People are looking for a way to either start saving or put aside more money.
But, even the best savers might find themselves unable to achieve their goals as soon as they’d want to.
If you want to save, you can embrace frugal living tips with a big impact. Don’t just get into it without a plan. Learn to prioritize.
Read on to learn about frugal living and how to start. By the end of this guide, you’ll be saving more than you thought you could.
What Is Frugal Living?
Did you cringe at the mention of the word ‘frugal’? Don’t worry; you’re not alone.
Being frugal has been incorrectly associated with meanness.
Frugality doesn’t mean denying yourself the things you love.
When you’re frugal, you start paying more attention to what you’re spending on.
Simply put, you spend less on the items that aren’t as important so that you channel more money into your top priorities.
It also means not buying stuff all the time and instead maximizing what you have.
The result? More money in your bank account.
How Frugal Is Too Frugal?
You’re probably wondering if there’s any such a thing as being too frugal? Yes, there is. Extreme frugal living tips might cost you more money than you’re saving.
How do you know when you’ve crossed the line?
- You overlook quality in the name of cost. The result is multiple purchases, which damage your pocket.
- You’re losing friends and family. Sometimes your lifestyle choices might cost you more than just money. For instance, if you never get the bill at lunch with friends, you’re probably being too frugal.
- You do without basic needs and skip key appointments. If you find yourself missing meals to save, you need to slow down on frugality. Or if you’re missing doctors’ appointments and endangering your health.
Can Being Frugal Make You Rich?
No. Frugality is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But, in the long run, being frugal can help you build wealth. For instance, you can use the money you save to invest and grow your funds.
How Can I Be More Frugal with My Money?
The key is in the priorities. The more you check your priorities, the more you can save.
For all the frugal living tips and ideas that will make a difference in your life, stick to this guide.
The Benefits of Frugality
Retire in style – The earlier you start saving up for retirement, the better your life will turn out. With modern frugal living tips, you can even retire early.
Be financially free – Financial freedom means nothing is tying you down. Living frugally will get you to financial freedom faster than you thought. Why? The sacrifices you make now will be worth it in the future.
Live a content life – Being frugal means you learn to prioritize needs instead of wants. You don’t give in to the pressure of buying unnecessary items like trendy phones or the sleekest car. But, you can still get these items after proper budgeting.
Give to charity – If you want to support a charity but can’t because you’re always tight on budget, frugality could be the answer. When you’re frugal, you can save more to give more.
Dip your toe into investments – Another advantage of frugality is it leaves you with enough money to invest. Still, you can go for those opportunities without the fear of losing because your savings will cushion you.
Live stress-free – You probably barely have enough to get you through your monthly needs, and living that way can be stressful. By being frugal, you can save up and stop waiting for the next paycheck.
Best Frugal Living Tips with A Big Impact
1. Track Your Expenses with A Budget
If you want to avoid wastage, work with a budget.
To create a proper budget, plan your spending according to your income. You can make it weekly or monthly. Your expenses could include school tuition, insurance, rent or mortgage, groceries and transport.
Allocate an amount for each item on your expenses list.
A budget will help you stop spending on unnecessary items. For instance, if you allocate $70 for your groceries, you can’t spend $100.
The budget will also help you designate some money for savings. It’s hard for some people to save unless they put aside an amount for it.
2. Healthy Eating Is Equal to Healthy Spending
It’s nice to eat out once in a while, but overdoing it can dent your pocket.
To keep your food expenses low, eat healthily. You can make fresh food at home and carry it to work. Most healthy ingredients, especially plant-based ones, are cheap. Meat can be an expensive option.
The other advantage is that eating healthy can help you cut down your hospital bills in the long run. How? High carbohydrate and sugar diets pose a risk of diseases such as diabetes.
3. Live A Debt-Free Life
Although it is impossible to avoid debt in some instances, such as a mortgage, you can still keep what you owe at a minimum.
Try as much as you can to pay for everything in cash.
Another way to stay debt-free is to pay off all your credit card balances. Still, cut down on the number of credit cards you own.
If you have many credit cards, you end up with multiple interests to pay on those cards.
4. A Small Home Is the Way to Go
If you want to buy a big home just for the sake of it, don’t. To live frugally, buy a modest home and don’t give in to the pressure of wanting to show off.
The beauty of a smaller home is that you can pay it off quickly. In the long term, smaller homes sell faster than big ones.
Besides, buying a bigger home than you need will push up your expenses. Your energy costs will likely go up because you’ll have higher heating and cooling needs.
