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.
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