This list contains 31 frugal tips to help you and your family save big bucks the easy way.
If you’re looking to save more money by living a frugal life, it’s not as hard as you might think. Contrary to popular belief, frugal living does not mean someone is cheap, broke, or fashionless. Rather, someone who is frugal thinks before spending and is mindful of where every dollar goes.
1. Frugal starts with a good budget
If you’ve ever tried to save money or take better control of your finances, then you know how hard it can be to understand your money without some sort of budget guiding you. A good budget not only helps you to understand your spending habits, but it also helps establish realistic financial goals and shows you the weak areas of your spendings/savings.
If you’ve never created a budget, don’t fear. This step-by-step guide comes with a free downloadable budget template to help you (and your financial partner) take an honest look at your financial situation.
2. Sell stuff you no longer use
Got a bag of junk laying around? Sell it and make quick money back. Think about it. You already purchased an item, either new or used, so might as well flip it for some cash. As long as the item is in decent shape, someone else can put it to use and you can make back some money you initially spent.
To resell technology, I recommend using Decluttr.
To resell clothes, try using Poshmark.
3. Get cash back on your everyday shopping purchases
Being frugal often starts with how you make your purchases. Everyone shops, whether it’s for food, clothes, or fun, but not everyone gets cash back on those purchases. If you aren’t taking advantage of cash back shopping, you’re quite literally leaving money on the table.
Here are the 3 tried and true cash back rewards sites (that I use and recommend).
- Rakuten: This is a website that lets you earn money from big companies such as Ulta, Sephora, Under Armour, Keurig, Amazon, Nike, Best Buy, Forever 21, Macy’s, and thousands of other stores. It pays to shop online with Rakuten.
- Ibotta: This is one of the most popular cash back reward sites and rightfully so. The options for cash back include groceries, clothing, pet supplies, and many brand name stores. And, it works for online shopping and in-store shopping. Sign up for Ibotta here.
- Dosh: This one is probably my favorite because it gives cash back for going to Costo, and I go to Costco monthly! Below is a screenshot of the money sitting in my Dosh account that I haven’t transferred to my bank account yet. Get started with Dosh here.
4. Start micro-investing
As far as frugal tips go, micro-investing is probably not the first thing to come to mind, but it’s a great way to save money in the long run. Sites like Acorns make it easy to invest $1, $3, or $5 a month and it takes about 5 minutes to get started. It really is that simple.
5. Learn from the experts
If you like to do your own research (like I do) to educate yourself on various topics, spending some time reading about other people’s frugal tips for a money-saving lifestyle is a great way to start your journey (or improve your journey if you’ve already started). Below my recommendations for some frugal reading.
- Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home
- Little House Living: The Make-Your-Own Guide to a Frugal, Simple, and Self-Sufficient Life
- The Ultimate Guide to Frugal Living: Save Money, Plan Ahead, Pay Off Debt & Live Well
6. More meals at home (eat out less)
According to the research found in this article, the average American household spends roughly $3,000 a year eating out. There are a lot of frugal tips surrounding food, however, the best thing you could do to save money is to stop eating out so much and spend more time eating at home.
7. Pack lunch for work
Part of the reason people eat out so often is that it’s easier to drive thru a fast food restaurant than it is to pack a lunch. But, packing lunch saves you money, it’s often healthier food, and it doesn’t take as long as you might think. For expert tips on packing the perfect lunch for work, check out these Grownup Lunch Ideas. And if green smoothies are your thing, here is how I prep my smoothies for the workweek.
8. No spend money challenges
If you’re really in a pinch and need to save a chunk of money, no spend challenges are great ways to save. This no-spending frugal tip is a go-to in my household, especially right before money-intensive events such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays.
If you’re not sure where to start or what the rules are (yes, there are rules!), check out these 15 No Spend Challenges.
9. Stream fewer options
Do you have Netflix, and HBO Go, and Hulu, and Disney+, and STARZ, and this and that? Streaming services have taken over our daily lives (at least MY daily life). In fact, at one point I had so many streaming options that I ended up just binging random videos on YouTube because I didn’t know what to watch.
If you’re a stream-a-holic like many many many people out there, a simple frugal tip to save money and still watch good tv is to subscribe to no more than 2 streaming services at a time. That is. Just 2. You will be far more committed to watching the shows you’re already paying for, and you might find some hidden gems to watch.
10. Workout at home
Ditch the gym membership. Get fit at home! You can use some space-saving at-home gym equipment or simply walk around your neighborhood.
11. Less alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are expensive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the average American spends 1% of their annual income buying alcohol. You can do the math. It’s a lot of money. Cut the alcohol.
12. Batch your errands
Instead of going out multiples days a week to get things for your family and home, try running errands all on the same day. This will take more time, but it saves on gas and you will have more awareness of how much money is being spent.
