101 easy ways to save money and be frugal.
Want to know how to live frugally and save money? I’ve got you covered!
When it comes to frugality, there is no one size fits all and I truly believe there are hundreds of different ways to be frugal. It all comes down to personal preference, future goals, and current income.
What Does It Mean to Live Frugally?
Frugality often gets a bad rap. Many view it as penny pinching and living cheaply. Cheap and frugal are two very different things!
Living frugally means that you are intentional about your money and how it is spent. This means that if something is important to you, you will spend your money on it, and in return you will spend less on items not as important.
Frugal living is a lifestyle and a way of life.
Today I am sharing over 100 of the best frugal living tips to help you learn how to live frugally. Choose one, five, or the entire list to start implementing more frugality into your life.
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The Best Frugal Living Tips You Need to Know
Frugal Living Tips To Save Money on Entertainment
1. Cut Out All Monthly Subscriptions
Cancel all monthly subscription services. Don’t forget about magazines, beauty boxes, and TV subscriptions.
You don’t have to cut out everything, even just cutting out all but your one favorite subscription will save you money each month.
2. Look For Free Entertainment
Another way to live frugally is to look for free entertainment happening in your city. In my community we love to play at the free splash parks, music festivals, movies in the park, etc.
3. Travel Off Season
You will find cheaper rates on traveling if you plan your travel during off season times. Do some research to find the off season at each specific destination. The cheaper travel times are usually between September-October and January-February.
- Related: The Best Budget Travel Tips
4. At Home Date Night
Instead of spending an expensive date night out, have it at home. Put the kids to bed and enjoy time together just the two of you. Here is a great list of at home date night ideas.
5. Watch Movies At Home
Going to the movie theater is expensive! Wait for the new releases to be out on video and have a movie night in your home, without having to spend a lot of money!
6. Use Your Local Library
Your local library is full of FREE books, movies, games, and more that you can borrow to enjoy at home.
- Related: 10 Free Things At The Public Library
7. Use Groupon for Coupons on Activities
Check Groupon regularly to find coupons for activities in your area. We have found some great deals!
8. Invite Friends Over For a Potluck
Instead of dinners out with friends, host a potluck at your home. Ask everyone to bring equal amounts of food to share. This way, everyone will get to enjoy a fun dinner together, but nobody has to spend a lot of money!
9. Book Travel Through Rakuten
Always book travel through the Rakuten website. Doing this one simple step will give you a percentage cashback on the amount you spend on bookings.
Rakuten is so easy to use! Just sign into the website (or app), choose the store you want to shop at (I like Travelocity for travel), click on it and then book your travel arrangements. Done and done!
Cash back will then be added to your Rakuten account and sent to you every few months!
- BONUS: Get $30 cash back bonus (after you spend $30) by signing up for Rakuten through this link.
10. Eat Before Going to the Movies
Always eat before going to see a movie. A full belly will help you not be tempted by all of the expensive snacks offered at the theater.
11. Cut the Cable
Cancel your expensive cable subscription and stream movies instead! Here are a few affordable options for watching your favorite TV shows and movies. A few of them even have free trials!
- Amazon Prime: Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days and get access to thousands of TV and movie options, books, music and more!
- Hulu: We love Hulu for keeping up with our favorite TV shows. They have both classics and current shows available to watch, and plans start at only $5.99!
- Netflix: Netflix is one of the most popular streaming options. It has thousands of movies and TV series available.
12. Pack Food for Road Trips
Pack your own food for road trips to avoid buying snacks and meals while driving. We love having a quick picnic dinner at a local park while traveling. It’s fun to get some fresh air and discover new areas.
13. Look For Cheaper Admission Days
If you want to spend money on museums or other activities in your area, try to play your outing on days that offer half off admission, or something similar.
For example: My kids love a local rock climbing gym, it’s expensive though! We only go on Family Day when the price is much cheaper.
How To Live Frugally And Save Money On Food
14. Use Walmart Grocery Pickup
Stay out of grocery stores by using Walmart’s Free Grocery Pickup. This one simple thing has saved me so much money on groceries!
