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What is your financial situation right now? Are you making ends meet or are you struggling? Maybe you are somewhere in between. The choices we make every day with our money seem insignificant at the time.
What’s $5 for some snacks at the convenience store? What’s $12 for that cool new case for your phone?
In the long run, these small everyday purchases have a big impact on your bottom line. They determine how comfortable you are at the end of the month when all your bills are due. It can feel like this when you see others with the latest gadgets and vacation posts on Instagram. But the truth is, over 60% of Americans cannot come up with $1,000 in the event of an emergency.
If this describes you, here are 27 frugal living tips to practice when you have less than $1,000.
1. Let Amazon Be Your Pharmacy
Did you know you can buy over-the-counter meds from Amazon, and they are usually cheaper? Yeah, me either! Amazon usually offers shipping deals and great prices. So the next time you have a headache, place an Amazon order rather than spending more at the store.
2. Pick Your Own Food
You can visit pickyourown.org and find local farms that allow you to pick your own food. It is a cheaper option compared to buying produce. There are lots of websites made with frugal living tips in mind. If you grow your own food, but don’t grow a wide variety, or you’re still thinking about starting your own garden, this is a great way to get what you need for less money.
3. Know What You Are Paying And What You Should Be Paying
Following these frugal living tips can be hard sometimes. There are still some items I have to buy even though I probably shouldn’t. Sure, I long for the day I can say, “No thanks! I don’t need to buy that.” Sadly, I’m not there yet. So for the items I still have to buy, it is important to know what the average price is for them. That way, I can know if someone is having a great sale or if I’m overpaying.
4. Search For Cheap Meals
Eating at home is a great way to save money. Especially if you grow the majority of your food. But if you’re cooking the wrong recipes then you’re still potentially spending too much. I’m not sure if you noticed, but a lot of the fancy cooking shows cook expensive meals. Once you do the math on those meals, going out is cheaper. So search for frugal meals. Meals that are not based solely around meat but instead make meat a small part of it.
5. Don’t Do Anything On Impulse
Here’s probably one of the most important fugal living tips: don’t ever buy anything on impulse. I know there are days where it is frustrating, and you just get tired of fixing the same old thing for dinner or something. Those are the days you want to hop in the car, drive to town, and just buy something fresh and new. Don’t! Stop and take a breather before you jump into debt or spend money that should really go to something else.
Looking for more practical budgeting advice? Read this: Breaking Down the 50/30/20 Budgeting Philosophy
6. Live Cleaner
If you keep your home clean, it requires less money to clean it. Cleaner is always better. It prevents illness which means spending more money on medicine to make people and animals well again. And, if you let your home get grimy, it requires more expensive products to get it clean again. I understand, you are busy. Frugal living tips can be hard. Sometimes we go longer than we like between cleaning things up. Just try to make it a priority because it will save you a headache and money.
7. Find Areas Where You Can Cut Back On Expenses
Once you see where your money is going, it is time to try to find ways to cut back. Some options include buying alternatives, like store brands over name brands. You can also limit your spending. You can live off of Ramen noodles for a while. Buy non-perishables like canned vegetables that will last. Take advantage of food stamps. It may not be glamorous, but don’t worry what others think and be proud of who you are and where you are going.
8. Cut The Cord
I’m talking about cable. If you have a TV bill, set it free! Cable is expensive. There are other options. Satellite TV, for example, which tries to be more competitive. For even cheaper options, check out products like Netflix or Hulu. This is one of those frugal living tips you really only learn when you’re fresh out of college and living on your own for the first time.
9. Ditch The Debt
Getting out of debt is hard! I know it. I’ve been there. But it is the only true way to stop wasting your money. Every time you purchase something on credit, you pay so much more than what the product is actually worth. Do yourself a favor. Save your hard earned money. Stop buying on credit and dig out of the debt you are in.
10. Make Your House A Home On The Cheap
You don’t have to buy brand new furniture in order to make your house homey. I know that is what society sells, but you don’t have to buy into it. Make your house your own. Build or refurbish some furniture. Make your house have your touch all over it. This can be done extremely cheaply by simply building or recreating as much of the décor as possible.
11. Buy Your Own Modem
Another of the frugal living tips that most newly adults are figuring out nowadays. Honestly, this is something I never gave much thought to. The Internet is something people truly need. It is how we connect and share information. It is also how we learn to do a lot of things we may not know how to do (yet.) Purchase your own modem for $40 instead of getting sucked into that $5 monthly modem rental payment the internet company tries to sell. You end up paying for a modem multiple times over.
12. DIY Is Your Friend
Learning to do things yourself is one of the top frugal living tips. It is not only great knowledge and helps us be less dependent. It also saves a ton of money! I know DIY can lead to mistakes, but it also leads to knowledge. Take the time to learn to do things. Not only will you lead a more frugal life but also a more knowledgeable one.
13. Drink More Water
I’m a sweet tea drinker. I live in Missouri. What do you expect? In all honesty, water is what is best. Not only is it best for your body, but it is practically free. If you drink water, it means one less thing you have to run to the store for.
