7 easy ways to start frugal living now.
I’ve been trying out ways that you can become more frugal without having to sacrifice your lifestyle. I love being able to enjoy my life, while spending less and saving as much money as I can.
Because I’d rather spend my money on the things that matter most to me. Things like paying off all my debt, planning family vacations, early retirement, building a solid emergency fund.
When my husband and I were in debt-over $100,000 worth- frugal living was a necessity. I had to live below my means-way below- in order to have enough to get ahead with my debt.
After 5 years of living frugally and becoming debt free in the process, I can’t imagine my life any other way. I’ve found real joy in doing more with less and I’ve honed in on what I really want my life to look like. And, surprising even to me, it’s not filled with a bunch of expensive material status symbols.
If you’re in debt and are feeling stuck, I’ve created a FREE starter guide for you. In it, I share my 8 best action steps to crush your debt and get rid of it now. Download it below.
Why Frugal Living Is Worth It
You may be thinking “Why do I want to become more frugal? My life is great!” Yes, your life might be great right now. You have a good job that pays a decent salary, you have enough money to fund your hobbies, and you feel like everything is in order. Even so, being more frugal will help save you more money in case of a rainy day. What happens if you lost your job today? Would life still be great?
Frugality isn’t something we should only think about when times are tight. It’s something we should adopt in our daily life so that we don’t ever have to experience times BEING tight. It helps us take the worry out of the “what if”.
Frugal living is what allowed me to afford my home, send my kids to better schools, and let me live my best life. It literally gave me the peace of mind to sleep through the night.
I want you to have all those things too. These 7 simple tweaks to your habits can make a big impact on your money stash, and in turn, can make a big impact on the quality of life for you.
Let’s jump in to the 7 easy ways you can become just a little more frugal and start saving more money.
1-Shop For Groceries With Cash
Have you ever went grocery shopping and walked out of the store feeling like you spent way over what you thought you would spend? This was me all the time. I would go to Costco and walk out spending $200 or more, easily. I would go to the local grocery store and come out with items not even on my list. It’s so easy to do because you just whip out your card and pay for it, but it adds up at the end of the month.
Cash eliminates all of that. When you carry cash to shop for groceries, it forces you to come up with a weekly budget. Once you carry cash, you become more aware of what you put in your cart. Because, let’s face it, you don’t want to be that person holding up the line because the cashier has to void out an item that you don’t have enough money to buy. The idea that “once the cash is gone, it gone” really helps you put into perspective your needs versus your wants.
2-Keep Snacks In Your Car
I can’t tell you how many times, I’m running errands and we end up eating from a drive-thru because hours go by and our hunger gets the best of us. It wasn’t until I came up with this simple plan that I started to get the drive thru visits under control. That’s not to say we never go to a drive thru, because believe me, I still struggle with this from time to time.
But, the idea is that if we have a bag of snacks in the car (the type of snacks that don’t go bad in the sun) we can curb our desire to eat out while we’re on the go. A lot of time when we are running a lot of errands or having a busy day, this idea saves us by keeping us full long enough to make better choices while at the grocery store (where you should never go while hungry). It also keeps us full long enough to make it home for dinner, something my family values a lot.
The snacks I like to keep in the car are pretzels, crackers, granola bars, nuts, etc.
Believe me, it makes SUCH a big difference in my spending while I’m out and about.
3-Go On Family Outings That Save Money
I’m a mom of two girls and husband and I make it a point to hang out with them as often as we can. We love hanging out on the weekends, just the 4 of us. My girls have become accustomed to “frugal family time”. So much so, that we try to make it a challenge to see what we can come up with that will cost the least amount of money and still allow us to have fun.
One year, we bought annual passes to a local theme park where we made back our money after 2 visits. We went as often as we possible could and the kids loved it.
Family Time Is What Matters
Spending time with your family is important, but it doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. You’d be surprised to know that kids don’t care how much it costs to go out, just as long as they have an activity.
Going hiking, or taking your family out for a nice walk on the beach or the park can take you away from the homework and house duties long enough to have some fun together.
