30 Absolutely Genius Frugal Hacks to Save Money This Year

Looking for frugal hacks to save money?

Finding ways to save money is incredibly important for most families. That’s because 58% of Americans have no spare income after the recent surge in inflation, leaving no money for luxuries or emergencies. You may also be surprised to find out that 30% of those people are earning over $250,000.

In this article, you’ll learn how to live frugally with our frugal living tips and hacks, regardless of how much you earn.

The true definition of frugality

Frugality can often be misunderstood. It’s not about being tight with your money or miserable. It doesn’t mean going without things or not spending any money at all. It simply means thinking about the financial decisions that you make and using your knowledge to make money-savvy choices in life.

Reasons to be super frugal

Frugality might not seem that appealing to people who haven’t adopted frugal techniques before, but it can actually provide several benefits to your lifestyle.

1. Less financial stress

Nobody wants to have to worry about money. Adopting a frugal lifestyle can take away your money worries by adopting techniques that make the cash you earn go further.

2. More financial freedom

One of the biggest benefits of being frugal is being able to improve your financial situation so you can pursue your hobbies and interests without worrying about how you will afford the next mortgage payment.

3. Earlier retirement

Living frugally before your retirement will help you get out of debt, save more and invest wisely. In turn, this will free up the cash that you have and allow you to retire comfortably early.

30 Frugal hacks to save money

Take frugal living to the next level with these actionable frugal hacks.

1. Style your own hair

The exact cost of getting your hair done will depend on the style and who’s doing it. But let’s just say you spend $90 every two weeks. That’s over $2,000 every year!

While doing your own hair may seem daunting, it’s a great way to save some cash. Follow online tutorials and stick with simple styles to begin with.

If you’re not feeling brave enough to do it on your own, find a local beauty college with students who will be willing to practice their skills for a bargain price.

2. Cut down on water usage

Are you guilty of leaving the water running while brushing your teeth? Or taking extremely long showers?

Turning the water off when it’s not in use and shortening your showers can help significantly reduce your water and electricity bills, saving you money.

3. Repair your clothes

Simple frugal hacks are often the most effective. Instead of buying new clothes every time you get a hole in a top or pants, mend them yourself.

Learn the basics on the internet or ask a friend who knows how to sew. You’ll be doing your bit for the environment while saving yourself an impressive amount of cash in the long term.

4. Declutter

There’s nothing more satisfying than sorting out items that are no longer needed in your home. Not sure where to start?

Take each room at a time and put everything that you haven’t used in a while in a pile. List the items for sale online or host a garage sale to make fast cash that can be used to put towards other spending areas. 

5. Use natural cleaners for your home

Baking soda, liquid dish soap, salt, white vinegar, alcohol, and lemon are all multi-purpose items that can be used to naturally clean your home.

Stop overpaying for branded cleaning products and use what you already have to achieve a healthier and more frugal lifestyle.

6. Collect rainwater

Want to reduce your water bill and carbon footprint?

Harvest rainwater by collecting it in a rain barrel. If you don’t have one, buckets, watering cans, or a child’s swimming pool will also do the job.

Filtered rainwater can be used for cooking, drinking, doing the laundry, bathing, watering your garden and washing vehicles.

7. Cut out cable

How much do you actually use your cable TV? Make a note of every time it is used in your house and ask yourself whether it’s worth the cost.

You may be surprised that most of the shows you watch on TV are actually available online without a subscription.

8. Line dry clothes

On average, using your dryer for one hour will cost you between 24 and 72 cents. That might not sound much but if you use your dryer for seven hours a week, that will set you back at least $1.68 a week, $8,736 a year.

Line drying your clothes will save you money on electricity and buying dryer sheets. It’s also gentler on clothing and better for the environment. 

9. Turn off appliances at night

Even when appliances are not in use, they can still use energy if left on standby mode– which costs you money.

Household appliances that should be turned off to cut your energy bill include TVs, computers, phones or tablets that are on a charger, and games consoles. Every little bit of energy that you save will help you be more frugal.

10. Learn to drive more economically

Adapting the way you drive is one of the best frugal living hacks to know if you really want to make a difference in your expenses, especially with the rising costs of fuel.

Cut your fuel bill by:

  • Turning off the AC
  • Accelerating and braking gently
  • Removing extra weight from the trunk of your vehicle
  • Ensuring your tires are correctly inflated

11. Negotiate your bills

The art of negotiating your bills is simple when you know how. Call your provider and tell them that you’ve been offered a cheaper deal elsewhere.

The company you’re currently with will then have to choose between reducing their prices for you or losing you as a customer.

Always be polite when discussing a price reduction. People are much less likely to give you a good deal if you’re aggressive on the phone.

12. Use less laundry detergent or make your own

Laundry is a weekly chore in most households, and laundry detergent can add a significant amount to your weekly grocery bill. But there is another way to do your washing more cheaply.

The basic ingredients you will need are washing soda and OxiClean. You’ll find lots of proven recipes online to try out.

13. Make your own cleaning rags

Old clothes that are beyond repair make the best cleaning rags. What’s more, they won’t cost you a cent.

Simply cut around the neckline and seams of T-shirts and pants and put your upcycled rags to use on cleaning areas of your home. Garments that are 100% cotton are the most effective because they are super absorbent but you could use any material that you have.

14. Start a food garden

If you’re on a tight food budget, the best place to start cutting costs is by growing your own fruit and vegetables.

Start small and only grow things that you love to eat. The initial costs of seeds and plants are super low, so you’ll soon be saving money compared to grocery store prices.

15. Write a grocery list

It’s easy to overspend when you don’t know exactly what items you need for your weekly run.

Spend some time each week planning your meals for the week and what ingredients you will need. Once you’ve got your list, don’t go shopping without it and don’t buy anything that’s not written down.

