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Frugal Living Ideas To Save Money On Groceries
Food is one of the best areas to implement the best frugal living tips because we all need to eat to survive. But the truth is, most of us could (drastically) save money on the food and drinks we buy.
Try these ideas to start being more frugal and slash your next grocery bill:
1. Make A Meal Plan.
Create a plan with all your meals and snacks for one week and only buy the food you need for that plan. I usually plan weekly but have planned meals for an entire month too (and just bought fresh produce weekly). Either way works and by creating a plan you will cut back on your food bills and spend a lot less by not going out to eat.
P.S. I created FREE Meal Planning Templates for my frugal friends! Access them in my Free Resource Library or get the secret code by signing up below!
2. Use The Ibotta App.
My go-to app for saving money on groceries is the FREE ibotta app. Use it to easily get cash back on practically anything you buy from 300+ stores. Milk, bread, cookies, crackers, pasta, even kombucha. Just browse the app to find deals on things you need to buy. Scan your receipt and earn free money.
They even have $10 and $20 gift cards you can earn for trying things like Hulu and Amazon Prime. One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries is to use ibotta to get money back on things you already buy anyway.
*BONUS* You Can Get $10 By Signing Up Today
3. Shop At Aldi Stores.
Shop at a store that offers lower prices every day, instead of stores with only a few good deals each week. Hello, Aldi!
Aldi is my favorite place to buy groceries! I save at least $100 per week on groceries by shopping at Aldi’s compared to my local supermarket. Need more convincing to start shopping at Aldi? Check this out.
4. Shop at Brandless.com
A new store I found online for ordering groceries and household goods is Brandless. While not everything is the best deal, I’ve been impressed with the options they have. And everything is $3 or less! Here’s my complete review of Brandless.
4. Eat The Food You Already Have.
More than likely, there’s already food in your cupboards, pantry, fridge, and freezer. Eat that food first to save on groceries this month. There’s no need to buy a cart full of groceries or go out to eat when your deep freezer and pantry are packed with food. Get creative and start putting random stuff together. It could be fun 😉
5. Create A Shopping List — And Stick To It.
After you plan your meals, create a list of all the food you need for those planned meals, then stick to it! I like to use the FREE app Wunderlist for my grocery lists. I even got my husband to help keep track of the groceries we need with this app! (It’s that good.)
Read about the apps I love best for saving money.
6. Use $5 Meal Plan to Get the Habit Started
If you’ve tried meal planning but found it hard to stick to, you should really try $5 Meal Plan. They not only have easy, delicious meal plan recipes for many different diet needs and preferences, but they also create your grocery list for you! That just might be the kicker you need to really make meal planning a habit.
Here’s a sneak peek at one of the shopping lists they created for me:
I signed up for their Risk-Free 14 Day Trial and was impressed by the meal selection. Even for my picky eaters and family’s diet restrictions, I found meals we could make and eat. If you like it and it helps your family stick to your grocery budget, it’s only $5 per month.
Start your 100% Risk-Free 14-Day Trial Today.
7. Stock Up On Deals.
When there is a great deal on a few essentials you know you will need later and have a very long shelf life (like noodles, dry beans, or TP), buy several to stock up instead of buying them later when they are full price. You can even stock up on things like blueberries when they’re in season (and cheaper) then freeze them to use in the winter months when they’re much more expensive in the store.
8. Buy Real, Yet Cheap, Food.
Think bananas, carrots, rolled oats, rice, beans, potatoes, and eggs. These are inexpensive foods that will actually fill you up but won’t jack up your grocery bill. This is a frugal living tip that will help your wallet and your waitline at the same time.
9. Buy The Generic Brand.
Replacing name-brand foods with the generic brand will noticeably cut your grocery bill. Many generic foods taste the same, while other foods taste slightly different, but you and your family can get used to the difference over time. Swapping brands is an easy way to save money without sacrificing.
In fact, many generic brands are even made by the same company; they literally just have different packaging! So don’t be afraid to give generic a try.
10. Get A Water Filter Instead Of Bottled Water.
One of the best frugal living tips is to invest in a water filter so you can drink your own tap water (which is safe for most people) because it will save you a TON of money if you’re used to buying bottled water.
I’ve personally used an inexpensive faucet filter like this one for years. It’s made my tap water safer to drink and it’s saved me hundreds of dollars because I never have to buy bottled water again.
11. Use EBATES When You Buy Food Online.
If you order any groceries online like I do, make sure you sign up for EBATES first to get cash back on all your online purchases. EBATES is my favorite because it is THE EASIEST money saving tool. Check out my full review of how EBATES works here.
New EBATES Members Get A $10 Welcome Gift! Start Today!
Super Frugal Living – Save Money On Drinks Too
Most of us know we spend a lot of money on food, but do you know how much you spend on drinks? Between coffee, soda, protein shakes, juice, smoothies, teas, beer, wine, liquor, energy drinks, and so on, it’s probably a lot more than you think. Here are ways to live more frugally and spend less money on drinks.
1. Drink Lots of Water.
Unless your tap water is unsafe, skip bottled water. Use a water filter and refillable water bottle instead. When I leave the house, chances are I have my water bottle with me, so I don’t buy overpriced concession stand, fast food, or gas station drinks when I get thirsty.
If you haven’t started this habit yet, get a water bottle and bring it with you wherever you go. I’ve tried more water bottles than I care to admit, and this water bottle continues to be my favorite. It helps me drink lots of water, so I stay hydrated but don’t spend money on drinks.
2. Eliminate or Cut Back on Other Liquids.
By simply replacing some of your drinks with water, you could potentially save a LOT of money each month. Your body and your wallet will probably feel better once this one becomes a habit too. To ease into it, start by choosing one liquid to reduce, like soda. Then the next week, add another.
Or if you’re all in and ready for super frugal living, drink only water for a whole month. I bet you’ll save some money that way!
Psst! The FREE ibotta app has deals on beer, liquor, and wine too! So if you are going to buy them, at least use the app to save money.
3. Make Your Own Coffee at Home.
Look, I’m a coffee lover too, especially with a donut on the side, but the saver in me cringes at the cost of just one latte at coffee shops. And is one really enough?
Brewing your coffee at home is a simple living tip and a money saving tip because you don’t have the extra stops or waiting in line at a coffee shop. You can do it all in your own kitchen.
Even if you’re more of a latte or frappuccino drinker, Pinterest has plenty of yummy recipes you could use to create your own fancy coffee drink at home, like an Iced Vanilla Bean Latte, a Mocha Frappuccino or these 15 Easy Coffee Recipes.
4. Find The Best Coffee Deals
Even if you’re hooked on the convenience of a Keurig too (oops…), you can still brew your own coffee or tea for less than 50¢ per cup at home with great K Cup Deals on coffee and teas.
P.S. If you really, really, really love to splurge on coffee (as in this is ranked at the top of your budget for luxuries and you’re willing to cut back elsewhere instead), ask for gift cards to your favorite coffee shop for your birthday, Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, Easter, or Christmas. Then you can splurge once in a while on a yummy coffee shop latte without sabotaging your budget every month to support a coffee habit.
12 Frugal Tips To Save Money at Restaurants
In addition to spending less at the grocery store, you can also save money at restaurants and fast food joints if you’re intentional. Here are the best frugal living tips for eating out:
1. Kids Eat Free. There are tons of restaurants that will allow your kids to eat free or super cheap if you go on the right day of the week. This guide is a lifesaver for finding out which restaurants have deals on kids’ meals for each day of the week.
2. Make going out to eat a rare splurge. Instead of being the norm, create the habit that going out to eat is a special event in your household. Make cooking, trying new recipes, and even theme nights like Taco Tuesday and Slow Cooker Sunday something fun to do together.
3. Look online for coupons, Groupons, or discounted gift cards. When you know you’ll need to get food on the road, look ahead of time for any special deals to save a few bucks.
4. Use BOGO sandwich deals. Certain fast food places almost always have coupons for BOGO sandwich deals, so use those and get two sandwiches. Skip the fries, they really aren’t filling anyway, and the sandwich should be enough to hold you over.
5. Skip the appetizers, desserts, sides, and drinks. Just get the main dish and your bill could be half the size.
6. Get an appetizer as your meal. Some appetizers are big enough and cheaper than the main dishes. I’ve done this at restaurants that have large chicken quesadillas as an appetizer for just a few bucks, which can be enough for a meal at a fraction of the price.
7. Drink water. It’s free. So are the refills. Ask for lemon to add some flavor.
8. Take advantage of Happy Hour. Many restaurants have deals as much as 50% off if you eat or drink during specified times. Similarly, many have special deals like $1 taco days. This could be another way to satisfy your restaurant cravings while sticking to your budget.
