Can frugal living save you money? Absolutely it can.
Does it mean living on rice and beans and never going out? Absolutely not (unless you love that kind of repetitive diet).
Most people don’t strive for frugal living because they like the idea of it. And most frugal living tips weren’t born out of a ‘why not?’ mentality.
No, the frugal living movement has it’s feet firmly planted in the ‘need to’ camp and of the lives people lived many years ago, because they had to.
There is no doubt that living simply and frugally will save you money. How much you save is entirely down to you.
How much you earn does play a part, but so does your interest in doing things differently, learning new skills and embracing a more simple, frugal life.
Firstly let’s make sure we are both on the same page as to what frugal living really means.
How to be frugal but not cheap
So many people worry about being labelled as cheap when they try to cut back on their spending. Being cheap is more of a personality trait than being smart with your money.
Cheap people like to save money at the expense of others and think nothing of snaffling handfuls of sauce sachets from restaurants or leaving friends to pick up a bigger share of the bill.
None of the best frugal living tips will ever show you how to get one up on another person. That’s just not the done thing.
If others question your spending plans tell them this: “Right now I have other plans for my money“.
When you are frugal you are smart about the money you have and have plans for all of it. If those plans do not include an impromptu night out then say so.
If someone pushes you on your money plans you can always say “Why do you want me to take on debt just to do this thing with you?”
I know you are probably too polite to say this – I’m getting more cranky as I get older!
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What is a frugal lifestyle?
The frugal lifestyle is about living within your means and spending according to your values and financial situation at any given time.
What I love about the frugal lifestyle is that it isn’t one size fits all.
We are all different, we all have foibles that mean what I might think is just normal money saving behavior, you might consider to be really super frugal.
When times are hard you can live cheaply, when times are less hard you can focus on saving money and achieving your financial goals.
Frugal living gives you choices.
Debt takes away your choices.
Is Frugal living worth it?
Let’s take 2 different scenarios.
Scenario 1 – you spend all you earn and take on some debt to enjoy your life while you’re young. Great ethos, right?
But then you have to pay it all back and it takes years. You can’t enjoy your life when you older and you end up cursing your younger self.
Why? Because the older you still wants to enjoy life and the younger you robbed you of that chance.
Scenario 2 – you make a decision to embrace frugal living and find the right tips that help you save money. You pay off debt that you already have and put money aside for later.
You make the right money decisions for both now and for you in the future. Years later you are very grateful for those wise choices. The older you has no debt and can enjoy life.
the Benefits of frugal living
People have different reasons for living frugally but there are many common benefits of doing so.
You get to control your money. No longer will you be forever handing over a significant portion of what you earn to debt companies. You get to choose how little or how much you spend and you may even decide to leave work early to reduce your hours.
Achieve money goals
Not only do you feel able to set financial goals, you achieve them when you’ve mastered living simply and frugally. Your goals help you prioritize your spending and as a result you achieve them and continue to set more.
Achieving your money goals leads you toward financial freedom if that is your choice. What is financial freedom?
Its the freedom from being chained to the highest paying job you can get, from being constantly on call to your boss. It means being able to cover those emergencies that happen (because they always do, don’t they?)
Reduces money worry
When you are in control of your money and not overspending you aren’t going to worry about money. No more being awake at night worrying how to survive until your next paycheck. No more stress about a credit card bill.
You get to appreciate what you have all the more because there are things that you don’t have. Everything you have is carefully decided on, not the result of constant impulse spending. So you buy what brings you joy and you don’t worry about what you don’t have.
Start your frugal journey by enrolling in the FREE 5 day Frugal Foundations Bootcamp today.
Your starting point for frugal living
Here’s the thing, frugal living is a lifestyle choice and depending on what you want to achieve will be on how you go about starting.
I’ve got friends who have dived straight in as a result of having a child and deciding to go down to one income. For others it was something they picked up while living abroad and seeing how other cultures lived.
For me, I was probably in the same position you find yourself at now. Not enough money and your back to the wall. Trying to find tips for living with very little money because you HAVE to, not purely because you WANT to.
