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You want to learn how to be frugal but not cheap… then, you are in the right place.
Simply put… frugal living is saving money at it finest.
To be honest, though, learning how to be frugal can come with spending more money than you planned in the name of frugality. The truth can hurt. But, in order to be frugal, you must save what you would normally spend.
That means you are economical with money.
The list of 175+ frugal living tips seems like a great place to start when you are learning how to be frugal, right?
You need to focus on a few basic habits first. Set yourself up for success. And then, slowly incorporate more frugal ways to save money.
In this post, that is exactly what you will learn.
The frugal habits you need to be successful along with the best frugal life hacks to guarantee success.
Let’s dig in…
Can being Frugal make you Rich?
The key is to save money from your frugal hacks.
Remember the age-old saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
Every penny will slowly add up to the next money milestone.
If you don’t believe me, then check out this millionaire’s story of being frugal.
How Being Frugal can Cost You?
It can IF you are not careful.
Being frugal is about saving money. However, it is possible to spend more money in the name of frugality.
The first example would be being more than you need just because it is a good sale, deal, or clearance price that you don’t want to miss out on.
Next, in your search to find the cheapest option, you actually spend more over time replacing it because the quality isn’t quite the same.
There is a fine line between frugality, being cheap, and simply overspending on deals.
Just be weary of overspending money in the hunt of saving money.
How to be Frugal with Money
These are the habits you want to embrace to become a frugal person.
Personally, I like to think being frugal is being picky with my money.
I loathe my investment accounts going down, so why would I want to buy things that we don’t need or don’t matter in the long wrong. That is why I choose to be frugal with money.
Specifically, I choose to be economical with how we spend money.
Now, let’s dig in to understand how to be frugal with money.
1. Know Your Goals
First, you must know your goals. If you don’t have a goal, then you aren’t going to make any progress. Period.
In today’s society, it is SO easy to spend money without even realizing it. That is the point of business – they are out to market for your money (and they are good at it, too).
You must prioritize you first.
This is something we hear over and over. Prioritize your self-care before taking care of others. The same holds true for your money.
Action Step #1 – Sit down and write out your financial goals.
If this is something you haven’t done before, then check out our helpful guide to rocking your financial goals.
2. Understand your Spending Habits & Triggers
This one is HUGE!!
If you don’t know how and where you spend money without thinking, then you will never be able to stop the spending. You can’t slow the bleed.
First of all, I will admit that uncovering your spending habits is hard. It is introspective. It can be painful. Maybe even demoralizing.
But, until you let go of your previous financial failures, you won’t be able to move on.
This is an important step to make serious progress in your life. You may be amazed how this seemingly simple things will hold you back.
Action Step #2 – Review bank statements or credit card transactions. Look for things you bought without planning for them.
This will highlight your spending habits.
As for your triggers, watch your emotions and think what you automatically do when you are happy, sad, mad, and celebrating.
3. Save First
Oh my, pay yourself first.
This is something I focus on a lot at Money Bliss and for good reason. Saving money is the backbone to financial success.
If you don’t save money, then you are left scrambling when you need cash or stuck going into debt. This is a vicious hamster wheel that debt will overtake you.
Start by saving $10 a day. Many times you can find that money by uncovering your spending habits.
From there, look at increasing your saving percentage each month.
Action Step #3 – Figure out how much you save each week, each month, and your saving percentage. Brainstorm ways to increase how much you save.
To help our readers, you will find many spreadsheets and printables to help you figure out how much you save and track your savings progress. Once signed up on our email list, you will receive the password.
4. Spend Less Than You Make
Your expenses must be lower than your income. Period.
If you are currently spending more than you make, then you must look at ways to drastically cut expenses. Stop hoping that your situation will change and actually do something about it.
This seems like a very easy math concept. Yet, most people struggle with basic money management.
If you don’t believe that saving an extra $5 day, then think about having $1825 in your pocket.
Now, let’s flip it the other way, if you are overspending by $75 a week, then by the end of the year, you are in the hole $3900 plus interest if you took out debt.
Action Step #4 – Figure out your bare bones budget. Then, decide what fun spending items to keep to make sure you spend less than you make.
Here is a guide to help you figure out your bare bones budget. Also, you will find bare bones budget printable in our free library area.
Lastly, you must have patience.
Changing your money management won’t happen overnight. While you can have quick wins and successes, this is the race won by the turtle.
Patience comes with planning and that is one thrifty habit you should pick up.
When you become frugal with money, you plan how you spend your money and save your money. Many times, that means waiting for a sale to buy an item you need or accumulating money for another date.
Action Step #5 – Show self-restraint and try a no spend week or month.
By holding a no spend challenge, it will help you reshape your finances as well as help you prioritize what is important. As a reader, you have access to our no spend printables, too!
Frugal Life Hacks
These are the specific frugal hacks to save money.
These are the key areas you need to focus your energy on. Over time, they will become habits.
1. Pay Yourself First
Yep, this one again.
If you are frugal, then you pay yourself first.
You are focused on two things – how to save more money and how to make more money.
This pay yourself first concept will have you winning at money management – guaranteed!
