20 Practical Budgeting Tips Frugal People Always Use

If you’ve been struggling to improve your finances, you might be in need of some reliable budgeting tips. Budgeting tips can help anyone on their path to financial freedom, and many of them are easy to start!


Whether you’re just starting out budgeting or you’ve been doing it for years, there’s a budgeting tip for you. Why not get started today?


Pick a Budgeting Method

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If you’re getting started with budgeting, it’s important to select a budgeting method that’s right for you. There are several budgeting methods out there for a variety of financial situations.


The 50/20/30 budget is a popular method for budgeting beginners. In this method, 50% of your income goes towards bills, 20% towards savings, and 30% towards wants.


Another trendy budgeting method is the envelope method, also known as cash stuffing. In this method, you allot certain amounts of money into labeled envelopes for different categories. Once you’ve used up the money in an envelope, you can’t make purchases in that category anymore. This is a great method for preventing impulse spending.


Track Your Income and Expenses

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Keeping track of your income and expenses is one of the most valuable budgeting tips out there. Anticipating your income is vital to being able to set a budget. Additionally, having an idea of what your regular expenses are can help you plan ahead.


Tracking these numbers over time can help you identify areas of spending to change, as well as help you save.


Set Financial Goals

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Setting financial goals is an important step toward financial growth. If you don’t have goals, it can be hard to motivate yourself to stick to a budget. Financial goals can help hold you accountable and give you something to celebrate.


Prioritize Essential Expenses (Housing, Food, Utilities)

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An important part of budgeting is prioritizing only the most essential expenses. This typically includes your housing, food, bills, and other monthly payments.


It’s totally fine to spend money on things you want or have fun. However, you don’t want to be left with no money for essentials – so make sure to put those first.


Cut Unnecessary Expenses (Subscriptions, Dining Out)

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It can be disappointing to cut things out of your budget, but it’s a practical way to save more. You’ll want to start by cutting unnecessary expenses that you don’t want or need. Some common examples are app subscriptions or regularly ordering take-out.


Use Cash or Debit Cards Instead of Credit Cards

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Although credit cards can be a helpful tool to build credit, they can also backfire quickly when used incorrectly. High-interest rates and missed payments lead to late fees and a lowered credit score.


This is why it’s good to use cash or debit cards whenever possible, especially while budgeting. These forms of payment are easier to track and also have less consequences attached to them.


Build an Emergency Fund

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One of the most important budgeting tips you’ll ever learn is to build an emergency fund. An emergency fund is money you set aside in case something comes up, such as car troubles or medical bills.


Many people start an emergency fund by setting aside some money every month until they’re satisfied with the amount.


Automate Savings and Bill Payments

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Automating savings and bill payments is a great way to stay on track of your finances at all times.


Automating savings means allotting a certain amount of money to savings every month or every time you get paid. Automatic bill payments help you prevent missed payments or late fees.


Shop With a List and Avoid Impulse Purchases

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Coming prepared with a shopping list is a great way to prevent impulse purchases. Plus, this is one of the simplest budgeting tips that anyone can implement immediately!


Cook Meals at Home More Often

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Dining out, or ordering take-out, comes with tons of additional fees and rampant overpricing. Avoid these steep checks and cook meals at home more often. You’ll be spending less money on food and using a practical life skill!


Buy Generic or Store-Brand Products

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Many people get used to buying popular name brands when they’re out shopping – whether for food or home supplies. However, generic and store-brand products are often just as reliable for a cheaper price.


Use Public Transportation or Carpool

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Gas isn’t cheap, and neither are car maintenance fees! Why not save where you can and avoid driving if possible?


Public transportation is a reliable, eco-friendly way to get around town. You could also consider carpooling with coworkers, friends, or family.


Negotiate Bills (Cable, Insurance, Etc.)

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Did you know that many of your monthly bills are actually open to negotiation? From cable and wireless to insurance payments, many companies will work with you to lower your bill.


It’s important to plan your strategy ahead of time, including what you want to say and why you are negotiating. Rather than lose you as a customer, some companies may choose to lower your monthly bills. Or, when money is tight, you could negotiate just one bill or payment.


Reduce Energy Consumption (Turn off Lights, Unplug Devices)

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Many people don’t realize how much energy their household devices take up every day! Simply unplug your devices when not in use and turn off lights when you don’t need them. You’ll likely see a small but helpful reduction in your overall electric bills.


Shop for Discounts and Use Coupons

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Shopping doesn’t always have to be expensive if you use discounts and coupons to your advantage. From online deals to in-store steals, there are several ways to save money while shopping.


Plan For Irregular Expenses (Holidays, Vacations)

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Big expenses are a natural part of life. From family vacations to seasonal shopping, it’s easy to get caught off guard by irregular expenses.


Instead of being surprised, keep these events and milestones in your budget. Plan accordingly to have extra money when you need it!


Sell Unused Items Online

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Are you one of the many who has several unused items just lying around your house? Times change, and so do the things we use. Why not make some extra money by selling your old things online?


Avoid Payday Loans and High-Interest Debt

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Payday loans are often advertised as a good way to get cash quickly. However, since they’re typically very high-interest, it’s best to avoid them.


When it comes to loans, the lower the interest rate, the better it is for you. Don’t get caught in the debt cycle of interest fees. Instead, avoid these high-interest loans altogether.


Invest for Long-Term Financial Growth

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Many budgeting tips can help save money in the short term, but what about the long term? Consider getting into investing and watch your money grow.


Rather than sitting stagnant in your bank account, investing moves your money and can help multiply it. Make sure to do research before diving in so you can choose the investment strategy that’s right for you.


Review and Adjust Your Budget Regularly

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Making a budget is a great place to start – but finances ebb and flow. It’s important to regularly review your budget and see what’s changed. You may want to change your budgeting method, adjust your income, or keep things the same.




There are several budgeting tips out there that can be used by anyone and everyone. From cutting back on spending to investing, there are many different paths you can take to grow your finances. The sooner you start, the more your money will grow. Happy budgeting!

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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.