Do you ever get to the point where you do things on autopilot, without thinking?
That’s me and frugal life and I love it. I’ve been frugal for such a long time that the things I do seem totally normal to me.
What I often forget is that they are not always normal to other people and that catches me out sometimes.
Like when I mention that Mr2p (that’s the husband!) cuts my hair.
Say what?! Yep he cuts my hair and has done for a long time.
Or when friends used to visit and see my washing line of plastic baggies hanging up. That’s a fun conversation to have!
I don’t consider these frugal living ideas to be extreme or extraordinary.
Merely sensible things to do to make the most of the money we have and reduce the impact we have on the environment around us.
I tend to shy away from conversations about my frugal lifestyle in real life just in case I get that look.
You know the look, the one where the person you are chatting to looks at you just a little bit differently and slightly taken back whilst trying not to.
If I am feeling naughty though I might delve further and tell them about some of the extreme frugality tips I know but usually I don’t, taking pity on their sensitive nature!
But here on my frugal living blog I am happy to share everything because that’s why we are both here isn’t it?
To talk about living a frugal life and enjoying it.
If you want to start being more thrifty and saving money what are the top 10 best frugal living tips you could take on that will give your frugal life a jump start?
What Does The Frugal Lifestyle Mean To You?
Wikipedia explains frugal as thus:
Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.
To me the frugal lifestyle simply means being smart with your money.
Ensuring your money has purpose and is not wasted on things you do not need only want (temporarily).
Your frugal life is about making the right spending decisions for you so you can afford the things you want and be happy about the things you don’t have.
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My Top 10 Ideas For The Best Frugal Life
Wash Clothes According to Weather Forecast
Now that might sound a little extreme to you but to me it’s just plain old sensible planning.
I try to dry all my clothes outside, they smell fresher, they have less creases and I am saving money by not using a dryer.
When it’s wet outside I use my indoor airer.
If you use an drying rack inside do make sure you have an airflow – a window open at both ends of the house will help circulate the air and stop damp issues.
Before I got rid of my dryer (oh yes, I really did) I had stopped buying dryer sheets and switched to these wool dryer balls to save money.
They last for ages and are not full of chemicals.
My family is small and our weather is mild enough to allow outside drying on a fairly regular basis.
If you have a large family and/or have wetter weather and really need your dryer switching to these dryer balls will save you money.
With over 2,800 reviews to rely on, you can buy these wool dryer balls here.
Cut Your Own Hair
As a frugal woman I am shocked at how much it can cost to get your hair cut and styled at a salon.
Think $50 easy.
And even more shocked that so many people pay this money every 6-8 weeks.
I can think of many better things to do with that amount of cash. Especially when it can tot up to $400 a year.
For the past 11 years Mr2p has cut my hair.
If you want to think I am even more weirdly frugal, I used to cut my own hair before Mr2p took over.
In fairness when you have long straight hair it isn’t that hard. Brush it out, grab some between your fingers and cut.
Use the cut hair as your guide and continue till your finished.
No-one ever knew.
And the best part? I saved myself a ton of time and money.
I bought these scissors to ensure I got a clean cut. Less than half the price of one haircut in a salon. Bargain!
Mr2p also cuts his own hair and has done for the past 20 years.
He has a set of clippers like these which have lasted for 8 years so far, his previous set lasted longer than that.
With nearly 2,000 reviews to rely on you can buy this multi clipper system here.
Wash And Reuse Plastic Bags
Yes I did have an indoor line in the garage set up to hang my plastic baggies and yes I reused those bags repeatedly.
If you’ve got plastic bags then keep using them until they fall apart.
When I have needed replacements I opted for something more eco friendly and have started a collection of these BPA free storage bags.
I also now try to buy and keep my fruit and vegetables loose in my fridge.
I put a sheet of newspaper at the bottom to soak up any moisture to lengthen the life of my vegetables.
Plastic in the environment and seas is a problem we all need to do our bit for.
So keep the plastic you have in use and don’t throw it away until you have to and try not to buy more.
Easier said than done I know.
Eco friendly BPA free silicone bags help you reduce your use of plastic. Buy them here.
Make Your Own Chicken Stock
Stock gives a depth of flavor to many recipes but buying it from the grocery store comes at a princely sum.
There is truly no need to buy chicken (or beef) stock when you can make your own so simply.
If you google meat stock recipes you’ll find plenty of recipes that include vegetables, whole chunks of meat etc. That’s not the frugal way.
The frugal way is not to make it almost a meal of itself.
This stock is about extracting the flavor of bones you would otherwise be throwing away and then using the stock instead of water or a stock cube as a basis to build a meal upon.
