As the cost of everyday living continues to rise, you might be looking for ways you can save money on your household expenses. Now, more than ever, being frugal is seen a pretty savvy thing to do. One of the things I’m asked on a regular basis, is how people can cut back on their spending and live a more frugal lifestyle, without feeling the impact too much. So, I’ve put together my top 10 ways to live a more frugal life.
Before we dive into ways to cut your spending, it’s also a good idea to think about ways you can boost your income and free up more cash. I’m running a 30 day email course where I share TONNES of different ways to bring in more money.
10 Ways to Live a More Frugal Life
1. Know your budget
This is a no-brainer. You really do need to know exactly how much money you’ve got coming in, and how much money you’ve got going out. Otherwise, you can’t even begin to figure out your finances. If you haven’t already, sit down and work this out. If you’re salaried then this should be pretty simple – you should know roughly how much you’re going to get paid each month (give or take bonuses and overtime). If you’re paid hourly, then you may need to figure out a new budget each month.
Spend some time putting together a simple spreadsheet, jotting some notes on your phone or even using good old fashioned pen and paper. Go through your bank statements and write down/input every single direct debit and bill you need to cover each month. Don’t forget the quarterly bills too.
I love this budget planner. Writing it all down in black and white is a great way to stay on top of your money.
Work out how you’re going to make sure you don’t touch your bills money. You may want to set up a separate bank account just for bills that you don’t use for everyday spending.
2. Meal Plan
Meal planning has got to be one of the best ways I’ve found to save money on our household spending. Spend some time each week to plan ahead for meals and to write a list. Make sure you include snacks and drinks in your list too so that you’re not tempted to nip to that corner shop that charges five times more than the supermarket.
Think about your activities for the week ahead and plan meals that will fit in with those plans. If you know you’re working late one day, then plan a quick and simple meal for that night. By being prepared, you really can save yourself a lot of money.
Consider having a couple of meat-free nights each week too.
3. Review your spending – regularly
Every now and then, go through your bank account to make sure you’re not wasting money on subscriptions that you just don’t need. You’d be amazed how many people trundle on making payments to subscription services after intending to cancel it after a free trial. Let’s face it, that’s what these companies are hoping you’ll do!
4. Get rid of TV subscriptions
If you are REALLY determined to live a more frugal life, then those expensive TV subscriptions have got to go! Sky TV is the big one that lots of people spend a small fortune on every month. Do you really need it? The answer is, of course – NOPE! You really don’t!
You can get FREE access to Amazon Prime video when you take out a 30-day trial with Amazon Prime. If you then decide you like it, it’s just £7.99/month to stay subscribed.
Alternatively, switch to Freeview. You’ll save yourself money every month and you may find you don’t actually miss the satellite TV.
5. Buy second-hand
You can save a fortune by buying second-hand clothes and household goods. Charity shops are a great place to look. You should also search for local Facebook For Sale or Swap groups where you can often find bargains in your area. Buying second-hand is particularly good for children’s clothes. I’m not saying you can’t ever buy them anything new – I would never buy second-hand shoes for instance – but for clothes for the kids to play out in, what does it matter if they’re second-hand?! If there’s still life in them when your children have outgrown them, then you could even sell them on again and make some of your money back. I’ve found some amazing second-hand designer clothes for the kids on eBay for as little as 99p and they’ve been in amazing condition!
If you really don’t like the thought of second-hand, think about buying ahead in the sales. At the end of the season, most big supermarkets and clothing retailers will massively discount their stock in preparation for the new season. Buy a size up so that it will fit next year. You can also save a fortune on discount clothing websites such as Everything 5 Pounds.
Now I know that this isn’t always an option, but when you can – walk. Not only will you save money on petrol or public transport, you’ll also benefit from the fresh air and the exercise.
7. Make your own cleaning products
Hands up who’s got a cupboard full of fancy cleaning products? I know I have! Cleaning products can cost an absolute fortune and half the time we’ll pick up some more while we’re out – just in case! This means we have a cupboard full of money-eating sprays and creams that will probably take us years to plough through.
Did you know though, that a teaspoon of bicarbinate of soda on a damp cloth will clean just as well as any expensive cream cleaner? Have you tried using vinegar to clean your windows? You will honestly be amazed!
There are some incredibly savvy people around who can help you to save a fortune on cleaning products whilst not compromising the cleanliness of your home – check out this Pinterest board for some inspiration.
Making your own also means you’re cutting out toxic fumes and chemicals from your home which is always really important when you have little ones around to consider.
8. Grow your own
We all know how important it is to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, but it seems that when we’re trying to save money, these healthy essentials are the first things to go.
Whether you’ve got a big garden, or a window box, you could save some money simply by growing your own. You’ll also have the added satisfaction of knowing that you’re providing for your family.
If you do only have a small space, you could consider sharing with friends or family. Work out who’s going to grow what and share the produce equally. That way, you’ll be able to save money on a wider variety of fruit and veg.
9. Make do and mend
Do you remember the good old days when your mum would stitch up the knees on your trousers when you’d worn them through, or you Gran would sit darning socks for what seemed like hours on end? These days, we tend to bin anything with holes in. If you want to be more frugal, think about sewing up small holes and tears in clothes. Often, they’ll still last a lot longer and you’ll save yourself a fortune replacing them.
Learn how to sew patched in knees. You might be surprised how great patched up knees can look! You don’t need to spend a fortune on fantastical gadgets. You’ll just need a needle and some thread, and a little bit of know-how. Google is your friend. Learn how to stitch and repair clothing.
10. Drop down a brand
If you always buy brand named products, then try dropping down to supermarket own-brand. You’ll often find that they taste just as good! Yes, there probably will still be the odd product that you just don’t like, but 9 times out of 10, the supermarket brand will be great, and you’ll inevitably save some money.
If you’re already buying supermarket own brand, try switching down to their saver brand.
Do you have any top tips for living a more frugal life? Please share them in the comments!