Whether you consider yourself a master of the frugal lifestyle or you want to learn what it’s all about, having a bag of frugal living tips is always a great idea. Here’s a list of ideas you’ll want to try today!
If reusing baggies and making things from scratch is your jam, you might live a frugal life. You probably enjoy reading about frugal living tips, and you’re always looking for new ways to save money!
Many people snub their noses at frugal living, but they probably don’t understand the frugal lifestyle. This isn’t about hoarding every free thing you can find.
Being frugal isn’t about buying the cheapest version of everything.
Frugal people hate to spend money unnecessarily. They never want to spend money on items that don’t last nearly as long as they should.
That doesn’t mean they live a miserly existence! In fact, embracing this lifestyle can help you to have more money for the things that are most important to you.
Isn’t that better than worrying constantly about having an empty bank account?
More Frugal Living Tips for Your Bag of Tricks
In college, my band director was always telling us to keep a bag of tricks. She said we should always be on the look out for new ideas, because you never know what will work when you’re teaching a class.
Frugal living is the same way. Unless you’re brand new to this idea, you probably already have a bag of frugal tricks that you use in your daily life. But you should always be on the hunt for ideas you haven’t tried before!
Have you tried all of these frugal living tips?
1. Buy the Best
This very simple tip works for nearly every aspect of your life. If you’ve been an adult for any length of time, you’ve probably experienced the expression “You get what you pay for” first hand.
There’s nothing worse than thinking you got a huge bargain on the thing you’ve been shopping for…only to have it break the second time you use it.
So now you have to buy a better version of the same thing, plus lose out on the money you already spent! (Yeah, you’ll probably try to get your money back. But even if you’re successful, you’ve lost out on extra time and energy better spent somewhere else.)
I’m not telling you to always buy top of the line. Do your homework to find out which model works best for your situation. If it’s something you’ll only use a few times, it might be best to go cheap (but even better if you can just borrow or rent it!)
But anything you hope to use for years is worth the investment.
Good quality items last longer, work better, and they free your time for more useful projects.
2. Fix It
A friend of mine’s grandpa used to say, “If a man built, a man can fix it.”
With the invention of YouTube, that’s as true now as ever! Fixing old things is probably more worthy of your time and energy than fixing something you spent a few dollars on last year.
But more often than not, it’s better to fix it than to replace it.
If you’re really into money saving, be sure to check out the super affordable book, 500 Ways to Save Money: Build a Cash Jackpot for the Best Things In Life!
3. Shop Antiques
Older things are just made better. I always keep a short list of things I’d like to buy so I don’t impulse shop. (You wouldn’t believe all the bargains and adorable things you can find at a flea market!)
A few years ago, we went to an antique show and flea market. I found an old pitch fork. I looked it over and decided it was worth $8.
As I paid the man, he said, “That will make a nice decoration for your garden!” I laughed and said, “Oh, I’ll be using it the way it was intended!” That got a funny look!
But you know what? That old pitch fork works better than the new plastic ones they sell!
Keep an eye out for bargains on old things you can still use…even if everyone else thinks you’re a little crazy.
4. Line dry your clothes.
You could be a rock star and dry everything all the time! Or you could be satisfied with drying what you can when you can.
If you don’t have an area outside (or the weather isn’t cooperative) you could use a drying rack like this one.
5. Wear Twice
Living in dirty clothes is costly to your health. But that doesn’t mean that every time you wear clothes they’re automatically dirty!
If things look and smell fine, hang them to air out overnight instead of automatically tossing them into the hamper.
6. Hand Me Downs
A good circle of moms means a group of women with more clothes than any of you can stand! Ask around to see if anyone would like to swap clothing instead of doing the constant buy/sell/donate dance.
Little girl leggings are cheap, comfy, and so cute! But they also get holes in them after just a wearing or two.
If you already have loads of leggings (or got them as a hand me down), keep patches on hand. Cut them into cute shapes and stitch or iron them right on! It’ll make a fashion statement.
8. Eat Leftovers First
Funny, because you can’t really eat leftovers first. (I see you, literal people!) But you get it.
Finding food in the fridge that’s well past its yummy stage is such a bummer! It’s wasteful, and no frugal person likes waste.
