The 46 Best Frugal Living Tips that Changed My Life [2021]

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.

the millennial money woman blog post "46 frugal living tips"

I love talking about the best frugal living tips to help you cut back on daily costs and save money

But sometimes, it seems like many associate the word “Scrooge” with the words “frugal living.”

"While there may be a negative stigma associated with the terms frugal living, that is not the case."

So, before we go into some of the best frugal tips that I’ve prepared for you, let’s explore the definition of frugal living first.

Frugal living does not mean:

  • Living in squalor
  • Living without electricity
  • Living on hotdogs and oranges

Anyone can follow my frugal living tips and still put your own twist to living frugally.

That’s the awesome thing about frugal living – you tailor it to your own needs and wants. 

Contrary to popular opinion, frugal living is not living in poverty.

It’s living the right life today to make your future financial goals a reality.

the millennial money woman blog post "frugal living benefits"

Benefits of Frugal Living


There are so many hidden benefits when it comes to frugal living, some of them include:

  • Early retirement
  • Financial happiness
  • Increased net worth
  • Decreased financial stress
  • Ability to weather the storm
  • Increased quality time with friends and family

In fact, you can even practise frugal living in retirement!

Ultimately, the most important benefit is that the frugal lifestyle will help you achieve your financial goals.

That’s the beauty of frugal living: You tailor it to your own financial goals.

Keep in mind that every time you decide to:

  • Invest 
  • Save money
  • Cut out unnecessary expenses

…You are moving 1 small [but consistent] step closer to your financial goals.

how to start living frugally

How Do I Live a Frugal Lifestyle?


Anyone can start a frugal lifestyle – but the trick is to continue living frugally, which you do by making only minor adjustments in your frugal lifestyle. 

These small changes will compound and add up to major savings down the road.

Frugal living is like dieting, if you make 1 major change, it might last for a few months. But chances are, you’ll revert back to your old habits.

Reverting to your old not-so frugal living habits of course would be detrimental to your financial picture. 

Below are some basic tips to start living a frugal lifestyle:

  • Cook at home
  • Consolidate debt
  • Focus on the “why” 
  • Take low-cost experiences 
  • Negotiate as much as you can
  • Cut out monthly subscriptions
  • Gift DIY projects instead of objects
  • Buy high quality so that it will last last
  • Only purchase used items (cars, clothes, etc.)
  • Shop and buy new, more cost-effective insurance

Just keep in mind: Don’t start living in squalor on day 1. Your frugal living plan could backfire drastically.

The Best Frugal Tips for 2021

I’ve collected these 46 frugal living tips from:

  • Trial & error 
  • Personal life experience
  • Discussions with friends and clients

Keep in mind, you can find many other ways on how to live frugally, but these 46 tips can help you get started on your journey.

As I said earlier, take your time when it comes to implementing these frugal tips.

You don’t have to go at it all at once.

Instead, read my tips, let them sink in, and after sleeping on some of this advice (as well as outside advice, which I recommend), then consider pursuing action.

Let’s get started!

the millennial money woman blog post "frugal living tips easiest to implement"

1. Auto-Invest with as Little as $5


If you’re ready to reshape your life and work toward financial freedom then one of the best frugal tips is to start investing – any amount that you can.

I’m not talking about investing $1,000’s or even $100’s.

I’m talking about investing an amount as small as $5 through the app called Acorns 👇

Acorns makes it easy (it takes no longer than 5 minutes to download and set up your account) and automatic to invest in good (and low-cost) funds.

2. Start a Budget


Before you spend another cent, take some time to sit down and 
create a budget.

  • Determine how much you earn
  • Calculate how much you spend

If you find yourself in the following 2 situations:

  • You are spending more than you earn 
  • You are spending as much as you earn

Then it’s seriously time to start a budget that’s visually easy to understand and can actually help you set your finances straight. 

Budgeting is likely one of the most important frugal living tips for singles since you are the sole income earner and should be 100% on top of your finances.

When I lived by myself on a $2,000 monthly salary in Miami, my budget was my guide in life.

My go-to choice for budgeting is You Need A Budget.

Remember that a budget can help you:

  • Realize how you are spending your money
  • Cut out excess expenses
  • Save more

To start a budget, you have to track every single cent you spend.

Be true to yourself, don’t skip over any expenses – because only then will you truly see where you can cut out excess expenses and start your frugal living journey.