The thing is, there are many frugal living tips with a big impact on your finances straight away. So you get to see some extra cash quickly.
So for you I say, start small, like I did. Focus on the easy and realistic frugal living tips. The ones that you can straight away that will not only save you money but that you can see yourself doing week after week.
You will find over time that you naturally find more and more frugal living tips and ideas that have the potential to save you money. I’ve been frugal for a very many years and I still learn new ways to save money.
And yes, sometimes you can get overwhelmed and positively tired of being frugal all the time. Especially when you trying as hard as you can to save money because times are hard. Check out my post on frugal fatigue to find the strategies to combat that fed up feeling.
(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)
Best budget tips for frugal living – rock your finances
Create financial goals
Financial goals are about planning what you want to achieve with your money both short term and long term. Without goals for your money you run the risk of spending for today and forgetting that tomorrow does come, that emergencies do happen.
Read more about financial goals here and how they give your money saving a purpose.
Learn how to create a budget
A budget is your plan for how you are going to spend the money you have. You decide your priority spending, like financial goals, and decide where the rest of your money is going to be spent.
Read more about how to budget your money here.
Have fun money
When you are starting out learning how to live simply and frugally and everything that goes with it, you can get a little obsessed with saving as much money as possible.
To the point where you budget gives you no freedom to have a little fun, to buy a snack because you’ve been good for 3 weeks.
Fun money is your guilt free spending. It doesn’t have to be much, but it makes a huge difference to how you feel about your budget and striving for your goals.
My fun money was always spent on chocolate, need I say more?!
Have regular money chats
One of my top frugal living tips for families is about being open about money. Talking about money with your partner won’t help you save money in the moment but it can make a huge difference long term to your financial well-being. No two people have the exact same outlook on life and money.
You might be a closet saver while your spouse is a spender. Talking often about your goals, what you want your money to do for you both helps you become one with your money. And that will save you money.
You can read more about how to talk about money without fighting in this post.
Declutter and sell
There’s nothing like a quick injection into your savings to motivate you to save more. There is always a market for your old stuff, whether on Ebay or Craigslist or at a car boot or yard sale.
Declutter and sell the things you no longer have a use for and put the money you get into savings towards your first financial goal.
The best frugal living tips – utilities
Your utility and energy bills are a constant line in your budget. Unless you are off grid you are going to have to pay these bills.
That doesn’t mean you have no say in how much they are. You can control how much energy you use and these tips will help you reduce this and save money.
Check you’re on the best energy price plan
Depending on your country and state you may have a small or wide choice of energy suppliers. In the UK there is a huge choice (too much), other countries may only offer a choice of two.
Where you have a choice always check whether you are getting the best value energy. Comparison websites make this easy.
The supplier you are with may offer different prices plans – ask them to switch you to one better suited, ask for a discount, If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Take regular meter readings
With automated payments to your energy supplier it’s nice to know you are not building up debt. But you also don’t want to be building up a large credit. Better to be in your savings account than theirs.
Submit regular meter readings to your supplier and ask for a payment reduction if your credit builds up too much.
Turn down your thermostat
It’s amazing how quickly you get used to a slightly lower temperature when you turn your thermostat down. 1 degree might not be much but it will save you money. It works very well with the tip below.
Wear extra layers
If you feel cold, don’t whack the heating on or up instead, put on an extra layer. I regularly wear 3 layers at home, primarily because my husband does not feel the cold and he can be in a t-shirt at the same time as my 3 layers! You could also try moving around for a bit to warm up.
Turn appliances off at the socket
Many appliances still draw a little electricity when not in use but switched on. Washing machines and dishwashers are culprits but your TV and other entertainment devices are also guilty of this.
Not all sockets are accessible, some are behind the appliance but turn off what you can when not in use.
Use an energy efficient power strip
For many people the TV area has a plethora of cables and plugs for the many different devices located there. Turning off each socket can be difficult to do and reach.
Using an energy efficient power strip solves this problem for you. Buy one with surge protection and it will also protect your devices if you have an electricity surge.
Use an energy efficient shower head
We all know baths use more water than showers, but do they? Power showers now flow much faster than traditional showers so the difference can quickly disappear.
