Need easy ways to save that actually work? I’m a thrifty mom of 4 and these are my favorite frugal ways to save money! And they can help you trim your budget too.
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I think it’s safe to say that I got my love of saving money from my Dad. He’s a great storyteller and my kids always beg him to tell them about when he was younger. He includes lots of little details that make it easy to imagine what things were like back then and it’s always fun to get a peek into that era.
One of the things that comes through so often in his stories, without him even meaning it to, is how mindful he was of saving money and living frugally. And I just have to smile. Because many times the way he talks about things is how I would think about it too!
Without even trying it, I tend to look at life through the lens of frugality.
But I know it’s not that way for everyone. There are so many ways that you can save and cut your expenses and if you aren’t a natural at saving money, it quickly can feel overwhelming! And I can totally understand why.
That’s why I wanted to share my favorite easy frugal ways to save money with you. I tried to think of things that are relatively simple to do but that will make a significant impact on your budget.
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I’m a busy mom, after all, so I get it. Most of the time if it isn’t simple, I won’t do it!
So I wanted these frugal money-saving tips to be easily doable, allowing you to feel the success of cutting your expenses without taking a lot of time to do it.
One word of caution though if you happen to be new to thinking about how to live frugally and save money. I recommend that you choose just two or three of these money-saving tips to focus on instead of trying to take on all twenty-five.
You want to make it easy to succeed, not set yourself up for failure! Once you get those 2 to 3 in place, try doing a few more things.
Little by little you’ll see the savings increase!
Best Frugal Ways to Save Money
Grocery Saving Tips
1. Use money-saving grocery apps
Grocery apps are such an easy way to save a little extra on your groceries! And one of my favorite things is that they often have savings offers that are good on any brand of a product such as milk, bread, fruit, diapers and more.
Here are my favorites:
– Often has offers for any brand of a product such as $0.25 on any bread. Also occasionally there are offers to get a product totally free!
- Fetch Rewards
– This one is the absolute easiest to use…you earn just for simply scanning your receipt. And they will also figure out if you bought any items that qualify for additional savings.
2. Buy produce on sale or in season
It’s no secret that produce is one of those things that can quickly rack up your grocery bill!
Instead of grabbing whatever catches your eye, stop and look to see what’s on sale and buy that instead. Even just figuring out what fruits and vegetables are in season and then shopping for those is often helpful since they will most likely be less expensive.
3. Buy generic
Unless I have a coupon for a brand name item and can get it cheaper, I pretty much always buy the generic version. Most of the time I can’t tell much of a difference in quality anyway.
And I highly recommend shopping at Aldi if you have one in your area! They are inexpensive and even have a money-back guarantee on their products (all of which are generic brand), so if for some reason you try something and really don’t like it, you have nothing to lose!
4. Go meatless at least once a week
Since meat is so expensive, choosing to go meatless at least once a week is a super easy way to save!
Need recipe ideas? Check out these 30 easy meatless meal ideas.
5. Buy meat in bulk
When you do buy meat, it’s almost always cheaper to buy it in bulk! At a grocery store, look for family-size packs which are typically at least 5 lbs. in weight, but are priced less per pound than the smaller packages.
If you don’t think you’ll use it all within a couple of days, package the remaining portion in a freezer bag and save for another meal later!
6. Pack your lunches
Even if you spend $7 a day on lunch just 3 days a week, that ends up being an expense of over $1,000 a year! Wow!
Packing your own lunch is obviously a great thing to do if you want to live frugally and save money.
7. Make your own convenience foods
This is such an easy way to save money and be healthier! A few of my favorite convenience foods to make are: Homemade Bisquick Mix, Homemade Cream Soup Mix, Homemade Salad Dressing, Easy Healthier Alfredo Sauce, Homemade Cool Whip and Homemade Chocolate Syrup.
They are all simple to make and don’t take a lot of time to mix up either.
RELATED: 35 Foods to Make from Scratch and Stop Buying
8. Stop eating out
View eating out as a special privilege that only happens at most a couple of times a month. Instead, start cooking your own meals.
Even if you cheat and buy a few frozen pizzas here and there, you’ll still be spending less than you would if you went out to eat!
Need some easy meal ideas? Check out my $400 a Month Menu Plans!
RELATED: Struggling to make cooking at home work for you? Click here to get a FREE 14 day trial of eMeals! eMeals is a great way to help meals at home feel doable! They provide you with all of the recipes that you need as well as your shopping lists, which saves you time and makes eating at home super easy.
