Most of us have, in some way, tried to rein in our spending habits, live more frugally and do with less. Why should you rethink your spending habits? It’s worth considering whether we should make frugality part of our normal life – rather than something put into practice when times are tough.

‘Frugal’ is no longer a dirty word for many Australians who are tackling a lifestyle of low-cost living. It’s not just a way of life – it’s a state of mind. Frugality is all about stopping the money leaks while still living a fulfilling life. To succeed, all that’s required is is a mindset adjustment.

So how can you manage financially to rent the home you want, while avoiding becoming too cost-burdened? Take a look at these 8 practical cost-cutting measures to keep cash in your pocket:

1. Leave the car at home

The weather’s warming up and it’s just delightful. Use this opportunity to dust off your bike and hit the road, or walk instead of taking the car on your next short trip. This comes packed with benefits – exercise, namely – but you will also save on petrol, and avoid extra wear and tear on your car. If taking the car is a necessary evil, think about completing a list of errands instead of a single job.

2. Re-evaluate your rental

Is your rental property exactly what you need? It’s common to go into a property and end up filling empty space with extra goodies. Even if you can afford a larger place, don’t sign the lease on one just because you don’t have enough space. Have a keen eye for clutter build-up. You’ll find that smaller space living can be cozy and very comfortable, plus you’ll be saving on your weekly rent payments.

3. Eat out less

As most people would be able to attest, food costs add up pretty fast when you eat out a few times every week. An easy way to save money and eat healthy is by prepping your meals at home. Renting a property with a well-equipped kitchen will lure you into spending more time at home and cooking. Drinking your favourite beverages at home (i.e. coffee and alcohol) will also ease the burden on your budget. Think about doing up a menu for each week, buy only what you need and incorporate leftovers into your next days’ meal.

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4. Stop impulse buying

So you’ve hit the shop and spotted a to-die-for dress. But if it’s not a necessity, put it on a list with the date you saw it. The key here is not to buy this item until seven days have passed. It’ll surprise you how often something you ‘absolutely needed’ on first inspection becomes an ‘actually, I don’t need this anymore.’ If shopping is a big part of your life, give yourself a splurge budget. You are much less likely to make impulse purchases if you allow yourself some smaller, discretionary spending.

5. Look for freebies

As often as possible, keep an eye out for free events in your local area. A lot of websites offer the ability to filter upcoming events to ‘free,’ which should help you with your planning. Go on a hike, to a museum or a zoo or have a sunset picnic at the park or on the beach. Before you head out on an outing or day trip, search the web for discount vouchers or offers. Groupon and other similar sites offer meals, experiences and tourist attractions with big discounts attached.

6. Buy secondhand

It’s pretty clear that setting up your new rental is a costly exercise. To save money on furniture, search online, thrift shops, garage sales and through local newspaper ads for great deals. Don’t write off items in disrepair, either. If a piece you love could use a little updating, put in some muscle power and you’ll make a huge difference to your pocketbook. If you truly need something, why not see if someone has one they no longer use?

7. DIY your decor

One of the big upsides of buying used goods is a sense of craftiness that will soon follow. DIY decorating and refurbishing is all the rage (you only need to spend 10 minutes on Pinterest to realise this). You can find a large number of resources online for decorating and updating your rental on the cheap.

8. Get a roomie

In larger metro areas, living and rental costs can be much higher. So why not consider sharing your space with a roommate, rather than living alone? Before you move in with someone, be sure to check out a few tips that should guide you to a happy co-existence.

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Add your best frugal living tips below!