One thing about budgeting is it can feel restrictive but you can enjoy a frugal living lifestyle without feeling like you’re on a strict budget. In this post, I’m going to give you some tips for frugal living. If you were wondering how to save money with money is tight you’re in the right place.
There are ways to save money on a tight budget that doesn’t seem like you are living on a restricted budget. These frugal living tips are things you can start today so you can really start saving money quickly.
To get a jump start on saving money you first need to know where your money is going and great way to do that is with a budget planner. You can download the free mini budget planner below!
When my husband and I decided to buy our house and live off of one income it became a necessity to live on a tight budget. We have kids to raise, a mortgage to pay, and mouths to feed. Our friends were going on vacations, buying new cars, and getting the latest and greatest new gadget which made me a little jealous.
I started feeling like I needed to keep up with the Jones’s but my desire for being a housewife and stay at home mom was stronger than keeping up with my friends and neighbors.
How to live frugally
I will go into more detail about exactly how below but here are my main tips for you to follow:
- No shopping while depressed
- Eat before you leave
- Baked at home
- Detailed meal plan
- Make your own coffee
- Cut the cable
- Watch movies at home
- Utilize leftovers
- Stock up on sale items
- Cost per use
- Happy hour
- Set a budget
- Know where your money is going
- Negotiate your bills
- Unplug items
- LED lights
- Make sure your home is sealed
- Program your thermostat
- Line dry clothes in the summer
- Give yourself an allowance to reduce unnecessary costs
- Buy in bulk
- Cook in bulk and freeze meals
- Set up an errand day
- Use coupons
- Price match
- Free activities
- Redbox and popcorn at home
- Go down to 1 car
- Look for used or repurpose before buying
Everyone likes seeing their home well maintained and good looking. Sometimes though, it may not be possible. Sometimes, you may even buy items that you do not need at that moment, just because they are on sale. More often than not, you may cheap out and buy a product which breaks apart in a few days, wasting even more money than what you spent on it.
However, it is completely possible to live grandly while on a frugal budget. With a little bit of planning and some wise decisions, it is totally possible for you to live in a grand manner without compromising on the lifestyle that you want.
Living frugally and not allowing yourself to spend on the things that you want, brings out the rebellious 15 year old in you. When you have some money left over, this 15 year old makes you spend it on something that you want but do not necessarily need. Hence, you ignore the rational adult in you wanting you to save the money for a rainy day.
How do I save money on a tight budget?
I do go into this more in depth with each tip I share but there are a few things you can do. Once you set your budget see if there’s anything that you’re budgeting for that isn’t a necessity. Are there ways that you can cut the budget by shopping at a different store or cutting cable and just using Netflix instead?
You only have so much money to work with and it’s important to live within your means. A few things that I did to really keep my spending in check were:
- Not shopping when I was depressed or mad
- Ate before I went out
- Baked at home
Know your moods and your triggers.
I found that when I was either depressed or mad when I went shopping I would buy things to cheer me up. Instead of going shopping I would go for a walk or call my friend to help me get out of the foul mood I was in. This helped with wasteful spending.
Before I went grocery shopping or even running errands I ate. Being tempted to stop and grab a Starbucks or a sandwich somewhere because I was hungry was a simple way to blow my budget. I know that I can make the food at home for a fraction of the cost so while I was training myself to spend less I ate at home as much as possible.
Baked goods are so expensive. I love to bake and found that a loaf of bread costs me under a dollar to make at home. It’s not hard to do and doesn’t take a lot of “hands-on time” to made and the best part, your house smells of freshly baked bread!
How can I save money fast?
If you are in need to save money fast there are a few things you can do. Set yourself a budget that will work for you. Make sure that you have enough left-over at the end of the month. If you have trouble finding ways to save money, look at negotiating your bills, eating at home, eating less meat and cheese, and cutting the cable. These are all things that really eat up a budget quickly.
How can I save money every month?