9. Stop throwing away food
Most Americans throw out over $1,000 worth of food annually! Thankfully, there are lots of easy things you can do to reduce your food waste.
And I love this list of practical uses for 8 foods that you very likely are throwing out! Such a simple way to save.
Savings on Household Expenses
1. Stop using paper towels
I know. They’re so handy to grab but they aren’t exactly the cheapest thing around, especially considering the fact that you throw them out once you use them!
Switch to using rags instead. Cut up old towels, t-shirts and sheets into whatever size you like and you have handy washable rags!
2. Stretch your hand soap
And no, I’m not meaning that you should skip washing your hands. Yuck!
I’m talking about making your own foaming soap. It’s super easy and it will make one small bottle of regular soap last at least 4 times as long! One of my favorite frugal mom tips!
3. Use homemade cleaners
I love using my homemade bathroom cleaner– it’s super effective and way less expensive!
I also use a lot of vinegar and water for cleaning. You can’t get much cheaper than that!
4. Watch detergent amounts and wash only full loads
According to the American Cleaning Institute, many people use twice the amount of laundry detergent than required. Not only that, it’s common for people to also use the same amount of laundry detergent no matter what size load they wash.
Making sure that you use the correct amount of laundry detergent per load is a simple way to save money!
And I also recommend doing full loads as much as possible. Not only will it save you electricity, if you pay for water, you’ll also save quite a few gallons too in the long run by doing only full loads!
5. Hang out your laundry
Dryers are one of the biggest energy hogs in your house. We use our drying racks a lot and we also love our retractable clothesline! It’s perfect for city living!
6. Switch your razors
Love quality razors but hate the high cost? Switch to Harry’s and enjoy the best of both worlds!
Their cheapest razor blades cost just $1.94 each! Check out Harry’s here.
7. Change light bulbs
We switched to nearly all CFL light bulbs about a year ago and were amazed at how much it lowered our electric bill!
We easily saved at least $15 a month. And while they do cost a bit more upfront, the savings definitely makes them worth it!
Ideas to Save Money on Miscellaneous Expenses
1. Reduce Prescription Costs
Are you uninsured? Do you have a high deductible insurance plan? Or maybe you need to take medication that isn’t covered by your insurance? As a former longtime pharmacy technician, I know just how expensive prescription medications can be!
Getting a free prescription savings card from InsideRx.com may save you money. It offers discounts averaging 78% on generic medications and 37% on select brand medications and can be used at more than 50,000 participating pharmacies.
They even have savings on select pet medications (human medicines commonly prescribed for pets) through their Inside Rx Pets card.
*Inside Rx is not insurance. Use is subject to eligibility restrictions and other terms and conditions at www.InsideRx.com.
2. Use the library
Unless it’s a book that you know you really want to own, stop buying books and borrow them from your library instead!
I also just discovered Hoopla. It’s a great way to borrow ebooks, audiobooks and movies from your local library, but from the convenience of your home. So handy!
3. Swap the hotel
When we travel, we love using Airbnb for our accommodations. Not only is it often cheaper, but it’s also a lot more personal and we can usually find a place that has a kitchen or kitchenette too, which allows us to save money on food by making some of our own meals.
We’ve used Airbnb both in the U.S. and also in Europe. In fact, it was one of the big ways that we saved money on our family trip to Oxford, England last summer!
Sign up here for an Airbnb account and you’ll get a $40 travel credit. How’s that for helping you save money?
4. Save on Gas
Ride your bike or walk when possible. If you are using your car, combine errands to save on gas. If you are heading to an appointment or the grocery store, think about what other stops you could make while heading in that direction. It’s amazing how those little changes can add up to big savings!
The Upside app is another great, relatively easy way to save. It partners with thousands of gas stations to offer you cash back on your fuel purchases, typically around $0.05/gallon savings.
Download the Upside App here and use code CACTUS25 to earn up to $025/gallon cash back on your first fill-up.
5. Switch to a cheaper cell phone provider
Chances are you are spending way more on your phone bill than you’d need to. There are lots of great inexpensive options available that could easily save you $100 a month!
We’ve used Ting for cheap cellphone service for over 5 years and don’t spend more than $35 a month total for my husband and me. Yes, total. It’s awesome!
