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Saving money is a goal we all have. I mean, saving you money is what Frugal for Less is all about.
Below I’ve listed 50 fail proof frugal tips that will help you save more money.
If a side job isn’t worth your time or energy, an easier option is to take a few online surveys to earn cash.
You’ll need to meet the minimum payout requirements before you get your cash, but surveys are great because you can do them right from your phone at any time you have a free moment to spare.
- Survey Junkie – One of the best survey sites out there and so easy to use
- SwagBucks – $5 registration bonus
- Pinecone Research – Earn a minimum of 300 points per survey, which is equal to $3 and cash out any time
- Ipsos – Every 100 points is the equivalent of $1 and you can cash out with as little as 500 points
- Zap Surveys – Download the app and get a guaranteed $6 on your first survey
- MyPoints – $10 registration bonus
Once you’ve made the decision to keep thing simple by living with less, the next step would be to make a budget and stick with it.
When you first create your budget you will need to calculate all of your mandatory expenses like rent, car payments, insurance, phone bill, and anything else that you pay monthly.
After that you need to factor in the expenses that fluctuate in amount, like groceries, gas, and miscellaneous.
A good place to start with tracking your expenses and getting a budget going are apps designed just for that.
- Acorns – Earn $5 when you sign up
- Mint – Everything you need to manage your finances and for FREE
- YNAB – Try the 34 day FREE trial
- Mvelopes – Their motto “Give every dollar a purpose”
- Digit – Earn $5 when you sign up
There are a ton of apps available for IOS and Android users that help you save money…pretty much everywhere. Online, at the grocery store, or even at the gas station.
If you’re just starting out, here are a few I recommend:
- Ibotta – $10 Bonus after scanning your first receipt
- Fetch Rewards – $1.50 bonus with code HH3MN
- Trunow – cashback on gas, groceries, and more
Going hand and hand with the tip above, keeping things simple means accepting living with less. And again, less will mean something different for each individual.
Living with less could be taking only one vacation a year, or less eating out or less extravagant expenses.
Whatever the case, by having less you will spend less and therefore save more.
5. Meal Plan
Meal planning helps you budget for your weekly, biweekly or monthly grocery haul. By planning meals in advance you can control exactly how much you buy and minimize food waste.
I like to plan my meals around current sales and pair that with any coupons that I may have. Both will save you a ton of money.
Collecting coupons may seem like a habit for an elderly person, but there’s a reason why people are always telling you to listen to your elders. They know what they’re doing when it comes to saving money.
Instead of throwing that pile of so called “junk” mail in the trash, look through it first for any valuable coupons.
Often you’ll find coupons to restaurants offering a free meal with the purchase of an entree or you can even find coupons to use for a discounted oil change or hair cut.
Minimalism, the concept of shopping with a purpose and coinciding with living with less (tip #2), is a sure-fire way to save money because the concept is all about not buying stuff.
My family has been maintaining a minimalist mindset for a few years now and this has helped curb unnecessary spending while at both department stores and the grocery store.
When I really want to save more money, I make a little challenge for myself. To keep you on track, it helps to rope friends and family in on the challenge too.
The challenge can be whatever you make it. If my goal is to save an extra $50 or $100 a month, I look for all the ways I can do that.
This could mean skipping happy hour with friends, not splurging on coffee in the morning, taking the bus for a month. Whatever you need to do to save that extra cash.
No buy challenges are also great. I like to do these for months at a time to help cut down on shopping expenses.
Getting your grocery shopping done at a discount store will go a long way toward saving you money.
In an ideal world I’d love to shop at Wholefoods all the time, but the reality is that Wholefoods prices are pretty high for someone on a budget.
I’m totally okay with shopping at discount stores and getting more for less, without compromising on quality.
10. Shop In Bulk
There are two ways to shop in bulk. One is the bulk bins you see in a lot of grocery stores and the other is large bulk items you typically find at stores like Sam’s or Costco.
Both types will help you save money. Bulk bins will let you weigh and parcel out exactly what you need such as rice and beans without worry about the extra cost of packaging.
Large bulk stores are great for stocking up on heavily used items like toilet paper, your favorite vegetables and even butter or cheese.
11. Buy Used
Whenever I find myself wanting or needing something “new” to wear, I never buy new. Instead I start looking at thrift stores, consignment shops, vintage shops, and yard sales.
