Frugal living is a learned behavior. You either inherit your financial habits from your immediate family or you’ve gone through some type of monetary hardship that forced you to become frugal. The latter was my case.
Not too many years ago I was living paycheck to paycheck, had my car repossessed and my power turned off multiple times. I didn’t know how to manage my money, if I had $20 in my bank account then I saw that as $20 to spend.
Now that I’m on the other side of hardship, I’ve learned that the habits you cultivate daily are what really sets you apart and make the difference. Here are 25 frugal living habits that have saved my family money and changed our lives for the better!
Save Money On Gas
- Don’t fill up near the highway. Gas prices are more expensive near the highway because people traveling will not want to travel more than a mile or two to get gas.
- Use cashback apps. Apps like Upside (formerly GetUpside) and Fetch Rewards give you cashback simply for filling up your gas tank. You can also double dip and use the same gas receipt in both apps!
- Fill up on a Monday. Did you know that Mondays are the cheapest day of the week to fill up your gas tank and Fridays are the most expensive as people tend to travel more on the weekends?
- Use a credit card that offers gas rewards. In addition to using cashback apps when you fill up your gas tank, also use a credit card that gives you rewards. We use the Chase Freedom Cash Back Credit Card (earn a $200 sign-up bonus). As always know your spending triggers and always pay your credit card balance in full.
- Take care of your car. The correct amount of air in your tires, getting tune-ups, and changing air filters, all make a big difference in the fuel efficiency of your car.
- Watch how you drive. Are you guilty of excessive speeding, braking hard, or fast acceleration? These also result in poor fuel efficiency.
- Group errands together to drive less. Save money on gas by grouping your errands together, and make them all on the same day, especially if you live in an area that you have to travel to the store or go to another town to do errands.
Save Money On Groceries
- Check the pantry, fridge, and freezer before you go grocery shopping. How many times have you bought something at the grocery store only to come home and realize that you have two already in the pantry? I know I’m very guilty of this. I recommend checking before you go to the store and also using inventory trackers to easily remember how many of each item you have. Check out these inventory trackers for your pantry, refrigerator, freezer, and spices.
- Try curbside pickup. Not only does curbside pickup help reduce impulse purchases (like the fresh-baked pie that you see and smell as you walk by the bakery) but it also allows you to see your total as you add items to your cart. You can see right there if you are over budget, and if you are… make some substitutions and make sure you stay within your grocery budget.
- TRICK: Buy generic and allow for substitutions. If they don’t have the generic they will give you a free upgrade to the name brand.
- Buy generic. Most generic products are made in the same factory and are the exact same item as the name brand with just different packaging. On average you can save 10-30% by buying generic.
- Check out my video: Aldi vs Walmart | Which One Is Cheaper? where I broke down the price difference from Aldi compared to Walmart.
- Use cashback apps. Just like with gas, use apps like Fetch Rewards and Ibotta give you cashback simply for buying groceries. You can also double dip and use the same receipt in both apps!
- Download Fetch Rewards and earn 2,000 points ($2) when you scan your first gas or grocery receipt with code QHKBH.
- Download Ibotta and earn $10 when you scan your first receipt with code suwetiv.
- Download Upside and get $0.20 cash back per gallon on your first fill up with code FIAB20. (Available with select grocery stores)
Save Money In Your Lifestyle
- Use the library. Your local library is an excellent resource for free audiobooks through apps like Libby and Overdrive. They also often offer tons of free activities for kids or in your community.
- Sell things you don’t need. I know we could all go around our homes and find items that we no longer use and have no intention of using again. Take some time to declutter and get some money for those items!
- Have date nights at home. Dating your spouse or partner is so important for your relationship, but it doesn’t have to be expensive.
- Check out: 16 At Home Date Ideas for some creative ideas!
- Try a no-spend challenge. These challenges have recently gotten a bad reputation that you need to not spend ANY money at all during the month. No, not the case at all. First, any type of challenge is totally customizable and you can adapt it to fit you and your situation. Second, I recommend doing a no-spend challenge in a specific category at a time… for example: eating out, clothing, coffee out, Amazon, Target, or gas station snacks just to give you some ideas.
- Check local Facebook pages. Did you know most towns and cities post free activities and events on their Facebook page? They are super fun activities like fall festivals or movies in the park.
- Pay down your debt. One of the best ways to save money is to save money in interest. Whether you do the debt snowball or the debt avalanche paying down your debt is a huge financial win!
