I hear excuses all the time. People are posting on Facebook or chatting in line at the grocery store about how the taxes are too high or they have too much debt. All the reasons they can’t save to their emergency funds or retirement.
How far are you willing to go before you realize that changes need to be made? It is time to get frugal, my people. Time to get a little crazy and maybe a little extreme. And it is time to increase your savings and get out of debt with these frugal hacks.
Cutting back in certain areas will give you some breathing room if you are living paycheck to paycheck. It will also give you some extra money to pay off debt or save for something you need. It is also a great way to save some extra money if you want to go on a fun vacation!
Kitchen Budget Tips
1) Meal plan. My grocery ebook comes with a meal planner. Amazon sells meal planners, too! Either way, plan out your meals, so you know what items you need to put on your grocery list. Which brings me to the next frugal hack.
2) Create a grocery list. And then after you do, do not stray from said list. If you forget something, go without until the next planned trip. Do not shop without a grocery list!
3) Avoid pre-packaged foods. They are such a scam. Yes, easier but so much more money. Let’s use animal crackers as an example. Amazon sells 32-ounce bag of animal crackers for $3.55 less than twenty 1 ounce bags! So not only is it $3.55 LESS, but you also get 12 more ounces!!!
4) Save bones and vegetable scraps for soups and stocks. So easy to do right in the crockpot or electric pressure cooker. Just cover with water and let cook all day. Cool, strain, and store in the freezer. I use glass mason jars in the freezer. Just leave room for expansion, so they don’t break.
5) Eat leftovers. Don’t be like that. It’s the same meal you had last night or two nights ago. You liked it, remember? If you store it in a glass container, it won’t taste any different.
6) Drink more water. Not only is it a budget hack, its better for you. The majority of us (myself included) are dehydrated. We all need more water. Don’t buy bottles of water, invest in a refillable water bottle. Klean Kanteen water bottles are my favorites, but they are not cheap. Ask for one for your birthday or your next holiday!
7) Batch cook. When you are making macaroni and cheese, make enough for two meals. Or when you are making chicken, make enough for lunches the rest of the week. I love to make two casseroles at the same time — one for now and another for the freezer.
Frugal and Environmental Hacks
8) Stop buying zip bags. We use these reusable silicone bags. I buy ground beef in bulk and then freeze them in these. I was so impressed with how well they worked. And then throw them right in the dishwasher. The smaller silicone bags are great for lunches and snacks.
9) Meal prep. Take one day a week and meal prep for the entire week. Put everything in a bowl to dump in the crockpot on one day. Slice up all the peppers and onions for sausage grinders. Cook the rice for beef stirfry. Boil the pasta for baked ziti. This way, dinner is so close to ready, you won’t be tempted to call the pizza place and have dinner delivered — also, prep for lunches.
10) Shop your pantry. Before making your meal plan and grocery list, go through your cupboards and pantry to use up what’s in there first.
11) Buy Generic. From ketchup to cheese, the store brands many times are just s good as name brands. Sometimes they are even better.
12) Stock up. If you can’t stomach the thought of using anything but Hellmann’s Mayonaise (guilty), stock up when it goes on sale, I bought enough for a year during the summer.
13) Use Coupons. Even better than stocking up is using those coupons on top of the sale. I am not a big fan of coupons but I will message my friend Kim (who writes for our local paper about couponing and saving money), and she might have a coupon (or six) to spare if I see a deal.
Extreme Frugal Hacks
14) Stop buying paper towels and toilet paper. Maybe the paper towels aren’t so severe (you can use inexpensive clothes for spills or Norwex products for cleaning) but reusable wipes for toilet paper could save you some money. Toilet paper is not cheap!
15) Cancel Cable and Internet. For some, this is an extreme frugal hack. How will they watch the local news or Jeopardy? Could you get buy with public wifi and an unlimited data plan? What if you shared with your neighbor and gave them a meal each month? Is sharing internet legal?
16) Make your own cleaning products. You can make cleaning products to clean anything. Make laundry detergent, window cleaner, leather cleaner, even stainless steel cleaner. Just google it!
Financial Tricks Around The House
18) Avoid “Dy Clean Only” clothes. Most of the time, you can find nice clothes that are machine washable. There is no need to spend money on dry cleaning unless you need to. And then, try to get a few wears out of it before you have to do that. Consider one of those at home dry cleaning kits.
19) Negotiate bills. Every year, I know people who call their cable/internet company and ask what type of promotions they are running. They also call around for insurance quotes to see if there are better deals.