When you buy something used, you can save nearly 50%-75% versus spending all of your cash on a full priced item from a department store.
12. Borrow from Friends and Family
Borrowing from friends and family can be a real money saver. And you can really ask to borrow anything (though no guarantees they’ll give the item to you).
You may need to borrow a car, or a tool or even straight up cash with the promise to pay them back when you get your next paycheck. You can even borrow clothes to attend a wedding or a job interview.
The point is that borrowing means you don’t actually have to spend any money.
I used to drop any change I received at the stores into the little jar right by the register because I didn’t feel like dealing with the weight of coins in my wallet.
Don’t do this.Instead, keep that change and throw it in a jar when you get home.
Money is money, and after a while all of those coins start to add up to real dollar amounts that you can either take to your bank or a local Coinstar.
Seriously, if you are going to do any shopping online, you might as well earn cashback on your purchases.
- TopCashBack – Great cashback percentages
- BeFrugal – $10 Bonus for registering
- Dosh – Link you card and earn cashback every time you shop
- ShopAtHome – Occasionally has a $10 sign-up bonus
15. Skip The Dryer
To help save on your monthly electric bill, try skipping the dryer after you have finished washing your laundry.
This tip works best during the summer months, but I try to stick with it on sunny, winter days too. All you will need are some drying racks or if your apartment or house has a patio or backyard, you can hang a few clothes lines.
Drying in the sun will make your clothes a bit stiffer, but once you fold or wear a bit, they’ll soften up.
Plus the sun works as a natural bleach, so if you must hang dry anything, make sure it’s your white clothing.
16. Reuse and Repurpose Old Things
Don’t throw away those old t-shirts or empty jars of pasta sauce! You can instead repurpose them and use them for something else.
I like using pasta jars for food storage versus buying a set of plastic containers at the grocery store. Since the jars are glass, they can be stored in the freezer or even popped in the microwave (without the metal lid of course).
Old t-shirts can be cut up and used as rags to clean your house or to dust with.
17. Start A Garden
Whether you live in an apartment with a small patio or a house with a grand backyard, you can benefit from starting a garden.
Your own vegetable or herb garden can help you save cash at the grocery, especially over the summer.
I’m always on the lookout for free stuff. When I decided to get pregnant, I checked out Craigslist to see what baby items people were giving away that was in good condition. I also did this for maternity clothes.
When my husband is looking for certain parts or tools, he checks out Craigslist as well or we stroll through our neighborhood to see what people have tossed to the curb.
Freecycle is also an excellent source for FREE stuff, you just have to worry about picking the item up yourself.
19. Stop Buying Coffee
As delicious as a latte or caramel macchiato is, the price of one always makes me cringe. Even for the smallest size.
Coffee is definitely an expense that can get out of control, especially if you drink coffee daily and find yourself swinging by your favorite coffee shop every morning during your commute to work.
Giving up that $3 – $5 beverage and opting instead to make a plain cup of coffee at home with save you around $60 in a month!
20. Stop Buying Water
Bottled water is convenient but it can get expensive when you buy it all the time, because we all drink water every day and in hopefully the recommended amounts.
A cheaper alternative is to pick up a portable water bottle that you can refill when you need to from a water fountain or even straight from the tap.
While vacationing solo can be fun, vacationing with family or friends is even better and can help you save money on some of the costs of the trip.
My family typically vacations together and when we do, we split the cost to cover an AirBnB rental, that way we can all stay in one place together. We also sometimes drive together to help save on gas.
Another way we save is to eat at family style places, where you can order two or three entrees and share it amongst the whole table.
For some of us, saving money isn’t always easy with our main job. You may just find all of your cash being used up to cover your expenses, leaving you with very little to add to your savings account.
That’s where a side job can come in handy. Some side jobs anyone can do include:
23. Learn Basic Car Maintenance
Maintaining a car can get really expensive. And most of us need our car to get to work and therefore pay our bills.
Learning basic car maintenance can help you save on money spent at the shop. When I first learned to drive, my dad taught me how to do my own oil change and how to change my brakes.
While changing your own brakes might seem too advanced, an oil change is pretty easy and can save you on trips to the car shop every few months.
Ask a friend or family member to teach you, or if you’re feeling adventurous, you can try Youtube.
24. Learn to Sew
Sewing is another skill I think worth learning. I don’t mean the type of sewing that requires a machine, but just a needle and thread.
You can get a little sewing kit at a cheap price and use this to mend tears in your clothes, patch holes in a blanket or even add a patch to jeans.
You can hold on to items longer when you can make these small fixes yourself.
If you have kids or are planning to have kids, sometimes it’s cheaper to have one parent stay home with them in order to cut down on the cost of childcare.
Childcare is a pretty big expense that only gets bigger with the more children you have.
Going back to tip #3 and starting a budget, see where childcare factors in and whether or not it is cheaper in the long run to have a spouse stay home instead.
26. Pare down to One Car
This won’t work for everyone, but if you’re a family with multiple cars, see if you can take it down to just one to cover all of your needs.
This will save you money on gas, insurance, and basic car maintenance. Even better would be to see if you could completely get rid of your car and seek alternate means of transportation.
27. Cancel Your Cable
If you haven’t done this already, you should, as it can save you some extra money each month.
To save even more, you could ask a friend or family member for their login information to see which service you like best before subscribing.
28. Get on a Family Phone Plan
Family plans are so much cheaper than an individual plan. I learned this first hand after realizing I was spending nearly $80 a month on my own plan which was cut down to $40 when I joined a family plan.
Plus, family plans don’t actually have to include family members. You can go in on a plan with a few friends and save together.
29. Invest Your Money
Investing is a great way to start building up some cash to cover you in the future.
For newbies, you can start with these apps:
- Acorns – $5 bonus for registering as a new user.
- Swell Investing – Use code VOTE50 for $50 bonus.
- Worthy – Works by investing your spare change into a peer powered portfolio.
- Stash – Become an investor with just $5.
30. Buy Generic
Whether you are buying groceries or clothes, it’s time to give up your attachment to name brands and stick with generic items.
Instead go with the generic version or store brand in the case of groceries. When you check out the ingredients label, you’ll notice that things don’t look that different.
Trust me, generic olive oil taste just like a fancy, name brand olive oil at a fraction of the price.
31. Try the 30 Day Rule
The 30 Day Rule is meant to stop impulse spending. Whenever you find yourself wanting to buy something that isn’t an essential, give yourself 30 days to think about it.
Make a note of the item and the price and see if you still want it badly enough after 30 days. Chances are you won’t and you’ll be relieved at the money saved.
32. Host Your Own Happy Hour
I love attending a fun happy hour with friends, but even with discount drinks happy hour can get expensive. Especially if you do it multiple times a week.
Instead, opt to host a happy hour with your friends with everyone bringing their own beverage of choice.
That way you still get the socialization without needing to pay $5 – $8 for every glass of wine or pint of beer.
33. Stop Eating Out
You don’t need to give up eating out completely, but you should definitely start limiting the number of times you do eat out.
This includes the random breakfast bagel you pick up, the salad for lunch and fancy dinners with your partner.
34. Cook At Home
Instead of eating out, you should aim to cook more, as cooking food yourself yields larger quantities and cheaper results.
Plus meals you prep for dinner can be taken as leftovers for lunch.
35. Free Social Activities
Having fun doesn’t have to cost money, in fact, there are tons of FREE fun activities you can do everyday.
These include things like hiking, jogging, playing board games with friends or putting together a team for a quick game of basketball or baseball.
You can also check your local newspaper to see what free activities are happening that week. Sometimes it’s a free admission to a museum or even something like a slam poetry night.
36. Workout At Home
Giving up my gym membership saved me $50 a month instantly and I haven’t missed getting a work out in since.
Instead I’ve rented workout DvDs from the library or I go on YouTube to find free workouts I can do at home that require very little equipment.
You should also see if there are free workout events in your area, like yoga in the park or boot camps hosted during the summer.
37. Drink Less Alcohol
If you don’t want to host your own happy hour as I suggested above but still can’t afford to go out much, you should use this as a time to cut back on drinking.
While it won’t be as much fun hanging with your friends as they toss back glasses of merlot, you can still enjoy being with them and sipping on water, which is free.
You can ask for soda water and lime if you want to feel a little fancy.
38. Get A Library Card
Just so you know, your local library is awesome. Seriously, it’s like a mecca of entertainment.
They have books, movies and even games that you can borrow for free! Your library even hosts events for free where you can enjoy appetizers and light beverages.
