70+ Best Frugal Living Tips {That Actually Work!} (2024)

Frugal living does not have to mean you live life without any frills or fun.

When I started working for myself one of my biggest concerns, after being able to afford to pay actual bills, was having disposable income.

70+ Best Frugal Living Tips {That Actually Work!} (1)

I have always considered having the freedom to buy – within reason – whatever I want and when I want to be a pretty nice feeling.

So adopting a more frugal attitude to life felt a bit disappointing at first. Your over-dramatic inner self assumes Christmas will be all about lumps of coal and bad wine on a frugal budget.

But actually, for me anyway, frugal living has been less about going without what I need and more about making smarter choices.It’s about prioritising and seeking out the best price at all times.

Using these frugal living tips for life in the UK means I can afford the stuff I really want, without having to worry about my bank falling into the red.

For me, frugality really just means regaining a sense of control of your finances. And knowing that you’re not sending any of your hard-earned cash down the drain!

Related posts: Guide to sinking funds

How to make money on maternity leave

Best budget shopping list costing less than £20 a week

What is frugal living

Frugal living does not mean you live on butter-less bread and watery soup in a house with no heating or TV.

Its really about a state of mind where you are conscious of your spending and think carefully about your financial priorities as well as saving.

It also means you seek out the best deals, want to spend your money wisely and are prepared to hold onto your money to spend it on the stuff you really want.

If you want to adopt a frugal lifestyle it doesn’t mean giving up everything you love doing or spending your money on.

It’s more about rethinking your priorities and ditching the stuff you can live without, or switching to a slightly different way of doing things that saves you cash.

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To get started with frugal living you don’t need to go crazy right away.

Start off by writing down all of your outgoings for the month. You’ll be amazed at how just looking at it all with the costs laid out can lead you to make more frugal choices right away.

This post contains affiliate links.

70+ Frugal living tips

These are the best money-saving tips you can apply to your day-to-day spending and budgeting to maximise your savings, and avoid the dreaded overdraft.

Save money on food

One of your biggest monthly expenditures is bound to be food. We spent around £600 a month on food alone – ouch!

The average UK family spends £62.20 a week on food, according to ONS data on family spending. Here’s how you can maximise your budget.

1. Meal plan

The weeks where I do best at sticking to a grocery budget are the ones where I sit down and plan out all seven days of meals.

I tend to do a big weekly shop on a Sunday, so I start with a Sunday roast dinner which I know I can get at least one other dinner out of and possible two days worth of sandwiches for everyone’s lunch. That’s if I buy a larger joint of beef or pork or get a big chicken to roast.

I will choose vegetables that are on offer for that big Sunday roast meal, then be sure to use those as side dishes in my plans for the rest of the week.

There is an entire post with an example shopping list and meal plan to feed a family of four for a week for just £30.

Plus I have another shopping list and meal plan to feed a family of four for a week for less than £20.

2. Switch grocery stores

If you are shopping at Waitrose every week then try switching to Tesco. You will see a big saving if you give Aldi or Lidl a try.

You can check the price of your shop and compare to other supermarkets on the Trolley website. This checks online prices but it may give you a good indicator broadly of the in store costs too.

3. Be wise to supermarket tricks

Once you’re in the supermarket the store has one goal, to get you to spend on not only what you planned to buy but for you to spend beyond that.

They want to sell to you, and every single aisle will have methods deployed to get you to buy stuff you weren’t planning to buy.

Once you’re aware of this tactic it becomes much easier to stick to your guns and only buy what you need.

4. Always sign up to loyalty schemes

Supermarket loyalty schemes are essential for getting the best price possible and taking advantage of coupons and other promotions.

If you shop at Tesco and Sainsbury’s particularly you really should ensure you always have your Clubcard or Nectar card with you in order to get the best prices. You can lose £££ if you don’t have it.

Remember to use and spend any points you collect.

My Instagram followers rate Asda’s Rewards scheme above all the others in terms of decent returns for shopping at the store and using the card.

