Frugality does come natural to some people, but for a lot of us, it is something that we constantly work towards. This Frugal Living Checklist captures the TOP WAYS FRUGAL PEOPLE SAVE MONEY.
Once you start forming new habits and doing these things for several months, it will become a habit and you’ll be one step closer to taking control of your finances. These tips create savers in all of us!
💰 What is Frugality
Frugality is the quality of being economical with money, or being thrifty. Another way to look at it is to think of a person that is frugal and intentional with their spending. Some folks spend very little on most household items and choose to spend their money on experiences. Others shop at Goodwill for t-shirts. The money saved goes towards long term goals. Being frugal is not a one-size-fits-all attribute. It is different for everyone. Where do you want your money to go?
💸 28 Shocking Ways Frugal People Save Money
Set Goals and a Budget
This is hands down the number one thing frugal people do. They are goal setters who determine where they want to go in life and develop a path on how to get there. If you have no idea where you are headed or how much money you have to start with, this process isn’t going to go anywhere but in circles. Download the Financial Goals Worksheet and determine what you want to accomplish and in what time frame. Download the budget worksheet and start creating a household budget for yourself.
These free tools will help you understand your priorities and give you the tools you need to make informed decisions.
Track Income and Expenses
You knew this was coming, right? This is the next step to achieving a frugal lifestyle. Frugal gurus start tracking income and expenses. Yep, at first, this isn’t so much fun! Once you get going though, it is an obsession to see it all come together. Snag the Expenses Tracker and the Income Tracker (coming soon) to gauge how you are tracking towards your long term goals.
Pay Off Debt ASAP
One of the best things that frugal people do on their road of financial independence is to pay off debt as soon as possible. It is so easy to say, but can be very challenging to accomplish without the right tools.
All of those payments are going towards past purchases plus a boatload of interest. Download the Debt Payoff Worksheet and start formulating a plan of how to pay them off.
You have set goals, made a budget and know your expenses. You should have a clear picture of your financial situation.
Create a Meal Plan
Frugal peeps don’t go grocery shopping without a list and a menu planned out. It is way too easy to gather unnecessary items that end up costing much more than expected. I learned that the hard way.
If you’re looking for inexpensive recipe ideas, check out the 100 frugal recipes collection.
On my busiest weeks, I will meal prep as much as possible on the evenings I have free so I have fresh, homemade food ready for my family. If I didn’t have that, we’d end up spending more money eating out. Urgh!
Pack Your Lunch
Frugal friends pack their lunches and take pride in it. They know this is a huge opportunity to save a lot of money. My husband was “caught” buying lunch several months ago when I didn’t have a packed lunch…that was $12! Are you kidding me? Nope! Pack a lunch, save the money, and eat healthier. Here are a host of ideas to get you kickstarted in that direction.
Make Coffee at Home
To keep saving money, frugal minded individuals make their coffee at home rather than stopping by a corner coffee shop and picking up a $4 coffee which quickly adds up to $20 a week – for just one cup of coffee per day! Don’t get me wrong, I love my coffee. I can’t get through the morning without it, but I like saving that money too.
I moved to a Keurig for a while, but was shocked how expensive those little K-Cups were. If you really want to see how much money you can (or not) save by switching to drip, check out the price comparison on Keurig vs. Drip Coffee.
If you are in the mood for a fancy coffee treat, make it at home. I bet you’ll love them and your wallet will love you. Check out the Quick and Easy Iced Coffee to make at home or Homemade Frappuccino that whips up in just two minutes!
Buy in Bulk or In Season
This easy tip from our frugal friends is to buy in season or larger quantities. Eating food that is current from the farmers market will tell you what is in season right now or you can always check out the Seasonal Food Guide. Add your state and the month and it will generate a huge list of what is in season right now in your area.
One of the best tips I found was to save money on spices. My husband started grilling a lot more and we were going through spices and seasonings faster than I could keep it in stock. I kept buying those small jars at the grocery store, but the cost added up way too quickly. It just wasn’t sustainable.
