Do you ever start a new year off with the goal of saving more money? I do and a lot of other folks do too. If you are planning to start 2020 and a new decade off with a few new years financial goals, you’ll have to accept and understand one thing; you’ll need to make some frugal (Six Dollar Family) changes to how you spend your money.
I know. No one wants to be told they have to spend less. Some of us are already spending as little as possible. But if we were being honest with ourselves, we know that reaching our financial goals – whether for a new year or overall – means making frugal lifestyle changes to help ourselves. Those frugal lifestyle changes mean less spending and more saving.
Frugal Changes to Make to Save Money
When i comes to lifestyle changes that will save you money, it really is a situation where pennies can add up.
Granted, pennies are not going to make you rich, but they may just cut your expenses enough to get you started.
Changes to Your Spending Habits to Save Money
The reason that making frugal changes to your spending is so important is that most people simply do not realize just how badly their spending can be. We get so wrapped up in the routine of spending money that it becomes a second nature we never take the time to analyze.
The new year is the perfect time to get that good look at your finances you’ve been putting off. Once you’ve done that, give these frugal changes a go.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Most of the frugal changes on this list are really easy to do. We will start with the simplest and most common frugal changes you could make then move on.
There are a few that may take some research or time but even those are very, very worth doing.
Cook at Home
This frugal tip is a simple one and a common one, but there is a reason for that. Eating out is one of he biggest issues most families – including my own at times – can have.
I get it. Things get hectic sometimes. Sometimes you work late or have a late school function. Sometimes you just don’t want to cook.
But the money you are spending by eating out is far better spent somewhere else.
Stop Supporting Starbucks (or Dunkin)
Steve loves Dunkin coffee, but he rarely gets it from Dunkin themselves. Why? Because we can make it here at home for far less. He drinks several cups a day which menas we would probably and quite literally go broke with his coffee habit alone. Never mind adding my own in there.
Then, buy the ground version of your favorite blend and you’ll be well on the road to cutting you what could be a huge expense.
Pack lunches instead of buying them
Like eating out for dinners, buying your lunch or school lunches is costly when you could pack your lunch for far less.
I don’t know about your area, ut here school lunches are $3.10 per day. That is a crazy amount for one lunch! That money is better saved and used for something else.
The same goes for your work lunch. Chances are that you’re spending more than $3.10 per day when you buy it too.
Do simple haircuts at home
You might be surprised at just how much those simple haircuts can cost you. What seems like a small charge can really add up. Even if you’re only paying $10.00 per hair trim or cut, for one person, that can add up to $70 or more each year at a bare minimum.
Multiply that across your entire family and it could be hundreds.
You’ll save far more than you spend on the hair clippers.
Learn to do manicures at home too
I love having my nails done, but it is so expensive to pay someone to do them.
Instead, I have taught myself out to do DIY manicures. The cost is significantly less and they look every bit as good as what I would pay for at the nail salon.
Round Up Purchase Prices
If you’re looking for a quick way to save money, make it a habit to start rounding your purchase prices up.
For instance, if you spend $6.85, round the cost up to $7.00 even and put the extra $0.15 in your savings account.
It may seem like it would be fruitless since the amounts are so small, but the truth is those small amounts add up incredibly quickly.
Another option is to round your accounts down nightly and save that money as well.
If you have $587.64 in your checking account at the end of the night, move $7.64 into your savings account to round your account down to an even number.
Not only will you save money fast, but you will also be teaching yourself to live on a tiny bit less.
If you’re looking into making this particular frugal change, be sure you have a high yield savings account so you earn more in interest than a conventional account.
Learn to budget using gift cards
It may seem confusing at first, but learning how to budget for certain expenses using gift cards can save you huge amounts of money over time.
This is especially true if you use gift cards you have purchased at a discount and combine it with programs such as fuel rewards.
Never waste fuel points
Speaking of fuel rewards, never waste them. Even if all you have is $0.10 off a gallon, be sure to use them before they expire.
Otherwise, you quite literally just wasted money you did not need to.
Skip Grocery Delivery
Grocery delivery services are great once in a while when you really can’t make i to the store, but if you use them full-time, you’re wasting money. The reason for this is that most grocery delivery services mark up prices by quite a bit. On top of that high mark up, you also pay delivery and service fees.
There is one exception and I wrote about it HERE. If you have an impulse spending problem and you find yourself spending more than $10.00 extra every time you head to the store, you may benefit by using a grocery delivery service instead.
You’ll need to weigh how much money you waste on impulse buys vs the high priced items and fees of the delivery service to see which costs you more money.
Head to the thrift store first
We are a society that looks at almost everything as being disposable. Not only does this cause us to be incredibly wasteful when it comes to the actual things we are buying, but it is also a great way to waste money.
Instead, see if what you need is available at a second hand store or on Facebook Marketplace first. If you purchase as much as you can secondhand, you will save an enormous amount of money in a years time.
Stop Buying. Period.
Want to know the best frugal change you can make for your family’s finances?
Stop spending money.
I know, right. That was complicated to explain.
I’m know saying not to spent money at all, but I am saying that if you don’ need o buy it, don’t. If you can make it at home, make it at home. We have an entire list of things we stopped buying and the amount of money it has saved us is staggering.
Reuse Anything – And Everything – You Can
Even those who are frugality beginners recognize that finding things to reuse helps you save money.
It’s quite easy and quite common though for hose who have been at frugal living for a while to lose sight of the bigger picture and stop reusing what they can.
Once you get things started, it becomes much easier to remember.
Save Pennies – Yes Pennies.
I had a conversation with my daughter just this evening where I needed to show her how quickly a few cents can add up.
She wanted to go get an ice cream and made the comment “It’s only $0.85, Mom.”
*cue the teenage girl eye roll and hair toss here*
My response was this:
“Imagine you wasted $0.85 on 10 random items in a week. That is $8.50 a week. Now imagine you did that for 10 weeks. That is $85.00. Now imagine you did that for 10 months straight. You just wasted $850.00 in less than a year.”
Needless to say, she chose not to spend her $0.85 on that ice cream and instead put it back in her savings jar.
I have seen folks who say it isn’t worth it to save pennies or a few cents here and there. I’m here to tell you that it very much is.
Pennies, dimes, nickels and quarters all add up very, very quickly.
Rebuild a Poor Credit Score
Even if you don’ use credit, you still need a good credit score in today’s society. Jobs, homes and more all rely on it. If your credit is bad, it is not as hard as you may think to raise it.
If you’re looking to make frugal changes in 2020, building or rebuilding your credit score is one of the best thins you can do for your finances.
Amazon also offers a secured store card to help people rebuild their credit with an option to get 5% cash back on your Amazon purchases made with your card.. You can get all the info on that HERE.
This is one that I will admit to doing. I have smoked since I was 12 years old. With that said, I have a doctors appointment on Jan 2, 2020 to get resources to help me stop smoking.
If you – like me – are a smoker, we are wasting so much money each year. Instead, quite smoking in 2020 and bank that money.
If not, consider talking to your doctor about a medicine such as Chantix to help.
Look for a cheaper car insurance company
Car insurance is a necessary evil, but it doesn’t have to be a super expensive one. Instead, take an hour and place some online quote requests with a few different car insurance companies.
Even if you can only save a few dollars a month, it’s worth it.
Take Advantage of Insurance Discounts
Most insurance companies – not just car insurance – offer different ways for you to take advantage of discounts they may offer.
For instnace, a car insurance company may give you a discount for driving slower or less hard breaking. A health insurance company may give you a discount for quitting smoking and/or losing weight.
If you’re not taking any discounts you can get, you’re spending more than you need to.
Check for Military and Veterans Discounts
If you’re active duty military or a veteran, there are literally thousands of discounts you are probably missing out on. Even if you think that a company you do business with does not offer one, it never hurts to ask.
Most veterans and military discounts can save you quite a bit. For instance, Dollar General sometimes does an 11% discount for veterans on the 11th of the month. You just need to ask.
Change Your Current Cell Phone Plan
This is a frugal change that my own family will be doing soon. If your cell bill is too high, you already know. Changing companies is the only sure-fire way to save money on it.
*cue my own budget screaming at me.
Instead, move to a new provider. Prepaid is often cheaper than a contracted plan. A few good options are:
Skip the Upgrade
How many new phones have you bought over the past few years? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably something like “once a year.”
Here’s a harsh truth for you: You do not – in any way shape or form – need a new phone every year and the amount of money you’re spending to have that new phone each year is a waste. Pure and simple.
Use Your Current Computer Another Year
Do you know how old the computer I am currently working on is? Five years.
Why haven’t I replaced it? There hasn’t been a need. It still runs and works as it should even though it is five years old.
Like with your phone, instead of rushing out to buy a new computer each year, take care of the one you have and it will last you far longer than you expect.
Slow Your Internet Down
Unless you run a business or homeschool your kids, there is really no reason for a home to have the most expensive internet package and if you have it, you are seriously wasting money.
Chances are really good that you’re not even getting the speeds you’re paying for.
Instead, drop down a level on your speeds. Not only will you not notice the difference, but you’ll pay less for what you’re not missing.
Scale Back Streaming Services
How many streaming services do you currently pay for? My guess? At least five. Between music streaming and the many, many different television and movies services available, it’s hard not to collect them.
How many of them do you actually use on a daily basis? My guess? Two or less.
Go through your bank account with a fine tooth comb and write down all the streaming services. If you’re not using each one at least twice a week, cancel them.
Find One Expense Each Month to Drop
Are you paying for things you don’t need or want to be paying for? I’d bet you are. Most of us do at some point.
One of the biggest frugal changes you can make in the new year is to stop paying for those things.
While you’re setting your new years goals, add a new goal to drop one unnecessary bill each month. Take the money you would be spending and add it to your savings account.
Mend Clothing Instead of Buying New
How many pieces of clothing have you tossed because they’ve gotten ripped or torn? How much money has been wasted with each piece that is tossed?
Instead of throwing it away, grab a needle and thread or pull out the sewing machine that is gathering dust and mend those items.
You’ll save the money of having to buy a new one and reduce waste a little bit.
Can’t Sew? Learn.
Keeping with the simple sewing projects, if you can’t learn to sew, you’re missing one of what I consider to be one of the most important frugal skills you should have.
Don’t Buy Eyeglasses from the Doctor
I’ve worn glasses since I was nine years old, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized just how expensive they can be.
If you’re wanting to make a few frugal changes in 2020, this is one area that you can save significantly. Instead of buying your eyeglasses at the doctor, get your prescription and buy your glasses online at Zenni Optical.
When you order your glasses through Zenni Optical, you can pay as little as $6.99 for them! My family has used Zenni for years and we love them! As a matter of fact, the glasses I have on in my bio picture came from Zenni.
Oh, and yes, they also have prescription sunglasses too!
Upgrade Your Savings Account
Does your savings account earn you interest or does it simply say it does then just kind of sits there?
If the answer is “sits there,” you should consider upgrading and changing your account to a high yield savings or money market account.
Ally Bank is a great option for those that don’t have a current bank that offers high interest.
Drink More Water
I’ll admit it. I love Diet Dew. My grocery budget doesn’t love it though. At $5.10 each regular price, the cost of drinking soda is crazy.
Sure, I can get it on sale, but you know what I can’t get it for? Basically free.
Water from my tap costs me pennies on the dollar compared to the price of soda. Not only does the actual cost save me money, but the health benefits save me as well.
If you don’t want to drink unfiltered water, buy a PUR faucet filter for your faucet or a PUR pitcher. It will filter your water so it is cleaner. Add a reusable water bottle to the mix and you’ll be saving far more than you think.
Join a Prescription Discount Program
If you are on prescription medications, you know just how expensive they can be. This is especially true if you don’t have insurance. If you have prescriptions, a prescription discount savings program can help ease the cost.
GoodRX is one that is commonly known about, but don’t forget to check with your local pharmacy too. In our case, our prescriptions – especially my Emma’s mental health medicines – would cost nearly $2,000 a month.
Luckily, I found out that Kroger has a prescription savings program and I am so grateful for it. I paid $72 for the year and it knocks her medicines down to just $45 a month.
You may need to research to find one that works for your family, but if you are paying anything out of pocket for medicines, it is worth taking the time to make this frugal change.
Work to Be Healthier
I have mentioned it at least twice in this post but now it’s time to actually talk about it.
Simply put; if you are unhealthy, you are wasting money.
Bad health carries with it the cost of doctor visits, hospital stays, medications and more. It can cause your insurance to be more money each month and in some cases cause you to be denied.
This is another area where I will admit I fail. I am 37-years old and I have allowed my health to ecome a true issue. 2020 is the year that my husband and I really take our health back for a lot of reasons.
The cost is one of them and if you’re unhealthy or overweight like we are – okay like I am – I highly urge you to do the same.
Pay Your Bills on Time
When I was younger I was the late fee queen. What I didn’t realize was that I was costing myself more money and quite a bit of it at that.
For instance, my water company charges a $1.50 late fee. Over he course of a year, that adds up o $18.00.
It may not seem like much, but if you’re paying more than one ill late each month, you’re very likely spendinga couple hundred each year on late fees.
Wouldn’t that money be much better off spent or saved elsewhere?
Set a Goal for Zero Overdraft Fees
Along with high late fees, nasty overdraft fees can really damage your budget. They can even create a financial crisis for your family if hey become too excessive.
If NSF fees have been an issue for you in the past, set a new goal right now that you will do everything possible to avoid them.
Wear Hand Me Downs – Instead of Buying New Clothes
How often do you buy new clothes? The truth is that if it’s more than a couple new outfits a year, you’re wasting money.
Because there are thousands of places you could buy incredibly nice second-hand clothing at for a lot cheaper.
Your kids do not need an entire new wardrobe each year. In fact, it is a waste of money to buy new clothes for your kids if they are under the age of ten. They simply grow too fast.
One of my favorite places to get clothing is Thred Up. It’s an online consignment store that carries everything from Walmart brands to the more higher priced designer brands.
Find 2 New Streams of Income
Do you know what almost all millionaires have in common? They all have multiple streams of income.
Having multiple streams of income is a smart move for more than one reason, but mainly because it gives you a back up or two if something happens to your primary source of income; i.e. your job.
The type of income streams you do are up to you, but a few good ideas are:
- Start a blog like this one
- Start investing with a micro-investor such as Acorns
- Do surveys for a site like InstaGC or Swagbucks
- Start a home based business side hustle
Pay an Additional $10 a Month on 2 Debts
If you are going into 2020 with a goal to pay off more debt, help yourself get there by paying an extra $10.00 a month on two of your debts.
Doing so will not – or rather should no – create a huge burden on your budget each month and will help you pay off those debts quicker.
Use One-Use Items Twice if Possible
Finding ways to reuse things around your home is a great way to save money, but if you don’t want to go all out like I mentioned earlier, it’s easy to start simply with just a few things.
Just start with things you would normally only use once. You would be suprrised a how much money even a small frugal change like this one will save you.
Things like tea bags, coffee rounds, storage bags (never reuse one that held raw meat) and so on can add up to hundreds over the course of a year.
Plus, it will get you into the habit easily! If you want more ideas, check out these 52 things to reuse in the new year HERE.
Wash Clothing on Cold
Are you still washing your clothes on hot water cycles? If so, stop it. Washing on hot doesn’t do much other than cost you more per load.
There really is no reason to wash laundry with hote water with today’s detergents. The only thing that I wash on hot is my towels and whites.
Everything else gets washed on cold and still gets just as clean.
Use Half the Detergent Amount
Another frugal change you can make to save on laundry is to use half the detergent amount you’re currently using.
Yes, your clothes will be clean. No, using half won’t mean they’re dirty. In fact, often the full amount is too much and you end up with a detergent residue in your clothes that does not rinse out.
Using less not only helps your clothes to last longer which saves you money but it saves you he actual cost of excess detergent as well.
Want more frugal tips? You may also like these:
Ready to curl up with a good book? These 32 Frugal Living Books Everyone Should Read are a perfect idea for a rainy day, lazy evening or anytime you want to catch a good read! Get your finances in order and learn new budgeting skills to help save money in all new ways!
If you have been looking for things to make, these 30 things to make at home to save money are a great place to start! I’ve saved over $2500 with them!
Invest in Dryer Balls or Make DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
Having a reusable option is not only a great way to reduce waste, but it’s flat out cheaper once you get over the initial cost. Even with the initial cost, you won’t pay much more than you would for a bottle of liquid fabric softener.
If you don’t want to use dryer balls, you can also make your own DIY reusable fabric softener sheets. They’re super easy to make and are incredibly cost effective.