Simple frugal living ideas don’t come naturally to everyone. Sometimes, it can take years to get fully on board with living frugally. Personally, I look at it like a fun challenge. How can I cut back but still live a great life and not feel deprived?
Maybe you’ve recently been sent home from work due to Covid-19 and social distancing or you are a small business owner who has 0 income coming in or you’ve recently become a stay at home mom and are trying to figure out how to live on one income. Whatever has you trying to live frugally, I’ve put together this post to share with families who need it.
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How Can I Live More Cheaply?
Think of these as lifestyle changes.
There are so many little things that we do every day that can make a huge difference to our budget.
It might not seem like a big deal to pay for shipping, this one time, but when done consistently it can add up.
Simple Frugal Living Lifestyle Changes
- Prioritize needs vs. wants more often.
- Create a budget.
- Cook and eat at home more.
- Walk where and when you can.
- Run errands so all your stops are in the vicinity of each other and you aren’t driving all over town.
- Take advantage of local festivals for free or cheap things to do around town. To save even more, pack your own snacks and lunch!
- Re-evaluate the activities your kids are involved in. Is there something they just aren’t that into anymore that you could cut? Is the league in the next town over a little cheaper? Do they need to participate in the expensive travel league, could they settle for the house league?
- Adjust your holiday budget.
- Learn to mend clothes instead of always buying new ones.
How To Save Money When Shopping
- Shop with a list.
- Buy in bulk.
- Don’t be brand loyal (or pick only a few things to buy name brand). Buy store brand food whenever possible.
- Shop at ALDI, Walmart or use Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save to get the lowest prices possible.
- Start using a rebate app like Ibotta, Fetch Rewards, or Rakuten and earn cashback on your purchases!
- Shop second hand when you can. I do this for my kids’ clothes and save a ton! I’ve got a big list of ways to save money on kid’s clothes.
- Always use a coupon code when shopping online. Just do a Google search for the store + coupon code.
- Use coupons whenever you can in the stores. Are you using the Target Circle yet?
- Stack your savings whenever possible. For example at Target: Use a manufacturer’s coupon, Target Red Card, Target Circle discount AND maybe it’s on sale! This is tough to do, you might get 2 at a time but it can be done occasionally if you plan ahead.
- Never (EVER!) pay for shipping when shopping online.
- Shop the sales, don’t pay full price for anything.
- Do your research before making a big purchase.
- Buy discounted gift cards at Raise and use them on everyday purchases.
How Can I Save Money On Household Items?
The Best Simple Living Frugal Tip: Go Green And Save Money!
- Switch to wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.
- Follow the detergent guidelines on the bottle for doing laundry, don’t overuse!
- Use reusable cloths instead of paper towels, here’s what I use.
- Use cloth napkins.
- Only run the dishwasher when it is full. The same goes for the washing machine.
- Save money on repairs and keep up to date on maintaining your appliances and equipment.
- Use a clothesline to hang clothes to dry.
- Take a crack at using cloth diapers.
- Make your own cleaning or baby wipes.
- Wash out plastic storage bags and reuse them.
- OR give them up completely and invest in a reusable sandwich and snack bags. I use the Lunchskin reusable sandwich and snack bags in the kids’ lunches and they are awesome. Very easy to wash, hold up really well and come in fun colors and patterns that kids love.
- Store leftovers in glass containers instead of plastic baggies.
- Refill reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic water bottles. These Simple Modern water bottles have really pretty patterns.
- Ditch disposable k-cups and get some refillable k-cup containers.
- Reuse plastic bags from shopping to pick up pet waste, for small wastebasket liners, garbage bags in the car, in your diaper bag for throwing diapers away.
- Rent movies (or stream them) instead of buying them. Unless it’s favorite and you will watch it over and over. In that case, it’s better to buy it.
- Reuse gift bags and boxes.
- Reuse jars from jelly, sauce, pickles, etc. to store dry goods.
- Try to use up food that is about to go bad before using something fresh to save on waste or freeze it before it can go bad and use it later.
- Make your own fruit or smoothie squeeze pouches for your kids instead of buying them. No matter how cheap you find these ($1.74/4 count at ALDI is the cheapest I’ve seen) you can save money by making your own. I recently started doing this because the toddler is obsessed with fruit squeezes and I was going through so many. Here are the reusable squeeze pouches I bought and the kids’ LOVE.
- Recycle your soda/beer cans and bottles for cashback (in states that apply). In NY we get 5c per can/bottle. It doesn’t seem like a lot but when you take 3 or 4 bags full it can be a decent amount.
