April 23, 2014

Renewed Frugality – 21 Frugal Tips To Try This Year

Like so many people, we have fallen off the frugality wagon for a number of reasons  and need to get back on!  I made this list of frugal ideas to try this year for myself but thought I’d share it with you in case you need help getting back on track!

Lots of great ideas here! 21 frugal tips to try this year

Here are 21 great frugal ideas to try this year!

        1. Understand that it’s going to take effort – there’s no easy way around it. Sometimes I get tired of figuring out how to make my food budget stretch, or I don’t want to take the time to hang the kitchen towels up to dry instead of putting them in the dryer,  I wish I could hire someone to paint those walls so I wouldn’t have to do it, I don’t want to make chicken stock from the roast chicken and so on – you get the idea! You have to be willing to do the work.
        2. Realize that you  (and I)  can always do much better. There are so many things that most of us could be doing that we don’t for one reason or another.
        3. Consider repair/reuse/repurpose first.  For example- clothing can be repaired or re-styled into something else. There are tons of blogs who’s topic is restyling clothing or upcycling items. Think jeans into skirt, long sleeved shirt into short sleeves , a  sweater becomes yarn for a project or felt it or you can save the buttons and zippers, use the material to make pillows, doll clothes etc. There are lots of repurposing posts on this blog such as 15 Ways to Repurpose or Re-style t-shirts
        4. Learn a new money saving  skill – how to change the oil in a car, canning, crochet, how to make bread, sewing, gardening, how to  recover a lamp with a new shade, learn how to clip the dogs nails instead of going to the groomer ($14 at our Vet) for example.
        5. Use social media to get discounts. Use Foursquare to unlock deals and “like” brands on Facebook to get FB only coupons.
        6. This idea comes from my friend Tracey McBride ( Frugal Luxuries Gift Pantry) create a gift closet. When you find good deals throughout the year  stock your gift closet. This was such a money saver when Savanna was little and it seemed like we had a birthday party to attend every week!
        7. Always weigh bagged produce. There is a difference. So don’t just grab that bag of onions, potatoes, apples – weigh a few of them first
        8. Make you own laundry detergent/liquid hand soap.
        9. Use the world’s greatest invention, the crockpot  more in order to keep from eating out.  Having something already cooking is one of the best ways to be sure you’ll eat at home on busy days. Pinterest is full of great crockpot recipes!
        10. Have a  home movie night  instead of going to the movies and make a big deal out of it.  Make some fancy(er) snacks or finger foods to munch on while you watch your movie. If you don’t like movies try game night instead.
        11. Use it up – try to consume perishables or freeze them if you can’t. Throw no food away!

coins in a glass jar

12.  Save your spare change – it’ll add up!

13. This tip is from Amy Dacyczyn (Tightwad Gazette) learn to use the minimum  - toothpaste, shampoo, dish soap, whatever, – that gets the job done. When you get to the point where it doesn’t work for you anymore you then add a bit more until you’re satisfied.

14.  Cut down on cleaning supply costs by making more of your own.  Cleaning Recipies Here

15. If you fall off the frugal wagon bounce back the next day. It’s OK. All is not lost! Just don’t make it into a habit

16. Meal plan on some level.  Some people do weekly, some do monthly. Some just have a general idea what they want to eat that week. At least have some plan as to what your meals are going to be even if it’s not a particular recipe. Just knowing you’re having some kind of chicken dish is better than not knowing at all what you’re going to cook/eat!

17. We will look at our credit reports at least  twice  a year  - you’re entitled to one free credit report per credit reporting agency a year so take advantage of it. Spread it out throughout the year. Not only to make sure there are no identity theft issues (expensive and a headache), but to stay up to date with your financial status. It could be a wake call!

18. Get better at eliminating disposable products like napkins and paper towels. (I will probably never totally eliminate paper towels because after I wash my hands I feel like I either need a whole fresh kitchen towel or a paper towel). We did switch to those paper towels that you can choose the size you need (Target brand)

19. We’re going to go over our budget every 3 months or so to see where we are. Before we’d just make a general budget for the year and look at how we did at the end of the year. This year we’re going to re-evaluate where we are in regards to our goals on a more frequent basis so we are able to make adjustments as we need to.

20. Try to create rather than to consume. I’ve found that creativity really does bloom where there is necessity,  if you let it.

21. Make frugal living something  you invest time in learning about. Read websites, magazine articles or check out books from the library about saving money. Join frugal living Facebook pages. There’s a Dave Ramsey page that’s great and people are very supportive. Even if I don’t learn anything new to try, it helps me to stay motivated.

We are all in different places financially and you may not even need these tips, or maybe you  already do all of these tips. At any rate, hopefully there’s something here that you will find useful that may help motivate or inspire you in your frugal endeavors.

