Frugal living tips to save money in 2024

Would you like to learn the best frugal living tips to save money and get started on your journey toward a thrifty lifestyle? Perhaps you are looking for ways to save more money and reach your financial goals or simply want to make your life easier.

Maybe you're overwhelmed by consumerism, and just looking to make life a bit simpler.

Well, in this post, we’ll look at how frugal habits can help you maintain a frugal lifestyle.

What does it actually mean to live frugally?

As we learn more about the impact of consumerism on our environment, many people are reevaluating lifestyle choices. Making thrifty decisions is becoming top of mind. And with so much going on in the world, now is the perfect time for learning how to make your money stretch even further in Australia, by applying simple money-saving tips.

Frugal living may seem like you're settling for lower quality or becoming a minimalist. Being frugal is a smart decision. The key to enjoying the good things in life (simple living) and still achieving your path of success is to make your sacrifices more manageable.

It’s also a misconception that frugal living is about being debt-free – that’s not the case at all. It’s all about reducing your discretionary income spent on items that simply don’t add to your enjoyment or help you reach your goals.

Why do many people embrace frugal living?

The benefits of living a frugal lifestyle are many and compelling. If you are living on a tight budget, why not reduce your expenses by choosing frugal living? There are three key reasons many people choose to start living more frugally:

  1. A desire to find time to think deeply about what's most valuable in life
  2. Embracing a mindful approach when spending money
  3. Aiming to live with minimalism, which leads to less stress as people can declutter

In this post, we’ve compiled a heap of the best frugal living tips that can help you embrace financial freedom.

Know what's in the pantry

Most people have a lot of food lying around in their kitchen, and this knowledge can save you money. Make an inventory of what you have on hand and try to whip up something from the leftovers or items in your fridge.

You could even consider making it a game. Pause grocery store trips for a week or so, to use up what you have in the house to kickstart your frugal living goals. Not only will you work through some of the clutter in your pantry, but your money will also stay in your pocket.

Get a handle on where you're spending

It is crucial to be aware of where your money is being spent. All too often, people find themselves having to radically cut back their spending. The first step towards doing so is making a habit of recording what exactly you're spending your money on for a while.

To achieve frugal living, one must make a budget and identify discretionary spending. Most people can do this for free with available apps or even just jotting down shopping habits on a piece of paper.

Save money at stores by shopping with cashback sites

Frugal living doesn’t mean you need to stop purchasing things online – the key is extracting savings and extra money back from every purchase.

With online shopping, many people don't realize they can earn cold hard cash in the process just by browsing their favourite sites. Some cashback sites offer up to 20% back on purchases.

But where to start? From time to time, online rewards sites like Prizerebel and Swagbucks run generous cashback offers. These are all worth looking into.

It doesn't matter whether you're shopping for groceries, at department stores, or for electronics. Cashback sites can be great to help you make purchases and save you money.

Travel frugally

Frugal living doesn't mean depriving yourself of a holiday. Rather, you just need to think carefully. When traveling abroad, you can save quite a bit by visiting during off-seasons and still enjoy an amazing trip with your family – just be sure to pack some snacks!

There are dozens of websites with travel hacks outlining how you can see destinations and save money by walking and cycling.

You could also save money by limiting the use of taxis and restaurants by having access to a kitchen at your accommodation.

Register for money-making apps

These days, there are plenty of money-making apps out there that can help you achieve a side hustle.

You can get cashback, take online surveys, invest your spare change, or even sell feet pics on a marketplace with these money-making apps.

Although none of these apps will make you rich, think of them as a fun side hustle that can complement your frugal living journey. They could also be used to pass the time while earning some extra cash.

Use coupons

One of the best frugal living tips is to use coupons. Groceries are expensive, even when you shop around for discounts. With frugal living, it is common for devotees to save money by sourcing and using discount codes. These small savings can add up quickly over time, so they are not to be sneezed at.

Plan your meals early

Meal planning and prepping can be a key component in achieving frugal living, for you and your family. The key is making time to cook meals quickly at home on the weekends (and possibly after work) so that everyone can have healthy, affordable options throughout the week.

Making meals in bulk and storing them for later use will help you save money as well as time. Many meal-prep blogs have recipes and tips to make your food go further without breaking your back or wallet.

Never pay with credit card interest

The benefit of owning a credit card depends on the type you choose. Some cards offer travel rewards, cash-back offers, and frequent flyer points, but many come with interest rates as high as 21%.