3. Build Your Credit Fast


Building your credit
 (and credit score) can have a serious impact on how much you spend in interest payments:

  • The better your credit score the lower your interest rates
  • The lower your interest rates, the lower your payments

However, a large chunk of your credit score is based on your history – how long you’ve had your accounts open.

the millennial money woman blog post "35 percent credit score statistic"

Source: CNBC

In other words, the longer you’ve had your accounts open, the more likely your credit score will be higher. 

What if you’re a recent college student or an immigrant who doesn’t have a credit history?

How do you build your credit and payment history if you can’t even qualify for a credit card?

One program that I’ve seen my friends use is Self Credit Builder 👇

Through Self Credit Builder you build your credit history (and simultaneously your FICO/credit score) even if you don’t have a credit history.

Here’s how Self can help you:

  • Apply for a “loan” (it’s not actually a loan) using a CD, which is FDIC insured
  • Make monthly payments until they equal the total CD value 
  • The total CD value will be paid to you

Why would you go through a process like this – just to pay yourself?

Because Self helps you build your payment history – and with that, your credit score.

Assuming you don’t miss any payments, Self is a super-easy way to build your credit, even when you have no credit.

While building credit might be one of the more unusual frugal tips, a higher credit score does mean more money in your wallet. And that’s what this article is all about.

4. Pre-wrap Your Holiday Gifts


Each year, Americans spend roughly $3.2 billion per year on just wrapping paper.

That’s insane!

I typically spent about $30 per year each year on:

  • Wrapping paper ($10 on average for a roll of 3)
  • Stuffing paper
  • Gift bags
  • Ribbons
  • Bows

Why would you spend so much money on something that is made to be ripped and torn apart?

Case in point: One of the best frugal living hacks is to stop buying wrapping paper. Save yourself the hassle, time, and money.

Instead, consider pre-wrapping a shoebox in wrapping paper and reuse these shoeboxes around for each holiday season.

Chances are, the people you are giving your gifts to won’t notice, remember, or care. What matters is that they spend their holidays and birthdays with you!

5. Learn Outside of the Classroom


Sometimes the things that you learn in the regular classroom just don’t always apply to life in general. 

For example, I never learned about personal finance in school. 

There are many things that you can learn outside of the classroom to:

  • Change your mindset
  • Help you save money
  • Increase your network 
  • Increase your self-confidence

All of these points can likely lead you to live a more fulfilling and wealthier life.

If you’re looking to start your frugal living journey by positively adapting your mindset, then consider checking out MasterClass 👇

MasterClass is the classroom outside of the classroom. You can learn about virtually anything – from business and economics to singing, cooking, and acting.

The coolest part?

You have stars teaching you the class… and by stars I’m talking about pop-singer Usher, cooking star Gordon Ramsay, and acclaimed acrtress Natalie Portman, just to name a few.

Remember, that the best return on investment is when you invest in yourself.

6. Sell Your E-Products on Social Media [Hint: It’s free!!]


I’m not kidding when I say that one of the best frugal tips and tricks is to increase your income – and then save (and invest) it!

And a great way to increase your income is by using social media.

Truth be told, I never liked social media, because I thought it would be a time waster and an energy drainer. 

However, social media can be a double-edged sword:

  • It can waste your time if you aimlessly scroll through your feed
  • It can make you $1,000’s if you promote a product and sell it to your audience

The top-selling products on social media include:

  • eBooks
  • Online courses
  • Coaching services

Related: How to Make Money on Twitter

If you’re looking to start selling products on social media, your best bet is to first expand your followers.

I increased my Twitter followers by 446% within just 30 days after taking the create 24/7 course.

Any money that you do earn from your social media side hustle, you should consider investing in the stock market, for example.

7. Make Your Own Soap


Warning: This might be an example of extreme frugal living, but making your own soap still does the trick.

The average hand soap dispenser costs between $3 and $7, depending on the store and soap you buy. 

Typically, your soap will last you about 1 to 4 weeks. 

Let’s do some math to figure out how much you could spend per year:

Hand Soap
Average cost
$5
Lasts on average
2.5 weeks
Average spent on hand soap per year
$104
Average spent on hand soap in 10 years
$1,040

One of your best bets, if you want to learn how to live frugally, is to avoid buying expensive, foamy hand soap. 

It’s a luxury and your wallets will feel it over time. 

Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Take regular dish soap
  • Mix 3 ounces of dish soap with 9 ounces of water (a ratio of 1:3)
Hand Soap vs. Dish Soap
Average cost per oz. for hand soap
$0.31/oz
Average cost per oz. for dish soap
$0.9/oz

You can save $0.22 on every ounce of soap, even if you didn’t mix it with water.

Now you have foaming hand soap at a much cheaper price!

While saving roughly $0.22 on every ounce of soap might not sound like a lot up front, if you consistently follow and implement my frugal lifestyle tips over time, you’ll start seeing a pretty big difference in your budget.

8. Use Binder Clips!


I use binder clips for just about everything – not just for paper or office supplies. 

My mom showed me this trick, and it’s stuck with me since I was a teenager:

Use binder clips in place for food bag clips (you save money, and you can repurpose the binder clips).

Here’s a bonus binder frugal living tip:

  • Binder clips are fantastic at holding cables in place

Just run the cord through the 2 metal loops of the binder clip and voila! 

You have a cable holder.

Talk about one of the most epic frugal ideas!

9. Cut the Paper Towels


If you’re environmentally friendly and just really hate spending money on paper towels (like me), then it might be time to simply cut out those paper towels.

Here’s what I would suggest instead: If you’re a car nerd like my husband, then you’d know that the microfiber cloths that most car guys use to polish their cars are also a great alternative to use for paper towels.

The microfiber towels are:

  • Washable
  • Eco friendly
  • Cost-effective

Win-win-win!

While microfiber towels might cost you a little bit of money upfront (typically between $12 to $25 for a set of 20+ towels), they can last you for a very long time – if you take care of them.

10. Consolidate Your Debt 


If you feel like you’re drowning in credit card debt, you are not alone.

One of the easiest ways to chop up your credit card debt is to consolidate the debt through LendingTree 👇

LendingTree is one of the oldest national debt programs that acts like a matchmaker between lending companies and people who are searching for the best match (like you and me).

Mark Cuban once said, “If you use a credit card, you don’t want to be rich.”

While Mark Cuban is spot on – especially if you carry credit card debt – there may be times when maintaining a credit card (with a $0 balance!) is necessary.

However, remember to pay off debt as fast as possible.

Crush your credit card debt ASAP.

11. Cut the Fancy Coffee 


Some of you might cringe, but cutting the fancy coffee is one of the critical tips for frugal living that you’ll want to implement.

We are a coffee consumer society. 

the millennial money woman blog post "millennial coffee spending statistic"

Source: NGPF

Sadly, however, most Millennials seem to focus more on their coffee than their retirement and investment accounts.

the millennial money woman blog post "millennial retirement account statistic"

Source: NGPF

While coffee could be a reason why you’re not pursuing your frugal living goals, don’t scratch coffee entirely from your list.

Just use a traditional coffee maker instead and then you can contribute those $1,000’s per year into your retirement account.

Financial freedom, here you come!

the millennial money woman blog post "frugal living ways to earn extra money"

12. Make Money While Watching TV


This is one of my all-time favorite frugal tips… earning more money – the easy way!

Imagine this: You’re curled up in your bed, tucked into a blanket, watching your favorite Netflix show and you’re making easy money on the side.

It’s actually possible!

Check out the ySense paid survey platform and see how you can earn a couple of extra dollars.

From my experience, you can earn about $50 per month all while watching TV!

It might not be enough for a sustainable part-time job, but it’s certainly enough to invest, pay off debt or simply use toward something fun.

13. Make Money Playing with Dogs


Have you ever dreamed of playing with dogs – man’s best friend – 
and earn money?

With this frugal hack, you can, if you sign up with Rover 👇

With Rover, you can be a:

  • Dog sitter
  • Dog walker
  • Dog boarder

You set your own hours, provide any combination of pet services, and set your dog preferences. 

If you truly commit to working with Rover, you could earn anywhere up to $1,000 per month!

I’ve been on the consumer side of Rover and gave my French Bulldog to a Rover dog boarder and had nothing short of a fantastic experience:

  • They were communicative
  • They sent me photo updates
  • They cared about my Frenchie

If you love dogs and want to earn some spare change, this might be the app for you – to earn a bit extra as you pursue your frugal living goals.