It’s easy to use. Simply order your groceries using the Walmart Grocery App. The next day you pick them up in the specially marked “Grocery Pickup” location. You do not even have to get out of your car, the awesome Walmart employees load your groceries for you!
15. Buy Bread at a Bread Outlet
For much more affordable bread buy it at a local bread outlet store. You can find one by googling the words “bread outlet” and then your city name.
A bread outlet store sells bread that is close to it’s expiration date, but for a very cheap price. I will usually buy a loaf of bread for 50 cents and we always eat it before it goes bad.
16. Buy Meat in Bulk
Meat can be one of the more expensive grocery items you buy. Save money on this cost and buy your meat in bulk. You can easily split it yourself into dinner sized portions.
17. Meal Plan
Make a meal plan each week to decrease the temptation of ordering take out.
Not sure how to meal plan? Don’t worry! I have you covered in my article, How To Meal Plan for Beginners.
You can also try out the amazing emeals for free for 2 weeks. This service will plan your meals for you, making meal planning a breeze!
18. Shop With a List
Never ever go to the grocery store (or any store!) without a shopping list already made. Having a pre written list will save you so much money as you skip the impulse buys and focus only on what you need.
19. Pack a Lunch For Work
Never buy a lunch while at work, instead brown bag it! Pack leftovers, a salad, sandwich, and some snacks to bring to work with you each day. This is one of the simplest ways to cut out expensive restaurant costs.
20. Use Cashback Apps
Never leave the grocery store without first scanning your receipt into multiple cashback apps. This is one of the quickest, easiest ways to earn a little extra money.
My favorite cash back apps for grocery are Ibotta and Fetch Rewards. I use them every single time I go grocery shopping. All it takes is a few minutes to scan your receipt into the apps, and you can earn a few dollars in return! Yay!
- Related: How To Use Cashback Apps
21. Use Coupons
Search the internet for coupons you can print and use at the store. Coupons.com is my favorite place to find grocery coupons.
My one rule with using coupons on groceries is to only use it on something you would be buying anyways. Don’t spend extra, or buy something you don’t need only because you have a coupon for it. It kindof defeats the purpose, ya know?!?
22. Cook From Scratch
Packaged convenience foods are expensive. Cut this cost by making more meals and snacks from scratch.
Not sure what to cook? Try one of my favorite recipes here!
23. Freeze Leftovers
Rather than tossing out extra food, freeze it for another use. This is an easy way to prevent waste and stretch your meals further.
24. Cook at Home
Eat at home more and at restaurants less. Your budget will thank you!
25. Buy Generic
Don’t waste your money on brand name products when you can get something just as good for much cheaper!
26. Shop Your Pantry
Shop your pantry before heading to the grocery store. Plan your meals around what you already have at home!
27. Bake Your Own Bread
Homemade bread not only tastes better than store bought, it’s also so much cheaper! Search pinterest for a few recipes to try. You will love having your house smell like fresh baked bread.
28. Make Your Favorite Restaurant Recipes at Home
Have a few favorite restaurant meals? Learn how to make them at home instead of paying extra to order them.
A few meals I learned to make at home was Chilis Salsa and Olive Gardens Zuppa Toscana soup. They taste just as good as they do in the restaurant!
29. Freeze Produce
If you see produce beginning to go bad, freeze it to use at another time. Check out these tutorials to learn more about freezing strawberries and freezing peas.
30. Meatless Meals
Meat is expensive, so experiment with a few meatless meals throughout the week. We love pastas and soups for our meatless meals.
- Related: Easy Pasta Dinner Recipe
31. Drink More Water
Ditch the soda and juices and drink more water. Not only is it better for you, but it’s also free!
32. Grow Your Own Food
Start a garden to grow your own food. Not sure how to garden? Check out the article, Gardening for Beginners, for all the best tips.
