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Incorporating frugal living tips into your day to day is a must when you’re trying to save money. Simple (or drastic) tweaks in your lifestyle can help you free up hundreds per month to apply to debt, your savings, or just to have more experiences.
Check out these 11 tips that save me over $800 per month!
Plan out your meals!
Once upon a time, I spend $400 a month on fast food alone. Nope, not joking.
The sad part is that I was making less than $20,000 a year at the time. Yuck.
Food is notorious for eating your whole paycheck, but once you get a handle on it then you’ll find yourself with a lot more spendable income. Instead of scratching your head wondering what you’ll eat tomorrow night, plan out your meals for the whole entire week.
When you know exactly what you will be eating, or at least have a few meals in mind, those random trips through the drive-thru will decrease. It’s hard to think logically when your stomach is rumbling, but your meal plan will help to keep you focused.
Now, I only spend around $460 a month on food, combining fast food and groceries together!
Extra frugal living tips to save money on food:
- Order your groceries online! This way you know your total before you check-out, and have time to adjust your cart as needed. I love using Walmart Grocery Pickup and, unlike Kroger’s Grocery Pickup, there’s no pickup fee! When you use my link you’ll get $10 just for trying it out!
- Buy meat in bulk
- Try more meatless meals
Negotiate lower interest rates
High-interest rates equal high interest charges. This sucks when you’re trying to pay down debt, but luckily there’s a possibility that you can reduce your interest rate by just simply…asking.
If you know you’re an awesome accountholder and keep your accounts in good standing then businesses will be more willing to work with you. Give your credit card company or lenders a call and inquire about lowering your rate.
Don’t beat around the bush. Get straight to the point so there is no misunderstanding and please don’t be snappy because..hello..who willingly wants to help a rude customer? NO ONE!
Hello, my name is _________ and I have a________________ with you. My interest rate is no longer in my budget so I’m calling to see if I could get it lowered. I’ve been a customer of yours for __________ and I would really love to keep my account with you.
Follow a budget and track your spending
Oh yes, I had to throw the budget talk in here because it is a must if you want to make your money work for you. Putting yourself on a budget doesn’t have to feel limiting, but when you see your income compared to your expenses you may find it necessary to cut back in a few areas.
The first time I created a budget I realized my expenses exceeded my income. Yikes! If you don’t have a budget yet, I highly recommend checking out my budgeting for beginners post where I break down each step you need to take to create one. Then, grab my free budgeting eBook!
Once you have your budget created, track your spending to ensure you’re staying on track. You can do this by writing down every transaction you make, but I recommend using the free app Personal Capital. It will make this part a lot easier because your tracking will be done for you!
If you find yourself over budget, go back through your spending to identify your weak spots. If you see frequent transactions from a particular category, such as shopping, then you know you need to come up with a plan to curb your spending.
Since following a budget, I’ve gotten my personal spending down from $416 to $260!
Pack your lunch for work
Sorry foodies, this is one of those frugal living tips that may sting.
We all know those people that go out for lunch every single day. Seriously, my coworker spends $20 on lunch alone. Times that by a 5-day workweek and that comes out to be $100. That’s $400 a month on just lunch!
I’m totally describing my old self right now, and if this sounds like you then it’s time to paper sack it!
Simply packing your lunch three days a week has the potential to save you at least $30, or $120 a month. $120 is not a small amount of change for the average person so imagine what you could do with your savings.
I used to spend roughly $8 a day on a combo meal, but I’ve (painfully) gotten into the habit of bringing my lunch every day of the week. This saves me $160 per month!
If possible, try to always pack your lunch the day before! This helps to mentally prepare you for what you will be eating and helps to limit those “forgot my lunch” days.
If you’re still paying for cable then consider cutting the cord. Are you really watching all the 300+ channels you have available? Probably not.
With all of the streaming services available nowadays, there’s really no excuse to still be wasting hundreds per month on a cable box. Hello, Netflix.
I remember shelling out $120 per month for channels I swore I’d watch but never did. I’ve been without cable for almost six years now and no I’m not deprived of television!
Now, instead of paying $120, I stick to my $12.99 Netflix plan. If I have to catch a show, I plop on a friend or family member’s couch and watch it on their dime!
Popular streaming devices to try!
Amazon Firestick – This was the first streaming stick I used and loved it because I could watch my YouTube videos and Netflix. You can also watch your favorites from Prime Video, HBO, etc. It comes with Alexa built-in for voice control and allows you to stream for free with Pluto TV and others.
