Hey bloggers, frugal-living lovers, and freedom chasers!
Psst! If you’re new here, this is blog is where I share how I’m making money online. You can start your own money-making blog with the help of this post. This post was my most popular post EVER on my last blog, so I thought I’d bring it back! Thanks for your support everyone!
The past year (from 2015) has been a financial roller coaster for us, complete with two moves and a change in jobs for my husband.
Update: This post has been so popular that I decided to follow it up with 50 more ways to live frugally.
There have been times where we were just fine financially, and others where we were scrambling to make ends meet. We have learned that even in the good financial times, we must prepare for the inevitable times when we aren’t coasting along.
Therefore, we’ve embarked on a journey to self-sufficiency and frugal living, and have been exploring new ways to save and make money.
We are sick and tired of living a life ruled by money, and that is part of why I started blogging.
There are many ways to live frugally, but it is hard to keep track of them (and continue doing them) when you’re not used to being so mindful about money. But when combined with a few little side hustles, a frugal lifestyle can really have a huge impact on your financial future!
I came up with this list of ways to stretch our money, partially out of necessity and partially to see how far we could really take this whole “frugal living” thing.
Some of these things might seem obvious to you if you’re already a “penny pincher,” but I know that my family often spends extra money mindlessly.
Most of us could stand to be a little smarter with money, right? If that sounds like you, take a look at these little ways to live frugally:
50 Little Ways To Live Frugally
- When your dish or hand soap is 3/4 of the way empty, refill with water. (The way that you scrub your hands is actually more important than the soap you use!) You will have to buy soap less often.
- Use home remedies and DIY whenever possible. I use Castile soap to make some things.
- Save your yogurt cups, milk gallons, etc. to use for storing dried goods, crayons, paper clips, etc. Or invest in good glass food containers or BPA-free plastics.
- Wash and reuse plastic baggies as long as they didn’t have raw food in them.
- Use reusable water bottles. My favorite are Nathan “Big Shot” bottles.
- Water your lawn or garden at the coolest time of the day.
- Water heavily 1-2x per week versus every day. Durable Dramm soaker nozzles are my favorite way to get it done quickly.
- Grow your own fruits, vegetables, or herbs. If you’re new to this, you’ll want to check out a few great how-to books, like “Starter Vegetable Gardens” by Barbara Pleasant.
- Redeem your deposit for glass, aluminum, or plastic bottles.
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs.
- Try adding or removing a layer of clothes before turning up the thermostat or turning on the air conditioner.
- Save your pennies.
- Use your towels more than once.
- Set a timer for showering time. Here’s a popular cube timer to keep you accountable.
- Wear your clothes longer between washes.
- Weather strip your windows or doors to save on A/C and heating costs.
- Walk to work or the store when you can.
- Start a carpooling group.
- Trade things you don’t need or have too much of for other goods.
- Download coupon or grocery store apps to maximize points and rewards. I love iBotta!
- Join the rewards programs at the places you shop most often if you haven’t already.
- Take a vow of minimalism for a week (or month, heck, longer if you can!)
- Meal plan and don’t go out to eat. I use reusable meal-prep containers like these.
- Set up automatic bill pay to avoid late fees.
- Set up direct-deposit for a savings account so that you deposit into savings easily with each paycheck.
- Use less toothpaste (we also try to use every last drop with a gadget like this one.)
- Only wash your hair every other day.
- Use Craigslist, Amazon, or Ebay to sell unwanted items.
- Invite yourself over to your parents’ house for dinner. 🙂
- Eliminate those things you don’t need from your grocery list.
- Sign up for freebies in the mail.
- Thrift shop before stopping by the department stores if you need new clothes.
- Visit the sale/clearance section before looking at the full priced areas.
- Combine your trips around town to be most fuel efficient.
- Plan meals more than 3 days ahead to avoid last-minute trips to the store.
- Preserve food. You can get started with help from the Ball home preservation book.
- Compost all of your food scraps. You will have less waste, meaning less garbage bags, plus you will make great stuff for your garden! Here’s a nice kitchen compost bin.
- Go on a no-spending challenge– see how long you can go without buying anything but the basics (fuel, food, bills!)
- Go on free dates– take a walk, go to the park, community events, etc.
- Take your kids to free events– libraries, community centers, parks and recreation districts and schools have them all year long.
- Use up everything in your fridge and pantry before going grocery shopping– warning, requires creativity!
- Set your water heater to a lower setting (degrees) so that less electricity is used to heat your shower, dishwasher, etc.
- Use a budgeting tool like mint.com to keep track of and understand your spending.
- Use cash whenever possible. Studies show that people who use cash instead of debit/credit cards tend to spend less.
- Go old school. Use a checkbook to keep detailed track of your spending.
- Keep a payment schedule so you don’t miss payments. I like to have a calendar with the date of the month a bill is due and the amount due that month. (You can grab my monthly bill checklist when you subscribe to the blog.)
- Set your washing machine and dryer to cooler water and drying temperatures to save on heating costs.
- Make a grocery list and plan your trips before going to make sure that you don’t forget anything and avoid impulse buys.
- Learn how to turn leftovers into new and exciting dishes by playing with new recipes.
- Reuse plastic grocery bags as trash bags in your own home or invest in reusable bags.