Using an energy efficient shower head helps reduce the flow of water. Water is a precious commodity and needs to saved even if your water bill isn’t changed.
Have a 4 minute shower
The shorter your shower the more money you will save. Showers use hot water and therefore energy. Quick showers use less water and less energy therefore money saving for you. Not sure how long your showers are? Use a shower timer to take the guesswork out.
Fit a tap aerator
A tap aerator works in much the same way as the energy efficient shower heads. They reduce the flow of water, thereby saving both water and energy. We take the same amount of time to wash our hands whether having a full flow or half flow of water.
Frugal living tips with a big impact on household bills
Don’t auto renew insurances
Insurance companies always save their best deals to entice new customers to join them. When you auto renew you don’t get offered these sweet deals and end up paying more.
To get the best deal always compare prices with other companies and either move to them as a new customer (with that sweet deal) or negotiate with your existing provider to get a better deal than their initial renewal offer. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
It pays to shop around when it comes to home and auto insurance but you don’t need to make multiple calls or plug your details into a dozen websites. Gabi is an online advisor who compares all your insurance options to find you the right policy, in under two minutes.
They compare multiple quotes from 20+ top insurance companies, saving you $720 on average. Click here to get your quote in two minutes and see how much Gabi can save you.
Increase your insurance deductibles
The lower your insurance deductible/excess the higher your premium will be and it works the opposite way if you increase your deductible/excess, you pay less.
We increased our house insurance excess as we live in a low crime area and are at home all day. It saved us 10% on our annual premium.
Work out the best option for your finances for each insurance policy you have and see where you can make some savings.
Cut cable or reduce to a basic plan
I’m not saying you must get rid (but do feel free if it suits) because we still have cable. But we don’t have the full package and I phone up every year to get a better deal.
The only time this is a problem is when the grand-kids come to stay and want the Disney channels, which we don’t have.
Cancel gym memberships and find free ways to get fit
If you always use your gym membership twice a week without fail then maybe this frugal living tip is not for you. Whereas if you are an intermittent gym bunny, or worse, someone who is paying for a membership and not going (!) then go cancel it now.
There are plenty of ways to keep fit at home or outside. YouTube has about a zillion different keep fit videos. Choose from yoga, HIIT, beginners, full body, cardio, exercise for seniors or Zumba to name but a very few!
Swap mobile/cell phone price plan
Do you actually use all your data and minutes allowance every month? Are you out of contract? Swapping to a lower allowance or new contract can halve your cell/mobile phone bill. Keep your old handset and get a SIM only deal and make some really big savings.
Best Frugal Living Tips When Shopping
Shopping whether for clothes, for kids or for essentials can take on a life of it’s own and find yourself with a large credit card bill you have no way of paying off.
Learning how to be frugal isn’t about not shopping, it’s about being more conscious and savvy about when you shop and how you do it. These tips will definitely help you save money.
Use the pound shops and dollar stores for cheap essentials
Be warned, dollar stores and pound shops are a treasure trove of cheap essentials, cheap bits and bobs and useless tat! By focusing on only buying cheap essentials you can save yourself a decent sum.
Cleaning products are often your biggest wins along with toiletries. Write a list of the items you need before you hit the store and only buy what you went in for, otherwise you could end up with 49 things totalling $49!
Instigate a new clothes shopping ban
Clothes do not wear out very quickly. In fact you are more likely to get bored of your clothes before they wear or tear. Try a 3 month new clothes ban and see how you can save.
Many people who start with a 3 month ban find themselves stretching it to 6 months and beyond. Because you get out of the habit of buying new clothes and no longer think about whether you ‘need’ something new. It’s very liberating.
Don’t buy single use products
Paper towels might seem cheap enough but over time they work out much more expensive than reusable alternatives.
You pay more upfront for items like microfiber cloths and beeswax food wraps but over time you will save money. An added bonus to switching to reusable products is you are being much more eco friendly.
You might also like: 50 Frugal Habits That Are Also Eco Friendly
Buy for Christmas in January and throughout the year
Buying gifts for everyone in November and December is not only a chore (I’m not a fan of crowds) but it’s also expensive.
You never get a good deal on your gifts at this time. In contrast, plan early and you can save a lot of money by buying gifts throughout the year and taking advantage of sales as they pop up.
Don’t treat shopping as a leisure activity
How many times have you gone to the mall or shopping center as something ‘to do’? Be honest! Shopping is not a leisure activity it’s a spending activity. Want to save money? Don’t shop for leisure, shop for essentials.
Don’t take extra cash or cards out with you
I can be terrible for this, I cannot leave home without my purse ‘just in case’. Who knows what disaster will befall me between home and a friends house?!
And taking credit cards when you go shopping ‘just in case you see something’ is asking for extra spending to occur isn’t it?
I now carry a £20 note inside my phone case – for emergency spending and I try very hard to leave my purse at home unless I have concrete plans to spend money.
Never pay full price
As the saying goes, “there is always a deal to be made”. Shopping online makes finding deals very easy with cash back sites helping you save money with just a couple of clicks.
If shopping in person, check for discount codes before you shop and print as necessary. If all else fails, ask! See if they can reduce the price a little. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!
These posts will also help you:
Frugal living tips and ideas for travel and transport
Drop down to one car
A car costs you money just sitting on your driveway, if you are a two car household you could save thousands every year by dropping down to one car. It can take a little getting used to but some pre-planning and discussion could be all you need.
Drive fewer miles and save fuel by combining errands and trips you are making. It’s very easy to jump in the car and go grab something. Make a list of jobs and errands needed and see if you can do them in one day. This also gives you back more time.
Wash your own car
Washing your car used to be a traditional Sunday chore, these days you can find a car wash to do it for you almost on every corner it feels. You’ll pay anything from $10 – $25 depending on the ‘extras’ you add. In the UK you’ll pay between £6-15.
Do it yourself and save this money instead. If you usually pay someone $10 every 2 weeks, that’s $260 a year you would save.
I can be as guilty as you of jumping in the car for a very short journey usually justifying it by saying I don’t have time. The truth is I didn’t plan my time and my errands well enough and that’s why I take the odd short trip.
Walking is great exercise, and free, save money and get more exercise by walking to those short errands and leaving the car behind.
Learn to drive hypermiling style
Hypermiling is a driving style that aims to maximize your efficiency and squeeze every last mile out of your fuel. Driving at the speed limit is a good start as is easing off the brake and slowing down naturally.
For more information on hypermiling and what you can save check out Mr Money Mustaches post – it’s a fun read!
Find your cheapest local petrol/gas station
Fuel is pretty much standard wherever you buy it. But the price you pay most definitely does differ. Why pay more for the exact same thing?
You probably already know which places offer the cheapest fuel, add them to your list of errands and places to go and fill up there.
In the UK you can find the cheapest fuel near you by going to PetrolPrices.com.
In the US GasBuddy.com is a useful resource.
Carpool with colleagues or neighbors
Sharing the drive into work can cut your commuting costs nicely. Your neighbors might not work in the exact same building but perhaps they work a short walk away?
Colleagues may be within 5 minutes of your home, splitting the fuel and parking costs can save you both money. And have a chat while you do so.
How to be frugal with food
Your grocery budget is often the one place where you can really scrimp and save if necessary. Many of the best frugal living tips from the great depression focused on food because they had nothing else left to cut back on. They wasted nothing when it came to food, and still went hungry.
Whether you need frugal living tips for singles or frugal living tips for moms, your food budget is a great place to make some savings, especially if you adopt many of the following ideas.
set a meal plan
Meal planning is the mainstay of every frugalista. By planning what meals you will be having for the upcoming week, you know what food you need to buy.
When you know what food to buy you don’t end up throwing extras into your trolley just in case. I like to plan the meals we have without assigning a day, that way it doesn’t feel too restrictive. Do what works for you.
shop with a list
As you meal plan, create a shopping list of the items you need for the week. When you hit your grocery store, stick to your list!
