Frugal living comes with so many pros. You should embrace it whether you want to save up for big purchases, pay off your debts, or build a robust emergency or retirement fund.
Implementing frugality is an excellent way to get your finances under control. These frugal living ideas can make that happen.
While people embrace the lifestyle for different reasons, the motivation is usually similar; to save as much money for the things that matter the most to us—looking to get started? These frugal living ideas will help you hit the ground running.
1. Create a Budget
At no point should you operate without a budget. Getting your finances under control is almost always impossible without a budget.
With a realistic budget, you can see the flow of your money and direct it to serve your short and long-term plans.
Let your budget reflect your fixed and varied expenses. List all the varied expenses and allocate a realistic amount for them.
Being realistic and disciplined will ensure you stick to the budget you create.
2. Cook at Home
You can significantly reduce your monthly food costs by buying ingredients and cooking at home.
The price of restaurant food is so high. The total you spend will go even higher when you tip and if you drive to the restaurant. You also want to avoid ordering takeaway; the delivery costs are never worth it. A study showed that an average American spends just over $1800 on takeouts annually. Even more surprising is that a 1⁄3 of this cost goes to delivery costs, tipping, and paying premium subscriptions for delivery apps, and not the food itself.
If you want to save money, start religiously cooking at home. It does not just apply to dinner or breakfast. Bring your lunch to work; it will significantly cut down costs.
If you cannot stop eating out, start by planning your meals for the entire week. Have a solid meal plan; prepare your meals in batches and freeze them for weekly consumption.
3. Buy Generic or Store Brands
It may be time to drop that name brand you have been loyal to for years. You have no business being loyal to it when it is costing you way more money. While this may not apply to everything, it certainly does for most.
One great thing to go for generic brands is pasta. Name-brand pasta is so expensive, yet people still cannot differentiate it from generic brands when cooked. This also applies to expensive cleaning products. Little to no evidence shows that expensive products do a better cleaning job. That goes into showing you how equally good some generic brands are.
Pet foods, condiments, frozen foods, salt, sugar, and flour are more genetic products that may serve you equally well.
4. Use Coupons and Discounts
People who frequently use coupons to shop for items on sale can save an average of 7% of their monthly grocery bills. This can go higher and higher depending on different factors.
The world of couponing is ever-changing, so always be on the watch out. For instance, not long ago, the best ways to find both manufacturers’ and stores’ coupons were in-store and in newspapers. However, many people currently stack them from the internet and print them for their shopping.
Align your shopping with your coupons to get the most from them. Download all the coupon apps you can and save some money!
5. Shop Second Hand
Shopping secondhand is an excellent opportunity to buy good quality items at a fraction of what the new ones cost.
There are so many things you can buy second-hand. Some of the best would be clothes, bags, shoes, kitchenware, household tools, electronics, toys, furniture, and cars.
Before you walk to a store to buy new items, check in the thrift stores around you. Be sure to check online marketplaces and yard sales; you could find a great deal there.
6. Cancel Unused Subscriptions
So many people keep paying for subscriptions they don’t use. An example is people with Netflix or other streaming services but are always too tired to watch after work. They cannot seem to get an opportunity to use a subscription they religiously pay for, but they won’t cancel it.
The other group is people who get subscriptions and completely forget about them. It is usually easy to forget about them because they are automatically deducted from your bank.
Take time, write down all your subscriptions, and immediately cancel what you do not use. These could go from cable TV, streaming services, and shopping platforms to gym memberships.
7. Cut Energy Usage
The average US household paid $122 per month in electricity in 2021. This amount has gone higher with increased electricity costs in the last few months.
But it does not always have to be that high; you can take the initiative to reduce energy usage and save money while at it.
Some of the most effortless things you can do to lower your energy bills include lowering your thermostat settings, switching off all devices on standby, turning off lights, air drying your clothes, and taking short showers.
You can do so much to cut your energy bills, but these should get you started.
