Living Frugal: 10 Ways to Save Money

living frugal

In these changing and difficult times many of us have no choice but to try to live as frugally as we can. Living frugally helps us spend less and save money that can go into our savings or into paying off debt. Here are 10 ways to live frugally and save money.

Live in a house that fits your basic requirements but is comfortable enough.

Living in a house that’s too big for you and/or your family can mean you’re paying for more than you need to. It can mean more space to clean, more area to maintain, more power consumption.  

Living in a smaller house that is comfortable enough can be more cost efficient in the long run.

Related: Why an Internet Superstar is Now Living in a 420 Square Foot Apartment - Living With Less - Alot Less

Assess your transportation situation.

If your family has multiple cars, consider using only one car to save on gas. You can also think about carpooling with friends or neighbours.

If you can get to your destination via public transportation, then by all means take the bus or train. You can even walk or ride your bike if that is possible.

Plan your activities.

Planning ahead can help you strategize.

Plan your menu for the week and align your grocery shopping with the week’s menu.

Schedule all your errands in one day to cut down on transportation costs.

If you think you’ll be out for a while, consider bringing a packed lunch so you won’t have to spend extra by eating out.

Stop using credit cards.

Using credit cards can be risky and dangerous because you can end up in debt if you use credit cards too often and carelessly.

As much as possible, use cash so you can track your current balance. When you use cash you will be more careful with your spending because once your wallet is empty, you’ll have no choice but to stop spending.

Conserve energy.

Keep your power consumption to a minimum by unplugging electronics and appliances when they are not being used. Program your thermostat to lower your cooling and heating bills.

Cook at home more and dine out less.

Dining out can be costly whether you’re at a fancy restaurant or a fast food chain. Save money by cooking your meals at home. Consider packing lunch or snacks for school or work instead of buying your meals.

cook at home to save money

Be smarter about your shopping.

Don’t shop unless you really need something.

Make a shopping list every time you buy groceries, things for the house or anything else.

Sticking to a list helps you avoid buying things you don’t really need.

Don’t be shy about using coupons and looking for store discounts. Check for current store specials.

Any amount of savings is still savings. Buy generic brands when you can. Buy in bulk when possible.

Cancel memberships or subscriptions that you don’t really need.

Consider home workouts instead of working out at the gym where you’re paying expensive gym membership fees.

Check for online editions of your favourite magazines or newspapers. You may not need a subscription.

Look after your health.

Getting sick or hospitalized can be very tough on your wallet because of doctors’ fees, prescription costs, and consultation fees. 

Taking care of yourself helps you avoid spending on prescriptions, doctor consultations, or hospitalization. As they say, health is wealth, and keeping yourself healthy does pay off.

Think DIY.

If you can do it yourself or make it yourself, why not give it a try instead of hiring someone or purchasing something new.

There are tons of Do-It-Yourself tips on the Internet. Doing things or making things yourself not only helps you save money but it also allows you to learn something a new skill or hobby.

These are just ten easy ways to live a frugal life and save money. Living a frugal life may not look too difficult, but it requires dedication, focus, and commitment to stick to these tips. Living frugally may not be so easy, but it definitely has its rewards. 


    • Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank

      Glen @ Monster Piggy Bank 03/13/2013 6:29 a.m. #

      This is the big one for me - Cancel memberships or subscriptions that you don’t really need.

      Every time I think we have cancelled the last one we aren't using, another springs up for us to cancel.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 10:30 a.m. #

        It is easy to lose track of memberships and magazine subscriptions. I've never subscribed to receive a magazine but I am guilty of buying them at the checkout each week at the grocery store. I have worked hard at kicking that habit.

    • Money Beagle

      Money Beagle 03/13/2013 7:22 a.m. #

      Actually, we've saved money by using our credit cards MORE. But, we pay them off every month, so we're able to use the cash back cards we have for everyday purchases, then pay the balance off with the money we would have used anyways, and capture the cash back rewards along the way. We've bought three new TV sets in the last four years with money directly earned from cash back cards, while paying exactly $0 in interest or credit card fees.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 10:31 a.m. #

        That is excellent! Cash back rewards are becoming more and more popular. I am finally seeing cards available in Canada now too.

    • John S @ Frugal Rules

      John S @ Frugal Rules 03/13/2013 7:55 a.m. #

      These are some great ways to save money Sicorra! We do quite a few of them ourselves and it's amazing how some simple choices can help you save more money.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 10:34 a.m. #

        It's funny...for people that really want to save money, I agree, these are very simple ways. But when I watch TV shows on people in debt and they are told to try these ideas and they are literally in tears because these suggestions are so opposite of how they were living.

    • DC @ Young Adult Money

      DC @ Young Adult Money 03/13/2013 8:58 a.m. #

      All great suggestions. In particular, We bought a house that was slightly larger than we need, but the extra space we rent out. The rental income more than offsets the cost of having a larger house. I think DIY is a big one; sure it takes more time, but you learn skills and if you are worried about saving money trading time for DIY and savings is a fair trade in my opinion.

      • Sicorras

        Sicorras 03/13/2013 10:37 a.m. #

        Your purchase of a larger house was well planned out. :-) But how many times have you heard people say while there's 3 of us and we really want a house that is at least 3,000 sq feet, cuz we have all this stuff and we need our space...

    • Johnny Moneyseed

      Johnny Moneyseed 03/13/2013 9:06 a.m. #

      I literally do every one of these ;) We have a sedan and an SUV. The SUV sits in the garage. It doesn't ever need to be used, unless we are road-tripping with the kids AND the dogs. Otherwise the gas-guzzler collects dust.

