Want a fatter wallet? Who doesn’t?
Whether you’re trying to save for the future or pay off debt, it’s important to have a plan of attack in order to save.
We promise if money makes the world go round, you can learn how to make the ride worthwhile and meaningful to you.
As it turns out, you don’t have to live in debt, go broke to be happy, or spend a ton of money to get the things you need.
Use these brilliant frugal living ideas to help you save more money.
1. Make Your Own Lunch
If you have a budget or money tracking app, what does your restaurant spend category look like?
If you work away from home, this is one of those no-brainer frugal living ideas. That’s because the average American spends a whopping $3000 on lunch each year.
If that number disturbs you (and it should), know this: there’s a better way, and it comes in the form of a lunchbox or brown bag.
And, no your homemade lunches don’t have to be boring! Experiment with different kinds of salads or sandwiches. Get yourself a crockpot and meal prep for the week.
We’re not saying you can’t ever have takeout or eat lunch out with coworkers- but try and limit it to once a week max. Both your wallet and waistline will thank you!
2. Get Creative with Date Night and Family Days
Yes, mainstream media and advertising will try to entice you and your loved ones with select movie theaters, five-star restaurants, and thrilling amusement parks.
While these can be fun, the best frugal living ideas often don’t cost any money at all.
When was the last time, for example, you went to the library? You probably know that you can check out books for free, but did you know you can also rent out free video games, movies, and magazines?
What about literally taking a hike? It doesn’t require much than a sturdy pair of shoes, snacks and water, and emergency supplies. Hit the nearest trail and get your adventure and fitness on!
Other free or low-cost entertainment ideas include:
- Packing a picnic for the park
- Hosting game nights
- Backyard BBQ
- Going to the beach
- Taking walks
Experiment to see what you and your family like best.
3. Never Pay Full Price
When it comes to stocking up on groceries and other essentials like laundry detergent or toothpaste, you don’t need to pay full price. In fact, you should never pay full price if you’re willing to devote just a few extra moments to your shopping process.
You also don’t need to spend hours clipping coupons, either (but if couponing is your thing, more power to you).
It’s always a good idea to comparison shop. Just because you’ve bought the same brand of shampoo at the same convenience store for years doesn’t mean you’re getting the best deal!
Learn the various prices (don’t forget to check warehouse clubs and Amazon) on your essentials. Make sure the stores aren’t tricking you with different sizes, as they sometimes can do. Whenever these stores run a sale, stock up!
You’re giving future you a gift, even if it requires spending a bit more upfront.
4. Go for the Students
Need a professional service or appointment? Don’t want to pay the full price? Here is one of our favorite frugal living ideas: most professions require some interning or apprenticing before the employees can work on their own.
Look in your area for beauty schools (cheap haircuts and beauty treatments). You can also look for cheaper dentists, doctors, and therapists by working with interns or students.
Also, just because they are students doesn’t mean they lack experience. In fact, many of these sites have several supervisors floating around to guarantee that their students are providing quality work.
5. Cut the Cable Cord
If you haven’t already, join the 30% of Millennials and cut your cable cord. Instead, get an Apple TV or Roku to stream your favorite providers like Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Video.
If you’re all about renting movies, check out Redbox (just $1 per movie). And, if you’re worried about losing the ability to watch live TV, you can still use indoor antennas to pick up local TV stations and news.
With so much available on the Internet and the limitless supply of streaming content, do you really need access to a bunch of other channels you’ll probably never watch?
6. Increase Your Deductibles
You need to have a quality auto, health, and homeowner insurance for peace of mind and financial security. You may also have other forms of insurance, such as jewelry, short-term disability, or earthquake policies.
But, you may be paying higher monthly bills in exchange for lower deductible rates. Sounds good in the short term, but you’re usually paying more money to have that extra cushion.
If you’re more on the path of pursuing the best frugal living ideas, it’s best to raise your deductible.
Before doing this, make sure that you have enough money in your emergency fund to cover any incidentals.
7. Buy Used
And, we’re not just talking about hitting up the consignment stores for a few cute dresses. Today, it’s easier than ever to buy used, quality items at a fraction of the retail cost.
It’s one of the best frugal living ideas because it’s good for the environment and for you.
Nowadays, there are several online retailers and apps that offer “marketplace” features where users can buy or sell goods. From Facebook to Craigslist to eBay, there’s no shortage of availability.
Just be sure to check for source credibility. Use common sense, and if a deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
8. Eliminate What You Don’t Need
Do you really need to buy that ninth shade of lipstick? Or that pair of shoes that will only coordinate with one outfit? Or that fancy kitchen accessory that you’ll only use for a few dishes?
Only you can answer these questions, but the point is this: get out of the habit of buying things just to buy things. You’ll end up filling your house with a bunch of unused junk, and you’ll waste a ton of money in the process.
Not exactly one of the best frugal living ideas, right? Instead, be ruthless with your shopping. Only get exactly what you need and prioritize what you want.
If you’re unsure, practice the 48-hour rule. That means, if you really want something, wait 48 hours before buying it. This is one of the best frugal living ideas anyone can follow if they are aiming to save money and live mindfully.
Go through what you have before shopping for something new. This is especially true for non-essentials like clothes, makeup, beauty products, or kids’ toys.
You’ll have a cleaner house and a bigger net worth. Who doesn’t want that?
9. Plan Ahead for Gifts
Doesn’t it seem like people forget that Christmas rolls around, without fail, every single December 25?
That’s right. You’ve seen the frenzied, chaotic shopping and the blowing of the budget just to get the perfect gift.
Don’t be that person! Plan ahead for gifts for loved ones and friends. Throughout the year, save money for the gift-giving season. Also, if you see something that you know your best friend would love, buy it early.
Nobody says you have to purchase all your presents the week before Christmas, after all. It’s wise to have a general gift budget and stick to it. The earlier in the year you can set that up for yourself, the better you’ll feel.
10. Travel Smart
It’s a total myth that you can’t see the world and experience adventure on a budget. In fact, one of the best frugal living ideas is giving yourself the opportunity to travel!
With that said, you can either spend a lot of money or very little money in order to see the world.
For example, saying in a five-star resort with first-class airline seats will definitely set you back more than, say, camping in a tent and taking a family road trip.
The differences don’t always have to be that extreme, though. You can look for small ways to save money out-of-town.
For example, consider visiting your destination during the off-season. Airfare and hotels are typically cheaper, and you’ll enjoy the added bonus of fewer crowds of people. Consider packing snacks and hitting up the local grocery store upon your arrival- this will help you cut down on your overall food costs.
And, be mindful of the trap that you can just totally let go and indulge while on vacation. While loosening up a bit is fine and healthy, you don’t want to come home to an overdrawn checking account.
Final Thoughts on The Best Frugal Living Ideas
At Save Your Dollars, saving doesn’t have to be a dreadful task. With the right mindset and the right frugal tips, you’ll be well on your way towards economic happiness and prosperity.
Here’s to happy spending and happier saving!