160+ Best Frugal Living Tips to Save Money

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Last Updated on March 10, 2022 by Rebecca Lake

Want to save money and live better?

Frugal living tips can help you live below your means so you can start saving and stop feeling broke.

Living frugally means being intentional about what you do with money. And it’s something I know a lot about.

If you’re tired of living paycheck to paycheck then adopting a frugal lifestyle could make sense. And getting laid off from work can also prompt you to rethink your spending habits.

But what is frugal living? And how can you learn to live frugally if you’ve never tried it before?

Today, I’m giving you some of the best frugal living tips for saving money. Keep reading if you’re ready to give frugal living a try.

What Does It Mean to Be Frugal With Money?

You might assume that living a frugal life means you have to be a total tightwad and pinch every penny. 

But that’s so wrong!

money jar frugal living

Once upon a time, I thought frugal living meant you had to be an extreme couponer. I’d see these moms triumphantly buying 100 packs of toilet paper for $5 and I assumed that’s what being frugal meant.

Now I know better.

Because living a frugal lifestyle isn’t really about scoring the best deals on bulk toilet paper purchases or depriving yourself. It’s more about intention — what you do with your money and what you don’t.

Frugality is a choice and once you get into the habit, it’s a pretty easy one to make.

Being cheap, on the other hand, means cutting corners to cut costs. Cheap people try to pay as little as possible for things, which can actually cost you time and money in the long run.

Bottom line? Frugal living is not about deprivation or lack or bare-bones living. Putting frugal living tips into practice can open you up to abundance in unexpected ways.

And this is something anyone can do; it just takes commitment and a little creative thinking when it comes to spending and saving!

Benefits of a Frugal Lifestyle

If you’ve never tried living a frugal lifestyle before, you might be wondering why you should even bother. 

The truth is, being frugal can yield a ton of amazing benefits!

For example, when you choose to be frugal with money, you can:

That all sounds good, right?

And frugal tips can help you reach similar goals with your money. If you’ve asked yourself, How can I be more frugal with money? here are 150+ ways to save money without feeling deprived.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money at Home

adjusting thermostat to save money

When it comes to saving money, there’s no better place to start than at home.

I’ve rounded up some of my favorite frugal living tips to help you save big on household expenses!

1. Cut your cable TV and start streaming with Amazon Prime and Hulu.

2. Unplug electronics whenever you’re not using them to save on electricity.

3. Set your thermostat two degrees higher than you normally would in summer and two degrees lower in winter to control heating and air costs.

4. Or invest in a programmable thermostat so you can set it and forget it.

5. Get rid of your contract phone and switch to a prepaid cellphone.

6. Ditch your landline phone if you don’t need it.

7. Avoid washing and drying clothes at peak energy usage times for your area.

8. Wash clothes in cold water and use the most energy-efficient setting on your dryer.

9. Or buy a clothes drying rack and skip the dryer completely.

10. Swap out paper towels for reusable hand towels.

11. Keep your fridge and freezer full so they run more efficiently.

12. Change out your air filters regularly and consider buying in bulk to get a lower price per filter.

13. Have your heating and air system professionally cleaned and serviced twice a year to cut down on energy costs.

14. Cancel newspaper and magazine subscriptions. Read the news online and check your local library for magazines.

15. Reduce, reuse and recycle as much as you can. Challenge yourself to try zero-waste living for one week to see what you can save.

