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Before getting into the post, I want to say a quick word that what you decide to be frugal on depends wholly on you, on your interests, and on the way you live your life. As well as on the way you want to lead your life.
We all need to take moments to self-reflect about the things that matter the most to us. Does money matter more? Does time? How about an early retirement? Or the next new luxurious car?
You also need to think about what you are willing to sacrifice and what you are not willing to sacrifice.
Why frugal living?
So why would someone choose a frugal lifestyle?
There can be very many reasons but mainly people want to:
- Pay off their debts
- Save money for big purchases (e.g., house, car, etc.)
- Save money for retirement (i.e., retire early)
A frugal lifestyle can be anywhere between a year, five years, ten years, the rest of your life…Essentially how ever long you want it to be! It all depends on you and how you want to spend and lead your life!
Benefits of Frugal Living
Besides the obvious of possessing more money, frugal living can be a creative way of saving your money and therefore be really rewarding.
It’s not the same thing as being cheap! At all. That’s a separate, negative way of living. Frugal living is about saving intentionally and spending intentionally. It is the practice of living below your means.
Honestly, if more people were to live more frugally, I believe they would be much happier, have much more money and time, as well as help save the environment in the process.
These are the 12 frugal living tips that will help you lead a much happier, richer, and intentional life.
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1. Learn negotiating skills
Everyone needs to learn how to negotiate.
Learning to negotiate is one of the biggest frugal living tip as it can help you save thousands of dollar.
Negotiating skills will help you in your lifetime. They will especially be helpful when negotiating higher ticket products.
Some big negotiating products involve: negotiating for a new car, negotiating your mortgage, etc. These are the kinds of negotiation that can save you up to thousands of dollar.
Obviously, there’s no point to negotiate for a dollar off at every store. Instead, you need to harness your negotiating skills for things and places that matter. Because when people see that you won’t negotiate, they’ll take advantage of you as they see you’re willing to blindly accept any offers as they are.
Smaller negotiation can involve phone and internet bills. My mother is great at negotiating our internet bill, we somehow pay less every year instead of more!
Mark my words” the power of negotiation is magical!
If you want some extra help on your negotiation skills, I highly recommend the book “Getting to Yes” by Roger Fisher.
2. Learn how to fix your car
Learning how to fix your car doesn’t come naturally to all of us. Even me, I am still working on this one.
But a car is not just a box that brings you from point A to point B. You need to know what you’re working with. It’s a tricky vehicle that has a lot of requirements to ensure good and cost efficient functioning.
Therefore, we all should learn the basic maintenance of our car. Such as how to add in windshield fluid and even how to do an oil change. These tasks will save you money from instantly taking trips to the mechanic. Since you spend money going there, fixing and consulting, as well as spend money coming back.
If you’re not good with car-stuff, you can ask help from someone in your household or someone you know that is affluent in car maintenance.
For example: my dad has taught me how to put air in my tire and how to use the air pressure we have at home!
The more you take good care of your car, the less expenses you’ll face as it ages.
3. Utilize your local library
A lot of people don’t go to their local library anymore. But utilizing your local library can save you a lot of money on books and other free resources.
They’re a great and resourceful building. You can get a lot free value out from the library.
Honestly, you get more fulfillment and knowledge from books than for example watching Netflix series. Not that there is anything wrong with watching Netflix shows.
Nowadays, libraries offer more than just books. They offer other resources and services that are free; such as, renting audiobooks, movies and shows, and many more depending on your library.
4. Have a simple clothing style
Having a simple clothing style might not be for everyone but it does save you a lot of money in your lifetime.
Personally, I believe that if you stick to neutral colours and neutral styles, you can pretty much rock them all throughout the year.
You won’t have that constant need to update your style and your wardrobe. You don’t have to keep impressing people or outdoing your own outfits everyday. (Unless that’s what you want to do. Like I said, you decide how frugally you want to live and in which areas. Then that’s up to you and you’ll have to find ways of saving money in that category.)
Plus, a simple clothing style can help you from all the decisions you have to make, since you won’t have to struggle between colours, fashion styles, and trends.
5. Unsubscribe from email lists
Unsubscribe from email lists especially ones related to clothing if they get to spend more than save. Clothing brands are ruthless in their email marketing. They grab your attention with the big “discounts” that they have (E.g., Now only $9.99 + tax. Save 30%, Take off 50% on all purchases in the next 24 hours, etc.)
If you tend to fall for this type of marketing (I know I do sometimes – we’re only human) when you’re trying to save money, then I would greatly suggest unsubscribing. Maybe just keep one of your favourite stores in case you need to get something but you are waiting for the next special in order to shop.
In the end, you actually spend more money than intended.
6. Air dry clothes instead
Another effective frugal living tip is to hang up your clothes on a clothing line or a clothing rack instead of using a drying machine.
Because the drying machine takes a lot of energy and therefore electricity, and therefore a lot of money.
You also run less risk in ruining and shrinking your fabrics as you let them air dry instead. Plus in only takes 1-3 hours depending on where you are drying your clothes.
Once again, you’re not only saving money but you’re also helping the environment.
7. Use coupons wisely
A lot of people think that since they’re saving 50% off that they’re actually saving a lot of money. But many times, coupons can have the opposite effect.… That’s why we should learn how to use coupons wisely.
Ask yourself are the sales and the coupons you’re using saving you more money or are you spending more money? If the latter, then you should be more careful with tracking your money and using coupons.
You need to make sure you’re using coupons in a smart and effective way since you can’t always wait for coupons and sales to buy the things you truly need.
8. Shop at thrift stores
Shopping at thrift stores is a really good option and alternative because thrift stores give a second or third life to items (such as clothes and appliances) that would normally be discarded.
Plus, you save a lot of money by buying second hand. In the United States there’s Goodwill and in Canada, where I live, we have Value Village.
It’s always a good idea to browse the independent thrift stores near you!
9. Walk or bike more
Instead of using your car, you can walk or bike more. Especially to the nearby places you always visit. If there’s a pizza shop on the next street, why not walk there instead?
We’ve become so used to the convenience of always using our cars even for the places that are just down the street.
Why not save money (car insurance, gas, etc.) and exercise at the same time? It’s a win-win situation!
Laziness is what’s costing us money.
10. Save energy at home
Try to do your best to save energy at home:
- Turn off the lights as soon as you leave a room
- Turn off the faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or washing your face
- Running water is money down the drain!
- Same for when showering; stop the water when you’re shaving
Another big energy consumer – that I noticed in other people’s house – is having the TV on and running when no one is watching. That’s a waste of electricity and can be very costly.
When I was younger my mom used to ask me, “Who’s watching the TV? Are you watching the TV or is the TV watching you?” Since then, I always ask myself that question every time I turn on the TV.
11. Exercise at home
Exercising at home is actually very beneficial as it saves you money all around.
Most houses and living spaces have stairs that you can utilize by walking up and down, therefore using stairs as like a Stairmasters machine. You can also work out outdoors in the backyard or a nearby park.
With exercising at home, you can actually buy a lot of the workout gears, materials, and appliances at a cheap price. Especially if you wait for the holiday sales (see: this is when you should profit from sales and coupons for bigger ticket items you will always need! 😉)
At home, I have a bench press, weights, a punching bag, and a treadmill that I’ve accumulated over the years. And I’m not the only one utilizing them.
Therefore, I’m saving money for the whole household as none of us need to purchase a gym membership or spend our time, money, and gas driving back and forward from the gym.
12. Profit from Cashback
Using cashback for your credit cards, for online shopping, and through mobile apps is a good idea to make some money back on what you spent. It’s not always much but it’s better than nothing. You can also save easily anywhere between $100-400 a year just on your groceries. It all adds up in the end.
I’ve saved over $400 on cashback through Rakuten just for when I purchase books online through the Rakuten online extension. Rakuten is completely free and they have partnered with many stores that can give you cashback as soon as you place and receive your online orders!
If you want to learn more you can read my separate blog post here.
SEE ALSO: How to Get Paid to Shop Online
I hope you enjoyed this post on 12 frugal living tips for a richer life! As I said frugal living looks different for everyone! Let me know what are some of you favourite frugal living tips!
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