Do you have debt and struggle to save for your next big life event?
These are signs that your spending habits are out of control.
Don’t worry though, there are plenty of others in the same boat. I’ve been there too!
Many people are struggling with debt and barely have enough money in their bank accounts to pay for basic necessities. This is partly why frugal living tips and ideas are so popular these days.
While it’s not impossible to save money, it does require some effort on your part. And you won’t have to resort to cheap, penny pinching ways to improve your relationship with money either. There are a lot of simple yet effective frugal living tips and ideas for you to try.
Before we dive in, I’m going to answer a few common questions people ask about frugal living.
What is Frugal Living?
The term “frugal” can have a negative reaction when people first hear it.
Because they believe that by being frugal means being cheap. They believe that if you live frugally, that means not spending a cent and having to give up their favorite things.
This is not the case at all!
The idea of being frugal simply means being clever and more conscious with your money.
Being frugal means concentrating your spending on things that bring worth and happiness to your life. Not wasting your money on things you don’t need.
When it comes to purchases, instead of choosing the lowest price, a frugal person will spend on quality.
To be a successful frugal shopper, choosing items that will stand the test of time is better than spending money on cheap knock offs. Which will only make you poor in the long run.
It’s okay to spend money on small indulgences that bring you joy. But I suggest rather than spending your own money, use free gift cards to make these types of purchases.
I take surveys in my spare time to earn me free gift cards which I spend on my favorite daily drink, coffee! They also come in handy around holiday time when you need to buy gifts 🙂
Is Frugal Living Worth it?
Living frugally can have a big positive impact on your life. By changing your spending habits and becoming more conscious of how you live can help you to:
- Decrease stress: Have more money by making smarter choices.
- Clean up your life: Having less by spending less will help you feel more organized.
- Free up your time: Saving more money can help accelerate your financial goals.
Just be wary of the difference between frugal and cheap. You don’t want to end up in cheapster territory!
Watch your money carefully but don’t go overboard. It would be a big waste of your valuable time to try and save on everything possible.
Best Frugal Living Tips and Ideas in 2022
The following categories are the main areas we can save more in our lives:
- Tips to save money on groceries
- Ways to save while you shop
- Ideas to improve your lifestyle
- Activity ideas – fun for FREE
This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to our Disclaimer for more info.
FRUGAL LIVING BY SAVING MONEY ON FOOD
A lot of people don’t realize that food costs take a huge proportion of our paychecks. This bankrate.com article says that on average an American household spends $7,316 on food a year! Yikes!
So how can we cut back on our food expenses?
I’m going to show you some of the best ways to save money on your food and grocery costs.
Finding ways to save money on these items will help you gain healthier spending habits. This is especially important when inflation and high interest rates hit!
1. Start Claiming Cashback on Weekly Groceries
If you haven’t started claiming money back on your weekly purchases, you’re potentially missing out on extra savings every month!
Everyone needs cashback apps in their lives. They are simply the best and help you to save on items you’re buying anyway.
So what’s the best way to do that?
By using any of the following cashback apps to put money back in your account almost as quickly as it left!
GET CASHBACK ON YOUR GROCERY ITEMS
If you love the idea of cashback on your weekly purchases as much as we do, then you need the following app in your life:
So what’s ibotta?
A FREE nifty little app that gives customers like us cashback on all kinds of purchases. They’ve partnered with major retailers like Walmart, Target, Costco, Kroger, Safeway and a tonne of others to offer savings to everyday shoppers. You can take a look at all the retailers they’ve partnered with here.
With a little pre-planning you can easily earn enough with ibotta to cover a monthly recurring cost, like Netflix or similar. It’s super easy to use so you don’t have to worry about anything getting too technical. All you do is take a photo of your receipt using the app and upload it. You can even get cashback on certain offers within 24hrs.
Handy to know: There are four different ways of earning with ibotta. These are through in-store shopping, online shopping, friend referrals and bonuses.
ibotta has paid out over a massive $1.2 billion in cash rewards to its users since 2012!
Click here to learn more about saving with ibotta, sign up for FREE and start earning 😊
2. Meal Plan
One way of saving yourself a lot of valuable time and money is with meal planning. All it takes is a little time every week to write down your shopping list and meal plans for the week or month. I personally do this on a Sunday afternoon which works best for me.