Roku – I currently use Roku after ditching the Firestick (it just didn’t like connecting to my Samsung TV.) It works just like the Firestick, but of course, has different features. It comes with a Roku channel that allows you to watch movies and shows with no subscription and I love how the remote has buttons for easy access to streaming services like Hulu.
Money-saving posts to check out next!
Buy used clothing from consignment sales
This is my jam! Seriously, if you’ve never tried a consignment sale then you’re missing out!
Consignments allow you to rack up on secondhand items sold by the original owner for a fraction of the cost. I get my kid’s clothes from a children’s consignment sale called Rhea Lana’s, and it’s jam-packed (literally wall-to-wall) with gently worn clothes that are ridiculously cheap. Like $2 a shirt cheap!
A trick I use to get my kid’s clothes for free is to sell their old items at the sales and then use the profits to buy a size up! You can check to see if there are sales in your area here.
For my clothes, I use thredUP which is an online consignment sale. I’ll admit the first time I ordered I was imaging sweat stains and rips, but you cannot even tell these clothes are secondhand! You can view the clothing on a mannequin (I like to zoom in) and it tells you the item’s condition (new with tags, excellent, minor signs of wear, etc.).
On my first order, I purchased 17 items for $106 and saved 77% off retail price! Try them out through my link and get $10 to shop with. Trust me, that $10 can get you at least two items!
Switch to prepaid
Cell phone plans with unlimited data can easily cost you $80+ per month. I remember paying $100 but did most of my scrolling on WiFi. I justified the cost by telling myself that I needed Pandora for my car rides to and from work.
All that to say, there’s really no good reason to pay an extra amount of money for something you can do using WiFi. Prepaid plans are nearly half the cost and most come with unlimited talk and text. As long as you stay disciplined and limit your scrolling when you’re not connected to WiFi, then you won’t even be able to tell a difference!
I saved $55 by making the switch and even got to keep my same phone from my previous carrier!
No, you DON’T need it
Out of all the frugal living tips, this will probably be the hardest but it must be done!
It’s easy to say you can separate your wants from your needs, but actually doing it is a different story. This is why debt and a bare savings account are so common.
Being frugal is all about giving your wants a rest, and instead focusing on the things you actually need to survive. That is:
Notice I didn’t say the newest iPhone. It takes a lot of discipline to tell yourself no to the things you used to indulge in, but the money you will save makes it all worthwhile.
Take advantage of cashback!
You will still have to make purchases, such as groceries, but when you do aim to get cashback! If you already have a credit card that offers cashback rewards, consider getting in on the free money.
My Discover card offers 5% cashback on rotating categories. When there’s a category I view as worthwhile, like gas, I make those purchases using the card. Doing this, I was able to get $10 back in the month of July!
If you’re not responsible with credit cards, then I don’t recommend playing with fire.
There are also free apps like Ibotta that award you with cashback on your grocery and drug store purchases! All you do is scan your receipt to redeem your offers!
Also, since the holidays are approaching, be sure to take advantage of cashback sites like Rakuten. It’s free to use and once you click through to the retailer’s site you just make your purchases as you normally would!
Prioritize your spending
Incorporating frugal living tips into your life doesn’t mean that you can never have any fun. When you prioritize your spending, you spend money on what means the most to you and cut back on what doesn’t add value.
For example, I love Starbucks! Instead of giving up all of my coffee runs, I choose to avoid buying lunch and shrink my other budget categories in order to keep the coffee train running. It’s all about balance!
Enjoy free entertainment
When we think of entertainment we often think of things that come with a bill, but fun doesn’t always have to have a cost. There are plenty of things you can do that are low cost or completely free no matter the season or whether you have children.
Don’t overlook the simple things, such as going for a walk by the river or playing at the park. Also, be on the lookout for free or discounted events that local businesses offer, such as the museum.
Being frugal often gets a bad reputation, but in reality, you just choose to be intentional with your money. Cutting back on spending allows you to do more of what you want to do versus what you have to do. Even if you don’t try all of these frugal living tips, applying one or two will help you save money in the long run!
Take the FREE money-saving course!
If you’re ready to take the savings you’ll have from these frugal living tips up a notch then you need this course! I’m sharing the strategies that have allowed me to go from saving $360 to $4,800 per year on one income!
- The first step you need to take towards saving (it’s not what you think)
- How to find a balance between bills, saving, and debt
- The one thing you need to do to stop withdrawing the money you’ve saved!
- How to keep your head in the game so you don’t wind up quitting…again