33. Buy Produce at You-Pick Farms
Don’t like to garden? That’s OK! You can still save money on produce by picking your own at You-Pick Farms. Look for a few in your area to get fresh produce at a much lower price. Plus, it’s fun to pick!
34. Make Your Own Pizza
Make your own pizza instead of ordering it. This pizza crust recipe is super easy!
35. Go to the Grocery Store Less Often
How many times have you gone to the grocery store for “just one thing” but then left with many other “things”???
The less times you go to the grocery store the less money you will be spending. If you think of something you need at the store, try to come up with an alternative solution using items you already have at home.
For example: Last week I ran out of buttermilk, so I made my own by mixing 1 Tbsp of vinegar in with my regular milk! Problem solved!
36. Meal Plan Around Sales
Download the Flipp App and check it weekly to see what the current grocery sales are. Plan your meals around what’s on sale for the best value.
37. Make Your Own Bread Crumbs
Don’t throw out the end pieces of your bread. Instead use them to make your own bread crumbs.
Just bake the bread in your oven until it gets nice and crusty. Lastly, throw it into your food processor and process until the bread turns to fine crumbs. Easy peasy!
38. Grocery Shop on a Full Stomach
Always do your grocery shopping on a full stomach. If you shop while hungry you will find yourself buying more than you need (trust me! been there done that!).
39. Pop Your Own Popcorn
Don’t spend money on packaged popcorn, or even microwave popcorn! You can make your own with a little oil over your stove top.
To make popcorn over the stove just heat a couple of tablespoons of oil in a small pot over the stove, add popcorn (you just want enough that it covers the bottom of the pot in one layer). Place lid on pot.
Leave heat on high and shake pot while the popcorn pops. Listen to the sound of the popcorn, once the number of pops slows down you know it’s done! (it pops quick, so pay attention!)
40. Use Beans to Stretch Meals
Add a can of beans to your favorite meat recipes to stretch the meal even further. This works great for tacos, soups and casseroles.
41. Keep Freezer Meals Stocked
Keep your freezer stocked with a few quick to fix freezer meals. These meals are perfect for the nights when you are getting home late and don’t have time to make a dinner. If you know something is prepared in the freezer, you will be less likely to order take out.
42. Look at the Price/Unit
When shopping for groceries the cheapest price doesn’t always mean it’s the cheapest. I know, mind blown right?!?!?
To find the cheapest product look at the price per unit rather than the price.
You find two bags of flour. One costs $5.00 for 5 lbs. The other costs $3.50 for 3 lbs.
To find the price per unit you will divide the price by the weight.
The first bag of flour costs $1/pound. The second bag of flour costs $1.17/pound.
The first bag of flour is the best value, you are getting more flour per pound.
How To Live Frugally and Save Money on Household Expenses
43. Negotiate Your Bills For a Lower Rate
Did you know that you can negotiate many of your bills for a lower rate? You can! Many companies will give you a lower rate on your monthly bill if you simply call and ask them for it.
- Related: How to Negotiate Your Bills
44. Replace Old Light Bulbs with LED Bulbs.
LED Light bulbs cost more than the traditional bulbs, but they are well worth the money. In the long run you will end up saving a ton of money in electricity uses and bulb replacements.
You can slowly make this change in your home. The next time an old light bulb burns out, try replacing it with an LED one.
45. Make Your Own Cleaners
Instead of buying cleaners, make your own! They are so easy to whip up, and usually only require a few ingredients.
46. Unplug Appliances
Unplug all of your appliances when they aren’t in used. This includes your toaster, chargers, and other appliances you have plugged in.
47. Adjust Thermostat By a Few Degrees
Did you know with each degree you adjust your home thermostat you could save 1%. The bigger the adjustment, the bigger the savings!
During the winter months try to keep your thermostat at 68 degrees or lower. Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher during the summer months.
48. Ask for a Safe Drivers Discount
Ask your insurance agent if they offer a safe drivers discount. Many will give you a percentage savings if you have been accident free for a certain number of years. Yay!
49. Take Shorter Showers
Cut utility costs by taking shorter showers. Water is expensive to heat, so get in the habit of washing up quickly.