- Travel in the off-season. Vacations are an incredible time to unplug, rest, and see the country or the world. But they are often very expensive, one way to save money on vacations is to book them in the off-season. This will help you save money on airline tickets, housing, and activities.
Save Money in your Online Shopping
- Only check out to cart once per week. Are you guilty of making MULTIPLE Amazon purchases throughout the week? Try only checking out ONCE per week. You can add to your cart throughout the week but pick one day a week to sit down, evaluate your cart and decide if you really need everything or if you can remove some impulse purchases.
- Cancel Amazon Prime. If you are only using it once a week then most likely your order will be over $35 and you will qualify for free shipping.
- Delete your saved credit card from your computer/phone. If you have to physically get up and walk over to your wallet to enter in your card number you are more likely to question whether you really need the item or not.
- Return things you don’t need or not what you expected. Was the item not as good quality as you expected? Return it! Also, don’t procrastinate and let it pass the time for return policy.
- Add free trials to your calendar to cancel. 30-day free trials hope and pray that you will either fall in love with their service OR that you will FORGET to cancel and then you are locked in with autopayments. Add it to your calendar in your phone to cancel a couple of days before the trial ends.
- Evaluate your subscriptions. Every couple of months go through all of your subscriptions and decide if you are still using them or not. So often we will sign up for Hulu or Discovery+ to watch a particular series and then forget to cancel. One way that they try and guilt you into staying is saying that if you come back it will be a higher price, even if it is, you will still be saving MORE money for the months not paying it at all.
Save Money On Laundry
- Only do full loads of laundry. I know it cane be tempting to do small loads of laundry, especially when there is an event coming up or you want to wear your favorite jeans again… but this can be very wasteful of water and electricity.
- Zip all the zippers up. Did you know that if you leave your zippers undone or down it can be very damaging to the other clothes being washed and dried? Zipping everything up before placing them in the washing machine will prevent them getting snagged on clothes.
- Wash clothes in cold water. It is a myth that your everyday clothes need to be washed in hot water. I wash everything on cold water in my house with the exception of towels and sheets. This saves money on your electric bill by not having to heat the water, helps prevent shrinkage, and the heat can break down dyes in the clothes.
- Hang dry as many clothes as you can. I hang dry a lot of items for a couple of different reasons. First, the clothes that can’t go in the dryer like bras or items that will shrink, and also items that are okay if they are a little wrinkled like t-shirts I wear to bed. By pulling out several items from the dryer this will result in your clothes drying faster, saving time and money on your electric bill.
- Get your dryer vents cleaned. I was surprised at how inexpensive having our dryer vents professionally cleaned was, only $109. Getting your dryer vents cleaned not only helps prevent house fires from the lint buildup but also helps reduce drying time which saves time and money!
MORE Ways to Save Money!
- Ladder: Get a quick, free quote on term life insurance, affordable, online term life insurance. No exam! No waiting! No hassles!
- GetUpside: Earn 35 cents per gallon on gas cash back when you download the app and use code FIAB20.
- Fetch Rewards is a free grocery savings app that rewards you just for snapping pictures of your receipts. That’s it. Really. Free gift cards on groceries on thousands of products every day, no matter where you get your groceries. Just scan your receipts and get gift cards from retailers like Amazon, Target, Ulta, Applebees. Use code QHKBH to earn 2,000 points ($2)!
- GoodRx: Free app that provides you savings of up to 80% on your prescriptions (even if you don’t have insurance). $5 sign up bonus!
- Rakuten: Get cash back on online purchases and automatic coupons and savings with their browser plugin… and remember, you have to make a $20 purchase to get your $20 for free!
- Blooom: FREE 401(k) or IRA analyzer, Let the experts take a peek at your retirement account. Get real advice on how it’s doing and how it could be performing better.
- Lively: A modern health savings account. Prepare for tomorrow by making smart decisions about finances and healthcare today. Lively HSAs are free for individuals and families, so you never have to worry about hidden costs.
- CIT Bank: BEST High-yield savings account, your bank shouldn’t be charging you money, instead, YOU should be making money off your money!
- Build Wealth by Investing in Index Funds Course: I’ve teamed up with my friend Jeremy from Personal Finance Club to teach you everything you need to know to invest in index funds! How to open an account, how much to invest, and how to choose an index fund. You’ll gain the knowledge and confidence to optimally invest and build wealth for decades.
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