Frugal Living Ideas
These frugal living ideas are
an easy way to start living more cheaply, or frugally. These ideas are grouped
below by living expense category. Some
items fall into a general category because they apply to several categories.
Apply these frugal living ideas when they
fit with your life. Some may seem
severe. Others are just common
sense. They are here to help you think
about how you want to change your life for the better. If you find 1 or 2 items useful, then your
reading of this page has been worthwhile.
You may think of additional
strategies and activities to improve your frugal living. Please Contact Us
to add additional useful items to these lists.
Expense Categories with Frugal Living Ideas
Food - food in home and out, drink
your own meals. Eat out only rarely. Try some cheap traditional meals like
beans & rice, corn & beans, grain & greens.
- Ask at
groceries if they sell past-date food at a discount. Clip or print coupons
before grocery shopping.
food that is nutritious. Avoid junk
food. Cut back on sugary
drinks. Make filtered water your
drink of choice.
your own vegetables in a garden.
Greens can be grown free of pesticides in window pots or a small
- Use coupons to get food discounts.
Housing - includes your dwelling and other related expenses
for student-like accommodations, such as a shared house, inexpensive
moving to a smaller or a less expensive city or area of your country, or
out a part of your dwelling. You
will save on rent or mortgage money and may also enjoy the companionship.
- If you
are handy, fix the furnace, the plumbing, and dwelling hardware (such as
locks and hinges).
for mechanical items, appliances and your dwelling by keeping them clean,
changing filters, and handling them with care so they will last.
in “clean” dumpsters to find furniture and items to sell.
your own furniture, cleaning materials, and other items.
- Use a
TV antenna instead of subscribing to a cable service. You can probably put an antenna in your
waste utilities. Turn off the water
and the lights. Set the thermostat
low in cold weather and high in hot weather.
Clothing - apparel and accessories
at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores, thrift shops and garage sales for
clothing yourself, to increase the useful life of a garment or accessory.
Transportation - your vehicle(s), fuel, etc.: some of the most effective frugal living ideas
- Ride a
bicycle and/or use public transportation, if possible.
to repair your auto. Buy the shop
manual for it. Acquire tools or use
a shop that rents you space and tools.
Entertainment - cinema, pets, toys, hobbies, reading
buy what you can easily borrow, such as library books and other media.
resources that are “free”, such as Wi-Fi at restaurants and libraries, free
movies, TV programs, give-away maps and literature.
free events, such as concerts in a public park or a mall.
free open houses. Museums,
botanical gardens, and other institutions have days that are free or low
- Go to
the cinema, the movies, at times of the day or week that are less than
using a tablet computer or smartphone and Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or other
location instead of buying monthly internet service.
at Goodwill and Salvation Army stores for computer equipment, and
entertainment items such as books.
Health - fitness, personal care, doctors, medicine, insurance
your body weight and height proportional. See http://www.rush.edu/rumc/page-1108048103230.html
fitness exercising that does not require paying for, and driving to, a
gym. Exercises such as running, sit-ups, push-ups and others do not
require special equipment.
well and skip snacks and “junk” food.
the best health insurance you can afford. Have annual check-ups. See a
doctor when you need to.
kind to yourself and others. Avoid
risky behavior, such as driving dangerously.
Savings - building liquid assets, a key frugal living idea
your income and expenses, what’s coming in and going out. List all income, fixed expenses, and variable
expenses. It is the variable
expenses that often get out of control
- Make a
spending plan, otherwise known as a budget, and track your expenses. You
can use the free budget tracking service of mint.com. https://www.mint.com/t/fy14018a/
down on expenses. Common expenses
that can be avoided include gym memberships, hair and nail salons, cable
TV, and shopping trips. Also, go
thru your bills and cancel any service you don’t use frequently.
your wants and needs. If something is a “want”, then before buying wait 2
days and then decide.
try to match the spending of friends and neighbors.
an emergency fund. Save up 3 to 6
months of expenses.
- Pay in
cash. Avoid loans or other borrowing. Save up before making a
your income. Ask for a raise and
/or look for a better-paying job.
within your means, but not to the point of deprivation. Think about what you really enjoy and
then find a way to do it for less.
General - applies to all categories of frugal living ideas above
- Use up
all of the contents of containers, including food, cosmetics, office
supplies, and other materials.
buy what you don’t really need.
Purchase of that wall hanging probably can be skipped. Send emails or letters instead of buying
$4-dollar greeting cards.
waste precious time by watching TV shows unless they are teaching you a
re-purpose or recycle everything you can.
Plastic containers can be cut up to make cleaning or painting bowls,
scoops, funnels, etc.
money wherever possible. Don’t pay retail: look at Dealnews http://dealnews.com/. Skip designer coffee. Buy secondhand at garage sales and
coins and bills around the house in less-used places, such as behind furniture,
in closets, in the basement, under car seats, etc.
past purchases you haven’t used. Major stores accept returns over 30 days and without purchase
metal scrap to a scrap yard or other purchaser. Brass, aluminum, copper and exotic
metals are worth more per weight than iron and steel.
unwanted gift cards on Gift Card Rescue http://www.giftcardrescue.com/.
old cell phones, tablet computers and other gadgets to Gazelle www.gazelle.com.
any unclaimed money the US
government owes you at Treasury Hunt (http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/tools/tools_treasuryhunt.htm).
Frugal living ideas are all around you. Many people have thrifty or frugal practices. You can decide to make some changes that are easy to live with, and will help you get started on a home business.
Go from Frugal
Living Ideas (this page) to Cheap Living (main cheap living page).