20) Multipurpose items. Vinegar. It can be used to clean your windows, as a floor cleaner in a refillable mop, in place of fabric softener, to clean your coffee maker AND will make a delicious salad dressing. PLUS, it is SO CHEAP! Think about items that will fit more than one purpose.
21) Unplug items. Unplug the items that you are not using. They will suck up phantom power like little vampires. You can also buy an energy saver power strip and turn it off when they are not in use.
22) Air dry clothes. Either hang them outside on the line in nice weather or set up a drying rack to dry your clothes. The money you will save – can you say frugal life hack?
23) Switch light bulbs. As your lightbulbs burn out, replace them with LED bulbs. They will last longer and ave you so much over their lifetime.
24) Invest in perennials. Instead of spending hundreds of dollars every year on annuals, invest in flowers that will bloom every summer.
25) Adjust thermostat. Raise it a few degrees in the Summer and lower a few degrees in the Winter. You can always put on a sweater or wear a sundress to regulate body temperature.
Personal Care Life Hacks To Save Money
27) Cut your hair. I usually cut my hair using the ponytail method with a pair of professional scissors. Every once in a while when I want something fancy, I will head to Supercuts. My husband cuts my son’s hair with one of the Wahl’s hair cutting clipper tools.
28) Oil to remove makeup. Instead of buying expensive eye makeup remover, use the coconut oil or olive oil that you already have. Works great and I also heard it was an excellent preventative measure for wrinkles.
More Frugal Tips To Save Money
29) Pack a lunch. Even if it is a quick PB & J, its cheaper than buying one out. Find a pretty little lunch bag to make it fun! And don’t forget those reusable goodie bags mentioned above.
30) Consider a Stay-cation. Explore your city as a tourist or take some day trips to save money. There are countless fun frugal places within a driving distance no matter where you live!
31) Find free hobbies. Research some of your favorite things and discover free hobbies. If you like birds, go bird watching. Maybe you are an animal lover. You could cuddle the pups at the animal shelter or hold the babies at the hospital nursery.
32) Look for free local activities. Did you know some museums have free days? Talk about a frugal hack! And in our area, every Thursday in the summer, they have concerts and plays in the park! Check your local paper.
33) Chose alternate stores. Do not buy things like gift bags, wrapping paper and card at stores like Target or Hallmark. Instead, explore Dollar Stores like Dollar Tree. Dollar Tree is the home base for frugal hacks and one of my favorite places to buy these items.
Shopping Budget Hacks
Clothes And Accessories
34) Shop off-season. I just got a beautiful black winter coat for $30 at JC Penny. AND I had a gift card. All the winter coats were on clearance in February. Always shop the clearance racks at the end of the seasons. You may find items that you can still wear. This also goes for Holidays and Summertime, too.
35) Shop your closet. Stay out of stores and wear what you have. Come up with new outfits that you might typically think of. Look through Pinterest for ideas to pair that black blazer with to see if you might have something that works.
36) Sell or swap unused clothes. Places like Thred Up will give you credit for your old clothes so you can shop for new ones!
37) Buy glasses online. Going to your eye doctor and buying glasses is not cheap. Try the frugal hack of shopping online for your glasses. Coastal and Goggles4u are two places that I have used to buy glasses from.
38) Shop second hand. Check craigslist for everything from used appliances to new building materials. Check out consignment shops, church thrift stores, and Habitat For Humanity Re-stores for something before you buy it new. You might find a great deal!
39) Negotiate prices. Many places will give you a discount if something is damaged or missing pieces. Never pay full price if you don’t have to!
40) Pay cash. This might be my favorite frugal hack. Not only will you spend less (scientifically proven) but you may also be able to negotiate the price with a handful of benjamins!
41) Delete stored debit card number. Do not save your debit card number in shopping sites like Amazon. It is just too easy to order when your card is ready for use.
42) Try an all-out Spending Freeze. Decide your time and rules and see if you can do a Spending Freeze. A no-spend month is a great frugal hack and a great way to reign in your spending!
43) Unsubscribe to emails. Yup. Get rid of the temptation of DSW sending you the sale on wicked cute boots or the new arrival of sandals for Spring Break!
44) Consider a once a month grocery shop. Only grocery shopping once a month can save you time and money. Finding the money upfront to do that first shopping trip might take some creativity but after that, you will see substantial savings.
What did I miss? Can you share your favorite frugal hacks?