Whenever you are thinking about your next meal, begin with leftovers. Use up last night’s grilled chicken in a soup or casserole. Have potato pancakes with leftover mashed potatoes.
My kids love it when I set a bunch of bowls of leftovers on the counter and tell them to warm up whatever they want for supper!
9. Double Up Ingredients
If you’re worried about buying a bunch of cilantro for one recipe, be sure to use two or three recipes this week that call for cilantro. Then you can use it up before it goes bad!
10. Shop the Salad Bar
It can be pricey to make a salad at the grocery store. But if you just need a little of one thing it might be cheaper to buy exactly the amount you need by the pound.
11. Save on Meat
If a friend will share a hog or beef with you, it’s much cheaper by the pound to purchase sides of meat from a local farmer.
12. Stock Up
A freezer filled with meat is great for the budget (and piece of mind), but a stocked pantry is also your friend. Frugal favorites include beans, rice, oatmeal, and flour.
One thing I do not recommend is a pantry challenge. Keep that pantry well stocked!
13. Batch Cook
If there’s still room in your freezer, make ahead recipes are a life saver! For those days when you’re too sick or tired to cook, a meal in the freezer can save you from pizza delivery or the cost of convenience foods.
14. Slice Your Own
Lunch meat costs a fortune! Plus, most of it has nitrates and things we’d rather avoid.
Slicing your own meat is cheaper, fresher, and tastes better. If you already have a freezer filled with meat, a stainless steel meat slicer like this will pay for itself in no time!
15. Water Bottles
If your family is often on the go, you can’t have too many water bottles! Dick’s Sporting Goods sells green Gatorade bottles for $6. And in the spring, you’ll find them on clearance in most grocery stores.
Grab a bunch to fill and keep in a cooler. You’ll spend less at the concession stand or convenience stores on hot days.
16. Cash Back
Use your Ibotta app! Pay attention not just to what you bought, but also to how many things you bought. Lately they’ve had offers to redeem an offer for, say, 5 bags of cereal on one receipt!
If you don’t have Ibotta yet, you’ll get $10 for free just to start! It’s one of my favorite ways to make my smart phone pay for itself.
17. While You’re Looking At That Receipt…
…check for errors you might have missed at check out.
18. Plant Something
You don’t have to start an elaborate garden to save money on food. Grab some cheap seeds from the dollar store and a wide pot from a thrift shop and you can have fresh lettuce for months.
You’ll get far more bang for your buck if you spend those dollars on perennial plants. Go for berry bushes or fruit trees. Asparagus, rhubarb, and other plants will come back year after year without extra expense.
Whether you love to grow food or garden with plants and flowers, many perennials will sprout more plants than you need. Why not find out if a friend wants to trade? You’ll love the variety (and the price!).
21. Save Parmesan Cheese Bottles
Save your empty Parmesan cheese bottles! Fill it with baking soda for cleaning. Or pack cookies or smooshable snacks securely for travel.
22. Waste No Water
Catch the water you use to warm up your shower and use it to flush the toilet or water plants or animals.
23. Fewer Paper Towels
Use old t-shirts and socks as rags instead of paper towels.
24. Coffee filters
25. Furnace filters (A reader says these are well worth the cost!)
26. Drinking straws
27. Snack bags
31. Less Car
Travelling by car seems necessary, and it often is. But when you can get away from it, do! Using a car is expensive. Whenever possible, carpool, bike, walk, or take simple public transportation.
32. Drive the speed limit.
Booooring. Maybe so, but you’ll save on gas and speeding tickets.
33. Keep tires inflated properly.
Another one of those gas saving measures.
Cars, homes, your bodies…keeping up with maintenance can be a pain. And it does cost money. But it’s far cheaper to maintain what you’ve already got than to buy a new replacement!
35. Cheap Stays
If you have the chance to camp instead of getting a hotel, try it! Borrow a camper or a tent.
Or try a cheap cabin at a state park. You’ll save all kinds of money and your family may enjoy the down time.
36. Buy Gas Cards
If you plan to travel, start accumulating gas cards ahead of time. Grab them from a grocery store that offers points.
37. Go Off Season
We enjoy going to the beach from time to time. By going one week earlier than peak season, we save hundreds of dollars on the same house others will pay much more to stay in!