50. Use Reusable Dishes
Ditch the paper plates and plastic cups and only use reusable. Not only is this cheaper, but it’s also much better for the environment. Win, win!
51. Walk More/Drive Less
Save on fuel costs by spending less time driving and more time walking or riding your bike.
52. Reuse Gift Bags
Save all of your gift bags to reuse time and time again. I even like to save tissue wrap if it is still in good shape. Just fold it back up and place it in a drawer.
53. Turn Off Lights
Be diligent about turning off all lights when they aren’t needed. Open up the blinds to let the daylight in and never leave a room without turning off the light switch.
54. Do Your Own Home Maintenance
Teach yourself to do your own home maintenance, rather than paying someone else to do it for you. All it takes is watching a few YouTube videos and practice. You can do it!!
55. Use Dishcloths Instead of Paper Towels
Instead of spending money on paper towels, use dishcloths! They are reusable and easy to clean by throwing them in the laundry.
56. Check Bills for Mistakes
Look over all of your bills and receipts to make sure there aren’t any mistakes. Most often there won’t be any, but it’s worth checking just to make sure.
57. Hang Clothes To Dry
Instead of using your dryer constantly, hang your clothes to dry instead. This can be done with a small clothes drying rack, or something bigger in your backyard.
58. Learn to Re-purpose
Instead of throwing items out, re-purpose them to give them a longer life.
If your jeans get holes in them, cut them off and make shorts.
Have empty baby food jars? Clean them out and use them to store craft items in.
The possibilities are endless! Many things can be reused again if we are willing to get creative!
59. Run All Errands at Once
Save on fuel costs by running all of your errands at once. Plan out your week so that you are going to just one area of town every few days, rather than driving to all the areas daily.
60. Use Bar Soap
Ditch the bottles of body wash and use bar soap instead. The bars will last you much longer and save you money in the long run.
61. Seal Leaks Around Doors.
Spend a day sealing any leaks around your exterior doors. You can use weather stripping to seal the leaks.. This will help keep your house insulated and cut down utility costs.
62. Shop Around for Insurance
Every few years shop around for the best rate on auto and home insurance. Don’t be afraid to call different providers and negotiate with each one a little.
How To Live Frugally and Save Money on Personal Expenses
63. Buy Used
Shop at thrift stores or Facebook Marketplace for gently used furniture, clothing, and other needs.
64. Color Your Own Hair
Use a box to color your own hair. I’ve been doing it for years and even though I know it would look better to get it down professionally, it’s just not worth the huge expense to do so.
65. Exchange Services With a Friend
What is a skill or service you have that you could exchange with a friend for their skill and service? For example: If you are a photographer you could offer to take free pictures for a hair stylist friend if they will cut your hair for free.
Years ago I taught piano out of my home and I offered free lessons to my friends son if she would give my daughter free violin lessons. It worked great!
66. Wash Your Own Car
Avoid the car wash and wash your car at home. All it takes is a hose and a little bit of car soap. This is a fun thing to involve the kids in too!
67. Give Yourself a Manicure/Pedicure
Learn how to give yourself manicures and pedicures. I loved this manicure tutorial from Merilee at Easy Budget Blog.
68. Shop Around For a Cheaper Cell Phone Provider
Drop your expensive phone plan and sign up for Tello instead. Plans start at just $5/month and are easy to customize so you can find the perfect plan for you and your budget. Learn more about Tello here.
69. Learn to Cut Your Own Hair
Getting your hair cut regularly can get expensive fast. Learn to cut your own hair by using the unicorn method. I loved this YouTube Tutorial done by my friend Kristin from Cents and Purpose.
70. Buy Clothing at Discount Stores
Save money on clothing by shopping at stores like Ross, TJ Maxx and other discount retailers. At these stores you can find high quality brand new clothing for a fraction of the price.
71. Workout At Home
Do at home workouts instead of paying for a gym membership. I love searching YouTube for fun workout videos. My favorite channels are Yoga with Adrienne and Pop Sugar Fitness.