The grocery stores do make it hard to do this with all their special offers and discounts. You don’t need most of these offers and they end up costing you more money so stay strong and avoid.
buy generic items
Don’t buy premium brands just because. Generic and value brands cost much less than premium and taste just fine in their own right.
Premium brands cost more partly because the manufacturer needs to recoup all the advertising money they have spent trying to tell us their product is best!
I’ve seen so many blind taste tests where the generic brands beat the premium brands much to the surprise of the testers. You can save up to 300% when you buy your stores own brand or value brand.
buy produce in season
Buying produce in season often means you are buying from local producers which is a good thing. You can tell the seasonal produce because it’s invariably the cheaper items and you get to know from shopping so often what looks like a low price.
For me in the UK, May and June are the cheapest months to buy asparagus, it’s still expensive compared to carrots (isn’t everything?!) but if I’m going to buy it, that’s when I will.
cook from scratch
Convenience foods and ready dinners are very convenient but they cost much more than making them yourself and they usually have a lot of ingredients and additives you wouldn’t put in your food if you had a choice.
You don’t need to be a top chef to make tasty meals and you don’t need a different recipe for every day of the year. Cooking from scratch will save you money every time. These posts can help you with recipe inspiration:
Batch cooking has saved me so many times. Who hasn’t come home from work drained of every ounce of energy? Starting a meal from scratch is not going to happen on those days.
Batch cooking is making your normal meals but double or even triple the amount. Chili, spaghetti bolognese sauce and soups are perfect for cooking up in a big pot.
Freeze the portions you don’t eat that night and you have a ready meal for another day when you hate the thought of cooking.
don’t eat out
Eating out costs much more than the same meal made at home. When you are tired and cranky I know you don’t want to start cooking which is where your freezer meal from your batch cooking sessions will save you.
Cutting back or at least reducing the number of times you eat out each month can save you hundreds as it’s the biggest chunk of your food bill.
build a pantry stockpile
Having a store of pantry staples is so helpful when your meal plan fails or you failed to meal plan. You can always make a meal from things you have in your cupboards. Canned tomatoes, a can of tuna, some pasta and a few herbs and you have yourself a meal.
To save money build up a small stockpile of foods when they are on sale or at their cheapest price. Canned veggies, rice, pasta, oats and beans are all great to store for a good while.
You might also like: How To Stockpile Food On A Budget – 10 Easy Tips
shop from your pantry
When you meal plan and create your shopping list, check what you already have in your pantry. You’ve already bought these items so it makes sense to use them to reduce this weeks grocery spend.
avoid wasting food
Apparently we can waste up to 30% of the food we buy. If your monthly grocery budget is $300, that’s $100 straight into the bin.
Make a real effort to use all the food you buy. Leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day. Limp veggies can be turned into a hearty soup and fruit can become smoothies.
drink more water
Water is basically free to drink at home and it’s also good for you. The more water you drink the less you drink of other liquids like soda, squash, coffee and alcohol. All of which cost money.
use coupons wisely
Coupons can save you money but only when used carefully. Many coupons are for premium brands. The coupon gets you money off but not so much that it makes the price cheaper than the generic brand price.
If a coupon saves you real money then use it, otherwise ignore it and know it for the sales gimmick it actually is.
Bonus tip: Sign up for my FREE 7 Day Grocery Budget Bootcamp to help you maximize your food savings.
Frugal living tips for entertainment & activities
Use your local library
Your library is so much more than books. It’s DVD’s, internet, free talks, free child activities, magazines and audio books.
Most of which are either completely free or very low cost. The library is the perfect place to on a bleak day when you’re determined not to spend anything but you need to entertain the kids.
Enjoy the outdoors exploring your local area
Your local area can be hive of free things to do whether these are organised by the community or you seek them out and create them yourself. Walks, parks, treasure hunts, fun fact finding missions are just a few of the things you can spend time doing for free.
Pack drinks and snacks when out and about
When you are on a free trip out, take your own snacks, lunch and drinks with you to keep the whole day free. Buying lunch and drinks when you are in town can quickly add up to $20/£20 or more. Not so free.
