Frugal living is a lifestyle that many people want to adopt, but it’s hard. It feels big, heavy, and scary.
You’ll need to make changes in your life and habits. These habits can be fun to read about, but they are harder to do. Before you go cutting up your credit card or canceling your cell phone, take a step back. Let’s start small with some beginner-friendly frugal living tips that don’t feel so overwhelming.
This post is all about the little steps you can take towards frugal living.
Best frugal living tips: little steps to save money
These frugal lifestyle tips might be different from the ones you’re used to. This article is not just some list of “buy” or “don’t buy,” but rather mental tools and a mindset. You’re not going to find advice to make your own coffee or stack credit card rewards. No, financial freedom requires way more than saving a few dollars here and there. These frugal tips will help you learn how to live life on your own terms and free yourself from
1. Organize your schedule
Being disorganized with your time always ends up costing you money. You’ll send in bills late, make last-minute trips to the grocery store, and make a hundred minor mistakes that all cost money.
Set up reminders on your phone for recurring payments, appointments, and other items to get started. Set a reminder for the day before and an hour before each new commitment, so you don’t forget it.
If you want to be more frugal, you’ll need to simplify your schedule. Simplify your schedule by removing tasks that do not make you happy or are no longer necessary for your life.
2. Learn to love your home
Frugal living can’t happen when you’re always dashing around town. Slow down.
Three times a day, set aside some time to unwind. It might be early in the morning, when kids are sleeping, or after they go to sleep. It could be anytime between leaving for school and supper. Choose three times when you’re likely to relax. What does this have to do with saving money? Plenty. It teaches you to be satisfied and happy at home, an essential element of frugal living.
Keep your house clean. When your house is a mess, guess what seems like a good idea? Going out and spending money! Don’t do it!
Related: build the ideal cleaning schedule that will keep you on your frugal living journey.
3. Make a simple meal plan
One of the best money-saving tips (and one of the hardest) is to eat your meals at home. Going out to eat is extremely expensive, even if you think you’re getting cheap meals.
The biggest problem with cooking your own food? The planning. It requires a lot of thought: going to the grocery store, timing when to start food, and more. You have a new part-time job: cooking dinner every night. And like anything else worth doing, it begins with a plan.
To make a simple meal plan, sit down every Sunday evening and brainstorm some meals you can make during the week.
4. Plan your outfits
Did you know the most common cause of credit card debt is overspending on food and clothes?
Let’s deal with the clothes shopping habit before it gets out of control.
Chances are, you have enough clothing already. If you don’t, think about what you actually need and will wear regularly. Buy those pieces, and then don’t think about clothes again until something gets ruined.
An obsession with clothes wastes time and money.
5. Find a productive hobby
Hobbies are good for the mind and body, and they give people a chance to create instead of consuming.
Turning away from consumption is a long-lasting frugal living mindset shift that will take you far.
The problem is, many hobbies are very expensive. The solution? Find a free or cheap hobby instead. This will save you money in the long run and keep your hands busy when you need it most.
Some examples of frugal living hobbies are walking, jogging, reading. Don’t laugh! These count!
Instead of buying a new handbag or watching another show on Netflix, turn your attention to something that’s satisfying and free.
6. Make your kitchen function
We’ve discussed how tackling the food budget and eating out less is a massive step towards a frugal life.
But what about the kitchen itself? How can you make it work for you, not against you?
One way is to stock your kitchen with affordable foods that last a long time.
Another is to organize your cabinets and fridge in a way that makes cooking easy.
A third suggestion: make a list of meals that you can make from the ingredients you already have.
They might not all be perfect, but it will help!
7. Do a small “no-spend” challenge
This tip is a small step towards buying fewer things you don’t need. Challenge yourself not to spend even a cent for 24 hours.
It’s an excellent way to get in the habit of thinking before you buy something, and it helps you re-think how much of your budget goes towards unnecessary items.
If you do go out during this time, make sure the activity is free or carries no consequences.
8. Spend time with friends
The happiest people are those who have close family and friends.
Hanging out with friends is a great way to feel connected, have fun, create bonds, and support each other.
Friends don’t have to be expensive. A true friend is the best form of free entertainment.
Form a board game night with your friends instead of going out to eat or drinking at the bar. Make sure to keep it simple and cheap.
9. Write down your purchases to save money
Tracking how much money you spend is a great way to keep yourself honest. Even if you don’t change anything else, this little step is almost guaranteed to help you save money.
It can be hard to reign in spending when you’re not entirely sure what you’ve been buying.
By writing down each purchase, you’re able to see where most of your money goes and how much you could save by cutting back in specific areas.
It’s not fun, but it’s necessary.
Start small and work your way up to bigger changes.
10. Eliminate what’s hurting you
The best way to save money is to get rid of bad spending habits. Are you stuck in a routine of getting bored and going shopping? Do you go out to eat because friends are making plans? Do you love to shop online and can barely remember exactly what you’ve ordered when it arrives on your doorstep?
These are everyday habits, but they’re not good ones.
The hardest frugal living tip to follow is to give up your bad habits.
Related: The real reason you shop so much.
The little steps to frugal living are relatively easy, but they can take some time to implement. That’s okay! The hard part about simple living is confronting your bad habits head-on. Do not let yourself get discouraged by what will feel like slow progress at first. Soon you’ll find that these small frugal living tips have started you towards a significant life change.