I know there are a ton of other ways to live frugally, but one can only master so many before getting overwhelmed.
These are all small, totally feasible changes that can really add up!
I like to remember the old saying from the Great Depression era, “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” (I even made this fun printable for my readers! Subscribe to snag it.)
Living frugally can be fun if you make it into little challenges to see how much money you can make or save, or how long you can go without buying new clothes, etc.
If you’re not used to living a frugal life but want to, pick a few things from this list that are realistic for you, and start with those…they’ll be more likely to stick that way.
Have fun and thanks for reading!
Other posts you might like:
- 20 Artisan Gift Ideas for the Holidays
- 50 Different Ways to Make Money Blogging
- What is a Blog? The Definitive Guide for the Clueless
We save a lot of money by recycling! Where we live, recycling is free but taking off trash to be disposed of costs a dollar a bag. We only spend $1 a week on trash! I recycle almost everything. Our big savers are cardboard, steel cans, plastic bottles and junk mail/spent school papers. I used to get eggs in Styrofoam and would save up the containers to donate to daycare for crafts. These take up a lot of room in trash bags! I now have found a store that has eggs 50% cheaper that packs them in recyclable cardboard! Win win!
Nice! Where we live, we pay $19 per month for garbage, unlimited recycling, and unlimited yard debris removal. I thought that was cheap but you sound like you have it better! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Thanks Chantal, I have been doing many of these things for years and it works. The next generation needs this!
I agree (though I am probably in that group)! Thanks for reading 🙂
Hello from a sunny Rochester in England. Hope you do not mind me letting you know a tip i use if anyone in the family have bad colds. Instead of paper tissues to clean noses use old hand towels, ( i still have the Terry Nappies from when my lot were babies). When each one gets dirty just pop in a bucket in the bathroom then empty the bucket into the washing machine and put on a hot wash. This not only saves money but also no worries about running out. True this really is best if not going out but still saves quite a bit even taking electricty into consideration. Oh i also use eco balls for my washing so even cheaper than using washing powder/liquid.
Those sound like great ideas Julie! Thanks for stooping by!
Great idea’s! I especially loved the one about shopping at thrift stores first. I often find what I’m needing there. For instance I hade lost some weight and had to get rid of my black dress pants. At the department stores black dress pants were between $30-$50!! I checked out a thrift store and found a great pair for $6!! I often found fantastic clothes for my kids (especially dressy clothes like Christmas and Easter dresses) for a few dollars.
Yes! We always check thrift first for things like that. Thanks for stopping by Tina 🙂
I do a lot of this stuff all ready one tip that i use to save on my water bill is that the kids (girl 8, boy 4) use a bucket to shower and me and hubby limit our showers to 5 mins. Or less. I also grocery shop at Aldi. We wash our twice a week. I save all my change and i grocery shop only twice a month no matter what.
You can be old school and use a check book to track all your spending or you can you use an app called EveryDollar to help you budget and tracking your spending in each category. 🙂
Low flow shower head. Be sure to stop any leeks anywhere too.
Ok everyone, a few things I told my mom to do. 1) Buy several pks. of Bread and save them in the freezer until next. 2) Being from Dominican Republic we eat allot of beans so, I told her to buy them dry, in bags, we then boil them and save them in those plastic cups for a day’s servings. 3) Same with Cheese and Ham/Turkey. In the freezer. 4) I told her about lunch for my dad and now she started. 5) IDk where this one was from but, to look at the back of Name Brand Products and see the makers. You can also see of the same products with a different name brand from the same Company. 6) Check of products from your knees down and those should be cheaper. 7) Pay things via Email and it saves on Envelopes and Stamps 8) Go to the Library to read Magazines and in there, they might also show movies on the Weekends. 9) Make a list of things you need and ONLY get those. No matter what else you see. 10) I don’t know where I heard this one but, go food shopping on a full stomach. See if any of those help.
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Thanks for sharing! I like the idea of a payment schedule. It’s so nice to have it all organized so you don’t have to pay late fees!
This is a good list! I like the idea of stretching soap and towels longer. Getting the most use out of something is essential to frugality!
I like your blog. However inviting yourself to parents house. Not cool many parents are on a fixed income and with today’s prices perhaps you should invite them once a week. Their money may be tighter than yours.
I have been shopping my closet instead of buying something for an occasion., Found 2 dresses that will work great for a wedding. May have to shorten them but that is doable. We all have “stuff” we can use once again.
1. Put a dry towel in with each dryer load. Clothes dry faster, using less: electricity, wear and tear on dryer, and on your clothes.
2. Women can switch to a menstrual cup (no more tampons). Use reusable cloth menstrual pads w/Velcro.
3. Pay with discounted gift cards. Even 2-6% makes a difference over time.
4. November/January small appliances go on sale with rebates making them free, start with ebates and you even make money. One store allows up to 5 of each item, so order a few extra for gifts: birthdays, weddings, etc. They are even shipped free to your home. I did the rebate online saving postage. Be careful not to hoard.
5. Share a birthday card with a close group of friends. It gets signed and passed for each birthday year by year.
When your dish detergent or anything in a bottle looks empty, put the lid on tight and turn it upside down and rest it in a glass or mug. You’ll be surprised how much more product is in the bottles.