frugal living tips cover photo
Frugal Living

Best Frugal Living Tips for 2020

(This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure.)

Sharing is caring!

Frugal living is kind of a trendy phrase going around with more people adopting a frugal lifestyle. But frugal living also gets a bad rap with lots of people thinking frugal living is about living a stark and bare lifestyle.

I’m here to tell you this is totally not the case. We have chosen a frugal lifestyle, yet you might not know it at first.

What does it mean to be frugal?

Frugal living is not a circumstance you find yourself in, but a decision you make to be careful in the way you spend your money. 

Being frugal means you are intentional with every purchase and refuse to spend lavishly on a whim. Frugal living has nothing to do with how much money you have but more about how you choose to spend your money. 

Frugal living manifests itself in many ways. Here are a few examples:

  • Reducing Waste
  • Practicing self restraint instead of instant gratification
  • Embracing free
  • Going against expensive social norms
  • Being more resourceful with the things you have/purchases you make

Frugal Living is NOT:

  • Only buying the cheapest products
  • Depriving Ourselves of Anything
  • Extreme Saving

Frugal living is not just a set of actions you take but a mindset. When you change your mindset and focus on simplifying your expenses, you’ll begin to see things differently. 

best frugal living tips everyone should use

Why live frugally?

There are several reasons to live frugally but two of the most common I often see are 

  • To have more money
    • That means more money for savings and more money for retirement. It also means having less debt. 
  • To stress less
    • When you let go of trying to keep up with the Jones’ and commit to a frugal lifestyle, you will stress less. You can think of living frugal as the Kon Mari method of your finances. 

There are other hidden benefits to living frugally. For example, living frugally is good for the environment. Think about it. You’re consuming less and in turn you have less waste. Some examples of this include choosing to drive less so there is less exhaust from your car. Or when you buy less there is less packaging going to the landfill. When you use everything you buy from the grocery store, you’ll have less food waste. I think you get the point.

How do I live a frugal lifestyle?

You don’t have to overhaul your entire lifestyle. And the truth is, a lot of us have to change our habits as we start living more frugally. I’ve listed some simple ways to be more frugal. 

Meal Planning

You’ve probably already heard about meal planning and how it can help to simplify your life. But it’s a great tool to reduce your spending at the grocery store and reduce your food waste.

The whole idea behind meal planning is that you create a plan for all your meals for the week and you buy only the things you need.

Before I started meal planning, I would go to the grocery store with a vague idea of what I would buy, throw a bunch of stuff in the cart and hope for the best. I would end of wasting food I didn’t need and impulse buying “trendy” food at the grocery store. Things like hemp hearts, nutritional yeast or coconut milk (don’t get me wrong I love them all but I never actually used them).

You can check out my best tips for meal planning and get a free meal planning guide to help you get started.  

Ibotta

Speaking of saving money at the grocery store, Ibotta is a great way to earn money back on your purchases without having to cut coupons. It’s a free app and has deals for most major stores, and not just grocery stores. Sure you can earn while shopping at Target, Walmart or Costco, but you can also earn money back on purchases from Amazon or Groupon. Get a $20 Welcome Bonus When You Sign Up Here For Free

Drink Water

Skip the soda, juice, and La Croix and drink straight up water. And while you’re at it, skip the bottled water too. Finding a great reusable water bottle that you love can help you break your sugary drink habit and save you tons of money in the long run. (This is my favorite water bottle)

Free Entertainment

Seek out free entertainment in your community. Your library, church or community center will have plenty of free community events listed. If there aren’t any events create your own free entertainment. Some ideas include

  • Go on a hike
  • Volunteer at your local animal shelter (or other favorite cause)
  • Go for a picnic
  • Star gaze
  • Read
  • Tour open houses

Just get creative! 

Cut Cable

cut cable

You can do it. At one point I thought we could never cut our cable but now then we did and I’ll never look back. How do we do it? We have a HD antenna to get our local channels and major network channels like ABC, CBS, and NBC. And everything else, we watch through Prime Video.

As Prime members, we get TONS of shows and movies for free. Between the antenna and Amazon TV we haven’t had to purchase any other subscription services like Netflix of Hulu. 

If you’re not an Amazon Prime member you can get a free 30 days trial prime membership here to get all the prime benefits or just or use this link to try prime video for 30 days for free.

Buy Your Modem

 Do you know that your internet service provider charges you every month for your modem? Some companies will charge you $9.99 a month! You can buy the same modem for $60 up front and save yourself the modem charge every month!

Clothes Shop for Next Season

It’s no secret that at the end of each season, retailers try to get rid of their stock to make way for the new season’s things. So at the end of summer, go shopping for summer clothes for the next year and do the same at the end of winter. You can save up to 70% on your clothes by shopping this way. 

Create a Capsule Wardrobe For Everyone

According to Caroline Rector, the queen of capsule wardrobes from Unfancy,  a capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.”

Essentially, you have a set number of clothing items that all go together. They can be mixed and matched and worn together. That means less “These shoes don’t match anything” or “I don’t have anything that goes with this tip”. And capsule wardrobes are not just for women. They can work for everyone in your family and save you tons of money on clothing. 

Buy Used

Whenever you can, buy used. Facebook marketplace, Craigslist or your neighborhood Facebook page are great places to find used items including appliances, kids toys, sports equipment and more.  

