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It’s almost time for a new year, and if you’re like me, you’ve already started making a few New Year’s resolutions. My personal ones pretty much revolve around eating healthier, losing a few pounds, and paying off debt (specifically a car note).
To me, it’s normal to reevaluate ordinary habits to see if improvements can be made. It’s even more normal to do that at the beginning of a new year. You get a fresh start!
I especially like to reevaluate my spending at the beginning of the year. One thing I’m excited to do better is meal plan. I’ve always kept a “loose” meal plan, but I want to be more intentional this year with planning meals and watching what I spend.
I’m also planning to pay closer attention to what we spend on extras. We have become way too dependent on eating out (it’s truly our biggest weakness), and since having our first child 2 years ago, we get googly-eyed over all the toys and cutesy things for her.
I really don’t like to spend money, but when I do, I try to stick within our budget. And sometimes, that’s easier said than done. It’s hard to not spend money! I’ve seen so many tips lately on how to live frugally, and that has become my 4th resolution for 2018.
Do you want to hop on board with me so we can live frugally together?
Between the two of us, I know we can find all kinds of ways to make our money work better and stretch those dollars to the max. You with me? If so, check out the list below for 50 ways to save money and live frugally. Some of these I do already, and I bet you’re doing some, too. Why not add a few more? 😉
- Use a pea-size amount of toothpaste when you brush your teeth (in fact, this is what’s usually suggested on the tube). More toothpaste does not equal more clean. In reality, you just get more suds in your mouth.
- Cut your hair short(er). It requires less products to use and usually takes less time to fix.
- Wait until you’ve worn your jeans at least twice (three if you can get away with it) before washing. They take longer than any other article of clothing to dry in your dryer.
- Hang up your clothing to dry when possible. Some articles of clothing will preserve their shape and texture longer without the added heat from your dryer.
- Wash your hair every other day or every two days if you can.
- Keep a price list of the common things you buy at the grocery store. This will help you spot a higher price and determine if you need to wait before buying. On the flip side, this will help you spot a lower price and know that you should stock up while you have the chance (and extra money, I assume).
- Sell your gently used clothes at eBay, Swap, consignment shops, yard sale, etc. Donate what you can’t sell for a tax deduction.
- Buy clothes second-hand and avoid the huge markup that retail stores add to the price.
- Visit the library for new books rather than buying them. Most libraries now have convenient e-book options (keeps you from racking up library fines, too). You can also scan Amazon for all kinds of free book downloads for your Kindle or Kindle phone app.
- Keep your thermostat higher in the summer and lower in the winter. In the winter months, add an extra layer of clothing or a blanket before turning on the heat.
- Use vinegar, baking soda, and other natural items for cleaning. They’re almost always cheaper (and they do a better job) than fancy cleaners.
- Color your hair at home rather than a salon. An at-home kit will cost you around $10 (maybe less) compared to a salon color which can be upwards of $60. My personal favorite brand is Loreal Feria. I like that it give my hair just a little bit of highlight without looking overdone.
- Grow your own food and share when you have an abundance. If you’re brand new to gardening, start with something small (like tomatoes) that you can plant in a container.
- Skip the sodas and opt for water, coffee or tea brewed at home.
- Buy produce when it’s in season. Freeze extras when possible (blueberries and strawberries are very easy).
- Stock up on meat when it’s on sale or marked down and freeze what you won’t use right away. Kroger frequently has meat markdowns available in their Manager’s Special section.
- Plan your meals on a weekly basis and stick to it. This will help prevent impulse decisions to eat out.
- Plan a free date night with your significant other. You don’t need to spend a lot to still enjoy a good time!
- Use coupons strategically and combine them with sale prices for maximum savings. There’s more than one type of coupon so find which ones work best for you. 🙂
- Use cloth diapers rather than disposable. Not for everyone, but I can personally state that I’ve saved a LOT by doing this one! My personal favorites are the Best Bottom covers and inserts.
