Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (2024)

Table of Contents
What does it mean to be frugal? Benefits of frugal living Frugal Living Tips: Save Money On Food Create a meal plan Use up leftovers Unplug small appliances Keep your freezer full Cook cheap meals Drink water Use Ibotta when you shop for groceries TIME OUT Don’t leave the refrigerator/freezer door open Eat at home Brew your own Eat whole/healthy food Wash and reuse Don’t use the oven in the summer Do use the oven in the winter Use a slow cooker Make your own cleaners Use an Instant Pot Fill up the dishwasher Don’t use the heat dry setting on the dishwasher Keep a well-stocked pantry & freezer Avoid using disposable Use cloth napkins Stop using paper towels Use less water when hand-washing dishes Use up a product completely before opening another Cook from scratch Cook once eat twice Buy generic foods Make agrocery list Eat more meatless meals Eat from the pantry Grocery shop less often Start a garden Frugal Living Tips: Save Money In The Bathroom Take military showers Don’t leave the water running Use up toiletries Dry your razor Use basic products Share toiletries Install a low-water toilet Fix leaky faucets Install low-flow showerheads Turn down the water heater Bathe only when necessary Use homemade toiletries & cleaners Buy toiletries in bulk Install a timer on the hot water heater Use the smallest amounts of products possible Buy generic brand toiletries Use foaming hand soap Invest in a basic first aid kit Use a bidet Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Laundry & Supplies Wash clothes in cold water Hang clothes on a clothesline to dry Wear clothing more than once before washing Buy high-quality used clothes Wash full loads of laundry Keep the lint filter on your dryer clean Insulate your hot water heater Make your own laundry detergent Buy generic laundry detergent Use less (name brand) detergent Skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets Don’t overdry your clothes Frugal Living Tips: Save Money Throughout The Home Install LED bulbs Unplug electronic devices Keep lights and fans off Set the thermostat to comfortable (yet frugal) settings Buy a programmable thermostat Don’t clean it if it’s not dirty Use surge protectors Close off rooms you don’t use Set ceiling fans counter-clockwise during the summer Set ceiling fans clockwise during the winter months Sell your stuff Negotiate lower cable, phone, and insurance bills Open windows in the morning Keep shades drawn Keep shades open Use blackout curtains Cut back on cleaning products Insulate your attic space Weatherstrip Use a space heater Use multi-purpose cleaning tools Skip single-use products Turn off the TV Keep filters/ducts clean Insulate exposed pipes Eliminate cable Ditch the landline Play board games for cheap entertainment Sign up for Netflix Give Hulu a try Try Amazon Prime Frugal Living Tips: Save Money On Transportation Become a one-car family Work from home Walk or ride a bike for short trips Shop around for the best insurance rates Combine your errands Carpool Slow down Keep your tires inflated Turn off the AC Shop around for the cheapest gas Skip the tolls Sell your car and use public transportation Lighten your load Travel cheaply Frugal Living Tips: Save Money When Shopping Use Rakuten Use a cash-back credit card Never, EVER pay for banking Return items you haven’t used Negotiate your bills Negotiate…EVERYTHING DIY everything Try a no-spend month Buy quality used items Cancel subscriptions Before replacing a broken item, try to fix it Educate yourself for free/cheap Look for free ways to have fun Create a budget Shop clearance racks Ask for price matching Pay your bills on time Set up automated savings Refinance loans Pay off debt Institute a 10-30 day cooling-off period Buy in bulk When shopping for a home, go small Travel during off-peak seasons Buy discounted gift cards Get your hair cut at a cosmetology school Put your bills on auto-pay Never EVER shop at convenience stores Cut back on (or eliminate) bad habits Maintain your stuff TIME OUT Increase your income Pay with cash Avoid impulse purchases Check bills and credit card statements Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Entertainment Use credit card rewards to fund fun Go camping Check out high school or college sporting events Make money from your hobbies Host a game night Become an early bird Go on a staycation Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Travel Ideas for finding cheap flights and accommodations Tips for traveling during off-peak seasons to save money Strategies for exploring your own city or region as a tourist Can being frugal make you rich? References

Are you looking for simple ways to save money? I’ve compiled a list of 150 frugal living tips designed to save you money (in 2024) on the top three budget-busting categories of: food, housing, and transportation.

You may be surprised at how simple it is to save hundreds of dollars per month just by following these money-saving tips. Sometimes, it’s the little things that add up to make the biggest impact on your finances!

My absolute favorite frugal living tip comes straight from the Great Depression: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!

But first, let’s clear something up…

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (1)

What does it mean to be frugal?

Being frugal means you are conscious of where your money goes and you do your best to buy quality products at the lowest prices (when you need them), so you have more money available to spend on what truly matters to you: investing, traveling, retiring early, or paying down debt.

Being frugal means you tailor your spending around your current (and future priorities).

It’s what this site is all about, living a beautiful life on a budget.

On the other hand, being cheap means that you cut costs at all costs. You sacrifice unnecessary time and energy just to save a few cents. You may even try to save money at the expense of others by mooching off of family and friends, leaving unacceptable tips, or even breaking the ‘rules’ just to save a few bucks.

Cheap people often focus solely on price while frugal people focus on overall value.

PS: None of the tips on this list are immoral, unethical, or gross…

Bonus tip: My absolute favorite way to save money is to use money-saving apps and Chrome extensions whenever I need to make a purchase. My top three go-to apps and extensions are:

  • Ibotta-sign up with my link and get $10
  • Rakuten-(you get a cool $30 after your first purchase of $30 or more)
  • Dosh-enter your preferred payment method, shop as you normally would, earn free money

Benefits of frugal living

There are many benefits of frugal living including being able to:

  • Focus on the important things in life (family, friends, faith) instead of worrying about money
  • Save for large purchases and pay in cash
  • Fund emergency savings
  • Have more money to pay off debt
  • Build a retirement fund
  • Travel more often
  • Give more money to your favorite charities

Due to the recent recession, many people are asking themselves, How can I be more frugal with my money? Here are 150 painless ways to save more money in 2022.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money On Food

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (2)

Create a meal plan

If you take the time to create a meal plan and a shopping list to go with that plan before you head to the store, you will set yourself up to save hundreds of dollars a month versus picking up takeout several times a week because you forgot to plan. Trust me!