- Shop second hand or at discount stores. For other great ways to save money on kid’s clothes, you’ll want to click here!
- Repair things instead of throwing them away and replacing them.
- Sell old toys, furniture, collectibles that you don’t need.
- Make your own staples from basic ingredients. For example spice mixes, bread, tortillas, hummus, nut butter, pancakes, etc.
- To go along with the point above, invest in some appliances to save money. I know it sounds counterproductive to spend money on things when you’re trying to cut back but making things from scratch at home will save money in the long run. In most cases, ingredients are always going to be cheaper than buying premade. Some useful appliances/gadgets to have….
- Bread Machine (think of how many loaves of bread you could make?!)
- Instant Pot– for those “it’s 5:00 what am I going to make for dinner?” type of nights. You’ll have a homemade meal in a flash and won’t be tempted to order take out. My favorite places to go for easy delicious Instant Pot recipes are Kristine’s Kitchen and Detoxinista.
- Crock Pot-just set it and forget it! I love the variety of Crock-Pot recipes on Skinnytaste.
- Food Processor: for making your own hummus, nut butter and shredded veggies.
- High-Speed Blender: for making smoothies, dressings, and sauces. I make myself a smoothie almost every day and my toddler loves to steal some so I’ve started making extra and putting some in this cute little bottle for him to drink.
- Waffle Maker: make large batches of waffles and freeze them. You can pull them out as needed just like the store-bought frozen waffles but they will be so much cheaper and taste so much better!
- Printer: save time and money on printing documents at Staples or FedEx and print from home.
Making things from scratch, at home, will save you money!
How Do You Cut Expenses On A Family Budget?
- Cancel any subscriptions you aren’t using (magazine, gym, streaming service, etc.)
- Shop around for new insurance rates. You could be overpaying with your current company.
- Can you refinance your student loans to get a lower interest rate? Or can you consolidate them if you haven’t already done so?
- Check your phone plan. If you’ve had the same plan for a long time look at your provider’s website. You may find you can change to a new plan that is cheaper.
- Are there multiple cable providers in your area? Look at the other companies and see if you can get your cable cheaper with another company. The same goes for the internet.
- Do you have several credit card payments every month? Could you find a low-interest loan to consolidate these into one payment?
- Research different energy providers who service your area. A lot of people don’t know you can do this! You can buy your electric or gas from one company and pay for the service with another.
- Fill cracks, insulate outlets and pipes in your home to save money on your utility bills.
- Install a low flow shower head to save on your water bill. While you’re at it, repair a leaky faucet to save even more.
- Set up a rain water collection system to use outside to water plants and shrubs instead of using the hose.
- You can also try to add in some extra income. Can your spouse adjust their W2 contributions at work? It might be a smaller tax return but larger monthly paychecks.
- Do you have medical bills? Try applying for financial assistance with the institution. Almost all hospitals will offer this. Most likely you will qualify on one income.
- Can you take the kids off your health insurance and sign them up for their own insurance through your state? You may qualify for something like this on one income and you may not have to pay high deductibles for your kids’ medical expenses.
- Is your spouse aggressively investing in their 401k? You may have your reasons for doing so, so discuss with your financial advisor before making any adjustments BUT if you can take it down to just the max company match and you could have more monthly income coming home.
- Downsize your vehicle to downsize your car payment. Maybe even downsize from 2 vehicles to 1 if you can.
- Downsize your house or relocate to an area where your money will go further and you can get more for your money. I live in New York State so this has been discussed at length in my house!
How Do You Live Frugally Without Depriving Yourself?
- Be frugal when dining out.
- Stick to a budget
- Plan ahead. Have you ever heard the saying….Those who fail to plan, plan to fail?
- Start using rebate apps. I really like Ibotta and Rakuten. For more of my favorites head over here.
- Find more free things to do in your town. You will rediscover the beauty of where you live while also keeping busy.
- Set goals, and save for them.
- Get creative.
- Do your research. If you are planning a vacation, put in the time to really research and find deals ahead of time. This way it won’t feel like you are deprived or you don’t
Simple Frugal Living Ideas When Money Is Tight
So there is a lot to take in here but the key take away is that no matter how much you need to adjust your spending, there are ALWAYS things you can do to live frugally.
There are always things you can do to live frugally.
I personally love making changes within my house in small ways. Those small changes make a big difference over time.
If you are a new stay at home mom this can feel overwhelming so I have a great stay at home mom survival guide that would be a great resource for you!
What are some of your frugal living tips? Comment below and share them with me! I love finding new ways to save money. Don’t forget to pin this post to Pinterest before you go and if you could follow me while you’re there I’d be so very grateful!