I always use the library to rent movies now versus Redbox. It will be a bit of a wait to get a hold of new releases, but still, you’ll get to watch them for FREE.
39. Bake It Yourself
I love pastries and used to buy one every morning at the coffee shop located in my office building. But pastries were costing me up to $3 a day.
Baking is a lot cheaper and fairly easy. I mean a blueberry muffin is essentially flour, eggs, sugar, butter and blueberries. You can buy all of that and have muffins for a full month for less than $10.
Allrecipes is my go-to source for baking recipes, especially for beginner bakers.
Hopefully your job offers you a life insurance policy. If they don’t, instead of spending extra money on a policy you could actually get life insurance for free.
Avibra is a fairly new app that offers free life insurance for those individuals between 18 and 38 who strive to live a healthy and balanced life.
There are no gimmicks. Simply live well and earn life insurance coverage every day.
41. Cancel Subscriptions
I’ve not had a magazine subscription in years and don’t miss it. If you want to save more money start cancelling any subscriptions that you may have.
This includes magazines, newspapers, beauty boxes, food boxes, and anything else that you’ve been roped into signing up for.
You can pick up magazines and newspapers for free at the library and everything else is a splurge you can probably do without.
42. Let Friends and Family Babysit for Free
Parents, it is okay to take advantage of your friends and family in order to save a little extra money.
While I wouldn’t ask someone to babysit every weekend for free, occasionally if you need a night out, I’m sure they would be happy to assist without charging you a thing.
43. Take the Bus or Train
If you’ve managed to pare down to one car but still want to save more money, you can look into public transportation.
This works best in larger cities as the bus and train system will be better developed, but even smaller cities will have some workable bus system that you can use to get to work.
Try it for a month and compare with your budget from the month before to see how much driving less has saved you.
If the bus or train don’t work out, you can reach out to coworkers to see if anyone is willing to carpool with you to cut down on the cost of gas.
You can either have them drive or alternate who drives each week. The more people in the carpool, the more you’ll save on things like gas and future car maintenance.
45. Be Your Own Hairdresser
Haircuts and blowouts at the salon aren’t cheap. If possible, see if you can produce your salon quality results at home.
My husband has been cutting his own hair for years simply from paying attention at the barbers and watching a few YouTube videos.
I cut my own hair and our kids hair and investing in a quality blow dryer and hair products has helped produce the results I always got from the beauty shop.
Make-up can be really fun, but overwhelming and expensive. You really don’t need more than one blush, mascara, foundation or eyeshadow kit unless you’re a beauty guru making money on YouTube or a makeup artist.
Instead, work on keeping your makeup stash simple and choose quality products that not only last longer but are better for your skin.
47. Maintain Your Car
Maintaining your car regularly will help you save money since you’ll avoid any car issues that arise from not taking care of your vehicle properly.
This means you should get your oil change on time, change your brakes when needed and also keeping your car clean on the inside and outside to help minimize wear and tear.
Maintaining your home is just as important as maintaining your car. This is more important if you’re a homeowner as you could potentially sell your home one day.
Keep your home clean, the yard neat, the gutters clear, and the walls free of tears and holes.
You can also save money at home by unplugging electronics when not in use and turning off all the lights when you are away.
49. Travel with Your Own Food
Whether you are traveling on the road or on the plane, you are going to want to eat some snacks at some point, especially if it is a longer trip.
Fastfood and airport food can get expensive. It’s cheaper to pack your own food to cover you whenever a craving emerges.
I like to pack sandwiches, chips, drinks, nuts, and crackers for long drives. Chopped veggies work too. You simply need a small cooler to keep things in.
If traveling by plane, stick with dry goods as they won’t spoil.
50. Consolidate Student Loans
Student loans are not fun to deal with but there are ways you can make them more manageable and one way is to consolidate them.
Consolidating your loans may yield lower monthly payments, leaving you with more cash to set aside for savings.
Sometimes living simply is the best way to save money. Simplicity will be defined a little differently for everyone.
For me it means keeping everything simple, from the clothes I wear to the vacations we take. Nothing is ever really over the top or extravagant.
My family strives to have the most fun while spending the least amount of money.
Trust me when I say that all of these tips work when it comes to saving money.
Saving money is easy to do when you know which direction to head in. Hopefully these guidelines help you save more money too.
Let me know if the comments below which tips have worked best for you. Thanks for reading and happy frugaling!