5. Keep Your Transport Costs Minimal
By using your car daily, you incur costs such as gas, parking fees and insurance.
If you live near work, you can use an alternative mode of transport such as a bike or even walk to the office.
Even if you don’t live near work, you can walk to the grocery store or the barber’s. This way, you can save and keep fit at the same time.
When going on long trips, you can plan well in advance and, if you can, carpool to cut down the costs.
Another way to cut down on car expenses is to downgrade to one vehicle. If you and your spouse have similar schedules and use the same route, you can do away with one car.
6. Cut Down On Doctor Visits
Medical bills can burden you, especially if you have to pay out-of-pocket. Even if you have insurance, you can spend a lot of money on premiums.
The average American spends nearly $5,000 on insurance per year.
That’s why it’s crucial to keep your health bills in check by eating right and exercising. Also, avoid habits that are likely to land you in the hospital, such as smoking. In fact, when you’re healthy, you can avoid loss of income.
The good news is that some insurance firms give you rebates for a healthy lifestyle.
7. Expensive Colleges and Universities Aren’t Always Worth It
The idea that going to an expensive school directly translates to a better job is flawed.
It’s true some expensive schools can also have better facilities, but other factors like your grades determine the job you get.
Instead of paying for expensive schools that will leave you drowning in student loans, pick an affordable one.
What’s more, you can start in a community college and later move to another school to finish your degree. Community colleges are usually a cheaper option.
8. Delay Big Purchases
The best way to avoid impulse buying is to delay making big purchases. It’s also called the 24-hour rule.
Unless the big purchase is a necessity, wait before buying. The wait will give you time to think about whether the purchase is a need or a want.
For example, if let’s say you’re browsing online and you see a pair of expensive sneakers you hadn’t budgeted for. If you wait 24 hours, you have enough time to make a smart decision.
Most of the time, you’ll realize you didn’t need the item, stopping you from making a bad decision.
9. Plan for The Future
If you only live for the moment, you are likely to overspend. One of the best frugal living tips to save for the future is to think long term.
Set a goal which you’ll work towards, and this will help you stay on track.
Ask yourself questions such as where you want to be in a couple of years or even longer.
The realization that living in the now will not secure your future can help you live frugally and save more.
10. Trim Your Grocery Budget
Because you need groceries daily, this is one of the biggest areas to monitor for frugal living.
Picture this, if you save $300 monthly on groceries, it means you have $3,600 in savings yearly.
If you want to cut down on grocery expenses, stick to your shopping list to keep you from buying unnecessary items.
Another way to save is to avoid shopping on an empty stomach to avoid the temptation of impulse buying.
On top of that, you can save more by using a cashback app like Checkout51.
If you have a big yard, you can plant your own garden to reduce your grocery budgets. In addition to being a frugal living tip, growing your own food can be an excellent hobby.
Besides, through canning, your vegetables can last longer.
Unfortunately, this strategy is not viable for those who live in apartments or small city homes.
11. Avoid gym memberships
Although keeping fit is crucial, gym memberships can be quite expensive. For instance, a New Yorker can pay as much as $130 monthly for a gym membership.
Worse still, some people sign up for the gym and never go.
To avoid high gym costs, and still stay fit, use an online fitness program.
Apart from saving you money, it saves you trips to the gym.
12. Used Items Can Still Be as Good as New
Want to live frugally and save more? Don’t be obsessed with new items.
Some people sell stuff they have barely used, and you could buy from them.
For used items, you can go to flea markets and thrift stores in your area.
Of course, don’t sacrifice quality as you buy used stuff.
13. Why Don’t You Do It Yourself?
Hiring people to mow your lawn, paint your fence or wash your car can be expensive.
Instead, why don’t you learn to fix things around the house?
The beauty of Do It Yourself hacks (DIYs) is that not only do they help you save, but you also earn crucial skills. Besides, DIYs can be fun, especially when you do it as a family.
You can even make some household products and avoid buying them, such as laundry detergent.
There are YouTube tutorials for just about everything nowadays.
14. Get A Side Hustle
Doing a side job can be an excellent way for those wanting to live a frugal life to earn extra income.
The good news is that you can work from anywhere. You could try freelancing or making items for sale. As a freelancer, you can run a frugal living blog.
The extra money can help you pay off your debt faster or save for early retirement or a vacation.
You can do a side hustle with proper planning that doesn’t make you take time away from your family.
- 15. You Don’t Need Those Subscriptions
If you’re one of those people who have signed up for everything, you may need to rethink your subscriptions.
