You don’t have to be a tightwad or a zealot to follow frugal living ideas and you don’t even have to call yourself frugal.
Frugal living ideas are for everyone who wants to save some money.
Saving money can be hard when you are used to spending, especially when those around you are continuing to spend like there is no tomorrow.
The best thing you can do if you want to save money is to do what frugal folk do, as they have usually got their money saving down to a fine art.
That’s not to say you have to adopt any extreme frugal living habits!
There are plenty of frugal living ideas that you can adopt quite easily without getting rid of your car, clipping coupons or giving up cable.
I’ll let you into a little secret – I’ve been frugal, as in super frugal, for many years but have always had cable.
And I always will.
But I don’t want to pay more than necessary so I don’t have the top package and I have of course negotiated a price reduction every year with the cable company.
That’s just sensible money management.
Why Live Frugally?
You’re here because you are interested in saving money but let me quickly tell you about why you might want to consider frugal living.
When you live frugally, you get rid of debt, you don’t worry about money and financial emergencies don’t phase you because you’ve got an emergency fund set for exactly this reason.
When you live frugally you don’t give up everything nice you ever did or bought.
But you do recognize the gains to be had if you live below your means which means you make different choices with your money.
Best Frugal Living Tips To Develop A New Savings Habit
Spending money unconsciously can easily become a habit.
And habits can be hard to break.
To break your spending habit and create a shiny, new saving habit it helps to have some tools that make you think about your money that bit more.
1. Clothes Shopping Ban
If you are overspending on a regular basis I am confident that you are buying more clothes than needed.
They might not be for you, perhaps you’re buying clothes for your kids?
The thing is, we don’t need many clothes.
Truly we don’t.
You could easily get away with less than 7 sets of clothes and they would likely last you a couple of years.
I bet you don’t have just 7 sets of clothes do you? Nor any kids.
How would you feel if you worked out how to stop spending money on clothes and saved that money every month instead?
And I don’t just mean from one month.
You’ve got plenty of clothes, so try a 6 month shopping ban. That should really help you think like a saver.
Related post: How To Stop Shopping: 9 Tips For Success
2. Meal Plan
You eat 3 meals a day, and maybe a few snacks.
So buying food is a very regular occurrence.
No 6 month food buying ban here!
But there is likely plenty of wriggle room in your grocery budget. Especially if you also indulge in eating out regularly.
So there are two things you can do here.
Firstly, stop eating out.
If saving money is your priority then eating out is not.
Because you can save big money every time you don’t eat out.
Secondly, meal plan.
As in, plan out every meal for a week (or more) in advance and then do your grocery shopping according to that meal plan.
And try not to get tempted into buying extras.
7 Meal Planning Strategies All Beginners Should Know
9 Meal Planning Mistakes You Need Solutions For
3. Create A Budget And Stick To It
Don’t tell me you don’t like budgets or they don’t work for you.
No-one likes a budget straight off and they only work when you stick to them.
A budget really is just you deciding in advance how you are going to spend the money you have.
You only earn so much so that is the maximum you should spend.
So if you are overspending, it’s not the budget that’s not working – it’s you.
Create a budget, include a set amount you want to save every month and stick to that spending plan and you are golden.
If you don’t know much about budgets then check out my post on how to budget your money and download the blank budget pdfs to start yours.
4. Be Content With What You Have
When you buy things you do so (hopefully) because you really like them and want them around you.
Rather than buying more things (and spending money), enjoy what you have and appreciate them.
You don’t need to be constantly buying new things to enjoy your home and life.
Be content with what you have, stay frugal and save the money you would usually spend on more stuff.
Related post: 10 Secrets To Lasting Frugal Success
5. Get Rid Of Your Stuff
It’s one thing to be content with what you have but quite another when you have too much stuff.
Everything you have in your house cost you money.
If you aren’t using it, no longer like it or don’t have room for it then get rid.
Or rather, sell it to make a little money.
Get these excess things to make you money as they exit your house.
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Frugal Living Tips With A Big Impact
Some frugal living ideas will have a bigger impact on your savings rate than others.
That’s not to say that I wouldn’t encourage to think about other ways to live on less money.
Right now though, to get you started, focus on the frugal living tips with a big impact on your ability to save money.
These 6 should work a treat.
1. Needs V Wants
This where you can save a lot of money.
Get the balance right between what you actually need and what you happen to want.
Don’t be thinking most of what you buy is needs.
Let’s look a little closer.
Needs at their most basic are what you need to live.
So food, shelter, warmth.
Now let’s look at how those needs could morph into wants.
Food – steak, salmon, asparagus, snacks are not needs.
You need food as fuel for your body. And you could get by on quite a tight grocery budget if you needed or wanted to.