First you work out what meals you want to make for lunches and dinners and write out your grocery shopping list. Next, get cooking!
Before you know it you will have saved yourself hours of figuring out what to have for meals at the last minute as well as possible take-out costs.
Once you get yourself into the habit of meal planning you will start to notice the positive changes.
3. Purchase Multifunctional Cooking Items
If you don’t have the time to meal plan and prep, don’t worry. There is another way you can save yourself time and money.
With so many of us constantly on the go, working out what to cook for dinner after an arduous day at work makes you want to crawl into a hole and hide!
That includes us bloggers!
Did you know that people make around 35,000 decisions a day??
Who wants to have to make another decision after a busy day of working?
Not me. Thankfully, there are clever appliances like the Instant Pot invented to make our lives a lot easier.
It comes as no surprise that it’s one of the most popular appliances to have in your household! Move over single use appliances!
4. Buy in Bulk & Use Your Freezer
You’ve probably heard about how much money you can save by buying things in bulk. You know what I mean. Buying large quantities of your pantry staple items that can help you save a lot. But did you know that you can do the same thing with produce too?
If you buy fruit and veggies in season, you’ll find yourself paying less per pound. Plus, freezing them means less trips to the supermarket. You can also purchase pre-packaged frozen fruit and veggies which are cheaper to ship and therefore cheaper to buy.
If you love your meat, it’s a good idea to stock up when there are sales and store in the freezer for later use.
Here is a quick guide from the USDA for storing meat and poultry:
|Bacon and Sausage||1 to 2|
|Casseroles||2 to 3|
|Egg whites or egg substitutes||12|
|Frozen Dinners and Entrees||3 to 4|
|Gravy, meat or poultry||2 to 3|
|Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats||1 to 2|
|Meat, uncooked roasts||4 to 12|
|Meat, uncooked steaks or chops||4 to 12|
|Meat, uncooked ground||3 to 4|
|Meat, cooked||2 to 3|
|Poultry, uncooked whole||12|
|Poultry, uncooked parts||9|
|Poultry, uncooked giblets||3 to 4|
|Soups and Stews||2 to 3|
|Wild game, uncooked||8 to 12|
FRUGAL LIVING BY SAVING MONEY ON SHOPPING
Frugality isn’t only about saving money. It’s about living within your means.
You should always strive to spend less than what you earn. But if you need something expensive, there is nothing wrong with spending a bit extra.
If you choose wisely, you will end up saving money while still getting exactly what you want.
5. Get Cashback on Your Online Shopping
Savvy online shoppers have one goal. That goal is to find the best deals online.
These savvy shoppers are skilled at finding clever methods to save money when shopping online.
One of their favorite hacks to find savings is by using Fetch Rewards.
What is Fetch Rewards?
Fetch Rewards is a free app that is revolutionizing cash back apps.
Unlike other apps, Fetch Rewards doesn’t care where your receipts are from. You read that right! You can earn points on ANY receipt from ANY store or restaurant. Pretty fantastic if you ask me!
Fetch Rewards helps you save money on just about everything you buy.
Their goal is to make it easy for you to find the best savings out there. Their team works tirelessly to ensure that they provide the highest quality customer experience possible.
So if that sounds good to you, follow these steps to start earning cashback with Fetch Rewards:
- Download the Fetch Rewards App on your phone
- Grab your 3,000 bonus sign up points (only available through my link)
- Create your account
- Shop and get paid!
6. Wait To Purchase During Big Sales
These days you rarely need to pay full price for anything. So if you can, it’s best to wait for a sale to make your purchases, particularly for more expensive things like vacuums, furniture, televisions etc.
It’s also a good idea to purchase Christmas gifts throughout the year so you don’t need to do it all during the Christmas rush. Which we all know can put us under unnecessary stress and pressure with everything else that needs to get down around this time of year!
Waiting to purchase during sales will save you hundreds when it all adds up. Check out the following list of holiday sale times to make your purchases. Be sure to mark these dates in your calendar to get great deals!
- New Year’s Day
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Presidents Day
- St Patrick’s Day
- Mother’s Day
- Memorial Day
- Father’s Day
- Fourth of July
- Amazon Prime Day
- Tax-Free Weekends
- Labor Day
- Black Friday
- Cyber Monday
- Super Saturday
- New Year’s Eve
7. Use Extensions To Get The Best Online Deals
Did you know there are many Google Chrome Extensions that scan the internet for the best online shopping deals? It’s true! I’m going to show you some of the best ones to help you find awesome deals online to maximize your savings.