6. Swap babysitting
If you’re like most parents, one of the big things that makes it hard to go on dates is finding a babysitter or being able to afford the cost of one.
An easy solution is to find another family that you trust and swap babysitting with them. This has been a big lifesaver, or maybe I should say marriage saver, for us!
RELATED: 20 Cheap Date Ideas that You’ll Love
7. Skip the bought coffee and coffee drinks
Obviously, regular coffee is easy to brew at home, but did you know that you can also easily make your own frappes too? A quick search on Pinterest will help you discover lots of easy-to-make homemade lattes as well.
8. Drink more water
Not only will you be healthier, but you’ll also save big bucks if you skip the beverages both at home and when you go out to eat.
9. Get cashback when shopping online
If you’re going to shop online anyway, why not save in every way you can?
When I shop online, I love earning cashback with Rakuten! I’ve been using Rakuten since 2008 and earn an average of 5% cashback on almost all of my online purchases! It’s such a simple way to save money.
Interested in saving money with Rakuten too? Get $20 automatically if you create a Rakuten account through my link!
10. Eat out for less
When you do decide to eat out, watch for coupons that you can use to save on your bill.
Another great option is to join restaurant fan clubs (links can usually be found on their website) to receive money-saving offers. If you have children, learn which restaurants allow kids to eat free or for half price and dine at those places.
For chain restaurants, we also love saving by buying discounted gift cards from Raise.com and then using them to pay for our meal.
If you create an account at Raise.com through this link, you’ll also get $5 to use toward your first purchase as long as the transaction is within 30 days of signing up!
11. Buy greeting cards at Dollar Tree
I’ve been buying almost all of my greeting cards at Dollar Tree for years. You really can’t beat two cards for $1.00! That’s easily less than half of what you’d pay anywhere else.
Along the same line, I also like to buy gift bags and wrap there as well.
RELATED: What to Buy at Dollar Tree: My 35 Frugal Favorites
12. Shop Discount First
I don’t have time these days to go out and do a lot of shopping, but when I do, I usually first check places like Marshall’s, Ross and Burlington for the items that I need since they consistently have good prices!
13. Use Daily Deal Sites
Daily deal sites are a great option for saving money if you like to shop online! And there are loads of different daily deal sites anymore, so you’re sure to find a site that works for you.
Some of my favorites are Groupon (savings on experiences and restaurants), Groopdealz (home decor, baby & kids and a little clothing too), Zulily (clothing, home decor, household items, toys and more) and One Kings Lane (great for home decor and kitchen items).
The only downside of these sites is that the deals are usually for a limited time, so you need to check the sites frequently to find good deals.
Or you can do like I do and just occasionally pop in to see what they have to offer. Sure, you might miss some great buys, but you can still benefit without investing quite as much time.
We buy our meat in 40 pound cases for a discounted price. I can usually get a 40 pounds case of boneless skinless chicken breast for 40 dollars at Weaver Markets neat me.
Yes, that’s a great option if you are able to do that! We used to live in the area that I assume you live in if you are near Weaver Markets and I loved doing this too.
I also utilize CoinOut and Receipt Hog for cash back. You snap pictures of your receipts and they give you some change/coin for them which you can eventually deposit into your paypal account. Also take advantage of Swagbucks for free coin…do the surveys (sure everyone knows this) but snap those grocery receipts also. They will give you a little extra swag for them!
We switched from the CFL bulbs to LED and the cost went down greatly. I was surprised at the savings!
As for the other things we do most of those minus the greeting cards (I don’t buy these anymore EVER). We repurpose left overs and turn them into different meals or throw them in soup and have a “leftover” night. Luckily my husband isn’t picky about food and will pretty much eat anything I serve (minus squash and sweet potatoes). Another frugal way to save — make your own breads (i was surprised you didn’t mention this or did I miss it?) I make homemade buns every weekend for the work week for egg sandwiches (hubby was shocked at the price of a loaf of bread being $4 and asked me to do this instead for his breaky sammich) we also make our own buttermilk biscuits and cornbread. We don’t really eat a lot of loaf bread and now we eat zero loaf bread he prefers the buns instead.
Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to be cheap!!
I love to live frugal because I know that it will all pay off in the end.
Thanks for sharing. I agree that choosing to go meatless at least once a week is a super easy way to save! We tried this one and it work for us.
And there are so many great, delicious meatless recipes too!