However, with frugal living, you must always avoid interest charges by paying your bills in full and on time, which helps avoid credit card debt.

Before applying for a new credit card, make sure the applicable interest rates will be manageable. If you think you may need to take out a balance from time to time, consider opening a credit card with an introductory low-interest offer or one that supports balance transfers.

frugal living enjoy life

Get free stuff

Wouldn't it be nice to have products mailed to you free of charge for trying? Many frugal living devotees get free samples regularly, and there's no secret way to do so. Simply browse free sample sites on the web, or follow coupon and freebie sites on social media.

From free beauty products to baby trials and dining vouchers, there are plenty of opportunities to receive free samples. Most come in the post at no cost which means you can enjoy some little luxuries while still maintaining a frugal lifestyle.

Garage sales

Garage sales are a great way to find tools, books, or furniture that you need at bargain prices. The trick is that you have to go, intending to buy only what you set out for.

Change your mindset

To improve your chances of hitting a budget, try changing the way you think about saving money.

Think very carefully before making any purchase and ask yourself whether it will be worth spending that money on it later. Take turns with your partner or spouse to see who can make the most difficult reductions in their lifestyle first or take each other through a series of challenges.

Prioritize paying off debt

Eliminating debt is important when you want to improve your financial situation and live a frugal lifestyle. You should prioritize paying off debt before anything else. Thereafter, frugal living will help you live within your means and avoid having too much debt.

Create money-saving games

In this tough economy, things are generally about cost-cutting and saving money. Gamification is a means of turning frugal living into something enjoyable.

Several apps allow you to turn cutting costs into a game. For example, savings bingo and the 52-week money challenge have been popular for years.

Dust off your piggy bank

Setting aside a portion of your loose change each day is an easy way to save and kickstart your frugal living journey.

Here's an example: You could save $500 after a year, simply by setting aside $2 each day. You could make this happen by only doing two things per day: giving up one item from your daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner order or giving up one drink with your evening meal (e.g., soda).

Once you have saved up a large amount of money, be sure to take it to a bank where you can deposit it with no fees.

Indulge yourself with inexpensive luxuries

One way to enjoy a taste of the high life is to focus on “frugal luxuries” – essentially, these are products or experiences that offer higher returns for your money, thanks to their appreciating value.

Items from these categories not only save more money but can also add a luxurious touch to your day.

Take up a side job

Thanks to the internet, there are hundreds of ways you can potentially make money online.

Whether you're looking for a way to replace your regular earnings or just want something on the side, there are many ways to earn some extra money by using your time/skills.

Stop paying for a daily coffee

Depending on where you live, the average price of a takeaway coffee is $4 or more, which over one year could add up to a significant amount.

At home, why not brew coffee with a stovetop machine or percolator, and rely on locally roasted beans?

A coffee maker with all the bells and whistles will save you money by allowing you to make your morning latte at home. Plus, your coffee will taste better knowing you are achieving your frugal living goals.

frugal living watch the dollars

Hold date night at home

It’s a common misconception that date night must mean an expensive restaurant or movie. However, it doesn’t always need to be this way to create a memorable and fun time with your partner. Create fun, affordable activities that are both enjoyable for each other but also within your budget as a couple.

This could be rigging up a projector and making popcorn for a ‘movie' night in, playing board games, or even cooking a delicious meal together.

Dabble in testing products

These days, it's easier than ever to earn money and make a living. New opportunities for digital work have opened up the way for freelancers to receive new products in exchange for an honest review or preview.

Companies must solicit feedback from consumers early in the design phase of a new product to help ensure the final product meets their needs.

Product testing allows you to try out new products with no risk of investment on your part. Many product testing opportunities are available for purchase on legitimate websites and apps.

Use a grocery shopping list app

It is easy to waste money on groceries if you don’t plan your purchases ahead of time.

Fortunately, many different apps can help you achieve frugal living with your grocery shopping. Perhaps the most helpful app for those who are trying to keep up with their grocery list while out shopping or cooking is Grocery List. It makes it easy for you to keep track of what you need and automatically adds items when you're at the store, making sure that your household always has enough food on hand.

Ask your bank for a better loan rate

Whether you have a personal loan or a home loan, it's always good to shop around for the best rate. Now is the time to speak to your bank and ask for a cheaper interest rate.