- Offer to review products in exchange for your opinion. Influenster is one of my favorite programs!
- Always evaluate need vs. want before making purchases.
- Consider paying a little extra for staple clothing pieces that you want to last a long time, but save your money on super trendy items that may not last more than one season.
- Check your pantry and refrigerator for things you already have on hand before grocery shopping. Make a list of only the things you need.
- Always buy generic brands whenever possible. Occasionally, name brand items after sales and coupons are cheaper, so shop smart!
- Purchase term life insurance when you’re young and healthy. The cost is lower and you’ll likely have the option to convert it to a permanent life insurance option later on.
- Find free events available in your area and take a picnic lunch or basket with you when appropriate. Most events can be found by doing some quick Facebook searches.
- Create your own wall decor. Find some cute (and free!) printables online and pair them with a thrifted picture frame for a unique one-of-a-kind look.
- Don’t let your leftovers go to waste. Eat them for lunch the next day.
- Unplug the cable box, and opt for Netflix or Hulu instead.
- When filling prescriptions, ask your pharmacist for the “cash pay” price. You may find that your cost is less than if you use your insurance card.
- Set your printer to default to black/white printing instead of color. You’ll save a fortune on printer cartridges.
- Ditch the gym membership. Instead, go walking or running outdoors at a local park or do your workouts to free videos on YouTube.
- Carpool to work with family or coworkers when possible.
- Set aside money each month for bills that require an annual payment. For example, we pay for a termite inspection once per year, but save a little each month so we’re prepared to pay the bill when it’s due.
- Use apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, and Ebates to save money or get cash back on in-store and online purchases. There are even more apps that can help you earn money back, but these are the top 3 in my opinion.
- Check Facebook Marketplaces or Craigslist for furniture and home decor steals. You’d be amazed at what you can find!
- Do a clothes swap with your friends.
- Do your own mani/pedis at home instead of at a nail salon.
- Always evaluate your home and auto insurance when it renews to see if you can find lower rates with another company, and keep them with the same company so you maximize your discounts.
- Shop the clearance racks at the end of each season. Often you can find items for 75% off or more, which is especially helpful if you have growing children. Buy the next size up!
- Download the Krazy Coupon Lady app for the best deals at all your favorite stores. I use it weekly when planning my grocery trips.
- Don’t go to the grocery store when you’re hungry. This will tempt you to buy more than you actually need because everything suddenly looks extra tasty!
- Do not go into debt to buy something you want. Evaluate how much you really need that item, and save the money necessary to buy it. By the time you’ve saved up enough, you may have decided you really didn’t need it after all.
- Embrace your inner craftiness! Instead of rushing to buy the newest tech or trendy gift item, spend a few minutes on Pinterest and see if there’s something you can make for less. That handmade gift will be well received (maybe even more than something trendy) because you put your thought, time, and effort into making it.
- Forgo bottled water. Pour it from the tap into a reusable bottle instead.
- If you haven’t reviewed the interest you’re paying on home or student loans, take some time to see if you can refinance for a lower rate. This can save you thousands in the long run, and will likely encourage you to pay them off sooner!
- Save your plastic bags from your shopping trips and reuse them as garbage bags.
- Maintain what you already have to extend its life. This includes regular maintenance on your car, your house, and of course, yourself. By doing preventive maintenance on the things you use every day, you can likely prevent a costly bill down the road.
- And what might be the hardest tip of all… make a budget and stick to it. If you find yourself with a little extra cash at the end of the month, put it in your rainy day fund. When that rainy day comes around, you’ll be extra thankful.
So, there you have it – 50 ways to save money and live frugally! Not everything on that list is for everyone, but take a couple of things and see if you can implement them into your daily life. Don’t feel that you need to embrace frugal living all at once. That will cause nothing but frustration and burnout. Instead, focus on a couple of easy changes first, then gradually add more as you get more comfortable with it.
Tell me, are there any frugal habits that you have now? Are you planning to incorporate a few more in 2018? Leave a comment below and let me know!