      We installed solar panels and CFL bulbs to reduce our energy costs. I would love to replace the water heater with an on-demand water heater to save even more.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 10:41 a.m. #

        Very cool!

        I've seen the on-demand water heaters on home reno shows and yes it does look like a great way to go. My husband always says that one day he would like to have a home where we could have solar panels installed too.

    • Edgar @ Degrees and Debt

      Edgar @ Degrees and Debt 03/13/2013 9:21 a.m. #

      One of my major expenses is food/fitness related. I eat a very strict diet which means I buy mostly produce, meats and various other clean foods like natural peanut butter, rice, cottage cheese, yogurt, etc. All these things also tend to be the least on sale and most expensive at the grocery store for obvious reasons. Between groceries for real food and supplements for gym training I can easily spend around $400-500 a month. Add that with my gym membership+personal training (another $400) thats almost a grand! I dont know how I could cut these expenses down since I go to the gym 7 days a week and really love the fitness lifestyle I lead.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 10:45 a.m. #

        I think when a person is on a strict diet and fitness plan at the gym and it is a first priority for them, then they should continue with it. If they need to save money they can look at other areas of their lives to reduce costs. For this blog post, the suggestion of cancelling gym memberships more refers to a great number of people that sign up for a year membership in January, go for a few weeks and then never go again, but keep renewing every year because they forget or think that one day they will go again.

    • krantcents

      krantcents 03/13/2013 11:06 a.m. #

      All good points, although I would disagree about stop using a credit card. I think you have to learn to use a credit card responsibly.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 12:43 p.m. #

        More Americans are using credit cards for the cash back, as people have mentioned. But those types of cards are not available all over the world yet. So where they aren't available, and people have a tendency to overspend when using them, cash is a good solution.

    • Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

      Shannon @ The Heavy Purse 03/13/2013 11:06 a.m. #

      Excellent post and tips, Sicorra! People have a tendency to think bigger is better when looking at homes. But that's not always true. Buying more home than you need means you have less money to do other things. Canceling memberships and subscriptions are some of the easiest ways to put money back in your pocket, especially since a lot of people have gym memberships but haven't set foot in a gym for months. :) Gas prices are very high in California, so I do try to conserve gas by planning my errands, so I'm not running all over the place wasting my time and gas. It makes a huge difference!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/13/2013 12:46 p.m. #

        Thanks Shannon! So many of us look for bigger homes without realizing how much it is going to cost us in time and money to keep them well maintained, and also find that we end up with rooms that we don't even need. My husband and I are talking about what we can do to downsize more. We miss our townhouse and wish we had never built a bigger house.

    • Mackenzie

      Mackenzie 03/13/2013 11:15 a.m. #

      Yes, cook at home! Eating out is so expensive, we hardly ever go out to eat anymore.

      • Sicorras

        Sicorras 03/13/2013 12:47 p.m. #

        We hardly go out to restaurants anymore either for 2 reasons. One is the cost and second is that we can't find places that we enjoy anymore.

    • Kevin Watts @Graduatingfromdebt

      Kevin Watts @Graduatingfromdebt 03/13/2013 7:34 p.m. #

      I used to hate using credit cards because of the large interest fees. I used to not pay my balance each month but by paying off the full balance in credit cards I see the value in them. I have actually saved by using my credit cards for all my expenses.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/14/2013 10:06 a.m. #

        The interest fees can add up pretty quickly, can't they.

    • Thrifty Dad

      Thrifty Dad 03/14/2013 8:48 a.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra! Living in a smaller house has many benefits and has probably saved us the most. I'm so glad that we weren't persuaded by the banks and real estate agent to go bigger than what we knew we could afford. As strange as it sounds, living smaller has allowed us to live more comfortably. And cooking at home has definitely saved us a bunch too!

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/14/2013 10:09 a.m. #

        "living smaller has allowed us to live more comfortably" - What an important point. It does make life easier and it allows you to do other fun things with your money. In our case it wasn't a bank that persuaded us to buy more, it was the awesome looking showhome that we walked into one day and fell in love with.

    • Laurie @thefrugalfarmer

      Laurie @thefrugalfarmer 03/14/2013 3:15 p.m. #

      Sicorra, we've used every one of these tips since our new plan on Jan 1, and they've saved us SO much money in such a short amount of time! You're right on track here.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 03/14/2013 3:20 p.m. #

        Thanks Laurie! We do as well and find it easier every day.

    • Jerry

      Jerry 03/15/2013 7:05 a.m. #

      All good tips. It seems as if I am free of the magazine subscriptions. Now it would be nice if I could be free of the junk mail selling new ones!

    • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

      KK @ Student Debt Survivor 03/16/2013 4:24 p.m. #

      Eating at home is one that we're trying really hard to work on. For now it's just the two of us in a small 2 bedroom condo so we definitely don't have "too much space". In fact, a little more wouldn't hurt, but we're happy.

    • Cassi

      Cassi 03/17/2013 5:59 p.m. #

      This was a cute article. Also, not only will eating at home help your wallet, but it also could help your health because you have better control of what goes into your body.

    • CarolB

      CarolB 03/18/2013 10:24 a.m. #

      I too am a credit card rewards "junkie" - though you have to have the discipline to pay it off every month, else you will wipe out those rewards you just earned. My current favorite is the Marriott card - I've paid for quite a few hotel rooms the past few years. I'm also a big fan of the Target Debit/Credit card - 5% cash back on all your purchases. But only good if you shop at Target frequently, which I do.

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