16. Seal up cracks around windows and doors to better insulate your home and keep a lid on heating costs in winter.

17. Turn off lights when you leave the room and invest in energy-efficient bulbs.

18. Use a timer to help you take faster showers.

19. Wait until you have a full load to run your dishwasher.

20. Make sure you have your hot water heater tuned to the most energy-efficient setting.

21. Use Billshark to find expenses you can cut from your household budget.

22. Consider refinancing your mortgage to get a lower interest rate and save money. 

23. Declutter your home to get rid of things you don’t need, then commit to not filling it back up with “stuff”.

24. Learn to handle basic home repairs yourself instead of hiring someone to do it for you.

25. Buy rechargeable batteries you can reuse over and over.

26. Plan a frugal family staycation instead of spending money on a trip.

27. Set up a change jar to stash your change and $1 bills.

28. Raise your homeowner’s insurance deductible, which can lower your premium.

29. Bundle your homeowner’s and car insurance together to get a discount on premiums.

30. Find ways to work out at home and take a pass on pricey gym memberships.

31. Review your budget once a month to see if there are any expenses you can cut.

32. Consider rotating your kids’ toys. It cuts down on clutter and old toys may seem new again.

33. Try creating a capsule wardrobe and re-wear items a few times before washing them.

34. Learn how to make your own cleaning supplies. (Cheaper and eco-friendly!)

35. Use refillable soap dispensers instead of wasting money on disposable soap.

36. Try Amazon Home Services to save money on small tasks you need to outsource.

37. Cut unnecessary purchases out of your budget. 

38. Invest in an energy-efficient shower head to save on water bills.

39. Cancel your newspaper subscription and read the news online. 

40. Set up a rain barrel to collect water for watering plants.

41. Cut your grass instead of paying someone else.

42. Clean out your gutters in the fall. Clogged gutters can lead to water leaks and damage, which means big money headaches.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Groceries and Food

woman saving money on groceries

The typical middle-income family spent just under $8000 on food in 2020. If food costs are taking a bite out of your budget, try these frugal tips to save money on groceries.

1. Always shop at the grocery store with a list

2. Download the Ibotta app if you haven’t yet to save money on groceries. (Get up to $20 in bonuses now!)

3. Save on everyday grocery essentials with Amazon Pantry.

4. Learn how to meal plan, which can save you both money and time. (Try $5 Meal Plan if you need some quick inspiration!)

5. Check the unit prices as you shop and compare whether it’s cheaper to buy in bulk.

6. Don’t be afraid to switch name brands for store brands.

7. Sign up for your grocery store’s rewards or coupon program.

8. Use your store’s online shopping and curbside pickup so you’re not tempted to make impulse buys. (Or better yet, get your groceries delivered with Instacart!)

9. Try meatless Mondays to cut down on grocery costs.

10. Learn to grow your own indoor herb garden.

11. Try some easy recipes using veggie scraps.

12. Batch cook using your crockpot or Instant Pot.

13. Store away some inexpensive freezer meals for those nights when you’re too busy to cook.

14. Learn how to make your favorite restaurant recipes at home.

15. Cut out soda or juice and switch to water. (Bonus points for using a sustainable water bottle instead of plastic bottles!)

16. Learn how to make your own bread, cakes and cookies instead of buying store-made versions.

17. Learn how to can jams, jellies, fruits and vegetables.

18. Purchase a food dehydrator to store foods for the long-term. 

19. Shop seasonally and take advantage of your local farmer’s market.

20. Or visit farms that let you pick your own fruits or produce. 

21. Shop your pantry before hitting the grocery store. 

22. Buy markdown and clearance food items that are still within their expiration date.

23. If you have to go out to eat, try to stick to “Kids Eat Free” promotions.

24. Join your favorite restaurants’ birthday clubs or rewards programs to get money-saving coupons and deals.

25. Go potluck when hosting dinners at home for friends and family.

26. Purchase dry goods, such as rice, beans and flour, in bulk if your store offers bulk bins. Take your own reusable containers to fill up.

27. Shop the outside of the grocery store and skip the center aisles, which are packed with processed and pricey foods.

28. Consider whether it makes sense to invest in a deep freezer. If you can’t keep it full, having it plugged in can run up your energy costs. (Learned that the hard way!)

29. Stop buying processed snacks and offer your kids fresh fruits and veggies instead.

30. Learn how to make your own doggie treats for your pets from simple ingredients you already have.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Shopping

save money on shopping

If you have to shop, why not save money while you’re at it with these frugal money tips!

1. Use Swagbucks, MyPoints and ShopAtHome to earn free gift cards on shopping.

2. Sign up for your favorite stores’ email lists and rewards programs to get coupons and deals in your inbox.

3. Consider whether you can buy secondhand or repurpose something you already have before making a new purchase.

4. Instead of buying kids’ clothes, get together with some other moms and host a clothing swap.

5. Use the Paribus app to find price matches when shopping online and get the money refunded to you automatically.

6. Install the Honey browser extension to automatically apply coupon codes when you shop online.

7. Sign up for Target Circle to get access to exclusive savings. Consider applying for a REDcard to get 5% back when you shop at Target stores or online.