9. Go out for breakfast instead of dinner. Restaurant breakfasts are often half the price of their dinner entrees.
10. Compare prices for the meals. If you’re on a budget and trying to save money, this is not the time to get the filet mignon and lobster platter. Find something cheaper.
11. Take leftovers home and eat them for lunch tomorrow. If you do get a large meal (as most restaurant entrees are multiple servings), ask for a box and pack up half the meal to go. Then you have lunch already set for tomorrow. Yesss!
12. Take advantage of birthday freebies. Just by showing your drivers license or signing up online, you can enjoy a bunch of goodies for free on your birthday every year. Here are 31 birthday freebies you could sign up for.
8 Ways Money Saving Tips For Your Vehicles
1. Get rid of your car payments. Look at your budget and see how much money you’d have every month if you didn’t have a car payment. Furthermore, all the interest on your car payments is money that you could better invest somewhere else–such as a retirement or college savings account, which grows in value, rather than vehicles, which lose their value.
Sometimes people don’t realize their dreams are completely within reach–if only they got rid of the gigantic car payments sitting in their driveway. What could you do without your car payments? This one frugal living tip could change your life.
To get rid of your car payment, you could sell your current vehicle and purchase an older one without the fancy extras and without financing.
P.S. Within just a few months of launching my book about getting out of debt, readers were already sharing that they used the strategies in my book to pay off their car loans! Without car payments, they have way more wiggle room in their budget. I am so proud of all my readers for doing something to drastically change their lives for the better by getting rid of debt.
2. Sell an extra vehicle. If you can get by with one less vehicle, sell one. Some families have one or two more vehicles in their driveway than they have drivers in the house. This could free up some cash, and maybe savings on registration and insurance too.
3. Sell your vehicle yourself instead of trading it into a dealer. If and when you sell your next vehicle, you will get the most bang for your buck if you thoroughly clean your car and sell it yourself. It’s more work, but it will save you money.
4. Wash your vehicle yourself. Automatic car washes don’t cost a ton, but throughout a year, washing your car yourself could add up to a decent amount of savings.
5. Look for coupons. Your local newspaper, mechanic websites, or even Groupon often have coupons for oil changes or other car maintenance. While you probably want to stick to your trusted mechanic for big car repairs, you could take your business to whoever offers the best deal for simple things like an oil change or tire rotation.
6. Combine errands in one trip. Rather than running into or across town every day for a different errand, combine them and let your car sit at home a day here and there to save a little on gas.
7. Walk, bike, run, or rollerblade. For one of the best frugal living tips that’s also good for your health, leave your vehicle at home and use a free form of transportation like walking or biking. It’s good exercise for your body and mind, and it saves gas & wear on your vehicle too.
8. Carpool. Whether it’s for your commute to work or a trip to your kids’ tournament this weekend, carpool when you can. My husband and I carpooled with co-workers for years. This frugal living tip cut our gas and oil change costs in half, allowing us to pay off debt then build an emergency fund much faster.
Plus, when we carpooled with others, there were a lot fewer temptations to stop for coffee in the morning or at the store on the way home…saving us even more money throughout the month.
9 Ideas to Save Money on TV, Movies & Books at Home
All right, you knew this one had to make the list. TV and movies are total luxuries, yet they make a sizable dent in most people’s monthly budget. Each month it might not seem like a ton, but multiply that number by 12 and the amount you pay for TV in a year will shock you. Here are some of the best frugal living tips for saving money on TV, movies, & books:
1. Assess what you really “need” for TV. It’s rare any of us “need” TV, but it’s a luxury many of us enjoy. But assess what you really need to get some pleasurable downtime in front of the screen, and consider how important TV is compared to the other luxury categories in your budget (like restaurants, entertainment, clothing, and travel).
2. Compare your options. My guess is with all the options out there now, you can find a better rate than what you’re paying now. Check out Sling, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Video, Cable providers, Dish, Direct TV, and I’m sure there are more I’m missing. After assessing what you need, check out how much it’d cost for each of the options available in your area.
3. Call your current provider and ask for a deal. Tell them you’re going to cancel and switch (and mean it), and if they won’t match the price you can get elsewhere.
4. Get an old school antenna. Ah, the ultimate basic TV package. All ten channels I grew up with. I wasn’t deprived, so for the modest cost of an antenna, you could get the basics (like your local NFL games) and potentially save hundreds this month, and thousands over a year.
