Robert Sullivan is a self-published author, blogger, social media manager, and more.
There are a lot of frugal living tips to help you save money if you're willing to look for them. And while I can’t say that I am the most persistent in this endeavor, I do recognize the value of putting effort into saving where you can. That's why I put together this list of 33 tips for living frugal and saving money. Let me know which ones work best for you.
The ideas in this article have been divided into the following categories for your convenience:
- For Travel
- In the Kitchen
- Around the House
- For Shopping and Haggling
The tips in this section are all about how to save on travel and transportation. Whether traveling interstate or intercity, learn how to reduce the cost of your commute.
33. Save money on flights.
Always use two computers when searching for a plane ticket. The first one gets cookies (information saved to your computer). Airlines use this info to crank up the price, because they know the more you search for a ticket, the more likely you are to actually purchase one. So when it comes time to actually buy, switch to a second computer, which you haven't been searching on. You can save up to 100$ just by booking this way.
32. Shop for cheaper car insurance.
I know you get blasted with this every day on the T.V. and radio, but it’s true, 15 minutes really could save you 15% or more on your car insurance. Although I wouldn’t trust that marketing gecko outright, if you shop around a little, you can probably find a better deal. And make sure to check customer reviews—you don’t want to get insurance that’s worthless.
31. Buy a used car instead of a new one.
Used cars can get a bad rap, especially if the previous owner didn’t treat them so well. That’s why (unless you're skilled enough to do this yourself) you should always take a car you are considering buying to a mechanic to have it checked out. They're usually happy to do the service, and you’ll greatly lower the chances of getting a lemon. I bought a used Toyota Camry this way, and that car was a champ. I had it for seven years, and it never broke down on me once! Not bad for only $3,800. Plus, I got to resell it.
30. Air up your car’s tires.
If you aren’t getting as great of gas mileage as you would like, then make sure to check your tires’ air pressure. It’s the number one factor detracting from fuel efficiency. This one tip could easily save you a hundred dollars a year, and it's really easy to do.
29. Use your car as a tax writeoff.
If you are using your car as part of a business, then you owe it to yourself to look up how to write off your mileage for tax purposes.
28. Learn how to fix your own car.
This is the big one for cars. If you have to do just one thing on this list, then learn how to fix your own car when it breaks. This alone can save you thousands of dollars. Take changing your brakes for example; if you are a heavy driver, this can easily save you over 300 dollars a year. Add that up over 60 years and that’s $18,000—enough to buy a new car!
In the Kitchen
The tips in this section are all about how to save money around food using strategic shopping, cooking, and storage.
27. Make meals in bulk.
This is simple enough, just make a lot of food at one time, then sort it out into ready to go meals. It will save not only money, but a lot of cooking time as well.
26. Get a deep freezer.
You’re going to need somewhere to store all those meals you just made, and if you want to keep them for a long time, you’re going to need a bigger freezer.
25. Grow your own food.
Learning how to grow your own food can save you a fortune if you’ve got the patience to do it. You might think it’s not possible where you live, but there are plenty of examples online to show you how you can even pull this off in an apartment.
24. At least grow your own green onions.
If you don’t have the tenacity to grow anything else, at least grow these. Look at this.
I took a plastic bin, and planted some old onions that were way past the point of eating, and add water to it every couple of days, and they are growing like crazy! They hardly take any effort at all, and you can just eat the tops over and over again.
23. Wash dishes by hand.
Give that poor old dish washer a rest! Seriously though, you can save a couple of bucks each month in power if you are willing to do this by hand. It takes a little bit to get used to if you’ve been using the machine for a long time, but it can be worth it.
22. Bring lunch to work.
The brown bag still has its place in the world, and that place is in your pocket. Taking your own lunch to work can easily save you 10 bucks or more each day. 300 bucks a month isn’t a bad pay raise for eating food you cooked yourself, even if it isn't the most glamorous of these frugal living tips.
21. Ditch bottled water and buy a filter system.
They are cheap, and can save you a ton of money if you don’t like the taste of your tap water. Plus these are quite easy to install.
20. Make your own beer or wine.
If you just can’t give up the drink, but still want to pinch a few pennies then you should take a look at how to make your own beer and wine. Of all these frugal living tips, this one can potentially be the most fun. Although, you might have to go through a few bad batches to get things right.
19. Eat more vegetables.
Not only are they good for you, but vegetables are cheap! If you want to save some real money on food costs, and probably health expenses down the road, then load up on these.
