Last Updated on 13th November 2020 by Emma
Who wouldn’t want to know a few new frugal hacks to save money?
After all, your money is often limited so being able to stretch it that bit further has got to be good right?
You don’t have to be a card carrying frugalista to take advantage of frugal hacks, wanting to save money is sensible right now for all of us.
This year money has been super tight for just about everyone, so you want to make your money work as hard as possible.
You can’t always make more money if you need it, so it makes sense to make your money work harder instead.
And some of the best frugal life hacks help you do exactly that.
Make your money work harder for you.
Being frugal is about extracting every ounce of value out of the money you have, to spend on things that fit with your life and values.
If you are wondering how you can be frugal without being cheap, wonder no more.
Being cheap is about saving money for the sake of it and often doing so at someone else’s expense.
We all know people who skip their round at the bar or take handfuls of sauce sachets from their local fast food restaurant all in the name of saving money.
If you want to do that then you are more like an extreme cheapskate that a frugal person.
Firstly, most frugal people are not in the habit of frequenting fast food places because they know they can make a far superior meal at a much cheaper price at home.
And secondly, in my book taking a handful of sauce sachets from a restaurant is not frugal or cheap, it’s stealing.
Always be mindful of your impact on others.
Frugal living is about living within your means and making your money work for you.
Rather than you forever working for your money and chasing more and more of it, just to keep still.
Frugal living tips vs. frugal hacks
There are hundreds of frugal living tips to help you save money and you might think that frugal hacks is just another name for these tips.
For me, hacks are about finding a way to achieve the same thing but in a simpler or easier way.
You still save money which is the most important thing.
These days you can pay to save time in many different ways.
Rice is a classic example. You can cook rice the traditional way, 12 minutes on the stove top.
Or you can buy microwavable rice which takes just 2 mins to cook.
Which one is more frugal? (The non-frugal option is to buy it as part of a takeout).
I worked out that cooking rice the traditional way was 5 times cheaper than buying microwavable rice.
If you eat rice regularly then you are going to pay for that convenience every time.
And yes that difference might only be a dollar a meal, but 2 rice meals a week x 50 weeks a year = $100.
If you can save $100 for every time you don’t pay for convenience, think how much money you would save each year?
Cooking your food the traditional way is the basis for many frugal living tips. Frugal hacks are about finding new ways to those tips.
7 super frugal hacks to save money
1. Batch cook
I’ll be the first person to admit I don’t enjoy cooking every night, I’m not adventurous or creative and repeatedly cooking day after day is just plain boring. For me.
One of the most basic of frugal living tips is to cook from scratch, the frugal hack to add to this is to batch cook your homemade food.
Cook once, eat twice.
It saves time and money.
Your oven is on for almost the same amount of time if you make a big batch of burritos rather than just enough for tonight’s dinner.
Reheating doesn’t take as long so you save a little energy right there.
2. Start in your pantry
Meal planning helps you save money by identifying the exact ingredients you need for the meals you plan.
Take this one step further and meal plan around what you have in your pantry.
Your pantry is full of your money. Money you have already spent buying the products in there.
Use your money, use your pantry to determine what meals you are going to make.
This super frugal hack ensures you don’t waste food and keeps your shopping list to a minimum.
3. DIY your beauty regime
Doing your own beauty treatments is a fast way to save money.
You can find all sorts of frugal beauty hacks on YouTube and Pinterest if you worry about being able to get a great result.
Over the years my beauty regime has got more and more frugal. I used to wear make-up, I used to have my nails done occasionally.
But the frugal beauty hack that I have always done is to cut my own hair.
With long, fine hair it’s never made sense to me to visit a salon and have a wash and cut.
My ends are nowhere near my head so why wash?
I also am in the habit of washing my hair every morning as part of my ‘haul myself out of bed’ routine.
The idea of not washing my hair in order for someone else to do so is a non-starter for me.
Why not get your partner to cut your hair (hubby does mine now) or get friends round to have a pampering session?
It’s much easier to paint someone else’s nails than it is your own.
4. Use the sniff test
Now that we all have washing machines it’s very easy to create piles of washing that means you are constantly washing and drying.
Which in turn means you need a dryer because you couldn’t possibly line dry that washing mountain.
The sniff test is one of the simplest frugal home hacks 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.
Reducing your washing mountain to a more reasonable amount allows you to take advantage of another hack that some people might consider to be more extreme than merely frugal.
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. Occasionally I miss having one, usually because I’ve forgotten to wash something that I then want to wear.
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.
Line dry outside and you’ll end up with clothes that hardly need an iron.
5. Drop Down a brand or more
Buying generic is not just about groceries. You can buy generic medicines, clothing ranges, garden implements.
