I grew up watching my parents do pretty well everything they could to save money. My father was a hard worker, but never earned more than $14,000/year in his entire life. Yes, it was a different time period and things were far cheaper then than now, but I still find it amazing that they raised a child on that little each year. I’m not sure they realized it, but as I was growing, I was watching them and learning all those little frugal (Six Dollar Family) tips they were using to save money.
With that said, watching some does not always mean you will apply what you’ve seen to your own life. It saddens me to know that I was almost thirty before I even considered applying those lessons from my parents to my own life.
Frugal Tips That Will Help You Save Money
I talk about how poor we were growing up occasionally here on the blog. As I sit now, I wish I had taken advantage of the knowledge when I first could have.
But just because I didn’t, does not mean you can’t. In fact, I highly encourage you to scan through the entire list of frugal tips below to see if you can find a few areas where you can save money.
Tips for Saving Money
In other words, don’t be like me. Take these tips for saving money and apply them where ever you can. The new year is a perfect time to teach yourself how to save money.
Be sure to add getting your finances on track to your goals for the new year! Trust me, it does help!
Frugal Tips to Save Money on Groceries
Groceries are one of the biggest costs a family has so finding ways to save money on groceries is usually one of the first areas most people look for frugal tips to save money on.
Make Your Own Bread
If your family eats a lot of bread, $1.00 per loaf can add up. One of the easiest ways to save money on your grocery bill is to learn how to make homemade bread.
I don’t have a recipe here, but one of my favorites is this homemade bread recipe from I Heart Nap Time.
Use Coupons Wisely
Coupons have always been a great way to save money, but if you’re not using them wisely, you’re wasting money.
Only use coupons for items you buy to maximize your savings and be sure the item is not more expensive than the generic even with a coupon.
You should also be using cash back grocery apps such as Ibotta to help you maximize.
Learn how to menu plan and stick to it
If you aren’t sure what you’re eating for dinner, you’re more tempted to impulse shop or eat out.
Instead, learn how to menu-plan and then force yourself to stick to it.
Stop Buying Shave Cream
Instead of spending $3 or more on a can of shave cream, use THIS recipe for homemade shave cream instead. Ounce per ounce, homemade is cheaper.
Don’t be brand or store loyal
Try generic options for the food you buy instead of being brand loyal. In addition, make sure you’re shopping the sales ads each week instead of only shopping at one store.
You would be surprised at how much shopping around can really save you.
Stop Buying Shampoo
Just like shaving cream, buying shampoo is a waste of money. You can make THIS homemade coconut milk shampoo for less per ounce.
If you would rather not make your own shampoo, consider switching to the “no poo” method described HERE.
Learn How to Can Foods
Learning how to can your own food at home can save you more money than you may realize. It gives you another method of preserving foods.
This means you can stock up on things while they’re on sale. Even things that don’t freeze well can usually be canned.
Learn to Freeze Foods
With that said, freezer cooking and freezing food to preserve it is still a great way to save.
Learn How to Make Homemade Deodorant
Another easy DIY that will save you money is learning how to make homemade deodorant instead of buying it.
THIS homemade deodorant recipe is the one I use and a reader favorite here on SDF.
Change How You Snack to Save Money on Food
We tend to over complicate snacks. Instead, choose simple ones that are cheap to purchase. Carrots, celery, graham crackers, and so on are all budget friendly options that will carry you over to the next meal.
You could even make a homemade option to lower the cost even more. That is why I originally started making THESE homemade graham crackers.
Diaper Rash Cream Is Cheaper Homemade
THIS lavender diaper rash cream is far cheaper than store bought and works even better!
Eat More Frugal Pantry Staples
For those that are looking to save money on food, making sure you have the pantry staples you will need to cook with is super important.
Pasta, rice, flour, sugar and salt are just a handful of things your pantry should always have. There is a larger list HERE if you want to check which ones you may be missing.
More Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store
- Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner Instead of Buying It
- You Can Make Homemade Bathroom Cleaner too
- Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
- Put Your Groceries Away Immediately and Neatly to Avoid Wasted Product & Money
- Build a Stockpile when items are on sale
- Learn the Best Way to Properly Store Food
- Stock up on Meat with Sales
- Use a Foodsaver to prevent waste – Proper Foodsaver Instructions HERE
- Make DIY Fabric Softener Sheets
- Know How to Read Food Expiration Dates
- There are a whole boatload of ways to use bacon grease. Make sure you’re saving it.
- Replace disposable products with budget friendly zero waste options.
- Grow a Garden – Even if you only grow a handful of things, you’ll still save money.
- Skip Starbucks and make coffee at home
- Drink More Water – It’s far cheaper
- Eat Leftovers More Often
- Buy Seconds Produce – They often aren’t pretty, but they’re cheap
- Eat Less Meat – Have a meatless meal at least once a week to save
- Be Smart about What You Buy in Bulk – Only
- Harvest Seeds from Fruits and Vegetables so you don’t have to purchase them
- Change How You Cook to Save Money – Cook for a meal, not an individual.
- Never Shop Without a List
- Never Shop Hungry
- Learn How to Reduce Waste in Your Kitchen
- Buy Generic When Possible
- Shop at Aldi or Other Discount Grocery Stores
- Shop As Little as Possible – The more often you’re in a store, the more you spend.
- Don’t Shop at Convenience Stores – Products are often double the price of grocery stores.
- Shop at Dollar Tree, but do it wisely – Don’t get lured into the dollar trap. Check product size and unit price to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
- Pack Your Lunch instead of eating out
- Grind Your Own Coffee Beans using a coffee grinder. They’re often cheaper as whole beans.
- Use Grocery Delivery and Pickup Services so you spend less time in the store.
- Serve breakfast for dinner at least once a week.
- Shop by unit price so you know which deal is best. Divide the price of the item by the size to get the unit price.
- Save vegetable scraps to make broth
- Save beef, chicken and turkey Bones to make stock
- Skip buying buttermilk if you won’t use it before it expires. Make a Buttermilk Substitute Instead
- Skip buying heavy cream if you won’t use it before it expires. Make a heavy cream substitute instead.
- Only use homemade pasta – It’s healthier and cheaper. Here is a great recipe.
- Have pizza night once a week using homemade pizza.
- Buy a deep freezer to stock on meat when it’s on sale.
- Choose pick your own farms whenever possible- They usually have better produce prices
- or join a farm co-op and split the cost with other families.
- Outfit Your Kitchen Properly so you have the equipment you need to cook.
- Learn how to freezer cook so you are less tempted to eat out
- Make your own hand soap – It’s cheaper per ounce.
- Learn how to stretch a meal
- Know When to Shop
- Stop Drinking Alcohol
- Learn to Hunt or Fish For Food
- Learn to Forage
- Save Fat from Chicken and Beef to render into lard and tallow
Frugal Tips to Reduce Waste
- Use soap slivers so every bit gets used. Use soap saver bags like THESE to make them easier to use.
- Use every part of something you can including finding ways to reuse things.
- Use junk mail envelopes as scratch paper instead of new sheets of paper.
- Learn to upcycle trash into something new.
- Sharpen old kitchen knives instead of replacing them.
- Switch to cast iron cookware that will last a lifetime.
- Create a compost pile to make use of food waste.
- Find a new use for an item such as WD40 or Kitty Litter.
- Stop buying magazines – Order digital versions from Amazon instead.
- Stop paying for newspapers – Subscribe to digital newspapers instead.
- Switch to Cloth Feminine Pads or a Diva Cup.
- Reuse Everything You Can
- Use the last drop of everything even if it means getting creative to do so.
- Sew clothing when it needs repaired instead of throwing it away and buying new.
Frugal Tips to Lower Your Utilities
- Install Smart Plugs and Switches– See how I saved money on my power bill with an Echo Dot HERE.
- Don’t waste oven heat in the winter. Open the door when you’re done and let it heat your home.
- Seal Windows and Other Energy Leaks
- Turn off ceiling fans when you’re not in the room
- Install a programmable thermostat
- Hang thermal curtains to help reduce lost heat or cooling.
- Place rugs strategically to help warm cold floors
- Help Your fridge and freezer be more efficient. Keep your freezer full and leave room for air circulation in your fridge.
- Reduce phantom electricity usage by unplugging electronics when not in use.
- Use Your A/C less in the summer by turning it up 2 degrees.
- Help your furnace work more efficiently by keeping air intake vents clean.
- Change you air filters regularly
- Wash laundry on cold water
- Use a clothesline or indoor clothes drying rack whenever possible
- Make sure your lint trap is clean so your dryer works better
- Always do full loads of laundry
- Never dry clean clothes. Use Dryel instead.
- Use half the amount of laundry products you currently are. Your clothes will still be clean.
- Skip the outdoor christmas lights each year
- Use a Crockpot or an Instant Pot instead of your stove or oven
- Keep your water lines from freezing in the winter. Use heat tapes if necessary.
- Run your dishwasher overnight when power is cheaper.
- Only run a full dishwasher load
- Fill the sink with water to hand wash instead of letting the water run.
- Shut the sink off when brushing your teeth.
- Limit shower times.
- Take baths instead of showers. You will waste far less water.
- Switch to a tankless water heater.
Frugal Tips to Help Build Your Savings Account
- Stop eating out and put the money you would have spent into savings instead.
- Earn free gift cards and cash from sites such as Swagbucks and InstaGC.
- Get cashback by signing up for a Rakuten account and using them when you shop.
- Learn to Haggle
- Learn to barter
- Buy used as often as possible. Just be careful of the things you should not buy used.
- But Choose Quality over Quantity
- Keep Your Home Clean. A messy home leads to wasted money.
- Do simple haircuts at home by purchasing a simple set of hair clippers.
- Make Homemade Scrubs and Salts and Skip the Spa
- Shop Secondhand for Clothing or Only Buy When There are Sales
- Switch to a prepaid phone such as Republic Wireless.
- Save pennies and change in a jar. It does add up quickly.
- Don’t gamble or play games that cost you money.
- Drop the gym membership if you haven’t used it in the past 2 weeks.
- Shop with free credits whenever possible. Sites such as ThredUp and Grove Collaborative offer free credits when you sign up for an account.
- Shop for Next Years Clothes This Year on Clearance
- Stop smoking
- Go through your current subscriptions. Cancel any you no longer use.
- Take Advantage of Discounted Programs such as the Prime Discount Program HERE for families on SNAP or other forms of government assistance.
- Stay Away from Situations where You Normally Overspend
- Have an out of reach savings account
- Take Advantage of Free Trials. For instance, sometimes Hulu offers a free trial HERE and you can get 30-days of Amazon Prime free HERE or a FREE Month of Kindle Unlimited HERE.
- But be mindful and cancel if you do not want to keep them.
- Wait at least 3 days before spending money from your savings account.
- Turn your debit card off at night to prevent things from posting that you aren’t aware of.
- Find a hobby that will make you money. For instance, learning how to start a blog is a great way to make extra money.
Frugal Tips to Save Money on Transportation
- Drive Less, walk more
- Carpool whenever possible
- Reduce the number of cars You own
- Use public transportation instead of driving
- Get an actual bus pass instead of paying per trip.
- Plan errand day efficiently
- Pay cash for your cars
- Keep your car tuned up so it gets better fuel economy
- Use grocery store fuel programs to save money on gasoline
- Drive slower for better fuel economy
- Seek out car insurance discounts
- Don’t use toll roads if possible
- But make sure you have a “toll membership” if you do take tolls. The Texas Toll Tag is one such “membership.”
- Wash your car at home
- Detail your car yourself
- Work from home if possible to save on gas.
- Make extra car payments when you can to pay down your loan early.
- Check your tire pressure so your car gets better gas mileage.
Frugal Tips to Help You Budget Better
- Use gift cards to help yourself spend less
- Follow people who encourage you to save
- Use cash as often as possible
- Pay Your Bills On Time to Avoid Late Fees
- Ditch high fee credit cards
- Create a budget that works for your family
- Work to build an emergency fund
- Downsize your home – I’ve done this one personally when my daughter and I moved into a hotel to save money.
- Don’t use credit if you can avoid it
- But if you do, pay down debt as quickly as possible
- Track your expenses in an account ledger to find where you’re wasting money.
- Use cash envelopes for your cash
- Know the danger of an impulse buy
- Round your checking account down so you think you have less money than you do.
- Over budget for unknown expenses
- Under budget for unknown income
- Make sure you are not forgetting any budget categories
- Avoid the Joneses like the Plague – Live your life without trying to keep up with everyone else.
- Be Prepared for a Financial Crisis
Frugal Tips to Save Money on Entertainment
- Find Something Free to Do for Fun
- Use a Library for Books
- or Buy a Good, Used Copy from Thriftbooks
- Ditch Cable for Hulu
- Rent Movies at Home and Skip the Theater
- Attend a free concert instead of paying for tickets
Frugal Tips to Help You Save Money on Your Health
- Keep yourself healthy – Poor health is expensive.
- Save on medications whenever possible
- Raise your insurance deductibles to lower your premium
- Switch doctors to one that offers DPC (Direct Patient Care)
- Make Your Own Cough Drops
- Make Your own vapor shower tablets
Frugal Tips to Help You Save Money on Travel
- Know When to Buy Plane Tickets
- Fly Southwest if Possible – Rates are cheaper plus 2 free checked bags.
- Choose an extended stay hotel if you’re visiting for more than 1 week
More Frugal Tips to Help You Save Money
- Do your taxes yourself if you file a simple tax return.
- Don’t buy a modem from your internet provider. Buy one yourself. It’ll be cheaper.
- Buy a Wifi Extender instead of having extra modems installed.
- Monitor Your Kids’ Data Use
- Keep a gift closet that you fill all year
- Create a capsule wardrobe
- Keep a list of your family’s sizes on your phone
- Don’t buy lottery tickets
- Skip school fundraiser purchases
- Wait until you find a deal
- Keep your thoughts positive since negative thoughts can keep you poor.
- Don’t Spend Money You Don’t Have
- Be More Self Reliant
- Learn to Do Without
- Learn from Those Who Have Gone Before You
Do you have any frugal tips I may have missed? Leave me a comment with it so I can add it to our list!