5. Use Amazon Prime Video. If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, use the TV and movie perks you already pay for. They’re adding new TV series, kids & family shows, documentaries, and movies all the time. You can add channels like HBO and Starz. Not sure this will do the trick? You can try it free for a month to test it out. Join Amazon Prime – Watch Thousands of Movies & TV Shows Anytime – Start Free Trial Now
6. Sign up for the Redbox mailing list. You’ll regularly get coupon codes for FREE movies or game rentals in your email.
7. Borrow movies from friends, family, neighbors, or the library. Chances are they have some good ones you haven’t seen yet. You can let them see your collection and do a swap.
8. Watch the movies you already have. Being content with what you already have is a huge part of simple frugal living. Instead of insisting on something new or different, watch what you already have and be thankful for that.
9. Get FREE audiobooks. Did you know that just by signing up for Audible’s FREE 30-day trial you can get two FREE audiobooks? I loved audiobooks to pass the time and learn on the go while commuting, and now as a busy mom with an ever-growing list of “must read books,” I love audiobooks even more. If you haven’t yet, Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks. (Here’s the step-by-step tutorial for getting your free audiobooks to show you just how easy and FREE it is!) Plus, you get to keep the books FOREVER. 🙂
2 Money Saving Ideas For The Internet
1. Research the options in your area. See if you can get by with a lower package or if there are any deals or promotions you could get for switching to a new provider.
When you find a better deal, call your current provider and tell them other internet providers are offering you a better deal (give specifics). Tell them you’ve been a loyal customer for X years but you can’t pass up the savings this other company is offering you. Ask what they can do for you to beat or match that offer. You might be surprised what they will do to keep you as a customer.
2. Use free wi-fi. You might be able to get by without the monthly wi-fi expense completely. Using your cell phone data (if you have it) and local establishments with free wi-fi, like coffee shops and the library, you might be able to save a good chunk of money every month.
10 Ways to Save Money on Cell Phones
Confession time…It took me about a decade to finally go to the dark side of owning a smartphone. I was laser-focused on getting out of debt and could now swallow the monthly increase. After years and years of paying $30 a month for my phone, it just seemed ridiculous to suddenly start paying that much for a phone!
Even after we got out of debt, it took me a year–and having our first child–to finally take the plunge. I had gotten so used to life without it, I knew smartphones were a luxury, not a necessity.
Whether you have a smartphone or not, here are some ways to reduce your phone bill:
1. Check out Republic Wireless. They have legitimate cell phone plans as low as $15 per month! Last I looked, they have expanded nationwide, but still didn’t have optimal service in my area. I sure wish they did! I’ve heard awesome things about this cell phone company and for just $15 per month, you could save a boatload! See if there’s coverage in your area.
2. Invest in a heavy-duty case. If your phone is worth a couple hundred dollars, protect your phone with a quality case like the OtterBox Defender Case so your screen does not shatter.
3. Buy a used phone. Some cell phone companies have used phones you can buy, or websites like Gazelle and Swappa have Certified pre-owned iPhones for a fraction of the price and free standard shipping on all orders.
4. Sell your old phone. Use Swappa or Gazelle to sell your old smartphones you have lying around. Having more money in the bank is better than having unused phones lying around.
5. Lower your data plan. Check out how data you are using to see if you can lower to a cheaper data package. When I first signed up for a data plan, the salesman tried convincing me that I should go with 10GB of data per month. Thankfully, I knew that sounded outrageous and I started with 3GB. I quickly saw how little data I really needed and have been using only 1GB per month for over two years now. So check out your usage yourself and see if you really need all the data you’re paying for.
6. Use free wi-fi whenever you can. If you have access to wi-fi, make sure your phone is connected to that instead of using your phone data. This is how I’m able to use such little data each month.
7. Inspect your bill. Call your phone provider and inquire about any fees or charges you aren’t sure what they are for. Make sure you actually use any services you are paying for. Sometimes add-on perks sound good at the beginning and only cost a few bucks a month, but years later you learn you’ve been paying $10 per month for something you never even used.
8. Shop around. See if another company is offering a better deal to new customers. I recently saw one phone company advertising the latest iPhone for free for new customers. **Here’s a specific post for comparing and optimizing your cell phone bill**
9. Pay for your phone in full. Rather than installment plans, if you can pay for your phone in full upfront, your monthly bill will be smaller and if anything happens to the phone, you actually own it (instead of just “borrowing” it until it’s paid in full from the cell phone company). If you can’t pay for a phone in full, you can’t afford it. Choose a cheaper one.
10. Resist needing the latest and greatest. Stick with an older version of the phone instead of upgrading. If you already have the newest phone, consider trading it in for an older one to make money fast.
8 Simple Living Tips To Save Money On Entertainment
1. Look for events online or posted around town that are free. Enjoy free days or nights out with friends, a date, or family like concerts in the park, free family video showings, or family fun nights.
2. Eat beforehand or pack your own food. You won’t have to buy food from vendors, which are always overpriced (I’m talking about you, $5 hot dog and $3 bottle of water!)
3. Invite friends over to your house. Host a meal, bonfire, games or a movie night at your house instead of going out.
4. Get discounted tickets. Check with your community center or public school district to see if they sell discounted tickets to local attractions. You can also look on Craigslist, Facebook buy & sell groups, or sites like StubHub, Ticket Master, or Cheap Tickets to get discounted tickets rather than paying full price.
5. Go to a matinee movie. If you’re set on seeing a movie in the theater, many theaters offer cheaper (like half-price) tickets for movies shown earlier in the day.
6. Look for special discounts. Look online or call to ask about special deals. A local theater by me has military discounts, senior discounts, and student discounts. Even if you don’t qualify for any of those discounts, they have special ticket prices one day per week. Take advantage of these to save on entertainment.
7. Use Groupons. You can get 25% off your first Groupon if you’re a newbie. There are tons of deals for restaurants and just about anything you can think to do, like paint nights, amusement parks, wine tasting, comedy clubs, cooking and dance classes, museums, theaters, concerts, and more.
8. Explore outside. Step away from noise and technology and find some entertainment in nature. Go for a hike, a bike ride, walk the dogs, go to a park, pack a picnic, go camping, fishing, sledding…just go outside. This is one of the best frugal living tips for your wallet and your soul.
7 Ways to Save Money on Insurance
Would you believe I recently saved over $700 on insurance! It’s true
I finally did the dreaded task of comparing insurance carriers for our home and auto insurance, which I’d thought about doing for a couple of years but kept putting it off. I’m so glad I did it because I found out we could get better coverage for $400 less than we were paying before. It wasn’t fun, but it really wasn’t that bad. And the results made me wish I had done it a lot sooner.
In addition, my husband and I earn $300 every year by taking a health assessment for our health insurance company.
So those two things put $700 extra in our pocket!
How can you use this super frugal living tip and save money on insurance?
1. Compare insurance companies. A few hours of getting quotes could equate to hundreds of dollars saved each year, like it did for us.
2. Negotiate your rate. Once you know what other companies offer, you can better negotiate with your current insurance provider. Let them know the rate they need to beat or you will switch to another company. **Here’s an exact script you can use to negotiate lower car insurance, thanks to Ramit Sethi.**
3. Complete health insurance assessments. If your health insurance offers an incentive for completing an online or in-person assessment, take the time to do it. It can be an easy way to earn a few hundred bucks. We either get gift cards or prepaid Visa cards as compensation.
4. Get healthier. You can lower your life insurance rates by being in the top tier of health (e.g., be at a healthy weight, don’t smoke, manage your stress, etc.).
5. Drive carefully. Traffic tickets and accidents not only cost money immediately, they affect your car and life insurance rates too.
Many car insurance companies offer discounts for every year you go without a claim, plus, if/when you have kids, you’ll want them to drive carefully too, so be a good role model while driving to keep your insurance costs down.
6. Earn good grades in school. Car insurance companies often have discounts for students who excel in school. So if you’re a college student or if you have kids in school, stress the importance of earning good grades and do your part to help make that happen. Ask your auto insurance provider about good student discounts.
7. Evaluate your coverage and deductible. You want to make sure you have enough coverage, but not too much so you’re not paying for more than you need.
Be sure to carefully assess your insurance needs to ensure you have enough coverage, and speak to a professional if you’re unsure before making any big insurance changes.
How To Live Frugally And Use Your Local Library
Those who know how to live frugally adore public libraries because they are a FREE resource for all sorts of things. Check out what the libraries in your area have to offer this month. You might be surprised at how much money you can save if you keep your wallet closed and open the doors of your library.
1. Free music, movies, TV series, books, ebooks, and audiobooks. Borrow thousands of items for completely free. Just use your card to check the items out and return them before the due date.