Make Celebrations Small But Special

small family celebration

Birthdays and holidays can still be special, even if they are small and simple. Several years ago, we started a new rule for Christmas. Rather than having tons of presents under the Christmas tree, we each receive 4 presents (plus stocking stuffers). Last year was quote “the best Christmas ever” and it was our smallest. Why? Because the four gifts were incredibly well thought out. The kids didn’t get tons of junk (let’s be honest) and instead got 4 fantastic presents. This holds true for birthdays and other celebrations. Small and simple celebrations does not mean they are not special. 

Create a budget

Creating a budget will set you free! So many people think a budget is a restriction on your spending when in truth it gives you the freedom to spend how you want. Check out this simple way to make a monthly budget!

Track your income and expenses

Know how you are spending your money. The more you are in tune with your spending habits the more likely you are to make better decisions when it comes to spending. You’ll also be less likely to make impulse purchases. Learn how to track your spending and download a free spending log

Avoid Late Fees 

Late fees hurt and are avoidable. All it takes is a little of planning a few times a year to organize and automate your bills. Learn how to automate your finances here.

Avoid impulse buys

Take a deep hard look at how you are spending your money and assess what purchases are impulses. Then consider what the triggers are. Do you buy snacks at the gas station when your house is full of groceries? Keep snacks in your car or your purse instead. Or are you heading to Target to get out of the house for a little alone time? Go for a walk around the block instead. 

Use Your Local Library

Your local library is your friend. You can get on the internet, print or fax important papers, borrow books and movies, or join a bookclub. The library is an incredible resource that so many people forget about!

How do you sustain a frugal lifestyle?

sustain a frugal lifestyle

First, remember that frugal living is a choice. And it’s your choice. You have the freedom to live as frugally as you want for as long as you want.

You also must remember that you don’t have to be frugal all the time! Sometimes it’s ok to splurge. Sometimes you can make an impulse buy. 

Frugal living is not all or nothing. 

One question I get a lot is “Don’t you get pressure from family and friends about your frugal choices?”

Of course I do!

You know what else I get from family and friends? Parenting advice, health advice, and advice on how to take care of my dog.

No matter what you do, friends and family will have something to say about it.

So you need to decide what is best for you and for your family. You can explain your commitment to frugal living and let them know that you know it’s not a lifestyle for everyone. 

Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like

18 Comments

  • Reply jenna October 14, 2019 at 5:30 pm

    I’ve been trying to get better at meal planning!! These are great tips, thanks 🙂

    • Reply Jill October 15, 2019 at 2:54 am

      Meal planning is such a game changer once you get into the flow!

  • Reply Lindsay October 15, 2019 at 2:49 am

    Hello Jill, I like how you mentioned that being frugal is not buying the cheapest stuff. It’s more about planning out how to spend your money better. I also love how you do Christmas gifts, 4 very though out gifts! The library is my favorite way to save money. I am always there. Thank you for the great suggestions.

    • Reply Jill October 15, 2019 at 2:53 am

      Thanks Lindsay! I’m so glad you appreciated all the ways to live a frugal lifestyle!

  • Reply Nicole Kauffman October 15, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    These are all SUCH great tips!! I’m definitely striving to be more frugal, but I love how you say that doesn’t necessarily mean always getting the cheapest or depriving ourselves. It’s more being smart with money! LOVE this post 🙂

    • Reply Jill October 15, 2019 at 6:05 pm

      Thanks Nicole! I think there is a clear distinction between frugal and cheap that so many people don’t realize!

  • Reply Jennifer Morrison October 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Great tips on living frugally. We tracked our income and expenses and were shocked about our food costs. We started making a meal plan, and using the free pick up at Walmart and cut our food costs in half! Also, we threw out less food, and reduced waste. I am so excited about that. Now looking at other areas to reduce.

    • Reply Jill October 15, 2019 at 6:06 pm

      We had the same experience with our food budget, Jennifer. I have meal planning as the first frugal living tip because I think this is one area of spending most people don’t realize they overspend in.

  • Reply Jalisa Harris October 15, 2019 at 6:27 pm

    This has definitely opened my eyes on how to live more frugal and what it exactly is

    • Reply Jill October 15, 2019 at 6:28 pm

      So glad you found this helpful!

  • Reply Tiffany Khyla October 15, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I always drink water with everything, and it is definitely a money-saver. I use a Brita filter, and it’s seriously made such a difference. I also like to reuse things as much as possible – straws, bags, etc. I love that you mentioned buying things used! I do that as often as I can

    • Reply Jill October 16, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      That’s great to hear you’ve already implemented some of these in your life! And yes, reusing what you have is another great tip to reduce spending and live frugally!

  • Reply Heather October 15, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    I loved this post! Such great tips that people often forget! I’m really trying to get better at meal planning. It makes a huge difference.

    • Reply Jill October 16, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks Heather! Yes, meal planning can be a real game changer!

  • Reply susie liberatore October 16, 2019 at 1:36 am

    So many great ways to live frugal and healthy. I love meal prepping and also love creating budgets. These are the two biggest things that help me!

    • Reply Jill October 16, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      Budgets and meal planning are 2 simple ways that we can help us all live a more frugal lifestyle! They may not always be easy but they are absolutely worth the work!

  • Reply Emily October 16, 2019 at 1:40 pm

    So many great tips! I’ve been trying to get better about meal planning because my grocery spending has gotten a little out of control.

    • Reply Jill October 16, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      You are not alone, Emily! Check out the free meal planning guide and my post on meal planning for really simple ways to help you get better at it!

    Leave a Reply

    shares