8. Carpool or Use Public Transportation
A study done in 2022 showed that transportation costs an average of 13% of most households’ take-home pay. That is a considerable amount that you should think of cutting down.
Consider carpooling with your colleagues and friends and cost-sharing fuel and maintenance charges. You may also choose to use public transport if you are looking to cut on costs of fuel, car maintenance, and parking fees.
Besides, public transport would be a great way to escape traffic jams if you live in a city with bus-only lanes.
9. DIY Projects
From simple cleaning products to furniture and toys, there is so much you can make at home and save money.
It, however, does not have to be something astronomical. If you cannot make your furniture, you can still mow your lawn, paint your walls, fix your sinks, shovel snow, and fix your appliances.
Learn to do these things on your own. You will save so much money by not having to call professionals.
10. Entertain at Home
Going to amusement parks or other entertainment places, such as arcade games and bowling alleys, can cost a lot of money.
If you want to save, think of ways of having fun at home. You can play board games with your friends and family, play video games, read a novel, watch shows at home, or bond over meals.
If you have a yard, make a pitch for ball games such as tennis or volleyball.
11. Grow Your Own Produce
Create your kitchen garden today and grow your own produce. Start by finding the perfect spot in your yard. You could use pots or hanging crates on your balcony if you have no yard.
Next, decide what you want to grow. The best options include plump or cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, raspberries, salad leaves, spinach, coriander, radishes, carrots, potatoes, and beans.
Choose a few to start with, do the planting, and give them the needed support, such as watering and pesticides.
During harvest time, some produce can be harvested periodically. For instance, for salad leaves, or spinach, you can pick just as much as you need for a meal. However, for items such as strawberries, and other vegetables, you can harvest them when they are ripe and make jams and jellies. You can also cook and freeze vegetables for later use.
Starting small and learning the ropes is critical. Later, you can upgrade to a greenhouse if you have the space.
12. Use the Library
Instead of buying books one after the other, consider getting your library’s membership and borrowing their books instead.
This will save you a lot of money and space. If you want to declutter your house while saving money, using your library’s books will be a great way to start.
Just be sure to return the books in time to avoid getting fined.
You can also borrow movies, power tools, sports gear, bicycles, and scooters in some libraries. Check what your city’s library offers.
13. Exercise Outdoors
Most Americans spend $30-$100 monthly on gym memberships, depending on different factors such as location. To try and save more, many get annual gym memberships that can go from as low as $200 to as high as $1000.
What if you decided to exercise on your own and drop this membership? You could save that money for something else.
Go for morning runs and jogs, go hiking, skip the rope, walk up and down a flight of staircases, and find equipment-free exercises you can do at home.
14. Practice Mindful Shopping
Is shopping one of your hobbies? Many people say it makes them feel better. It is, unfortunately, not a sustainable and budget-friendly hobby. It will only give you an instant rush, and you will be back to feeling bad about it in no time.
Practicing mindful shopping will help you buy items responsibly.
To get started, start by finding other hobbies outside shopping. Had a bad day at work? Watch a movie with family and friends, do not go online looking for items to splurge money on.
Additionally, always be mentally prepared for shopping, buy what you have been planning to and not what you fancy when at the store, always choose quality over quantity, and make gifts simple but thoughtful.
15. Negotiate and Haggle
There are a lot of things you could get for a lower price if you negotiate. This could go from monthly subscriptions, hospital bills, cars, secondhand items, and even services such as plumbing, babysitting, and AC repairs.
Just make that call, negotiate, and request better charges.
Some people even go further and use bill negotiation services. Sometimes doing it yourself can be a long stretch. While you may succeed, it is only sometimes a guarantee.
Living a Frugal Life
Living a frugal life will help you move closer to your financial goals. Whether it is a significant purchase you are planning to make or trying to pay your debts as quickly as possible, frugal living will get you there. While there are many frugal living tips, these 15 would be a great start in the right direction; be sure to embrace them in your lifestyle.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.