It also has a Christmas Saver option where you get extra cash for spending with Asda.

Learn more about the best loyalty cards, including supermarket and other brand loyalty schemes and apps.

5. Download JamDoughnut

I love the JamDoughnut app for getting cashback on my grocery shopping.

This cool app lets you buy gift vouchers for various brands, including several of the big supermarkets such as Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and M&S.

You get cashback upon purchasing those gift vouchers, then use them to pay for your food shop.

Check out my full JamDoughnut app review.

6. Ditch brands

All supermarkets have different tiers of cost for pretty much every type of product from bread to butter and broccoli to beef.

You’ll find supermarkets have premium or organic foods that cost more than their basic range, as well as a own brand and branded goods, such as cereals like Corn Flakes.

It’s wise to take a look at the options available and consider switching. Ditching Kellogg’s for own brand can save you at least £1, which adds up over the course of a year when you multiply it over several items.

You likely won’t even notice the difference! The same applies to the household and personal care aisles.

You may think the supermarket own brand won’t be as great, but actually they’re generic equivalents, as research by Money Saving Expert found. Sometimes it’s even made in exactly the same factory! So buy the supermarket own stuff when it comes to stocking up your medicine cabinet too.

This also goes for nappies. Pampers new baby Size 1 nappies cost around 11p each (£5 for a pack of 46), however Tesco own brand Fred and Flo are just 4p each (£1.80 for a 50 pack). It’s a similar story with the other own brand supermarket nappies, and their wipes too!

7. Always look for the best price

Get really forensic when looking at the cost of things, including offers. Sometimes offers are not at all what they appear to be!

In fact supermarkets have recently been told off by the regulator for not making prices clear enough.

The trick is to look at the price by weight – either in grams, ml or per item. Then work out which is the best item to buy. Prices may fluctuate from one week to the next so always double check.

8. Look up and down

Supermarkets tend to put the higher priced stuff they want to push on you in the middle of the shelves, with the lower priced similar items down on the ground.

So look all around to make sure you aren’t missing better value deals.

9. Try Too Good To Go

This cool app is adding new brands all the time and it’s a great way to get food from your favourite supermarkets and restaurants with a discount of 50% or more.

The app partners with supermarkets such as Morrisons to reduce food waste. Every day brands offer “Magic Bags” for sale through the app. These contain food that is expiring that day, or very soon.

The big downside is you have no idea what’s in the bag, but some users have had amazing bags of goodies from Morrisons and Co-Op full of fresh veg, fruit and ready meals.

Check out my review of the Too Good to Go app to find out more.

10. Switch to an air fryer

There’s a huge craze around air fryers right now because running them works out cheaper than using an oven.

For my part I think they look great because they get hot and cook food quicker, making them handy for busy families.

But when you add up how much they save in electricity vs how much they cost up front to buy, it will take you some years to start seeing those savings roll in. But if you have the cash, and think the air fryer will actually be useful, it will save you cash eventually.

11. Bulk buy

Buying products in bulk can often work out cheaper – but do double check but its not always the case. Check the price tag on the shelves which shows the cost per kg. This will let you know if your bulk purchase really is a saving.

CostCo offers great bulk discounts, although you need to pay an annual membership to shop there. Once you’re in though you can save lots of money on everything from toothpaste to wine and cereals.

12. Never let vouchers expire

Use your store loyalty card, which normally leads to you getting vouchers either when you pay for your next shop or in the post.

Be sure to use these before they expire!

Also keep an eye out for any special money off deals you can find elsewhere.

13. Learn the art of the fakeaway!

Takeaways drain your bank balance fast! If you’re having them regularly then try adding up how much they have cost you over the last month and you may be a little shocked.

Instead of getting a takeaway, try making your own delicious food at home – or a fakeaway. Making pizza is actually really easy, and there’s a great pizza dough recipe from Jamie Oliver.

I also really rate this chicken jalfrezi recipe, it tastes amazing!

If you are used to having takeaways every week, you could save £80 to £120 a month if you swap them for a delicious alternative you cook yourself.

