Frugal living has become a more practical option in the 21st century. Things are getting expensive every day and now we have to pay for stuff we don’t even need. The extravagance of the entertainment industry has made people believe that they too have to have an extravagant life to be happy. Few brave souls have decided to finally stop splurging money like a mad man be practical. Frugal living has more to do with practicality than to saving money.
Top 64 Tips to Live a Frugal Life/Live Life Cheap
In this article, I have listed out Top tips to live a frugal life. Most of the tips here will need a bit of effort and discipline from your end.
01. Get a Deep Freezer
Invest in a deep freezer to store meat and vegetable. A deep freezer will enable you to buy meat in bulk at a great deal. It will also help you stack up frozen items which you can get in bulk when on sale.
02. Get Cheap Ham
Buy hams at a cheap price when the store marks hams that will go bad in the next month. You can take the whole ham to a deli and have them slice it which you can contain in a deep freezer for longer use. In fact, you should learn to embrace the ‘Manager’s Special’ items.
03. Buy Medicine Online
Buy over-the-counter medicine online from Amazon at a cheaper price.
04. Avoid Late Fees
Always pay your bills before time. You can use mobile apps to manage your finances or even have a second bank account where you deposit your bill money when you get paid.
05. Pick Your Own Food
Visit local farms and pick your own food fresh and cheap.
06. Don’t be Tricked by Salesman
A salesman will always find a way to convince you to buy stuff you don’t really need. Learn to say ‘NO’ when you have to!
07. Grow Your Own Herbs and Learn to Cook
Even in an apartment, you can manage to grow your own spices and herbs. If you can learn to cook, you can have a gourmet dinner at the house much cheaper than fancy restaurants.
08. Replace Smartphone with Laptop
If you have simple tasks such as writing an email, internet banking etc. you could just ditch the laptop, instead, buy Bluetooth keyboards that work yours with a smartphone. However, with smartphones, we definitely don’t suggest iPhone or other high-end expensive phones.
09. Use Office or Friend’s Printer
If you need to print something you don’t have to buy a printer and ink; just ask your friends, a couple of them if you have a lot to print. For only a couple of pages, you can use the office printer too.
10. Insulate Your Walls to Save Heating Bills
Home insulation usually pays off on its own in a few years. This is a one-time investment that will slash your energy bills a lot. Use a towel to stop door draft and other old clothing items to caulk windows.
11. Don’t be Impulsive
People buy stuff out of excitement and later they stuff it in the basement, never seeing the day of light ever again. Don’t spend on things such as aroma oil diffuser, hardware tools, farming types of equipment etc.
12. Keep House Clean
By keeping it clean, we don’t mean that you mess around for a month and then hire someone to clean it. The cheaper and better way would be to do it every day. Take your stuff and keep it back where it was every day; it only takes a few seconds! Keeping the house clean also means fewer pathogens and less disease. This will save you time, money and you will have peace of mind.
13. Shop the Ethnic Aisle
Instead of going to a grocery store, you can shop at the ethnic aisle, where you will get the same stuff, only cheaper.
14. Cut the Cable
There are cheaper options such as Amazon Prime, Netflix and Hulu to watch movies and TV shows.
15. Snap Your Credit Card
Seriously, do it right now and you will thank yourself for that later. You don’t have to buy expensive stuff on credit. The bill usually adds-up will its interest rates and you will find a shortage of money every month as you will paying most of your bills to credit card companies. If you don’t have the money, don’t buy it, instead wait for the item to go on sale.
16. Refurbish Furniture
Don’t throw away your wooden furniture, just refurbish it and build something new. This will give you a great space as well as make your interior look cooler.
17. Ditch Monthly Modem Rental
Really, if you do the maths you know it is better to buy your own modem at just $40 than paying $5 on monthly modem rental to internet companies.
19. Learn to Do-It-Yourself
There is nothing more personal than something you built on your own. Plus, there are hundreds of websites, YouTube channels that will teach you to build and fix your own stuff without depending on technicians.
20. Replace Coffee and Tea With Warm Spiced Water
If you grow your own herbs and spices, you can pretty much prepare your own green tea, which is free and healthy. It’s definitely better than having a cup of coffee at Starbucks.
21. Shop Used Items
Craigslist is a great place to shop used or second-hand items. To be honest it is better to buy a second-hand modem at lower than half the price of its original cost.
22. Use Little of Your Products
To be honest, be it toothpaste or face wash, using a lot of it doesn’t necessarily give better results.
23. Commit to Wait 30 Days Before Making a Big Purchase
When you are making a big purchase, don’t be impulsive. Right now, it may seem that you need that stuff; just wait for a month or 30 days and then decide if you still need it.
24. Use Public Transportation
Even if you have a car, we advise you to take public transportation unless you absolutely have to drive your own car. This will save you money on gas as well as help in reducing pollution.
25. Workout at Home
To be healthy you don’t need to subscribe to an expensive gym. Core exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups, squats etc can be done at home for free. Furthermore, you can buy basic gym equipment such as dumbbells and barbells at a much cheaper which is used in over 90% of all types of workouts.
26. Learn to Bargain
Paying the full price for an item should be a myth for you. You either acquire the skill to bargain or wait for a sale to come around.
27. Adjust Your Thermostat
Simply by adjusting the thermostat only a few degrees, you can make a real saving. Drop the thermostat to 65 degrees in winter and up it to 72 degrees in the summer. You could also look for alternative heating ways such as using a wood stove.
28. Give up the Dryer
Seriously, using a dryer to dry your clothes makes no sense, when you already have a natural heater running all day. You should build a clothesline or makeshift some inexpensive drying racks.
29. Use it till the Last Drop
Don’t just toss that toothpaste away unfinished. Even those last few squeezes can add up to a lot in a year. If it’s hard to squeeze all of it out, it would be better to simply cut that in half so that you reach out to the rest of the stuff.
30. Bake your Own Bread
Learning to bake takes only a month and then you can save tons on bread. Baking a loaf of bread at home is definitely cheaper probably up to 50% than buying it from a store.
31. Buying Stuff Cheaply from eBay
We already know that buying second-hand stuff is a real money saver. But do you know some sellers misspell the name of their items on eBay and people can’t find to bid on them, therefore their price is really low?
32. Buy the House You Need not the One You Like
Most of the savings go into buying and maintaining a house. Living a frugal life is the exact opposite of a lavish lifestyle, so it is much better to have a small house with less expense than to have a large house, maintaining which will get into debt.
33. Unplug that Dishwasher
It does the job of both washing and drying which sucks up a lot of energy. You can do the same by hand washing your dishes on the sink and save a lot of energy bills.
34. Make Your Gifts at Home
People love gifts that are made by a real person and not by a machine in a factory. This is where you can put Pinterest to work; you will literally get thousands of ideas to create homemade gifts that are not only cheap but look better than the ones sold on the market.
35. Reach out to your local library
Maybe you would like to have a few pages of your novel for dinner, that means you will need a lot of books. Now buying the book is a really good idea, but if you can enroll in your local library it will much cheaper and you will have a better place to read. There are many online libraries that provide a free reading. Moreover, you can get almost all classics for free from online libraries.
36. Embrace board games
Board games are fun and bring the whole family together. It is definitely better than watching movies and going out to dinner and it’s not just about money; playing board games at home is way better than watching movies mindlessly at a theater.
37. Unplug When you are going out
You can do that by simply flipping the breaker panel switch. It is a simple and effective way to save money wasted on electricity.
38. Dine at Home
If you are planning to take your friends out to dinner, you could do that by cooking at your own place. It will bring the whole group together and you are assured that the food is fresh. Cooking at home is not only cheaper but also healthy.
39. Pack your food for your trip
Make it a commitment to always pack food before you go out on a trip. Purchasing food from street vendors is risky and dining at a restaurant is expensive, so it is a much wiser option to take food from home.
40. Give up meat at least for a few days a week
It’s not that you can’t live without meat! It doesn’t even make sense to have meat all the time. It’s not just about saving money but about a healthy lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle must include vegetables on your dinner table. So, make a rule to go vegetarian for 15 days a month.
41. Ditch Paper Products
Paper products are expensive from keeping a journal buying corrugated cardboard boxes. The worst part is it doesn’t last that long. It would be much better to go online for your journaling and buy plastic boxes that will cost a few extra dollars but will definitely last for a lifetime.
42. Get a VoIP
I’m not sure if you knew this, if you did, you would have ditched that phone service a long time ago. With a VoIP service, you can even make international phone calls in cents. Getting a VoIP call service will cut down your phone bills to 70%.
43. Make Dog Food at Home
Feeding your pet can get expensive, which is why we advise you to make your pet food at home. You will find numerous tutorials on the internet to make healthy dog food or for any pet for that matter at home.
44. Make Your Own Hygiene Products
You can make a lot of self-hygiene product from material already available in your kitchen. It’s natural and healthy; definitely better than using chemicals. You can even plant an Aloe Vera plant at home and use the real stuff at home for free.
45. Purchase in Bulk
If you want to live cheap, learn to buy your stuff in bulk at a cheaper price. You will need things like groceries, cleaners, soap etc. every day anyway, so why not buy in bulk at a cheaper price.
46. Make Money Online
Sign in to websites like Fiverr and make money online. You can use your skill to become a freelancer. You can even start your own YouTube channel or write a blog. The Internet is a gold mine for people who can mine. Get online, learn new skills and make money on your skills.
47. Collect Coupons
Food is the third biggest expense, which is why you should cut down on your food expense if you want to live frugally. Collect discount coupons and always buy your food when the store has some offers.
48. Save Funds for Your Retirement
This will force you’re cut down your expense as well as secure a financially-independent life when you need it most. You can even get a free 401(K) audit using apps such as Bloom.
49. Use Finance Apps
User personal finance mobile apps to better track and manage your assets and liabilities. For the most part, a good chunk of our expenditure happen even without use noticing it; using a personal finance app will give you that perspective. You will know a lot about your spending habits and how you can save from overspending.
50. Ditch the Label
Don’t chase after branded items of clothing and items like a zombie. You can pretty much the same stuff and of nearly the same quality at a much cheaper price. Remember, for branded items you are paying a premium price not just for the quality, raw materials, and workmanship but also for their ad and marketing campaigns.
51. It’s OK to Use Tap Water
Tap water is regulated by the EPA to ensure is safe. It is almost free is nearly as good as the expensive bottled water from the store. If you are too concerned with the water, it is better to have a water purifier installed at home than to depend on bottled mineral water.
52. Get a Working Car
We always say, taking public transport is much better than driving your own car; but if you have to have your own car, don’t be fooled by its torque and power. We suggest a good car that just works. You are not a racer and probably will never use all that power in your car.
53. Never Waste Food
It is common for people to think they can eat a lot when they are hungry, but they quickly find themselves satisfied leaving a good deal of food still left on the plate. It is more of a discipline than a money saving tip. Always make a habit of taking as much as you need and you can finish, be it at home or a buffet.
54. Learn to Upcycle
To upcycle is to repurpose an object. You have have seen people using large water cans or cut our tires as a tub to plant herbs; this is what upcycling means. You will find a lot of stuff such as old furniture, jars, cans, etc which can be repurposed to create decor items or make new furniture. With a simple internet search, you will find a lot of DIY tutorials to upcycle your items.
55. Find a Cheap Place to Live
Renting a room is much cheaper than living in an apartment. With an apartment you will get a lot of perks but you won’t need most of it, but then again you can get the same perks at your rented room at a much cheaper price.
56. Move in With Your Parents
If you are running short of money, it’s alright to move in with your parent or grandma. You will have a much better time living in a family, which will also prevent you from splurging money on useless junk.
57. Sell Your Stuff Before Moving In
Sell all your stuff before moving in with your parents. From furniture to your car, you can sell a lot of stuff and stack cash in your bank. Your parents will already have enough for everybody, so don’t need most of your stuff anymore.
58. Play Games for Free
Entertainment is a fast way to empty your wallet, which is why we have advised playing board games at home. However, you can play video games in many retail stores for free. You can even find a lot of game for free online.
59. Get Free Movie Screenings
Get into a free movie screening in your area. You will not only watch a movie for free but also watch it before everyone else. In cities such as LA and NY, you may even get paid to fill out a survey.
60. Subscribe to a music app
An app like Spotify and Apple Music will give you access to all the music in the world with only a minimal subscription fee. This way, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on buying records; even for a music fanatic, these streaming services deliver pretty good quality.
61. Get rid of your debt
The debt will give you a scary nightmare; as I said before, give up your credit card first and then move on to make a debt elimination plan. Live on a tight budget for a few months or years if you have to and get rid yourself from that heavy debt.
62. Get a Bike
For short distance travel, you can use a bike. You will be better able to maneuver in the traffic than a car and it is also a workout for you. It is always advisable to commute by bike even if you have a car.
63. Keep your stuff in good condition
This is a no-brainer, but people often ignore it. If you have a motorcycle or a car, you have to keep a maintenance checklist so that they don’t break down in the middle of the road, giving you discomfort and costing you a lot of money.
64. Plan ahead
People often overlook the importance of proper planning. Be it for a celebration, wedding or travel, always plan ahead and make sure everything is in order so that you don’t get surprises for your events.
By now, you can already say that living frugally is not a easy job. When it comes to finance, only a handful of people really know how to manage it smartly; most of us are compulsive spenders. Money is a crucial aspect of life and should be managed likewise.
First off, we have to get rid of the idea that we need “stuff” to be happy; even the marketing guys know it, which is why they always try to come up with a new excuse to lure you into buying expensive stuff. For example, do your really need an PlayStation to have fun.
There are much better ways to spend your time than playing video games, such as reading a book, learning a new language, you get the point! Most importantly, with the advent of the internet, you have access to most of the productive stuff for free. Living frugally is an art, and it takes time to master it.