If you’re a stay-at-home parent, work from home, or have a full time job outside the house, there are many ways to make ends meet, and even have money to save, when living on one income.
Whether you are living on one income or are just trying to save money, it is always a good practice to make the most out of your money.
Living frugally doesn’t mean you have to only buy cheap or deny yourself things you want or need. It just means you are conscious about the things you buy, and spend your money wisely.
From cooking meals in advance and freezing them for later use, to learning how to make your own cleaning supplies at home, here are some frugal living tips that will help you save money while still maintaining a decent quality of life.
What does frugal living mean?
Frugal living means being intentional with your spending. That may be spending less on what you actually need and learning how not to spend any money on things you don’t need.
These are easy ways to implement in your life to increase your savings, meet your goals and still help you live a nice lifestyle on one income.
Making smart choices now, means that you will create a better future for you and your family. Financial freedom is a possibility for anyone if the right choices are being made.
Here are 35 Frugal Living Tips to help you make the best choices.
Save Money on Groceries
Most people would have to agree that groceries take up one of the biggest chunks of the monthly budget. So, if there are plenty of ways to save money on groceries why not give at least a few of those a try.
From frugal meal ideas and getting cash back, read on to learn a few more tricks on how to save money on groceries.
Also, check out the article on the best ways to save money on groceries to cut your monthly grocery budget in half!
Meal prepping is a huge money saver off of your grocery bill and quite an important one especially if you have a bigger family.
The key is to learn a few staple cheap meal recipes that you can circulate every few weeks.
Some ingredients are more budget friendly than others so finding recipes that use these ingredients will feed more people on less. Meat is usually the most expensive ingredient, so either buy meat on sale, or do meatless recipes a few times a week.
An awesome way to meal prep and save money is to join the $5 dollar meal plan which takes out the headache of meal planning for you.
They provide five dinner plans as well as a few bonuses of breakfast, lunch, dessert or drink recipes. The focus is to make all the meals $2 or less per person!
Want to get free money for your grocery purchases? Download the Ibotta app that gives you money back.
All you have to do is upload your receipts and you get money back almost instantly.
Be sure to check which items are on the list of things you can redeem money for before you go shopping. Then just make a list to make sure you get the items you need.
Once you have purchased the items, upload the receipts, and your money is going to be adding up every month.
Have any subscriptions you’re not using? You might not even be aware of automatic payments going to these subscriptions that you don’t use anymore.
So, make a list of all the subscriptions that you currently have. If you are not aware of all of them, then check your credit card statements to make sure you got all of them.
Once you have your list, go through every one of them and decide if you truly need that subscription.
More than likely, you don’t use some of those subscriptions and others you can really live without or substitute them for something that will bring the same value but is significantly cheaper.
The Dosh App is a great way to get money back on your purchases. This app includes everything from stores to restaurants and gas stations.
To get cash back, you need to link the credit cards that you use and then you automatically get cash app when you shop at qualifying places.
Sometimes the app has even better promotions such as getting $30 back on any hotel you book on top of the regular cash back you would normally get.
Check the app frequently to make sure you don’t miss any great promotions.
Being able to watch almost any movie or show at any one of the subscription services such as Netlfix or Hulu, there is no need to keep around cable anymore.
Now you get to enjoy your favorite shows for much less out of your pocket and have the ability to watch them as many times as you’d like.
Sometimes Buy Generic
While not everything generic is an equal substitute, there are many things that you won’t even notice a difference in if you go generic.
And if you’re trying to live frugally, be willing to make some of those sacrifices at least a few times a month.
Reduce Energy Costs
Did you know that you can actually cut down your energy costs quite a bit by using electrical outlet insulation?
All you have to do is install the foam padding behind the electrical outlet covers. You only need to insulate the outlets that are on the outside walls of the house. That way you won’t feel the cold draft through them and the heat won’t be able to escape so quickly.
It is a quick, easy, and cheap fix that will help your dollars add up in the long run.
While this option is more expensive, insulating your walls in your home well, will make an even better difference in your energy costs.
Check Insurance Rates
Not all insurances are created equal. Insurance rates vary by hundreds of dollars for the same type of coverage or even more things included for less.
Rates can depend on place of living, history, and your particular needs. The same insurance policy can also cost significantly less in another state.
Check around the different insurance companies to make sure you are not only getting the best rates but the best coverage.