16. Drink more water

Water is good for you, and it’s free.

Instead of buying bottles of water to take with you each day, invest in a refillable bottle that you can top off for free wherever you are.

Even when you eat out, drink water with your meal to significantly reduce your bill at the end of the night.

17. Eat food past its use-by date

Despite the dates on foods, some items can be safely eaten past their use-by dates. These typically include canned goods, pasta, and bread. Avoid eating meat, fish, and soft cheese after their expiry date though as these could make you sick.

Don’t forget that food can also be frozen even on the use-by date, which means you can defrost it and use it at a later time. Storing food correctly will also keep it fresher for longer.

18. Make more freezer meals

After a long day, sometimes the last thing you want to do is cook. This often leads to the temptation to order takeout and spend unnecessarily.

Having a well-stocked freezer full of homemade food will not only save you cooking time but also save your wallet too. It’s also much healthier for your family.

Browse freezer-friendly recipes on Pinterest for inspiration and bookmark your family’s favorites for next time.

19. Bulk buy

Wherever possible, buy in bulk to save money in the long term. Even though you’re spending more initially, it will work out much cheaper than buying items individually or smaller portions of cupboard essentials.

The best things to buy in bulk are:

  • Dried beans and lentils
  • Pasta
  • Frozen berries
  • Honey
  • Oats
  • Nuts
  • Grains
  • Toilet tissue

20. Go meatless one day a week

You don’t need to be a vegetarian to go meatless occasionally.

Meat is one of the most expensive food groups, which means it will make a significant impact on your grocery bill. Even just cooking one meatless dish a week can make a noticeable difference to your monthly outgoings.

Using less meat and bulking it out with vegetables or grains is another money-saving hack to try.

21. Track every expense

Until you understand where your money is going, it can be difficult to know which frugal hacks will make the most difference to your lifestyle.

Go through your account statements and categorize each expense into areas such as house, bills, food and entertainment.

Identify areas that you’d like to cut back and apply some of the frugal living tips and hacks from this article to really make a difference to your spending habits.

22. Only use cash

Frugal hacks are also about how you spend your money. When you can physically see how much you’re spending it can often eliminate impulse buying. 

The envelope method is a great way to deal in cash only. Write your expense categories on envelopes (e.g mortgage, food, utility bills) then draw out the cash you need for that area and place it in the envelope. Once the money has been spent you can’t add more or take some from another envelope.

23. Do a no-spend weekend each month

Want to take your frugalness to the next level? A no-spend weekend is where you stop spending on everything that isn’t essential such as housing, groceries, and bills.

The idea is to use the money that you save to add to your savings, pay down debt, or help keep your budget on track.

24. Freeze your credit cards

Another tip to help stop overspending and reduce debt is to freeze your credit cards. People will often freeze their cards if they have been lost or stolen, but it’s also a great way to save money. When you freeze a credit card, your lender will stop any new transactions from being made on your account. 

Depending on who you bank with, you can normally freeze a credit card via your banking app or online.

25. Shop second hand

The most effective frugal hacks are when you make the money you have go further. A great way to do this is to buy second-hand items such as clothes, books, toys, furniture, cars, and technology.

Negotiate the price as low as possible to achieve extreme frugalness.

26. Take a staycation

When thinking about your annual vacation, we often imagine ourselves hundreds of miles away. But why not enjoy some rest in your own city or country?

Traveling takes up a huge proportion of your holiday budget. With a staycation, you can use that money for food and trips instead. Staycations also allow you to be more eco-friendly and save time traveling.

27. Walk more

Walking is completely free, and it’s good for you. Start by walking smaller trips instead of taking the car and build yourself up to walk more regularly or longer distances.

You could also cycle if you have a bike.

28. Take advantage of free local events

You may be surprised to find that there are lots of events happening around you that are completely free.

Apps such as Eventbrite and Ticketmaster are a great way to quickly and easily discover events in your state.

29. Gift frugally

The key to frugal gift giving is to never spend more than you can afford. Frugalness is all about the value of something rather than the price tag. You can gift shop frugally by:

  • Taking advantage of bargains and offers and stock up on gifts for the year ahead.
  • Using coupons for grocery stores to buy food and body care products.
  • Making your own gifts. Slash the cost but increase the value by creating a food gift or craft yourself.

30. Source free books

Free books, anyone?

Take advantage of your local library for an endless supply of free books. If e-books are more your style, the internet is full of books that you can download without paying a dollar. Browse the Google eBookstore, Open Library, and Bookboon to find your next read.

After all, there’s no better price than free.

Start living more frugally

So there you have it, frugal living tips and hacks that save you money without being super cheap.

All you need to do now is decide which of our frugal hacks to try first!

Hannah Lawrence

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  1. Jani, Frugal Fun Finance says:

    Some great frugal hacks and tips that everyone should try! I loved your point about making a grocery list. It seems like something silly to do, but it really saves money in the long run. When you know what you need to buy, it’s a lot easier to stick to your list and budget.

    When you don’t have a grocery list, you’ll need to go through each aisle one by one. Before you know it, you’ll have 3 bags of chips, 2 boxes of cookies and more produce than you can eat in a month! Failing to prepare a grocery list costs you both money and time since you’ll spend more time in the grocery store aisles thinking about what you need to buy.

    I also loved your point about a staycation. This is a great option for those who live outside the city centre of a major area. For example, if you live in New Jersey, you can spend a weekend in New York City.

    Personally, I love travel – this is one area of my life I’m happy to spend money on. However, there are many frugal hacks one can undertake to save money. Eating local, taking the bus or train instead of taxis everywhere and comparing flight and hotel prices using an app like Trivago or Skyscanner are great ways to get the best bang for your buck.

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