50 Frugal Living and Simple Saving Tips that really Save you Money
I’ve been living frugal for the whole of my life, even as a child in a not so wealthy family, and I wanted to share some ways you can save money and lead a simpler life. Frugal doesn’t need to mean cheap although generally it is cheap to live frugally. Frugal doesn’t need to mean hungry, and in fact you’ll probably eat more less processed foods; which as it turns out is making a late comeback in the eyes of health ‘boffins’ who are really just waiting for that next big study to finish so we can be told what new thing will stop us from getting Cancer, Heart Disease, Alzheimers and all other age related afflictions. Simple Living works and will always keep on working.
Frugality used to be the ‘in’ thing in the 1800’s, but as time has progressed we have moved from survival mode and more toward consumerism, it’s almost been taken from the language as seen in the ‘mentions’ map from Google.
It’s a serious decline until 2000 and now the world is waking to the idea that the art of frugality should not be lost, because it has and always will have a place in our conversations. Frugal Living is on it’s way back, BABY! and I’m going to give you a little jump start back into the swing of things.
Here are your 50 Frugal Living and Simple Saving Tips
Drink more Water – Lets start with the most important Frugal Living tip you will ever hear, Drink More Water. Water is cheap and is freely available in the Western World. Your body is made of around 60% water so it must be good, right. Sure it’s a little boring, but it’s important for keeping you healthy and helps you to have a clear mind.
Take your own Snacks – Oh my kids hate this one, when they ask if they can have a chocolate, or ice cream, I simply reply “No, but look I have an apple or banana in my bag which would you prefer?” Yes, they have options.
Take your own Lunch – Chances are you’ll know what food you’ll need for the day when you head out to work or play, so why not make something at home and save yourself time queuing up for sub-standard food.
Have just One Car – It’s typical that families have a car and yet some live to excess and have 2-4 cars sitting in the driveway, one for each member of the family. Can you squeeze into the one? Saving registration and on-road costs.
Sell your Car – Ok, I might have convinced you to become a one car family, but am I pushing the friendship if I suggest a ‘No’ car family? You can always Uber a car if you need it, catch public transport, bike or walk.
Learn to Share – They say ‘sharing is caring’ and if you care to save money then borrowing something that you only need periodically is going to keep a few dollars in your pocket. Likewise, you can return the favour and let your friends know of the things they can borrow.
Layering Up – When the weather turns bad and you start to feel a chill, reach for a jumper before reaching for the thermostat. Heating is expensive and using less is an easy way to save money.
Striping Down – Conversely when things are heating up, strip down a little before flicking the switch on the A/C unit. Buy loose fitting breathable clothes and go commando if you want a little more of a thrill. Your body is a great air conditioner, it just needs a little room to breathe sometimes.
Wash when it’s Dirty – If I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen someone wear something for 30 minutes and then commit it to a wash cycle I’d be a very rich frugal man. Save your hard earned dollars and wash things when they are actually stinky and dirty, not because they brushed against your skin for 10 minutes.
Cold Wash – Reach for the cold wash cycle before any other. Don’t be fooled by the washing machines that have only one tap because they are using your electricity to heat the water up in the machine.
Air Dry your Clothes – Most people have more than one set of clothes so it shouldn’t matter if they are left on the clothes line until they are dry.
Freeze your Food – If your food is safe to freeze, then freezing it can enable you to take advantage of bulk pricing. It’ll also save you time shopping for those things each time you shop.
Defrost in the Fridge – If you need something defrosted then do it in the fridge overnight, rather than use the microwave just because you’ve lost the art of thinking ahead.
Cheap Meal Menu – Have a basic set of ‘Go To’ cheap meals for when things get tight. Fast Food is not Cheap Food. You should be able to feed a family of four for under $10 per main meal
Travel Frugally – Next time you are thinking of a cross country road trip consider using a car relocation service. These companies will sometimes pay you to move their cars or campervans to other cities. Some even contribute to the fuel costs, it’s a win-win.
Travel in a Campervan – If you are doing a road trip then use a campervan to sleep in and save on motel costs. A campervan will also allow you to do your own cooking.
Downsize into a Smaller House – Maybe you are an empty nester or are clinging to the idea that a large house makes you more important in the grand scheme of things. Either way you are in denial, and down sizing is going to save you time and money.