8. Sign up for Rakuten to earn up to 40% cashback on shopping! (And get up to $20 in bonuses now!)

9. Download the Dosh app to earn cash back on dining, shopping and travel.

10. Get Ibotta to earn cash back and save money on groceries and shopping! (Get up to $20 in bonuses!)

11. Learn how to stack cash back rewards if you shop with a rewards credit card.

For example, you can get up to 10% back at Amazon when you shop through Rakuten, plus any cash back you earn with your card. (Ge a $10 cash bonus when you sign up!)

12. Use less detergent when washing your clothes to help them last longer. (I just learned about this a few weeks ago and it was a game-changer!)

13. Shop the dollar store for party favors, gift wrap and other inexpensive items. Then learn how to turn them into amazing DIY home decor!

14. Sign up for Acorns to invest your spare change each time you shop. (And get a $5 bonus when you use this link!)

15. Use sites like RetailMeNot and Coupons.com to check for coupons and promo codes before shopping.

16. If you’re shopping for the holiday season, plan your budget well in advance. Consider setting up a separate savings account just for the holidays.

17. Consider making your gifts for holidays, birthdays and other special occasions.

18. Try a no-spend week or month to see if you can avoid spending money on shopping and other nonessentials.

20. If you’re shopping online, stick with sites that offer free shipping and free returns.

21. Learn to shop seasonally and wait for end-of-season deals.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Entertainment

kids watching a movie at home

Having fun as a family doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Here are some of my favorite ways to save money on entertainment and live frugally!

1. Find frugal and low-cost activities you can do as a family during the fall and spring when it’s nice enough to spend plenty of time outdoors.

2. Institute some inexpensive family traditions for the holidays.

3. If you go to the movies, check to see if your theater offers a rewards program. I’ve saved almost $300 over the past few years using AMC Premiere rewards.

4. Stay home and stream movies using Amazon Prime instead.

5. Check your local parks and rec for free family-oriented activities throughout the year. For example, our town does free movies in the park all summer long and during the holidays.

6. Consider investing in a family annual membership to your favorite museum, theme park or other local attraction to save money.

7. Have a weekly family game night.

8. Take walks or ride bikes as a family.

9. Learn an inexpensive hobby together. 

10. Instead of having big blowouts for birthdays, consider having a smaller family party at home. Or skip the party and let your child choose one inexpensive activity they’d like to do for the day.

11. Limit the number of gifts you buy for holidays or birthdays. The rule of four is a good one to follow for gifting.

12. Volunteer together as a family. You can save money and give back, which is great for teaching kids about gratitude.

13. Look for low-cost activities offered by volunteer-driven organizations. For instance, my kids take a monthly art class that costs just $10 through our county arts council.

14. Check out free festivals and concerts offered in your town. Our local sheriff’s department does a free fall festival each year that we always look forward to.

15. Pull out the arts and crafts supplies and let the kids create their own art gallery at home.

16. Drop the kids off at the grandparents once a month and have a cheap date night at home.

17. If you have smaller kids, check out everything your local library has to offer. Storytime was always a hit with my kids and our library also does craft hours and book clubs for older kids.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Transportation

pumping gas

You may need a vehicle to get to work, take kids to school or run errands. But there are several frugal living tips you can use to keep transportation costs at bay.

1. Get your tires rotated regularly and keep them properly inflated. This helps them last longer and increases your car’s fuel economy.

2. Wash and detail your car at home, versus paying to have it done.

3. Learn to change your car’s oil.

4. Group errands together so you don’t waste gas.

5. Get tune-ups regularly to keep your vehicle running efficiently.

6. Follow the speed limit to maximize fuel efficiency.

7. Check your insurance coverage to see if you’re eligible for any safe driving or bundling discounts.

8. Avoid toll roads when taking trips.

9. Travel by bicycle or carpool to save on gas and minimize wear and tear to your vehicle.

10. Use an app like GetUpside to save money on gas

11. Downsize to one car for your household if possible.

12. Refinance your car loan to save on interest.

13. Use Dosh or Rakuten to earn cash back on rental cars. 

14. Ask your employer if working from home is possible.

15. Ask if your job offers reimbursement for transportation expenses.

16. Walk instead of driving whenever possible. 

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Clothes

save money on clothes

Keeping your family clothed can be a drain on household budget percentages. Try these frugal hacks to cut your clothing budget.