2. Free internet. If you can get by without internet at home, you can use the library for the times you really need it to save money.
3. Classes, clubs, and fun events. My local library offers toddler yoga, toddler story times, reading to therapy dogs, Pokemon club, movie & popcorn nights, family trivia nights, potluck picnics, book clubs, summer reading programs, and more throughout the year. And they are all FREE!
10 Money Saving Ideas For Housing
Housing is the biggest expense for many people, so it also has the most potential for the greatest savings. These are some of the best frugal living tips for your home.
1. Find a cheaper place to live. If you’re looking for one super frugal living idea that could save tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, find a cheaper place to live. Research refinancing, finding cheaper rent, or downsize to a smaller home with a smaller (or no) mortgage.
2. Get a roommate. You can get someone to split all your living expenses.
3. Rent out your space on Airbnb. You can rent out your entire place on Airbnb for special occasions, such as big sporting events, or just a room or certain area of your house, such as a finished basement. This extra income can help pay for your housing costs.
4. Use High Efficiency (HE) appliances. When it’s time to update your appliances, go with high efficiency to cut your monthly expenses, and possibly earn a tax credit.
5. Adjust the thermostat. Saving on housing expenses doesn’t have to be drastic measures. Even adjusting your thermostat a few degrees warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter will help save money on heating and cooling expenses. While you might not notice a difference after one month, you will notice the savings over a year.
6. Use a programmable thermostat. This small investment could save you money on heating and cooling because you can schedule times to automatically adjust the temperature of your home. No need to run the A/C when everyone’s gone at work, right? There are plenty of reliable programmable thermostats under $50.
7. Get a fan or window a/c unit. That way you can cool only the room(s) you use most often, rather than the whole house.
8. Use a room heater. Likewise, you can heat just the room(s) you need during the colder months instead of heating the whole house.
9. Turn off or unplug fans and electronics. When you’re not using electronics, such as toasters, cell phone chargers, or lamps, unplug them to lower your electric bill.
10. Use a rain barrel. Collecting rainwater to water your plants and garden can save a bunch on your water bill.
6 Tips For Frugal Living And Gift Giving
Generosity is admirable, but there are lots of ways you can live frugally and still be a giver.
1. Give your time. Your time is the only gift that is irreplaceable. When you’re looking for the next gift for a kiddo, instead of wrapping up yet another toy, take the child to a park or beach, pack a picnic, bring a ball and a kite, and play with them. Create memories all year long for free with this gift in a jar your child will be sure to cherish.
2. Cook a nice meal and dessert. Host or deliver a meal to show kindness to a loved one.
3. Volunteer your time. Instead of donating money for a cause that’s meaningful to you, donate your time. This is one of the best frugal living tips that you can use to impact the lives around you.
4. Reuse. You can easily reuse gift bags, tissue paper, ribbons, and bows instead of buying new ones.
5. Use newspaper to wrap presents. For those you know don’t care, wrap their gifts in newspaper instead of wrapping paper. For me, it’s a joke with my dad. Both my gifts to him and his gifts to me are often wrapped in newspaper. It ends up in the trash anyway, and we’re both ok with that!
6. Make a handmade card. Instead of buying another greeting card, write your own message. If you have kids, ask them to help color and design it with you. Not only will your card stand out among all the other store-bought cards, it will probably be more meaningful.
7. Keep gifts small. You don’t need to constantly one-up your last gift or compete with anyone on social media for who spent the most on a gift. Keep your gifts simple and intentional, like these simple Easter Basket gifts for under $10.
9 Ways To Be Frugal While Shopping
1. Buy used. With all the places to buy and sell stuff online and in person these days, there isn’t much you can’t buy used. Check Facebook buy & sell groups, Craigslist, eBay, consignment stores, thrift stores, or even your friends and family to see what they are selling. From furniture to clothes and baby gear, buying used can save you a load of dough.
2. Cut convenient yet costly subscriptions. If you have any monthly subscriptions, examine the value of what you are paying for. Many times you’re paying a hefty price tag for convenience, so ending an unnecessary subscription might be an area you could save money each month.
3. Sign up for subscriptions that will truly save you money. While some subscriptions are more for convenience, others really do save you money. With Amazon Prime, for example, I can get the best price on my vitamins and diapers by using their “Subscribe & Save” option. These are things I will buy every month no matter what, so I might as well subscribe to get the best price.
