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When you hear the word “frugal”, what are some things that come to mind? Do you think of, “Being cheap”?
Or, “Not allowed to have any fun”?
What about, “Being frugal means giving up the things that I care about?”
But I can tell you that these are all misconceptions and are definitely not true.
I have found that living frugally can help free up some money to pay off some debt, save for a vacation, or maybe even start saving for early retirement. Living frugally now can give you the opportunity to start living the life you actually want to live!
There are SO many different frugal living tips and ways you can cut back on expenses, however, I listed 10 below for you to get started.
Let’s do this!
Bonus tip: If you ever shop online, Rakuten is one of the best cashback sites out there. I have been using Rakuten for years and have earned a ton of cashback just for shopping online. If you want to sign up for Rakuten, you can get $10 through my link!
Create a budget and stick to it!
In my opinion, creating a budget is the #1 place to start when trying to cut back on expenses or save money. Think about it, you can’t cut costs if you don’t know what your cash-flow looks like every month.
There are a few ways to go about this. You could start off by listing out your total monthly income, and then calculate your monthly costs (bills, rent, mortgage, etc.). Determine how much you have leftover every month after necessary expenses and come up with a realistic goal on how much you will need to save. Then you can start cutting unnecessary costs in order to reach that goal.
You could also use the website Mint.com (or download the app). I have used this app for years and I can say it is a really great tool for managing your expenses (and it’s free!). The app links to your banking account(s) and tracks all of your income/expenses every week. Then you can log in after a week or even a month to determine where your money is going and how you can start cutting some costs. Mint will even give you their own savings tips that can help you manage your money efficiently.
Use items that you get for free to cut costs
Ok, so you don’t necessarily get these items for free, BUT if you are already buying them anyway, you might as well get full use out of the product. Some examples include:
Glass jars – I can’t tell you how many jars I have in my house. You know, like the ones from the grocery store that you buy sauce or other foods in. A lot of people just use the food inside and then toss the jar. But you could use these jars as Tupperware containers or to store items in your freezer. If you want to take it to the next level, you can use them as drinking cups or a bathroom organizer! There are a ton of uses for these jars around the house, just get creative with it!
Rubber bands vs. buying clips – I don’t know about you, but I used to buy those chip-clips constantly because I would always lose them. But if you use the rubber bands off of produce or other food items, you can use them to seal all of the chip bags and you won’t have to buy chip clips ever again!
Extra Sauce in the drive-thru – I love this frugal tip! If I ever go out to eat at a fast-food restaurant, I always ask for “extra sauce”. Whether it be ranch, hot sauce, or any other type of condiment, it can save you from having to buy it at the store for a while.
Napkins – I usually just use and re-use a cloth napkin, but if you insist on using paper towels (so expensive), then you can also save money by just using the napkins that you get from eating out or from drive-thrus. Use those up first to avoid having to go through so many paper towels.
There are many of these little tips to save a little bit of money here and there, and it’s fun finding other uses for items you are already buying to avoid having to buy other items!
Invest in quality items that last longer and cut re-occurring costs
When I first started trying to cut costs, I realized that my grocery bill was enormous and for absolutely no reason. Most of the time, you can invest a little more money upfront in order to save you money in the long run. Some of these items include:
Reusable water bottle vs. buying a case of water bottles every few weeks. And let’s be honest, nobody likes carrying cases of water in from the car. For this, I personally have a water dispenser in my home and I fill up 5-gallon jugs for it at my local water convenience store once every few months for cheap. Then I keep my reusable water bottle with me at all times and fill it up when I need it. You can easily fill up a reusable water bottle from a refrigerator filtered water system as well!
Energy-efficient appliances and LED lighting in your home. This one is a larger investment upfront but these items can significantly reduce costs every month. For example, an LED light bulb can last up to 50x longer than an incandescent one. That saves a ton of money on lighting!
Cleaning supplies. Regular cleaning supplies from the grocery store are not only hazardous to your health, but to your wallet as well. Instead, you could try making simple cleaners out of cleaning vinegar, baking soda, castile soap, essential oils, and water! Buying all of these items upfront will save you a lot of money down the road because you can usually get multiple uses out of each ingredient for cleaning.
Split meals when going out
I do this with my husband every time we have a date night or go out to eat. The portion sizes at restaurants these days are astronomical. If you are going out to eat with someone and are on a budget, you could suggest splitting a meal and only paying for half of an entire meal. Or just order a few different appetizers to split up. Then you don’t have soggy leftovers to take home and no food waste if you can’t eat it all!
Be content with what you currently have
This tip goes hand-in-hand with buying quality items upfront that will last you much longer than buying cheaply made items that will wear out of break quickly after buying it.
An example of this is buying a quality blender. When I was in college, I used to make smoothies every day for lunch and would use my blender every single day. During the 4 years that I did this, I went through 5 different blenders. FIVE. All because I thought I was saving money by buying the cheaper option. I spent $30 per blender, which means over the 4 years, I really spent $150 on all of these blenders. And then I ended up buying an expensive one (which I still use today) at $100. So all in all, I spent $250 on cheap blenders over a 4-year time frame when I could have just spent the $100 upfront on the nice blender and saved money by not buying the cheap blenders.
Check second-hand first
If you are trying to save some money, this is a fantastic tip to start cutting some costs. For example, If you have an event where you need to buy a particular type of outfit that you don’t already have, maybe try checking out apps like Poshmark or ThredUp first to find it cheaper and only slightly used.
If you are in need of an expensive household item, you could check eBay or garage sales/thrift stores first instead of buying it brand new off the shelves. Doing this can save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you can’t find an item second hand, you could try researching ways to make it at home with items you already have. I know this wouldn’t work for most things, but it is worth a try to save some extra money!
Make your own coffee at home!
I used to go to a coffee shop and buy a coffee almost every day, so I know this one can be a difficult habit to break. But the mark-up on coffee is ridiculous and you could be saving a ton of money by just making your own coffee at home.
Think about it, a $3-$10 coffee every day (or even a few times per week) can really add up. Let’s say you get a $5 coffee from a coffee shop 5 days per week. That is $25 a week, $100 per month, and $1,300 per YEAR.
I personally have a subscription with Trade Coffee and use a typical coffee maker for my morning coffee. This way I get my coffee delivered to me for only $25 per month for both my husband and I and I know I am only spending a certain amount per month.
If you also have a coffee maker at home, you can make coffee at a fraction of the price and still have a tasty, fresh cup of coffee at home. A to-go coffee cup is also great for if you need to make a cup before work.
I’ll be honest, this tip really isn’t my cup of tea. I do not have the patience to coupon every single week. But, I know a lot of people who save a TON of money by doing this. Even if you can find a few coupons per shopping trip, every dollar adds up!
Unsubscribe from company emails
This was a tough one for me at first but I can honestly say, it really does help when trying to save money. Before learning about personal finance, I used to LOVE shopping and buying new things that I really didn’t need. However, the second I unsubscribed my email from all of the companies that I regularly shopped from, I immediately saw a difference in my spending habits.
Out of sight, out of mind.
I hope these frugal living tips can help you in your journey to becoming financially free! I would love to hear from you on what you do to save some money or if you might try any of these frugal living tips. Leave a comment and let me know!
Hey there! My name is Tegan and I am the author and creator of The Blissful Budget.
My goal with this blog is to help you save more money, earn more money, and start to live the life you want by obtaining financial freedom.