For a long time I confused frugal with cheap – mainly because my natural tendencies are to be a bit on the cheap side. Instead of going for quality I always went for price, costing myself more money in the long run.
Other types of frugal living habits though? I’ve had those down for a while and have greatly benefited from them. (Like being able to save up a large emergency fund when earning less than $30k per year and supporting three people.)
Living frugally can help streamline your life and save you more money. Here are 17 frugal living tips you should try.
# 1 – Give Up a Bad Habit for Good
I’ve had my fair share of bad habits and I’m sure you have too. Giving up a bad habit, although hard, is one of my favorite frugal living tips since it can improve your life in multiple ways.
For instance I was once a smoker (I know, I know!) and while giving that up was SOOO very hard it had huge benefits. My health improved almost immediately, my clothes stopped smelling like smoke, and I saved $7 per day – forever.
Maybe the bad habit you need to give up isn’t quite as drastic as smoking but I’ll bet you can still benefit greatly.
Here are some ideas:
- Quit eating fast food
- Stop buying new clothes every week
- Give up pop/soda (depending on where you’re from!)
- Stop buying expensive coffee
Need some more inspiration? Read how Mustard Seed Money gave up Coca-Cola and what he went through to get there.
# 2 – Always Use a Cashback Site
I’m not sure why people don’t do this….it is so stinkin’ easy and it’s free money. I use TopCashback.
After researching all the top cashback sites for an article I learned that this one has the best deal 7/10 times.
Sign up and make sure you log in and click the store you want before you do your online shopping. It’s THAT easy.
# 3 – Learn How to Spend Less on Food
Food can easily become the first or second highest expense you have if you let it. It’s also one of the easiest areas of spending for you to control.
Some obvious things to do to reduce your food spending are to 1) stop eating out and cook at home 2) meal plan and 3) shop smartly.
If you want to save on food read how Chonce spends only $300 per month on groceries for her family of 3!
# 4 – Stop Paying for an Expensive Phone Plan
Expensive phone plans are the worst!
If I ever move back toward town one of the first things I’ll do is switch my phone back to Republic Wireless.
Republic Wireless combines WIFI and 4G cell service so they can offer prices that are far better than other carriers. (Plans start at $15/month and there are NO contracts.) They also offer a 14 day money back guarantee so if you end up not loving their service you can get your money back. It’s totally risk free and a huge money saver.
# 5 – Stop Watching So Much TV!
If I allowed myself I could watch a lot of TV. (Especially if there’s a My 600 lb. Life or Outsiders marathon on!) But I personally know how negatively this affects me.
I went a couple years without having any TV besides a DVD player that my girls could watch Barbie movies on. Those were two of my most productive years! Now that I have TV service again I have to be very conscious to not zone out on it, especially since I work from home.
If you’ve been watching too much TV find something else to do with these 59 things to do BESIDES watching TV.
# 6 – Reduce the Cost of College
Whether you’re planning on going back to college or are saving for your kids, education expenses are something that need to be handled with care.
Far too many college students create a huge mess for themselves by taking out more in student loans than they actually need. This should be avoided at all costs. You should also look into these other ways you can reduce the cost of college for your kids.
# 7 – Inexpensively Entertain Your Kids
As a parent I know how tempting it can be to splurge on your kids in just about every way possible. However, spoiling your kids now may lead to some big problems in the future. Plus, kids are highly adaptable – if you find inexpensive ways to entertain them now they won’t be expecting you to shower them with gifts on every occasion when they’re older.
Don’t worry about spending money to entertain your kids. Instead check out these 7 inexpensive Spring Break activities for kids.
# 8 – Save a Ton of Money on Clothes
Along the lines of not spending a ton of money on your kids, let’s talk clothes.
I get my clothes and many of my kids’ clothes secondhand and for cheap. And you know what? I get WAY higher quality clothes buying secondhand than I would if I went to the mall and bought new. It’s all about knowing where to shop.