Pay with Cash – Cash is king in any country, and with the moolah in your hand it’s a lot easier to negotiate a discount, however small.
Pay off Debt – If you are already living a frugal lifestyle its possible you haven’t accumulated debt because you’ve been living within your means. On the flip side newcomers to frugality might be coming with plenty. The take home here is, reducing your debt will save you a ton of money in the future.
Create a Budget – Using a budget to control your savings, allows you to track those little spends that end up costing a lot of time. For example a daily coffee during the week for just $3 turns into a $700 expense over the year.
Buy less Take Out Coffee – And save yourself $700 ‘as above’. You can still enjoy a coffee but just make sure it’s whilst at home or work.
Charge your Phone at Work – Most phones need charging once a day, so instead of charging overnight at your house, be a tightwad and charge in the office.
Cancel your Pay TV – If you are really into Frugal Living then cancelling your pay TV/cable service is a way to save money and a way to get back your free time. I get that you like these TV shows and that means the producers are doing a great job which then flows onto the marketers who use that content to scrape the money from your pockets with successful advertising campaigns.
Read Books – eBooks, paperback, kindle or what ever, but reading is cheap if you loan the books from the library. You’ll likely learn something new and can impress your friends with your depth of knowledge.
Visit the Library – Hey you can get books there, borrow videos and music, read magazines and use their internet for free. What more on a hot day they also cool you for nothing extra.
Cancel Magazine Subscriptions – Read them at the library and save your money for more important things.
Start a Vegetable Patch – Growing your own food is rewarding, nutritious, provides fresh food and is damn cheap. Just add water.
Install a Rain Water Tank – You’ll need this for your garden and water still comes at a price, the last time I checked. Plus rainwater is much better for your garden than chlorinated town water.
Make you own Cleaning Products – Simple cleaning products can be made from white vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, borax and lemon. Save money, plus most self-made cleaning products are better for the environment anyway.
- All Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda into 1/2 gallon water. Store in airtight container.
- Disinfectant: Mix 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar and 3 cups hot water. Use immediately.
- Mold or Mildew Cleaner: Use white vinegar or lemon juice directly on surface. Apply with sponge.
Cut your Own Hair – Well it’s easier if you have someone else to do it for you and then you cut theirs. Invest in some good scissors and clippers and they’ll last you a lifetime. If you get started early thats about a $5000 saving over a lifetime.
Create a Carpool – If your commute to work involves driving then, carpool to save costs and stress, you’ll save 75% of commuting costs with a car pool of four. Plus you get to chat about frugality tips on the way to work.
Rent than Own – The desire to own one’s house is strong and can give you a feeling of security even though you might be paying back a large mortgage. The reality is the bank owns your house and you’ll be stressing over repayments for a lot of years. If you have a steady job and aren’t the kind of person to move around then maybe buying a house is for you. However, for the majority the flexiblity that a rental offers can be more frugal. You can easily live within your means aren’t subject to sudden interest rises and don’t need to pay property taxes or maintenance. When you want to move you don’t need to sell the property and then pay more taxes buying another one. Renting is convenient and you get what you pay for. The only disclaimer is to make sure the money you save renting goes into a savings fund or investment, or in 30 years time you’d be wishing you had bought a property.
Sell your Junk – Junk you say? Yes, junk, everyone has it and perhaps you call it by different names but the stuff you don’t use and is stored in boxes should be sold to de-clutter and to make a few extra dollars. Make the hard call early and you’ll make more money on the resale.
Dine in and Not Out – Dining out can be an expensive way to entertain yourself. Usually you’ll do this with one or more people, so invite them around to your place and cook something magical at home. If you aren’t confident in the kitchen then make the party about everyone helping out. Dining in can be a lot more fun than the 2 hours table service you get from a restaurant.
Eat Out on the Cheap – If you must eat out then select establishments that offer value for money. A squirt of sauce on a plate with a lamb chop and a spoonful of potato mash isn’t exactly cost effective. You’ll likely to be going home with either an empty stomach or an empty pocket. Choose restaurants, that offer value priced meals and ensure to find one that has a BYO policy to save on the triple priced bottles of wine.
