9 Frugal Living Tips That Will Save You Money

Too often we hear the phrase “living frugally” and immediately think “penny-pinching” or “scrimping”.

But smart financial ninjas know that frugal living isn’t about restricting yourself. It’s about changing your mindset from “it’s not worth it” to “every little thing adds up”.

A lot of people have spending problems even though the answer is really simple.

Spend less than you earn, save the rest and you will always have money. It’s easy to spend everything we earn or worse, go into debt. Getting a credit card or loan takes no time at all, spending on them is easy and before you know it, you’re in a deep financial hole. 

By changing some of your habits with these frugal living tips, you can get on top of your money for a better financial future. These frugal living tips are easy to implement but make a big difference to your bottom line.

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Meal Planning

Meal planning is on almost every frugal living list because it works. Knowing what you are going to cook and eat reduces waste. Creating a shopping list and sticking to it is easier when you know the meals your plan to have. 

Creating a meal plan doesn’t need to be tricky. Write down some of your favorite meals, the ingredients you need for them, and plan around that. Cook with ingredients in season and you’ll save even more.

And if you’re still having trouble, then perhaps it’s time to look at meal delivery services. They ship the exact amount of food you need to cook so you’ll never waste food.

Most of these meal delivery services have free trials too so you can try them out before committing to one.

Selling Clothes On Apps

Selling apps enable you to make and save money.

Buying and selling second-hand clothes instead of buying everything new at the mall saves a small fortune. This is especially true if you have a string of weddings or special events. 

Get what you need for a cheaper price, use it and sell. While you’re at it, go through your wardrobe and sell anything you no longer love, need, or wear. Most people only use about 20% of the clothing they have.

Poshmark is one of the most popular apps for selling clothing and accessories as anyone can sell anything.

Tradesy is great if you have designer clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories. I sold a few of my wife’s Louis Vuitton bags that she hasn’t used in years for thousands of dollars on Tradesy.

I prefer all of these apps over sites like eBay because you’ll get more for your clothes. These apps are tailored for buying and selling clothes. Your wardrobe will fetch a higher selling price than a general auction site.

eBay and other platforms like it are still great for selling anything else you have laying around and don’t need.

Automate Savings

Have a percentage of each paycheck go straight into your savings account. Set it up through your employer or have a set day your bank automatically transfers it. By automating it, you don’t think about it and your savings will build quietly in the background. 

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach is a best seller because automating your finances is easy. The sooner you start, the more money you can save. 

Consolidate Debt 

Debt can be crushing, especially if you have a mortgage, student loans, and multiple credit card balances.

Consolidating your debt can make repayments easier to manage and often get you a reduced interest rate, saving you a ton of money.


Mortgage refinancing is one of the best ways to potentially save you thousands of dollars.

Personally, I’ve refinanced my first home 5 times already, going from a 30-year mortgage that had a 6.5% interest rate all the way down to a 2.75%.

That saved me a whopping $130,000 in interest over the lifetime of the loan!

The one thing I hated though was filling out application after application to see what rate each bank offered. It’s so annoying!

For my last few refinances, I skipped all that work by using Credible (NMLS #1681276).

Credible allows you to compare lenders in just 3 minutes. You’ll get actual rates from multiple lenders without impacting your credit score.

Student Loans

I remember one of my ex-girlfriends had three different student loans:

  • Subsidized loan (at 4.50%) that started to accrue interest six months after she finished school
  • Unsubsidized loan (at 5.75%) that started to accrue interest immediately
  • Private student loan (at 6.25%) from a local bank that started to accrue interest the day she took out the loan

While none of those interest rates were horrible, they weren’t that great either. She used SoFi to consolidate her student loans. They’re very competitive with their interest rates – she received a fixed loan at a rate 4.35% APY.

SoFi offers a $300 bonus if you decide to refinance with them and have other SoFi promotions for trying the rest of their financial products.

Credit Card Debt (and other personal loans)

Credit card balances are the worst debt you could carry because the interest rates are astronomical – some cards charge upwards of 36%!

Some people can only afford the minimum payment amount with interest rates that high, making their situation even worse.

My advice is to always pay your credit card balances in full.

If you find yourself in a situation that you can’t pay the entire amount, you need to stop the bleeding. You need to consolidate that debt ASAP – especially if any of your credit cards are charging more than 6%.

SoFi also offers personal loans that you can roll all your credit card debt into at an interest rate that is much more manageable.

Evaluate Your Subscriptions

How many subscriptions do you have that you don’t use?

It’s easy to lose track of what you’re subscribed to! I’m so guilty of this. Off the top of my head, here are my monthly bills:

  • Streaming Services (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, discovery+)
  • Internet (Comcast)
  • Shipping (Amazon Prime)
  • Gym (Equinox)
  • Cell Phone (T-Mobile)
  • Gaming (Stadia)

Going over your bank statements, PayPal, and other money services to see what subscriptions you have can be time-consuming.

Use Trim instead.

Trim can cancel old subscriptions and get you a better deal on subscriptions you want to keep.  So far, Trim has saved their users over $40 million. It’s easy to use and is designed to be used by anyone to generate savings. 

Ditch Your Cable For Streaming

It’s 2021, and if you haven’t done it by now, you should really think about getting rid of cable and use streaming services instead.

The most popular, Netflix, has a giant library of TV shows and movies to watch. They also have invested billions of dollars into their own in-house content after the successes of their original series Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards.

For folks who enjoy live television programs, have no fear – there’s streaming companies like Hulu that will replace what cable offered. One of their plans include Live TV from major cable channels.

Streaming services are cheaper than cable and have numerous movies, TV shows, and documentaries available to watch whenever you want.

So why are you still paying for cable? Cutting cable can be one of the quickest ways to reduce your monthly budget and have more money in your pocket. 

Make Coffee At Home

You’ve heard it a million times because it’s true. Making coffee at home saves money.

It doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice good coffee or your favorite flavors though. Learn to do them another way.  I compared store-bought coffee to coffee made at home and the savings are huge.

To get good home coffee, you need a few basics – a good coffee machine, whole beans, and the patience to learn. It doesn’t take long and once you have your coffee how you love it, you’ll never want it from a store again.

Plus, you will never waste time standing in line again. 

Review Your Insurance

Renewing your insurance without doing a new quote can cost you thousands.

Insurance companies do not reward loyalty. Instead, the best deals go to new customers. 

Go over all your insurance policies including car, life, home, pet, and any other insurance you have. Get fresh quotes for all of them, including with the company you currently have your insurance with and see what the best deal is you can get.

Be sure the policies are offering the same cover. Some insurance companies offer a market rate instead of an agreed rate which means, they will only pay out what they deem the car or item to be worth instead of a set price. 

Other insurance companies do not include everything you might think should be included e.g. flooding for your home. Read the policies, know what is included and choose the best policies for the insurances you need. 

Compare Providers

Electricity, water, phone, internet, every bill you have could potentially be cheaper. Take the time to compare your providers and save. If you think you don’t have the time, pick one provider a day to check and before you know it, you will have compared them all. 

When comparing, do quick and easy comparisons online or call to compare. Be sure to check early cancellation fees, pay on time discounts, any other discounts they can offer and if combining services will save you more. 

The Bottom Line

Frugal living doesn’t need to take much effort. With a few habit changes and tweaks to your budget, reviewing some of your current expenses and cutting out what you don’t need, you can save thousands.

About John Pham

John Pham is a personal finance expert, serial entrepreneur, and founder of The Money Ninja. He has also been fortunate enough to have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, and U.S. News & World Report. John has a B.S. in Entrepreneurship and a Masters in Business Administration, both from the University of New Hampshire.

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