Living frugal 101 --- Things people should know to save money on everything

United States
May 30, 2008 5:04pm CST
With the gas prices being $4.19 when I last pumped here in Orange County, California, I wonder about how people are making ends meet... Living frugal seems to be a necessity. What are the first things that someone should know who wants to start living a more frugal lifestyle? Is living frugal just about saving money or is there more to it? What things have you saved money on and how?
3 people like this
12 responses
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 May 08
It is tight and with rising prices not only at the pumps but a the food stores finding ways to cut expenses is more of a necessity then ever. I know for us with the summer months our electric bill goes up drastically so we look for ways to cut it. We changed our bulbs over to the new CFL ones. We got better curtains to help block out the heat. Turned our water heater down a couple of degrees as well as turned our refrigerator down so it's not as cold. It's only little things but they all add up believe me. We even got a more energy efficient coffee maker. For food we planted some tomato and cucumber plants. I clip coupons and even get coupons off line to help with things. I shop at a couple of different stores to get the best prices on food and I buy a lot of generic. I use YourRx Card to help with my prescriptions. That saves me a lot of money over all. To help on gas we limit our trips combining them as much as possible. We don't go out unless we have to. Some things to aid in making your gas go further is to make sure your tires are inflated correctly. this improves gas mileage as well as getting oil changes regularly and other maintenance. Hope this helps.
2 people like this
• United States
31 May 08
Thanks for sharing the things that you do... I reside in an apartment and have no control over curtains, water heater, plants, etc. I though like your other ideas a lot.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 May 08
It's a shame you don't have a way to change such things. I've only lived in a few apartments over the years and those I was responsible for everything. I do know though each apartment is different and some provide more then others and so on. I hope the other things can help you. I know it's not easy to try and cut expenses. I have found however even if you can cut them by a few pennies those pennies can add up over time. Good luck.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
6 Jun 08
We re-use a lot of things and I'm a big user of freecycle. Not to mention coupons, but only if they are things I use already. I won't buy something just because I have coupon. I also really look for sales. We also shop at Sam's club to try and buy things in bulk which can be cheaper. Have to watch though because it isn't always. I would collect rain water but we haven't had any rain . It's really dry here. The grass is all turning brown. I'd grow more then I am if one I had the space and two our ground was more conducive to plants. I have the tomato and cukes in pots (well actually plastic bins from kitty litter but you get the idea) because the soil here is so bad. Thank you for best response. I wasn't expecting that.
1 person likes this
• Uruguay
30 May 08
Start cooking from scratch instead of using boxed meals. Cut down on eating out. Carpool, or walk. Don't buy brand food, go generic instead. Have a yard sale, you can make some money out of what you are no longer using. Try to make a list of your groceries and drive to the supermarket as minumum as possible. I'll come up with more ideas later.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 May 08
That cooking from scratch is a good idea although those boxed meals sometimes are so tempting. Thanks for suggesting yard sales and making up good grocery lists for the store.
@thepipes (163)
• United States
31 May 08
boxed meals can be cheaper sometimes, but they are also a lot less healthy.
1 person likes this
@emeraldisle (13145)
• United States
31 May 08
I have to agree, depending on what you are making the boxed can be a lot cheaper then making from scratch. It might not be as healthy but sadly healthy is usually more expensive as a general rule. That's where you really need to compare and determine which is better.
@sweetdesign (5151)
• United States
19 Jun 08
Frugal living is so much more than just saving money although that is a good side effect. frugal living is thinkig and acting on a minimalist lifstyle. Minimize spending, stretch your budget, find other uses for things that wear out in thier current use (ie old tshirts not fit to wear anymore become dust cloths and cleaning clothes). I don't go out very much (became a right little hermit when gas went up it is 3.99 here). We got a smaller car. Eventually I will be purchasing a scooter to conserve gas and energy further (I have an electric one but it is not for busy roads but great to get to work (I work 2 mins from home)and go to kmart on).
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jun 08
We also grow some of our own stuff like tomatoes,beets,onions,cucumbers,blueberries,asian plums,figs,peppers,meyers lemons and beans. We shop at the farmers market where produce is cheaper and better. We can our own food for future use. We also utilize our chest freezer for stocking up on meats when they are on sale, we use our vacume sealer so that the meats stay fresh in the freezer.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jun 08
Oh we also collect rain water and keep it in tubs (with lids) in our garage to water our garden and house plants with. It is free water and we like free!
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jul 08
Thanks for sharing all of the ways that you live frugal... I appreciate the thought that went into answering this question and the fact that you included so much information for the readers here.
• United States
31 May 08
Since this gas insanity, My family and I have saved money on the following: Dining out- Paying gas (at least $8.00) and tolls ($6.00) to go eat a decent dinner with a $100+ restaurant check just doesn't have the same satisfying feeling as it did before. Instead we take that $114.00, buy our groceries on foot, come home and prepare our meals (no tip necessary) Entertainment: Instead of going to the movies for $54.00 (the price of admission for 2 adults and two children plus goodies), we rent movies on demand and make our own treats. Shopping: The gas price is curbing my impulse to shop at malls. Now I look for deals online and order them with free shipping. I get what I want, no waiting in line, and best of all, no cinnabon temptation! I'm curious to see how others are saving :)
• United States
2 Jun 08
Thanks for sharing the ways that you are saving... I am thinking that you are being very wise... I though am also thinking that if more people do as you do the malls, the movie theatres and restaurants are going to be in big trouble... I wonder if they will start to lower their prices in an attempt to grab more customers.
• United States
3 Jun 08
I think shopping online not only saves me money and gas, it also saves me so much time, time that we get to spend with the family. I found a great online site that helps me save even more money when I shop online. You might be interested in this site, it is free to join, there's no hidden catches and it gets you cash back when you shop with over 250 well-known companies (like WalMart, Target, Toys R Us, Babies R Us, even Ebay!) I just bought replacement printer ink and not only did I get a better price than what WalMart and Costco sell it for in their stores, I also received free shipping and my cash back incentive for shopping online with this company was over $7!! I saved $$, gas and time and that was before the cash back! I'm very excited about this program with the holidays just around the corner!! I also use coupons when I shop for food, carpool as much as possible and eat more meals at home, rather then going out to eat. It's certainly help to stretch our money a bit further. Welcome to myLot!
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 08
creationsbyrobin, You were kind enough to share that there was such a site... now we are wondering what it is. Thanks for posting.
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
31 May 08
not saving any money as every thing has gone up and no way to save anything daughter need to get back to work!
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jun 08
I understand this as I am having to get back to work again too... Thank Goodness for the extra income from myLot which helps a little.
@Lakota12 (42681)
• United States
4 Jun 08
I like what I get here as every little bit helps But I really dont get that much for I have no referralsjust have loads of fun!
1 person likes this
@mamacathie (3929)
• United States
19 Jun 08
I do try to combine all my errands into one trip to town to cut back on gas. I cut my dryer sheets in half and only use one half sheet per load it works just fine. If i get a better bargain on liquid fabric softener then I pour just a dab on a wash cloth and throw it in the dryer in the place of a dryer sheet. I only use half of what the directions on the laundry detergent calls for and it works just as well. You can also add water to your dishwashing detergent and that works great! These are just a few of the things I do to cut back on costs. God bless.
1 person likes this
• United States
5 Jul 08
Thanks for sharing what you do... Many blessings to you as well.
@cuteshe (126)
• Thailand
6 Jun 08
Here in Thailand, the government is trying to impose to companies to offer shuttle buses or vans going to the office. This idea will save a lot in terms of gasoline as well as reduce traffic. Not only for individual benefit but to the economy of the country as a whole. I hope this will soon be materialized.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 08
This would be a good idea and would have the added benefit of adding the driver jobs to the economy... But it would not work where the attendence at the job is based on the appearance of the client, i.e irregular hours, or a need to drive to meet clients in the field. For all others it would be good, I think.
