Today’s post includes more than 150 Frugal Living ideas to save you money because let’s face it, we could all do with saving some money at the best of times, never mind right now with the escalating cost of living!
This post has been a long time in the making. 😂
Honestly, I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that ‘write frugal living ideas post’ has been right at the top of my Trello to do list for a good 7 or 8 months now but I kept putting it off because I knew it would take me way longer than a normal post to write and that once I’d written it, I’d need to keep it up to date whenever I shared more frugal living ideas, which I’d like to think was often.
And then over the last couple of months, there’s been more and more warnings about the rising costs of living until this point, where I genuinely feel that people are going to be losing sleep over how they’re going to cope and there are hard choices being made about what to prioritise when it comes to paying the bills.
So it seems that right now, a post sharing all my frugal living ideas could help lots of people, including me as I need a reminder on all those common sense things that I know I should be doing but sometimes forget.
Before I start though, I want to share why I started my blog and how adapting our lives to incorporate these frugal living ideas helped me achieve everything I wanted and get to where I am now because making changes to your lifestyle and mindset can be done and it is worth the effort because you’ll start to see more money leftover each month – or in the current climate, more money to go towards the increasing cost of loving that we’re all worried about right now!
So I started my frugal journey when my kids were younger as I wanted to spend more time with them. I’d just lost my Mam and my brother and working full time wasn’t working for me as I wanted to be the one dropping the kids off at school and picking them up again afterwards. I wanted to be the one cooking their tea and spending time with them making happy memories.
Giving up work wasn’t an option but I realised that if I could reduce how much we spent each month then I could reduce my hours at work to part time which would mean that, whilst I couldn’t drop them off at school on a morning, I could be the one to drop them off at breakfast club and then be back in time to pick them up from school. That was my biggest motivation to changing my life and starting to adopt these frugal living ideas – I didn’t do them all at once but gradually over time, they’ve become part of my daily routines and now I feel like I’m in a much better place.
I dropped my hours to part time hours and managed to hold down a job I loved and spend a lot of time with the kids as they were growing up. And it wasn’t because I earned more money in the first few years, it was because I did more with the money I did earn.
Your motivation may well be different to mine and you might just need to make changes to afford to live right now but whatever your reason, I just wanted to tell you that you can do it and once you start making changes, they’ll become habits that will last you a lifetime.
A lot of the ideas below link into other posts on the blog where you’ll find much more context and information around them so if I were you, I’d sit down with a pen and paper and make a start working through them all. I promise you won’t regret it!
So, without any more waffling from me, here are 150+ Frugal Living Ideas to help you save money now!
Shave some pounds off your bills
- Work out your monthly budget so you know what sort of money you have spare each month. Use my free downloadable budget planner to help make sure you capture it all.
- If you can’t see where your money is going, keep a spending diary for a month.
- Cancel any Direct Debits for things you no longer need or can do without.
- Use the snowball method to repay any debts you have.
- Consider a 0% credit card to help you pay debts off with less interest.
- Overpay your mortgage each month if you possibly can.
- Make sure you’re on the best deal possible for all of your utility bills.
- Give your providers a call and see if they can get you onto a lower price – this works for all kinds of companies from your TV & Broadband provider to your credit cards.
- Check that your house is in the right band for council tax.
- Consider a water meter if you’re not already on one.
- Pay your bills by Direct Debit to ensure that they’re always paid on time and that you get any discounts applicable for paying this way.
- Never renew any insurance without doing a price comparison and using a cashback website.
- Think outside the box – car insurance, for example, could be cheaper if you drive fewer miles than average.
- Keep a close eye on your credit score to make sure there’s nothing odd going on – a good credit score can help you get better deals.
This is such a key area to save money with bills increasing so much!
- Turn your thermostat down by just 1 degree and you can save between £80 and £100 a year.
- Use the timer on your central heating system so you only heat your house when you need it.
- Turn your heating off overnight if you can.
- Can you turn any radiators in your house off completely?
- Use your slow cooker instead of your oven.
