. People do that as well.

6. Get Rid of Your Cable

I did this years ago and never looked back. Cable bills are terribly expensive at $100 or more per month. 

Besides, how many times do you find yourself saying, “There’s never anything good on TV,” as you surf through a hundred and fifty channels?

I do have Netflix and Amazon Prime, so it costs me about $200 a year for my entertainment, but I’m still saving about $1,000 a year and I never miss cable, not even for a moment.

7. Stop Eating Out

This is another one that I personally find difficult. I love eating out and I hate to cook. Even so, not eating your meals out is certainly an easy way to save money.

I have to admit, I still eat out, but now it is an average of one meal a week and not three. 

In a way, it does force you to enjoy your meal out even more. You need to carefully plan where you will go. You won’t want to eat garbage or just any old place if you’re only eating out once a week.

I don’t mean you need to go to a fancy restaurant. I just mean you better really enjoy that meal as it will be another seven days before you get to do it again.

things you can give up to save money

8. Things You Can Live Without to Save Money – Ditch Your Soda Habit

Whether it’s diet soda (or pop as we call it here) or the real thing, the cost adds up quickly. 

If you’re like me and drink too much of it, you can easily spend $20, $30 or more a week for a family just on soda alone. Yikes!

Forget the fact that it really isn’t good for you anyway, if you are looking for things you can live without to save money this is an easy one.

I know water can be a little boring, but they have all sorts of flavors you can add to plain old water to dress it up a bit and they cost a lot less and this is one of the easier things you can live without to save money.

9. Say Goodbye to Pre-prepared Foods

There’s no getting around it. Convenience foods are convenient for everything except your wallet. 

I’m not a big fan of cooking, but I find if I cook several things on Sunday for the week ahead, there is always something ready and I don’t have to fall back on takeout, fast food, or already prepared, overly expensive foods from the store.

I also find that if I know I have something waiting at home for me for dinner, I am much less likely to stop off somewhere and get take out.

You might also enjoy:

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10. Toss the Newspaper and Magazines

I understand that you want to stay informed on the news of the day, but there is no reason in this day and age to pay for it.

Use your favorite social media outlet to follow local and national news outlets. You can stay in touch with the world without it having to cost you a cent. 

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11. Grocery Shop Less Often

If you’re like most people, growing up you went to the store with your mom once a week, or maybe more.

Now that you’re an adult, going to the grocery store weekly or more often just seems natural. In fact, chances are you dash out to the store even if you just need one or two items without even thinking about it.

This is a habit you want to try and change for one very simple reason.

How many times have you come home from the store with just the one item you went for? Most likely never!

Stores are set up in a way to get you to buy more. You practically don’t have a fighting chance when it comes to the urge to buy extra items. 

The simple truth is the less often you shop the less you buy. 

I used to fall into the category of shopping two and even three times per week. Now I go once a week or even once every two weeks.

My shopping expense has drastically fallen and I find that I have plenty of food to get through a week or even two without much trouble.

It takes a little planning ahead and it also takes a little discipline. 

Just because you don’t have any chocolate ice cream doesn’t mean you need it right then and there. Put it on the list for the next shopping trip and be satisfied with ginger snaps for a snack.

12. Say No To Credit Cards

Some people think that you must have a credit card. I mean how do you rent a car without one or rent a hotel room?

The truth is you can do both just fine and a million other things as well.

It is too often that you get suckered into having a credit card for “just in case,” or emergencies. You think you won’t use it. You will just have it, so it’s there if you need it.

The reality is, if you have a credit card you will use it. Even if you plan to pay the balance in full each month things do come up and all of a sudden you are paying terribly high interest rates.

It’s best not to have a credit card in the first place. Instead, have an emergency fund, so if you do have an emergency, you have the cash to handle it.

And, if you do have credit card debt, try to get it paid off as quickly as possible. Here’s how I paid off $7,000 in credit card debt in just a few months.

13. Stomp out the Cigarettes

No one needs to smoke. You already know that, but when it comes to things you can live without to save money, this is at the top of the list.

Cigarettes have gotten outrageously expensive and, of course, they are bad for you.

If you stop smoking, your bank account and lungs with thank you.

14. Put the Glass Down

Whether it’s a glass of wine or vodka or a beer, liquor is an expense you can do without. This is another habit that can be bad for you or so they say. Studies are always changing on this fact, but what doesn’t change is if you want to save money, you can do so easily by kicking this habit to the curb.

In fact, you might want to check out how to save $72K by ditching your bad habits.

15. Let it All Hang Out

Now, don’t go crazy. I’m not talking about taking your clothes off. You still need to wear clothes in today’s world, but what I do mean is let your hair go a little natural.

You might need a haircut once in a while, but you don’t need to get it dyed, treated, and cut all the time. 

This is true when it comes to your fingernails as well. By some polish at the drug store and skip the manicure. 

16. In Fact, Skip the Spa Completely

Yes, getting a massage is a treat, and a facial isn’t bad either, but you can work at doing both at home.

Have your partner give you a good back rub now and then, and do your own facials. 

You will save a lot of money and who knows you and your partner might end up a little closer too.

17. Things You Can Live Without to Save Money – Say Goodbye to the Gym

It’s important to stay in shape, but there is no reason to pay for a gym membership to do so. Walking is a great, and free exercise that everyone should consider.

  • You can lift weights in your garage.
  • You can run down the street.
  • You can watch and follow along with a workout videotape.
  • You can watch free exercise classes online.

There are tons of free ways to stay in shape without spending a bunch of money every month.

There are also free clubs that you can join. For example, my father joined a bike group that would take rides every Sunday morning.

When it comes to things you can live without to save money, these 17 examples are just the tip of the iceberg. 

If you put your mind to it, you will find many more to add to the list that will work for you.

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