These are the frugal living tips that helped my family go from impulse spenders to conscious consumers.
These were the beginnings of the end of my “keeping up with the joneses” path so many people are on. Dave Ramsey sums this up well with his quote “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
Like most people I wasn’t naturally frugal, and still have room for improvement. The tips covered allowed my family to crush our credit card debt and go all in on our investments and building PASSIVE INCOME!
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What is Frugal Living?
Simply put, frugal living is spending less on things that don’t matter so you can invest greatly in those that do.
Frugality is buying the smaller home so you can afford more family trips and experiences. It’s shopping at the smaller grocery store so you can save more for retirement. And it’s saving more money in your younger years so you can retire early, with your best years yet to come.
Frugal living isn’t about being stingy, it’s about being resourceful.
It’s about finding ways to save where you can (whether via coupons, freebies or DIY hacks) so you can focus your money and attention on the things you truly value, whether that’s saving for a comfortable retirement, an early retirement, building passive income, traveling the world, or living a debt-free life.
Any number of the frugal tips below can help you achieve any of these, so read on and take action!
1. Buy a reliable car in the “best” used window.
Just because a car is newer doesn’t make it safer. Unless you’re willing to spend more on maintenance and depreciation, purchase cars with a proven track record of reliability. Toyota first comes to my mind but shop around there are lots of great options.
As for a “best” used window, it’s estimated that cars lose half their value every three to five years, depending on the make and model of course. The window to buy a used car is four to ten years old.
2. Bike more.
People think they have to go all in on the cyclist lifestyle to bike to work. But just by biking to work a couple days a week can save you plenty of money over the course of a year. It also doesn’t have to be anything special, I used this Schwinn while stationed out in Hawaii.
3. Work from home.
The 4-Hour Workweek taught me that negotiating with your boss is an option, and allowed me to help a family member in need workout a more flexible AT HOME work schedule. And if you can’t work remote 100% of the time you can at least try to do part-time. Cutting down on the number of days you have to commute will make the biggest impact on your mileage and gas expense. This is especially applicable as more companies shifted with current health concerns, and the ease with all technology available today.
4. Stick to the grocery list.
A quick way to overspending on groceries is impulse buying. Make your grocery list based on your meal plan and stick to it. If you want a treat you can add it to the list beforehand but if it’s not there, avoid it.
5. Shop your pantry.
You’re not going to clear your pantry by using a spice packet here and there. Its surprising how many people buy ingredients and come home put them up only to find out hey.. I have 4 of those already doh!
6. Have emergency meal supplies.
Some nights things don’t go as planned (That’s Life). Make sure you keep essentials for emergency meals in your pantry. Spaghetti, beans and rice, anything that will help you when you just can’t execute your meal plan. Something easy, healthy and that isn’t ordering out!
7. Buy your groceries online and pick them up.
If you still impulse buy, change how you shop. Grocery shopping online and picking up curbside can save you time, money, and temptation to impulse buy.
8. Take your lunch to work.
Sometimes going out for lunch is harder to avoid than dinner. Taking leftovers, making something the night before, or having ingredients at your desk are great options.
9. Limit grocery shopping to once per week.
You can grocery shop on Sunday and stick to your budget but if you find yourself making one or two extra stops throughout the week you budget may take a beating. “Well while I’m here I’ll just grab this too” come on you’ve said it.
10. Try generic.
If there are items you’re still buying name brand, try the generic version for a while. You may might decide to go back to buying the name brand but you also might be surprised by how good the generic version is. Try Dave Ramsey’s generic food calculations to see how much you could save on an average meal or week.
11. Use the “any item” rebates on Ibotta.
Unlike other saving apps that require you to buy brand name items, Ibotta has “any item,” “any brand,” and “any receipt” rebates so you can get cashback without compromising. If you haven’t used Ibotta before it’s worth trying and easy to earn a little money on items you are already buying every single week. For us it baby yogurt and fruits.
12. Use a dehumidifier to keep things cooler.
A dehumidifier removes humidity and makes a room feel cooler. If you struggle with a hot house in the summer, this can help run that A/C less or at least keep the thermostat set a little higher.
13. Install low flow toilets.
Flushing your toilet uses 38% of your home’s indoor water usage. When it’s time to replace your toilets go for the low flow and dual flush models.
14. Check Facebook Marketplace first.
Instead of going straight to Target or Amazon, check Facebook Marketplace first. It’s safer than Craigslist and you’ll be surprised by all the things you can find.
15. Check out local pawn shops.
Need a small appliance and can’t find it on Facebook Marketplace? Head to a pawn shop! Pawn shops have a ton of outdoor equipment, kitchen items, electronics, etc, at great prices.