- Take shorter showers.
- Only do your washing when you have a full load.
- Ditch the tumble drier where you can.
- Switch lights off when you’re not in the room.
- Check if your light bulbs are energy-efficient.
- Don’t leave things on standby.
- Only boiling as much water as you actually need can save up to £7 a year.
- Fix any drafts from doors or windows.
We really focused on our water usage a while ago after a super expensive bill came through and we managed to reduce our bill significantly using these water saving tips.
- Get a free water-saving kit from your local water company if they offer them.
- Take a shower instead of a bath.
- Take shorter showers.
- Turn off your taps when you’re brushing your teeth or having a shave – you don’t need them running the whole time.
- Get a water butt to collect rainwater.
- Check for drips and fix them – even the small ones.
- Only use your washing machine and dishwasher when you have a full load in there.
- Ditch the hosepipe and the pressure washer unless you REALLY need them.
- Keep a jug of water in the fridge rather than run your tap for a while before you fill your glass to get cold water.
- Get a save-a flush pack from your local water provider to pop in your cisterns so they fill with less water.
- Use the right flush when you need to flush – most systems now have a short flush and a full flush.
Another area with soaring costs right now is fuel so I shared a post not long ago with lots of ways to try and save some money on the amount of fuel you use. This is definitely one where you’re going to want to go and read the full post as it’s got some pretty in-depth explanations about each of the below.
- Drive at a lower speed.
- Drive consistently, for example, don’t accelerate and then brake hard.
- Keep an eye on your RPM.
- Use the most efficient drive modes on your car.
- Check your tyre pressure.
- Keep your services up to date.
- Don’t have excess weight in your car.
- Don’t drive with your roof box on unless you need it.
- Try not to use your air conditioning.
- Keep your windows up.
- Compare the prices for fuel in your area.
- Combine journeys so you can do as much as you can in one journey.
- Ditch your car completely and bike or walk.
- See if someone you know wants to car share.
Save money on your weekly food shopping
- Plan your meals every week by checking what you already have and plan meals that use those ingredients first.
- Write a shopping list of everything you need and stick to it.
- Don’t take the kids shopping with you. Ever.
- Buying in bulk is usually cheaper, especially for things like rice and pasta.
- Check the ethnic foods aisle in your local supermarket for cheaper prices on many items. Herbs and spices are a great example of things that you’ll find are cheaper here.
- Make sure you know the difference between sell-by dates and use-by dates.
- Learn what time your local supermarket reduces their prices and be the first one there when they do!
- Look out for multi-buy offers because you could save a fortune.
- Cook extra and freeze the leftovers so you have ‘ready meals’ in the freezer.
- Use coupons where you can and if you’re not sure where to find coupons then the best place to start is your supermarket’s free magazine. The Tesco Clubcard app and the Nectar card app also have plenty of offers.
- Buy cheaper cuts of meat like brisket and use your slow cooker to cook it.
- Meals cooked in the slow cooker can be easily bulked out to make it go further so you need to add less meat. I’ve bulked out our food with things like lentils and grated carrot in the past and I’ve even used a couple of handfuls of Quorn mince when it’s on offer.
- Don’t forget to take your bags for life when you go shopping.
- Cooking from scratch isn’t always cheaper – sometimes you might spend a small fortune on the things you need for a recipe when there’s a packet mix that will do the job AND save you time.
- Buying larger packs of things usually offers a saving if you compare it with smaller packs.
- Take advantage of 3 for 2 and other bulk buy deals.
- Cheese is something I regularly see reduced so I often buy it and then grate it when I get home and pop it in the freezer to use in recipes when it’s needed.
- Read Supermarket free magazines for inspiration and for the free vouchers you often find in there.
- For every branded product you buy, you’ll usually find a supermarket own brand and a value version. If you buy the branded product, try the own brand next time and if you already buy the own brand then try the value version. You’ll be surprised!
- Try shopping online at Approved foods.
- Consider switching the kids to packed lunches if they’re not already.
