If you’ve been thinking about how to live frugally and save money, you might be wondering where to start. Frugal living comes as the result of many small changes and can take some time to implement.
What is frugal living?
Frugal living is simply being intentional with your money. Frugal and cheap are often used interchangeably but they are not the same.
As an example, someone following a frugal lifestyle would research and ensure they were getting the best price on an item they needed, and buy the best quality they could afford. That smart frugal person knows that buying quality costs less in the long term.
A cheap person would buy the cheapest version of the thing they require, and it would probably break on them.
The frugal person would happily save money on things like eating out and designer labels so they can enjoy a family vacation every year because living a frugal life means balance.
Benefits of a frugal lifestyle
There are huge benefits to a frugal lifestyle including less stress, more money to spend on the things you value and an increased appreciation for simple living.
I’m definitely happier now living simpler in a less-spendy way than I ever was when I was in debt up to my eyeballs with loads of shiny new things.
The Best Frugal Living Tips to Start Saving Money Today
These tips for living frugally are the ones I use in my day-to-day life. Living a frugal life has allowed me so much freedom that I’m not sure I could ever go back now.
1. Write your bucket list
You know, all those things you’ve dreamed of doing but never got around to because you were working, too busy with life or just plain did not have the money? Write all those things down.
Since you’re on your way to a more frugal life you’ll have more money and more time, so those dreams of yours are gonna come true.
Now – on to my best frugal living tips for achieving your dream life.
2. Create a budget that works for your lifestyle
The best frugal living tips won’t make a difference if you don’t have a budget. A budget is simply a plan for where your money goes each month.
It needn’t be scary, rather think of your budget as a tool for getting you the life you want.
There are lots of different ways to budget, so finding the right fit for you might take some time. I budget backwards, focusing on keeping my expenses low so I can save more. There’s also zero-sum budgeting, the 50/20/30 budget and numerous other ways.
More helpful resources:
3. Double batch your cookingI never cook just one meal. I either use my crockpotto cook up a bulk lot of meals or prepare enough for 2 full family meals. Turning on your cooker costs money – make it count!
Another of my top frugal living tips – never waste a hot oven – if you’ve been cooking a roast dinner and the oven is at full temperate, prepare some baking (muffins work great) to put in the oven as soon as you take our your main course. They should cook in half the usual time
More helpful resources:
- The Make-Ahead Cook: 8 Smart Strategies for Dinner Tonight
- Prep-Ahead Meals From Scratch: Quick & Easy Batch Cooking Techniques and Recipes That Save You Time and Money
4. Use a thermostatOne of the easiest ways to be frugal and save money is by using a thermostat. Using a thermostat is a smart way to be efficient with your heating.
The Nest Thermostat claims ‘independent studies have proven that the Nest Learning Thermostat saved an average of 10-12% on heating bills and 15% on cooling bills. That means that in two years, it can pay for itself.’ That’s a serious saving. Check out the Nest Thermostat here.
5. Increase debt repayments
Paying back your debt fast is another way to live more frugally as you will save money on interest payments in the long run.
Increase debt payments even if it’s only by a couple of dollars is the best way to start saving on your interest bill, as it’ll cost you less in the long run.
More helpful resources:
- 10 Things You Must Do To Get Out Of Debt
- The Mind Trick I Used to Cure My Credit Card Debt
- 5 Changes I Made to Become Good With Money
6. Learn how to make good coffee at homeIf you like coffee, one of the most simple ways to save money everyday is to learn how to brew the perfect cup at home.
Buying a home espresso machine was the best thing I ever did for my budget. I instantly stopped spending $4-$5/day on double-shot lattes. And after a while, I actually started to prefer my own coffee.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a decent espresso machine. The Mr Coffee Cafe Barista Espresso and Cappuccino Maker pictured above sells well and has excellent reviews.
An even cheaper option is the Aicook.
With the right equipment, you can even make barista-grade coffee with a french press, just make sure you get the right grinder. See here for more.
Whichever way you do it, learning how to make your favourite coffee drinks at home will save you a bundle of cash.
Note: I recommend staying away from the machines that require capsules. Not only is the environmental cost huge, the capsules are not cheap and you don’t get the variety of tastes that are possible with a regular machine.
7. Find ways to make extra money
The best way to start saving money is to increase your income so you have some extra money to save.