Master the art of making homemade gifts
One of my best frugal living tips I can share with you is to make your own homemade gifts for Christmas and birthdays.
Christmas gifts can easily send you into an overspending spree yet people always appreciate the effort you put into the gifts you make so much more. You don’t need to be crafty to crank out gorgeous looking gifts.
If you did then I would have a problem because I am probably the least crafty person you will every know! Gain some inspiration from these posts:
Have an old fashioned games night
Be different and have a games night that does not include a games console. Games such as charades or a traditional board game from your childhood are not only fun but send you down memory lane.
Cut your own hair
For many people getting your hair done is a nice treat and activity that takes up a couple of hours. But it also sets you back a few pennies (make that a lot at roughly $50/£40 each time).
Cut your own hair or get your partner or friend to do it for you and you will save a significant sum of money every time. And have fun doing so. YouTube tutorials are your friend here.
Do your own nails or swap with a friend
Having your nails done is another activity that can be fun but the costs add up. I know it can be difficult to do your own nails, one hand never works as well as the other does it?
So hook up with a friend and swap nail treatments. Again YouTube can give you handy hints on getting a salon finish.
Laundry & Cleaning frugal living tips
Use the sniff test
The sniff test is one of the simplest frugal tips you can use to both save money and time. Don’t presume a piece of clothing is dirty, if it doesn’t look dirty then it probably isn’t.
The sniff test will help you determine if it needs a freshen up. If it doesn’t look dirty and doesn’t smell dirty then hey, it isn’t dirty. It can be worn again, and possibly again before it fails either the look test or the sniff test.
Wash clothes on a short 30c cycle
Most of our washing machines have a short 30c cycle that saves you water, energy and therefore money. Clothes don’t need hours of washing each time unless they are very dirty. A short, cool wash is usually sufficient.
Ignore recommended Dosages
Recommended detergent dosages are just that, recommendations. And let’s be honest, the manufacturers want you to buy their product again and again, so perhaps they might be a little over generous on the dosage?
Find out what works best for you. In our current house we have very soft water so half the normal dose is plenty. In our previous house we had very hard water so 1/2 was too little and 3/4 worked out just right.
Use an all-purpose cleaner
You’ve only got to look at the number of different products in the cleaning aisle to know that they are big business.
And if they are big business then it means many people are paying out a small fortune for all these products every year. Making your own homemade cleaning products can save you a tidy sum.
I’m not great at making my own products so I cheat. I use a homemade all purpose cleaner made from Stardrops a concentrated cleaning product.
Use a wind and solar powered dryer (clothes line)
Line drying your washing saves you money because you don’t need to use your dryer. It saves you time because you are not having to iron everything that comes out of the dryer (they seem to crease everything).
I haven’t had a dryer for nearly 10 years now. Dryers tend to last about 5 years, if you are lucky. So I have saved myself the price of 2 new dryers, plus all the electricity they would have used.
Can you get rich by being frugal?
Yes! Although if you think rich means having millions in the bank then perhaps not (sorry). Rich enough to choose your own path? Rich enough to enjoy life without debt or worry? Yes you can get rich by being frugal.
How do you live a frugal lifestyle?
The frugal lifestyle is more a journey than something you arrive at. I am continually learning new tips and rediscovering forgotten ways to save money. Embrace the frugal tips that work for you and build them into your life.
How can I become very frugal?
If you want or need to be very frugal then you need to focus on extreme frugal living tips. Becoming very frugal is much more way out than a few money saving tips – you have been warned!
Want even more tips and steps on how to be frugal?
I know, you’ve got the bit between now and all of the above tips are going to save you money. But of course you don’t need to stop there, you can carry on with living frugally with all the frugal living tips below when you are ready.
More frugal living tips for your finances to try
- Use the cash envelope system to keep your money focus
- Don’t pay ATM fees
- Pay for recurring products annually, e.g car insurance as it is often cheaper than 12 monthly payments
- Switch bank accounts to get the best rates & take advantage of cash back promotions
- Create a survival budget for future tough times
- Track where your money goes
- Make sure you have an emergency fund in place
- The best way to be frugal is don’t buy stuff!