If we’re talking frugal living ideas to start saving you money pretty much instantly then meal planning is my go-to tip because you can start saving money on your very next shop!
- Shop online where possible as it’s easier to resist temptation and where you do see a good deal on something you can readjust your meal plan.
- Keep your meal plan on display so everyone knows what’s for tea.
- Try batch cooking so you have meals in your freezer ready to go.
- Freeze your leftovers in single portions and once a week/fortnight have a bit of a pot luck night where everyone gets a leftovers meal.
- Cook double and change what you’ve cooked up a bit to serve the following night- bolognaise can be easily turned into chilli or lasagne and mince can easily be turned into cottage pie or even just a normal pie.
- Bulk up your meals with things like pasta, rice, veg, lentils or potatoes so they go further and there’ll be more leftovers to freeze for next time.
- Plan a couple of meat free meals every week.
- Don’t throw out what’s left in your fridge at the end of the week – use it up in a recipe like fridge bottom frittata, whizz any veg up into soup or even make it all into a stir fry!
- Keep on top of the use by dates on the food in your fridge and make sure your meal plan will mean food is used before that date.
- Hide snacks from the family if they’re likely to eat them all in one go.
- Have a week every six weeks or so where you clear out all the random meals and bits you have in the freezer – you’ll have some fun combinations and clear your fridge at the same time.
Fruit and vegetables are a key area of your shopping budget and because they’re so important in everyone’s diet, I thought I’d do a little section especially on how to save money on fruit and veg.
- Buy Frozen fruit and veg – just as tasty and nutritious!
- Buy in-season fruit and veg – there’s quite a good guide here on the BBC website to help.
- Try your local fruit and veg shop or market rather than buying at the supermarket when you do your shopping
- Most supermarkets now have a selection of super-reduced fruit and veg each week which they change up most weeks probably according to what’s in season so check their websites before you plan your meals and plan around the cheaper fruit and veg.
- Buy reduced yellow stickered fruit and veg where you can.
- Learn the best ways to store your fresh fruit and veg – just google ‘the best way to store….’
- Grow your own if you can.
- Don’t buy pre-peeled / chopped fruit and vegetables as they almost always work out more expensive per kg.
- Loose fruit and veg is usually cheaper than the stuff already packed in bags if you compare the price per kg and you can get just the right amount rather than have leftovers.
Save Money with Store Loyalty Cards
- The Tesco Clubcard is a good one to have right now as you not only collect points when you shop but you also get cheaper prices on so many products. There’s also Clubcard Plus which I pay for and find it saves me every month!
- Boots is another one I like as I save my Advantage points through the year to spend at Christmas. They send out vouchers on a regular basis that help boost your points totals too.
- Nectar isn’t one I use too often these days but I have the app and I check my offers every week when they’re loaded up as there’s sometimes some really good ones on there.
Save money when you shop
- Learn to haggle and get discounts.
- Download the Honey browser extension – it’ll pop up and search for discount codes online for you whenever you go to checkout.
- Never buy anything without checking to see if you can get cash back – my favourite site is TopCashBack.
- Check your junk mail as it could save you money!
Save money on your hobbies
- If you don’t have a hobby then there’s a good list of 20 ideas here of hobbies that won’t set you back a fortune!
- If reading is your thing:
- Join or rediscover your library.
- Buy books from your local charity shops or car boot sales.
- Join a Book Swap group on Facebook.
- Make a book swap club with your family and friends.
- Read this post about Kindle Unlimited – I couldn’t be without my subscription.
Save money on your Laundry
- If you wash at 30 degrees you will use 40% less energy per cycle and a lot of washing powders these days are designed with this temperature in mind.
- You don’t have to use the recommended amount of washing detergent to get good results – I use about two thirds.
- Make sure you keep your machine clean to keep it running as efficiently as possible.
- Line dry wherever you can to save money on tumble drying!