I recommend you check out some consignment shops in your area to figure out which ones have the clothes that your family will like. I also highly recommend ThredUp for women’s clothes. (If you use my link we’ll both get $10 to spend.) I get almost ALL of my clothes from them and I’ve never had a bad experience.
# 9 – Declutter Your Life
When it comes to living the frugal life I firmly believe that organization plays a huge role.
When you’re organized you know what you have and won’t buy duplicates, have a good system for bills and finances, and can find what you need when you need it. Plus, having a decluttered home can have a positive impact on your mood.
Read Declutter Your Life from Wallet Moth for more inspiration.
# 10 – Keep Driving Your Older Car
The average American family has $28,948 worth of car loans. The average American family earns $51,939 per year (and that’s before taxes!) Tell me how this adds up? (Mind blowing.)
If you want to get ahead one area you may have to sacrifice in is what you’re driving.
I’ve been driving my 2007 Chevy Equinox for the past nine years and it’s still going strong. I’ve also benefited from no car payment and cheaper insurance. When I do get a new car it will be used and paid for in cash.
Even if you do need to take out a car loan you should do it responsibly. Get a quality used car you can afford and drive it for a long time! Stop the car payment cycle.
Here are four benefits of driving an older car.
# 11 – Track Your Spending
Tracking your spending is incredibly useful but also incredibly tedious. Manually tracking expenses is a daunting task. (I’ve done it a few times.)
Club Thrifty shares 3 great ways to track your spending like a boss! If you haven’t done this for a while you really should give it a go.
# 12 – Take Advantage of Hand-Me-Downs
I love a good hand me down.
It’s great to take belongings that others no longer want and breathe new life into them. It’s a win-win – you take an item off someone’s hands and you get something you need.
The trick is to be extremely particular in what you do take. (For instance if you already have a kitchen table you love don’t take a junk one your brother is wanting to get rid of.)
# 13 – Stop Impulse Spending
Have you ever went into a store planning to pick up toilet paper and milk and walked out with $100 worth of merchandise? If so, you’ve fallen victim to impulse spending! (Don’t feel too bad, everybody’s done it.)
If you don’t make yourself aware of your spending habits it’s possible that you’re impulsively spending on things you don’t need every time you enter a store.
Read some more great ideas on stopping impulse purchases at Picky Pinchers.
# 14 – Work on Getting Your Regular Bills Lowered
One of the easiest ways to lower your budget without sacrificing is to pay less for your current bills. This can be as easy as making a call and asking!
I’ve gotten several bills lowered by asking or switching to a comparable package. The best thing about doing this is that you do it once and reap the benefits continuously.
Read how customer retention can be a huge force in helping you get your bills lowered at My Money Design.
# 15 – Be Willing to Sacrifice
Sometimes sacrifice is necessary to achieve big goals. (And usually completely worth it!)
If you haven’t been able to reach the goals you’ve set for yourself you might need to give something up. This could be giving up an expense so you can save more money or giving up time so you can earn more.
The important thing to remember about sacrifices is that they’re temporary and done for the greater good of your life.
# 16 – Participate in a Money Saving Challenge
If you’re not in the habit of saving money at all a great way to create that habit is with a money saving challenge.
Some challenges are meant to help you put more in your savings and others are meant to help you whittle down your expenses.
Joyce from My Stay at Home Adventures has a list of 6 money saving challenges anyone can get in on.
# 17 – Work on Paying Down Your Debt
Debt can be a huge burden on the budget and on the mind. I personally dislike debt and the feelings that come with it – like I’m tied down to something I don’t want to be.
When it comes to debt the first thing you should do is try to avoid it. However, if you’re already in debt you’ll need to come up with a strategy to get rid of it on terms that fit with your life.
Read 4 Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Early from MBA SAHM.
Save More Money with Frugal Living Tips
Frugal living really can help you streamline your life and save a ton of money. And no, frugal living does not have to mean deprivation.
If you’re looking to save more money then give a few of these tips a try.
What’s the one frugal living tip that’s had the biggest impact on your life?