- Learn to say no
- Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses – they’re in debt!
- Have no spend days each week
- Try a no spend challenge for a week or a month
- Don’t pay just the minimum on debt repayments
- If possible, refinance loans onto better terms and lower interest rates
- Pay off debt as fast as possible to save on interest repayments
- Learn to love living below your means
- Earn extra money with a flexible work from home job
- Pay extra off your mortgage each month to save interest
- Have a spending freeze
- Have a no spend weekend of fun
- Use the 30 day rule for making big money decisions
More frugal tips to make utility bill savings
- Turn up the air conditioning in summer (if you have it, not a thing here in the UK)
- Increase the insulation in your attic/roof space
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Use blankets to keep warm
- Go to bed earlier instead of heating your house for longer
- Invest in thick curtains to keep the heat in and the cold out
- Keep doors closed to keep the heat in
- Only heat the rooms you use in winter
- Don’t block your radiators – allow their warmth to circulate
- Unplug electrical appliances, don’t leave them on standby
- Install energy saving light bulbs
- Buy energy efficient appliances
- When using your oven fill it with multiple meals
- Use pan lids so you can reduce the heat source, it also speeds up cooking times
- Don’t leave chargers plugged in
- Switch to a water meter
- Save water
- Turn the tap off whilst brushing your teeth or washing your hands
- Consider using the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” method of toilet flushing!
- Boil only the water you need
- Have a cold shower!
- Wash fruit and veg in a bowl instead of under a running tap
- Use a water butt to collect rainwater and use on your garden
More frugal simple living tips for your household bills
- Work out how to cut each of your monthly expenses
- Learn DIY skills
- Don’t pay for someone to groom your own pets, do it yourself
- Fix your broken stuff, don’t jump to buy new – use YouTube tutorials
- Wait for your favorite movies to be shown on TV instead of the cinema
- Join your local ParkRun to get fit for free
Yet more not so extreme frugal living tips for shopping
- Pack your lunch and healthy snacks everyday
- Stop buying coffee on the go – invest in a hot drinks mug and make your own
- Don’t buy new clothes for work – create your own work uniform
- Always compare prices to find the best deal
- Have a smaller wardrobe with key pieces that can be worn different ways
- Use charity shops if you need a new (to you) clothing item
- Reuse wrapping paper or use alternative items as wrapping e.g. wallpaper samples, pretty magazine pages
- Shop at the season’s end for next year’s clothes
- Never buy clothes that must be dry cleaned
- Close down your internet browsers before you buy anything
- Unsubscribe from your favorite store emails
More realistic frugal living tips to save on transport costs
- Don’t buy a brand new car – 3 years is the sweet spot
- Save up for your next car – don’t take out finance
- Don’t leave your engine idling when stationery
- Do your own minor repairs such as changing windscreen wipers
- Keep your tires at the correct pressure to prolong their life
- Plan your route to avoid toll roads
- Research free parking for places you visit
- Clear out your car to keep excess weight down
- Keep your windows up to reduce aerodynamic drag
- Invest in a bike to extend the miles you can travel without a car
- Investigate and make use of public transport in your area (buses, trams, trains)
- Do your own oil changes
- Use discount travel cards and season tickets to reduce public transport costs
- Travel off peak on the cheaper deals where possible
- Fly from a smaller airport
- Take a coach instead of the train, they take longer but can be significantly cheaper
How to be frugal with food – so many more frugality tips!