21 frugal tips

Feel free to add what frugal thing you’re going to work on this year in the comments.  You never know who you’ll help! Check out my Frugal Living/Tips Board on Pinterest for more inspiration!
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Comments

  1. I just love to read things like this. Admittedly, I am not always thrifty or frugal. I’ll squeeze pennies on one thing then buy magazines at the grocery store. Every little bit counts though, right? We are trying to eat at home more and more. Trying to use up the groceries that are in the fridge and pantry from Christmas…not necessarily left overs just all the extras that come about during the holidays. I think the less we waste the better off we are. Thankfully, we do love left overs and will eat things the next day or make soups when needed. Just trying to be smarter.

    Keep the ideas coming and I’ll check back later to see what others have said.

    • I am the same way! Ack…magazines. They are a temptation! I find that I don’t buy as many if I can get to Barnes & Nobles every now and then and hang out and read the magazines there :) I do buy a coffee but a Starbucks coffee is less money than a magazine these days. I bought a magazine at the grocery store last week and was so disappointed in it. I recognized many of the photos from previous issues (probably a sister publication). I should have taken a moment to flip though it instead of just looking at the cover! That was $9.95 I didn’t need to spend.

  2. This is a great list!

    I enjoy sewing and have several shelves of fabric. I looked back at last year and realized the only time I bought new fabric was for a special order. Otherwise, I used what I had and also thrifted some fabric/sheets,etc. So this year, I’m hoping to continue that for the most part–using what I have–although I got a Hobby Lobby gift card for Christmas and I just might get some new fabric for myself with that!

    I’m also planning to make a more concentrated effort on not buying things I don’t need. Both for money saved and clutter reasons!

  3. hi Manuela, thanks for this timely post, it almost seems like you knew I needed some encouragement right now. I haven’t really fallen off the wagon, it just does not look like I will be able to keep to a financial goal i made for us. But it is still early in the month so maybe I still can!

  4. Great list! This year, I’m going to be more diligent with my meal planning and work on building up my pantry. I’ve also found it a great help to post the week’s meals in the kitchen. That way my husband and children know what to expect. But, it also seems to keep me on track and less tempted to order out.

    Mary Ellen
    The Working Home Keeper

    • I don’t know why I find meal planning so hard. Maybe it’s because I don’t really like to cook? I find that I spend a great majority of my time figuring out what to buy and what to cook. I think if I had loads of money the first thing I’d do would be to hire a cook. No maybe a chauffeur – I don’t like to drive either!

      But I do find it immensely helpful when I stick to a meal plan. It’s less stress and I know it saves us money. Which is why it’s on my list of things to work on this year.

  5. Great tips! I need to work on these.

    Judy

  6. Manuela, I think it’s a good idea for everyone to use more common sense so that we don’t waste away our money or products. I grew up pinching my pennies and although I don’t have to do it anymore, old habits don’t die easily. I have to admit that every so often, I can get carried away and become a spendthrift! LOL If I could only convince our son to be more frugal…
    You did offer some very good tips for others to follow. :-)

  7. Now that is a helpful list! One thing I am doing is cutting back on ingredients. If the recipe calls for a cup of sugar, I use less. I use less cocoa…so far, we’ve not noticed. I try to make a game of how long we can stay away from the store or gas station. I can make a tank of gas last from four to six weeks. That kind of thing… I don’t necessarily like it, though tough economic times demand tough measures. And we truly are faking ourselves out with the DVD fireplace. Ha!

  8. Thanks Manuela. I need to get back on track. Trying to play catch up and it’s hard. Always some way to save a little money. Thanks for the tips. I enjoy reading them and the ones in the comments.

  9. Lots of great tips. I will have to admit – One thing on the learn a new skill list I won’t do. Change the oil in my car!! :-D But I do try to always have a coupon. I also want the paper towels handy for sanitary reasons. I need to go back and take another look, but need to go eat my baked potato first. :-D

  10. Great tips! Hubby and I were just talking about stopping the spending this year and concentrating on saving. The past year has been a free fall of spending and has got to stop. I was reading your list thinking, yep gotta start doing that one again, and that one, and that one. I have really fallen off the wagon.

  11. I would hire a cook, too! They would have to do the grocery shopping too though!

    Great list of thrifty tips. Thanks for sharing! :)

  12. Hi Manuela,
    Great tips! I would love to have you share these on my blog hop tomorrow! The HomeAcre Hop will be live tonight at:
    http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/01/the-homeacre-hop-3.html

    • Thank you so much for sharing this post on The HomeAcre Hop, Manuela! The information will be very valuable to a lot of folks right after the holidays!