14. Start a Blog


Guys and gals, if you:

  • Love writing
  • Are an expert in an area
  • Are decent with computers

then starting a blog is likely one of the best frugal lifestyle tips because you can earn unlimited amounts of passive income – in the long term.

I started my blog with HostGator and have never looked back.

Once you’ve set up your website, have a rough idea of what you’re going to write about, and have established a loyal audience, you may want to consider:

  • Implementing ads
  • Creating a product to sell
  • Becoming an affiliate marketer

The key, just as with blogging, is that progress will take time.

But, if your goal is to find financial freedom and pursue frugal living in retirement, blogging might be a great start.

15. Rent Out Your House or Your Room


If you’re looking for ways on how to be frugal, then consider reducing your housing costs.

the millennial money woman blog post "american housing cost statistic"

Housing costs account for over 1/3 of the average American’s budget – so this is an expense we can certainly reduce if you’re looking to follow the frugal living movement.

In fact, the typical budgeting rule of thumb for housing debt expenses recommends individuals spend less than 28% of their gross annual income.

It is recommended for individuals to spend less than 28% of their gross annual income on housing debt

Some ways to reduce your housing costs include:

  • Turn off the lights and water more often
  • Rent out a spare room
  • Rent out your home

I’ve had some friends actually rent out their homes and move back to live with their parents rent-free. 

This allowed them to:

  • Have someone else pay for their mortgage costs
  • Save massively for their financial goals

If you hate dealing with tenants, dislike asking them for their monthly rent, and are considering renting out your home (or even your room), then consider using the RentRedi app.

RentRedi makes it easy for you, as the landlord, to deal with tenants and request their monthly payments – it’s non-confrontational (which I love).

16. Earn Money through Affiliate Marketing


Affiliate marketing is one of the easiest – and absolute best ways to earn money and contribute toward living a frugal life.

Here’s why I like affiliate marketing:

  • You help other people
  • You can earn money, passively
  • Your income potential is unlimited

As with all great things, there is a caveat:

You can’t just sell products randomly. You have to have experience with the products first and know that these products are actually good so that you are not misusing the trust of your audience.

If you have a Twitter account and are ready to step into the world of affiliate marketing, I’d recommend taking the course Twitter Affiliate Mastery.

17. Earn Money via Money Making Apps


There is so much money out there for you to earn, save and invest.

That’s why I want to encourage you, for your frugal living 2021 goals, to start increasing your income with money making apps.

All you have to do is to find those money making opportunities.

Popular money making phone apps could include:

While there are many other cool money making apps out there, these are my top 4 picks that can help you on your path toward financial freedom.

18. Get a High-Yield Savings Account


If you have cash in your bank account, an easy way to earn a few extra $1’s is by opening a high-yield savings accounts like with Axos Bank 👇

Most banks just don’t pay that much interest anymore.

If you deposit money into what is known as a high-yield savings account, you would earn a higher interest rate.

It might not make a big difference, but who wouldn’t want to make extra money for doing nothing?

Axos Bank is free to set up and it’s FDIC insured.

19. Manage Your Finances and Bills


Did you know that the average American spends about $192.30 per month on recurring subscription expenses?

The average American spends $192.30 per month on recurring expenses

One extreme frugal living tip that has changed my life for the better is virtually reviewing every single recurring expense (like wifi) that I have and calling the companies to negotiate a lower price.

This frugal tip takes hours and can be pretty stressful – and sometimes with no results.

You can save money too, and for much less stress if you sign up with Truebill 👇

Truebill is an app that helps you:

  • Lower your bills
  • Optimize your spending
  • Manage your monthly subscription costs

Truebill negotiates on your behalf with major companies (like AT&T) and helps you stay on top of your finances by lowering (or canceling) your bills on a variety of services. 

With all that money you save, you can start paying off debt or investing.

20. Make Money Delivering Food


With COVID, so many families are stuck at home and can’t go out to their favorite restaurants.

What my husband and I sometimes do, is order food from our favorite restaurants to be delivered to our home. The service we use is DoorDash.

Imagine the amount of extra income you can earn by delivering food through DoorDash 👇

There is an increasing demand for food deliveries, and if you live in a city and are able to deliver during peak hours (lunch and dinner), you actually have a pretty substantial earning potential (we’re talking up to $600 per month!). 

All that money earned can be saved and invested for your frugal living pursuit!

the millennial money woman blog post "frugal living ways to save extra money"

21. Reduce Your Subscription Costs


Believe it or not, the little things often add up to major victories (or disasters).