1. Capital One Shopping
Capital One Shopping has offers at over 30,000 online retailers and they reward you in the form of gift cards that you can spend.
What I love about this extension is that you can build a watch list of your favorite products and they will alert you when there is a special offer. It’s totally free to add to your browser or as a mobile app.
As mentioned earlier in this post, ibotta gives you cashback on many different offers. You can download this as an app, or download the extension and shop online as normal.
ibotta is a popular cashback program that has paid out over $1.2 billion to their members since 2012. Why not give them a go! It’s completely free and easy to use.
Rakuten is a well known and trusted company to get cashback on your purchases. It’s super easy to get cashback with Rakuten and their business model works like this.
When you use Rakuten to shop, they earn a commission from the stores they’ve partnered with. They then share some of that commission with members, and that’s how you get cashback. Pretty neat!
They have great promotions where you can get up to 12% cashback on Amazon purchases. So if you want to start earning cashback with Rakuten, sign up for a free account here.
I’ve used Honey many times to get great online deals and won’t be stopping anytime soon!
With 30,000+ participating merchants you’ll be sure to find some awesome online shopping deals. You don’t need to search for coupon codes online, you just shop with the Honey chrome extension and they automatically apply discounts to your cart. Very simple and effective!
Add the Honey chrome extension and start shopping awesome deals here.
FRUGAL LIVING TIPS
8. Declutter Your Home
There’s no better feeling than getting rid of stuff that’s lying around making your home feel cluttered.
Having too many things lying around causes you to feel unorganized mentally and stressed out. There has even been research done to show a link between messy rooms and depression. Clutter can cause deeper issues than you may realize.
So if you want to turn over a new leaf and feel organized in your life, you can do this while also making some coin!
Have a try of this free Decluttr app which allows you to sell your stuff online for money. You have nothing to lose except the things you no longer need collecting dust around the place!
9. Try a No Spend Challenge
There will be times where you may need to step up your frugal living game and not spend money at all.
Even if you do this a couple of times a year you can put it towards saving for a holiday or other life event at the end of the year.
So what is involved with a no spend challenge? You can choose to either spend absolutely nothing during your challenge for a period of time, or just get by with the necessities like food and housing costs.
You might want to start with a week of no spending and increase to a month or more, depending on what you’re able to do.
You might be surprised how well you do if all other expenses are cut just for one month! The idea is to only spend what is absolutely necessary and then put the rest away.
Related post: 12 Lessons I Learned During a No Spend Challenge
Related post: Best Tips on How To Save Money with No Spend Days
10. Look For Better Deals on Your Bills
How are your negotiating skills? I have to admit, mine were pretty poor until I learned how to use my voice to get a better deal.
For me it started at work when I found out someone in my team was getting paid more than me doing the exact same job. This set something off in me and I read books and researched ways to correctly negotiate a pay rise. And I’m so glad I did because I got what I wanted and deserved in the end.
I took things further and started negotiating deals on my phone bills, utilities and credit card interest rates. I’ve saved so much by doing this and all it took was getting over my fear of asking for a discount. Of course, you won’t always get a “yes”, but you won’t know if you don’t ask!
Whether your wish is to negotiate a lower interest rate with a bank, higher salary at work or a discount on your utility bills, it’s worth shopping around to see what the best deal is and negotiating that with the bank, your boss or your utilities provider.
11. DIY at Home
Not all of us are handy, but sometimes we underestimate what we can do ourselves and instead pay to get help in.
But next time you go to pick up the phone to call for help, try following tutorials on YouTube to learn how to fix something yourself. This could be changing the washers in your kitchen or bathroom, changing a car lightbulb or oil change, unblocking drains or painting jobs.
You don’t need to try and tackle a massive job and in those cases a professional would be best in terms of know-how and safety. But for odd jobs here and there, why not give something new a go yourself.
If you’re not comfortable doing something new on your own, you could have a friend or family member help you get the job done.
NON-BORING FRUGAL ACTIVITIES
You don’t need to be wealthy or spend lots of money in order for your life experiences to be meaningful. Sometimes all you have to do is embrace a frugal lifestyle, which doesn’t mean cutting fun from our lives but rather finding ways to create great experiences on tighter budgets.