Use up leftovers

Did you know up to 40% of the food supply in America is wasted each year? A sad statistic, but it’s true. The number one food item people tend to waste is vegetables. I’m looking at you, bag of squishy cucumbers in the back of the fridge!

Unplug small appliances

Small appliances can drain electricity even when they are not in use.

Keep your freezer full

A full freezer runs more efficiently than an empty (or almost empty one). If you don’t have enough food to fill it you can fill gallon-sized jugs with water and freeze those.

Cook cheap meals

The best way to save money is by reducing your food budget. For many people, food is the most expensive category in their budget after housing and transportation.

The best cheap foods are also quite healthy. Try to center some meals around brown rice, potatoes, and beans in order to stretch your food budget further.

If you simply cannot bring yourself to cook…seek out the cheapest restaurants in your area.

Drink water

We all know water is better for us than soda (or juice). Yet, the majority of us (myself included) fail to meet the daily recommended intake.

Try to cut down on sugary drinks and drink water from the tap.

You can invest in an inexpensive water filter pitcher if your tap water tastes bad.

Use Ibotta when you shop for groceries

I have earned over $200 since I signed up for Ibotta a year ago. It’s crazy-easy to use: just sign up, add offers, and scan your receipt! Boom! Free, honest-to-goodness cash back on stuff you would have purchased anyway!

Don’t leave the refrigerator/freezer door open

Let your air conditioner cool your home, not your fridge.

Eat at home

Let’s face it, restaurant meals almost always cost more than their made-at-home counterparts. I know…I get it. I hate cooking too.

But, what I really hate is paying a 300% markup for the convenience of having someone else make my dinner.

Don’t worry, I won’t tell you to stop eating out altogether, after all, going to restaurants can be fun and we shouldn’t give up fun for the sake of being frugal.

But, maybe…just maybe you can set a goal to reduce the number of times you go out to eat each month, so you can save that money for bigger and better things.

Brew your own

Everything tastes better when brewed at home. {And costs WAY less than a trip to Starbucks}! Learn how to brew your own coffee, beer, and tea for maximum savings.

Eat whole/healthy food

Junk food is expensive and void of nutrients; healthy food (while also sometimes expensive), will save you on medical bills in the long run.

Even ramen noodles can be healthy if you use the right recipes.

Wash and reuse

Rather than tossing empty jars, baggies, and plastic containers in the trash, consider washing them out and reusing them. Or, invest in glass food storage containers for long-term savings.

Don’t use the oven in the summer

I refuse to use my oven in the summer. I just cannot make myself add additional heat to the inside of my home when the air conditioner works so hard to pump out cool air for me to enjoy.

Do use the oven in the winter

Likewise, I use the oven heavily in the winter so it can complement the warm air my furnace puts out.

Use a slow cooker

A slow cooker (aka crockpot) uses far less energy than the oven. And, it produces some pretty delicious meals!

Make your own cleaners

Another way to save money in the kitchen is to skip the store-bought specialty cleaners and make your own.

Think about it, if you currently buy dish soap, dishwashing detergent, granite polish, stainless steel polish, stovetop cleaner, soft scrub, multi-purpose cleaner, degreaser, floor cleaner, and glass cleaner, you’re likely spending upwards of $20 a month just to keep your kitchen clean.

Can you substitute some of these products with DIY versions to save money? Or, maybe you can eliminate some of them altogether.

For example, I use dish soap (Dawn) for dishes, and to clean the kitchen sink and countertops, and as a degreaser for the stovetop. I can even use it on the floors in a pinch. I combine it with a cheap powder cleanser for tougher jobs.

Using Dawn dish soap cuts out the need for a stovetop cleaner, sink scrubber, multi-purpose cleaner, and occasionally, even a floor cleaner.

Use an Instant Pot

I can’t even begin to calculate how much money my precious Instant Pot has saved me over the last couple of years.

The fact that I can throw in a frozen roast and have it ready for dinner in just 30 minutes has saved me from the drive-thru more times than I care to admit!

Fill up the dishwasher

It’s best to wait to start the dishwasher when you have a full load. However, studies have shown that using the dishwasher (even for smaller loads) still saves you money over handwashing.

Speaking of the dishwasher…

Don’t use the heat dry setting on the dishwasher

Anytime you use a heat setting on an appliance, it costs more money. Turn off the heat-dry setting on your dishwasher and let dishes air-dry instead.

Keep a well-stocked pantry & freezer

The main reasons we give in to the call of the drive-thru are:

  1. because we are either out of our favorite foods or,
  2. we just don’t want to take the time to cook what we have on hand

But what if we could stock our freezer so we always have our favorite meals on hand ready to heat up at a moment’s notice? Guess what? We totally can! {No, I am not talking about unhealthy frozen dinners}!

Avoid using disposable

The cost of disposable products can really add up over time. Break out the fine china (just kidding) and save the disposable plates, cups, and utensils for picnics and cookouts.

Use cloth napkins

Why spend money on something you’re only going to use for a minute and toss in the trash?

You can pick up cloth napkins for a steal at thrift stores and yard sales. Or, you can splurge for pretty cloth napkins that match your decor and give every meal a ‘formal dinner’ feel! Even if you’re only eating chicken nuggets and mac & cheese!

