Being frugal is not just about reducing big bills, it’s about the small frugal ideas that you can do every day to save money.
Tiny frugal habits that add up to a whole frugal life, one where you do things just a little bit differently than others.
Many of us start out being frugal because we have to be. Because we are in debt, or have too many bills for our income.
And we look to cut all the bills as fast and by as much as possible.
But being frugal doesn’t stop there. There are probably a million and one frugal living tips that can each save you a tiny bit of money.
If each tip saved you just one cent, a million tips would help you save a lot of money.
Some frugal ideas are less about saving money and more about doing things in a different way.
Perhaps because you want to use less plastic or have less of an impact on the environment.
Or perhaps because you treasure the old fashioned ways of doing things. When frugal living was about living simply.
The key for me is that frugal ideas come in all shapes and sizes.
And some of the easiest ones to adopt are the small, simple ideas. Simple and effective.
9 Tiny Frugal Ideas To Save Money Every Day
1. Save Leftovers
Leftovers can form an entire meal in their own right if you batch cook or make too much.
But what about the leftovers that amount to a small pot or only a 1/4 portion? Do you throw them away?
The idea of being frugal is about using all your leftovers no matter the size left.
Small amounts can be added together to create a unique, one off meal.
Alternatively you can have a tapas type meal of various leftovers, all super small portions.
You bought the food, don’t waste it!
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2. Use It All Up
Being frugal, you want to get value for money for everything you buy.
One way to do this is to ensure that you use every last drop of the things you buy.
When you buy 500g of ketchup, you expect to receive 500g of ketchup. So why not make sure you actually use all 500g?
I don’t know about you but I can get frustrated with packaging that makes it difficult to get the final 10% of a product out.
Instead of getting annoyed, I get creative and determined to not throw that final 10% away.
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.
For sauces, ketchup, mayonnaise etc you can add a tiny amount of either water or vinegar to thin the contents slightly which helps them move down the bottle.
3. Be (Very) Patient
Saving up in order to buy something without credit is a sensible piece of financial advice that I hope you follow wherever possible.
That requires you to be patient and wait until you have the full amount.
One step on from that is to exercise more patience and wait until you can get what you want at the right price.
Frugal folk often buy used items and willingly wait for a long time, months, in order to get what they want at the right price for them.
It’s one of the frugal ideas that can take a bit of getting used to as once you’ve made the decision to buy something, it’s natural to want it fairly soon.
4. Freeze Food
If you are not going to eat it, freeze it. Better that than to waste it.
Whether you’ve got leftovers, limp vegetables lurking at the bottom of your refrigerator, bread or meat you were going to cook but haven’t yet.
By freezing food you are effectively freezing time, time you can get back when you make a plan to use your frozen food.
Having little to no food waste means you are keeping your grocery spend as low as possible and is an integral part of the frugal lifestyle.
5. Drink Water
This is one of the simplest frugal ideas that you can follow at no cost at all. Water is basically free from your faucet/tap at home.
In some countries like the UK you pay for the water you use but it’s a tiny cost in comparison to buying bottled water.
Water can taste different according to it’s source, whether it’s filtered through chalk or picked up minerals along it’s way.
Different doesn’t equal better or worse, just different.
Drinking water from your home instead of soda, cordials, coffee, tea or alcohol could be one of the best frugal living tips you embrace.
Just consider how much you spend each month on drinks and drink additives.
And it doesn’t just need to be when you are home. Take water with you, wherever you go using an insulated water bottle. It keeps water refreshingly cold for hours.
6. Ask For A Discount
You can take it as read that a mainstream frugal tip is to shop around to find the best price for anything you are considering buying.
In additional to this, a simple frugal idea to get a better deal is to be upfront and ask for a discount.
Finding the best price is not just about your research, you can go one better when you ask.
As the saying goes – there is always a deal to be done.
7. Shop At Reduction Time
Frugal folk make great use of planning meals but they are not a slave to their meal plan because you never know when you could save money by not following it.
What do I mean?
Humans are creatures of habit and one habit we have is doing our grocery shopping at the same time and on the same day.
We tend to work out what is easiest, whether that going to the store on the way home from work or taking a separate trip on our day off.
We follow patterns because there is less to think about.
A simple and effective way to reduce your grocery spend is not to shop when it fits in with your existing schedule.
Instead you should shop at very specific times, specific to your particular stores.
Going to the grocery store at the time when they are reducing their clearance items is one of the frugal ideas many folk forget.
Most stores have a clearance section for products near their use by date with the marked down price starting off fairly small.
Later in the day though, goods gets marked down again because the store has to either sell them or bin them by the end of the day.
This second mark down tends to be in the region of 50% of the full price.
If items are still not sold after this price reduction then in the last hour or so of closing they will be marked down again, often to 90% or more off.
Timing your grocery shop to fit in with your stores reduction times can lead you to some great bargains.
Change your meal plan to take advantage of your bargains or freeze them for a future meal.
You are of course going to be among other frugal folk who are doing the exact same thing.
To get the best bargains you would need to visit your store on a more regular basis, like 2-4 times a week.
Living near your store or driving past at the right time will definitely help.
Before we moved I would drive past my grocery store at least 5 times a week, now I have to make a special effort to get within 5 miles of it.
It’s a great way to be more frugal, but only if your time, location and finances say it works.
There is little point in going out of your way and using more fuel only to find there are no bargains that day.
8. Avoid Late Night Online Shopping
Online shopping has revolutionized our shopping habits and allows us to find the best price at the click of a button.
But it has it’s downsides.
One click of a button and you have spent money, possibly money better used elsewhere.
Shopping online means you can shop any time of the day or night. But this comes with risks.
Late night browsing is likely to lead to poor shopping decisions.
You’re tired, you’ve had a long day, perhaps you are not in the best mood.
If you were going to the mall, you perhaps wouldn’t bother going as far as getting out of the car.
But shopping online means you can scroll and click whilst half asleep and not paying full attention.
To save money and keep your frugal goals intact, avoid all late night shopping.
Your purse will thank you later.
Related post: How To Stop Shopping: 9 Tips For Success
9. Pack Snacks
It can feel slightly easier to be frugal when you stay at home, compared to venturing out.
But with a little planning and forethought you can keep on being frugal out of the home.
Whether going out to work or out to play, take food and drinks with you so you don’t need to spend money on expensive food.
Snacks can be homemade, they don’t need to be store bought, ready to go style snacks.
Related post: 67 Cheap And Easy Savory Snacks To Make At Home
How To Become Really Frugal
Wanting to become really frugal is not about doing a bunch of one off big things.
It’s about the little things, its about how you approach going about your normal day.
Having a strong frugal mindset helps you to become more frugal over time.
How can I be frugal without being cheap?
Being frugal is about getting value for your money and making good money decisions.
Being cheap is about getting something as cheaply as possible without considering the impact on others.
You can be extremely frugal without ever impacting negatively on others.
Related post: How To Be Frugal Without Being Cheap
How To Start Being Frugal
Starting your frugal journey is about taking one step at a time. Few people are successful at becoming frugal right from the get go.
You need to find what works for you as not all the frugal ideas to save money will.
A classic example of this is cutting cable. Every article I read about saving money talks about cutting cable and using alternatives.
But for us the alternatives do not add up to a cost saving that fits into our lives.
Watching TV via cable is a source of cheap entertainment for us. And Mr2p likes watching sports – that are only available in the UK via cable.
We are very frugal in many ways but cutting cable is a step too far for us.
Another Tiny Frugal Idea to save money
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Last Updated on 30th April 2021 by Emma