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April 15, 2024

Being Frugal in 2024 And Beyond: 15 Ways to Save Money

You can still live the life you want while having financial freedom and not spending too much money on necessities. Here are 15 of our best frugal living tips to help you save.

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Written by

Jennifer Moore

Times are tough. Costs are going up all around us. From high gas prices to ridiculously expensive groceries, it’s overwhelming, to save the least. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers went up 3.2% from July 2022 to July 2023 alone. Food prices increased 4.9%. Plus, the U.S. Energy Information Administration doesn’t have great news to share—the cost of our utilities will likely stay just as high in 2024 as in 2023.

With an inflation rate of 3.2% and salaries not increasing at the same rate, this can really put pressure on our pocketbooks. Thankfully, there are things we can do to live more frugally without breaking the bank. In fact, these are things that we can do all the time, even when prices aren’t as high as they are now. Check out these tips to keep more money in your wallet.

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15 Frugal Living Tips for Today and Every Day 

Bring frugal doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your life. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t spend your hard-earned money. Frugality is all about considering the opportunity costs of spending, and deciding if spending the money is worth the reward. Plus, it makes it easier to live within your means, protect your credit score, and keep your debt down.

Take a look at these 15 tips from RateWorks, intended to help you live a frugal life that is fulfilling, rewarding, and stress-free. 

  1. Unplug What’s Unused 

Take a look at your electric bill. It's probably really high, right? Well, that's because you're using electricity without even realizing it. The U.S. Department of Energy says that you can save between $100 and $200 annually by unplugging those unused appliances and devices.

So, turn off all lights when you leave a room, make sure the TV isn't on for the sake of being on, and if you know you're not going to be using a lamp or other electronics that still use electricity even when not in use, unplug them! It's just an easy way to save money.

  1. Double Check Your Bills

Make sure you aren't overpaying on your bills. Companies always make mistakes, and you may notice an extra fee you do not have to pay. Also, if you are trying to live a frugal life, maybe it's time to reevaluate your policies. You may be paying more for home and auto insurance; a quick search can show you a new policy that could save you money.

Looking at all your monthly bills could be your next step to being debt free or at least having much lower credit card statements. Using cash instead of your debit card can also save you unnecessary fees.

  1. It’s Cool to Carpool

Frugal living does not need to be a solo adventure. If you and your friends are going to the same place, why not ride together to save some money? Find out which coworkers live near you and start a company carpool.

Or, check out helpful websites such as Ridesharing.com or Group Carpool. You'll save money, and you may just make a few friends along the way.

  1. Compare Gas Prices

While gas prices tend to fluctuate, they’re still quite a bit higher than they were a few years ago. One of the easiest and best frugal living tips is to search for the cheapest gas. Really pay attention to all the different gas stations near you and compare the prices for each. Not only that, but sometimes using credit or debit can raise the price by a couple of cents, and being frugal means trying to save every penny. 

Not only could you save money by finding cheap gas, but you can also save gas for when you really need it. Try walking to your destination if it's nearby. A thirty-minute walk as opposed to a fifteen-minute drive will save you a few bucks. Your wallet will be healthy, and so will you!

  1. Cancel Unused Subscriptions 

It seems like every week, a new streaming service comes out and of course, you have to get it to see what everyone is talking about, right? And, the average American spends about $61 per month on streaming services. But those costs can really add up. 

Living frugally means you need spend money on things you absolutely need and cutting out what is seen as a luxury. Take a look at how many subscriptions you have and really think about which ones you use constantly and which ones are barely touched. Unsubscribe from them now! Do you only really use HBO Max and Spotify but also have Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime? Unsubscribe from them. You are wasting money on things you might use in the future. And even if you don't, you are still paying for them.

Go over all the subscriptions or memberships you belong to and evaluate which ones you actually use. Do you really need gym memberships? Exercise.com estimates that 67% of people never use the gym membership that they pay for every month.

Taking a walk and watching what you eat is much cheaper. Stop using food delivery apps like Doordash and Uber Eats; their prices are far higher than those of going to the restaurant yourself. By eliminating excess spending, you will be shocked by how much extra money you’ll save.