18. Don’t buy pre-cut vegetables.
Speaking of vegetables, don’t buy the pre-cut stuff, it’s 2-3 times the cost. If you can afford it get a food processor. Or just get used to chopping.
17. Buy a vacuum sealer.
I love this thing. They save you a ton if you don’t raid your freezer enough. See when you vacuum out the air it takes much longer for food to get freezer burn.
16. Make a fridge inventory list.
If you often forget what’s in your fridge, and don’t want to dig through it frequently you can make an inventory list to help you keep track of what’s in there. If you write the expiration dates on it too you can make a point to eat things before they go bad.
Around the House
The tips in this section are all about ways to reduce the cost of common things you do at home.
15. Clean your own carpet with rented a rug doctor.
Don’t hire a cleaning service, you can rent a rug doctor for around 40 bucks from most grocery stores nowadays. You’ll need to buy the cleaning solution too, but you can save a couple hundred bucks this way.
14. Make gifts.
If you’re crafty with your crafts then this is the one of the best frugal living tips for you. It's easy to save a lot of money on gifts by making personalized items for people. It doesn’t take a lot of cash to spruce up a picture frame turning it into a gift they’ll cherish for years.
13. Mow your own lawn, or better yet, replace it with one that doesn’t need water.
Don’t hire someone to do it. I know it gets hot in the summer, but mowing your own lawn isn’t that bad. But if you really want to save, then try replacing it with a low maintenance solution. Do it right and you don’t even have to water it anymore.
12. Set up a clothesline.
There is no cheaper way to dry you clothes than to hang them up. But if you don’t like the feel of line dried clothing, then you should check out this article to make clothes soft again.
11. Rent out a room with Airbnb.
If you’ve got a spare room then you can save a lot of money on rent with airbnb. I had some friends that watched their rent jump from 600$-1200$ overnight! Yeesh… So they decided to rent out a room with airbnb. It not only covered the rent increase, it actually covered their entire rent for the month and more. Granted they lived walking distance from the strip in Nashville, but hey you can probably still get something.
Tried and true, stack those cans up and take them to get recycled and you can make a few bucks.
9. Insulate your hot water heater.
You can save a bit of cash by throwing an old blanket around a hot water heater. It doesn’t take as much energy to stay warm that way.
8. Replace the weatherstripping on your home.
Weatherstripping is dirt cheap. Go to the hardware store and replace this as soon as possible to save on your heating and cooling bill.
For Shopping and Haggling
The tips in this section are all about how to get the best deals on the things you do buy, from using coupons to visiting discount stores to haggling with salespeople.
7. Buy a desktop computer instead of a laptop.
It may not be as convenient, but desktops regularly price a few hundred dollars below laptops for the same amount of processing power and RAM. If it’s just going to stay put, save the money for something else.
6. Use that coupon page.
Remember that flyer from the grocery store you always throw away? You know the one, well use it. You could at least save a couple bucks, which makes this possibly the easiest of these frugal living tips.
5. Start at the dollar store then work your way up.
When I am shopping for things I like to do it this way. I start at the dollar store, getting the cheapest things there. Then I move to Marshalls or T.J. Maxx, from there Target or Walmart, and just keep going up. I usually get everything I was looking for at a fraction of the price.
4. Double-check your bills.
Billing departments make mistakes all the time. Keep an eye on what they are charging you for, or you’ll pay for it… literally.
3. Haggle with your internet and phone provider.
Phone, internet, and cable providers really hate losing customers, tell them you’re thinking about switching services, and ask to talk to their customer retention department. You can usually get them to give you the promotional prices again. The only downside is you have to do this every six months or so.
2. Get cheaper stuff on eBay with FatFingers.
Every once in a while someone makes a typo in a posting on eBay. Well, that keeps them from getting bids, which keeps the price way down. Fatfingers finds those deals.
1. Buy refurbished items.
I saved the best for last. You can get top brand quality items for hundreds of dollars off if you are willing to buy refurbished models. Need a new refrigerator? How about 400 off a brand new one! How about a window ac unit? 200$ off! This can really add up over time, or you can use it the other way. You can get items that are same price but nicer than you would have gotten. These are really simple to shop for too, just go into Google shopping and type refurbished after the product. Chances are you can find a great deal.
There are always more frugal living tips. If you look long enough, you can easily find more great ways save money. Just keep at it, and you can save up a small fortune. And if you want more advice, then here are 33 More tips to Live Frugally and Save Money.
John Dove on November 18, 2019:
Saving money is even more important in today's world, where the cost of living keeps going higher and wages don't keep pace.