You name it, there is a generic or store’s own brand to basically match the big brand name you know so well.
Buying generic can save you a lot of money every month and every year.
It’s where many frugal people find their biggest savings.
One of my best frugal hacks at the grocery store is to not only drop down to the generic brand or store brand.
But to keep dropping down to the value brand.
For most products, stores will offer a variety of brands:
- premium big brand
- another brand
- generic store brand
- value brand
The value brand could be the store’s own value brand. For instance Walmart/Asda have their own value brand.
Other times it’s an unknown brand. But you know it’s the value brand due to the price – it’s the cheapest!
Sometimes the value brand is not great, toilet paper is a good example. Other times, you’ll be hard pressed to notice a difference.
And even if you notice a difference, that doesn’t make it inferior to the more expensive brands, it’s just a little different.
And it saves you money so embrace that difference and pocket the savings.
6. Make NSDs the norm
NSDs are No Spend Days. Make these a normal part of your week.
If you already have a couple of days that you just don’t spend money e.g. a Sunday, then add in another couple of days.
No spend days are exactly as described, days where you spend nothing.
Get used to not spending every day and over time you will find you have more and more NSDs, without even planning them.
This post has more information on no spend days:
7. Pause your impulses
We are all guilty of impulse purchases. It doesn’t help when we are surround by subtle and not-so subtle advertising.
We see something and we want it.
If you don’t buy it straight away, you might well find that you don’t actually want it enough the following week.
Frugal hack number 7 is to create a system where you don’t give in to all your impulses.
Press pause for a week or more and see whether you still actively want the item you were coveting.
Chances are you won’t.
Related post: The 30 Day Rule: How To Save (More) Money
Extreme frugal hacks
You can go more extreme if you need to. I have a whole post on extreme frugality tips but here are a few extreme frugal hacks you might want to try.
There is a whole movement dedicated to not using shampoo or other commercial hair products. Certainly the process does seem to work.
But the extreme part of this hack is that you have to get through the transition phase.
And this is the phase I cannot bring myself to do.
Your hair is used to having the natural oils striped out by your shampoo, as a result it over-compensates and produces more.
Which makes you want to wash your hair more.
This is totally me. I wash my hair every day without fail.
The transition phase would require me to not wash my hair AND for it to look super greasy, for about 3 months or so.
After the transition phase, your hair will balance out and it will apparently look extremely shiny and in great health.
I just cannot bring myself to have that greasy look for so long.
No toilet paper
Toilet paper is a relatively modern product, invented in 1857, before which we humans used whatever we could lay our hands on.
If you want to go extreme you could forgo the toilet paper and use washable cloths instead.
More eco friendly and over time, more money saving.
Too extreme for me though.
No internet or cable
In some ways this isn’t so extreme, there are many people who still do not have internet or cable at home.
But once you have them, it can feel like deprivation to go without.
Especially internet and Wi-Fi. With cable there are a variety of alternatives depending on what you watch and where you live.
For us, we still have cable because it makes sense for where we live and how we live our lives. But no internet?
Think about it though, if you live in town there are plenty of places that offer free Wi-Fi, even buses have it these days.
Along with almost every coffee shop and retail store.
If you were super organized you could get rid of Wi-Fi and use the freely available ones in town.
Just a thought!
No commercial cleaning products
The cost of cleaning products can run up pretty quickly if you buy both branded products, and a different product for every cleaning job.
Go extreme and make your own.
Washing powder, hob cleaner, toilet cleaner, even dishwasher tablets can be homemade.
This post has a list of recipes for the most common homemade cleaning products if you fancy having a go:
A vehicle costs thousands every year, regardless of how much driving you do. Go without one and you can a lot of money.
But having no car can be extreme if you don’t live in the centre of town.
I once knew someone who had no car, they walked 3 miles across fields every day to get to the train station.
And back again.
In summer time that doesn’t sound too bad, in winter it sounds pretty hard core. He walked in the pitch dark (no street lights in a farmers field) both morning and evening.
A torch only shows so much.
I would happily go without a car if I was within walking distance of most places I visited or on a regular bus route.
Right now the nearest bus stop is about 5 miles from my home so I’m keeping my car!
Making the most of your money with frugal hacks
Living frugally is all about making the most of your money. And frugal hacks help you save money in very easy and simple ways.
If a hack makes my life easier you can bet I’ll be doing it.
Here’s those hacks again:
- Batch cook
- Shop from your pantry
- DIY your beauty regime
- Use the sniff test
- Go generic and value brand
- Use no spend days
- Press pause on your spending
For more frugal hacks and saving money tips join the frugal foundations bootcamp today
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