A small leak can sink a great ship.

In finances, the “leak” in the saying could mean your monthly, recurring subscriptions – specifically as they relate to your internet, TV providers, and Cellphone bills. 

Truebill handles your financial situation on your behalf by negotiating with your providers to reduce the cost of your service bills. 

If Truebill doesn’t manage to lower the cost, you don’t pay. 

Cutting your costs is also a great frugal living tip for singles.

Take it from my first-hand experience, back when I was living on my own, I saved close to $100 per month by lowering my monthly bills!

22. Refinance Your Auto Loan


If you have a loan on your car – you can save a lot of money per year (we’re talking $100’s) if you consider refinancing your auto loan. 

Refinancing offers you 2 main money-saving options:

  • Dropping your interest rate (if you qualify)
  • Increasing the term of your car loan (which lowers the amount of money you pay per month)

LendingTree offers auto loan refinance options, which can drop your monthly car bills if you qualify for a lower interest rate.

You can also lower how much you pay per month by increasing your loan term (so instead of paying $10,000 for 3 years, you decide to pay $10,000 for 5 years).

Below are some ways you can qualify for a car loan refinance.

To qualify to refinance and drop your payments, you need to:

  • Prove you pay your bills on time for the last 6 to 12 months
  • Maintain a decent credit score
  • Current loan information
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of income

…Among some other documents.

Make sure to consider whether your new potential interest rate makes sense to go through the refinancing process (because it could be lengthy and time-consuming!).

23. Coupon Without Couponing


I honestly hate couponing.

  • It takes time
  • It wastes energy
  • I leave most of my coupons at home when I go shopping

While I never thought that I would bring up couponing as a frugal living idea, you can save some money with the right implementation.

If you’re like me and my husband, who virtually buy 90% of our items online, then consider downloading the free coupon tool called Honey.

Honey is a money-saving app that you download and it works off of Google Chrome. 

You browse as you want, go shopping for your regular items and Honey will literally point out on the webpage you are on, whether there are any:

  • Coupons
  • Promo codes
  • Ways to save money

Honey automatically indicates if there is any way for you to save money.

It’s the easiest way to coupon without actually couponing.

24. Buy Food that’s in Season


Food takes up so much of our budget.

the millennial money woman blog post "American food expenditure statistic"

Source: USDA

One easy way to hit the ground running with frugal living is to change the way you buy your food:

  • Buy food that’s in bulk (it’s cheaper because it’s mass-produced)
  • Buy food that’s in season (it’s cheaper because it’s in high supply)
  • Buy food from your local farmer’s markets (it’s cheaper due to low transportation costs)

If you are researching how to live frugally, cutting your grocery expenses could make a big difference.

25. Shop for Cheaper Life Insurance


You might be spending too much money on your life insurance if you don’t have the right kind of life insurance.

Typically speaking, when you are a millennial, you only need term life insurance.

Term life insurance is super cheap (we’re talking maybe $50 to $80 per year, for $500,000 of insurance for 30 years straight).

My husband and I have used Policygenius in the past and appreciate the online and streamlined process to buy life insurance.

The cost relative to the amount of term life insurance you receive is low and the sign-up process takes about 5 to 9 minutes.

Even if you’re not ready to buy term life yet, at least type in your information, run a free quote with Policygenius, and see how much it would cost you relative to the benefit it would give your family.

26. Repair Your Credit


Your credit score can make or break your interest payments:

  • The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate
  • The lower your interest rate, the less you pay

Since we are only human, it’s a very good idea to get your annual credit report with TransUnion (as an example).

Take some time to review your credit report and see if you notice any accounts that were opened using your credentials without your knowledge and/or permission. 

If that’s the case, it’s time to work to repair your credit with Lexington Law

Lexington Law works on your behalf to repair, build and maintain your credit, which means more money in your pocket.

27: Shop for the Best Car and Home Insurance


Similar to life insurance, you may be spending too much money on your car and home insurance.

In fact, did you know that Americans tend to overpay on their car insurance by about $21 billion per year?

Americans tend to overpay on their car insurance by about $21 billion per year

Source: MarketWatch

That’s no small number, so it’s a good idea to review your current rates and run free car insurance quotes to see how much you could be paying (and saving!).