There are so many ways to increase your income these days. Extra income helps to pad your savings account and takes the strain off a tight budget.
If you’re willing to put in a little more hustle, you can build an online business like a blog or do freelance writing or virtual assistant work. The possibilities are endless.
More helpful resources:
- 8 Websites That Pay You to Take Surveys
- How to Get Your First Job and Work Online With Upwork
- How I Made My First $500 With a Small Blog
8. Get Cashback
Before you buy a single item join Ebates and check if you can get cashback first. I love Ebates! I get cashback on so many items including books (from BookDepository.com, travel and hotel books, clothes and more).
Plus you’ll get $10 FREE when you join Ebates and make a qualifying purchase. Join Ebates today.
9. Wash your clothes in cold water
Washing your clothes in cold water actually makes your clothes last longer. It preserves the dyes and does not shrink your clothes. I run almost all my laundry through a cold cycle only. For everyday washing, a cold cycle should be just fine. Try it and see what you think.
10. Line dry your clothes
Line drying is another great frugal tip. Line drying will save you money on electricity and dryer sheets. We have a clothesline in the backyard for when the weather is good, and an over-the-door drying rack for when we need to dry things inside. We actually don’t even own an electric clothes dryer and don’t plan to buy one in the future.
11. Reduce your grocery bill with Ibotta
It’s easier to save a dollar than make a dollar. That’s why most frugal living blogs focus on ways to save money. Joining Ibotta is one of the simplest ways to save money every day.
Ibotta is an app that allows you to earn money from scanning your receipts, claiming offers and using coupons. The best thing about Ibotta is that it works at the supermarket so you can save money on the things you buy regularly.
Once you have over $2o in credit you can cash out with Paypal or gift cards. Join Ibotta today.
12. Meal planning
Meal planning not only saves you money, it can save you time too.
I like to do my meal plan around what I already have in the freezer or cupboards. I then write my shopping list to fill the gaps in the meal plan. This stops me buying things I don’t need – and don’t have room to store, and forces me to use up what we’ve got.
If you need help meal planning, the $5 Meal Plan is an awesome service that’ll send you out meal plans so you don’t have to do anything. Meal planning is one of the best frugal tips because the grocery bill is usually one place most people can make savings.
13. Fall in love with lentils.
Using red lentils to bulk up meals means I have been able to reduce the amount of ground beef I put into things like bolognese, casseroles and chilli. This saves me loads on meat, plus lentils are packed full of goodness.
14. Shop your pantry
Using up what you’ve already got on hand is the best way to prepare frugal meals. Unfortunately for those of us who aren’t kitchen masters, being creative with new meal ideas doesn’t come naturally. One of my best frugal tips is to check out Supercook .
This site allows you to enter in the ingredients you have on hand and coming up with a frugal meal idea.
15. Try store brand
Every time you go shopping substitute one brand item for the store brand. This is a simple frugal tip to figure out which cheaper brands you can live with. Frugal living is all about experimenting
16. Save an emergency fund
Do you have enough in savings to cover the cost of your washing machine breaking down? Could you cover mechanical repairs if they happened tomorrow?
If the answer is no, you need an emergency fund. An emergency fund can mean the difference between paying cash or getting further into debt.
Having a decent sized emergency fund ($1000 is an excellent start) will help you sleep better at night and stress less.
More helpful resources
17. Buy used where possible
Almost everything you need was needed by someone else before you. Before you invest in something new, check if you can borrow if from someone. If that’s not possible, check out online forums and sites to buy used.
Buying used is better for the environment. You’ll often be able to buy a higher quality item used for less than the cost of a lower quality item, new. Think on that!
18. Switch to homemade cleaners
Cleaning products are one area where big savings can be made. Lots of frugal living advocates are big on making their own cleaners and I’ve gotta say, I now see why. I’ve switched to homemade cleaners in my home almost completely and it saves a lot of money.
More helpful resources:
- 12 Green Cleaning Recipes You Can Easily Make At Home
- 15 Amazing Ways to Use White Vinegar in Your Home
- 7 Clever Ways to Use a Pumice Stone in Your Home
Learning how to be more frugal and save money will change your life. I am now a frugality-convert and I love how much more freedom and happiness I have in life without financial stress.
What are your favourite frugal or money saving tips?