Stop using paper towels

Going without paper towels can be a little more difficult. Start by building up a stash of rags that you can easily grab to clean up spills.

You can use a microfiber cloth to clean glass instead of paper towels. Consider switching to washable paper towels like these in the kitchen.

Use less water when hand-washing dishes

If you’re a diehard hand-washer (or you just don’t own a dishwasher), cut back on the amount of water you use when washing your dishes.

There’s really no need to fill the sink all the way up with water. Doing so only dilutes the dish soap, anyway.

Oh, and don’t leave the water running as you wash.

Use up a product completely before opening another

This one’s a biggie in our house. For some reason, I just can’t convince my boys (including my hubby) to finish one thing before they open another.

Oftentimes, this bad habit results in extra food waste.

Sometimes, I’ll go to the extreme of hiding the new bottle of ketchup until every last bit of the old bottle is gone.

Then, when my son (who’s a certified ketchup addict) complains there’s no ketchup, I’ll verify that the old bottle is indeed empty before I ‘release’ the new bottle from its hiding place.

Cook from scratch

I already mentioned that I do not enjoy cooking. However, there are some foods I will make from scratch because the store-bought versions are so darned expensive.

This includes most baked goods like cake, brownies, and cookies. And pancakes (while, technically not a baked good). My homemade pancakes are legendary.

These cheap and easy air fryer recipes will help you fall (back) in love with cooking from scratch!

Cook once eat twice

I’m a big fan of making the most of the time that I spend in the kitchen in order to reduce the overall time that I actually have to be in the kitchen.

I will often make a double batch of dinner and either freeze the leftovers or eat them the following evening.

Buy generic foods

Newsflash, not all generic foods are equal to their name-brand counterparts in terms of taste and quality. {I’m sure I ruffled a few frugal feathers with that statement}.

However, there are still some generic products that will save you money without sacrificing your taste buds. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find these products and purchase them whenever possible.

Make agrocery list

Be like Santa. Make a list {a grocery list} check it twice, and don’t leave home without it.

Eat more meatless meals

Another tough one for our family of carnivores. If you can’t find any meatless meals you (or your family) will eat, try and cut down on the amount of meat a recipe calls for. They’ll {probably} never notice.

Related: Top 10 Ways to Save Money in the Kitchen

Eat from the pantry

Do a pantry challenge to extend the time between trips to the grocery store. What’s a pantry challenge?

A pantry challenge is where you try to come up with as many creative meals as possible using only foods you have on hand.

Ya know that can of chickpeas lurking in the back of the cupboard? It’s time to use them up!

Grocery shop less often

The best way to save money at the grocery store is to STAY OUT of the grocery store. Aim to shop for groceries weekly instead of every few days or biweekly instead of weekly and watch your money grow!

Start a garden

Coming from someone who was born with a brown thumb. Don’t go all-in and till up your entire backyard in an effort to become an overnight farmer in order to save a few bucks.

Instead, start small by growing a few fruits and vegetables in containers on your balcony or porch for practice.

Check out this post: 50 Ways to Save Money on Groceries (without coupons) for more money-saving tips on food.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money In The Bathroom

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (4)

Take military showers

Those folks in the military know how to save money on water and electricity!

Here’s how to take a military shower:

  1. Turn the water on
  2. Get wet
  3. Turn the water off
  4. Lather up
  5. Turn the water back on
  6. Rinse off quickly

This showerhead is perfect for military showers because you can stop the flow of water while maintaining your water temperature.

Don’t leave the water running

In addition to taking military showers instead of baths, you can also save water and electricity if you turn the water off while brushing your teeth, and while washing your face and hands.

Use up toiletries

Just like in the kitchen, you’ll save money in the bathroom if you use up toiletries completely before opening another.

Ever notice how bathroom products seemed to be designed so it’s practically impossible to squeeze the last bit out? That’s because they are!

Manufacturers WANT you to buy more of their products more often; they hope you’ll throw out that ‘almost’ empty bottle of shampoo and tube of toothpaste so you can move onto another one.

To get the last bit out of toiletries, you can:

  • Cut the toothpaste tube a few inches from the top and use your finger (or toothbrush) to scrape out excess
  • Store shampoo, conditioner, and body wash upside down. When low, remove the lid, add a bit of water, and shake to get a few more uses
  • For pump-style products, remove the top, place your finger on the bottom of the ‘straw’ and pump with the other hand to get the last little bit out of the tube. Then, cut the bottle near the bottom and scoop out the remaining product with your finger.

Dry your razor

To prolong the life of your razor, dry it after each use. Also, store your razor in a dry place (not in the shower).

Use basic products

Avoid the ‘pink tax’ by switching to men’s products such as shaving cream, shampoo, and body wash.

You can also save money by using basic products instead of ‘fluffy’ ones. For example, instead of buying toothpaste with mouthwash and special teeth whiteners mixed in, opt for basic, old-fashioned toothpaste. Trust me, it works just the same.

Share toiletries

No, I don’t mean you have to share deodorant with your spouse! I mean don’t buy a different brand of each product for every family member.

In our house, everyone (boys and girls) use the same brand of body wash, shampoo, shaving cream, and lotion.

We don’t buy stuff based on scent or packaging, either. In fact, most of our toiletries are unscented because that’s what perfume and cologne are for.

Install a low-water toilet

According to the experts (aka plumbers), a low-flow dual flush toilet can save you up to $120 per year.

If you aren’t keen on replacing your entire toilet, you can purchase a low-flow dual flush toilet kit to upgrade your existing toilet.

Fix leaky faucets

According to ER Plumbing, just one leaky faucet can end up costing you an extra $20 a month on your water bill.

Grab yourself a wrench and replace the o-ring for like 20 cents and be done with it already.