If you’re ready to save money on your insurance bills then consider running a free quote with Insurify 👇

Here’s a step-by-step process:

  • Answer a couple of questions
  • Compare the cost of the results
  • Receive discounts (if applicable)

Then it’s up to you to buy online, via phone, or simply hold off for now.

Run a quote here, it’s free and it can’t hurt to see what else is out there.

28. Generic Medicine Brands


I find myself spending north of $50 every time I go into the pharmacy to buy medicine – be it over-the-counter or subscription drugs.

There’s a way to fix your spending on medication: Instead of buying the name brands, buy the generic medication.

Did you know that name-brand medication accounts for only 10% of all prescriptions but yet, name-brand drugs make up 72% of medication spending?

72% of all costs spent on medication goes to name brands

Source: NBC News

99% of the time, generic medicine is cheaper than name brands, but still works the same wonder.

Remember to track your expenses regularly by using your budget (YNAB is an awesome budgeting tool, and the first 34 days are free).

Plus, by cutting down on medical costs, your bank accounts will be very happy too.

29. Refinance Your House


If you are a homeowner and haven’t refinanced your mortgage yet – now might be the right time to do so. 

Especially in this low-interest-rate environment, I’ve seen a mortgage interest rate drop below 2% for a 15-year mortgage!

There’s so much money you can save per month on a mortgage if you can drop your interest rate by 1 full percentage point or even more.

LendingTree is a great place to start if you are considering refinancing your mortgage to a lower rate and cheaper monthly payment.

30. Cut the Cord


For those of you who haven’t cut the cord yet, it’s time to let go of cable.

It’s a waste of money, in my humble opinion.

Did you know that the average American spends about $217.42 per month on Cable TV?

The average American spends about $217.42 per month on Cable TV

Source: U.S. News

Instead of cable, you have Netflix, Amazon Prime TV, YouTube, and then there’s Philo.

Philo is an American internet TV company that offers you 63 channels for just $20/month.

Plus (I love this) with Philo you have an unlimited DVR recording option as well.

You could also always pick up a good book to read to further your education and pursue your goals.

31. Buy a Used Car


This is one of the best frugal tips and tricks that can help you save a big chunk of money upfront.

If you’re looking for:

  • A relatively new car
  • A car with low miles
  • A car in good condition
  • A car that still is on warranty

Then I would suggest considering buying a used car.

I bought my used car from my local car dealership.

  • It was 3 years old
  • Had 4,000 miles on it
  • Still had another 3 years of warranty left

And the best part?

I saved $11,000 versus if I had bought my car new.

32. Sell Stuff You Don’t Need


Let’s face it, we all make some financial mistakes – especially when it comes to buying trinkets or just “stuff.”

I think stuff:

  • Takes up space
  • Wastes money
  • Wastes time

So, get rid of this “stuff” by selling it on:

  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Decluttr
  • eBay

Just to name a few online marketplaces you can sell your stuff and get money in return.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, Decluttr is an app that helps you get rid of old electronics (from old DVDs and CDs to computers, phones, etc.).

You can appraise the cost of your items directly on their website, and the decluttering process itself can be very relieving.

33. Ask for Extra Hangers


There will likely be a time in your life when you’ll need a clothing hanger.

Hangers break, they cost money and we just don’t have the time to go shopping for new ones.

Here’s a frugal hack: If you visit your local clothing boutique store and ask nicely for the store’s spare hangers, chances are that the cashiers will give you a box of their hangers.

While this tip might seem more of an extreme frugal living tip, it still helps you save a little bit of money in the long run.

34. Buy Products Located Away from Shelves on Eye Level 


The next time you go shopping, take a look at the prices of items that are displayed at your eye level versus at the very top and very bottom of the shelves.

Eye level is buy level.

This is a very popular quote in the marketing industry as it relates to grocery stores.

What the quote means is that you are much more likely to purchase products that are visible to you versus those products that are hidden away from your eye level.

Chances are, the lower you look and the higher you look, you’ll find generic products, non-name branded items.

They are still good quality, but typically at a much lower cost.

35. Ask the Experts, Pay Less


If you’re looking for an expert’s advice but don’t want to spend the time and hourly bills that your typical expert requires, then you may want to check out
Just Answer.

You’ll find experts including:

  • Doctors
  • Lawyers
  • Veterinarians
  • Computer Tech wizards

All you do is simply ask your question, Just Answer will find an expert to help you (experts are available 24/7), and your question will be answered.