Fortunately, I found buying a pound online was much smarter. I could not believe the cost savings. Best of all, I wasn’t running back and forth to the grocery store every week just to resupply spices. Well, I lied. Best of all, we had delicious grilled food each week!
Our frugal buddies don’t shy away from buying generic. Many times the generic versions of products are the same or close enough. If you haven’t done this before, try out canned goods, baking goods, juices, yogurt.
We shifted to generic over the counter medicines and it cut the cost almost in half!
Use Coupons Where You Can
Frugal pals use coupons and aren’t afraid to tell you that. Coupons don’t mean you are poor. Coupons mean you like keeping your money more than simply handing it over to the store. For a little bit of effort, it is easy to start clipping away and saving a few bucks each week. Snag the Coupon Binder to get you on your way.
I use online coupon services as well. Checkout 51 is my favorite. It is easy to use, and I don’t have to worry about organizing paper coupons.
Cook More Vegetarian Meals
Frugality often means making choices in where you cut back your spending. Reducing your meat intake is one way to cut your costs. Once you get going, you are going to be shocked how easy it is to replace meat with veggies a bit more often.
You’ve heard of Meatless Mondays before. This is a great way to start off if you have never tried to create Vegetarian meals for your family. Try one day a week to start and see if you can move to two days after everyone gets used to it.
Try Broccoli Stir Fry. It is one of the most popular posts on this site, and is extremely easy to make. It is DELISH as well. Pinterest peeps LOVE this one.
If you want to try something different, check out Black Bean Taco Stuffed Sweet Potatoes to keep you motivated! This one tastes like Taco Tuesday rolled up in a sweet potato. You will completely forget you didn’t have meat at all. Our site is stockpiled full of meatless meal ideas so you won’t need to venture far for tasty options.
Frugality means you need to spend some time doing research. You will need to know where to shop for all your groceries. I thought my local grocery store was the best place for inexpensive pantry staples, so it was an eye-opener when I spent the time to record the prices for my most commonly purchased food. It turned out that buying some items at a nearby store saved me a lot of money.
Sign Up for Loyalty Programs
Being frugal often means giving a little to get a little. We need to sign up for the grocery store loyalty programs which means I am giving up personal information to get massive discounts. It’s a trade off that being frugal balances on a routine basis.
Grow Your Own Herbs and Vegetables
Not only is this something that is frugal, it is a lot of fun at the same time. If you haven’t done this before, start off small with an herb garden or a container garden and see how it goes. Even just growing your own herbs will save you so much money.
We have a small herb garden filled with chives, rosemary, thyme, parsley, sage, and oregano. Why? Those are the ingredients we use on most of our meals and it saves a huge amount of money. Those freshly cut herbs are not cheap in the store! Download the FREE GARDEN PLANNER to get you started.
Use a Clothesline Instead of a Dryer
This is a silly old-school tip but the money savings is huge by not running the dryer. Try it out a few times and see. If you think “oh no, I can’t do that,” think again. Many other countries routinely hang their clothes out to dry and they seem to be doing just fine!
Make the Habit of Turning Off the Lights
Frugal buddies have been doing this for so long they no longer think about it. If you leave a room, turn off lights and electronics you aren’t using.
If you have someone who routinely leaves a light on, it is probably worthwhile to replace the switch with a timer.
Unplug Chargers When Not Using Them
Even though this only saves a tiny bit of electricity, it will add up.
Use LED Light Bulbs
We all know they save energy and saving energy saves money. This one is an easy one if you haven’t already jumped on board.
Next time an incandescent light burns out, consider replacing it with an LED bulb. These cost a bit more up front, but it lasts a lot longer and saves electricity as well. And that cost savings will go right back to your bank account.
Walk Wherever Possible
Frugal minded friends will cut back on their car usage and walk as much as possible. If your automatic assumption is “but I can’t.” Stop for a few seconds and be realistic. Ask yourself, if you can’t walk more, what can you do to cut back how much gas you are using?