This includes insurance for anything you need like your home and car. Don’t be afraid to have different insurance policies for different things, however, also check if the insurer has a discount for insuring both things like your homeowners and your car insurance.
Eat Out Less
Eating out creates a big spike in your spending. If you sit down and add up how much you’re really spending on eating out, that amount will shock you.
By cooking more at home, you will have the benefit of not only saving huge chunks of money but also eating a healthier meal.
If you usually buy lunch at work, consider prepping lunch the night before or even meal prep for the whole week. Even one meal a day adds up to several hundred dollars per month.
Use Coupons and shop sales
Often times stores have coupons online that you might not be aware of. It is always good practice to do a quick search online or ask the cashier if they know of any coupons for the day.
Sign up for newsletters of places you shop at to have all of their coupons and promotions come straight to your inbox.
Lower Cell Phone Bill
Is your phone bill pretty high? Well, there are many ways to lower it.
If you don’t want to switch from your current provider (Which can save you so much money), here are a few tips to lower your cell phone bill
- Choose autopay. Not only do you avoid those late fees but many phone companies will give you $5+ dollars off for putting your plan on autopay.
- Call and ask what new plans they have. Have they rolled out with new and better plans that might suit you better?
- Ask what discounts they provide. If you have been with the company a while, they might give you a better rate just for being a loyal customer.
- Find people to add to your phone plan. The more people there are on a plan, the less it is per person.
Lower Your Home Bills
Make your home energy efficient by lowering your home bills.
Try using light bulbs that will lower your energy costs or by decreasing your AC usage by using a fan in the room you’re spending time in, instead of cooling down the whole house.
To cut expenses outside, gravel some areas of your landscape and choose the right plants to reduce the amount you need to spend on water.
Here’s a way to save even more on gas and groceries. All you have to do is add new offers in the Checkout 51 app, go shopping as usual, and then scan your receipts.
It’s as simple and easy as Ibotta and will double your cashback!
Try a savings challenge
Saving $1000 in half a year is possible on even the lowest incomes.
Yes, it might be hard, but with all these savings tips there is no reason to not be able to save that much in 6 months.
Try a savings challenge like this to make it even more easy.
If you still aren’t able to, check out these side hustles to start earning more money.
Refinish Your Own Furniture
If you love updating your home but have a budget to stick to, consider refinishing some of your furniture pieces or décor.
No matter the style of your furniture, you can make them look brand new with a little bit of sanding and a coat of fresh paint or stain.
The décor pieces can also be refreshed with a coat of paint. Or use natural elements to create new décor pieces such as branches, pine cones, plants, or seashells.
Use Your Credit Card Wisely
Most credit cards have rewards like cashback or miles. Choose your credit cards wisely according to how much money you can get back.
Some credit cards give more rewards for groceries, some for travel, and sometimes it is a flat percentage rate for anything.
There are even credit cards out there that don’t give any cashback so if you have one of those, make sure to get one that will benefit you, if you are going to use a credit card anyway.
Use the credit card according for what it is meant for. If your credit card gives more points for groceries and gas, then you use that credit card for those things.
Be sure to only use a credit card for this purpose if you are able to pay everything off at the end of the month. If the balance isn’t paid off, then you are losing money instead of gaining.
Do you do a lot of shopping online? Then you are missing out on so cash much if you’re not using Rakuten.
Rakuten is a web browser extension that allows you to shop at thousands online retailers and get a percentage of cash back.
Check out Rakuten to get CASHBACK.
You know that feeling when you’ve already bought something online and then you see it on sale for less?
It’s not so great. Well, now you can do something about it.
Paribus scans and tracks your email confirmations of your purchases to find price changes.
Once it detects potential savings, it lets you know and helps you get that money back.
Not only do you get money back for price changes, but Paribus also tracks your shipments and compensates you for late deliveries. They also keep track of the return windows for you so you don’t ever miss returning something if it doesn’t work out.
Buy in Bulk
When you buy in bulk, even though you pay more up front, you end up paying less in the long run.
That is because the more you buy, the less it costs per unit. So, when you have the option to buy a small package or a larger package of an item, going for the larger package is saving you more money in the long run.
Cook in bulk
The goal is to spend less money, but this one will save you time too. When you cook in bulk and freeze it, you will always have something at home that you can eat.
That way you don’t end up eating out and you don’t have to spend time cooking as much.
Make Coffee at home
Let’s face it, coffee is expensive, especially if you like certain specialty drinks. One cup of coffee can be up to $5 and there are days where we drink not only one cup per day.