- Don’t buy pre-packaged convenience foods
- Shop from your pantry to extend the time between grocery shops
- Use a slow cooker for cheap, tasty meals
- Make your own bread (I use a bread maker like this)
- Grow your own herbs
- Bake your own cakes, cookies and other treats
- Buy in bulk your pantry staples
- Create a list of frugal meals you can make from your store cupboard
- Focus on 5 ingredient or less recipes
- Make your own stock from chicken carcasses
- Use vegetable scraps and limp produce to add flavor to your stock
- Brush up on and save your top 10 cheap recipes
- Have a go to pantry meal for busy nights
- Grocery shop online to reduce temptation
- Use up leftover food
- Save money on your groceries by being guided by the unit pricing of products ($/kg)
- Cut out junk snacks such as crisps and nuts and stick to healthy ones
- Set a grocery budget you will stick to
- Give up or cut down on alcohol
- Don’t buy paper towels, use microfiber cloths (or rags) instead
- Don’t use surface or floor wipes, use microfiber cloths (or rags) instead
- To save extra money focus on buying the cheapest foods
- Grow your own fruit and vegetables
- Exchange your surplus produce with neighbors
- Substitute ingredients in recipes if you don’t have something
- Create your grocery shopping list from your meal plan
- Only buy what is on your shopping list
- Grocery shop just once a week (or less)
- Always turn bottles of sauces and liquids upside down to use up every last drop
- Shop alone – others (especially kids!) increase the risk of impulse buys
- Don’t succumb to top up shops midweek
- Sign up for your grocery stores rewards/club card
- Check your fridge regularly for lost foods and the best before dates on open products
- Plan meals around the weather – don’t use the oven on hot days as you’ll want the air con on afterwards
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach
- Forage for food in season (e.g. blackberries and wild garlic)
- Buy produce in season – always cheaper than out of season goods
- Buy frozen vegetables, especially those out of season
- Cook your own fakeaways instead of buying takeaways
- Forget about drive thru restaurants
- If you want to eat out, choose one where kids eat free
- Have a big freezer to stock up when you find bargains
- Cut out or down on your alcohol consumption
- Freeze home grown or vegetables and fruit or bargain buys
- Incorporate more meatless meals into your meal plan
- Shop for clearance items – buy only if significantly cheaper than your planned meal items
- Always check your receipt for overcharging – it happens more often than it should
- Have a soup and toast meal once a week
Bonus tip – Sign up for my FREE 7 Day Grocery Budget Challenge to help you maximize your food savings.
Lots more frugal living tips for families and singles on entertainment & activities
- Don’t buy a daily newspaper, read them online for free
- Have a BBQ or pot luck supper to spend time with friends
- Have a present drawer to take advantage of bargain buys ahead of time
- Cancel magazine subscriptions
- Don’t smoke or vape
- Repair your clothes – sew on that missing button, learn to replace a broken zip via YouTube tutorials
- Recycle paper scraps and envelopes into your to-do and shopping lists
- Rent DVDs from your library instead of going to the movies
- Read frugal books to gain inspiration
- Use Groupon for money saving deals
- Reduce the number of toys you buy
- Swap toys with friends and family
- Give your child time and space to get creative (without electronic toys)
- Reduce the number of out of school activities you sign your kids up to
- Declutter your home and sell unwanted items
- Reuse, re-purpose and repair your things to make them last and reduce the need to buy replacements
- Encourage adult family members to agree to a secret Santa
- Embrace free & frugal entertainment ideas
- Have a camping holiday
More laundry frugal living tips
- Wait until you have a full load before starting your washing machine
- Reduce or stop using your tumble dryer
- Use an indoor drying rack to dry clothes on rainy days
- Make your own homemade cleaning products
- Don’t use fabric dryer sheets, use wool dryer balls (if you can’t line dry)
- Don’t buy and pay for air fresheners – fresh air is free to use by opening a window
Frugal living tips for seniors
As you age you crave simplicity yet often you have a reduced income. You don’t want to be working harder to save money, you want frugal SIMPLE living tips that are easy to embrace and produce results.
For help in frugal living in retirement head over to my post on frugal living tips for seniors.
How To Live Frugally
What a long list of frugal living tips that is! And I bet you can think of more. Remember living frugally isn’t about depriving yourself.
Oh no, it’s about having enough for what you need and want without worrying yourself to sleep each night because you’ve spent too much money.
For me, learning how to be frugal with food is probably the quickest way to save some money.
After all you probably eat 3 times a day, so saving money every time you eat is the perfect way to be frugal.
Choose the best frugal living tips that work for you from the above list and I hope you have a fantastically frugal life!
For more help in how to be frugal sign up for the FREE 5 day Frugal Foundations email course.
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Last Updated on 4th March 2022 by Emma