At first, I assumed if I subscribed that I would have to pay every month no matter what, but I was pleasantly surprised to find out I have the flexibility to skip months if I don’t need an item yet. If you haven’t yet, you can Try Amazon Prime Free For 30-Days to see if it would save you money.
4. Set “No Spend Days.” Start with one day per month and dedicate it as a day you will not spend any money. Increase it to one day per week and that’s four guaranteed days of not spending any money every month. Here are even more tips for successful no spend days.
5. Wait 30 Days. Practice self-control and wait 30 days before making any purchases that are not absolute necessities. This will reduce impulse buys and help you stick to your budget. Chances are, you’ll either forget about it, no longer “have to have it,” or you’ll verify that you really do want it and it fits in your budget.
6. Add a Zero. Before you buy something, mentally “add a zero” to the price tag. Then ask yourself if you’d still buy it at that price. Why? This number represents how much you could earn if you were to invest that same money in something like a retirement account, or how much you could save on interest if you used that money to pay off debt instead. This strategy makes that $50 shirt a lot less appealing. ($500? No, thanks.)
7. Be a Mystery Shopper. If you want to earn money for shopping and don’t mind taking surveys, you can explore being a mystery shopper. You can get things like free meals and hotel stays too. Read more about being a mystery shopper here.
8. Google “Promo” and “Coupon” codes. Before buying anything online, open another tab (anyone else have 8 tabs open right now?) and do a quick Google search for the store name + promo code or coupon code. One of my favorite sites for finding these discounts is RetailMeNot. Lots of times, you’ll find an extra 15% off or free shipping.
9. Use EBATES for all online shopping. If you do ANY online shopping, you have to use EBATES. I’ve used EBATES for years to get hundreds of dollars in cold hard cash for pushing a button. It could not be easier. Plus, YOU GET $10 for signing up and making your first purchase, so be sure to sign up before you buy anything else online.
6 More Frugal Living Tips You Need To Try
1. Cut your own hair. Hair stylists can be expensive, so if having a fantastic-looking head of hair isn’t at the tippy top of your priority list, consider finding a cheaper stylist or even cutting your own (or your partner’s hair).
2. Cancel your gym membership. Gym memberships can be expensive, and from my experience working at a gym, most people are not getting the full value out of there membership. If that’s you, stop pretending you’ll use it more next month and cancel it already.
Ending your membership doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising either. There are awesome workouts for free online (BenderFitness has been a favorite of mine). Or just grab a pair of tennies and walk, run, skip, jump rope, lunge, squat, burpee, plank, then push-up. Repeat until you’re sweaty…then repeat some more.
3. Refinance your loans. If you’re able to refinance debt, such as student loans, for a lower interest rate, you could save money and lower your monthly payments. I have friends who’ve had great success refinancing student loans with SoFi. You can read the full details about my big refinancing mistake here.
4. Stop comparing. If you continue to compare yourself and your life to those around you, you will continue to spend, spend, spend to try and keep up.
If you’re looking at life through a comparison lens, you will always be someone with more than you. More clothes. More jewelry. More cars. A bigger house. More land. More money. More vacations.
The sooner you acknowledge and accept that, the easier it will be to stop spending money to try and keep up with the Joneses. This will help you get and stay out of debt as well live a more frugal, simple life. Focus on your goals to save and don’t sweat what everyone else appears to have.
5. Practice contentment and gratitude. Being content with what you have and being grateful for what you have are two keys to making your financial dreams (and happiness) become your reality.
6. Use Swagbucks. You can earn money if you sign up for Swagbucks by using their search engine to do your regular searches, take 5-20 minute surveys, watch short videos, and more. You earn points for all of those items then you can redeem your points for gift cards to just about anywhere.
Finally, I saved the best for last.
#1 Best Budget Tip for Frugal Living
The #1 thing that will help you commit to a frugal lifestyle is budgeting. Every. Single. Month. It’s was a game-changer for paying off over $60,000 in student loans, building our emergency fund, and even leaving my job to freelance and work from home.\
P.S. You get get my budget template in the Free Resource Library. See the link below!
Know Where You Spend Your Money
If you don’t know where your money is going, then how can you find ways to save it?
When you can clearly see where you spend your money, you can more easily find where you can save and live a more frugal lifestyle.
Here is a simple guide to creating a monthly budget.
You can also get instant access to the budget template I use. It’s part of the Common Cents Club Free Resource Library.