Install low-flow showerheads

Are low-flow showerheads really worth it? Only if you want to save a buttload of cash every single month. Otherwise, you keep your super-charged showerhead and keep watching your money go down the drain.

Here’s a good low-flow showerhead that will save you a ton of money!

Turn down the water heater

The Consumer Product Safety Commission, recommends setting the temperature on your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

On the other hand, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Here’s my source if you’re into that sort of thing.

Who’s right? I dunno. I say, meet in the middle, save some money, and move on with your life.

Bathe only when necessary

By now you’re probably sensing a theme. If it ain’t dirty, don’t spend the time, energy, and money to clean it. This frugal rule extends to our bodies as well.

If you work a desk job, you may not need to take a full shower every day. A simple wipe-down will do.

Use homemade toiletries & cleaners

Bathroom cleaners are another category where it pays to DIY. Or at least, maybe try and cut back on the assortment of cleaning products you use.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need a separate cleanser for the bathtub, sink, and toilet. They are all made out of the same materials, so a good multi-purpose cleaner should do the trick.

Buy toiletries in bulk

Once you settle on your favorite go-to products, consider purchasing them in bulk. After all, you know you’re going to use them and they don’t expire.

Install a timer on the hot water heater

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a timer on the hot water heater. I learned real quick that a bath or shower before 6 PM was a bad idea.

They saved a lot of money with that little gadget.

Use the smallest amounts of products possible

Notice how commercials for toothpaste show a completely covered toothbrush and the instructions on the shampoo bottle tell you to lather, rinse, and then lather again (presumably with more shampoo)?

That’s because the manufacturers of these products (any product for that matter) want you to think you need to use that much in order for the product to be effective.

No…no, you don’t. Conduct your own experiments and decide for yourself how much product is enough. You may just be surprised at the results.

Buy generic brand toiletries

Again, do your own research and try out generic brand toiletries. You might discover that you can’t stand the bottom-tier toilet paper, but you don’t mind the mid-tier brand.

You’ll still end up saving money if you normally purchase the soft, fluffy, cloud-like (pricey) toilet paper.

Use foaming hand soap

The best way to extend the life of liquid soap is to water it down a bit. Don’t worry, you’ll still get the germ-killing benefits. I pinky-swear!

You can either buy pre-made foaming hand soap or make your own. I like to make my own, because:

  1. the foaming hand soap at the stores costs just as much as the liquid hand soap and…
  2. why on earth would I pay the same price for a diluted product when I can add my own water for free?

Invest in a basic first aid kit

Cause a good butterfly bandage can keep you from shelling out hundreds of dollars at the ER. I have (3) boys so I know what I’m talking about!

I keep a simple kit stashed at home, in both of our vehicles, and in our camper. Here’s the first aid kit I use.

Use a bidet

A few months ago, after launching an investigation into why our toilet paper was disappearing like crazy (and our toilet was constantly clogged), I discovered the culprit…my 13-year-old son!

So, I bought a simple, portable bidet for him to use instead of gobs of toilet paper.


Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Laundry & Supplies

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (5)

Wash clothes in cold water

Did you know you can save up to $60 per year just by washing your clothes in cold water versus warm/hot?

Even better, washing in cold water is gentler on fabric, so you’ll actually save even more money by extending the life of your clothes.

Hang clothes on a clothesline to dry

Speaking of extending the life of your clothes, dryers are extremely brutal on fabric. So, you will save money on clothes if you hang them to dry instead of using the clothes dryer.

How much money does line drying your clothes actually save? According to Mr. Electricity:

Clothes drying is one of theeasiestplaces to save energy, because you can erase 100% of the cost by simply hanging your clothes up to dry. At asample rateof $0.15/kWh and 7.5 loads per week, we’re talking a savings of$196 per yearby line-drying instead of using an electric dryer.

He even includes a calculator on his site which will help you determine how much you spend annually drying your clothes (both gas and electric rates are included).

Does your HOA ban you from installing an outdoor clothesline? Hang your clothes indoors to dry instead. I use this indoor clothesline when the weather is bad.

Wear clothing more than once before washing

If you work in an office, run errands, go to church, etc. you can probably wear your clothes more than once before they need to be washed. Except for undergarments, of course.

Buy high-quality used clothes

Quality, name-brand clothing will almost always last longer than their ‘cheaper’ counterparts.

The trick to saving money on clothes is to spend as little as possible upfront by buying used and/or clearance clothing, then make them last as long as possible by taking care of them.

Wash full loads of laundry

Get the most bang for your laundry buck by only washing full loads. If you find you need to do an occasional small load, make sure to adjust the wash/water level to compensate.

Keep the lint filter on your dryer clean

A clean lint filter not only reduces the risk of fire; it also helps the dryer run more efficiently.

Insulate your hot water heater

If your hot water heater is warm to the touch, insulating it with a water heater blanket could save you up to 16% a year on water heating expenses. While you’re at it, go ahead and insulate your hot water pipes for added savings.

Make your own laundry detergent

Back in my uber-frugal days, I tried my hand at homemade laundry detergent. It was a pretty time-consuming process, but if done right, it can save a good chunk of change in the long-term.

Buy generic laundry detergent

Not ready to DIY your laundry detergent? You can still save money by switching to generic.

Use less (name brand) detergent

If you absolutely cannot part with your name-brand detergent, try cutting back on the amount you do use. Usually, you can get by on 1/2 of what the manufacturer recommends.

Skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets

I only use dryer sheets in the winter (because I hate being zapped) and I never use fabric softener. However, I am guilty of occasionally using those little divine-smelling beads.

Don’t overdry your clothes

OMG…my husband, {bless his heart} feels the need to ‘fluff’ clothes in the dryer before folding and putting them away.

This wastes SO MUCH MONEY! Sometimes, if he forgets to take them out, he ends up fluffing them multiple times. Ugh!

