Frugality does not have to be boring or restrictive … if you use your imagination. Be creative and find ways to have fun — loads of it — without spending much money. Have a picnic at the park, go to the beach, do crafts, board games, fly a kite, make art, bake cookies … I could list a hundred things, and you could come up with a few hundred more. Make a list of simple pleasures, and enjoy them to the maximum. This is the key to the whole idea of enjoying life now without spending tomorrow’s dollar.

Here some Simple and practical frugal living tips and ideas

Put Something Back Every Time You Shop

This tip is especially good to remember at the supermarket — save money and guilt by putting back that bag of chips — but it can work wherever you’re shopping.

Use furniture wax on your car.

Just spray it on and shine it to a quick buff! Much quicker than car wax

Unplug everything In your home when you’re not using it. Even clocks!

Before I go to bed at night, I spend 10 minutes walking around the home unplugging everything that isn’t in use.

Treat Frugal Living Like Staying Healthy

Exercise and eating right is an uphill battle for me, but it’s one that I’m committed to fighting. Treat living frugally the same way. There will be times when you give in to temptation. It’s OK. Just try not to make it a habit, and try to make up for your mistake somehow.

Take advantage of your local library.

I absolutely love books, however supporting a book habit is a bit expensive and it is a bit discouraging to look at books you own on your bookshelf that didn’t live up to expectations, and knowing the book wasn’t really worth the cost. Browse around the bookstore for interesting books, make a list and find out which books you can get at your local library.

Spend money on things that really matter to you, not simple distractions.

If you  love cycling, don’t be afraid to invest in a good bike that will last you a long time instead being stingy on a cheap bike. If you invest your time and money in things that really fulfill you, instead of spending money on a bunch of little stuff you don’t care that much about, it will save you money in the long run. If you buy item A, and it makes you feel great when you first purchase it and open it, but a week later you feel lukewarm about the item, but already are excited about buying new item B, it just means that item A wasn’t a worthwhile purchase in the first place. Spend money on things and experiences that truly matter to you, not simple distractions that will leave you bored in a week. A trick I use is if I got shopping at the mall, I don’t bring money, the trip is only to look. Then in a week I come back, and the things I remember and are still interested in buying I consider buying those items.

Shop at midnight.

Those late-night hours are great. You’ll have no lines at the checkout, no crowded aisles, and your pick of the bargains and markdowns that are being put out for the next day.

Become good friends with your neighbors.

They will always have things that you can borrow instead of buying them.

Reduce convenience foods.

Frozen foods, microwaveable stuff, junk food … anything that’s packaged and prepared for our convenience is not only more expensive than something you cook yourself, but also most likely less healthy. I’m not saying to eliminate these completely, but reduce consumption.

Do it yourself.

Instead of hiring someone to do something, try doing it yourself. Sure, it takes some time and effort, but it’s satisfying, and of course cheaper. It’s also educational, if you don’t know how to do it — again, do an online search, read up on it, and give it a go. Frugality freaks are DIYers.

Drink more water.

Not only does drinking plenty of water have great health benefits — it has financial benefits, too. Drink a big glass of water before each meal in order to stay fuller longer and ultimately eat less. Not only will you save on the food bill, but you’ll also feel better after you become properly hydrated.

Stop using credit cards.

Credit cards are not evil. And before you flame me, once again, I realize that they can be used to good purpose. If that’s how you use them, then that’s good, skip this tip. For others, credit cards make buying too easy, and end up making them buy too much.Not only that, but if you don’t pay your bill in full each month, they will cost you a lot in interest. The average American with at least 1 credit card has more than $8,500 in credit card debt. Don’t make that mistake.

Share your dreams with people you love.

This seems like an odd way to save money, but think about it. If you spend time with the people you love the most and come to some consensus about your dreams, it becomes easy for you all to plan for it. Set a big, audacious goal together and encourage each other to be financially fit – soon, you’ll find you’re doing it naturally and your dreams are coming closer than ever.

Join up with a volunteer program.

Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, get some exercise, and involve yourself in a positive project that can lift your spirit. It also comes without a cost to you and can provide a lot of entertainment and a fulfilling day when you’re in the right mindset. (In some cases, it can even help erase your student loans.)

I’ve come to spend more and more of my time volunteering, serving on various committees and groups in the community. It is hands-down the best thing I have ever done.

Eat breakfast.

Eating a healthy breakfast fills you up with energy for the day while also curbing your desire for a big, expensive lunch. Meanwhile, breakfast can be very healthy, quick, and inexpensive. A bowl of oatmeal in the morning is often the one thing that keeps me from running out to eat an expensive lunch later in the day.

Read more.

Reading is one of the cheapest – and most beneficial – hobbies around. Most towns have a library available to the public – just go there and check out some books that interest you. Then, spend some of your free time in a cozy place in your house, reading away.

You’ll learn something new, improve your reading ability, enjoy yourself, and not have to spend a dime.

Do you have a frugal tip that you think most of us haven’t heard of? I’d love to learn about it. Let me know in the comments below.

Responses

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  1. reibushi

    Good tips! I also gather free food, If there is any where I’m living. In Texas I’d gather wild prickly pears when they were ripe. Here in Oregon, I try to enjoy the blackberry harvest every year, picking a gallon or two and freezing them. And I’ve always picked up fallen chestnuts to roast and enjoy. Just be careful not to take anything from someone else’s property without permission, and in parks make sure there aren’t any prohibitions.

  2. Laura (PA Pict)

    I am thrifty too. I almost regard it as a fun challenge to see how thrifty I can be each week or month. I agree with the tips you have provided. One I do that I know saves me a bunch of money is meal planning so that I draw up a shopping list according to that meal plan and buy only the items on the list – only allowing additional buys if they are on sale or reduced and are something I can store or freeze for the following week to reduce that week’s grocery bill. If it is not on the list then it does not go in the basket. It really helped cut my grocery spending when I implemented it a decade or so ago and also reduced my food waste.

  3. aviottjohn

    I completely identify with the sentiments and ideals expressed here. In this context, I can highly recommend “The Moneyless Man,” by Mark Boyle who describes his experiment in 2008/9 living for a year with no money at all. The book was a success and brought him a considerable amount of money that he, ironically, no longer needed. Here is a link to a recent Guardian newspaper article about him. https://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/sep/04/moneyless-man-gave-up-cash-embraced-foraging-farming