To help you stick to your weekly meal plan I’ve created a handy meal planner, plus budget record sheet, all you need to do is sign up to my mailing list and I will send it over to your inbox to download and print!

I also have a long list of cheap and delicious meals costing as little as £1 a head or less.

14. Raid your own cupboards

Ever clear out your cupboards and find tons of out of date tins and sauces? Before you go shopping to a supermarket, try shopping your own kitchen first!

This is a great way to cut back on waste when it comes to your weekly shop. Try to review what you already have in every week when writing up your meal plan.

15. Go vegetarian a few nights a week

Meat is more expensive than veggie meals. So either bulk out your dishes with tinned beans and lentils so that you use less meat, or go totally vegetarian a few nights a week.

Try vegetarian pasta – use onion, tinned chopped tomatoes, sliced aubergine and peppers to make a delicious sauce – or a veggie risotto.

16. Choose frozen not fresh

Picking frozen veg and fish options not only save you money but you also save money. They tend to be cheaper, plus with veg like peas the freezing process actually locks the goodness in.

You can also buy frozen fruit to make your own smoothies, which works out way cheaper than buying pre-made smoothies.

17. Cook from scratch

Make your own pasta sauces, curries and casseroles rather than buying jarred sauces.

I bulk buy tins of chopped tomatoes and passata then add herbs, spices, tomato puree, garlic and whatever vegetables I want to make a meal.

There are 30 ideas for frugal meals over on this post.

18. Packed lunches for everyone

Spending cash on expensive takeout sandwiches is a daily cost you can avoid.

Make packed lunches for the entire family to take to school or work. If sandwiches get boring then you can try wraps, cold pasta or cold pizza slices.

19. Grow your own

Try growing your own herbs and vegetables to save on buying them at the supermarket.

If you’re not confident with your green thumb then start off small with simple herbs such as basil and parsley.

We’ve been able to grow cherry tomatoes with great success in our garden. I would love to move on to potatoes and carrots at some stage.

20. Plan meals around special offers

When you’re planning out your weekly meals try to be a little flexible so that if you see specific meats or vegetables on offer you choose those to benefit from the saving.

21. Take advantage of free trials

Recipe box services offer free trials or cut price offers for your first order.

For example Simply Cook will send you four recipe kits for £1 to cover the cost of postage. The boxes cost £9.99 after this. Remember to cancel your free trial after seven days to avoid this!

If you are thinking of trying a recipe box plan then always hunt around for the best voucher code – all the big ones such as Hello Fresh and Gousto will have some kind of money off offer for new customers.

Check out my Gousto review here, where I also break down how the costs stack up against supermarket prices.

22. Ditch expensive products

The price of lamb is far higher than pork or chicken.

When shopping look for cheaper types of meat and cheaper cuts of meat.

Plus you can purchase smaller quantities of meat, saving you money, if you bulk out meals with canned beans and pulses. These are also super healthy!

Save money on household bills

Some of your household bills are incredibly difficult to keep low right now, especially gas and electricity.

There aren’t many deals to be had from shopping around between suppliers, but there are a few things you can do to cut back on your household costs.

23. Pay annually

Most bills such as insurance and car tax have an option to pay the full year or in instalments. You will usually end up paying more overall with the instalments so its best to pay the full amount up front.

Try to look ahead to these annual bills and save in advance by adding them to your calendar. You could starta separate savings account so that this money is set to one side to make sure you’re prepared when these bills come around.

A way to save up for annual bills is to start a sinking fund.

24. Haggle with your suppliers

Most phone, internet, TV and other suppliers will be open to discussion about cutting your monthly bill.

I’ve had great success with haggling with Sky TV in the past. You need to do your research first and check out if there are any competitors offering a better deal or if your current supplier is now offering a better deal to new customers.

Call them and say you are considering cancelling or cutting back to a cheaper subscription because you have seen a better deal elsewhere. You will often find they at least give you a short “grace” period of a few months or even a year of cut price bills.