  1. Shop Online, In Moderation

We’ve all been there: seeing something you really want on Amazon or Etsy, and you know you shouldn’t, but you end up impulse buying it anyway. Sure, it makes you happy at the moment, but buyer’s remorse hits hard, especially if you’re trying to live a frugal life. Does that mean your days of shopping online are over? Not at all.

Places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and eBay are great ways to find all sorts of furniture, clothes, and appliances on the cheap. Buying used items can make you feel frugal but look extravagant. Your savings account will thank you.

  1. Money Saving Apps 

Dozens of money-saving/money-budgeting apps allow you to look at your financials and see where you are spending too much. Apps like Mint, Acorns, and Oportun track your spending habits and even offer tips to save cash and stop unnecessary expenses. Getting these apps can help you get out of credit card debt and set realistic, frugal financial goals.

  1. Pay it Forward: Reward Yourself

Sign up for reward programs at any and all stores. Of course, only sign up for them if they're free. Multiple businesses offer free reward programs that give you tons of discounts, coupons, and special deals. They even have specific sales for reward members, so you can still shop at all your favorite retailers and stores while also following frugal living tips.

Also, if you have a credit card, look into credit card rewards. You can get free flights, cheaper hotel tickets, discounted car rentals, and certain credit cards even have great deals on concert tickets and Broadway shows. The word frugal doesn't mean you can't still do all the fun and exciting things the world offers.

  1. DIY? Or Not?

DIY, or Do It Yourself, projects can help you save hundreds, and you also get to learn a whole plethora of new skills, talents, and techniques! However, it’s important to consider your skills and qualifications and the potential savings, before moving forward with a DIY project. For example, even though a DIY approach may save you 83% compared to a contractor, it can cost you more in the long run if you don’t know what you’re doing.

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  1. Earn Extra Cash 

It’s the decade of the side hustle. If you have hidden talents and some free time on your hands, you could be making a whole lot of extra money on the side. There are many opportunities for you to get some extra money throughout your community. Take up dog walking, babysitting, or even helping people with household chores like cleaning out the gutters, shoveling snow, or taking out the garbage. Are you a great writer or graphic artist? Create an account with Upwork or Fiverr to sell your services. 

Working an extra job or taking on a side hustle is not the only way to earn money. If you have a lot of excess junk or are a hoarder, sell it! Go online to places like eBay and Facebook Marketplace and turn your old junk into new money! Online purchases could save you money this time. And as they always say, time is money.

  1. Never Pay Full Price

Wanting new and shiny things can dampen frugal living, but that doesn't mean you can't have nice new things. Wait it out; a sale will eventually come for the items you're looking for. And be sure to sign up for free rewards programs with your favorite retailers. Being frugal sometimes means resisting the urge to buy.

  1. Stock Up: Buy in Bulk

Whenever you go grocery shopping, buy items in bulk. Canned goods, sauces, baking mixes, and other nonperishables can last you years on end, and keeping meat like ground beef and chicken frozen can also make them last much longer. Buying in bulk can give you weeks, or even months, worth of food. It keeps you and your wallet full.

  1. Save $5 a Day 

Living frugally gives you a great opportunity to save some of your hard-earned cash. For 30 days, try putting $5 a day aside into your piggy bank or savings account. For a 30-day month, you’ll have $150 a day saved. Try it for a year, and you’ll have $1,825 socked away. Doing this gives you a great rainy day fund, or that opportunity to reward yourself periodically. Trust us, this strategy works and it feels great.

  1. Refinance Your Auto Loan

When you purchased your vehicle, you were likely in a different financial situation than you are now. Plus, you had to finance a larger amount. And who knows what interest rate you were given. If you want to save money each month, potentially saving money in interest, then look into auto refinance options. This is a great way to reduce your monthly expenses, especially when money is tight.

Frugality Does Not Mean Cheap, But it is a Life Worth Living

Frugality doesn’t mean giving up on everything you love. It simply means making smarter, better-informed decisions about where you put your money. Even following one or two of our 15 tips will help you feel better about the money you have in your wallet. 

Want more great tips on how to save money? Want to refinance your car and benefit from a lower car payment? Follow the RateWorks blog—we’re full of great insights to help you live a more frugal, cost-effective lifestyle.