For the record, I am willing to let this unfrugal sin go because hey…my husband actually does laundry!

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money Throughout The Home

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (6)

Install LED bulbs

Did you know way back in 2014, the US stopped producing and importing incandescent bulbs? Yet somehow, they are still on the market.

If you still have old-fashioned energy-guzzling lightbulbs installed throughout your home, consider switching over to LED bulbs once they burn out.

Unplug electronic devices

Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you to waste your precious time and energy running around your house and unplugging everything before going to bed in order to save a few cents.

However, if you know you will be away from your home for a period of time (say, a week or more), go ahead and unplug power strips, and energy-heavy electronic devices.

Keep lights and fans off

We can only physically utilize one room of our home at a time, right? So, why pay to heat, cool, or illuminate every room in your home all day?

When you leave a room, (and you plan to be gone for a little while), turn off overhead lighting, lamps, fans, space heaters, etc.

Set the thermostat to comfortable (yet frugal) settings

Studies have shown that you save the most money on your electric bill when you set the thermostat to 78 or higher in the summer and 68 or lower in winter.

Of course, your happiness is important, so you’ll need to experiment a bit in order to find your personal optimal thermostat settings. It’s important to balance comfort and frugality so you’re not miserable in your own home.

Buy a programmable thermostat

If you’re guilty of ‘setting and forgetting’ your home’s thermostat, you may want to invest in a programmable thermostat.

A good programmable thermostat will allow you to set the heat/ac to automatically turn off (or down) when you aren’t home and adjust the temperature throughout the day depending on the time of year.

Don’t clean it if it’s not dirty

You may have caught on by now that this is one of my favorite frugal living tips!

Maybe it’s because I am lazy by nature, but I just don’t see the point in wasting my time, energy, and most importantly, money cleaning stuff that isn’t dirty based on an arbitrary schedule.

Use surge protectors

Surge protectors not only protect your expensive electronics from going *poof during an electrical storm, but a good surge protector that you can toggle off with a switch will also save you money on your electric bill.

Close off rooms you don’t use

While there’s no need to close off heating and cooling vents in rooms that do not get used often {largely because doing so will actually cause your HVAC and furnace to work harder}, you can still lower your energy bill by keeping the doors closed to rooms which do not get used very often.

PS: you may want to place a draft guard at the base of the doors for extra measure.

Set ceiling fans counter-clockwise during the summer

Did you know you can change the direction of the blades on your ceiling fans with the simple flip of a switch?

Ceiling fans are designed with this feature because, when used properly, they can help either distribute cool or warm air depending on the season.

In the warmer months, you’ll want to make sure the blades are turning counter-clockwise. This will allow the fan to suck in the warmer air and push it back out via a cooler downdraft.

You can save up to 40% on your cooling bill each season with this handy tip!

Set ceiling fans clockwise during the winter months

If you continue to use your ceiling fans throughout the cooler months, you’ll want to change the direction of the blades so that they rotate clockwise.

This will allow your ceiling fan to create an updraft that will redistribute warm air throughout the room.

Using this setting in the cooler months can save you up to 15% on your heating bill.

Sell your stuff

The more stuff you have, the more money you spend maintaining it.

Selling unused stuff can net you a pretty substantial wad of cash which you can use to pay off debt, go on vacation, or just stash under your mattress for a rainy day.

Negotiate lower cable, phone, and insurance bills

Contrary to popular belief, cable, phone, and insurance bills are not fixed expenses. Like most things in life, they are open to negotiation (even if you are under contract).

Not a fan of haggling? Let BillShark negotiate your bills for you. Just upload your bills, and they’ll take care of finding you the best rates in order to help you save up to 25% off your monthly bills.

Open windows in the morning

Keep your windows open overnight and in the early morning hours in order to trap in cooler air. Close them before the temperature outside begins to rise (usually by 10 AM).

Keep shades drawn

We all seem to have that one scorchingly hot section of our house that the sun beats down on the most. Keep the shades drawn during the summer months on the sunny side of the house.

Keep shades open

That same area of your home that you despise during the summer can become your favorite spot during the winter. So, you’ll want to capitalize on the free warmth provided by the sun by keeping those shades open during the cooler months.

Use blackout curtains

A good pair of blackout curtains can save you up to 25% on your home energy bill. Why? Because blackout curtains help reduce thermal energy lost as a result of inefficient windows.

Blackout curtains keep the heat out during the summer and in during the winter. And they are a lifesaver for people who need to sleep during the day.

Cut back on cleaning products

Y’all, the household cleaning product industry is a multi-billion dollar industry for a reason!

We’ve been suckered by clever marketing which tells us we need different products for different surfaces, different scents for different rooms, and different concentrations for different cleaning jobs.

When the reality is, a handful of cleaning products (used in very small amounts) will often do the trick.

Stepping off my *soapbox* now…

Insulate your attic space

According to the US Department of Energy, increasing attic insulation can lower heating costs by up to 50%.

One way to determine whether your attic has proper insulation is to feel around various locations on your ceiling.

If it’s cold outside and your ceiling is cold to the touch, there’s a good chance you either need to add insulation to your attic or increase the R-value of the current insulation.


The best way to increase your home’s energy efficiency is to seal the gaps on exterior doors, windows, and outlets with weatherstripping. Also, check for air leaks around light fixtures and pipes and fill in any large gaps with expanding foam.

Use a space heater

Rather than heating the entire house, use a space heater in a single room.

Use multi-purpose cleaning tools

The only cleaning tool that should be used in only one location is the toilet brush. Everything else should perform multiple purposes.

Consider ditching single-use cleaning tools such as:

  • mini-blind cleaning tools (use a cloth)
  • window track cleaning brushes (use a toothbrush)
  • baseboard cleaning tools (cover the end of a broom with an old sock)

Skip single-use products

Again, with the exception of the toilet brush, avoid purchasing anything which only performs one task.