When I make soup I use homemade stock. It still needs salt, vegetables and other flavorings but there is a definite depth of taste that is not there if I miss out my stock.
Homemade stock from bones:
- Place your chicken carcass/bones in large saucepan
- Add any vegetable peelings (you can save these in your fridge or freezer for a stock making session)
- Add cold water to cover all bones and some
- Bring to the boil and let simmer for 60-120 minutes
Some people advocate cooking the bones in the oven beforehand to caramelize the flavor.
I often use my slow cooker to cook stock in as the bones are already in there having cooked the chicken in the slow cooker previously.
Shop From The Reduced Section first
My daughters used to be slightly embarrassed when they were younger and grocery shopping with me as I always headed straight for the reduced section BEFORE I started on my shopping list.
The reduced section of every store, not just grocery, is a great place to find a bargain.
IF it’s what you were already planning on buying.
No point buying 2 reduced whole chickens if you have no freezer and cannot cook them within a day or two.
I even check the reduced rail of the thrift stores when I visit them!
Getting something that you need at a reduced price is part and parcel of frugal life.
Why spend more to buy the same thing?
Don’t Wear Make Up
Make up can be extremely costly and is an area where you really could save a ton of money (presuming you wear make up of course!)
Yes, you can get cheap make up, but are you actually buying the cheap stuff or have you upgraded to the more expensive lines?
Going make up free is extremely liberating, helping you fight against the beauty tax and a great way to jump start your frugal life.
If you are used to wearing a full face of make up though, a more graduated process to becoming make up free might feel more achievable.
I graduated from full face including foundation to wearing only mascara and lipstick.
I slowly dropped those as well and now do not even own any make up.
And my skin has never been better.
Never Buy Coffee Out
The take away coffee business goes from strength to strength these days with it becoming the absolute norm for you to buy multiple coffees every day.
That is some serious cash you are dropping on coffee.
Never mind those plastic coated cups the coffee comes in are not recyclable.
Do your new frugal life a massive favor and buy a flask like this and make your own coffee.
I’ve used my mug for over 7 years every day for work, for every trip out and holidays. I calculated I must have saved over £7000/$9000.
What could you do in your new frugal life with that kind of money?
With over 7,000 reviews you can’t go wrong buying one of these mugs.
Never Use Paper Towels
Growing up we had paper towels but hardly every used them as my Mum had cloths that she used to wipe up spillages and wipe down surfaces.
I’m not even sure what we used the paper towels for, maybe they were just for decoration?
If you don’t yet use a cloth for all your wiping needs, now is the time to make the switch. Microfiber cloths are the bees knees when it comes to wiping down.
They don’t leave smears and leave the surfaces almost dry as you wipe.
I bought these brightly colored ones precisely because they are so bright and cheery.
They also mean you can color code your cloths for different cleaning tasks (yes I am that person).
With over 300 reviews, you can’t go wrong cleaning with these microfiber cloths.
Start A Compost
If you’ve got a garden or yard that has any form of green in it then compost is something you are likely to need. Especially if you plan on growing your own food.
Don’t buy compost though, make your own.
All your vegetables scraps and peelings along with paper, cardboard, toilet roll inners etc can be turned into compost.
You will need an area in your garden to hold your compost whilst it breaks down and a small kitchen composter to capture all your waste in before adding to your compost heap.
This kitchen composter keeps all the smells inside so your kitchen stays fresh while you slowly fill it up.
Nearly 3000 positive reviews says you can be confident buying this kitchen composter.
Aim To Buy Used
I think this is probably one of my favorite and best frugal living tips that I totally hope you can embrace.
Buying things used means you are not paying the premium that comes with buying new.
I am sure you know buying a new car costs thousands more than a car 2 years old.
But attempting to buy used for most things is a great way to build your frugal muscles.
Use thrift stores for your family’s clothes, kids toys and other housewares.
For bigger items such as furniture, kids bikes and tools try online sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Ebay and Gumtree.
You will be surprised, nay, shocked, at what people are getting rid of, often for a fraction of the price they paid for it.
We have only ever bought one set of sofa’s brand new and they lasted 6 years (damn you cat claws).
We bought our previous sofas from a furniture thrift store.
Both leather with the latest safety standards and they cost 1/5 of what they would have cost new.
Those second hand sofa’s lasted us 8 years and still had life left in them. And the bonus was the cat’s have not clawed them at all!
For more frugal tips why not check out these posts:
Starting Your Frugal Lifestyle
These top 10 best frugal living tips will give you a jump start to living your best frugal life and loving it.
As you can see they’re not hard, not extreme and there’s no mention of depriving yourself or doing without.
When you learn how to be frugal you will be surprised at how much money you can save.
Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!
Last Updated on 1st May 2021 by Emma