72. Mend Your Own Clothes
Learn how to mend your own clothing to extend their use. Sewing on a button or mending a hole are fairly easy sewing skills and can easily be learned through a few YouTube videos.
73. Brush and Floss Your Teeth
Another change you can make when learning how to live frugally is to try to save money on expensive dental bills. This can be done by brushing and flossing your teeth regularly.
74. Buy Used Halloween Costumes
Halloween costumes are one of the best items to buy second hand. They are usually only worn once so are in great condition, but so cheap! I start checking thrift stores in September for the best Halloween costume selection.
75. Save For Christmas All Year
December is always an expensive time of year. Plan ahead for these expenses by saving early. Knowing you already have money saved for the holiday will help you enjoy it much more.
- Related: 7 Easy Ways to Save For Christmas
76. Have a Clothing Swap With Friends
Invite a group of friends over for a “clothing swap.” Everyone brings the gently used clothing (or other items) they want to get rid of. Put all the clothing together and let your friends “shop” each others clothes.
I’ve done this before and we all left with many new-to-us clothing that we loved. And nobody had to pay a thing! The best!
Find a few coworkers you can carpool to work with. This will save you a lot of money on fuel, plus give you time to read a good book when you aren’t the driver!
78. Give Homemade Gifts
Instead of buying gifts at the store, make them at home yourself. I love receiving homemade gifts, knowing that someone took the time to make something for me with their hands means so much!
Baked goods, body scrub, and soaps are all great handmade gifts.
- Related: Best Homemade Christmas Gift Ideas
Frugal Living Tips to Save Money on Kids
79. Buy Diapers on Amazon
Save money on diapers by signing up for Amazon Family and get 20% off your diaper subscription!
80. Child Swap Babysitting
Ask another couple (who you know and trust) if they want to “child swap” babysitting with you.
You will watch their kids one evening for them to go on a date, and then the next week they will watch your kids so you and your spouse can go on a date. This will save you from having to pay for a babysitter, but you can still enjoy some kid free time.
81. Eat Out on Kids Eat Free Nights
If you want to take your kids out to a restaurant, choose a night and restaurant that offers a Kids Eat Free night.
82. Free Kids Classes at Home Depot
Take your kids to Home Depot on the first Saturday of each month for a hands on free building workshop. Your child will get to build something in store to take home and keep forever.
All supplies are included and it’s always free! My kids have loved going to these events.
83. DIY Birthday Cakes
Make your kids birthday cakes yourself! It’s so much cheaper than store bought, and I promise your child won’t even know the difference. All they want is something sweet and fun.
Check out this birthday cake I made for my son when he turned three. It was so easy, but turned out so cute!
All I did was bake a chocolate cake and frosted it with chocolate frosting. Then, I cut out a chunk from the side and filled it in with crushed Oreos. I placed the tractors on the cake to make them look like they were digging. Such a hit and so easy. Anyone can make this cake!
Pinterest always has the best DIY birthday cakes!
84. Limit Extra Curricular Activities
Set a rule about how many extra curricular activities your kids can do at a time. You might say 1 extra activity at a time, or maybe 1 sport and 1 instrument.
Choose what works best for you and your budget. Just be sure you explain this to your kids and stick to the rule.
Even More Tips For How To Live Frugally
85. Ask for a Discount
Never by to shy to ask for a discount. If you find something in the store with a stain, tear, rip, etc kindly ask the cashier for an extra percentage off. They are always more than happy to give it to you.
86. Avoid Late Fees
Always pay your bills on time to avoid having to pay extra in late fees. If you struggle remembering, set an alarm on your phone to remind you each time the bills are due.
87. Make a Budget (and stick to it!)
Make a zero based budget to help you save more money each month (and spend less!). Not sure how to budget? This zero based budget tutorial should get you started!
88. Stay Out of Debt
One of the best frugal living tips is to avoid unnecessary debt at all costs.