Things like strawberry hullers, meat shredder claws, lemon juicers, and pretty much anything ‘as seen on tv’ are simply money-wasters.

Turn off the TV

Want a quick and easy way to save some money? Turn off the tv.

For one, keeping the tv on as background noise throughout the day wastes electricity, and two, you won’t be tempted by annoying commercials to buy stuff you don’t need.

Keep filters/ducts clean

Replace your filters regularly, keep the inflow/outflow vents free of dust and blockages, and consider having your ducts professionally cleaned in order to optimize the efficiency of your HVAC system.

Insulate exposed pipes

Anytime heat from pipes escapes into the air, you lose money. You can pick up pipe insulation (it looks like a miniature pool noodle) super cheap, and install it on exposed hot (and cold) pipes in a snap.

Eliminate cable

Our family ‘cut the cord’ over 10 years ago and we haven’t looked back. Nowadays, there are a plethora of streaming video/tv services to choose from {see more below}.

We’ve perfected a system of rotating which streaming services we pay for at any one time in order to watch the shows and sports we are interested in without having to pay year-round for stuff we won’t watch.

TIP: We have used an indoor digital antenna for local channels with great success.

Ditch the landline

If you live in an area with good cell reception, you may want to consider dropping your landline service and using your cell phone at home instead.

Play board games for cheap entertainment

Most board games cost less than $20 and have the potential to provide hours of entertainment. A few of our family’s favorite board games are:

Sign up for Netflix

I’ll admit, Netflix has me hooked on their original shows. But that’s okay because it only costs $12 a month.

Give Hulu a try

Hulu has streaming plans starting at $5.99 a month and you can switch plans or cancel at any time. Their live tv service includes over 65 live sports, news, and local and network channels, plus a cloud-based DVR for less than most cable packages.

Try Amazon Prime

You can save money on shipping and tv with Amazon Prime. They have a huge library of free digital movies and tv shows. And, you can try Amazon Prime FREE for 30 days.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money On Transportation

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (7)

Become a one-car family

For the first 15 years or so of our marriage, we were a 1-car family. Let me tell you, we saved SO MUCH MONEY on insurance, auto repairs, and fuel.

We made it work until our oldest began driving. After that, we found that sharing one vehicle between (3) busy drivers was too much of a pain.

Work from home

One of the things that allowed our family to share one vehicle for so long was the fact that I work from home.

Working from home saves our family money on commuting costs, food (less eating out), clothing, and child care expenses.

Walk or ride a bike for short trips

For shorter trips, when the weather is nice, leave the car at home and walk or bike instead.

Shop around for the best insurance rates

Who has the time to research multiple insurance companies in order to find the best rates?

You do, if you want to save a ton of money on car insurance!

Combine your errands

You can save on fuel costs as well as wear and tear on your vehicle if you run multiple errands on the same day versus spreading them out over the course of a week.


If you live near your coworkers, why not share rides to work? Or, if you’re a stay-at-home mom, maybe you can coordinate ridesharing when running errands.

Slow down

It’s no secret that driving with a lead foot burns more gas. On the other hand, using cruise control will not only save you money on gas, but it may also prevent you from getting a pricey speeding ticket.

Keep your tires inflated

If your tires are underinflated, your vehicle’s fuel economy will suffer. Check the inside of your driver’s side door if you are unsure of the proper psi.

TIP: Keep a digital tire gauge in your glove box and check your car’s tire pressure once a month.

Turn off the AC

Did you know that using the air conditioning system in your vehicle reduces fuel efficiency? So, while you’re driving around town, you may want to keep the windows down.

The good news is, driving with the windows down at faster speeds (say on the highway) actually creates more drag which wastes more gas than if you were to run the ac. So, feel free to crank up that AC on the interstate!

Shop around for the cheapest gas

I use an app called Gas Buddy to find the best prices on gas when traveling. GasBuddy offers a feature called GasBack which gives you cashback (to use on gas) on purchases you make at participating retailers.

Skip the tolls

If it seems like every time you turn around, tolls are going up…it’s likely because they are.

I’ve done the math on a few of the toll roads in my area and I discovered that the cost to drive a few miles out of my way ends up costing less than the cost of the tolls. Also, the time savings of using most toll roads is minimal.

Sell your car and use public transportation

If you’re looking for an extreme way to reduce costs, do the research and see if you’d come out ahead each month by selling your car and switching to public transportation.

In my experience, the time spent scheduling and using public transportation just isn’t worth it, but you may find otherwise.

Lighten your load

We own a pickup truck and it is far too easy to just toss stuff in the back and forget it’s there. That said, the heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it requires.

Don’t use your vehicle as a storage container and remove anything that adds additional weight.

Travel cheaply

There’s no reason to stop traveling when you’re trying to save money. Just travel frugally.

To cut travel costs you can:

  • Use rewards points
  • Drive your own vehicle instead of flying (or renting)
  • Stay at a friend or relative’s house
  • Use Airbnb instead of a hotel

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money When Shopping

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (8)

Use Rakuten

Install the Rakuten app and browser extension to save money whenever you shop online. Join free and get a $30 gift card after your first purchase of $30 or more {for a limited time only}!

Use a cash-back credit card

Cashback credit cards can be real money-makers if you use them wisely. Just make sure you pay it off every month to avoid interest fees.

Never, EVER pay for banking

In today’s day and age, there’s simply no reason to pay for banking. Even if you have bad credit. Chime offers FREE online banking with no credit check!

Return items you haven’t used

We all have impulse purchases lying around still new in their packages–tags still attached. If you’re within the return window, get a refund before it’s too late.