Your question can be anywhere from $5 to $90 – depending on the industry.

36. Buy from the Smaller Stores


Although larger, national store chains are easily accessible – it might make sense to buy from the smaller stores, instead.

Smaller stores can offer cheaper products because:

  • They sell surplus products
  • They sell products close to expiration

And believe it or not, most smaller stores also tend to be local so buying products from smaller stores also keeps your money within your community.

Buying local is becoming a much larger trend as 70% of consumers are supporting local businesses.

70% of consumers support local businesses

Source: Mint

And don’t forget, after every time you save money, make sure you record it in your budget!

37. Use the Best Credit Card Rewards Programs


Sometimes frugal living makes you think that credit cards are the worst thing possible. 

And you could be right – if you carry credit card debt and don’t pay it off.

But don’t forget, some credit cards offer good cash back rewards programs.

If you’re sick of applying for new credit cards, then consider downloading Slide:

  • You get unlimited 4% cash back
  • It’s partnered with 150+ partner companies
  • You simply connect Apple Pay or another credit card to collect your cash back

The cash back bonus points can help cut down on your regular living costs and provide a way to keep up your frugal living momentum.

the millennial money woman blog post "frugal living cut out these habits"

38. Cut Eating Out and Meal Prep


Eating out can be a blast – especially because you don’t have to take the time to cook and clean the dishes – but it can also drain your budget. 

Drastically.

the millennial money woman blog post "American spending on going out per year statistic"

Source: Money Under 30

Instead of eating out – or getting take-out – consider meal prepping the weekend before your busy week. 

Every Sunday, my husband and I cook a bulk amount of food, apportion the food in little bins and plastic containers and store them in the freezer to be eaten each weekday.

Meal prepping an entire week in advance might not be everyone’s cup of tea:

  • You may not like frozen food
  • You may not like the same lunch/dinner every day for a week

But, this strategy really does help you pursue frugal living and save some time and a lot of money.

39. Quit Expensive Vacations


Vacations can be expensive, time-consuming, and stressful.

the millennial money woman blog post "American cost per day on vacation statistic"

Source: ValuePenguin

Below are the average domestic vs. international vacation costs:

Average Domestic 4-night Vacation Average International 12-night Vacation
$581
$3,251

Frugal living is about being frugal (duh).

So drop those fancy vacations and instead make a staycation or find something that’s more in your price range.

Just spend less than $50 per day and you’ll already be saving close to $100 per day over the average American.

Remember to keep track of your expenses by following your budget.

40. Cut Out Department Stores


This frugal living tip reminds me of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song “Thrift Shop.”

I think these lyrics are awesome when it comes to a frugal living perspective because I agree:

Who in their right mind would spend $50 for a t-shirt?

You could get the same t-shirt for just $5 (and sometimes even less) at a thrift shop! 

Chances are, you’ll actually find a few new clothes at the thrift store – never used and with the price tags still on.

So, put on your speakers, listen to “Thrift Shop” and go out thrift shopping.

41. Cut the Jewelry and Sell what you Don’t Need


Every woman (and man) loves jewelry – myself included.

But if you’re pursuing frugal living, you may want to cut out the unnecessary jewelry in your life by selling anything you don’t need to make some money.

I’m not saying that you should sell your wedding ring or your prized heirlooms.

But I am saying that if you’re wondering how to live frugally, then you might want to consider selling the jewelry that you don’t need to make some extra money to invest, save or pay off debt!

42. Buy Last Season’s Hot Electronics


Instead of buying the hottest, sexiest electronics this season, a frugal tip could be to consider buying the electronics from last season.

Chances are, they’ll be discounted because they are no longer considered “hip” or “new.”

In fact, buying a TV that’s last season can lower the price by up to 34%.

34% is the potential price cut if you buy last season’s TV

Source: Business Insider

Similarly, smartwatches dropped by 27% in price and smartphones dropped by 21% if bought the following year, after their initial release.

While you are buying “older” products, they still work and still have the latest technology.

I’ll give you an example:

  • 1 year ago, I had my phone screen replaced 
  • A few weeks ago, I had my phone screen replaced 

again – for $100 less!

Why?

Because the phone repair store said that my phone is so outdated that they receive the phone parts at massive discounts.

Case in point: Buy 1-year old (or older) electronics to save money.