You could also consider ditching Sky TV – or any equivalent service you have – in favour of something else. Check out the best Sky TV alternatives here.

25. Take advantage of FREE trials

Want to watch movies and TV for free? Most streaming services offer a free trial period, for example Amazon Prime and Now TV.

Sign up to give it a go and then cancel before the charges kick in. This is anything from seven to 30 days after you sign up so remember to go in and cancel before you get the first charge after your free trial.

26. Cancel your gym membership

Do you really need your gym membership? Cancelling it does not mean a farewell to all exercise in the future.

It can actually mean that you can get creative with what you do for exercise. Maybe you could start a running challenge around where you live – trying to cover more ground locally every time you go out for a run.

You could try free online exercise classes on YouTube. There are some yoga classes that are suitable for the whole family, so you could work out with your kids too.

27. Bin your subscriptions

Carry out a review of the things you are paying for subscriptions for. Can you live without that magazine subscription? Do you need the full Sky TV package?

If you pay for both Amazon Prime and Netflix can you axe one? I’ve got tips on this post all about how you can get Netflix for free!

At one stage we were signed up to five different TV streaming platforms. I decided to ditch two and that’s saved us £12 a month.

28. Take action to save on energy bills

There are various things you can do to cut back on your annual energy bills. Little actions can add up to make a big difference.

Try the following things to save on your energy bills:

  • Switch off lights in rooms that you are not using.
  • Shut doors in winter so that heat is retained in rooms.
  • Turn down the heating by a couple of degrees. This could save you as much as £80 a year.
  • Put on extra layers before switching on the heating.
  • Switch baths for showers – although a super long shower will still use a lot of water so remember to be efficient.
  • Install a smart thermostat that means you only warm the rooms you are using.
  • Wash clothes at a lower temperature – 30C is ideal.
  • Monitor your power usage with a Smart meter.
  • Install a new boiler. Getting an energy efficient boiler can save you hundreds a year.
  • Cut back on water usage when washing the dishes. Fill a washing-up bowl and wash dishes with this water rather than having constantly running water to rinse them off.
  • Reduce your shower usage by a minute or two each time.
  • Install a water efficient shower head to save on the amount of water you use during a shower.
  • Cut down on the number of loads of laundry you do a week – do the sniff test on clothes and if they’re still OK then they’re good for another wear!
  • Switch your tumble dryer for a dehumidifier to dry laundry – it works out hundreds of pounds cheaper per year.
  • Cook with your microwave or hob rather than your oven where possible.

29. Look to make energy efficiency improvements

There are a ton of great ways to improve the energy efficiency of your home.

The Energy Saving Trust suggests ideas such as switching to LED bulbs, which use less energy, and improving your home insulation so that less heat escapes.

One way of doing this around windows – where lots of heat can escape – is to add thick curtains that keep the cold air out. Draw these early evening to keep the warmth inside your home.

30. Switch off devices

There are “vampire devices” in your home that are draining power just by being on standby. British Gas estimates UK households could save £147 a year by switching off devices they usually leave on standby.

Smart speakers, laptops, and internet routers all cost money to keep plugged in with the plug socket on.

British Gas research suggests you could save the following amounts every year by switching off these devices:

  • TV – £24.61
  • Set-top box such as Sky or Virgin Media – £23.10
  • Games console – £12.17
  • Computer – £11.22
  • Microwave – £16.37
  • Shower – £9.80
  • Washing machine – £4.73
  • Printer – £3.81
  • Phone charger – £1.26

31. Remember to bleed your radiators

Your radiators will be less efficient if they are not filling with water. Trapped air means the top part of the radiator may stay cool.

You can bleed them of air using a radiator key – it takes just a few minutes to do your entire home and means your radiators will heat up fully!

32. Use an airer instead of a tumble dryer

Save on the cost of electricity of running a dryer by using a clothes rack instead to air dry your clothes.

In summer use one outdoors to dry your clothes super fast.

Save money on day-to-day costs

Your day to day costs include travel – such as driving to work or taking the kids to school – along with expenditure on household upkeep.

33. Get rid of one car

Can you survive with just the one car?Many families find that they actually can, especially if one or both of you is working from home.

The average cost of running a car in the UK is £2,000 a year. That’s a potentially massive saving if you can ditch one of your cars.

34. Walk don’t drive

Save money on petrol by walking instead of taking your car whenever you can.

35. Do your own decorating

Don’t hire a painter to do up your house.

Painting your home may be time consuming but you can easily do it yourself and save hundreds of pounds.

36. Seek out the cheapest fuel

Your closest petrol station may not be the cheapest option.

Use the PetrolPrices app or website to find the best value fuel near where you are.

Avoid using motorway service station filling stations where you can as these tend to be the priciest.

Save money on shopping

37. Swap old clothes for new ones

Need new clothes? Many brands will pay you for bringing them your old clothes. You will either get cash or a store voucher.

Find out where you can switch your clothes for cash over on this post.

You can also sell your old clothes for money – popular brands sell particularly well on Vinted (where there are no fees for sellers). Check out how to sell on Vinted.

38. TOP TIP: Always use cashback

Don’t forget to use cash back sites when shopping online! You can earn back hundreds of pounds a year just by doing this! Top Cashback is one of the biggest sites.
All you need to do is set up an account and then shop at your favourite brands featured on TopCashback by clicking through from the site (while you’re signed in). It’s so easy and free to join.
Get started with Top Cashback here.

39. Look after clothes

Clothes that you take decent care of can either be handed down to younger members of the family or sold for cash.

Take good care of your clothes by keeping on top of stains and storing neatly. And if anything gets holes (my kid’s school tops are forever coming back with holes) then learn how to sew them up. The old skills are still the best!

There are tons of ways you can make extra money by selling your old clothes.

40. Adopt the 7-day rule

Don’t buy anything until you have had seven days to think about it.

Impulse purchasing is one of the biggest spending drains, believe me I know it! My worst time for spending money on stuff I didn’t need was in the middle of the night when doing night feeds with the kids.

I would describe it as “comfort spending”, because I was exhausted and a little fed up so knowing I could expect something in the post gave me a little boost.

Now I pause for seven days before buying anything new. This means that nine times out of 10 I don’t end up buying the dress, top or shoes.

You may like this article about how to stop spending money on clothes.

41. Sell your old mobile phone

Do you have piles of old mobiles clogging up a cupboard? Sell them on for cash to websites such as Music Magpie.

You could get hundreds of pounds for newer handsets.

42. Sell your stuff don’t bin your stuff

Your house may be a treasure trove of goodies you can sell online for quick cash.

From furniture and kitchen gadgets to kids’ toys and buggies, there are lots of things that are in demand on the secondhand market.

There’s a list of over 50 things you can sell for quick cash here.

43. Save money on school uniform

You can save money on school uniform by shopping in sales – there’s always sales over the summer holidays – and checking for secondhand sales at the school.

I have lots of tips for saving money on school essentials here.

44. Delete your card details

Having my card details stored on my phone made purchasing things by impulse way to easy.

Now I have deleted them and I have to physically input my card number to buy something.

It’s stopped those late night shopping impulse buys that I used to get trapped by.

Anything that creates a bit of friction before you go ahead and spend is a good thing and may give you time to think and stop.

45. Download Airtime Rewards

Signing up to Airtime Rewards means you can earn money off your mobile phone bill on purchases at retailers such as Boots.

Joining is easy and you simply earn cashback by spending on your direct debit card.

I have a full Airtime Rewards review here.

46. Fix it yourself

Something broken? Don’t reach for the phone yet. See if you can fix it using tutorials on YouTube before you ditch the item or pay someone else to fix it for you.

Let me tell you a very embarrassing story. Our garage light stopped working one day. We were stumped. We switched the light bulb, we checked the fuse in the switch inside the garage. Nothing seemed to make a difference.

So we called out an electrician. Within 10 minutes he discovered our toddler had switched off the power to the garage light from a little switch we hadn’t even noticed that was inside the house. That cost us £60. Whoops!

Use cleaning hacks and a regular cleaning routine – just 20 minutes a day makes all of the difference – to take care of the floors, carpets, furniture, fixtures and fittings in your home.

47. Cut back on your beauty spending

The average woman spends more than £480 on beauty products according to this survey. That’s a LOT of cash that could stay in your pocket.

Think about how you could cut back on your beauty spending. Do you have to have your nails done at a salon or could you try doing them yourself a few times a year?

I switched colouring my hair at the salon to doing in myself at home, which saves me hundreds of pounds a year.

When it comes to make-up can you make switches to cheaper brands? Look for recommendations from beauty experts to find products that do the same job without such a steep price tag.

48. Swap new books for a library card

Love to read? Your local library has the classics and new releases available to you for free.

You can find books for all ages plus borrowing books is a great space saver for your home.

If you still prefer to buy your books and keep them for longer than a library may allow, or worry you will forget to return them, then why not sell your used books on Amazon on eBay to recoup some cash?

TOP TIP: Read free ebooks, magazines & audiobooks

Use your library card to sign up to the Libby library reading app. You can use this to access a huge library of ebooks, audiobooks and magazines. Another similar app is BorrowBox.

49. Quit smoking

I get that it’s easier said than done, but the cost of smoking really does add up.

My friend used to smoke a pack a day back when a pack cost £10. It took him four months to quit using vaping to replace the cigarettes but now he’s off the smokes he’s saved £70 a week!

50. Switch to reusable products

Not only are you helping the environment but you will be saving money in the long run too.

Renewable products tend to involve a larger investment up front, but will save you money over the course of time. I ditched disposable face wipes and cotton pads for reusables, and they are amazing! I simply gather the used ones in a string bag and then pop in the wash once a fortnight. These are the reusable face wipes I have.

I also use reusable period products.

Try these renewable switches:

  • Baby wipes
  • Nappies
  • Menstrual cups instead of tampons
  • Period pants instead of sanitary towels
  • Metal straws instead of paper ones

51. Know your spending triggers

What leads you to spend money on stuff that you don’t actually need? Is it emails from your favourite brands or checking out the latest fashion haul from your favourite Instagrammer?

Whatever the trigger is, figure it out and block it. You can unsubscribe from mailing lists and mute or unfollow social media accounts so that the temptation is no longer there.

For me personally it can be seeing people in nice new clothes on Instagram. If I’m really struggling I will temporarily mute certain accounts, especially if there is a particular outfit that is calling to me. By stopping it from repeatedly being shown to me I can put it out of my mind much easier.

52. Shop for the best price

You can save money on large and small purchases by being aware of special offers and regular deals, as well as shopping around retailers to find the right price.

For example for baby stuff it’s worth taking advantage of the regular sales shops such as Boots hold where they slash the price of everything from car seats to nappies. I’ve got the ASDA Baby Event sales dates here.

You can make finding the best offers easier with the Honey browser extension. Add it to your computer’s browser and whenever you’re on a website Honey will hunt down coupon codes and offers.

It’s also worth double checking that a sale price that looks amazing actually is a good deal. Some companies will inflate the price for two to four weeks before cutting it for a sale.

You can check how much things cost ahead of a sale on price tracker websites. For example Camel Camel does this for Amazon, so you can check Black Friday Deals are actually a good price before you spend.

TOP TIP: Look for dupes

Sometimes another company makes the same product, or very similar, for less than half the price. I needed a table for our pizza oven recently and the Ooni own-brand one was £250. I found a camping table that does the job at Argos for just £35.

53. Try homemade cleaning products

You can get a lot done around the house with cheap ingredients such as baking soda, white vinegar and soda crystals.

If you don’t fancy making your own cleaning products, then cut right back on the number of cleaning products you use. You really don’t need to buy a different spray for every mood you have.

One multi-purpose cleaner, bleach and dusting solution is really all that you need to clean your home. Vinegar can be used to get rid of limescale and make your taps shine!

54. Cut up old clothes to use for cleaning

Got an old T-shirt with a hole in that you’re about to bin?

Cut it into squares and use it for cleaning your home!

Save money on family fun and holidays

55. Look for fun free places to go

Your local area will have free things to do, you just need to get creative.

Look for local woods and parks that have free parking or that you can walk to. Take a walk as a family or challenge the kids to a nature treasure hunt where they need to gather up a selection of items.

When going to the park why not take a few toys such as frisbee, bucket and spade if there’s a sandpit, bat and ball and any other outdoor toys your kids love to play with.

I have a while post with ideas for free family fun here.

56. Research offers for theme parks

If your kids are desperate to visit a theme park then research voucher deals. Most places like Merlin-owned theme parks offer a 2-for-1 deal when you have a voucher which are often on the sides of cereal boxes or available online.

There are also often offers to get free tickets to places such as Legoland with certain products like newspapers or cereals.

Do your research and see how you can get the best price.

57. Have a jar of fun at-home play ideas

A rainy day jar full of ideas for what to do at home can make for an exciting way to do free fun stuff at home.

You can include things like a movie night, treasure hunt round the house, making something with craft supplies and building a den.

58. Always take your own snacks and drinks

Take a few minutes to add up how much you spent last month on takeaway coffees, drinks and snacks on the go.

I found that we were spending £60 a month! You can save this money by simply taking your own food and drink with you. Get a thermos and a water bottle to make it easy.

59. Search for the best holiday price

It could be that a package holiday is offering the best price, but it’s always worth checking to see if you can get it cheaper.

Once you have seen a great package holiday you love the look of, go away and see what it costs to book with the hotel separately and check flights on the same dates to see if you can get those cheaper too.

Maybe the package holiday will be cheaper, but you may find booking separately saves cash.

60. Rethink your holidays

Try a staycation – although these days even these aren’t necessarily the cheapest option with package holidays abroad providing very competitive rates – or research cheaper holiday options.

Is there another family or relative who you could join forces with? If you hire a holiday house together, rather than go to a hotel, and split the bill this will often bring the cost of your holiday right down.

61. Ask for an upgrade

There’s no harm in asking for a free upgrade. What’s the worst that can happen? They say no, you still go on holiday.

There’s a free hotel upgrade letter template to send to your hotel or accommodation here.

62. Make use of your local library

Get a library membership and make use of all the free books and DVDs they have to offer, as well as their programme of events.

63. Join the National Trust

We absolutely love exploring National Trust properties. Having a family membership is cheaper than paying entry costs as a visitor and you can make it worthwhile with just six or seven visits a year.

There are so many different properties you can visit and many have kids’ play areas too.

If you can’t afford membership then it’s a nice thing to suggest to relatives as a Christmas gift if they are looking to treat you as a family.

Budgeting tips

Frugal living starts with a solid approach to your budget. Once you understand exactly how much disposable income you have then you can start to control your approach to spending.

64. Stick to your budget

Sounds easy right? The biggest mistake I always made was not sitting down and being specific with all the elements of my budget.

You know what your mortgage will be every month, that’s set in stone. But budgeting successfully involves also thinking about all the variables over the course of a year such as September when you may need to buy the kids new school shoes.

Sit down and write out all of the costs that you will need to budget for over the course of the year. Include birthdays and Christmas presents as well as purchasing new clothing and holidays.

Once you’ve done this see if your budget lines up with your income. There should be some room there to save money every month for a pension (which is especially important if you work for yourself) and savings for a rainy day.

If it’s looking stretched do not panic, this is what the tips in the post are all about. By taking a look at your budget as a whole you can start to see the obvious places where you can cut back, before then getting a little more creative if you need to.

Once you understand exactly where all of your money is going it becomes way easier to control spending on unnecessary purchases.

65. Set up a sinking fund

Be prepared for the annual expenses – and ensure you can pay bills annually not monthly – by setting up a savings pot just for those expected costs.

This is different to an emergency fund – which covers the stuff that could go wrong, such as losing your income.