Most stores will allow returns even without a receipt (as long as you’re okay getting a gift card instead of cashback).

Negotiate your bills

Let Billshark or Trim negotiate your bills for you, or spend an afternoon calling around (respectfully) threatening to cancel services.

You’ll be surprised at the wiggle room most companies have when it comes to pricing.


The only things that are final in life are death and taxes. Everything else is open to negotiation. Seriously, I’ve even managed to lower my rent courtesy of a little haggling.

DIY everything

From home improvements to gifts, personal care to dog grooming…if it can be DIY’ed, there’s probably a YouTube video for it.

Try a no-spend month

What’s a no-spend month? I’m glad you asked!

A no-spend month simply means you challenge yourself to avoid spending money on anything outside of your fixed bills and necessary food.

You set the rules and can either choose to be strict (i.e., no restaurant meals) or allow yourself a few cheat days.

Buy quality used items

I’m a big proponent of buying used items whenever possible. I am, however, picky about what I buy (new or used). So, I only shop for quality (name-brand) used and refurbished products in good condition.

Cancel subscriptions

You know that ‘free trial’ of whatever you signed up for and forgot to cancel before it expired? Hey, we’ve all done it!

Take an afternoon and scan your bank statement, credit card statement, Apple ID, magazine subscriptions, fitness services, app subscriptions, etc.

Before replacing a broken item, try to fix it

Let’s face it, products these days simply aren’t built to last. However, this doesn’t mean we should just run out and replace things when they break without making an effort to fix them first.

Educate yourself for free/cheap

If you’re looking to develop new talents or expand upon existing skills, there are a ton of quality services, videos, and courses available online for free/cheap.

Whenever I need to learn something, I search YouTube first. If I can’t find the answers I am looking for there, I turn to:

Look for free ways to have fun

When our family of (5) lived on one income, we would frequently seek out sources of free entertainment in the form of library programs, museums, state parks, community events, free concerts, and church functions.

Even in our small town, there is never a shortage of free stuff to do.

Create a budget

Honestly, this frugal living tip should be at the top of the list! You can save hundreds of dollars every month just by knowing where your money goes and plugging leaks in your spending.

Whether you use an app, printable, spreadsheet, budget planner, or the back of an envelope, you NEED a budget!

Here are some free printable budget templates to get you started!

Shop clearance racks

Whenever I enter a store, I always check out the clearance racks first. Especially when clothes shopping. Every single store has a discount section…even the grocery store.

Ask for price matching

My frugalista motto is: It never hurts to ask. Particularly when shopping for big-ticket items like furniture, cars, and electronics.

Pay your bills on time

According to a recent study, over 54% of US households had at least one late payment last year. To make matters worse, unnecessary late fees and overdraft fees cost the average American an additional $577 (on average) in 2019.

Set up automated savings

Studies have shown that you tend to save more when you save first. This is the cornerstone of reverse budgeting.

Besides setting up a direct deposit to savings from your paycheck, (which you should totally do), the best way to set and forget savings is to round up your purchases and have your extra change directly deposited into a savings account or invested.

Refinance loans

You can literally save hundreds of dollars a month just by refinancing your home, automobiles, student loans, and/or personal loans. Rates are at an all-time low, so now is a perfect time!

Pay off debt

Let’s just say, I’m not interested in paying interest! Paying off debt not only saves you tons of money in interest and monthly payments, but it can also be good for your marriage.

Just this year, my husband and I paid off over $50,000 worth of debt! I can honestly say that it’s one of the best things we could have done for our relationship.

Even Dave Ramsey would be proud of the way we’ve changed our bad money habits!

Institute a 10-30 day cooling-off period

Before making a large purchase, it’s always good to take a step back and approach it objectively. The best way to do this is by implementing a self-imposed ‘cooling-off’ period.

Buy in bulk

It makes financial sense to purchase certain things in bulk whenever possible. Things like toilet paper (c’mon, you know you can never have enough), trash bags, personal care items, and laundry detergent.

On the other hand, buying most food products (except certain grains) in bulk is usually not a good idea, as they tend to spoil before they are eaten.

When shopping for a home, go small

Smaller homes cost less money (and energy) to maintain, repair, heat, and cool.

Better yet, live in an RV (the ultimate tiny home), which will allow you to travel more.

Travel during off-peak seasons

The cheapest time to travel is when no one else is.

If you can manage it, avoid traveling over Spring Break, Christmas Break, and Thanksgiving Break. The only thing that gets ‘broken’ on Spring Break is your budget!

Buy discounted gift cards

Did you know there are sites that buy unused gift cards and then resell them at a discount?

Yep, you can often score discounts up to 35% at sites like and

Also, around the holidays, many retailers offer discounts on their gift cards.

Tip: Only purchase gift cards for stores you normally shop at. Gift cards expire and they won’t save you any money sitting in a drawer.

Get your hair cut at a cosmetology school

I can’t remember the last time I stepped foot in an actual ‘salon’. I save over 50% off salon prices by getting my hair cut and colored at a local cosmetology school. They also do nails!

Put your bills on auto-pay

Avoid pesky late fees and automate your bills so they are always paid on time. Just make sure you regularly monitor your bank or credit card statement for overages.

Never EVER shop at convenience stores

I know it’s ‘convenient’ to swing by for a gallon of milk after work, but boy will you pay for it in the long run. Convenience stores typically mark up perishable grocery items by up to 45%!

Cut back on (or eliminate) bad habits

Bad habits can wreck your budget. Consider quitting (or at least cutting back on) smoking, vaping, drinking alcohol, and gambling.

Maintain your stuff

When it comes to saving money, a little maintenance goes a long way. For example, you can extend the life of your car by getting regular tune-ups and oil changes.

Installing an antivirus program on your computer can mean the difference between a minor headache and a $2,000 migraine.

