If you’re looking to start living more frugally, you’ve probably come across these massive lists of 1,001 ways to live more frugally. Sadly, your eyes glaze over from the hard work you have to do to save money and you go binge on Netflix instead.
This article, I’ll share just 11 frugal tips to ease you into this new lifestyle. Try one a week and build from there to see how things go.
Let’s get started.
1. Grow your own vegetables
Honestly, this covers several different lists. You become more active outside, in your garden. You grow your own food. It’s good clean fun that the whole family can get involved in doing so you cut down on expensive activities.
Choose between creating a raised garden or just use containers for everything. Next time your recipe calls for tomatoes, you can just pull it from your garden. You can also use this list to grow plants for cocktails.
2. Choose a smaller home
If you’re looking to purchase a home, then look for the smaller homes that you can handle. Back in the day, we kept buying larger and larger homes that went with our salaries, even though there were only two of us.
This is crazy. You still have to heat, cool, and furnish the whole house, but you rarely use most of the rooms. And everyone kept saying you need a 3/2 for resale!!
Bologna. We now live in a comfortable 2/1 720 square foot home in an older neighborhood and absolutely love it. We chose a concrete block home and it’s the best decision we’ve ever made. Plus, the mortgage is quite low so we can handle any downturns that might happen.
3. Programmable Thermostat
Funny story. We rented the house we now own for a year. The landlord was great, but he did say that it didn’t have heat so we never put the heater on in the winter. We just used a little electric heater that followed us into each room.
Then, when we bought, we found out that it does have heat. Last winter, we used the heater for the first time and loved it.
Our electric bill skyrocketed during the first month. Now, it was also one of the coldest winters that we’d had in years, but still.
Get a programmable thermostat and make sure to set all the times that you make big temp changes. Like when you leave the house, going to bed, sleeping, just before getting up. Or just get something like the Nest that can figure out your habits and do it for you.
4. Coffee at Home
I’m not going to tell you to get the Sanka brand and only have instant coffee at home.
That is insane.
But instead of going through the drive through everyday to get your coffee, set up your coffee at home. We buy whole beans wholesale from our local roaster and brew our coffee at home.
I just did the calculations. Each cup costs us roughly $.38 cents to brew. Now, we also love our cream and sugar (don’t judge) so the per cup cost is more like $.76, but we make it exactly how we like it. Compare that to the $5-7 dollars per cup at big coffee shops.
5. Old Cars
This is one of my favorite things to talk about. Before, (I feel like we lived a different life) when we were trying to keep up with the Joneses, we bought a couple of new cars. And the sheer cost of loan repayment, maintenance, and insurance was insane.
Then we got super frugal on things. When we were traveling in our RV, we didn’t even have a car. Mainly because our RV WAS our car. We stopped traveling and still took a while to get a car, we gave ourselves $1,000 dollar budget. The budget was specific because we were looking at getting a Jeep Cherokee and you could find them in the $1,000-4,500 range.
But I was firm on that price and within a few weeks, we found a great Cherokee for $1,000. We kept her for almost 3 years and was able to sell it for the same $1,000.
Now, with cheaper cars you definitely need to have a budget for when things might go bad. Like if you need a new battery or alternator, but you’ll still save thousands of dollars a year if you buy older cars.
Side note: To go along with this, we COULD have two cars, but our city has a great bus system so if I need to go to an appointment while Jena is at a client’s, I just take the bus.
6. Salon Services
This will sound crazy, but we started cutting our own hair this year. I never liked going to the hair cutting place, because I was horrible at telling them how I wanted my hair cut. I keep my hair short now anyway, so we just got a nice Wahl trimming kit and started doing our own hair.
I love it. Luckily, I work from home so if I have any woopsies, no one at work is going to notice.
I know this works for short hair, so if you have longer hair, you think you can’t do it.
You know what?
My best friend loves going to the salon, but she has long hair and get’s a trim and color that costs a small fortune each time. So she’s started to trim her own hair and she dyes her own hair for what she calls maintenance times. It keeps her salon costs way down and still makes her happy.
7. Line Dry Your Wash
Dryers are one of the largest costs for appliances. And, they can really battle against your air conditioner in the summertime. If you have the space in your yard, setup a clothes line and line dry your laundry.
If it’s raining you can even setup a clothes rack on the porch or garage to dry your clothes.
8. Ditch the Cell Phone Contract
Ok, let’s talk about cellphones data plans for a minute. Those things get expensive. And for most of us, we’re paying a ton of money just to have the internet at our fingertips.
When traveling, I had the old Verizon unlimited plan. And it was worth it at the time because it was our only source of internet along with phone and text messages. But if you live in one location, then using the phone for your internet isn’t really important.
There are several bring your own phone and pay as you go type plans that are way better and cheaper.
Project Fi is one of my favorites. You get unlimited talk and text for $20/month. Then your data is only $10/gig, but it caps at $60/month for data. So if you do need a lot of data one month, the most you’ll pay for it is $60.
But even this one isn’t feasible for some.
As much as I love Google Fi, you can’t really bring your own phone and the types of phones that are allowed on are more expensive. You can get an older model Nexus, Pixel, or Moto, then you can use that.
If you’re phone is perfectly fine, then you can look at another great pay as you go service called Republic Wireless. Their talk and text is $15 and their 1GB data is $5/month. Plus, there are way more choices for bringing your own phone over.
9. Install a Water Heater Timer or Go Tankless
You probably only use hot water during the day and even then, it’s probably only certain hours in the day. You can save on electricity by installing a water heater timer that will only heat the water certain times a day.
For some, having a tankless water heater is even better. You’ll have to compare your setup. For instance, when we had to get our house re-piped, we looked at getting a tankless, but all the plumbers said that since we don’t have gas, it’s not really worth getting an electric tankless.
10. Get Discounts When Shopping
Many people will do couponing when they shop. You can also download apps that will help with savings when you have to go shopping or for typical monthly expenses.
Ibotta is an app that will scan your receipts and give you discounts on things you’ve already bought.
Ebates is a site that you want to visit before you purchase anything online and you’ll get cash back on things you buy.
Trim will scan receipts or monthly bills to find discounts from stores or negotiate a cheaper cable bill (if you have cable)
11. DIY What You Can
We were putting something together the other day and the holes didn’t line up. Old me would have had to call where we bought the item to get a new leg that was machined properly. But this time, we just pulled out the tools we had, made a bigger hole and went on with our day.
Being able to do some maintenance yourself really increases your confidence and is easier on your wallet.
Some great ideas for things to do yourself:
- Car maintenance
- Mow your own lawn
- Install Light fixtures and fans
After a while you can create a game out of living more frugally and celebrate when you’re able to save money on things. What’s your favorite frugal tip?