Basic Frugality: How To Reset Your Frugal Life

You might consider me to be a pro at being frugal but I still find it helpful to revisit basic frugality every so often.

Because although I’ve been frugal for a long time it is just so easy to slip back into bad habits isn’t it?

Sometimes life just gets busy and complicated and things happen that mean you aren’t focused on your money as much as you might want to.

You don’t always have the time to concentrate on keeping every plate spinning and you can easily lose sight of why you want to.

Getting back to basics with simple frugal living gives us a chance to take a little time out and focus on those basics.

There are hundreds of different ways to practice frugality, but in my book the basics can be counted on your fingers.

purple pan ware on hob and worktop against white brick wall to signify basic frugality

Basic Frugality

Is it ok to be frugal? Absolutely! Frugal is not cheap nor something that is bad.

Frugal living is about focusing on what is most important to you and spending your money on that.

Some of the richest people on earth are frugal.

If you want to know more check out what rich people do.

How can I be frugal? Being frugal is a way of life that everyone can embrace.

If you are new to basic frugality then why not take advantage of my free email course where I help you build your frugal foundations.

If you want to know the differences between frugal and cheap then check these posts.

How To Be Frugal Without Being Cheap

5 Frugal Myths And Why Frugal People Hate Cheapskates

(This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read more here)

7 Ways To Get Back To Basics With Frugal Living

1. Make Your Own Food

We all need food and we often use food as a way to reward and treat ourselves.

Pay day means having a meal out.

Friday night is takeout night.

Stressed about work? A chocolate bar is just the ticket.

In fairness I never need an excuse to have chocolate!

Meal planning is one of the most basic frugality tips I would encourage you to adopt. When you meal plan successfully you eat at home.

You use the food you have in your pantry and don’t end up with a huge unnecessary stockpile.

More importantly meal planning helps you to keep your grocery bill low as you will eat at home more.

If meal planning is not your thing or you always end up resorting to a meal out part way through your meal plan then what you need is the $5 meals plan. For just $5 a month you get a weekly meal plan and associated shopping list.

The meals are not repeated more than once every 3 months (no more spaghetti every 3rd day) and the best part is you can try before you buy with their 14 day free trial.

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For more help on the 7 best strategies to make your meal planning a success why not have a read of this post:

7 Meal Planning Strategies All Beginners Should Know

Try $5 Meal Plan!

2. Use Every Last Drop

Every time I buy something in a bottle or jar I look at it and wonder just exactly how much am I going to end up wasting.

Some sauces lend themselves to getting every last drop out yet others are more of a challenge.

Mayonnaise is my personal bugbear to the point where I often buy it in wide necked jars, precisely so I can get every last bit out with a spoon.

When you buy products in jars and bottles you are paying for all of its contents. So why would you willingly leave 10% behind?

I swear manufacturers design their bottles precisely so that last 10% is a struggle to get out. If you don’t persevere and get it out you are paying 10% more for every bottle and jar you buy.

For toothpaste, lotions etc I used to spend minutes daily flattening and squeezing the remaining contents up toward the top.

To make life easier I purchased a tube squeezer for a few pounds. I definitely get more out using this tool than doing so by hand.

Basic frugality is about the little things. The basic things. Like using up every last drop. Because why wouldn’t you when you have paid for it?

Frugal tip – add a little vinegar or water to the bottle and swish around. This will encourage that last 10% out.

Eco tip – Given we want to be recycling all these jars and bottles, we are usually required to wash them out before adding to the recycling bin. Don’t wash that 10% away – use it.

50 Frugal Habits That Are Also Eco Friendly

lightbulb with money sign in green background

3. Don’t Waste Energy, Water or Money each month

Unless you live off grid (kudos if you do!) then you will have regular utility bills. Both energy bills (gas, electricity, oil) and water bills.

Your utility bills are a flexible part of your budget but they are a permanent feature so it’s easy to get a little lax about them, given you pay them every month.

Your energy bill is about how much energy you actually use. If you use more, you pay more. But reducing these bills can be done with a tiny effort. Energy frugality examples are:

  • Switch lights off when you leave the room
  • Unplug chargers
  • Reduce your thermostat a degree or two
  • Use a power strip for your electronics
  • Wear an extra layer on cold days

You’ll also want to ensure you are with the cheapest energy supplier.

Look After My Bills is a fantastic new service in the UK that will automatically switch you to a new provider as your existing one becomes more expensive.

You could save up to £450 a year when you sign up to Look After My Bills for free. LAMB will get you a great deal on your energy and when that deal ends, they’ll switch you again!

You can sign up even if your current deal with your energy provider has not yet ended.

Related post: How To Save Electricity Doing Absolutely Nothing

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

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Cut subscriptions

Also, make sure you are only paying out each month on bills, memberships or subscriptions for things you are actively using and can justify the expense to your self.

Ask yourself these 3 questions:

  1. Do I get value from this service (or product)?
  2. Can I find it cheaper?
  3. Do I need it or can I do without it for now?

Cancel any that fail these questions.