The weather is usually beautiful and the smaller crowds make it an even better deal.
38. Enjoy the Hotel
If you’re going to spend money to stay in a hotel, don’t pack your days full of expensive activities. Our family gets a kick out of getting the full hotel experience.
You can get a lot of mileage from a hotel with free breakfast and an indoor pool!
39. Use Less
From toiletries to cleaners to condiments… use less each time and you can wait to buy more.
40. Rubber Band
When we switched to liquid soap I worried about so much of it going to waste. So I wrapped a rubber band around the spout a few times. Since it doesn’t pump as deeply, less comes out with each squirt.
Kids are really hard on glasses. Don’t spend a ton of money on them! We love Zenni for getting affordable glasses. (And I freak out less over them getting lost or wrestled to death.)
42. Durable Backpacks
Sure, you can get that cheapo bag with the picture of their favorite character on it. But it will probably break before Christmas break.
Luckily, for just a few dollars more you can find a backpack that will last them for years! Here’s a list of our favorite durable backpacks.
You probably already pack your lunch every day. After all, you can save thousands of dollars by packing instead of buying a lunch!
But do your kids pack their lunch? Not only will you save money there, but teaching them this skill will set them up for success as adults, too!
Here’s some simple school lunch ideas.
You know you’ll save a chunk of money for every degree to the less comfortable side of your heat or air conditioning. Many people suggest a programmable thermostat like this one.
If you don’t want to spring for another thermostat, just do it yourself! You probably walk through the house before you leave to make sure all the lights are out and nothing extra is plugged in.
Just remember to turn down the temperature control so you aren’t excessively heating or cooling an empty house.
Do not, however, turn it so far that you risk damaging your home. You’d be penny wise and pound foolish to let your pipes burst because they froze!
If you must buy a new appliance, make sure it carries the Energy Star logo. You’ll save the most on running these appliances.
45. Solar Lights
Cheap solar lights can guide your steps outdoors without costing anything to run. Line them near steps and other places you’d rather not trip in the dark.
I’ve found them at the dollar store!
46. Invest In Your Home
Use a bonus or other windfall to invest in something that saves a lot of money over time. This might be a wood stove, solar panels, a whole house fan, etc.
Learn what to do when you find yourself saying, “I Hate My House!”
47. Bank for Free
It’s harder to find a free bank account than it used to be, but it can be done! Online banks are especially friendly for this purpose. Capital One 360 is an excellent bank to try. I’m also intrigued by the savings rate that CIT Bank offers. (Look for a review coming soon!)
48. Get Out of Debt
I always hate seeing this one as a line item on a list. It makes me do this:
Dumping a bunch of debt is no simple matter. But you can’t consider yourself a frugal tip master if you don’t have an awesome plan in place to get rid of it.
Don’t worry, because I can totally help you learn how to get out of debt!
We paid off way over $20,000 in credit card debt in just over two years time. If you really want to read all about it, be sure to check out the book of 500 Ways to Save Money: Build a Cash Jackpot for the Best Things In Life.
49. Take It Along
This list of snacks for trips helped our family break a bad fast food habit!
50. Embrace the Potluck
Whether your hosting or attending, a potluck is a fantastic way to enjoy time together without anyone having to spend a fortune to pull it off.
Be sure to save this list of summer potluck recipes so you’re ready for the next gathering!
51. Be Content
Our family lived two entire #yearofnos. That meant we didn’t buy anything that wasn’t essential for living. We told the kids no a lot.
It was super hard! But in the end, we learned how to just be content with what we have. It was really good for us.
While we couldn’t sustain that lifestyle forever, we’ve reentered regular life with a new perspective. We hate to spend money on things that aren’t worthy of our time and energy.
Does that sound like something you’d like to try? You’re going to need a support system! Try our Facebook group, Living That #YearofNo Life. It’s a group of amazing people who love the frugal life…just like you! (And, of course, it’s free!)
That’s 50 frugal living tips that just make everything better!
You’re clearly a savvy saving superhero, but I bet you wouldn’t turn down extra money saving tips! I know you would love the Medium Sized Family newsletter. It comes out once per week and it’s packed with new ideas for saving money in your frugal life. Get signed up here: