Trying to be a bit more frugal and save a little money? I don’t blame you! With the price of everything going up, we all need to find ways to save money in every way we can.
Here are some of the best frugal hacks you can try to incorporate into your own life. Not all these frugal tips will work for you, so take the ones that work for you and throw away the rest.
The most important thing is to create frugal habits that will help you live a happier, healthier, and more financially stable life.
If you’re sick of paying rent, van life may be an adventurous solution. It’s hands down one of the cheapest ways to live.
By moving into a van, your rent payments magically disappear. Not only do you shed your largest monthly expense, but you’ll actually earn money by selling stuff that doesn’t fit into the van. If you want to go all in, this includes your car.
After a few minimalistic weeks on the road, you won’t even remember all those possession you thought you needed.
The key to making this work is finding an affordable van and, if possible, buying with cash. There’s no sense in replacing your rent payment with an expensive car payment on a brand-new van.
That means buying used. My wife and I found a vintage 1992 Roadtrek for $4,500, and it was love at first site.
We spent the next six months exploring national parks while taking advantage of the endless free camping spots across the US. Our budget rarely passed $1,500 per month, all in, for two people.
Van life has exploded since then, causing van prices to soar, but you can still find deals if you’re willing to hunt.
Save Money for Trip Cancellation With a Credit Card
A travel company will usually charge you an expensive amount of money to have travel insurance, including trip cancellation and reimbursement. The policy allows you to cancel your trip due to illness, death, or some other unforeseen event without losing the money you paid for on the trip.
Here’s a little incredible money-saving hack. First, you can run a comparison across the Internet for cheaper policies based on the number of people going and where. Doing this vendor evaluation can save you a decent amount of money.
Here is where it gets even better. You can look up credit cards that have trip cancellations and reimbursement. One of them is the Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card. They charge an annual fee of $95, but if you book any part of your trip on the card, you get the trip cancellation and reimbursement coverage! You need to get approved for the card, but in some cases, this can save you hundreds of dollars, and you get total peace.
Housesit and Eliminate Pricey Hotels
Visiting a new place is always exciting, but it can become costly when you factor in accommodation fees. While many jobs pay weekly and allow you additional income to fuel your travel, if you’re looking to save money on your next trip, then why not consider house-sitting gigs as an alternative? Housesitting eliminates the need to book pricey hotel rooms or noisy hostels.
As a housesitter, you can arrange to stay at someone’s home and take care of it while they are away on holiday or out of town. In return, they cover your lodging expenses, so you can explore a new city, try delicious foods, and have unforgettable experiences – all for free! You can start out with Housesitter.com.
Save Money While on a Family Vacation
For many, getting away on vacation is a treasured part of the year, when the family can enjoy some crucial downtime, reconnect with each other and make lifelong memories. With the cost of everything skyrocketing, it is well worth being a bit savvy where you can when it comes to vacation costs.
One of the most expensive parts about vacations is undoubtedly the meals. When considering your dining options, make the most of any restaurant and food app discounts that may be available to you. If you are traveling to Orlando, for example, sign up for local restaurant websites and their social media accounts.
Many places regularly send out promotions and discount coupons via email and their social media handles which could save you and your family a small fortune when it comes to eating out.
Similarly, be sure to also sign up for the local food delivery apps, as they often offer incentives to new customers, which could be very useful if you enjoy the odd take-out while you are away.
In these economically challenging times, every little bit helps, and these tips really could save you heaps on dining costs for all the family.
Make Your Own Pantry Staples
As the saying goes, everything is better homemade. So many home cooks rely on store-bought staples to get them through their day. However, from nut butter to salad dressing, pasta sauce to spice blends, there are many that you can make yourself at home.
Making your pantry staples from scratch is a great way to save money and time. It also allows you to control what goes into your food, avoid preservatives and excess packaging, and reduce waste.
From there, it’s easy to add some variety by changing up the flavors or using different spices. The best part? You don’t need any fancy equipment or dozens of ingredients! One easy do-it-yourself pantry staple is making your spice blends.
Instead of buying those spice packets at the grocery store, use whole spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, or coriander seeds to make your own. Add garlic powder, onion powder, or ground ginger to your next batch of homemade taco seasoning. Or experiment with different herbs like oregano and basil for Italian-style seasonings.
You can even make your own pumpkin spice blend with spices you have a home. They are easy to make and will keep for a few months if stored in a small airtight container in your pantry.
Get Streaming With Ads
Around 85% of US households have at least one paid subscription to a video streaming service. According to the Deloitte Digital Media Trends study, US users have an average of four streaming service subscriptions.
With high inflation using more of our dollars and a potential recession on its way, you may be tired of shelling out for monthly streaming subscriptions that add up and hurt our budget. If you enjoy watching free movies online and TV shows and don’t mind ads, we have several streaming websites to recommend to you.
In November 2022, Netflix launched an ad-supported subscription tier at $6.99 monthly, a 55% discount on its most popular plan.
They join other premium providers offering a cheaper option with ads, including Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Paramount+, and Peacock, and free streaming alternatives. Together, they represent a more frugal option for those who want more content and can handle the occasional ad.
Use a Travel Credit Card
Most people associate Charles Schwab with a brokerage company. Still, it has a little-known service that makes a significant financial difference for Americans abroad—a debit card that reimburses ATM fees.
Schwab’s travel debit card allows travelers to withdraw cash at ATMs in 200+ countries and territories. The catch? You have to select an ATM compatible with your card. Luckily, they’re not hard to find.
Most ATMs operate with at least one of the following four Schwab-approved networks: Plus, Interlink, STAR, and MoneyPass. You’ll need to accept the ATM’s fee when using your Schwab debit card at a qualifying ATM. The bank will deduct the amount from your checking account, but only for a maximum of 30 days; at the end of each month, a rebate from Schwab for the ATM charges will appear.
There’s no need to worry about surpassing a maximum refund amount, given that Schwab has an unlimited rebate policy. You can also use your debit card to withdraw money. Schwab’s Visa card makes it easy to pay for merchant goods, and they won’t hit you with foreign transaction fees.
Since this debit card doesn’t require an account minimum, you can keep your current checking account, reserving your Schwab card for a frugal hack when traveling.
Exchanging Food or Services With One Another
My family and I sometimes do a frugal hack by exchanging food or services with one another. I have a large family, so we tend to rely on one another for things and services like cooking meals, borrowing things, or running errands.
For example, I can cook a meal for them one Sunday, and they can run an errand for me when I need something in return, and vice versa. Who doesn’t like a fresh and healthy meal, right? If you want to manage your time better, you should exchange services or food with your family or friend.
Everyone tends to be busy with their life and work, and no one has enough time to do everything in a day or week. It’s great to rely on people when you need them. By doing this, you can save a lot of time and money.
Cooking at Home
Cooking at home is a great way to save money by not eating out, but it can also be expensive if you tend to overbuy groceries. Most of us are looking for ways to save money wherever we can, and one way to do this is by learning how to cook only what you need.
Having a meal plan throughout the week is key to saving money at the store. If you live by yourself, browse recipes online to find easy meals for one person so you won’t be overcooking and wasting food. Then create a list of ingredients needed for the week and stick to it.
Be sure to look at all the items you have in your refrigerator and pantry before heading out to the grocery store. That way, you’ll avoid overbuying items that you already have.