Frugal living is not something that I have always been a big fan of. I used to think that people who considered themselves frugal were actually just cheapskates. People who saved up all of their money and never had any fun.
It wasn’t until I racked up over $20,000 in debt in 2006 that I realized money was always going to be weighing me down – if I let it. That’s when I decided to give frugal living a try.
Though the past few years have not been easy, I have learned so many things about frugal living and why it is such a wonderful way to live.
Below you will find a list of ways to be frugal around your home.
1. Cook from scratch. Not only is doing this a great way to save money, but you have the control over what goes into the food you are eating.
2. Start freezer cooking. Cook multiple meals in bulk and freeze the extra for future meals.
3. Build a stockpile. Stock up when things you regularly use are on sale, so that you don’t have to pay full price the next time you need them.
4. Use every last bit of shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, etc. When something like your soap is almost gone, add a bit of water to the bottle and shake it up. You will be able to get a few more days out of the soap.
5. Use vinegar. This cheap product is very useful for so many things, including cleaning and disinfecting.
6. Re-use dryer sheets, or forego them all together. You really don’t need them.
7. Learn to sew. Mend and create your own clothing instead of paying someone else to do it for you.
8. Cut out the cable. There are many free TV stations available online these days.
9. Buy used. I’m not just talking about clothing and toys, but also furniture, vehicles, and home decor.
10. Make your own household cleaners.
11. Re-use gift bags and tissue paper. As long as they are not ripped or destroyed in some way, there’s no reason to throw those items in the trash.
12. Become a minimalist. Learn to live with less.
13. Downsize. If your home is larger than you need, find a smaller one. There’s no sense paying for space that is never used.
14. Wash your clothing, towels, bedding, etc. all in cold water to give your hot water tank a break.
15. Take quick showers. Make it a game with your family and see who can shower (and still get clean!) the fastest.
16. Use a slow cooker. These save a great deal of electricity.
17. Clean windows and mirrors with newspaper instead of paper towels.
18. Use rags to clean us messes instead of paper towels.
19. Avoid bottled water. Stick to drinking tap water from a filter, such as Brita.
20. Switch to energy efficient light bulbs. They may cost a bit more up front, but they will last much longer and will help to lower your hydro bill.
21. Get organized. Organize your bills, clothing, tools, toys, books – keep your entire home organized so that you always know where to find things, preventing you from buying a duplicate.
22. Re-use baby wipe containers or facial tissue boxes to store plastic grocery bags.
23. Cancel your newspaper subscription. There are many free news websites available. Read the news online for free.
24. Shop at thrift stores and yard sales. You can often find kitchen items, clothing, toys and more, for a very small fraction of the original price.
25. Hang your clothes to dry, instead of using a dryer. You can save quite a bit of money doing this one simple thing.
26. Avoid “dry clean only” clothing. Those dry cleaning bills can add up fast!
27. Keep your tires at the right pressure for optimal fuel efficiency.
28. Wash your own car. It’s easy to do and a great way to save money.
29. Drive your vehicle until it falls apart, all the while, saving for your next one.
30. Combine errands. Avoid making multiple trips and instead try to do all of your errands at once, to save on fuel.
31. Walk instead of drive. Save money on transportation costs and get some exercise at the same time.
32. Keep up with routine vehicle maintenance. The better care you take of your vehicle, the longer it will last.
33. Consider becoming a one vehicle family. Think long and hard about whether or not you actually need to have more than one vehicle. If not, get rid of the excess.
34. Bring re-useable bags with you when you go shopping, so you don’t have to buy plastic bags.
35. Buy generic. This applies to food, beauty products and even medications. Most often, the generic brand is just as good (sometimes better!) than the name brand.
36. Menu plan. Create a weekly or monthly menu plan and stick to it as best you can. Doing so will allow you to create a shopping list – only buy what’s on your list, that’s it. This is a great way to avoid impulse purchases.
37. Learn how to price match and do it whenever possible, to save money on transportation costs.
38. Cook at home, instead of spending a fortune on restaurant meals.
39. Take advantage of mail in rebates to save money on your grocery bill.
40. Grow your own vegetables and herbs. This is much easier to do than it seems, and can save you a great amount of cash.
41. Make your own baby food. Puree your own vegetables, fruits, etc. and save money. Those tiny little jars at the grocery store are WAY overpriced!
42. Use cloth diapers instead of disposables. The initial cost for cloth diapers is much cheaper than having to purchase disposable diapers every few weeks. Plus, it’s much better for the environment.
43. Eat less meat. Consider having at least one meatless meal every week.
44. Look over all of your bills to make sure you weren’t over-charged for something.
45. Use coupons. This is one of the best ways that you can save money on your grocery bill, but there are also coupons available for clothing stores, restaurants and more.
46. Make your own coffee, instead of buying it from your local coffee shop.
47. Send invites to any events you host via email, to save money on postage costs.
48. If you go out to eat, drink water. Any other beverage will be overpriced.
49. Stay home. Find contentment in staying home instead of always going out to have fun.
50. Use the library. You can find books, magazines, movies, music and even fun activities at libraries. Take advantage of this FREE opportunity – just remember to return the items you borrow on time, to avoid paying late fees.
51. Learn to say no. You don’t have to attend every party, or go to every baby shower. It’s okay to say no sometimes.
52. Keep snacks in your purse or vehicle to avoid stopping at a fast food restaurant or vending machine when you get hungry and are out and about.
53. Bring your lunch to work. Avoid buying lunch every day, as this can really kill your budget.
54. Live on cash, if possible. It’s much harder to spend money when you actually see it leaving your hands.
55. Quit smoking. This is an expensive habit that really needs to be kicked as soon as possible. Save your money and live a healthier lifestyle by throwing those cigarettes in the trash – for good.
56. Create a budget and stick to it. Spend less than you make.
57. Pay yourself first. Saving for your future should be one of your top priorities.
58. Shop on sale. Follow the Canada yearly sales cycles and only buy things when they go on sale.
59. Buy gifts year-round. Watch for sales and pick up birthday, Christmas and other gifts as you see item at great prices.
60. Learn to negotiate. You can negotiate the price of just about anything.
61. Pay your bills on time. Late fees are so unnecessary!
62. Switch to a no-fee bank. There are a few of these available. If you don’t use the bank very much, you probably don’t need all of the services you are paying for, so – make the switch!
63. Pay your bills online, to avoid postage costs. Most banks offer this option.
64. Create an emergency fund. It’s important to have a safety net in case an unexpected emergency arises.
65. Take advantage of Reward Programs, such as Shoppers Optimum, Air Miles, HBC Rewards, etc.
66. Happily accept hand-me-downs. Nothing beats FREE!
67. Re-gift. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with re-gifting a gift that you received and never intend to use. Just make sure you don’t give it back to the person who got it for you in the first place!
68. Give homemade gifts for holidays and birthdays. Not only are the inexpensive, but gifts mean so much more to someone when you make them yourself.
69. Use Ebates when you are shopping online. You might as well earn some cash back from purchases you were already planning on making.
70. Use Swagbucks to earn cash, gift cards and prizes. If you spend time online, this simple program can be very lucrative.
Don’t feel as though you need to follow every tip on this list. Find a few tips that you think you will be implementing into your current lifestyle and give them a try. If they work out well, try a few more.
It’s important to remember not to overwhelm yourself. Doing so will only result in disappointment.
Frugal living is not something that is difficult to do. It also does not mean that you are cheap or a tightwad (as many people like to call me!). Living a frugal simply means that you are being responsible with your finances and only spending money on the things that are important to you.
The more money you save by not spending on frivolous items, the more you can enjoy a life free of debt and full of opportunity.
Frugal living is one of the best ways you can save money and enjoy a more simple and meaningful life. You don’t need “stuff” to make you happy.
I am so thankful that I changed my life around and am now more careful with my money. Since becoming more frugal, I have actually been able to enjoy the things that I wasn’t able to enjoy when I was spending money crazily – imagine that!
Please share your frugal living tips in the comments.