16 Frugal Living Ideas for Climbing Out of Debt That You Haven’t Tried.
Today I’m going to share with you some of the best frugal living ideas that can save you money and cut costs.
Are you on the debt free journey, trying to leave behind the stress of the money crunch? Do you just need some breathing room in your budget? Is each month a filled with “feast or famine” moments?
Then you are in the right place! This list of frugal living ideas comes from the life of hard knocks. We have paid off over $33,000 of debt
and we have use these money saving ideas to help climb that mountain. It is hard work but it can be done!
You might be surprised at what I share because I found that you can save money in little ways and in some larger ways too. Oh yes. The little things to add up like, coffee out and donuts. But it isn’t just coffee that is sabotaging your budget it’s more than that, it’s your personal heart needs. For example, do you seek to please people in your life so when you go shopping you purchase something as gifts and presents for family members and friends, “because I know they’ll love it”. Or maybe health is very important to you and your grocery budget reflects that with many healthy purchases. These aren’t always bad things but it’s very important to be aware of why you are spending your money.
Here is an exercise to help you identify what is driving your spending. Open your checkbook or look at your bank statement and ask yourself this question for every purchase. What was my heart motive buying this or spending this money?
Was it peace, security, love, fear, fun etc? Once you begin seeing your spending in this light, patterns will begin to emerge and make sense to you. You may also realize that you can change and so will your spending.
As you identify your pattern you will see ways to change. Maybe your spending on others is motivated by your love for them. This can lead to realizing that gifts don’t necessarily have to be store bought. A simple list of other gift ideas that show how much you care might be wonderful for you to make so the next time you go shopping you can remind yourself, I’m meeting that friend at the park Saturday. My time spent with her is better than a bought present.
Now, if you have thought through you budget and spending habits, it’s time for those tips I was telling you about.
These are all ways we have used to pay off $33,000 of debt
and live on one income
!! When you live on one income it can actually be a game so see how far you can stretch your money with frugal living ideas that are common and some that aren’t so common.
Yes, they actually do work! Some of them are one time savings tips and others you can do over and over again. Try them! See what works for you and if you have saved money in other ways, comment at the bottom. I’m always looking for ways to save more 🙂
Groceries – Save $3600 a year
The average family spends around $600 a month on groceries. By cutting that in half you would be able to save $3600 a year, just by adjusting ONE item in your budget.
But how?! That seems almost impossible you might say. Life is busy and I just grab and go when it comes to food. I understand. That is exactly why I’ve developed an easy stockpile system which I share here in detail.
Being able to have a fully stocked pantry will give you such an advantage for meal planning.
Meal planning – Savings $120
With over 1000 meals each year to feed to our family, it’s no wonder we are always on Pinterest looking for new recipes right?!?
It can be an overwhelming task, sista, I know! But by simplifying your meals to a rotation cycle it becomes much easier. It takes me about 2 hours on a Saturday to plan a month worth of meals, which I then rotate for 3 months! It’s so simple to meal plan 4 times a year and be DONE with it! My whole process is here if you want to learn more.
By preparing your meals at home you also will save by not go going out to each. If you spend $30 a meal out 4 times a month, that is $120 saved right there.
Walmart app – Savings $100
This is going to vary so much based on how much you buy at Walmart but I love it because it’s simple to use. Just download the Walmart app from the app store, create an account and then click the Services tab. Under the “Savings Catcher” button you just scan your receipt after a purchase and it does all the work for you!! It compares everything you purchased to all the store ads in the area. If anything is on sale for less, you are credited the money back. Win – win!
Now that is what my busy Mom life can handle! You don’t need to match products, check them off a list or anything. It will do the hard work for you.
If you save this up through out the year you might be able to pay for your Christmas meal with the money that you have saved over the course of the year.
Insurance auto- Savings $300
This is probably the best kept secret of all, don’t skip it!
Changing car insurance should be done every 3 years. Yet many people never do! Each year the rates keep going up and up and yet they still keep paying money out the door.
STOP!! You can do so much better. My favorite site to use is this one, I show you step by step how to do it and save yourself money.
This really is a very easy spot to save money in so don’t ignore this step.
Credit card rewards – Savings $400
This frugal living tip is ONLY if you pay your credit cards off each month. If you don’t pay them off each month the “reward” is completely eaten up by the interest you are paying them each month.
But, if you do pay them off each month I would suggest that you use a credit card with a cash back reward. Ours has a 1.5% back on each purchase we make. I save them up through out the whole year and then at Christmas time I claim them for a debt free Christmas! It’s so fun to purchase Christmas gifts with money from other purchases I made earlier in the year! Win-win! And I may or may not have bought myself a gift to go under the tree just because I could 🙂
Setup your auto billing payments for your cellphone, garbage pickup, Netflix, Car insurance, Life insurance and anything else you can to be pay with your credit card. This is money you spend anyway, and by receiving a little bit back each month in rewards you will be surprised at how quickly it all adds up!!
If you have been around here for any time at all you already know that I’m going to say USE THE YNAB APP!!
Ladies, I LOVE this app. As a long time budgeter, going all the way back to when I was 15 and Y2K wasn’t even a thing yet, I have been budgeting.
But when I switched to using this app it was a game changer! I have saved so much through this app and because of its easy system it has brought a workable system to our marriage. We can both be on the same page, at any given time by pulling out our smartphone and looking at the app. Our whole budget is right on both our phones!
I spent 2-3 minutes updating the app each day, if I didn’t when I made my purchase and it is good to go. Gone are the days I spent frustrated over my budget being behind! My husband loves it too because I don’t stress about the finances not being up to date anymore either.
