I asked a group of very frugal people what their best advice was for living a frugal life and they responded with some very good and practical ideas.
I have been forced to live frugally my whole life because my parents worked hard, but their income was limited. Our clothes were from garage sales along with pretty much anything in our house. We never ate out until Grandma and Grandpa came and took us out to dinner at Perkin’s. We always looked forward to that.
Then as an adult I have been a dance and preschool teacher. You know teachers don’t make much. My husband has worked on commission our whole married lives so I never know how much money we will have month to month. So I have to save as much as possible for the months we don’t have a lot of money coming in. Living frugally has been a part of my whole life. I have some tips I’ve learned throughout the years and I’ll share them here along with everyone’s ideas too!
Let’s get started with our “Living a Frugal Life” tips.
1. Don’t eat out. This was the first thing almost all of our “tight wads” said. And if you do eat out, only go to the restaurants that you have coupons for.
2. Pack your lunch and beverages for work. This goes along with the “don’t eat out” tip, but it also requires some planning and preparation. My favorite meal plan lately has been the Clean Simple Eats plan that helps you count your calories and macros at the same time. I love to use these reusable bento boxes for my husbands and kids lunches. Learn more about smart ways to pack your kids lunches HERE.
3. Learn homemaking skills from someone who has experience. Learning skills from grandmothers and mothers who learned to scrape by on a few pennies. They have so many great tips for how to use everything more than once. How to mend, how to cook, how to use a paring knife to do anything. You can learn how to grow a garden and can everything to save money.
4. Everything goes on sale. If you wait long enough you will find that most of the big ticket items you want will go on sale and if not, you might find a coupon for it. You just have to be patient.
5. Try to never go into debt. This goes along with number 4. If you wait to purchase things until you have cash for them you will make smarter decisions about what you really need. The longer you wait to buy something the less you want it.
6. Use smart online shopping. I use Ebates to help me save money online when shopping. It’s an extension for your browser that automatically pops up when you visit a website that they partner with. Each website offers a different cash back amount. I’ve only been using it for a little while and I’m up to $40 already! You can get $15 for every person you refer to them too! If you want to use my referral, click here.
7. Cut down on single use items. Paper towels, zip top bags, razors, and if you’re brave, diapers and pads. But that’s too gross for me! Replacing these items with things like wash cloths, reusable sandwich bags (I love THESE) and cloth diapers can really cut back on costs.
8. Use the Acorns App. It’s free and it helps you save money. You connect it to your bank account and every time you spend money it rounds up to the nearest dollar and puts that change into a separate account for saving. I love using this for Christmas Spending.
9. Make a budget for groceries and stick to it. When you go to the store have a set amount planned ahead of time that you can spend. Also make a meal plan before you go so you don’t buy more than what you’ll use. Use the calculator on your phone to keep track of what you’re spending and try to stay at least $5 under. Then put what you saved in your savings account.
10. Negotiate better rates. Call your phone company, internet provider and cable company and negotiate at better monthly rate. A lot of times they are charging you for things you aren’t even using. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
11. Only drive when you have to. Try to walk places more often and lump together errands so you can save on gas.
12. Only order water when eating out.
13. Shop off season. If you know that your kids will be growing out of their coats for school, shop for those coats in the summer. Buy their Easter dresses in the winter and their Christmas dresses in the spring. You’ll save so much just doing this small little thing for your whole family. It not only applies to clothing either. If you need a new Christmas Tree, or Christmas lights, buy them right after Christmas when everything is 75% off. Then put them away with all your things and you’ll have new items next year!
14. Go to Yard and Estate Sales. There is nothing wrong with purchasing used items for your family and home. It’s super fun too! Like a treasure hunt. Take along your hubby or best friend and have a contest on who can find the best deal that day. BUT make sure you have a list of the things you NEED so you don’t buy things you don’t need.
Learn how to be a Yard Sale Ninja with these awesome tips from Jordan at FunCheapOrFree.com.
15. Wash your clothes in cold water as much as possible. And hang the clothes to dry.
16. Make your own cleaners. I love to make my own cleaners. I think they work better and I know that they are better for my family. You can see my recipes HERE. I also love to use a steam cleaner. When you use it, you don’t need to use a cleaner because the heat kills all the germs.
17. Stop using air conditioning. I don’t know if I could do this, because I hate being hot. But it’s a great idea. In the morning when the air is cool, open the windows and let the air flow through. When it starts to warm up, close the windows and the blinds in the rooms you don’t need natural light. It will help those rooms stay cool. Use a fan for the hot rooms in the house and you’ll save a bundle.
18. Use homegrown fruits and veggies. If you have a friend that grows a huge garden I’d bet that they would give you a lot of the produce if you helped harvest it all. Then you can freeze and bottle it all and save it for the winter.
19. Get rid of the things you don’t use. We have cell phones so we don’t need a land line any more. If you don’t care about watching TV live, you can use Netflix and Hulu and save a lot. If you have Amazon Prime, you can watch a bunch of shows for free on there too!
20. Use Zaycon Fresh to purchase your meat. Sometimes they have chicken breasts on sale for .99 cents a pound! Click here to learn more about how it works.
21. Don’t go window shopping. If you go out shopping you will find something that you just can’t live without! It’s better to go out hiking or for a walk around the lake.
22. If you like movies, use the MoviePass. I am in love with the MoviePass! It’s $10 a month (sometimes you can buy a year for $89 at Costco) and you can see a new movie a day all year long. Seriously sounds too good to be true but we have been using it for a month now and it works like a charm. All the big movie theaters around us take it. Like Cinemark and Megaplex. You can check on their web site and see how many movie theaters around you take it.
23. Use loyalty cards. When you do go out on dates, go to places that use loyalty cards. We get a lot of free popcorn at the movies and a lot of free meals from using loyalty cards.
24. Use the library. Instead of buying new books go and rent them from the library. How many books do you need floating around your house anyway. Usually the digital version of the books is cheaper too.
25. Cut the cost of going to the gym. There are so many free exercise videos on YouTube. You can even ask your Google Home for a workout and it will talk you through a whole body workout! Or even better, get outside in the fresh air and soak up some Vitamin D while you’re at it.
26. Do it yourself. I know that you can find almost any thing on YouTube now days. We use the tutorials on there to do all sorts of things in our house for repairs and even have fixed our cars with help from YouTube. It’s amazing how much money you can save by doing repairs yourself.
I know there have to be a lot of tips that I missed on living a frugal life.
If you can think of something I missed, please leave it in a comment here. I know there have to be a few more tight wads out there with some great ideas. What do you do to save money?