43. Avoid the Souvenirs, Take Photos Instead


We all love trinkets when we go traveling – be it domestically or abroad.

But, my friends, trinkets:

  • Are easily forgotten
  • Take up space
  • Cost money

My quick and easy remedy for avoiding souvenirs is simply take as many photos as possible and of course enjoy the moment with your loved ones!

Stop buying trinkets (let’s face it, they are pretty useless) and start taking in the memories, instead.

44. Cut the Fancy Cards


When you are invited to:

  • Birthday parties
  • Holiday parties
  • Weddings

Do you buy cards for $5 a pop or do you make your greeting/congratulatory cards?

Instead of spending $3 to $5 a card, make your own cards from cardboard paper or from your computer.

Believe me: You can design some pretty cool cards from your computer.

  • It saves you time
  • It saves you money

It likely means more than a store-bought card and most importantly, your card recipients will still appreciate it.

Even if you save $5 on birthday cards, you invest those $5 in the stock market with apps like Acorns.

It might not sound like a lot of money today, but with compounding interest, those $5’s could turn to $100’s in the future.

45. Cut the Mani/Pedis


I get it, manicures and pedicures are so relaxing and sometimes essential, especially after a long and stressful week.

But – these can be costly and they can really drain your frugal living budget. 

In my book, these are no-go, but you can still enjoy a manicure / pedicure.

For example, I ask my husband to give me a foot massage while I paint my own nails!

Although he does not look at me amused and most often rolls his eyes at me, it still works, is fulfilling, we get some quality time together, and I save a lot of money!

46. Stop Using Credit Cards with No Super Saver Deals


If you’re using credit cards and know you’re someone who won’t carry a credit card balance because you pay it off monthly, then it might be time to consider getting a cash back credit card.

Cash back cards essentially collect “points” with every purchase you make.

After each month, you can submit your points for actual cash to either:

  • Help pay toward your credit card
  • Buy products/services such as air miles
  • Deposit back into your bank account as cash

Start earning money on your every-day purchases and win at frugal living!

FAQs

Anyone can become frugal – it’s just a matter of starting out slow and making minor adjustments to your current lifestyle.

Over time, these minor adjustments will compound and you’ll see a big (positive) difference in your wallet.

Here are some ways you can become very frugal:

  • Realize living frugally is not a bad thing
  • Don’t buy the hot, sexy new car
  • Be content with what you own
  • Take control of your life
  • Stop making excuses
  • Cut the cord

The most important thing to remember is to start considering how you can incorporate my frugal living tips into your life today.

Absolutely! Frugal living helps you move 1 step closer to your financial goals – whatever they may be. 

Frugal living helps you live a satisfied and stress-free life because you’ll be accomplishing your goals and dreams.

Frugal living is the stepping stone you need to accomplish your major life goals.

What I love about frugal living is that you gain so much control back over your own life.

Remember, manage your money before it manages you.

Frugal living can help set you up to build your wealth, increase your net worth, and overall practice healthy financial habits that will improve your financial lifestyle in the long run.

Keep in mind that living frugally does not mean sacrificing quality over cost. 

Living frugal means that you are practicing healthy financial habits to set yourself up for future wealth.

Closing Thoughts


Frugal living is a life habit that will help you move 1 step closer to making your financial goals a reality. 

Contrary to popular belief, frugal living does not mean you live in absolute poverty. 

It means:

  • Moderation
  • Understanding your “why”
  • Moving closer to your financial goals

Like dieting, You can only win with frugal living if you make small adjustments incrementally and over time.

Start today, because your tomorrow will be set up for success.

As you make these spending adjustments, track them in your budget. If you haven’t yet, then check out YNAB, which is an awesome budgeting app that can help you sort through your finances.

Your bank accounts will thank me later!

Which frugal living tips are you going to try? Let me know in the comments section below!

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Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith
Fiona Smith is the founder of The Millennial Money Woman. She holds her Master of Science Degree in Personal Financial Planning and has co-founded a local non-profit community teaching financial literacy. She is the author of the personal finance book How to Get Rich from Nothing and her work is featured on Forbes, Oberlo, and FinCon.

4 thoughts on “The 46 Best Frugal Living Tips that Changed My Life [2021]”

  1. Decluttering your home and selling items you don’t need is a favorite of mine. You can then reallocate the money you earn on other important budgeting items.

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