We all know that less is more. There are loads of reasons we should all try to live a little more frugally: so we can save more, so we can give more away, because it feels better to spend money on experiences rather than accumulating things.
But how can we practically save money? Here are 20 easy ways you can approach your life with more frugality.
1. Meal Plan and Shop with a Grocery List
Don’t buy unnecessary food. Know what you need for the week – make note of the nights you’ll be out and which nights you’ll cook at home and then plan what you’ll need for the week before you get to the grocery store. And don’t get caught up in impulse purchases in the checkout line either – those little purchases can still add up!
I use this adorable shopping list + weekly meal planner.
2. Know the price for common goods
Know what common groceries, home supplies, and other regular purchases should cost you, so you don’t end up paying more at the store. This goes hand in hand with shopping around – check a few sources before you make a purchase (this is even easier with online shopping).
3. Take packed lunches to work
We all enjoy a work lunch out with colleagues, but on the days where you don’t have a lunch meeting, make homemade food in with you.
4. Reduce visits to the dry cleaner
Some clothes just have to be dry cleaned, but if an item of clothing can be hand-washed or machine washed on cold, take the time to do it and save on your dry cleaning bill.
5. Try alternatives to major supermarkets
Finding an ethnic grocery store will expand your cuisine options and probably end up saving you quite a bit of money.
6. Rethink your transportation method
If you tend to resort to Uber or Lyft, consider taking public transport or walking. Or, at the very least, look around for any rideshare coupons available online.
7. Shop seasonally
Buy seasonal produce – it’s cheaper, healthier, and tastes better.
8. Search for deals or coupon codes online
Whenever you’re making an online purchase (rental car, home goods, groceries, etc) search for coupon codes. Sometimes there’s nothing available, but lots of the time you’ll find free shipping codes or even 20% off your purchase.
9. DIY your beauty routine
If you typically go for expensive facials or weekly manicures, switch it up and DIY some of your beauty routines. Maybe get your nails done professionally every other week and do them yourself on the off weeks.
10. Watch your thermostat
You can save money and lower your energy output if you pay attention to your thermostat – make sure to change it when you leave for work and before travel. There’s no sense in heating or cooling an empty house.
11. Learn how to make simple repairs around your house
Youtube is an excellent place to learn how to make simple repairs around your house! Or ask a friend (or maybe even your dad) to teach you how to make easy fixes around your house. Always consult a professional on major projects or anything involving wiring – unless you really know what you’re doing!
12. Cancel your TV plan
With Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, etc why keep your cable? This one could save you a few hundred dollars a year!
13. DIY gifts for your family and friends
DIY *good* gifts for your family and friends – actually learn how to make something or make something they would really like. This can be anything from DIY spa items to homemade food to fine art.
14. Drop your gym membership and find another way to exercise
Don’t drop your membership if you really won’t work out somewhere else, but there are lots of ways to stay in shape outside of a gym – running, biking, hiking, playing tennis, joining a sports league.
15. Make your coffee at home
Ugh, I know. This little tip can add up to hundreds of dollars of savings a year. Buy yourself a great coffee maker (this aeropress, for instance, is cheap and life-changing!)
16. Buy the store brand
Pay attention when you’re at the store and compare the store brand to name brand items. If you’re unsure, do a quick online search to make sure the quality matches – you’ll probably find that you won’t notice any difference.
17. Use vinegar as a cleaning agent
Depending on your cleaning schedule, the cost of multiple types of cleaning products can really add up. Vinegar is dirt cheap and, diluted with a little water, is an excellent floor, bathroom, and kitchen cleaner.
18. Commit to finding free activities
Look up your city’s free days for museums. Visit some public gardens or parks. Go on a long hike. Find ways to have fun for free!
19. Skip happy hour or brunch and go for a picnic
Brunch is the best, but it’s also usually expensive. If your friends want to go out but you don’t want to spend the cash, invite them out for a picnic brunch and have everyone bring something. Same for happy hour – make your own!
20. Plan large purchases in advance
Shop around and look for sales. If you need to make a large purchase like an appliance, car, or vacation know when the best time of year to buy is (usually there are annual sales) and compare prices so you’ll know when to buy.