When people hear frugal, they automatically think of cheap, but frugal is not what cheap is. Yes, frugal living means savings money, but it also means being more intentional about what you need and what you’re spending your money on. 

What does it mean to live frugally? 

Frugal living means being intentional and conscious of your spending while focusing on a few critical financial goals like how to save money.

Thinking twice about that latte, knowing you are saving for a big-ticket item like your dream vacation, your first apartment, or even a just-in-case emergency fund.

Besides the obvious, like making your coffee and bringing it to work, there are other ways to save money by changing the way you shop and researching alternatives for the many items you pay for.

As much as we are all tired of being at home the last two years because of a global pandemic, the previous two years also taught us to live differently.

So, let’s look at some changes you can make that will put your hard-earned dollars back in your pocket and get you to your goals quicker while living a frugal lifestyle. 

Save Money and Budgeting

That word is Budget. EEEEEEKKKK!!! So many of us live life without one because, quite frankly, it’s a huge reality check. But it is an important reality check. 

So, rip off that band-aid and get to it. Mint is a free budgeting app that you can download on your phone and keeps your spending on track. 

There are also great downloadable budget worksheets that you can save directly to a laptop or PC that can easily adjust to reflect your spending.

DIY where you can, find discounts, use them up, and make more freezer meals that the kids love. With resources like youtube and Pinterest, there are many really neat ways to live a frugal life while still enjoying everything you love. 

Budget Planner

You want to have a budget planner that helps you organize and track your expenses and income. We have a great one that you can grab for free right here. Add in everything from your groceries, bills, entertainment, and more.

Grab the Free Frugal Living Budget Planner

Start tracking your monthly and weekly income and expenses easily.

BONUS: Debt tracker and a monthly look back sheet!

Coupons

Find those coupons and put them to use. There are many great apps out there that can help you find coupons and deals to help you save money. You can find coupons for free entertainment, gift cards, toilet paper, etc. 

You never know what frugal tips you’ll find when you start searching for those coupons. 

Meal Planning

Meal planning is a great way to put some money back in your pocket. There are so many great websites that offer weekly and monthly meal plans that cater to all lifestyles. 

Frugal people love meal plans because you can pre-buy things in bulk, make meals ahead of time and even freeze some meals for those days you’re in a rush.

Type in “meal plan” in any search engine, and you will find thousands of recipes to choose from. On top of saving money with meal planning, I also like to choose meal plans that take 30 minutes or less to execute.

Grocery Planner

Using a grocery planner while you meal plan saves you so much time and money. You can get organized for your grocery store trip and your meals if you coordinate these two tasks simultaneously. 

Creating a grocery list will help you save money on groceries because you are not forgetting things and taking multiple trips to the store anymore.

Buy in Bulk

If you have a Costco or Sams Club, then that’s where it’s at. Buying things in bulk can help you save money so that you can then use that extra savings for fun things like maybe a Starbucks treat or two. Remember, you can make those things cheaper by googling cheap Starbucks drinks. 

Avoid Buying Lunch

One of the fastest ways to save a couple of bucks is to brown-bag your lunch. For many of the past two years have made this relatively easy since we have been working from home.

But as the pandemic becomes a thing that we have learned to live with, many companies ask their employees to come back to the office a few days a week. So making a bit extra the night before to take for lunch the next day will save you a lot.

You’re not going to reach financial freedom by simply cutting out buying your lunch at work, but all these small things add up and help you get there. 

The best frugal living tips are sometimes ones that you can implement quickly into your life. 

Workout at Home 

Sweat in the comfort of your own home:

Consider dropping the costly gym membership and opt for online memberships that will cost you less than $10.00 a month.

Besides the extreme savings in money, the benefit of exercising at home is that you can roll straight out of bed into a demanding core workout without leaving the comfort of your own home.

Girls’ night or date nights in:

Grab your best girls, make it a potluck, and watch romantic comedies in your favorite pj’s at home.

Date nights at home don’t need to be boring. Register for an online cooking class and grab a bottle of your favorite wine and cook together. 

There are so many great “night in” ideas you can choose from that you could probably get a whole year’s worth of budget-friendly nights in at the click of a mouse.

We talk a bit about reducing monthly subscriptions like cable below, but a gym membership could also be another way to reduce some monthly spending. 

Reduce and Re-Evaluate Current Bills

Schedule an afternoon researching insurance companies, cell phone carriers, and internet providers. It is worth the time spent looking for the best pricing on many essential items.

Cable was so ten years ago: 

Streaming service options are incredibly economical, especially when compared to cable. And with 100s to choose from, you are never too far from your favorite series, movies, or binge reality tv with Hulu. 

See if you can reduce your bills by choosing a streaming service instead of a complete cable package. 

Pay yourself first but don’t forget your debt!

With the money you are saving by cutting back on bigger ticket items, make sure to put that money aside to pay yourself and pay any debts you might have. 

Automatic transfer plans into an investment or savings account are a great way to build your nest egg. 

If your budget allows it, consider increasing your credit card payments or loan payments by a few dollars. Those extra funds go directly towards the principal bringing your balance down faster.

Living Frugal Summary

Living frugally will become an essential part of your lifestyle once you start to see your cash flow increase by making one or two small changes.

There are many tips for saving money like buying used, eating leftovers, borrowing things you don’t need for a long period of time, couponing, using things like Ebates, and signing up for programs that give you some cashback.

If you have decided to look at your spending habits because you have a financial goal in mind, like with any lifestyle change, small steps are essential. 

You don’t want to change your lifestyle by cutting everything out drastically. Drastic change is not sustainable. 

Maybe make your coffee at home and go to your local library instead of buying books. Think of ways you can easily enjoy what you love but in a more frugal way.

Instead, start small with a budget, and then decide what changes you can make that won’t have you feeling squeezed. You’ll quickly see how easy and rewarding living frugally can be and how your paycheck lasts a little longer.

Try to come up with a credit card debt plan that makes sense and is one that you can stay consistent with.

Grab the Free Frugal Living Budget Planner

Start tracking your monthly and weekly income and expenses easily.

BONUS: Debt tracker and a monthly look back sheet!