@peavey (16876)
• United States
3 Jun 08
There are more ways to save money than there are to spend it, believe it or not! But if you really want to start saving, you have to know where you're spending, so start by tracking every penny that goes out. After watching that for a week or two, you'll get an idea of where you're spending money unnecessarily. Everyone is different, so finding your money leak is the most important thing for someone who wants to start living a more frugal lifestyle. While living frugally is basically about saving money, it's a mindset that allows you to live life the way you want to, not the way you've been told you want to. It's paring things down until you're faced with what's important to you. What things have I saved money on? Everything. I never pay full price for anything if I can help it. I shop the sales, shop thrift stores and garage sales and always go with a list. Find ways to save on utilities. We waste more water than makes sense. Put a bowl under your kitchen faucet and see how many times it fills up with clean water - we run water to cool it, to heat it, to... what? waste it? Electrical use can be cut by turning things off! Unplug them, don't use them until/unless you need to. And on and on. There are literally thousands of ways to save.
1 person likes this
• United States
8 Jun 08
Thanks for sharing the ways that you save money and also for talking about the mindset behind it as that is helpful.
• United States
3 Jun 08
I'm lucky enough to work very close to where there are many large syores (WalMart, Costco, BJ's, etc) and a few of my workmates & I go to the stores together on lunch. I get to comparision shop and buy the lowest price and since we carpool, I save on gas too. But the biggest savings I have found is by shopping online. Lately, there have been quite a few companies offering discounts on items (cheaper than what they sell for in their stores) and many companies offer free shipping. I knew I needed to purchase printer ink and I checked the prices and found WalMart had the best price for the 4 cartridges I need. I just joined a free online program that offers cash back when I shop online and I just happen to check one of the stores affiliated with the program. They happend to be a few cents cheaper than WalMart on each cartridge. Plus the catridges qualified me for free shipping and when I made the purchase through the cash back program, I received cash back... more than $7!! I have also bought business cards, with a free coupon through this site and even though I only paid for shipping, I still received more than $1.50 cash back. A sneaker purchase also was cheaper than what they sold for in the store and online, the company gave me a 10% discount, free shipping and I receive a few dollars back from the cash back program. I can't even imagine how many gallons of gas I might have saved on these transactions (round-trip for my sneakers saved at least 2 gallons of gas) I do the coupon thing at the store and always try to shop for the best price, but the savings in both $$ and gas when I shop online has been a pleasant surprise!!
• United States
8 Jun 08
Thanks for sharing your online savings.
@cher913 (25890)
• Canada
2 Jun 08
plan your trips, use alternatives in transportation (ie biking, blading) plan your meals ahead of time (even if you plan them once a month!) there are so many great websites out there that will help you with your quest to be frugal, take some time and check them out.
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Jun 08
Thanks for your good advice... I am wondering about alternative means of transportation... The planning of meals is a good idea, and having a list when one is shopping and avoiding impulse purchases... Thanks for suggesting that people do a websearch to find on line resources for being frugal.
@ynigz1 (472)
• China
5 Jul 08
I try to save some money for me now to save, as the everything price is rising, but still with that salary. I 've saved some money in last years, it's easy for me to save that time, I work in a big city and get a job relevent with my majoy, I earn money more than which I spend, then I saved. But now I really earn less than what I can earn. I don't know when can I earn as much as I can save some. Hope this difficult time will past quickly.
• United States
5 Jul 08
Good luck to you.
• United States
17 Jul 08
The first thing I suggest, if you aren't already doing so, is setting up a budget. Make sure you include setting monies aside for emergencies. You might want to check into reading some Dave Ramsey books. The next thing I suggest you do is to look into some serious couponing & stockpiling options. I've started some discussions on Frugal Living on here you can check out. They are simply called Frugal Living #1 and then I have, so far, added #2-6. They will all be helpful for you to consider. cut out or cut down non-essentials. Don't go out to eat, don't buy that coffee/soda daily, pack your lunch instead of eating out, etc. Not sure how many of those types of things you do or don't do, but that gives you an idea. Then, plan your weekly meals. By careful planning you avoid eating out because you didn't take anything out for dinner. You avoid unnecessary trips to the store because you forgot something you need for dinner. Not only will it save you on gas making that extra trip, but it will also keep you from purchasing other unnecessary items while there! And, you avoid waste by having planned what you're going to eat. Americans in general are very wasteful with food. Check into big-batch cooking and then freezing individual portions that can be taken for lunch or reheated for another time. Again, it limits the waste. I have lots of great tips on frugal living. The question is how commmitted are you to making the life changes? I always suggest pick one area at a time to work on so you're not overwhelmed. Good luck to you!