If you find yourself going to the credit card because you don’t have enough to hold you over at the end of the month it probably means that you are not living within your means. At the end of every month, you should have something left over so you’re not spiraling into debt.
Here are the simplest ways to save money every month:
- Eat breakfast and dinner at home
- Bring your lunch to work/school (seriously you can bring leftovers or make a lunch for $1-$2!)
- Make your own coffee ($5-$8 is too much for a drink!)
- Cut the cable
- Watch movies at home or use Redbox!
- Utilize leftovers
- Read below for more money saving tips!
Ways to save money on a tight budget.
Since our need for having nice things is something that isn’t going away and we are tempted every single day, I came up with ways that we were able to live frugally and save money. It took me a long time to get to the point where we are at but now it like second nature and we don’t feel like we live frugally.
Below are some things that our family does to save money each and every day/week/month without feeling like we are going without.
Stock Up When Items You Love Are On Sale
There are certain conveniences that you absolutely need, and cannot go without. However, some of them might be too expensive for you to buy on a frugal budget. To counteract this issue, keep checking when those items go on sale. You can always save them for further use. For the best prices on everyday conveniences, head over to PriceGrabber.com to find the best prices for the products you are searching for. Additionally, for the best deals in groceries, check out MyGroceryDeals.com, and be assured that you will find the best quality groceries, for the best prices. You can also begin collecting coupons, as they are the best way to get amazing deals on products.
Cost Per Use
This is where your decisions and planning come into play. There are a lot of products in the market which may seem pricier when you see their tag, but are actually saving you more money in the long run. Most of the time, people don’t realize this. When living frugally, every dollar counts. For example. Two small dishwashing liquids may be costing more than one large soap. Oftentimes, you may be buying the small one, as you think that it is saving you a dollar each. However, in the long run, buying the big dishwashing soap can save you five dollars in the long run.
Make a Detailed Meal Plan
Making a meal plan is fine. But making a detailed plan entails including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the snacks that you want to have in the middle. Making a detailed plan will help you save up on groceries, and also prevent you from making grocery runs in the middle of the week. For the best way to save your money, choose from the products that are on sale. Even if you buy primarily snacks from sales, you can save a lot of money.
Happy Hours/ Appetizers/ Kids Eat Free
A lot of fast food eateries and restaurants have this policy nowadays. In order to bring in more customers, they usually offer happy hours, or free food of some sort. However, these are the perfect eating out options for you as well. If you have children, search up the restaurants that offer kids eat free services. Otherwise, go to places during happy hours or when food is served at a lesser price, so that you can enjoy all the finer things in life, without having to compromise in any way, shape, or form. In some places, appetizers are free or come at a discounted rate. Those are pretty filling, and you and your spouse can easily share a plate.
Know Where Your Money is Going
Without this part, your list is incomplete. Set up a budget, and live by it. Organize all your bills. Track where your money is going. If you are spending too much on electricity, think about ways you can cut it down. Furthermore, with a budget in place, you will be completely prompt in paying off your bills. I this way, you can avoid problems like payment of late fees or interest charges.
When you are setting your budget, think about:
- Pay off debt
- Save for retirement
- Unexpected expenses
Interest rates can really cut into your budget if you’re in debt make sure this is one of your top priorities to allow you to, later on, build your savings account and allow you to create savings goals for the long term and short term time frame.
Give yourself an allowance to reduce unnecessary costs
We set up a cash allowance system for us to follow. We used that money for things like eating out, fun money, or anything that we wanted to do. It kept our budget tighter and allowed us to still buy “fun” things.
Having cash great because if I wanted something I could get it if I had enough cash. It did take a little bit of time for me to adjust. But now I’m so used to it that it doesn’t bother me and I’m able to save up to buy something that may be more than my weekly allowance.
This eliminated the coffee purchase here, or out to lunch purchase there, and other things that ate up our money each month. This is by far the smartest thing we did to help save our budget and our bank account.
