Frugal Living 101: 30+ Hacks to Live Large on a Small Budget

Incorporating frugal living tips in your life can help you live better!

I hope some of these frugal living tips help you be frugal, no matter your reason for doing so. These frugal tips will help you get started today!


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When you live a life of simplicity, you can spend time and money on what’s important to you.

The best frugal living tips are the ones that work the best for you- the ones that will help you start living frugally and make your life easier.

Financial success can give you options in life, and you can also help others by giving and using your power (after all, money is power) to help others.

Here are some of my absolute favorite frugal tips to help you start your journey to frugal living.

Budget. Budget. Budget.

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Creating a budget that works and then STICKING TO IT is the best and biggest frugal tip anyone can give you.

Creating a budget gives a structure to your spending, allowing you to spend money on what you want and not spend money on things you don’t want to spend money on. That is the definition of living a frugal life.

When You Find a Great Deal, Buy In Bulk

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Buying items in bulk when they are on sale is a great way to save money- not only do you save money, but you have to go to the store less. When an item is on sale, has a coupon, or has a great cashback deal, then grab a few.

This is a particularly great tip for meat and chicken. If meat is on sale, have your butcher cut it up into smaller pieces and then wrap them separately.

Label everything clearly! Buying large amounts of meat is usually cheaper than buying individually cut pieces.

Reduce Your Shopping Trips So That You Spend Less Time in Stores

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The more time you spend in a store, the more likely you are to spend money. Make a shopping list of the main things you need so that you have a guide to help you stay on task. (Want to save more on groceries? Here are 12 ways you can save)

Buy Items on Sale and Then Plan Your Meals Around That

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The number one way to save money at the grocery store? Plan your meals around what you buy, not the other way around.

Eat at Home

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We experiment at home! We don’t go to bakeries; we find something fun with the kids from home. You can make so many meals and treats at home with a little planning and creativity.

Stock Your Freezer

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Keep your freezer stocked with meals, so you don’t need to get takeout when you are stressed or overwhelmed.

When you cook, double the recipes so you have food ready to eat.

Soups freeze well and are great for this type of thing. This is particularly important before a major holiday (Pesach, anyone?) or if you are having a baby. Have freezer meals ready to go so you can save money on take-out.

Keep Old Fruit

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Keep frozen fruit and vegetables in your freezer to make quick smoothies and vegetable dishes in a pinch.

You can take the slightly browning fruit (from those bananas you bought on sale and that no one eats even though your kids told you that bananas are their absolute favorite food) and freeze them for really cheap snacks and smoothies.

Avoid Cleaning Help

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We clean one floor together as a family every Sunday, often turning it into an activity. Keeping your messy house clean helps you avoid the need for cleaning help, and being organized will often save you money.

Get the Kids Involved

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Train your children from a very young age to do chores and household cleaning according to their ability. Have a list of things that need to get done nightly, weekly, and monthly. Make it a fun family activity you can do every night.

Wear Hand-me-Downs

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My kids and I wear really lovely hand-me-downs. You can trade with other families or shop at thrift stores to get nice clothes for you and your kids.

Decide What You Need

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I decide before each season how much of each clothing item my kids need and only buy that amount (if some of it is from hand-me-downs, even better). Sales were causing me to overbuy until I set it up this way.

Choose the Right Place To Live

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We live in an area where families are happy with little making it easy to live below our means and our kids to have fewer expectations. Choosing where you live is key to being content with your frugal life.

Turn Down the Heating and Put on a Thick Sweater

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The house doesn’t need to be warm enough to walk around in a t-shirt and bare feet in the middle of winter.

Automate Everything

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Bills, savings, fun money, etc., should all be automated. Use the extra mental bandwidth to implement money-saving systems.

When you automate, you don’t have to spend tons of time thinking about money: living a frugal lifestyle does not mean you are always concerned about money.

Use the Library!

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I love the library! Having a library card is one of the biggest ways to live cheaply; I don’t buy books anymore.

If you decide to invest in a Kindle or other e-reader, you can also get tons of free e-books online. I love using my library’s Libby App to get free books downloaded to my Kindle- no matter the time of day.

Don’t think you will only save money on books! Libraries also offer many other services- some have games you can borrow, discounted passes to museums, and many other free or cheaper things. Get a library card!

Related: Why Is Reading Important? 20 Powerful Benefits of Reading Books 

Wait 24 Hours

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Everything in the Amazon cart has to sit for 24 hrs.

Anytime you shop online- keep your stuff in the cart for 24 hours before purchasing to reduce impulse spending. An extra perk of this trick is that companies will often send you a coupon code for items you left in your cart to entice you to buy.

Shop Generic Brands

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Avoid big-name brands and look for value in products instead of name recognition. Buy generic brands as a rule and only buy brand-name products when you have a coupon or if you know that the product is significantly better.

Get Freebies From Companies

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Companies and organizations give a lot of stuff away for free. Books, samples, and baby gear are just some examples of the things you can get for free.

Start your frugal living journey by signing up to get all the freebies you can. These freebies will help you spend less money on items you are not totally sure you want to buy yet.

Related: How To Get Free Baby Stuff: Free Baby Samples & More 

Join Giveaway Groups

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My favorite frugal living tip is to get stuff for free. I save a good chunk of money by trying to get as much stuff for free as possible.

