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In this post, I will give you some of my favorite frugal hacks! Frugal living is something that I have embraced for years. Challenging myself to spend less allows me to save more.
I have used these hacks over the years to build better habits and change the way I spend money!
The money my family spends monthly on food is by far one of the the most expensive items in our budget. To cut down food preparation costs we:
- Meal plan
- Cook from scratch
- Do batch cooking
To eliminate food waste I freeze leftovers in individual portions and make meals from this that I take to work. An example would be a baked sweet potato, a homemade veggie burger, and some soup I made. I freeze these items in glassware and pop them in the microwave.
Once I developed the habit of taking my lunch to work, I never went back!
I have been buying the same items for years. I also don’t buy items just because I have a coupon for them. I will go to the manufacturers’ website to grab coupons or will sign up for their mailing list.
Grocery stores like Sprouts also send you coupons such as $10 off a $50 grocery cart total and only send these if you sign up on their mailing list. I pair these coupons with the sales from a weekly saver.
Shopping the sales with coupons puts more money into your pocket!
Nothing will shock you more than when you check out at the grocery store and learn that the grapes you just purchased cost you $10/bag!
I developed the habit of reviewing what is in season before I go shopping each week. Consequently, I have saved so much money over the years!
There are many ways that shopping local can save you money. Local businesses locally source products and can even customize the items for you, sometimes at no additional cost. Getting to know your local vendors can also save you money through networking and the relationships you build with them.
Groom and Style has a great list of the ways you hack your way to helping your community. During the current pandemic it is more important than ever to build relationships with local businesses so that they can keep giving back to the communities that we share.
Challenge Yourself to a “No Spend Week”
I take an inventory of what is in our pantry and deep freezer once a month. If I can cook a weeks worth of meals from my stock then I will do a “no spend grocery challenge”! This is a fun way to get creative with what you have and use items that may be expiring soon.
You purchased the food, you don’t want it to go to waste!
Start with a no spend week and then challenge yourself to a no spend month!
Earn Gift Cards and get Cash Back
My youngest child is 4 months away from being potty trained. Until that time we are still using diapers. Over the last five years of diapering my children, I have scanned the codes on the packages to earn gift cards. I earn a gift card every couple of months this way and it has been great!
I also use Swagbucks to earn gift cards. I was skeptical of Swagbucks at first, but once I started I was hooked!
Recently Target had a 10% off gift card sale. I purchased a $300 gift card for $270 and will use this over the year to pay for household products that are on sale.
Keeping an eye out for these kinds of deals is an easy way to save money throughout the year for everyday expenses!
There are so many free events for kids in our area. I will search the “events” tab on my Facebook account to see what is happening around me on the weekends.
I will also ask for experiences as gifts. There is a great private botanical garden in my area that we are gifted an annual family membership to from my mom. This saves us $25/visit! The family membership is $85/year and we go at least twice a month. Annual savings are $500+!
Another way I save money on entertainment is by utilizing my local library. I get books and DVD’s for my kids and use the Libby app myself. With a three hour daily commute I have developed a love of audio books.
Instead of spending $14.95/month on Audible, or other apps like this, I have synced my library card with Libby and have saved $180/year on audio books!
Buying clothes adds up quick! Having children compounds this expense since they grow so fast! I sell clothes that are too small for my children on the Facebook marketplace. I have tried kid’s resale shops and have found Facebook marketplace to give me the most cash for my items.
Using the profits from these sales to buy thrift store clothes has saved us so much money!
For myself, I buy clothes when needed. My most recent need was to purchase a new suit when I had a job interview in 2019. I found a great one on sale! The last suit I had purchased was over a decade old. I take care of the clothes I own so that I can save money!
One of my 2020 goals is to not buy any clothes for myself! I look forward to tracking my progress with one of my goal trackers!
Saving Through Everyday Habits
A bad habit I used to have was leaving a light in a room I had left. I did an experiment where I became more mindful of this bad habit and created the new habit of turning lights off.
I then reviewed my utility bill from the previous year to the current year and noticed I was saving at least $20/month! This is a tank of gas!
Think about your routine and see if you can think of any bad habits you have that can be improved. Track your habits!
Something else I have done over the years is only drive if I have more than one destination to go. There is no public transportation where I live, so this is the only way I can save on my transportation costs. I have found that I fill up my tank less and waste less time in my car!
Every time I receive a medical bill in the mail I review the EOB (explanation of benefits) summary within my health insurance portal. I scrutinize the bill line by line and then call the medical provider to have them walk me through the charges.
I received a medical bill for a blood draw in 2019 for over a thousand dollars. The reason why it was so high was that my insurance company had rejected the charges.
I called my insurance company to learn more about why it was rejected. They said that they had requested more information and did not receive it from the provider. Once I had the provider send the information, I received a final bill for $13! I call about every single bill I receive for this reason.
Review all bills you receive and negotiate them. The worst they can say is no. I did this with credit card debt before I cut the cards up and other bills I have received over the years.
If you can save money it is worth your time!
“What is measured can be improved!” – Peter Drucker
Sit down and make a list of your daily habits and routines to see where you can make improvements. I do this annually and it has been a great way to develop new habits and put more money in my pocket!
Have other frugal hacks and money tips? Put them in the comments!