Negotiate new rates on your bills
Did you know that you can actually negotiate some of your bills? Every year I call our internet and cable company and ask for a deal and they do it! Instead of paying the regular price of the internet and cable these companies have deals going on all of the time. Call them up and ask them for what the current deals are. They’d rather give you a good deal than lose you as a customer.
Put electronics and lights on timers or unplug them
Did you know that you draw electricity while things are plugged in? This is a very simple way to save money on your electric bill without feeling a pinch at all. No need to bundle up or run around with limited clothing. By unplugging electronics or lights, not in use, you’ll be saving yourself money with minimal effort.
You may never have to buy a light again for your house if you use LEDs they aren’t too expensive anymore and I know I see rebates all of the time from our electric company to buy LEDs. You are using less electricity and buying something that will last a lot longer allowing you to save money in the long run!
Cut the cable
If you are struggling to save money each month this is something that you can let go of. YouTube and Netflix are great ways to entertain you. Cable TV is expensive and there are great shows and movies on the internet for you to enjoy.
When we are in need of tightening our budget, TV is the first to go.
Movie night in
Going to the movies costs us at least $40 and that is only if we pay for the movie tickets at matinee prices. If we miss the cut off and want a snack we are paying more than $50 for 2 hours of entertainment.
We rarely go to the theater anymore because we can watch a movie at home for $2 renting from Redbox. Sure we don’t see the movie the day it comes out but I’m okay with waiting. I can snuggle up in my comfy clothes, eat popcorn, and pause the movie if someone needs to use the bathroom.
Most living rooms have awesome TV’s and surround sounds systems so why spend the money on all of that awesome equipment if you’re not going to use it? The next time you want to save some $$ watch a movie at home.
Normally the county and city have free community activities they put on every so often. This is a great way to see the community, meet the city council, and get out and do something that doesn’t cost anything.
In our area they do Friday movie night twice a month in the summer, they have Santa pictures in the winter, and a lot of other fun things to do throughout the year for families to take advantage of.
Make sure your home is sealed
During the summer and winter months, it is really important that your home is sealed and not losing heat in the winter or gaining heat in the summer. Making sure that your doors and windows are tight is something you can do to save a lot of money on your heating and cooling bill.
Program your thermostat
This is something that takes just a couple of minutes to do and will save you money without even thinking about it. Keeping the house cooler at night while you are under covers is a no brainer so using programming your thermostat to reflect that will help you sleep better and save you money.
If you are away all day you don’t need the heater on or the ac running. Set up awake/sleep temps and away and home temps to help you save money.
Line dry clothes in the summer
Put up a clothesline in the backyard during the summer months and line dry your clothes. This will save you money in many different ways. The dryer heats the house during the time of the year you’re trying to keep your home cool and you’ll have your clothes dried for free by the sun! It’s my favorite ways to dry my clothes.
Save money with food
Here are some simple frugal living tips when it comes to your food budget:
- Buy in bulk
- Cook in bulk and freeze meals
- Set up an errand day
- Use coupons
- Price match
When you are at the grocery store there are many things you can do to save money. I love the bulk food section of our grocery store. We save money by not paying for the shelf space they buy or the packaging they provide. The pasta, flour, and sugar are just as good in the bulk food section as it is in the packaged section of the store.
I always use coupons and utilize price matching. Just about every store there is price matches bring in the ad or show them the price on the app and they’ll adjust the price right there. Bring in manufactured coupons and store coupons to save even more money.
There’s something in my DNA, I cannot make a small meal. We always have leftovers. Since we always do, I free half and use those another day. Not only am I saving money but I’m saving time too!
I know that this post is a lot but I wanted to show you that there we a lot of simple ways you can live frugally without feeling like you are. By looking at your finances and making realistic financial goals for you and your family you can live like royalty on a tight budget. Don’t forget to download the free budget planner to help you create a frugal budget.