Try to pack a simple picnic for when you get hungry for even more savings.
In some counties and cities, they have events that they host right in the community and you can find the information on their website. The best part is that most events are absolutely free or cost less than a fast food cheeseburger.
I’ve mentioned this before, but we’re also lucky that all of our family (and we have one huge family) lives in the same county, so we take advantage of that and visit family and friends often. It’s a free way to get your kids to hang out with their relatives and you can catch up face to face with people you love. Win-Win.
4- Make A Small Gift Closet
I can’t tell you how many times my gift closet has saved the day. You get invited to a party for this weekend or next. You’ve RSVP’d, but completely forget about it until the day before (and sometimes the day of) the party. Now, you have to run out and find something that the person would like and due to the urgency and the ticking time, you pick up ANYTHING that would work, finding yourself paying more than you wanted to for an “okay” present. Sound familiar?
A gift closet will not only help you get better presents and have less stress on party day, you’ll also save so much money by stocking up at rock bottom prices and having several items to choose from for any occasion. I tend to use websites like Krazy Coupon Lady and Hip2Save to find crazy stock-up deals on toys and other great items.
I once bought 4 nursing covers at $10 each for new moms that were originally $68! They were great quality and the new mommies loved them. Another time, I bought gel manicure kits (including the UV lamp) for $8 each and used them for Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, and I think I may still have one left.
Bottom line is, the gifts tend to be more thoughful when you have time to actually think about what you’re buying. The biggest bonus is that you are saving a ton of money in the process.
I’ve had my gift closet for about 4 years now and I don’t know how I ever lived without one before. Come to think of it, I need to restock for Christmas!
5-Set A Limit On How Many Times Per Month You Dine Out
This is not an easy one, trust me, I completely get it. It’s actually one of the harder ones for me too. But, I’m telling ya, it makes a huge difference in my monthly spending total. I love the idea of eating out, someone making the food, and cleaning up after you. No muss, no fuss. But it comes at a pretty hefty price. So hefty, that it could literally break your budget.
So, instead, start making dining out a special treat rather than a recurring, expensive habit. If you have a craving for a certain dish, try making it at home with your kids or your significant other. Trust me, the love you’ll pour into the dish will make whatever you create delicious and meaningful. And it will be at a fraction of the cost of what you would eat at a restaurant.
6-Cut The Cable
This one was one of the easiest to get rid of, believe it or not. My family and I are barely at home during the week. And my extended family is so big that we are ALWAYS invited to events on the weekend. Both of those scenarios result in us not watching enough t.v. that would make paying for cable worth the money.
Instead, we have Netflix. You can also opt for Hulu, Youtube Red, etc. Bottom line is whether you are barely home or not, you’ll enjoy the should try out an alternative to cable that will better suit your needs and save you some serious money.
If you’re hesitant about cutting the cable, try not using cable for one week and use one of those alternatives and see for yourself.
7-Look for Coupons on Everything You Buy
You’d be surprised how much you can save on items you would buy anyway. Coupons are online, through the store app and in the newspaper, pretty much everywhere you look. Sign up for free rewards memberships with your favorite stores to get coupons mailed directly to your inbox.
Once I was in Bath & Body Works during their semi-annual sale (I LOVE this store) and bought a bunch of candles and lotions. The line to pay was so long, so I decided to just google “bath and body works coupons” and I found an additional 20% coupon that I was allowed to use on top of the sale price. I saved money and it was practically effortless since I was waiting in line anyway.
Even if you think that there isn’t a coupon out there for whatever you’re buying, it doesn’t hurt to look. You may save some unexpected moola.
I hope these 7 tweaks help you save money as much as they have helped me. These were just some of the things that helped get me started on my frugal journey. They start to become second nature and once you start enjoying the benefits of saving money left and right, you start to get addicted to the feeling.
Saving money and sticking to your budget doesn’t have to be difficult. Try smaller changes over time to slowly get your mindset to become more frugal. Your savings account will grow, more debt will get paid, and you’ll be able to enjoy more of your money.