1. Buy quality pieces that are designed to last for years.

2. Shop secondhand at consignment shops or online thrift stores. 

3. Resell gently used clothing for cash.

4. Consider setting up a clothing swap with other families. 

5. Buy clothes on sale at the end of the season.

6. Learn basic sewing and repair skills so you can fix lost buttons or broken zippers.

7. Wash your clothes less often to help them last longer. 

8. Avoid clothes that need dry cleaning or other special care.

9. Keep a clothing inventory so you don’t end buying pieces you already have. 

10. Don’t buy things in the hopes that you’ll fit them “one day”. 

11. If you have kids, by clothes that can be handed down.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Everything Else

save more money piggy bank

Last but not least, here are some of the best frugal tips for saving on the rest of your budget categories.

1. Learn to cut your hair at home.

2. Become an expert at DIY manicures and pedicures.

3. Ditch one bad habit, like smoking or drinking alcohol.

4. Learn how to track your spending so you know exactly where your money’s going. 

5. Consider using cloth diapers instead of disposable ones. If that’s a no-go, sign up for Amazon Family to get 20% off diaper subscriptions.

6. Opt-out of prescreened credit card offers. This can make it less tempting to sign up for a new credit card which could potentially lead to debt.

7. Use an app like Tally to pay down credit card debt and save money on interest. 

8. Make good physical health a priority. Staying healthy means fewer doctor visits and less money spent on health care.

9. Brush and floss regularly so you need fewer dental visits.

10. Consider switching banks if you’re shelling out big bucks for fees each month.

11. Train your indoor cat to go to the bathroom outside. No more spending money on litter and no more messes to clean up!

12. Check your health insurance each year during open enrollment. Compare what you’re paying now to see if you can get a better deal.

13. Review your investment accounts to see how much you’re paying in fees. Consider moving your retirement or investment accounts to a brokerage that charges fewer fees.

14. Cut back on over the counter medicines and try holistic remedies at home.

15. Turn off overdraft protection at your bank. 

16. Streamline the number of bank accounts you have and get rid of ones you don’t need. 

17. Double-check receipts and bills to make sure you aren’t being overcharged.

18. Take advantage of free money hacks to save.

19. Try the 52-week money challenge to save $1300 in a year.

20. Cut out unnecessary subscription services. (Billshark is great for this!)

21. Steer clear of using credit cards.

22. If you do pay with credit, pay your balance in full each month to avoid interest. 

23. Choose a cashback credit card for purchases and deposit rewards into savings. 

24. Try using the cash envelope method to get your spending in check.

25. Or try zero-based budgeting if you need help finding money to save. 

26. Schedule bill payment alerts to help you avoid late fees. 

27. Look for ways to drastically cut expenses.

28. Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses or give in to FOMO.

29. Stay focused on your financial goals.

30. Learn to say no. 

Bonus Frugal Tip: Make More Money to Save More Money

I couldn’t wrap up this list of frugal living tips without throwing in a mention of ways to make more money.

Developing your money making skills is an easy way to earn the money you need to save!

Here are some of my favorite ways to make extra money:

Can frugal living make you rich?

You might be wondering if being frugal with money can make you rich.

And the answer, yes and no.

If you want to earn a six-figure income, for example, then adopting frugal living tips can help you make the most of your paychecks. But frugal living is just one piece of the puzzle for living a richer life.

Building wealth means doing things like:

  • Budgeting wisely (I use a budget planner for this)
  • Keeping track of your spending
  • Having a plan for your money
  • Saving for emergencies
  • Paying off debt
  • Investing your money
  • Learning about money

So in short, frugal living tips alone probably won’t make you rich. But the more of them you follow, the more money you can save and invest to grow wealth.

Final thoughts on living a frugal lifestyle

Living frugally can change your life for the better and give your finances a boost.

Adopting frugal habits can help you get control of your money and stop stressing over it. It’s one of the reasons I’ve been able to pay off close to $100K in debt and save nearly $1 million in the last seven years.

Now it’s your turn–do you have some amazing frugal living tips to share? Head to the comments and tell me about it!

And don’t forget to pin and share this post!

150+ Frugal Living Tips to Help You Stop Being Broke

About Rebecca Lake

Rebecca Lake is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance, freelance writer and homeschooling single mom of two. Since 2014, she's paid off nearly $100,000 in debt and grown her net worth to seven figures. Her work has appeared online at top personal finance websites, including Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, Investopedia, The Balance, CreditCards.com and U.S. News & World Report. Find out more.