Surviving High Costs with Smart Budgeting

Facing the ever-increasing cost of living can feel like a real struggle, right? But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of smart and practical tips and strategies that are all about helping you not just survive but thrive in these challenging times. So, let’s dive in and discover how to manage your finances wisely, make those smart choices, and not just come out stronger but also happier on the other side.

#1. Grow a Vegetable Garden

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Planting some of your favorite vegetables, nurturing them, and watching them grow is one of the most satisfying hobbies you can pick up, but it can be even more than that. A lovely veggie garden will breathe life into your space and save you money on groceries. You can enjoy fresh, organic produce at a fraction of the grocery store prices.

#2. Snack on Freshly-Popped Popcorn

Woman streaming tv eating popcorn
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One online commenter offered up this adorable and cozy idea. If you love to snack while you watch TV but don’t want to waste money on pricey snacks, popping popcorn on your stove is a fun alternative. It’s something to do, and you can play around with different seasonings!

#3. Become an Avid Home Cook

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Take your kitchen fun beyond popcorn and work honing your cooking skills! The more recipes you have in your back pocket, the less you’ll be tempted to spend money on takeout food or restaurants. And you might find out that you’re a talented and passionate chef.

#4. Make Bread at Home

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If you commit to mastering just one food, make it bread. Whether you bake focaccia, sourdough, rye, or ciabatta, making bread at home will save you lots of money at the grocery store. Plus, you’ll always have beautiful fresh loaves of bread to snack on or make meals with.

#5. Hang Laundry To Dry

Underwear clothes (underpants) for toddler boy hanging on the clothesline isolated on a white background
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You’d be surprised how much electricity just one drying cycle uses. A simple drying rack is a great solution if you want to get your electric bill down and live a little simpler. Hanging your laundry can also make your clothes last longer and prevent shrinking, fading, and tearing.

#6. Go To Free Community Events

Classic Cotswold Route, England
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Check your local government websites and community boards for free events and activities. From farmer’s markets to open concerts to friendly trivia nights, it’s easy to find exciting and welcoming activities that won’t cost you a thing, and you can get to know people in the area.

#7. Meditate in the Morning

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Meditation is a free way to clear your mind and ground yourself. Life can be overwhelming and hectic, but sitting with your thoughts and acknowledging your breath can lead to a more grateful and wholesome outlook. Even just five minutes of meditation in the morning can refresh your mind.

#8. Clean With Gratitude

woman cleaning
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Speaking of being grateful, a clever way to improve your daily life is to tackle cleaning with a more thoughtful and appreciative perspective. Dirty dishes are annoying, but you have dirty dishes because you were lucky enough to have a meal. Vacuuming is tedious, but it’s one way to care for your space and create a comfortable environment for yourself.

#9. Masterfully Brew Coffee

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It seems like a standard cup of coffee is getting increasingly expensive every day. If you tend to buy coffee from shops, you could save hundreds of dollars by learning to make the perfect cup at home. Whether you like cold brew, lattes, or drip coffee, you can recreate it at home for a fraction of the cost.

#10. Spend Time at Your Local Library

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With the internet, it feels like many people have forgotten about how beautiful libraries can be. They’re a free place to access a wealth of information and art. This peaceful setting is an excellent spot to unwind and be around people without socializing.

#11. Craft Your Own Candles

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If you’re someone like me who loves always to have candles burning, you know they don’t come cheap. Instead of spending so much on candles, pick up candle making as a new hobby and start creating the perfect scents for your home. Candle-making materials are affordable, and crafting candles is relaxing and enjoyable.

#12. Walk to the Grocery Store

Grocery Shopping
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A simple way to get some exercise in and manage your grocery shopping is to walk to the store. When you walk, you get more steps and time to be with yourself and will buy less at the store because you have to carry it home. One online commenter said they walk seven miles both ways to their supermarket!

#13. YouTube Yoga

Woman in yoga pose
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Yoga is a beautiful way to center yourself and get a workout in, but yoga studios can be wildly expensive and complicated to make time for. Luckily, YouTube is teeming with free yoga instruction videos. Just 30 minutes of at-home yoga can make you feel invigorated and joyful.

#14. Use Homemade Cosmetics

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Skincare routines can be expensive when you’re using a variety of name-brand products. You can downgrade to off-brand cosmetics or start a new hobby and make your own! From facial cleansers to lip balms to eyebrow fillers, you can make so many skin and hair products at home.

#15. Meet Your Neighbors

Won't You Be My Neighbor, Fred Rogers
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Nowadays, people know their neighbors less and less. While keeping your distance from the people around you may seem more comfortable, getting to know your neighbors is a great way to make new friends and feel like you’re part of a genuine community.

#16. Take Advantage of Volunteer Opportunities

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If you struggle to find free events near you, look for volunteer opportunities instead. If you volunteer at festivals, concerts, and events, you can go for free! You can also volunteer at fundraisers, charities, and shelters to give back and feel good about yourself.

#17. Shop the Thrift Stores

Woman thrifting looking at clothes with red basket
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Fast fashion is doing a number on the environment and small businesses, but you can avoid contributing to this monstrous industry by shopping at your local thrift stores. Give perfect clothes a second life while saving money and finding fabulous, unique items.

#18. Keep Warm With Comfy PJs

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Your home heating bill can be a substantial expense, so stave off the heating bills by bundling up in early fall and late winter. One frugal person said they never turn on their heat until Black Friday and instead rely on fuzzy blankets and thermal pajamas.

#19. Learn To Sew or Knit

needlework and hand quilting in the workshop of a young tailor
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If you pick up knitting, crocheting, or sewing, you can make soft blankets and warm PJs! Learning one or more of these skills is fun and satisfying, but it also means you can fix your clothes to make them last longer or even create new clothes from scratch.

#20. Find Flea Markets

LONDON, UK - AUGUST 10, 2017: Summer in Covent garden, one of the biggest flea market in UK
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A single trip to Target or TJ Maxx can result in a $100 receipt. If you love to shop for trinkets and home goods but need to be more frugal, look for flea markets and estate sales near you. You’ll be amazed by the one-of-a-kind and alluring items you can buy at these places.

#21. Bake Everything You Can

Panaderia, Mexico, Pastry, cake, dessert, sweet, bakery, bread, croissant
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For those of you who have a rampant sweet tooth, it’s time to try baking! Baking is a lovely hobby, as you can hone your skills, make delicious treats for your home, and make home-baked goods for your friends, family, and neighbors.

#22. Take Photos and Make Art

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Buying art can also be expensive, so why not make your own? You could try painting, drawing, or photography. Let out your creative side and express yourself while revitalizing your home with new art. And it gives you a reason to explore your area and take scenic pictures.

#23. Make Your Own Cleaning Products

Cleaning the Toilet
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Along with candles, cosmetics, and clothes, you can also make your own cleaning products. Things like all-purpose disinfectant, laundry detergent, and dish soap cost a pretty penny, but with the right ingredients and recipes, you can easily make them for far less money.

#24. Stay Stocked up on Pantry Staples

a woman reaches into a pantry
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If you feel you’re wasting money on takeout or groceries that go bad, ensure your pantry and freezer are well-stocked. Keep plenty of canned items, frozen vegetables, baking necessities, and seasoning on hand so it’s easier to create meals in a pinch.

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The post Surviving High Costs with Smart Budgeting first appeared on From Frugal to Free.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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