Those couple of dollars add up so there is a better solution. Make your coffee at home. It can taste just as good and even better made at home.
Download the store app
Many stores have apps that allow you to see current deals and coupons. If there are stores you frequent regularly, see if they have an app you can download.
Once you have the app, there are even more benefits and features you can explore.
Get thrifty with clothing shopping
If you’re someone who likes to refresh their wardrobe every now and then, consider thrifting.
Thrift stores have a lot of hidden gems that are items from quality brands, but the price tag is considerably less.
All you need to do is dig a little to find your treasure.
Amazon Subscribe and Save
This is Amazon’s program that allows you to set up a subscription for any household necessities.
Once you go to purchase an item, you have the option to choose Subscribe and Save for select eligible items. There are thousands of items available on which you will get additional savings when you choose that option.
All you need to do is choose how often you want the item to be delivered and the quantity of items you need.
The discount is anywhere from 5-20% savings depending on the item.
Sell anything that you don’t use
Not only is a cleaner space going to feel more productive, selling things that you don’t need will give you extra money to use wisely.
That might mean selling some clothing, furniture or home décor pieces to bring in money.
Travel off season
If you want to travel while living a frugal lifestyle, opt to travel during the off season. You will save up to 50% on many things from flights, hotels, and sightseeing activities.
It is best to keep a travel fund out of your savings to have a specific budget set for your travels.
It is possible to travel while living frugally and there are many ways to save money while being on the road.
Put all your bills on autopay
Avoid those extra charges by putting as many bills as you can on autopay.
Life can get busy and sometimes we might forget to pay a bill. By having autopay on, you won’t get charged the late fees, which can add up pretty quickly.
Buy a car you can afford
Car loans, with over a trillion dollars of debt, are the third largest debt percentage for Americans.
If you are making a payment on a new car that is anywhere from $200-$500 dollars a month, it’s time to make a change.
To save yourself hundreds of dollars per month, buy a used car instead. That way you own your vehicle free and clear and don’t need to worry about coming up with several hundred dollars per month to make your car payment.
That money can go straight into your savings which will make a huge difference in your ability to save more money faster.
Switch to Cheap Hobbies and Activities
It is possible to have fun without spending a fortune. It can be DIYing, exploring a new part of your city, having a picnic, or even a classic board game night at home.
Some fun activities can even be productive like crafting to make gifts or to sell online.
Crafty home-made gifts
Getting a gift for everyone in your life can add up quickly with birthdays and Christmas.
Spend some time making your own gifts which are going to be not only cost effective but also much more meaningful.
Some gift ideas that people enjoy can be handmade candles, personalized items, bath bombs or macrame hanging plant holders.
There is a plethora of gift ideas to choose from and best of all, they can be done on a budget.
Pay down high interest debt
High interest debt is a big budget drainer. Paying those interest fees can put you back in your financial goals.
Credit cards usually have the highest interest rates. Try to find the credit card with the lowest balance and highest interest rate and pay that one off first.
Then use the snowball effect to continue paying off all the debt until you are finally debt free.
You may want to get a balance transfer credit card that will allow you to transfer your existing credit card balance onto a new 0% APR credit card. Use this time to pay off the balance without accruing any more interest.
With no more debt payments, you will have that money left over to save every month.
Start up a side hustle
Having more money left over at the end of the month is always a good thing, and there’s no better way of having money left over than making more money.
There are so many side hustles you can do today; all you need to do is get started.
Here are 50 Side Hustles you can get started with today.
Minimalism doesn’t come naturally to many people, but in order to truly live a frugal life, you have to practice minimalism.
This means only spending money on things you truly need, not spending it on things whenever you please.
Not only will it save you money, but having a clean space is better for productivity and happiness.
While all these tips are great to reduce your spending, increase your savings and be able to live on one income, taking control of your money is important. Without sitting down and analyzing your spending, you can’t fully take control of your budget.
To start, figure out your income, add up your expenses, and then figure out which expenses can be reduced through these tips.
How to make the switch to frugal living?
It is not always easy to make a change.
The best way to start is to make a few changes at a time. Choose one or two of these tips to implement at first.
When you feel like you have a good handle on them add a few more things to change in your routine and financial life.
By making these changes, you will be able to set yourself up for a rewarding financial life of freedom.
Read more on how to Create a Budget That Actually Works in 6 Easy Steps.