We started biking to the grocery store in our neighborhood. It is less than two miles away and we really didn’t need to drive to it. Plus, it is better for your health. So, you have to love it when you can be frugal AND healthy!
Carpool When Possible
Frugal peeps will carpool and brag about the money they saved by not paying for gas for just one person. Whether you are driving or you are a rider, this is a huge WIN-WIN for everyone in the car.
Wash Your Own Car
I have no problem with saving $20-25 and washing my own car. There is a distinct theme of doing a lot of things for yourself rather than paying others to do it for you. In this case, I get to spend some time outside and I get a nice clean car!
Buy Versatile Clothing Pieces
Frugal shoppers tend to stick to a color palette that can interchange in many different ways to stretch their wardrobe. Before purchasing, inspect the garment to see how else you could possibly wear the piece and how it fits within your current wardrobe.
Be very leary when buying a piece of clothing that will only go with one outfit – no matter how cute it is.
Buy Reusable Items
When making future purchases, frugal minds consider how else they can use an item or is it a one time thing. For instance, when purchasing a dish, ask yourself if this dish is only for serving this one large pasta dish or can it be utilized several ways. Be honest with yourself on this one. One time/one use items are a no-no for frugal friends.
Cut Bank Fees
Frugal peeps are always on the lookout for a way to cut back fees and banks are a great place to start. Check your bank account to see how much you are currently paying each month. Call the bank and ask for reconsideration on those fees and ask if they have a better account to match your financial goals.
Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions
Frugal pals will tell you that they cancel unnecessary subscriptions. Do you really need Hulu, Netflix and CBS Access? How bad would it be if you cancelled one or two of these?
Sell Unused Items
There are so many ways to do this now via a normal yard sale, Craigslist, Ebay, or even the Facebook Marketplace. There is no reason to hold onto old stuff when you can get a few bucks for them.
I always think it is funny when we try to keep items that we don’t use often. It goes into storage in the basement or a closet and we spend more money to buy a container to store something we don’t use. It is so much better to just get rid of it.
Swap Kids Clothing or Toys with Friends
Consider getting together with a couple other frugal moms and swap out toys and clothes. We did this when our son was young. It was perfect as he got a brand new-to-him toy, and we spent $0 on it.
Do a 30 Day No Spend Challenge
This 30 Day No Spend Challenge is a great way to KICKSTART saving money and using what you have. All the tips/tricks and steps to guide you along the way are given to set you up for success.
Think it’s impossible? Can you do it for one day? Two? Three? You will surprise yourself on how long you can actually go without spending money. Use the free rule sheet to set your own parameters. I wonder how much extra money you will have at the end of your challenge?
Plan a Staycation
Create an amazing fun filled weekend at home, house swapping with friends, going camping in your town or finding a deal at a local hotel to enjoy a weekend getaway. Not all memories are made with a two week tropical island getaway with endless drinks. Create your magic and think about the memories you want to create with your family and make it happen.
While you are Staycationing, find frugal things to do in your hometown. Here is a great checklist for frugal weekend activities to serve as inspiration.
🖥️ Download the Checklist
Click to download the Frugal Living Checklist and get started on your journey to achieving your financial goals. For personal use only.
There we have it my future frugal friends. These are the TOP 28 THINGS FRUGAL PEOPLE DO TO SAVE MONEY. There are many things we could add to the list but for now, let’s just get started on this journey without feeling overwhelmed.
Do you have a few ideas or favorite things you do to save money? Share them below in the comments and let us know. We love to add in tips and tricks from readers.
Ginny Collins is a passionate foodie and recipe creator of Savor and Savvy and Kitchenlaughter. Indoors she focuses on easy, quick recipes for busy families and kitchen basics. Outdoors, she focuses on backyard grilling and smoking to bring family and friends together. She is a lifelong learner who is always taking cooking classes on her travels overseas and stateside. Her work has been featured on MSN, Parade, Fox News, Yahoo, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and many local news outlets. She lives in Florida where you will find her outside on the water in her kayak, riding her bike on trails, and planning her next overseas adventure.