Best Frugal Living Tips and Ideas for 2021

Living Frugally but well doesn’t have to be hard with these frugal living tips!

I am so excited to share my best frugal living tips with you today!

Honestly, I’ve always kind of been a saver and a frugal person. I mean, my siblings still make fun of me for having Halloween candy, at EASTER! Yeah, yeah. I know. It was weird.

woman in blue shirt holding piggy bank. frugal living tips to save money

But growing up, I watched my family struggle with money. And it definitely made an impact on me to want to save more and be more mindful of my finances as I got older.

However, when it came time for my husband and I to pay off $300,000 of student loans, being frugal became a necessity. There was no way that we could pay those loans off so quickly, and live on a tight budget, without limiting our expenses and developing a frugal lifestyle.

That frugal lifestyle has now become so much a part of our family, that it is still the way we live.

But you need some good frugal living tips to help you get started with a frugal lifestyle. So that is what I want to share with you today. Some of the best frugal living tips to help you get started saving money.

What is Frugal Living?

Frugal living is lifestyle where you look for ways to save, rather than for ways to spend. It means being intentional with how and where you spend your money each month, and focusing on your financial goals overall.

Living a more frugal life means that you cut out a lot of unnecessary spending, in favor of spending on those items that matter most to you.

The great thing about living frugally is that there is no cut and dry to do it. You can approach living frugally your own way. And it doesn’t mean being cheap with everything. You can choose where it makes sense to live stingy, and where to splurge. 

You can live frugal and save lots of money so that you can go on nice vacations, purchase quality items that are more expensive, have a nice home and more. It is all about being intentional with your money and where you spend your money reflects what is important to you.

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20 Frugal Living Tips with a Big Impact

Get on A Budget.

Let’s be honest. There is no way you can really get control of your finances, and start living a frugal life, unless you know what you money is actually doing. You need to get on a plan for your money and that means getting on a budget.

Making a budget does not have to be hard. Check out my beginner’s guide to budgeting to get started. Also, click below and get my free printable budget planner so you can get started budgeting easily.

Make use of Cash Back apps.

One of the easiest ways to be frugal is to use cash back apps when shopping. These days there are SO MANY ways to earn cash back for your shopping.

You can download Ibotta and Fetch Rewards onto your phone and scan grocery and other shopping receipts to earn actual money back for your purchases (with Fetch you earn points to turn into gift cards).

If you are shopping online, you can use Rakuten to get money back for your online purchases.

Join Rakuten today and get $20 FREE MONEY when you spend $20 using Rakuten. It couldn’t be easier!

Seriously, don’t let free money to go waste just because you didn’t know you could get it!

Live Below Your Means.

Once you know what you money is doing, you can work on lowering expenses and spending.

This is key to being able to save money and live below your means. If you are always spending every dollar that comes in every month, there is no way that you can make progress toward any financial goals.

So, as you are working on your budget, start working towards saving more and spending less.

Meal Plan.

One of the BEST ways to lower your grocery bill each month is to learn how to meal plan.

Meal planning is HUGE in helping me stay in my food budget, and keep the cost of our groceries down. If you need help learning how to meal plan, you can check out my meal planner guide.

Stack of recipe books for meal planning for frugal living tip

If you want someone to deliver a meal plan, automatically, into your email, then you need to check out the $5 Meal Plan program. This program gives you delicious and super budget friendly meal plans right to your email.

Buy Used.

One big part of frugal living is that you don’t always buy things new.

Now, I am not saying you can never buy anything new (if you save up for it, you can!). But be willing to buy gently used items. This is big for vehicles especially.

New cars lose so much of their value the second you drive them off the lot. But you can save so much money, when purchasing a car, if you get one that is just a few years old. 

Pay Off Debt.

If you are constantly fighting debt, it is SO hard to get ahead on your bills, or make progress toward financial goals. I know!

We spent 3 years paying off my husband’s dental school loans. And during that time, that is pretty much ALL we could do.

So make getting out of a debt priority. Get it out of your life and move on to better things.

Shop the Sales.

One big part of frugal living is not paying full price for things, as much as possible. This goes for just about everything–groceries, clothing, appliances, gifts, etc.

Pretty much every major holiday has some kind of sale attached to it. So if you can hold out to buy bigger items until those sales roll around, you will be able to save quite a bit of money.

Don’t Pay Full Price for Clothes.

I RARELY buy my children clothes at full price. I have learned to shop for their clothes a year in advance, so that I am buying their clothing on clearance as much as possible.

When I need clothes for me, I always check deal sites like They always have super cute clothes for women, plus options for kids too!

Take Lunch to Work.

Before my oldest was born, I worked in downtown Portland, OR  And it was so easy to forget to make a lunch and just grab something a couple blocks from my work.