Warmth – you can get warm through a variety of means not just by turning your thermostat up.
That’s probably one of the more expensive ways of getting warm.
Exercising, adding more layers, drinking or eating hot food are all ways you can gain warmth without spending money.
Shelter – you can’t change your shelter as easily as you can put on another clothing layer.
If you are in rented though, you could consider downsizing your home, moving somewhere cheaper, sharing with others.
If you own your home, again there are things you could do to save money.
Get a lodger, downsize or re-finance your mortgage.
I’m not suggesting you should do any or all of these things, you need to do what is right for you.
But know that you have a choice, your needs could be very different to what you currently do.
2. Go Generic
I loves me a generic brand.
In fact I buy very, very few branded products, especially when it comes to groceries.
Generic brands are usually the stores own brand, they are significantly cheaper than the premium or branded products.
I check occasionally and for many groceries you could save 200% upwards on the cost. Of each product.
But it’s not just groceries you can save money if you buy generic.
Medicines are another area you can save money on everything you buy, even though the products may have the exact same ingredients.
To save even more money, go one step further and seek out the value brands.
Again these are usually the stores own brand (but labelled differently) and they are cheaper than the own brand.
For instance, here in the UK, Asda Walmart generic brand canned baked beans are 29p, but their value brand is 22p.
For comparison the premium brand is 85p, some 380% more expensive than the value can.
Going generic is one of the easiest frugal living ideas you can start doing immediately and save good money.
3. Eliminate Food Waste
According to some reports, we can waste up to 30% of the food we buy.
What that actually means is that 30% of the money you spend on food you throw away.
If you spend $450 a month on groceries, you’re potentially throwing away $150. Every month.
Reducing food waste is not only good for your wallet, it’s good for the environment.
Why produce, process and transport a mountain of food only for 1/3 of it to be wasted?
4. Use The Sniff Test
Washing machines make it very easy to throw a couple of things into the wash whenever you feel like it.
But washing clothes isn’t actually great for them – it produces wear on them – and it costs money.
When your clothes wear out you buy new ones.
Washing your clothes less often will save energy and water.
Small savings but good savings.
The sniff test is exactly that.
Test whether your clothes need washing by sniffing them.
Obviously if they have stains on them then they will need washing too.
Just don’t presume because you wore something once, it must be washed.
5. Drink Water
Water – your body needs water, but it doesn’t need coffee, hot chocolate, alcohol, cordials and smoothies.
I’m not saying you need to drink only water, but you would save a good chunk of change if you did, wouldn’t you?
6. Cut Out Snacks
Snacks are those go to things you can pull out of the cupboard or refrigerator and eat immediately.
Which makes them very convenient and very easy to eat too many of.
There are healthy snacks, like fruit and a few nuts. But most snacks are unnecessary.
Very nice and yummy but unnecessary.
If you cut out all snacks (except say fruit) how much money could you save?
And how much more healthy would you feel?
Don’t get me wrong, I love snacks! I’m a snacker and so is my husband.
But cutting them out or severely restricting them is a frugal living idea you might want to use as a way to save money.
Snacks (crisps) in our household are a weekend treat. And only when they are on special offer, of course.
40+ Cheap And Easy Savory Snacks To Make At Home
How Can I Live Very Frugal?
You need to cut everything to the bone. Go back to basics.
Create a survival budget and live in that.
Don’t use credit cards as they encourage you to spend more.
If you don’t pay your card off in full it’s not a credit card, it’s a debt card.
Living very frugally can either be difficult or fun – depending on your mindset.
How Can I Live More Cheaply?
Spend only what you can actually afford and ignore what others spend and have.
Look at what you spend your money on and ask yourself whether you actually needed it?
As in life or death needed it.
Always keep in mind that the less money you spend, the less money you will need.
How Can I Be Frugal?
You can be frugal from this moment on if that is your wish.
If frugal living is a bit of a mystery then my post on frugal living for beginners is probably the best place to start.
You can be frugal, for sure, you just need to know that things may have to change in order for you to be successful.
What Is A Frugal Lifestyle?
It is about being intentional with your money and ensuring you are spending it according to your life values.
When you live a frugal lifestyle you are conscious about how you spend your money and on what.
Frugal Living Ideas For Everyone
See, these ideas aren’t extreme are they? You don’t need to be a frugal zealot to save money with these frugal living ideas.
And maybe not all of them are for you. But I bet at least 5 are right up your street AND you could get started on them today.
What’s not to like about money saving ideas that are easy to do?
Want To Be Frugal?
If you are interested in being more frugal, more deliberate with your money, making your money stretch further.
Then why not sign up for my free email course where you learn how to build strong frugal foundations?
Last Updated on 2nd May 2021 by Emma