Save Money with Amazon Prime
Not everyone has Amazon Prime and I totally get that but for those of you that do, do you really get your money’s worth out of it? Also, I know Amazon Prime is something you can (and probably should) do without if you’re struggling for money and it really doesn’t fit in a frugal living ideas post but the amount of people who have it and don’t use it to it’s full advantage is mad!
- Obviously, there’s the free next day delivery on millions of items but often you can find things cheaper on there than in the shops – I just bought Mach 3 razor blades for £3.00 cheaper than I would pay in Tesco!
- Amazon Prime Reading gives Prime members access to a rotating library of free ebooks, magazines and comics every month.
- Amazon Music gives you access to 2 million songs ad-free.
- Prime Video lets you stream and watch thousands of films and TV shows!
- Amazon Gaming is something I need to do more research on but I got a free pack for Fifa for the kids the other day!
If you don’t already have it, you can get a 30 day free trial here and if you do have it but rarely use it and wouldn’t benefit from the above then it’s worth thinking about cancelling it!
Save money on the fun stuff
- Keep the kids entertained for free by making a bored jar.
- If there’s something you want to treat yourself to, see if you can make your own version first. Miss Frugal makes her own version of the Lush lip scrubs for a fraction of the price!
- The same goes for food and drinks – if there’s something you like, have a go at making it yourself. I have a great recipe for Nandos spicy rice that I make because Master Frugal loves Nandos!
- Save any Tesco Clubcard points and exchange them for days out or meals tokens.
- If your children are constantly using batteries for all of their electronics then invest in some rechargeble batteries or even better for the games console controllers you can buy a plug and play battery pack for about £8 that will recharge the controller directly from the console and save a fortune on batteries!
- Buying presents when you see them on sale will save you a fortune if you have school aged children who are always at Birthday parties.
- Get two for one cinema tickets with Meerkat Movies.
- Get some cheap date night ideas here!
- Check your local museums’ websites to see what they have going on as they usually have some great activities on in the school holidays that usually cost next to nothing.
- Another great idea is to check the websites of local parks, farms and nature reserves to see what they have planned for the warmer months– last year the woodland near us did weekly nature walks for a pound and they were brilliant.
- Geocaching is a great way to explore any area – whether it’s the park near where you live or somewhere a bit further afield.
Apps or websites that will save you money
- Too Good to Go will help you reduce food waste and save money on food shopping as it links you with local retailers who have food that needs using and you can buy it super cheap.
- Shopmium will help you get free and discounted items when you do your weekly shop.
- Approved Foods is amazing for cheap food!
- Muscle Food is my favourite online place to buy good quality but well priced meat!
- I know I mention this one is half my posts recently but Vinted is just amazing!
Other things you need to know to help you save money
- How to be financially resilient.
- How to stop spending money.
- How a no spend month can save you money and reset your focus.
- Be confident that you know how to spot a scam email.
- Learn what a sinking fund is and how to use one!
- Make yourself a DIY herb garden.
- Watching YouTube can save you money!
- Make your own cleaning products as much as possible.
- Make your own beauty products too.
Money saving Life Hacks
- Look at the products on the lower and higher shelves in your local supermarket as that will usually be where you’ll find the cheaper products. The more expensive products that the shop wants you to buy are at eye level.
- When you change your toilet roll, give the new one a squish so it’s slightly flattened rather than round which will mean that less will come off the roll when you tug it. This was one of the first frugal living ideas that anyone ever left as a comment on one of my posts.
- Contact your local college to see if they need volunteers for haircuts and manicures rather than pay full price.
- If you’re buying something over £100 then always pay at least a small amount of it on your credit card so you’re covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if something goes wrong with your purchase.
- Instead of using ice packs when you’re transporting food anywhere just freeze a bottle (pour a bit out first) and use that instead. You’ll have an ice pack and water when it melts.
- If your printer runs out of black ink then just change the text colour of your document to dark blue and you’ll be able to print a couple more times before you need to change the cartridge.
- If you have to pop to the shop to get a few bits and pieces then use a basket and not a trolley so you’ll not be as tempted to buy extras.
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