A frugal person always has a plan on how they plan to spend their hard-earned money.
This makes sure that spending is always below income.
While many people hate the term “budget,” it doesn’t have to be constricting. We like to call it a “Cents Plan.” You make a plan for your money.
Just like you make a plan for your time on the weekend. Same concept.
The more you save now, the greater freedom you will have later.
3. Cook Meals at Home
Cooking food at home costs at least 25% of eating out. While the convenience of eating out is nice, it comes at a monetary and wellness cost.
You can make healthy meals under $10 for six servings. And not be a slave in the kitchen.
Shop the outer area of the grocery store. The expensive stuff is in the middle.
Hint: Try to incorporate a meatless meal 1-2 times per week. Plant based meals are cheaper to make.
4. Shop Less Often
This goes for general shopping, buying groceries, and adding items to your Amazon cart. The more often you go, the more likely you are to spend more money.
Decide ahead of time when you plan to shop (remember that patience concept from earlier).
For example, to get groceries for our house. I plan two pickups per month at the local grocery store and then have organic produce delivered on odd weeks with Misfits Market. Then, Costco run every month to 6 weeks. (Mind you… I have two children that are hitting the pre-teen phase.)
For me, I have shaved 30% off my grocery budget by implementing the strategy to shop less often.
5. Use Cash for Key Categories
If you are tempted to spend more than you should in certain areas, then you need to look at using cash.
When cash has been spent, you must wait until you full up that envelope again.
This helps so much with overspending.
You can do this with the cashless envelope system as well.
6. Own Less Stuff
The more items you have, the more it cost to buy and maintain.
So, by owning less stuff, you are accomplishing one of the most frugal life hacks to save money.
You don’t even need to become a minimalist. You just need to own what you need and that is it.
If you don’t believe me, look around and pack up anything you haven’t touched in the past 30 days.
7. Don’t Buy New
Buying new can be expensive. The best example of buying new is cars, trucks, and SUVs. The price instantly goes down the second you leave the dealership.
If at all possible, always look for used items that you can get at a discount or even for free.
With online forums and groups, it is much easier to find used items.
Of course, there is a caveat to this life hack; there are some things that are worth the investment and should be bought new. Just watch for sales or discounts.
8. Check your Receipts
It absolutely amazes me how many times I can be charged inccorectly. You would think with technology that this wouldn’t happen, but it does.
It takes a quick thirty seconds to scan your receipts and check for errors.
Sometimes, it may be the warranty you declined or double charged for apples. Other times, the sales price not have been rung up correctly.
Don’t hesitate to ask for the correct price!
9. Review Insurance and Ongoing Subscriptions
This may seem like a mundane task to do, but you could save yourself money.
This past summer, our homeowner’s and auto insurance went up again. We shopped around and ended up saving $1800. The same is true for cell phone and cable service.
You have to call and ask for discounts.
More often than not, these companies want you to continue as a customer and will lower your rate.
Automated Options to Save Money:
10. Switch to Reusable Products
When you throw something out, you have to buy new again.
This can fall into many categories. However, here are the main things you can reuse and ditch the waste.
This is what you want to look for:
- Reusable Snack Baggies
- Microfiber Cloths (instead of paper towels)
- Reusable Straws
- Dryer Balls
- Reusable Water Bottles
- Reusable Food Storage Bags (that go into the dishwasher!)
11. Drink Water
Nothing is more frugal than drinking water.
The costs of various drinks can be a drain to any budget.
12. Watch Out for Fees
There are so many little pesky fees that can add up. Some examples include shipping, account maintenance, service fees, banking fees, etc.
While $2-8 may not seem like much, they will balloon over time. Look for promo codes or alternative ways to skip the fees.
13. Cut Cable or Unused Subscriptions
If you don’t use, then don’t spend money on it.
You can’t save money if you spend on things that don’t matter to you.
This is hard for many of us to do because we like conveniences and we don’t want to be seen as different.
Ways to Cut Cable:
The key when cutting cable is not to replace it with more subscriptions that end up costing more.
14. Collect Your Pennies
A true life hack to get you ahead financially is to know your money.
You know where you money goes. You know when you spend it. When you save it.
Also, you will never leave money on the table. If you see a penny, you pick it up and save spare change. If you lose a dollar, you want to get it back.
This means you are actively looking for ways to make more money. You want more pennies to collect that will add to your net worth over time.
15. Free Things to Do
The last frugal life hack is to always look for free things to do.
Here is a little secret… having fun doesn’t need to cost money!! We have been trained that having fun costs money. But, it is so not true!
Some of the best things in life are free.
For all of you, here is a guide of over 101 things to do without money.
Which Frugal Life Hack Will Save Money for You?
Being frugal is a lifelong habit. Yes, there are quick wins you can have here and there. But, in the long run, these frugal life hacks will have the biggest bank for your time.
Learning how to live frugally and be happy is about understanding your priorities and how you want to spend your money.
If you are serious about learning how to be frugal with money, then plan a time to examine your finances. In less than 30 minutes, you will uncover things to change the trajectory of your spending and saving habits.
Just remember… pennies do add up. So, watch your pennies and watch your net worth grow.