14. Shop On Craigslist
Craigslist is a great place to purchase second-hand goods. You can find quite the variety and a lot of the stuff is in great condition. It is up to you to use your judgment on what you buy but at the end of the day, good purchases from Craigslist can save you a lot of money. A great website once you start using some of these frugal living tips.
15. Use less
This should be one of the more relatively obvious frugal living tips. Do we really need to use as much of a product as we do? Probably not. Be sure you only use what you need. It is very simple yet saves a lot of money.
Looking to save more money? Check this out: 9 Amazing Hacks That’ll Help You Save Money Online
16. Stop The Driving
I know we need our cars to get us where we need. However, always shop around for the cheapest gas. This will save you money on those inevitable trips to town. Also, think about your trips before you make them:
- Do you really need to make as many trips to town?
- Can you combine a few trips?
- Can you map a route where you won’t backtrack?
These are all keys to saving on gas.
17. Take Care Of Yourself
Taking care of your body is one of the greatly important frugal living tips. Not just because it will save you money, but also because it is the only one you have. But from a frugal standpoint, your insurance rates are usually cheaper and preventative care is much less expensive than the procedures to get you well. So, take care of yourself.
18. Stop Paying Full Price
Don’t ever (and I mean ever) pay full price for anything. It is such a waste of money. If you wait long enough, a sale will come around. There are always ways to get a better deal than full price. Asking for a discount or finding coupons is a great place to start. The more you follow these frugal living tips, the easier it will be to spot these sweet sales.
19. Pay Attention To Your Thermostat
Adjusting your thermostat a few degrees can add up to real savings. In the winter, drop your thermostat down to 65 degrees. In the summer, try to up it to 72 degrees. Other great frugal living tips to save on your heating and cooling bill is to look for alternative methods to heat and cool your house. Also, in the winter don’t forget you can just wear a blanket or sweater.
20. Cancel Unused Expenses
Do you still have a gym membership that you never use? Maybe get magazines in the mail you never read? You can save money by ending these subscriptions. One of my favorite frugal living tips is also one of the simplest: If you’re not using it, get rid of it. Easy as that.
21. Ditch The Dryer. Embrace The Clothesline
There are many methods to dry your clothes outside of using a dryer. Building a clothesline is fairly simple. There are also great options for in-home drying racks that can be found on the internet. With these frugal living tips, you are on your way to saving major money on your laundry.
22. Good Til The Last Drop
How many times do we get tired of squeezing the last of the toothpaste so we just toss it? What about getting tired of shaking the shampoo bottle to get those last few drops? Well, those last few drops keep you from having to buy a new bottle or tube for another day.
The best way to get everything out of every bottle or tube is simply cut the bottle or tube in half. That way you can reach down inside and get the very last of it out. Use these frugal living tips to help you to use it all til the last drop.
23. Become Your Own Baker
I love this frugal tip. This is where I first got started years ago when I first discovered what being frugal meant. Yes, I began by baking my own bread. I realized I could make it cheaper than I could buy a pre-made loaf. This is one of my favorite frugal living tips because it starts a chain reaction in your head of ‘what else can I make instead of buying?
Having trouble paying your bills? This might help: 7 Of The Best Ways To Make Money Right Now To Pay Your Bills
24. The Home You Need, Not The One You Want
Those who live a frugal lifestyle do not always live a lavish lifestyle. This is important because it allows them to live a comfortable life without being buried in debt. Where do most of us spend the majority of our money?
Our home. It is important when looking at investing a lot of your money into a home to not get carried away by all of the upgrades and shiny things that make your heart go pitter-pat. No, you have to look at functionality. If you choose a home based on function (and not glitter and glam) you will be surprised how quickly that purchase price will fall.
25. Pre-Paid Cell Service Is Making A Comeback
Many people turn their noses up at prepaid cell service. Back in the day, the phones were tiny and it was super inconvenient to run to the store and stock back up on minutes so you can make your calls again. Well, times are changing.
Now, any phone that the contract cell suppliers are offering, prepaid can offer the same thing. You don’t have to track off to the store to buy more minutes; just refill them online now. So I urge you to give prepaid cell service a second chance. You might be delightfully surprised.
26. Create Your Own Cleaning Products
Cleaning products are expensive. It doesn’t matter how you cut it. You aren’t sure what is in them and it feels like the better they work the more expensive they are. So what do you do in order to be more frugal and save more money? You make it yourself. Frugal living tips are all about making things yourself and living that DIY lifestyle.
27. Unplug Before You Leave
When you are headed out unplug all of your appliances. This can be done with a quick flip of a breaker panel switch. If you aren’t going to be home then don’t waste the electricity. It is actually one of the simplest frugal living tips to saving some money each month.
Living on $1,000 a month is not easy. But if you are in this situation, you don’t have to settle and accept it. There are things you can do to change your circumstances, you just have to be willing to put in the effort.
If you can take steps to better your situation, you will begin to see changes. Use those achievements as motivation to keep pushing through and reaching your goals.
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