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It’s always great when you can manage to free up some money by being able to reduce your monthly budget. These simple frugal living tips should help to make everyday savings and cut down your expenses.
You might be thinking:
Living frugally is boring. Or too limiting perhaps. But actually, it can be pretty simple to just change a few habits or products and once you’ve got into the swing of it, frugal living wont even seem like a challenge anymore.
And the best part?
Those savings that you make all add up over time and can be used to fund things that might not have been affordable before, like days out or even a holiday!
There are so many ways you can be a little more frugal in order to make some extra savings; I’ve rounded up some of the best frugal living tips that provide simple ways to save money at home, on the move and with your grocery shopping.
You might think that some of these ideas are just common sense or completely obvious, but sometimes those are the things that can get easily overlooked. The frugal living tips that I’ve included below are mostly things that we personally do or have done to save money as a family.
I appreciate that not every frugal measure is something that everyone wants to do, for example, have you heard of ‘family cloth’? It’s reusable cloth toilet paper, and something that in all honesty, despite the massive savings, I just don’t think I could get on board with!
Most of these, however, just involve some easy changes and can lead to great savings.
Frugal living tips for your home
- Replace your light bulbs with LED bulbs. Assuming the lights are on for about 4 hours per day, you’ll save about £11 per light bulb per year. My kitchen has 10 spotlights – that’s £132 saved in my kitchen alone!
- Turn off the lights when you’re not using them.
- Replace baths with showers or take shorter showers.
- Turn off the radiators in rooms that aren’t used.
- This one sounds pretty obvious but it’s surprising how many people don’t do this. Put on a jumper before turning up the heating.
- Get one of these squeezing tools to make sure you use up all the product in tubes such as toothpaste.
- Give up your TV licence. You don’t have to give up TV entirely to give up your licence. Check out my post here about living without your TV licence and if you actually need one.
- When it’s time to replace appliances, choose ones with the best energy efficiency ratings. The price is usually only slightly higher, but the cost of energy you will save over the years of use make it a good money saving investment.
- Always check whether it’s worth switching energy or broadband and telephone providers. I find that a quick check each year when it’s time to renew usually means it’s cheaper to switch. You can often find good cashback deals for these kinds of providers too. If you’re not signed up to cashback sites, check out this post about using cashback sites. I’ve had hundreds of pounds in cashback over the years, most recently we got £40 cashback just by switching our home insurance. We would have switched anyway as it was the cheapest policy available – so the £40 was a fab bonus just for a quick 5 second check on Quidco.
Frugal Living Tips For Food and Shopping
- Make a meal plan each week based on the contents of your fridge and cupboards, to avoid food going to waste and not buying unnecessary extras in the supermarket. See this post for easy ways to get started with meal planning. You don’t save to compromise on your diet either – it’s possible to still be frugal and eat well while spending less.
- Don’t buy bags at the supermarket. Avoid the 5 pence per bag charge by remembering to take bags with you when you go shopping. Keep some in your handbag or the boot of your car so you’ve always got some handy.
- Buy bigger tubs/packets/tubes of things, buying in bulk is usually cheaper.
- Don’t buy newspapers. If you have access to the internet, you can read the news on various websites for free.
- Use supermarket cashback apps to get freebies and cashback when you shop.
Another tip for saving money here is to simply cut down on what you buy. Mel from Mel’s Money Mindset talks about she started saving money by stopping buying these 7 things.
Do a brand switching experiment
Take a look at your grocery shopping and see what brands you buy. Then buy the next brand that’s less expensive and see if you either notice the difference, or are bothered by it. For example, we were buying Weetabix, and now buy supermarket brands ‘Wheat biscuits’. There’s not much difference in taste, but there’s a lot of difference in price.
However, we tried buying supermarket brand baked beans, and I decided that the difference in taste wasn’t worth the saving in price, so I don’t compromise and carry on buying Heinz. Cola is definitely not the same as Coke or Pepsi, but my children don’t notice a difference between Robinsons squash and supermarket own brand.
Here are some examples of the difference in prices of branded vs non branded items at one supermarket:
This is just a quick example of 5 branded products, the more brands you switch out, the more significant your overall saving will be. Start off by just switching one brand/price down – if it works out, you can always then repeat the process switching down again to the Smartprice/Everyday value etc ranges.
If you properly give this a go for all the branded products you buy, there’ll probably be at least a few things you’ll be happy with the downgrade on, and this could make a great saving on your grocery shopping month by month. Even basic foods like pasta come in a variety of brands and pricing. Give it a try and see what savings you can make – I’d love to hear how you get on.
Frugal Living Tips for Travel
- Walk or cycle where possible. This has the added bonus of keeping you fit and well as saving money.
- Take your own water bottle or even hot drinks flask with you when out and about to avoid getting tempted to buy expensive drinks. Avoid using motorway service stations for food, drink and fuel – you pay a premium.
- Drive economically; try to avoid unnecessary braking, keep car tyres inflated to the required levels. This will save (only a little, but it all helps, right?!) on fuel costs. Also, don’t leave it until the last minute to fill up for fuel. If you’re desperate, you’re more likely to fill up somewhere more expensive.
- Be a one car family – consider living near your work so you can walk to work/could save the the cost of running an extra car or paying for public transport.
- Don’t pay for things you don’t need to such as toll roads.
Avoid paying the expensive toll charge (£5.50!) to drive on the M6 toll. If the traffic is clear -ie no accidents etc, the toll road is likely to save you only one minute! You can look on Google maps (if you’ve got someone with you!) to check the time of the journey with and without the toll.Think about it in terms of how much your time is worth – at a 1-minute time saving, your time is equated at being worth £330 an hour! A ten minute delay values your time at £66 an hour. At the National living wage, you’d need there to be more than a 42-minute delay to make taking the toll a cost effective choice.
- Don’t pay for things you don’t need to such as toll roads.
I’m sure there are many, many, more frugal living tips out there, from the simple to the much more extreme, but hopefully there are some in there that you find useful. Do you have any other tips for frugal living that help save money?
Still looking for more? Try this post from Rice Cakes And Raisins for 10 more ways to save money.