Automatic Payments – Saving $100
I highly suggest that you have every payment on auto pay. This will save you from late fees and headaches.
In 30 minutes setting up auto pay, you can save yourself money.
Cut cable – $1200
With hulu and netflix do you really need to pay for cable? No, not if you are trying to save for something else. Plus, how many times have you flipped through the channels and still say, “There is nothing good to watch!”
Eliminate subscriptions – $50
Pull up your credit card bills from the last year and see if you have reoccurring subscriptions that you paying out for each month. Do you really use that service to the fullest? Do you use it at all? Is there any part of the subscription that you just can not justify anymore?
If it isn’t worth the money, then cancel the subscription! Don’t pay money for something you aren’t using. It’s like driving down the road and throwing $20 bills out the window.
STOP doing that! Some frugal living ideas are just common sense.
Thrift store shopping – Savings $300
I enjoy shopping and my husband says I have expensive taste. No matter what store I’m in I always like something and then when I see the price, it is the highest compared to anything else! But I like pretty things, what can I say…
Anyway, this comes in very handy when I do my thrift store / consignment store shopping. I buy most of our family clothes at the thrift store. We have found $10 4 button suits for my husband, amazing outfits for myself, beautiful high heeled shoes, and many clothes for the kids. I think my favorite purchase was a white, lace Macy’s dress for $9.99.
You would be amazed at all of the name brand clothes our family wears but for most of it, I’ve never paid over $10.00 per piece.
Cut your own hair – Savings $75
Since we have been married I have cut my husband’s hair. At $15 every 6 weeks, this adds up over time.
I also cut my son’s hair and my own now. Haha, I have to tell you a funny story. My hair has always been long and somewhat curly. But I like to have layers in my hair. I was getting that urge to have a new look so I pulled up good and trusty Youtube and began watching videos on how to cut your hair.
One girl said this, “Just try it, it will always grow back.” So I did, I started cutting, little by little and you know what? It would not lay right for anything!!
I had gotten so excited to have a new look that I didn’t wet my hair first! Oops! So…don’t make that mistake. Always wet your hair before you cut it and it will look much better.
But now I enjoy cutting my hair, I love how it turns out and the best part is, it’s free!
Adjust your weekly deductions – $100
Out of every paycheck come your Federal and State taxes. Then at the end of the year it’s time to “settle up”. If you have paid in too much, really you have given them an interest free loan, they will kindly send back that money to you in the form of a refund.
Now, if you would rather have the money in your own pocket to use through out the year, change your deductions with your HR. It is your money.
You might be thinking, well, I don’t want to pay in at the end of the year. That is understandable and your HR should be able to help you out. Just explain how much you have been receiving back in your refund and they can go from there.
Toilet bowl – Savings $50
If your toilet is an older model you may want to examine it for leaks. Test it by putting two drops of red food coloring in the tank. Then watch the bowl, if it begins to turn pink then you will know it is leaking.
Replace the hardware inside the tank. Most toilets leak and are costing you money down the drain!
Group your trips
My family grew up about 20 from the “big city” where we went shopping once a month. Living on a dairy farm did not allow us to just “run to town” whenever we wanted something. My Mom always had lists going for the big trip we would make at the beginning of the month.
Grocery lists, supply lists and farm lists. She was planning ahead and saved our family time and money with her planning skills.
But convenience has a way of letting us loose sight of planning ahead. I think this is a real shame sometimes.
So, next time you are sitting down with your planner, think through your week and see if you can eliminate some of your trips by grouping them. You might be surprised at the gas you will save and the more time you will have at home!
See, some of the frugal living ideas are so simple!
Cellphone Bill – Savings $900
We have saved on our cellphone bill by using a service that does not lock you into a 2 year contract. You do pay for your own phone up front and you don’t have to have the most expensive one on the market. But I purchased my Iphone refurbished and have had no trouble at all.
If someone else wants to pay top dollar and then send it back to the factory to be brought back up to factory specks, I’ll take that discount thank you very much! Smiling all the way to the bank 🙂
How much are you paying for your cellphone each month? $120 – $140. This isn’t uncommon at all.
About 5 years ago I switched to using Straight Talk. With Straight Talk you can have unlimited calling, text and data.
Straight Talk does provide all of this for $45.00 a month even without a contract which is another feature I really like. And because I have signed up for auto billing it even takes a little off and I pay $43.43 each month.
I do have to say the one thing that I do have to watch is on the auto pay setup it bills you “the day before your last payment ” so each month it changes. So if you sign up on the 10th next month it will charge you on the 9th and the next month on the 8th etc. which can be an issue if it crosses over your pay week into a different pay week. Just a word to the wise as your work it into your budget .
Now if you are an Android lover you might want to look at Republic Wireless. Starting at $20 a month this is an amazing saving for your cellphone bill category. The genuine of their philosophy structure is they use Wifi whenever possible and thereby saving your data.
Take a little time to look around their site and see if you could start saving $$$ today!
If your bill is $140 per month now, that is $1680 a year for one cellphone bill. But if you dropped that down to $45 per month your savings would be $1140!
Mortgage – Savings $1000
If you have been paying on your mortgage for some time see if you still are paying out for PMI or Private Mortgage Insurance. If you are, ask your Mortgage company for a reassessment. Once you have 20% equity in your home you can have that PMI removed. This is based on the homes original appraised value so by all means, check into this and see if you can save on that mortgage, which is probably your largest monthly payment. That is one golden nugget of a frugal living idea!
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