Become a Minimalist – A path to Minimalism is a path to frugality. A minimalist doesn’t desire the trapping of consumerism and will buy quality over quantity which usually means your things will last longer. Some minimalists might even forego the pleasures of variety to ensure their life is uncluttered. Minimalism as a habit, will save you a ton of money and you’ll stop buying junk to satisfy your unfulfilled needs.
Don’t Shop Online – Online shopping is convenient, too convenient. Sure you might think you are saving a few bucks , but with a few clicks later you just bought more than you need. Compare this with a stroll to the shops were you need to get out of your house to buy the darned thing, and it’s less likely to happen. Plus, if you use cash then it’s a little harder to let go of the money.
Go out to Free Events – What free events? The free events happening in just about every major capital city in the world. There is always plenty going on so you just need to search for it. Or find something local by searching for your town + ‘free events’ in Google. Take something to eat and drink and make it a real cheap night out.
Staying Healthy its Cheaper – Doctors aren’t exactly cheap these day so it’s best to avoid them if you can. Living a healthy frugal lifestyle with regular exercise and good eating will help you to avoid the doctors
Cancel your Gym Membership – Did you know that a gym only expects a membership list to regularly visit the gym is only 15%. That’s right, 85% of people who have a membership go infrequently. Be frugal and save a few dollars by cancelling that membership if you aren’t one of the 15%. Instead you can do body resistance exercises at home and still get a great workout for free.
Walk More – Refer to the tip above about staying healthy, and walking is a great way to get started if you haven’t been exercising for a while. Get off that train one stop earlier or walk to the local shops. Every little bit helps.
Learn to Cook – Cooking is becoming a lost art with the plethora of fast food, restaurants and now ready to eat meals. And yet it’s the only way you can control what you are really eating. Despite the claims no one has time, there are 1440 minutes in the day. You just need to allocate 30 minutes to create a healthy meal for dinner or go all out, invite a friend around and splurge on a 60 minute catch up while you are prepping .
Buy Used – There is nothing wrong with buying pre-loved clothes or furniture. Buying something second-hand affords you the opportunity to buy something of a higher quality at a lower price. Opportunities to buy frugally are everywhere.
Quit Smoking – Smoking is a real expense and will eventually lead to health problems later in life. The sooner you can give it up, the better you’ll be in the long run. But only you can make that decision to quit.
Quit Binge Drinking – Once you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. Continuing to drink after you’re drunk is just wasting money. Find your limit and then put your wallet away. You’ll probably have a better and more memorable time anyway.
Start Making Stuff – Are you a builder, maker or crafter? Then you are probably already living frugally. Making something with your bare hands is not only rewarding but can be frugal if you can re-purpose your materials. For instance an old pallet can make a great coffee table with a little bit of TLC. Or making gift cards from your scraps of card is another way to be frugal. “Waste not, want not”
DIY Repairs – So maybe you don’t have the skills needed to fix things, but you can get a few DIY books from the library and start learning to repair broken stuff yourself. Alternatively, watch a few youtube video’s before you get started.
Buy in Bulk – Generally, the more you buy, the more you save. Frugal people like bulk warehouse places like Costco because it will save them money when buying in bulk. Although, avoid buying junk food in bulk because you’ll likely eat more that you wanted to eat.
Limit Grocery Shop Visits – The fewer times you go shopping, the less opportunities there are for those impulse buys.
Don’t Shop on an Empty Stomach – When your tummy is rumbling, grocery shopping is the worst thing you can do, because you are likely to buy things to satisfy your immediate hunger rather than the things you’ll need in the next week.
Shop from a List – Create a list before you go shopping and stick to it. Grocery stores spend millions of dollars on product placement because they know it sells. Don’t be a victim and just buy what you need.
And there you have it, 50+ of my best tips for frugal living.
Frugal living is a life living on less, and not with less. It’s easier to budget when you adopt a frugal lifestyle and you’ll probably get more exercise and eat less junk food, which helps lead a healthier life. Some people adopt frugality as a means to become financially independent, which in turn leads to more free time and opportunities to become more immersed in frugality.
Hopefully these tips help you to save money and live the frugal lifestyle you have always dreamed. If you have other great tips, then please post them in the comments below. If you want more more great content then please subscribe to our newsletter.
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