The advantages of being prepared for your annual expenses are that you will save money on things such as home insurance by paying the bill annually, not monthly, and you won’t be wiped out by the costs if you have a particularly big month for expenses.

There are tips for getting started with a sinking fund here.

66. Change how you think about spending

There’s a big difference between something you need and something you want.

Make a conscious effort to change your attitude about spending so that you really think about whether something that’s tempting you to reach for your credit card is actually what you need.

Something you need is an item that you require. Something you want is an item that you desire – think that pretty dress you just saw on someone on Instagram.

Once you realise the difference between these two things, cut right back on the “want” purchases. Either limit them with a monthly budget or add those “want” items to your Christmas list to give to family.

67. Axe direct debits for unused services

Go through your bank accounts and list all of your monthly direct debits.

Consider if there are any here that you either are no longer using or you don’t really need. There’s potentially hundreds of pounds worth of savings to be made annually here!

68. Take advantage of deals available to you

Whatever you are purchasing there’s often a deal you could take advantage of – whether it’s a voucher code, cashback or a new customer discount.

If you work in the NHS, armed forces, rescue services or social care you can get your hands on a Blue Light Card which unlocks thousands of discounts on days out, products, furniture, toys, clothes and much more.

Take some time to research the best deals and money off before you make a purchase.

69. Switch bank accounts

Shop around for the best current and savings accounts. Be prepared to move your money around regularly.

Interest rates change at the drop of the hat. Plus many banks will offer some kind of incentive for switching and becoming a new customer.

70. Don’t neglect your savings

Try to treat your savings with the same priority as your monthly bills.You pay money into them first, before you spend on anything that is non-essential

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Having that money there for a rainy day, holidays and your retirement needs to be a non-negotiable.

Some savvy savers swear by placing half of their monthly income into savings. I aim for 20 per cent at present, which includes a monthly payment into my pension plan with Nest as a self-employed worker. This is a great option if you do work for yourself.

I’ve been putting a lot of my savings into Premium Bonds and this has been a really great experience. I went months without winning anything on them, but in the last three months have won over £200! You can purchase Premium Bonds through NS&I.

71. Switch your phone company

You could make a saving if you switch your mobile phone to a different operator.

If you are out of contract, and have paid off your device fee, then look to see if changing tariff or operator can save you cash every month.

You can still keep your mobile number and may well be able to halve your bill with a better deal elsewhere!

72. Limit use of your credit card

I don’t have a credit card. I don’t want to risk having a month where I accidentally forget to pay, I prefer paying for everything upfront from my own money.

But there are big advantages to using a credit card for big ticket items. You get protection when you purchase items worth more than £100 and up to £30,000.

If you are going to use your credit card then be sure to pay off the balance promptly every month to avoid paying any interest.

73. Pay off debt

Having high interest debt can be a real burden. So sit down and figure out how you can pay it off as quickly as you can, so that the interest rate doesn’t continue to saddle you with a monthly expense.

The first step to figuring out how to pay off your debts is to write down exactly what you owe and to who. Alongside that write down the interest rates for those debts.

Some people like to pay off the smallest debt first, so that they have tackled one part of the problem before moving on to the bigger chunks of debt.

However it makes more practical sense to pay off the highest interest debt first, as this will be costing you the most in the long term.

If you are still struggling then seek advice from a debt advice service, such as Step Change.

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Final thoughts on frugal living tips

So there you have it, dozens of frugal living tips to help you spend less and save more without sacrificing fun with the family.

If you feel overwhelmed at the idea of changing your lifestyle then just take a few steps at a time – you don’t have to run before you can walk.

Frugality does not mean cutting out the joy from your life, and actually you may well find it fun to see how much you can save with just a few simple steps.

Remember to keep a record of your spending, so that you can see the progress you are making. This will be a great motivator!

If you want to boost your budget then maybe consider starting a side hustle – there are over 60 side hustle ideas in this post.

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70+ Best Frugal Living Tips {That Actually Work!} (2024)
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