Cheap Living Websites the New Way to Make Money Online

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Looking to make money online? Try creating a cheap living website.

EBay and Craigslist are the forefathers of the genre, which attracts budget-conscious Web surfers looking for good deals. Now that the recession has made budgeting a necessity, the genre is experiencing a new wave of successful websites. Rather than classifieds or auctions, these new blogs, niche listings, and coupon collections capitalize on peoples’ need not only to find good deals, but to live off them.

Here are three examples of business owners who make a living off helping people live cheaply:

1. 5 Dollar Dinners
Christian mom Erin Chase has mastered the art of the $5 meal. Chase, a housewife, created 5dollardinners.com, a handy resource for–you guessed it–cooking family dinners for $5 or less. Chase’s excellent blog lists prices for each menu (many items include coupons, for which she creates an index every month), weekly and monthly meal plans, and how-tos.

5 Dollar Dinners recently soared in popularity after being featured on the Rachel Ray show. With close to 20 ad and affiliate links on her blog, Chase’s financial success looks guaranteed–especially if she keeps scrimping on dinner costs.

2. Cars for a Grand!
If you ever wanted a $350 Chrysler Cordova, here’s your chance. The guys at CarsforaGrand.com list used cars that cost $1,000 or less. Enter your zip code, and Cars for a Grand will generate a list of cheap cars near you, mostly from eBay listings. Partner websites include Trucks for a Grand, Boats for a Grand, Motorcycles for a Grand, Property for Pennies, and Get a Cheap TV. It looks like the guys behind the sites are eBay affiliates, so if they manage to drive enough traffic through their catchy domain names, they can rake in the cash.

3. Zen Habits
Leo Babauta doesn’t care about making money. This father of six and Zen Habits blog author is more concerned with health, happiness, and simplicity. He is also frugal, and frequently shares money-saving tips with readers.

His blog has nearly 108,000 subscribers, proving that people are interested in the simpler (and cheaper) things in life. Yet Babauta sells his and other books via an Amazon affiliate program and sells ad space on his blog, which, with as many readers as he has, brings in a decent amount of revenue. He also offers consulting services.

The cheap living website niche isn’t full yet. Cheap gardening, $500 vacations, cheap housing options, and cheap salons are examples of areas I found that could use a good resource. Granted, building that resource will take a lot of time, research, and work, but the eventual payoff may be worth it. Especially if you have passion and skill for the topic.

The more I study the recession, the more ways I find to make money. They’re just not as obvious as “finding a job.” They require research and entrepreneurship. But they do exist, and people are taking advantage.

Do you have or know of any good cheap living websites? Please list them in the comments section.