There is no denying that times are tough, especially on people's wallets. One of the best ways to combat high gas prices or avoid a huge grocery store bill is to live frugally. When people hear that they assume that means they can't buy stuff anymore or have to live like it's the 1800s. Thankfully that is not the case, living a frugal lifestyle just means that you have to be smarter with your money and become more creative with how you shop.
Many people may not even realize that they spend more money than they realistically need to. Frugal living allows people to really see where they can save money on either monthly bills or superfluous spending.
Here are 25 of our best frugal living tips to help you save money and live the life you always wanted to live!
1. Grow your own food
Not every person has the benefit of owning their own farm, but if you want to avoid a large grocery bill, then one of the best places to start is to grow your own food. Obviously, items like pasta, chicken, and seasoning aren't things you can grow, but growing your own fruits and veggies is an easy way to save some money while grocery shopping.
This is always a great way to start that garden you always wanted or to use the literal fruits of your labor in the garden you already have. Eliminating fruit and vegetables from your grocery list is a great start to spending less money and frugal life.
2. Cheap meals, happy wallet
If you aren't all that interested to get down and dirty to save a couple of bucks to grow your food, then it's time for a food budget. Go out and look for cheap meal options at your supermarkets. Avoid the name brands, almost every grocery store has a store brand version of any food you're looking for and that will save you money.
Also instead of buying one or two expensive steaks, buy ground beef that can be used for multiple meals. Instead of spending money on coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin', buy your own coffee and make it at home. Honestly, if you're buying anything that could be cheaper and made at home, it's one step closer to frugal living.
3. Plan your meals ahead of time
Some people already live a frugal lifestyle and buy their groceries for the week, but sometimes life gets in the way. You had to stay late at work, got caught up in traffic, or even just living a busy life can be tiring. Sometimes people are so tired that they do not have the energy to cook and just stick to takeout or fast food. This is where meal planning comes in.
Those takeout purchases add up and now you're looking at a high bill for both your groceries and unnecessary food. Instead, plan your meals ahead of time. Pick one day, get your ingredients ready for the recipes and now you have a week worth of food without the long and tiring prep time.
4. The best things in life are free
Frugal living means that you have skipped on all the fun things that life has to offer, right? Of course not! You would be surprised how many activities and events around you are free. Look at community postings around your town or city and you'll find free events everywhere. There are dedicated Facebook groups for such things.
Also, getting a library card can open you up to free entertainment like books and movies and of course, signing up for a library card is free. You don't need to spend money to do free fun things! Who doesn't love getting free stuff?
5. Bored? Games!
Through your frugal living journey, you still want to spend quality time with your friends and family. Though you may be concerned because others might not be saving money like you are or even interested in frugal living tips. No need to panic because who doesn't like having a board game night? Buying board games is not just a one-time purchase, but an investment.
You can buy one board game and play it for years to come. Maybe instead of spending hundreds of dollars at the bar, you stay at home and play some board games with your good friends. Then maybe they will adopt your frugal living lifestyle.
6. 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. 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.
7. Double check your bills
Make sure you aren't overpaying on your bills. Companies make mistakes all the time and you could notice an extra fee on your bills that you do not have to pay. Also if you are trying to live a frugal life, then maybe it's time to reevaluate your policies. You may be paying more for home and auto insurance and 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.
8. Be cool, carpool
Frugal living does not need to be a solo adventure. If you and your friends are going to the same place, why not all ride together so you can all save some money? Find out which coworkers live near you and start a company carpool! You save money and you may just make a few friends along the way.
9. Cheap gas or touch gas
Gas prices are on the rise every day and unfortunately, people need to drive pretty much daily. 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 just save gas for when you really need it. Meaning, walk to your destination if it's within walking distance. A thirty-minute walk as opposed to a fifteen minute drive will save you a few bucks. Not only will your wallet be healthy, but so will you!