These groups exist in different forms and on different platforms. Some are part of the official “Buy Nothing” Facebook groups, and some are just WhatsApp or email groups. Some of the many things I have gotten from my neighbors include a bunk bed, a table, chairs, a dresser, and a set of shelves.

Shop Garage Sales for Old Toys

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Garage sales are a great place to get cheap stuff, especially big outdoor toys or toys made of plastic like a plastic slide, a toy kitchen, riding toys, etc. These are easy to clean and hold up well, even if a few families use them. Garage sale shopping is a great way to get expensive toys for very cheap.

Get Rid of the House Phone

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Since everyone has a cell phone, you don’t need a house phone. Get a cheap prepaid cellphone for emergencies if you need a house phone.

Go Vegan

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Cut down on meat, chicken, and fish in your diet. These are usually more expensive, and you can save money by buying healthy beans and grains instead.

Related: How To Save Money on Food 

Buy a Large Freezer

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I promise that your freezer will pay for itself in 6 months or less. If you have to, keep it on your patio or in your garage- anywhere you can get electricity and somewhat protect it from the elements.

Be Creative With What You Find

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For example, if you have a chest freezer, take the door off, and in an upright freezer, remove the door and turn it on its side. Drill some holes in the bottom, and fill it up with dirt.

Now you have a raised garden bed that won’t kill your back. Of course, that only works if you find an old freezer, but you can go dumpster diving or drive around and see what is being given away for free.

Related: Upcycle: The Best Way To Find Quality, Value, and Fulfillment 

Do Free Fun Things With Your Friends and Kids

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Good thing I have tons of ideas on how to have fun on a budget. I wrote about 45 free things to do with kids indoors and nine fun things to do with kids at home.

If you don’t have kids, you can still do free stuff at home instead of going out (and spending money!). You can have a board game or even a romantic date at home.

Use Money-Saving Apps

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Spend some time signing up for Rakuten (Ebates), and Ibotta, and use cash-back apps to save money on things you are already buying.

Shop Clearance!

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When you go shopping, go to the clearance aisle first. When you shop online, look in the clearance tab first. Make it a rule never to pay full price.

Hang Your Clothes To Dry

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Using a drying rack to hang your clothes will save you money on your electric bill and make your clothes last longer, and you will need new clothing less often. That is a lot of reasons to make the switch!

Play Safe With Credit Cards

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Credit cards can be a useful tool, and some credit cards offer excellent cashback opportunities that you can use to get perks, free gift cards, or even use the cash back to pay your bills.

REMINDER: only use a credit card if you can afford to pay it off in full. Do not go into credit card debt to get some perks.

Try To Get Free Electronics

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I know this is a long shot, but if you don’t care about the newest and the best, try to find someone who either cares about the latest upgrade or tries to find someone who constantly gets free upgrades. You can then get or buy their phone or tablet for cheap.

For example, my sister-in-law’s phone broke, and the sound does not work well. She could get a new one for free, and I took her old one.

For the price of a pair of headphones, I have a perfectly good smartphone. Be creative in how you can do things like this.

Meal Prep To Save Money When Working Long Hours

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If you work a long day, then all you want for lunch is convenience! That often means buying lunch. Avoid the extra spending by meal prepping in advance; this is healthier for you and will save you money.

You can invest in some good lunch-packing materials to have a delicious, warm meal while working super hard.

Use Your Employer’s 401K or 403B To Invest

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This allows you to build investments without ever having access to the money, making it impossible for you to spend it on something else inadvertently.

If you qualify, you will find that many of your places of employment will offer these types of accounts (hopefully with a great match). Take advantage of that and use that money to create a life you love.


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Do you work or attend school outside of the home? Connect with co-workers and classmates, find out if they live close to you (or are on the way), and form a carpooling group.

Carpooling can save you money on gas and tolls and is also great for the environment!

The 20 Things People Used To Cheap Out On, But Now They Swear By The Expensive Versions

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When budgeting and saving money, trying to cut corners wherever possible is tempting. However, some items are worth investing in due to their better durability or quality compared to their cheaper counterparts.

The 20 Things People Used To Cheap Out On, but Now They Swear by the Expensive Versions

22 Unconventional Side Hustles That Can Make You More Money Than Your 9 to 5

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Have you ever wanted to make a lot of money from a side hustle and quit your 9 to 5?

22 Side Hustles You Never Considered That Make More Than Your 9 to 5

10 Extreme Cheapskates Tips That Are Honestly Great Tips For You To Try

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Are there any extreme cheapskates tips that are reasonable? Reddit thinks so. After someone asked for examples of these hacks, they delivered this excellent list of resourceful tips.

10 Extreme Cheapskates Tips That Are Honestly Great Tips

Sorry Millennials, These 20 Skills From The 90s Are No Longer Relevant

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The 90s saw a tremendous shift in technology, and many skills that were once essential have become irrelevant in today’s world.

Sorry Millennials, These 20 Skills From the 90s Are No Longer Relevant 

Eye Rolling Intensifies: 28 Boomer Comments Gen Z and Millennials Can’t Stand

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Older generations love giving advice and telling younger people things. While there are plenty of life lessons to learn from older people, young people are tired of hearing some of what boomers have to say.

From OK Boomer To Eye Roll: Gen Z and Millennials Are Sick and Tired of These 28 Boomer Comments 

This post originally appeared on A Dime Saved.

Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.

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