At the end of the day, it’s who we’re sharing those experiences with that really counts anyway.
Let’s look at some fun, frugal activities you can do on a budget with your mates and family.
12. Host a Games Night
What’s more fun than playing games with your friends and relatives? These nights often involve a lot of laughter, maybe some cheating and a little humiliation, all in the name of FUN.
You can make it a frugal night in where everyone brings a game of their own and a grazing platter to munch on.
One game that’s always a big hit with friends and family is 25 Words or Less based off the popular TV game show. This game is sure to be a crowd pleaser that’s challenging and fun! You’ll need a minimum of 4 people and can have up to 10+ players for this game.
Whether you’re familiar with the show or not, this game has easy-to-follow rules and is bound to be fun for anyone and everyone.
13. Get Outside
The modern world can leave us feeling sluggish and drained. We tend to spend most of our time indoors, in front of screens which can take its toll on people’s mental health.
It’s hard to find time for ourselves when we’re constantly on the go. We try our best, but it’s easy to get caught up in the business of life and forget to take time out to do something good for the soul.
I’m sure you can understand how easy it is to get into the habit of working late or binge watching Netflix to unwind. But truthfully, what we really need is fresh air and the outdoors.
Even though I work hard on this blog every single day, I always make sure I’m taking the time to get some Vitamin D, discover a new place outside and get daily exercise.
The best thing about outdoor activities like hiking, having a picnic, a swim at the beach or sitting around a campfire is the little to no cost and an excellent way to recharge your batteries.
14. Read Books
Picking up a book to read these days can sometimes feel like you’re “wasting time” and could be doing more productive things.
Such is the way of the modern world! But, taking the time to read and even learn something new keeps us motivated, improves focus and memory and is a good escape from the world’s issues.
Novels are good for escaping and taking time out from busy lifestyles. History books teach us new things about the past and educational books help us learn new things.
You can visit the library, swap books with a friend or visit the sales section at a bookstore.
15. Learn a New Recipe
While food is one of the biggest household expenses, you can still easily try new recipes on a budget.
If you’re used to cooking with meat then why not try some new vegetarian dishes? There are cheaper options for protein like lentils, for example. Lentils are cheap to buy and can be cooked with many different spices and flavors.
Try putting on your favorite tunes and get in the kitchen to try new things. Remember, variety is the spice of life!
16. Connect With Your Community
There are so many free things to do in your local area! Check out some dates at local libraries and museums for cool events. You can also do charity runs with friends, attend an outdoor movie screening or concert under the stars.
It’s all possible without spending any or very little money!
HOW CAN I LIVE MORE FRUGALLY?
Have you ever gotten a pay rise at work and wondered why, although you have more money, you’re still not growing any real savings? I remember this happening to me over the years, year in year out, scratching my head wondering what was going on.
Turns out I’d fallen into the lifestyle inflation trap!
What’s the lifestyle inflation trap?? Simply put, it’s when you’re spending more because you’re earning more. Suddenly you’re treating yourself to a few more things you wouldn’t normally and making purchases you’ve been putting off. It’s easy to fall into this trap because naturally, why wouldn’t you want to spend more when you have more?
The trouble is that if you continue down this path, you’ll never be able to build any real savings.
This is where living a more frugal lifestyle can help tackle this. And remember, living frugally isn’t about being cheap! It’s about making conscious and clever choices with your spending.
And don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to treat yourself when you’ve earned it. One celebration dinner after a pay rise is better than five nights out partying in the calendar month. Or, perhaps you’re in need of a hard earned break and want to book a trip away. Go for it! Paying for something memorable and good for your health is much better than buying all the latest gadgets.
Just remember why you’re making a purchase, whether you genuinely need it and whether it really does matter to you.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON LIVING A FRUGAL LIFESTYLE
Learning to live frugally can take some getting used to, but is totally worth it to enjoy life on a healthy budget.
You can still live a happy and meaningful life while living frugally. Try to keep it balanced when it comes to spending, asking yourself about needs vs wants and what you genuinely value.
Live a happy and healthy life with a little creativity and determining what’s important to you.
Over to my readers — did you enjoy these tips and ideas for frugal living? Do you have any other frugal ideas that can help our readers save money while living a frugal lifestyle?
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