An even better way is to get TRIM to do this for you. If you are in the US then TRIM will negotiate on your behalf to switch and lower bills such as your internet, cable, phone AND medical bills.

TRIM is a virtual personal assistant that constantly works to save you money. Need to cancel your old subscriptions? TRIM can do this for you.

Need to set spending alerts to keep your spending on track? TRIM can do this for you. TRIM can even help you fight fees.

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4. Pay Attention To The Small Things

Have you fallen into the habit of saying “It’s only $x” as you justify buying something that perhaps you wouldn’t usually?

Do you not worry about spending a few extra cents/pennies in order to gain some convenience.

Basic frugality is about keeping every cent and penny you have a prisoner. Until you must let it go (and be spent on something).

There is a saying in the UK – “Look after the pennies and the pounds look after themselves”.

This actually encompasses exactly what frugal living is all about. Frugal living is simply about focusing on the little things.

It’s not about shaving hundreds off your mortgage (because being frugal you wouldn’t ever be paying over the odds).

Never think a few cents here, a few pennies there are not worth your bother. They are. Because they add up into dollars and pounds.

Frugal tip – if you can get something a dollar cheaper by crossing the road to another store then do it. Do that once a week and in a year you’ll have saved $52. And that is not to be sniffed at.

9 Tiny Frugal Ideas To Save Money Every Day

woman at at a white table putting money in a pink piggy bank with a calculator and a spread of money notes to signify basic frugality

5. Stretch Your Comfort Zone

Getting back to basic frugality means getting back out of your comfort zone. Do things a little different.

Maybe you’ve got a little too comfortable with paying someone to wash your car each week. Maybe you’ve slipped into the habit of buying lunch at work a bit more often than you did before.

Getting back to basics gives you the opportunity to save that money instead.

Wash the car yourself.

Pack your lunch more often.

Frugal living is often about doing things the old fashioned way. You don’t pay for convenience of someone or something doing a job for you. You do it yourself. Wash your car, mow your lawn, try a different (cheaper?) recipe.

Related posts:

12 Traditional Frugal Living Tips To Supercharge Your Savings

11 Things Frugal People Just Do Not Do

a persons hands holding a shopping receipt to scrutinise it

6. Reset Spending

When you are newly frugal, you are often hyper conscious of every time you spend but over time that focus can dim a little and extra spending can creep in bit by bit.

A trick to get back to simple frugal living is to reset your spending. How to reset your spending?

Sometimes just making more of an effort to think about when and if you need to spend is enough to get back on track.

Alternatively you can help your self with a no spend challenge. I like no spend days because they give you a sense of achievement after just one day.

These are especially helpful if you have slipped into bad habits of spending a few times each day.

For more focus on not spending you could also try a no spend challenge for a longer period, say a weekend, a week or even a month. (Not for the faint-hearted!)

Related posts:

How To Make No Spend Days Successful (And When Not To)

traditional kitchen utensils hanging on ship lap wall and worktop

7. Know Your Why

Many people turn to frugal living deliberately. Often because you are having difficulty paying all your bills or have debt to clear.

But once you have cleared your debt and have embraced living below your means then to keep practicing frugality you need another reason.

Your reason is your why. Why so you want to be living frugally?

I came to frugal living through the usual route of not enough money to pay my bills and basically feeling poor every month.

Eventually I had spare money each month but it took me years to get to that point.

And then I had to make the decision as what I wanted. Did I want to continue to frugal living and saving money, or did I want to increase my spending?

I chose frugal living because it meant I could save more money and aim to do more with my money. Like retiring early, moving to the countryside.

Knowing my why helped me keep focused on being frugal. When I got a pay rise I saved it. When I saved money on car insurance I saved it. Because I knew what I was saving for.

You need to know why you are being frugal so you can remember it when you get tempted to spend a little more.

Related post: 10 Secrets To Lasting Frugal Success

2 young children in aprons and chefs hats baking at table with eggs and rolling pins

Your basic Frugality Fresh Start

Getting back to basics is like resetting the clock. It helps you to take a fresh look at why you are intent on frugal living.

It helps you to reconnect with your why and to strengthen your frugal mindset in order to practice basic frugality at home and at work.

Are you are interested in being more frugal, more deliberate with your money, making your money stretch further?

Then sign up for my free email course where you will learn how to build the strong frugal foundations you need.

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Last Updated on 30th April 2021 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

2 thoughts on “Basic Frugality: How To Reset Your Frugal Life”

  1. Well done, I am trying to help my daughter learn this life skill and it is especially important as we move ahead in our changed world. I learned way later than I should have but I am applying your principles and doing better everyday. We are never to old to learn . Thank you for your time and effort Tuppenny you are Truly A Blessing. We appreciate you so much?

    • Hi Gina! We think alike! I too believe being frugal is going to be even more important in the new world we now have. We face years of uncertainty so keeping our costs low and looking after our pennies is all the more important. And it’s never, ever too late to learn – so glad you are still open to learning new tricks – it’s fun isn’t it? Take care Gina and bless you x


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