After all, what is $5 anyway? Well, $5 per day times 20 days per month is $100 I was potentially spending on eating out!

Where as if I just take my lunch, with food I have ALREADY bought, I am saving that much money (and not letting food go to waste at my home).

If you want to start taking lunch to work, get a container that won’t leak the food everywhere (yes, i am speaking from experience).

Check out these lunch containers for easy food transport!

Date Nights At Home.

I know that at the end of the week, sometimes I desperately just want to get out with my husband.

But a date night out can be expensive! (dinner, movie, babysitter…). So we have had LOTS of date nights at home.

They don’t have to be fancy, but they will strengthen your relationship and save money.

Automate Your Savings.

When it comes to saving, you do not want to plan to “save what is left after spending”.

Instead, you need to do the opposite… spend what is left after saving. This doesn’t have to be hard. You can set up automatic saving amounts to be taken from your checking account and added to your savings account.

You can also have retirement contributions automatically taken from your paycheck, before you even see it.

The less you have to think about actually saving, and the more you can have it done automatically, the more you will actually be able to save!

Learn a little DIY.

Now I am not saying you need to become the next Chip and Joanna Gaines.

BUT, if you can learn a little bit of house repair and maintenance, you will be able to save SO MUCH MONEY.

Man using power drill on floor. learn some DIY as part of living frugally

For example, making a small repair on your toilet could cost you about $5 in parts, and then your time (free).

But, if you hire a plumber to come in and fix it, it will cost at least $100 for the service call. So take the time to learn to a little easy home repair tasks.

Don’t know where to start? YouTube has so many videos where you can learn pretty much anything your heart desires. 

Make Use of Free Resources.

Another great frugal living tip is to make use of free resources.

The library is a great place to start. There is a wealth of knowledge, and entertainment, that you can explore all for free.

I do not have the money (or the storage space) to buy all the books my kids (and I) want to read. But our library let’s us explore more books, without having to pay any money.

Cities and towns will also often put on free community events–movies in the park, concerts, etc. Instead of paying for an event to go, explore what your community offers for free!

Use up what you’ve already got.

Part of being frugal is maximizing what you already have.

Use up every last bit of shampoo, lotion, and food.

Bottles of shampoo and lotions. Use up what you already have to save money and live more frugal

Did you make dinner but toss any leftovers? Time to stop doing that! As much as possible, do not let any food go to waste! Take leftovers for lunch to work, or have a leftovers night for dinner.

Have some shampoo that has been sitting around because it isn’t your favorite? Time to use it up!

I was able to put off buying shampoo for months because I finally started using a bottle I had had forever, but had resisted using it because it wasn’t my favorite.

Every little bit helps when it comes to saving. 

LED Lightbulbs.

Sometimes frugal living means investing in things so that you can save over time.

This is definitely the case with LED lightbulbs. We started buying LEDs, especially when they go on sale, because they use less energy and they last FOREVER.

This helps us to lower our energy bill AND spend less on lightbulbs overtime.

If you have considered making the switch, you can start with these LED bulbs here.


This definitely is not a popular option for frugal living, but it is a valid one.

Housing is probably your biggest monthly expense. Is there a way that you could downsize to pay less in rent/mortgage? The less you have to pay in housing, the more money will be freed up to pay down debt or to save.

This is not a decision to take lightly, but if you are house poor and struggling, it would be worth a conversation.

Consider using a bike more.

Do you live close enough to work that biking would be an option, versus using the car?

This tip was a big way we saved while in dental school. Mr. Dentist would bike to school almost every day, instead of driving.

Driving would have cost wear and tear on the car, gas money and parking money every day. Instead, he received a small stipend for biking to school. For struggling students, that was huge in helping us save money.

man riding bike to help save money for frugal living

Share subscriptions.

Do you like to sign up for subscriptions like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime? Me too!

But I struggle with adding all those services to my budget.

Instead, consider getting a family subscription and share the cost/services with family or friends. This is a great way to cut down expenses but still get to have some fun!

Stop buying single use items.

I stopped buying paper towels years ago. I also rarely get paper plates and napkins. I don’t even buy sponges either.

Buy items that can be used again and again so that you get the benefit of their long term value.

Real dishes and flatware. I use dish towels to dry dishes and hands in the kitchen. I use dish cloths to clean dishes and wipe down surfaces.

All the times I use and reuse items really does save money in the long run.

Frugal Living Tips Final Thoughts

Starting to live a frugal life does take a bit of a mindset change. You have to start thinking about how you can save money, instead of spending it.

But I can tell you that making frugal choices becomes more habitual over time and really does help to save money in the long run. 

These frugal living tips are all ones that we use on a regular basis to help us save money, but still live a fun and fulfilled life. 

What are your favorite frugal living tips? Let me know in the comments below!

Best Frugal Living Tips and Ideas for 2021