The only thing I personally recommend going into debt for is to buy a house. Anything else can be saved up for over time.
You will end up spending less in the long run if you buy everything in cash, rather than on credit. The interest that is paid each month adds up in the long run.
89. Sell Your Unused Clutter
Clean out your closets and sell items you no longer use to earn some quick money. Don’t think you have anything to sell? Think again! Here are 10 things you can easily sell to earn money.
90. Follow The 48 Hour Rule
The 48 hour rule is simple. When you find something that you want to buy, but didn’t plan on buying, wait 48 hours before making the purchase.
This gives you time to research for a cheaper price and decide if it’s truly worth buying. There have been so many times when I found the “perfect” thing to buy, but then after waiting 48 hours I realized I didn’t want it at all.
This simple trick has saved me so much money!
91. Use a Credit Card to Earn Cashback
Earn extra cash back by shopping with a credit card instead of a debit card. We love our Discover card because of the cashback we earn every year. This cash is always put towards next years Christmas gifts!
- BONUS: Sign up for a Discover Card here and earn $50 bonus after you complete your first purchase!
92. Automate Savings
Set your checking account to automatically move money into your savings each month. This will guarantee you are saving regularly and will decrease the temptation to spend it all.
93. Check Budget Daily
Check in with your budget on a daily basis. It’s so important to always know exactly how much money you have left to spend in each category.
94. Avoid Sales
Sales are a great way to buy something you NEED for a cheaper price.
But! They are also a great way to convince you to spend money on things you DON’T need!
Never buy something just because it’s on sale!
95 Use Rakuten When Shopping Online
Rakuten is one of my favorite cash back apps! It gives you cash back on regular purchases you make online.
How it works: Log into the Rakuten app or website, select the store you want to shop at, click on that store, shop as normal including completing your purchase. A percentage (amount varies) of cash from your purchase will be given to you from Rakuten! So easy!
I never ever buy anything online unless I do it through Rakuten. It’s free money!
- BONUS: Sign up with Rakuten using this link and you will get $10 cashback bonus after spending your first $25!
96. Use Cash Envelopes
If you struggle with impulse shopping try cash envelopes! This is one of the best ways I have learned to quit overspending. Read this article for a full tutorial on how to use cash envelopes.
97. Return Items You Regret Buying
Have you ever bought something and immediately felt guilty about it later??? It happens to everyone! Return those items to the store to get your money back and guilt relieved.
98. Track Your Spending
Write down everything that you purchase throughout the week. This helps you see your spending habits so you know where you are overspending and how you can fix it.
99. Always Search for a Better Deal
If you find something you need on sale, that is great! But, take a few extra minutes to do a little research to make sure you are getting the best deal available.
Search google for any extra coupon codes you could add at checkout or check other stores to see if they have a similar product for cheaper.
100. Learn to Say No
A frugal person understands that it’s OK, and even necessary at times, to say “No.”
You might need to say “No” to invitations to do things you can’t afford.
There will be times when you will have to say “No” to items you are tempted to buy.
It takes practice, but saying “No” is so important to a frugal lifestyle.
101. Check Local Free Cycle Groups
Have you ever looked at your local Free Cycle page? This is a great place to find people locally who are giving away stuff for free…yep, I said FREE!
You can also join a few Free Stuff Facebook groups for your area. I’m always find some great items there.
As you can see, there are so many ways to be frugal! Choose a few, or a hundred, to implement into your life.
The more frugally you live, the more money you will save.
Eloise Lewis says
Wow! This is a crazy long list! I already do a lot of these, but the Homestead exemption is an interesting idea. I’m not sure exactly how to use that here in Utah, seems it has to do more with bankruptcies rather than lowering taxes, am I missing something here? Thanks for the post!
Sweet Frugal Life says
Hmmm, I didn’t mention a homestead exemption so I’m not sure how to help. So sorry about that!
Rivka Jackson says
Okay, each one of these I was like THIS is why I love frugality. This is so well put, friend.
Sweet Frugal Life says
I’m so glad you enjoyed it!!!