Banks want customers to stay with them, so it's worth asking for a better deal. Negotiating a lower interest rate on your home loan could save you significant amounts of money every month and year.

Don’t make it a one-off event to call the bank and ask for better rates. Frugal living enthusiasts can save significant money by doing this every year. Why not set an appointment in your calendar so you remember for next time?

While we’re on bank accounts, how about opening a goal-based savings account?

Shop around for the best insurance deals

Insurance is a necessity for people who live frugal lifestyles. The cost of insurance policies can vary significantly, so it’s important to compare costs before selecting one.

Compare your current premium rates or ask providers about a cheaper rate. Just be sure to read the product disclosure to check the plan will meet all your needs before you sign up.

Buy secondhand items

Even when we live frugally, items need to be bought from time to time. But instead of shopping direct from a retailer, why not consider buying an item that has already been used?

Check thrift stores or online outlets to find high-quality used items that can work for your household. Shopping for secondhand items is both economical and helps reduce waste, helping you to save money.

Ditch the bookstore

Reading is an enjoyable pastime, but the cost of purchasing books can quickly add up.

A library not only offers access to books, but it can also offer a wide variety of free entertainment. Whether you're looking for movies, music, or magazines, your local library is likely the perfect resource on hand filled with options.

Or, buy your books from Amazon or Book Depository for half the price of your local bookstore.

Complete online surveys

Living frugally is not just about reducing your spending. There are a few ways to earn money through activities such as completing paid surveys. Most of these opportunities are available on the internet or through your phone, so they can be good for someone who likes to stay busy all day!

Providing accurate feedback to market research surveys can be a satisfying way to receive compensation. Sites like Octopus Group, YouGov, Toluna Influencers and Ipsos iSay are good places to start.

If you are seeking legitimate, paid survey opportunities, this page will help you learn more.

Purchase groceries with discount gift cards

Grocery shopping is unavoidable, even if you're living your best frugal life. But did you know that by buying discounted gift cards, you can save on your grocery and drugstore purchases?

By doing this, you could reduce your grocery bill by 5%. This could save you a lot over one year, expediting your journey towards financial independence.

There are many ways to purchase discounted gift cards, whether through websites in the industry or cashback sites.

Eat at home more often

Many of us love to visit restaurants, but the cost of eating out can quickly add up over a year.

Eat your food at home more often. Not only will you control your diet and what you put into your body, but you'll also save money on the food budget, helping you to meet your frugal living goals.

Return items you have no use for

Have you purchased anything that you regret buying or engaged in impulse buying recently? If so, why not go back to the store or ship it back and get your money back? Many retailers have generous return policies that you could be able to take advantage of. It's a small amount of effort to step up your frugal living efforts!

You might want to also consider how you can repurpose those regretful purchases.

Save money by using grocery store loyalty programs

Most major retailers offer customer loyalty programs and joining these programs can be worthwhile.

There are countless ways to earn points through my rewards program. Some of the most attractive benefits include earning points on purchases like food, alcohol, and insurance – but this list could go on forever!

When you can, try to walk or bike

Cars can be expensive, so walking or biking will save you money in the long term. Take advantage of these opportunities as much as possible. Not only will you reach your frugal living aims sooner, but you’ll also save on gas and stay active!

Also, consider ditching that expensive gym membership.

DIY

Ask yourself – are you paying for a cleaner, or gardener, or for repairs that you can do yourself? The vast cost of services these days is in the labour, and yours is free!

frugal living save money

Conclusion: Why living a thrifty lifestyle is advantageous

The word “frugal” is often misunderstood. Some people assume that it means something negative.

The concept of frugal living may lead you to believe that it consists of bread, water and deprivation, but this couldn't be further from the truth.

In reality, a frugal lifestyle can lead to a more meaningful quality of life. You don't need to deprive yourself. You can once in a while have a small splurge to celebrate achieving your goals.

At the end of the day, the key to frugal living is simply being mindful about where you spend.

Frugal Living Tips Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What does frugal living mean?

Frugal living simply means being mindful about where and what you spend your money (and time) on.

Why is it important to be frugal?

Simply put, you'll have more money and time to invest and put into worthwhile activities that add meaning to your life.

What is frugal behaviour?

Frugal behaviour is all about acquiring goods or services in a manner that forces you to question whether the purchase is worthwhile.

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