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

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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!

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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?