13. Enjoy your home more
Frugal tips often encourage people to focus more on what they already have rather than spending money to buy more things. If you’re looking to save money, try enjoying a date night at home, cooking more in your kitchen (even if it’s a small kitchen!), and entertaining people more.
If you struggle in the kitchen like me, try a simple cookbook like 5-Ingredient Clean Eating Cookbook: 125 Simple Recipes to Nourish and Inspire
14. Instant Pot or Crock-Pot meals
As for recipes, I’m no expert, but these people are:
- The “I Love My Instant Pot®” Affordable Meals Recipe Book: From Cold Start Yogurt to Honey Garlic Salmon, 175 Easy, Family-Favorite Meals You Can Make for under $12
- The Complete Slow Cooker: From Appetizers to Desserts – 400 Must-Have Recipes That Cook While You Play (or Work)
15. Wash clothes less
This frugal tip isn’t an option for everyone, but if you can, run the washing machine less in order to save more money. If you’re like me and have to use a coin-operated machine, less washing also means more quarters in your pocket.
16. Eat less meat
If you care about saving the world and minimizing your carbon footprint on the Earth, that’s a good enough reason to eat less meat. However, as a frugal tip, eating less meat does save you money. Instead of purchasing meat products, which can get pricy, buying more vegetarian options will save you money in the long run. And, depending on who you ask, it’s healthier.
17. Frugal Christmas presents
Don’t break the bank buying Christmas presents. Seriously, don’t. Have a frugal Christmas that friends and family will enjoy regardless of how much money you spend. If you need help, check out these 26 Practical Christmas Gifts Under $50.
18. Make more money
Technically, this isn’t a saving money hack or a frugal tip, but it is easier to save money when you make more money. Here are some legitimate ways to make extra money.
- Online Surveys: Survey Junkie (my favorite), Swagbucks, InboxDollars
- Money-Making Side Hustles: 70+ Epic List of Side Hustles
- Start a Blog: Blogging Quick Start Guide for Beginners
19. Lower your grocery bill
Frugal living tends to focus on spending less money and purchasing only the things that are necessary. Food is one of those necessities, but it can also be pricy. If cutting down your grocery list isn’t an option (every family is different), Ibotta is a great cash back site that focuses on groceries as on of the priorities. It’s time to start saving.
20. Establish an emergency fund
Emergencies happen. If you’re prepared for them, you’ll save a lot more money. Out of pocket expenses can really derail families who aren’t prepared, which is why establishing an emergency fund is a vital tip for frugality.
21. Declutter your home
Clear out your space so that you can find AND utilize the things you already own. Do this with clothes, gadgets, and those junky items you struggle parting with.
22. Make coffee at home
One of my favorite frugal tips is to ditch Starbucks and become your own barista. Here are the three coffee makers I have experience using.
- Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Coffee Maker, Black
- Keurig K-Slim Coffee Maker, Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer
- CHEMEX Pour-Over Glass Coffeemaker – Classic Series – if you get this pour-over, you need to buy these filters.
23. DIY cleaning products
One of the reasons my friends call me frugal is because I make my own cleaning products using distilled white vinegar. Yep, just vinegar to clean my house. It doesn’t get more frugal than that.
24. Enjoy frugally fun outings (aka free things or cheap)
Not sure what to do outdoors for cheap? Here is a simple list of things my husband and I do for cheap/free:
- Beach day
- Long (romantic) walks
- Driving to a new place
25. Invest in a deep freezer
An ex-boyfriend’s mom taught me all about deep freezers back when I was in college and it changed the way I view preserving food. Yes, a freezer chest is a big upfront investment, but stats show that deep freezers save people a few hundred dollars a year.
This deep freezer from Amazon is highly rated with tons of raving reviews and it comes in both black and white.
26. Buy necessities on Amazon (often less than store prices)
Love it or hate it, Amazon is here to stay. With just about every product available through Amazon, it’s actually quite easy to find affordable household necessities for cheaper than purchasing at a store.
27. Avoid impulse purchases
Being frugal requires patience. Just being you want something doesn’t mean you have to buy it. Frugal people understand the difference between wants and needs. If you have an expensive item on your want list, save up for it rather than charging it to your credit card. Or, if you can, find a more affordable option. Not every purchase should be a “splurge”.
28. Take care of your body
Eat healthy often. Sleep more. Allow yourself to take breaks. We only get one body and if we don’t take care of it, things can get costly.
29. Use your products to the last drop
Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, make-up, deodorant, soap… use it all before purchasing new stuff.
30. Negotiate your monthly bills
I’ve done this multiple times with our wifi carrier, medical bills, phone bills, (and even at hotels, although this isn’t a monthly bill). The point is, if you feel you’re overpaying or being cheated, it doesn’t hurt to ask to lower the price.
31. More board games for entertainment
Have a family night at home with these fun games. Here are my fam’s favorites: