I’m not the most frugal person by any means, but I can save a dolla and I’m glad this reader reached out with this question – “I know I need to automate more in terms of saving and frugal living. Any tips?”
Easy enough, right?
I have PLENTY of tips (73 tips at that) I’m going to share with you today and I’m going to leave this list open because I’m sure there will always be room to add more to the list.
Before we get started let me give you the rundown on this reader’s question series. I’ll be featuring a question each week as long as you keep them coming.
You can ask in the comments or I’ve created a special Google Form for you to submit your questions. If you have a question don’t hesitate to reach out!
Now, let’s tackle this week’s question!
The Never-ending List on How To Be More Frugal (So You Can Increase Savings!)
- Monitor your expenses and figure out your money leaks.
- Create a budget! You won’t save a dime without one of these.
- Open up an online account with Capital One 360 and set up an auto-deposit from each paycheck. This will solve all of your savings issues because your savings will grow in no time!
- Consider a cash-only budget for spending (entertainment, groceries, dining out, etc)
- Overestimate expenses rather than not having enough. Bank the savings.
- Set a date in your calendar to increase your retirement and other short-term savings goals by 1 percent (preferably around the time you receive an annual increase or bonus).
- Adjust your tax withholdings and stop letting the government borrow so much of your check. Use this IRS calculator to help you determine the correct amount you should withhold.
- Shop for new insurance yearly.
- Use Google Calendar for bill reminders. Pay your bills on time and avoid late fees!
- If you don’t have the money for a bill, call the people so again – you can avoid late fees!
- Sign up for FREE banking! You should not be paying the bank to hold your dolla bills.
- Instead of paying ATM fees for cash, ask for cash back when you make purchases.
- Sign up to take surveys and immediately deposit earnings into savings. I made $21 dollars from Pinecone this month and there are plenty of others like Harris Poll, American Consumer Panel.
- Dump the cable box, grab an antenna, a streaming device, and a Hulu/Netflix subscription.
- Don’t eat out without a coupon.
- Speaking of eating out, how about catching a deal using Restaurants.com. Major savings there!
- Have popcorn/pizza and a movie night at home.
- Have game night with the kids.
- Forget Redbox, stream movies using Amazon Prime TV (try Amazon Prime TV free for 30 days to see if you like it)
- Visit your local museum on free days (ours is on a Sunday… look yours up!)
Around The House
- Get organized. Having a bunch of clutter sometimes ends up in you buying stuff you already have. I like having a place for certain things and here are some organizational tools you’ll find around my house: clear shoe boxes, under-bed storage, shelf-buckets, drawer dividers, etc.
- Make your own laundry detergent with these ingredients: 2 bars of laundry soap, 4 lbs of baking soda, 1 box of Borax, 1 box of washing soda.
- Make your own home cleaner. My favorite is regular old white vinegar and Dawn dish detergent.
- Hang your clothes to dry on a rack like this one instead of drying using a dryer.
- Shop online using Ebates and receive cash back rebates for online purchases.
- Learn how to bargain hunt at drug stores for household goods.
- Ditch bottled water and purchase a water bottle.
- Wash your own car, don’t let a machine do it.
- Wash dishes by hand or wait until you have a full dishwasher.
- Wash clothes using cold water.
- Get a programmable thermostat. This one is similar to ours except ours is black.
- Don’t buy those disposable plastic containers. Invest in some Pyrex (I have two sets like these and love them!)
- Don’t buy those aluminum casserole or cake pans unless you’re bringing dinner to a potluck and don’t won’t to worry about Aunt Pearl keeping your stuff. Purchase your own glass casserole or aluminum cake pans if you use them all the time.
- Ditch the paper plates.
- Ditch paper towels. We use cloth dinner napkins like these for eating and washcloths for cleaning.
- Don’t buy something that you will use only once. For example, a table saw (unless you’re mister and miss handy) — see if you can borrow.
- CFL bulbs last longer. Cost more, but last waaay longer. And the power people say you can save money on your electrical bill too.
- Create a meal plan.
- Earn cashback on groceries with Ibotta. Plus, all new users get a $10.00 bonus for trying the app. Sign up here!
- Don’t brown bag it. Buy a lunch box for crying out loud.
- Stock up on basic goods and groceries at a discount grocer such as Aldi.
- Eat breakfast for dinner.
- Rotisserie chicken is cheap at Wal-mart whenever you’re facing a time crunch.
- Speaking of that bird, use a whole chicken for MULTIPLE meals. Use it all the way down to making chicken broth using the bones!
- On Taco night, use less meat and slide some more beans up there. I fool my hubby and kids all the time!
- Eggs are cheap and you can use them to whip up all kinds of culinary creations.
- Buy frozen veggies and fruits on sale.
- If you catch fresh veggies and fruits on sale, buy extra and freeze them.
- Need spices? Check the ethnic aisles of the grocery store OR head on over to the dollar store to check out their selection. I hardly worry about spices though because Aldi has me covered.
- Buy containers and reusable lunch baggies and portion out snacks or chips for your kid’s snacks and lunches.
- Use the clothes strategy I use for my kids.
- Shop children’s consignment stores. ThredUp is a good online consignment store for kids!
- Limit your choices. If you have two great work suits, invest in more work shirts and create a capsule wardrobe of sorts.
- If you shop retailers like JcPenney, Kohl’s, or Macy’s online, do not forget to use Ebates!
- Stick with simple clothing that can be mix/matched together.
- Kill your credit card debt. You’ll save so much interest!
- If you absolutely need to build credit, try building it without credit cards! Read more about Self Lender here.
- Never carry a credit card balance.
- Transfer high-interest debt to a credit card with a lower interest rate or an introductory no interest rate card. Be careful with transfer fees!
- If you’re a responsible consumer of credit, utilize credit card rewards for travel.
- Don’t shop for recreation. Get a new (and preferably cheap hobby)
- Never buy what you don’t need just because it’s on sale.
- Don’t buy stuff just because it’s cheap. Some products are worth paying extra money on because of the quality and the amount of use it’ll receive.
- Learn a new skill that will pay off like plumbing or basic electrical work. Then you can be your own handyman or handywoman.
- If you love to read and buy a lot of ebooks, you might want to hit up Amazon Kindle to read for free. Amazon Kindle has a free 30-day trial so sign up and give it a go and see if it will benefit your pocketbook long-term.
- Speaking of Amazon, did you know you get free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime?
- Drink water. Everything has sugar nowadays and it’s bad for your health.
- Focus on preventative care. Don’t just react to being sick. Prevent it.
- Ditch the gym membership and stream your workouts online. Take a walk. Lift your 27 pound 1-year-old (talking to myself).
- Don’t want to stream, here is one of my favorite walking dvd’s. I don’t even have to leave the house to walk. I can get a mile (or two) in right in my living room.
- Set a monetary gift limit for birthdays and holidays.
- Purchase clearance toys only for kid’s birthdays and keep a hidden stash in the house.
- Re-use gift bags.
- Purchase cards from the Dollar Tree (they are only 50 cents!)
- Give a meal as a birthday gift or a family that’s just had a baby.
- Give baked goods.
Wrapping Things Up
I’m sure there is plenty more to add to this list and I will update it often. Don’t go and try to do all of these at once either. You’ll quickly give up your new frugal and fab lifestyle if you rush into this. Pick a few from each category that will have the greatest impact on your finances. Once you’ve crossed a couple of the list, come back for more!
Any more ways this reader can get their frugal on? Share in the comments below!