Increase your income

The more you make, the more you can save. You can increase your income by finding ways to earn money doing what you love.

For example, you can start a blog and write about your passion, walk dogs, babysit, clean houses, make and sell crafts, sell photos of your feet, the list of ideas is truly endless!

You can also make some extra cash on the side by doing paid surveys in your spare time. My absolute favorite (& totally legit) money-making survey site is Survey Junkie.

Survey Junkie pays you in cold, hard cash (not gift cards), and payout begins when you earn your first $5!

Pay with cash

One of the best ways to get your spending under control is to pay with cash.

I use the cash envelope system to pay for things like groceries, gas, and clothing. It helps me actually ‘see’ how much money is left in the budget and avoid overspending.

Avoid impulse purchases

An impulse purchase is anything that is bought without planning for it ahead of time.

According to a recent poll by Slickdeals,

In 2020, the average American spent $183 a month on impulse buys

Ironically, the number one reason most people say they made an impulse purchase was to save money.

However, in the long run, impulse buys cost consumers over $5,400 a year. To make matters worse, the majority of impulse purchases are made with credit cards.

Check bills and credit card statements

Did you know that between 30%-80% of medical bills contain costly errors?

The majority of times, these billing errors are not in the patient’s favor. In fact, the average medical bill error costs the patient an extra $1,300.

It’s worth it to give your monthly bills, medical bills, bank statements, and credit card statements a once-over before you make any payments.

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Entertainment

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (10)

Use credit card rewards to fund fun

If you use a credit card and that credit card offers rewards, save them up and use them to go out to eat, or for travel expenses.

Go camping

There’s nothing as cheap (often free) as the great outdoors. Invest in some basic camping gear and head to the nearest State Park.

Check out high school or college sporting events

If you cannot afford (or just don’t want to spend the money on) professional sporting events, why not see what your local high school athletes are up to?

Make money from your hobbies

Are you a talented artist, crafter, or writer? Why not make some extra cash off of your endeavors?

I’ve never had a hobby that I couldn’t turn into a money-maker at a moment’s notice. Mostly, because I’m a side hustler by nature.

There are so many ways to make extra money doing what you love!

Host a game night

One of our favorite things to do for fun is to have a bunch of our friends over for game night. Mystery parties are totally the new co*cktails parties!

Become an early bird

If you love going out to eat but hate the cost, check out early-bird deals. Most restaurants and bars have specials for those looking to save a little and avoid the crowds.

Go on a staycation

A staycation is a vacation you take close to home.

You can replicate your favorite vacation experiences (staying in a hotel, getting room service, hanging out by the pool, eating exotic foods, etc.), without the expensive (and stressful) travel arrangements.

Related: 51 Creative Staycation Ideas That Will Save You Money

Frugal Living Tips: Save Money on Travel

Travel is a great way to explore unfamiliar places, acquire knowledge about diverse cultures, and create timeless memories. However, it can also be expensive, especially if you are not careful with your spending. Here are some frugal living tips to help you save money on travel:

Ideas for finding cheap flights and accommodations

One of the biggest expenses when it comes to travel is the cost of transportation and accommodation. Here are some ideas for finding cheap flights and accommodations:

  • Use travel search engines.

There are many travel search engines, such as Kayak and Skyscanner, that can help you find the cheapest flights and hotels based on your travel dates and destination.

  • Book early or late.

Airlines and hotels often offer early bird discounts or last-minute deals to fill up their inventory. So, it’s worth checking prices both well in advance and just before the trip.

  • Consider alternative airports and accommodations.

Sometimes, flying to or staying in a nearby city can save you hundreds of dollars. You can also explore options like homestays, hostels, or vacation rentals that are often more affordable than traditional hotels.

Tips for traveling during off-peak seasons to save money

Traveling during off-peak seasons can be a great way to save money and avoid crowds. Here are some tips for doing so:

  • Research seasonal trends.

Learn about the peak and off-peak seasons of your desired travel destinations, and plan your trip accordingly. This way, you can avoid inflated prices and long lines.

  • Consider the weather.

If you don’t mind some rain or snow, traveling during shoulder seasons can be an excellent way to save money while still enjoying the destination.

  • Be flexible.

If you are flexible with your travel dates, you can take advantage of last-minute deals or off-peak promotions.

Strategies for exploring your own city or region as a tourist

If you want to save money on travel but still want to have fun, why not explore your own city or region like a tourist? Here are some frugal living tips for doing so:

  • Take a walking tour.

Many cities offer free or low-cost walking tours that allow you to learn about the history and culture of your area while getting some exercise.

  • Visit museums and attractions during free or discounted days.

Many museums and attractions offer free admission or discounted rates on certain days of the week or month.

  • Try the local cuisine.

You don’t have to travel far to experience different cuisines. Try new restaurants and food trucks in your area, or take a cooking class to learn how to prepare dishes from different cultures.

Can being frugal make you rich?

While there are certainly many frugal people who are also rich, like Warren Buffet, Laila Ali, and Rob Gronkowski, the act of being frugal likely won’t be enough to make you rich.

According to Sarah Fallaw, author of The Next Millionaire Next Door: Enduring Strategies for Building Wealth, there are (6) ‘wealth factors’ that many people who make 6-figures have in common.

These ‘wealth factors’ consist of:

  • Being frugal (living below your means)
  • Having confidence in one’s financial goals
  • Accepting responsibility for your financial decisions (good or bad)
  • The ability to plan for financial goals (aka, budgeting)
  • Being laserfocused on one’s financial future
  • Possessing a social indifference to lifestyle creep

In short, being frugal is just one component to being rich.

But…it sure can’t hurt.

Have these frugal living tips motivated you to channel your inner frugalista?

Best Frugal Living Tips To Save Money • Savvy Budget Boss (2024)


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