10. Cancel 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? Well if you're trying to live a frugal lifestyle, no. 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 are subscribed to and really think about which ones you use constantly and which ones go 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 and evaluate which ones you actually use. Do you really need gym memberships? Taking a walk and watching what you eat is much cheaper. Stop using food delivery apps like Doordash and Uber Eats, the prices on them are far higher than going to the restaurant yourself. By getting rid of excess spending, you will be shocked by how much extra money you’ll save.
11. Shop online, just not excessively
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 anyways. Sure it makes you happy in the moment, but the 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 have you feeling frugal, but looking extravagant. Your savings account will thank you.
12. Thrift stores
Want to look fashionable, but not be put into financial ruin? Shop at thrift stores and you will be amazed by all the variety and style they have to offer. Also, thrifting is in! Make your friends jealous of your new clothes and your financial freedom.
13. Money saving apps
There are dozen of money saving/money budgeting apps that allow you to look at your financials and see where you are spending too much. Apps like Mint, Acorn and Digit track your money spending habits and even offer tips to save cash and stop unnecessary expenses. Getting these apps can help with you get out of credit card debt and set realistic frugal financial goals.
14. 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 and you can still shop at all your favorite retailers and stores while also sticking by 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 has to offer.
15. Vinegar. Yes I'm serious
I know what you're thinking, how is just vinegar a frugal living tip. Well, vinegar can be used for much more than putting it on your sandwiches and salad. There are actually 31 different ways you can use vinegar.
You can use it as a laundry detergent, a house/carpet cleaner, drain cleaner, frost proof your windows, and you can even use it on your skin to clear pores and prevent bruises. And of course, you can use it in dozens of recipes. Vinegar may be one the most essential frugal tips.
16. Use less
The title for this one is self explanatory. Pay attention to the amount of toilet paper, tooth paste, paper towels, and other household items that you may over use. You can realistically save these items for month without having to go back and buy more and more.
17. Take care of yourself, drink water
Everyone should already be doing this regardless for health reasons, but with frugal living, this just means to stop buying water bottles. Stop buying them. Your savings account is asking you to stop buying them.
Tap water is perfectly fine, and perfectly free, but if you live in an area with bad tap buy a filtered water pitcher or reusable water bottle. These can last you ages and you save cash while doing it.
18. DIY 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!
19. Travel frugally
You live on a budget, but still want to see Paris, Tokyo, and L.A. What should you do? Never travel ever again? Thankfully no, you just have to be smart about it. Travel during the off seasons and you will be surprised how affordable your dream vacation is!
20. Earn extra cash
Do you have a lot of free time on your hands? Well, earn cash instead and you'll be closer to financial success. There are tons of opportunities for you to get some extra money all round your community. Take up dog walking, baby sitting, or even help people with household chores like cleaning out the gutters, shoveling snow, or taking out the garbage.
Working an extra job 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.
21. Never pay full price
Wanting new and shiny things can put a damper on 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. Frugal sometimes means to resist the urge to buy.
22. Buy in bulk
Whenever you go out grocery shopping buy items in bulk whenever you can. Canned goods, sauces, baking mixes, and other non perishables 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.
23. Don't eat out
Yes, this one is a bummer but frugal living means to give up some luxuries. Making food at home is far more cheaper than going out to eat. You already bought food at the supermarket, why spend more? Now if you're smart with your money, you can budget and go out maybe once a week or on really special occasions.
24. Hang up your clothes
And I don't mean in the closet. Get rid of your dryer and air dry your clothes. Dyers can eat up your electric and you would save tons of money by not buying one or selling your current one. The clothes may take a little longer to dry, but the amount of money you'll save is worth it.
25. Don't buy to keep up appearances
For this last tip, don't buy things you don't need. it doesn't matter what everyone else is buying or what people may think of you if you don't have the newest greatest and latest appliance. At the end of the day, none of that matters. Times are tough and when times are tough it becomes clearer what really matters in life and who are truly important. Having nice couches, new refrigerators and fancy cars are very nice, but financially they are rarely ever worth it.
So that's it, those are 25 great tips on to to tackle frugal living. Live a life worth living because at the end of the day you can't take it with you when it's all over. There are millions of things you can do in this world with the people you love that are absolutely free. And that is worth far more than anything you can buy.