Subscriptions usually amount to a few dollars per month and may easily go unnoticed. These subscriptions could be in the form of the internet or TV. But, if you add them up, your monthly total might even be as high as $100.
Besides, you can look for free entertainment instead of sitting in front of the TV the whole day. For instance, try the local parks.
16. Live Away from The City
City living comes with its own costs, which can be burdening on you. If you can, why not move away from the city?
Although living in a city can help you save on gas if you live near work, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
For instance, you might find yourself paying more in rent in the city or your grocery expenses going higher. A property in New York, for example, can go for over $2 million, while in Kansas, it sells for below $50,000.
If your company offers the option of working away from the city by moving you to another branch, take the opportunity.
17. Sounds Crazy, But You Can Build Your Own Home
Some people have saved more money by building their own home, and you can do it too.
Like Cara Brookins, you can build your own home from scratch and save lots of cash.
Luckily for you, there are many YouTube tutorials on how to build your own home.
Although you can get most of the work done yourself, some parts need an expert. For instance, in Cara’s case, a professional did the brickwork for the outside.
On average, it cost $153 per square foot to build a house in 2017 in the US.
18. Monitor Your Energy Bills
If your energy bills are keeping you up at night, you need an audit.
You could call an expert to check your home for cracks that could be making you lose energy.
Apart from that, there are other ways to save on electricity bills. They include:
- Wearing warm clothes to avoid cranking up the heat
- Using LED bulbs
- Buying fans to avoid air conditioning costs
- Taking your laundry out to dry
- Lowering your water heater temperatures
19. Keep an Eye On Bargains
Although cheap doesn’t always mean quality, there are still some great stores to get good bargains.
You can save money on the products as well as shipping costs. Why? Some bargains will include free shipping.
A great place to start is Dollar Tree, which has a range of bargains, including books and glassware.
20. Choose To Work From Home
With the digital shift, more offices are allowing their staff to work from home. For employers, having some of their employees work from home is a way to reduce costs.
You could take advantage of this arrangement and avoid costs such as fuelling your car, buying lunches and snacks.
Sometimes it might even help you save on office wear as you no longer have to dress up for the office.
However, this frugal living tip with a big impact doesn’t work for everyone because you can only do some jobs from the office.
21. Postpone That Vacation
If you feel like taking a break, you can consider a staycation. It’s nice to go for a vacation, but skipping a year once in a while doesn’t do any harm.
Taking vacations can be expensive because it comes with airfares or fuel, hotels and site seeing charges.
The beauty of a staycation is that you save money and rest because making a trip to a vacation destination can be tiresome.
Frugal Living Tips for Seniors
Perhaps you’re already in your sunset years with few ways to make income. Don’t worry; there are still many frugal living tips and ideas for seniors.
Some of the frugal strategies to employ in your retirement include:
- Maximizing on senior discounts
- Stop paying for some insurances such as disability insurance if you don’t need them
- Take your vacations off-peak
- Move to a smaller home
- Make your meals at home
- Get free entertainment with a library card
- Make and stick to a budget
- Avoid late fees
- Thoroughly declutter
- Take care of your home to avoid frequent repairs
- Engage in frugal activities such as going to museums, giving free talks and giving back to the community
How Do You Live a Frugal but Great Life?
Living frugally can seem like a road to a boring life. All the budget cuts can suck the life out of you. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
One way to have a great life while still living frugally is to prioritize holidays. Give yourself a break every once in a while so that all the saving is worth it.
You can also set aside some fun cash. As you budget for your expenses, put aside some money to do what you love. Just be sure to stick to the budget.
Another way is to maximize the DIYs. You can end up making some cool stuff from YouTube tutorials that will make frugal living fun.
What’s more? It’s easier to live a great frugal life once you pay off debt. Because debt can make your life miserable, start by paying all the money you owe.
Live your best life now
Are you ready to be a part of the frugal living community? You can start now through the above frugal living tips with a big impact.
You can start with simple acts such as tracking your groceries budget. In the long run, the money you save daily or weekly will make a difference.
Also, you can avoid impulse buying. One way to do that is to wait 24 hours before making big purchases and to avoid buying new items if used ones are as good.
Still, doing most things yourself can help you save more and have fun while at it.
Remember, frugal doesn’t mean boring. You can have a great life while living frugally.
This could be your year of frugal living.
Hi, I’m Andia.
An expert personal finance & investment writer and blogger. I help people like you turn your spare time into $1000 per month or more outside of your day job.
I’ll help you identify proven side hustle ideas you can take action right away and make six figures working from home or whenever your schedule allows.