  13. This week I not only fell off the frugal wagon, it ran me over too!!!
    tomorrow is a new beginning….God willing. I will start again and keep on going.
    Great tips.

  14. I just checked out a book from the library on this very subject! There are lots of ways we are going to be cutting down this year, including getting rid of cable. It may hurt, but we’ll get used to it, I hope!

  15. Hi Manuela~
    You KNOW I am enjoying this post when I was reading it. :) This is a great list. I’ve done lots of these in the past…and fallen off the frugal band wagon, oh yes! been there. Getting back on is difficult and for some that first step could be embarrassing. But one thing we must remember…none of us wants to be in debt, and scraping to get by on the verge of homeless. So while it might feel embarrassing to be frugal (if it’s not a natural inclination) others may be seeing our efforts and envy them enough to ask how they could be more frugal in their homes too. :)
    Some of your tips were great! My favorites– The gift pantry and Quarterly Budget REVIEWS!!!!

    Some of the others I’ve implemented and have been doing for years–and some I’ve stopped doing, but need to start back up working them into the routine.
    One thing for sure, I think people forget that ‘creative skills’ are AN ASSET NOW MORE THAN EVER! I had so many people comment and appreciate handmade gifts this Christmas.

    take care and as always, thanks for stopping by CORN! Pat

  16. Hi Manuela,
    Thank you for stopping by and for your sweet comment. I hope you are able to visit “Little Quilts” one of these days. It’s in an old house and they have every nook and cranny just bursting with samples and inspiration. Alice and Mary Ellen are both as friendly as can be. Their prices are below the norm and oh…The cutest prints and color schemes. . I,especially, love their red prints.

    We are still awaiting the birth of our grandbaby. His Mommy is going natural and so there won’t be an inducing. Just lots of waiting for the grandmothers.
    Have a wonderful remainder of the week, my friend.
    Blessings,
    Carolynn xxx

  17. Great list:) I try to be frugal and I SURE use my crock pot! Have a blessed day, HUGS!

  18. Thanks for making me feel so good about myself. There are so many of these that I’m already doing. My one HUGE weakness is buying thrifted clothes; I don’t really need all that I have. But I am very, very good about passing on clothes that I haven’t worn for a while. That’s how I justify buying more!

  19. My Daddy was always rigging something when we were growing up. He always said “Necessity is the mother of invention”

    ~Ann

  20. We incorporate some of these excellent tips into our lives. My Joe is frugal because his parents lived through the Depression. They could stretch a dollar. His mom kept bread bags and sometimes I save them too. I do use paper towels for cleaning but use cloth napkins only. There is always laundry after all:}

  21. We don’t often buy paper products, and we make most of our cleaning products and toothpaste.

    We’re paying off a bit of credit card debt, and prepaying on our mortgage. We’d love to be debt free.

    I think mostly we are trying to have the view that all the income is the Lord’s and how does he want us to spend the ‘extra.’

    I love reading these kinds of posts! Keep ‘em coming!

  22. Great tips! I have been working on being more creative when we need something rather than running out and buying a new one. It’s nice to read things like this and know that we aren’t alone.

  23. Thanks for the tips! I always buy bagged apples and never thought to weigh them to get the best deal. I found your post on The HomeAcre Hop!

  24. Great post! I am always looking for ways to save money! Cheers.

  25. What a great list you have put together! Frugal is becoming my middle name, as I sat down with the hubby to make our budget this year. I do know we have a high amount of waste here, so we are having leftover night at least once a week and I try to preserve any fresh produce that we are not going to use quick enough (like green beans, asparagus, broccoli, etc…) Menu planning has become serious business here to keep our grocery bill in check. With three active teenagers though, it can be difficult! Thank you for sharing so many ideas. It definitely gives me a few more ideas!

    • Jennifer you are such a fabulous cook that I imagine leftover night to be quite amazing at your house!

  26. I much prefer to stay home and make things rather than go out and spend money. I think everyone would benefit from being a bit more frugal and not feeling like they need to have everything now. Wishing you a fabulous Friday! Tammy

  27. Those are some great points, Manuela, thanks. Hugs, Cindy

  28. What an informative post. Glad to see you have so many great ideas!

  29. So many great tips here, I need to re-read with a pen and notebook and record them all in one place to help me remember. To add to the list, this is what we do when we want take-out: http://mumtopia.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/live-well-for-less-1-takeaways.html – it’s too expensive and it isn’t healthy, so we’ve started making our own fast food.

  30. Great tips! and it’s not just about saving money – it’s best for the environment too!

  31. I don’t know HOW I missed this wonderful post Manuela…so inspiring! And even a sweet mention of me…wow…thank you so much for the shout out and the great ideas!
    Love,
    Tracey
    XoX