21 Things Frugal People DON’T Do!

On this journey to become more frugal without sacrificing quality of life, I’ve learned quite a few things:

I’ve learned what I personally can and cannot sacrifice without feeling like I’m missing out, and I’ve also learned that sometimes spending money is the truly frugal thing to do.  I’ve learned what frugal living means to me.  This journey has not been a fast one.  After all, we’re 3 years in and we still have at least 15 more to go, but that’s what is so amazing: our journey is ours, and when it’s finished, it will be SO worth the struggle.

My take on frugality is just that – it’s my own.  We’ve paid off our credit cards, but we haven’t been snowballing our car payment, student loans, or mortgage.  Why?  Because the interest rates on those loans are so low we make more money investing the money we would have snowballed with instead of using it to pay down debt.

Your frugal life may look very different from mine.  While we’re working to accumulate wealth at this point in our lives, you  may not be.  Even if your interest rates are low, you may still prefer to get completely out of debt before starting to accumulate wealth for a regular or early retirement.  That is what is so amazing about personal finance: it’s personal, and only you can decide what is right for you.

But with that being said, there are a few things that MOST frugal people just don’t do, no matter their income, spending, goals, or methodology.

Sound strange?

Then read on to learn how and why!

On this journey to frugal living, I've learned quite a few things. Everyone's journey is different, but there are a few things that remain consistent no matter who you are.

 Buy from vending machines:

Barring a life or death situation, frugal people realize that vending machine food is not only nutritionally empty, the prices are grossly inflated.  Start meal planning (or use a service like eMeals if you don’t have time to meal plan) and embrace quick packed lunches.  Not only will this save you money – to the tune of $1,000 a year – it will help you stay healthier!

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Waste Paper:

I can’t actually remember the last time I bought paper from a store.  We use scrap paper that I bring home from work (of course I asked first)  We keep a ream of nice paper around, but for everyday printing, we recycle!

Look into options for “used” paper for everyday printing, whether its from school, church, or your workplace.  And, to save money printing on your super-cheap paper, try this little trick.

Have hefty cable bills:

I do not have a problem with cable TV, but what I do have a problem with are the hefty bills that come with a cable package.  Consider switching to Amazon Instant Video (see this little-known trick to get it for $40 a year), Hulu Plus ($8.99 a month – join now and get a 2 week free trial), Netflix ($7.99 per month) or a combination of all three!

Accept Warehouse Stores as the Best Deal

Warehouse stores are convenient, yet, but in reality they are not always the best deal, especially if you live in an area with an Aldi.  Your local grocery store runs sales with items at better prices than your local warehouse store, or Aldi is almost always cheaper!

Or, if you tastes skew to healthier foods, check out this store that’s like Coscto, but for healthy food.  Their prices are unbeatable, and I’ve found they have items that I can’t get anywhere else!

Ignore Sales

Grocery stores utilize loss-leader items in their sale ads each week as an item that is such a good deal, it gets you in the door, giving them thousands of opportunities to get you to buy something else.  If you can ignore all of the marketing going on in the grocery store, buying loss leaders each week is a great way to save a bundle!

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Use Coupons Just Because they have them

Coupons are a marketing tactic.  They are there to get you to buy a product because you can save money on it.  And for many people, this sales tactic is extremely effective.  However, frugal people only buy items that they will use, regardless of whether or not they have coupon – and if they happen to have coupon for items they were already buying, then that’s just icing on the cake!

Make your coupons go even further by printing them from this handy site (this is just one of the ways that I earn an extra $1,200 a year from this site)

Let Produce go Bad

I am soooo guilty of this one. You know that head of lettuce that gets shoved to the back of the fridge and is reduced to slimy goo by the time you clean out the fridge.  Yeah, me too.  Frugal people to whatever it takes not to let that fresh produce go to waste!

Or, you could employ some serious meal strategy with this meal hack.  It takes less than 5 minutes a week, and trust me, you’ll thank me for this.  We also love this produce saver, because it is so versatile and has saved me more times than I can count.

Waste Leftovers

Also guilty here.  Frugal people realize that letting leftovers go bad is like throwing money down the drain!  We bring out leftovers to the front of the fridge to remind us to eat them, as well as other strategies so we don’t grind our money up in the garbage disposal!  We minimize the amount of leftovers we have with this cool trick.  It saves me $1,400 a year, which is well worth it.

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Pass up a good deal

Sometimes, a sale blindsides you.  Like summer sandals for 90% off while it’s snowing outside.  You weren’t planning on purchasing sandals, but you know you’ll need some come June.  Frugal people can always take a few dollars from another budget line to take advantage of a great sale that will save them money down the road.

However, saving for those unexpectedly good deals is a whole different animal.  Especially when you’re deep in debt, struggling with your budget, or struggling to pad your income with extra money.  I have some awesome resources to help you save money:

And of course, I have plenty of ways to help you pay off debt:

Under-utilize their freezer

Frugal people realize how much money they save by having quick freezer meals on hand.  Rather than going out the eat when they have no time for dinner ($30), they pop a freezer meal in the oven ($5.00) and save themselves $25.00!

Not big on freezer cooking?  Here’s a service that will plan your meals for you with your time constraints in mind, or if you do love a good freezer cooking session, here’s an unbelievable strategy to save big on chicken, steak, and pork (you won’t believe how much you’ll save).

{11 More Astonishing Strategies To Save At The Grocery Store}

On this journey to frugal living, I've learned quite a few things. Everyone's journey is different, but there are a few things that remain consistent no matter who you are.

Hesitate to spend money on something that’s worth it!

No matter how frugal, even the frugalest of frugal realize the some things are worth spending money on.  For the guys it might be quality tools that allow you to save money as a DIY’er, for girls it might be foundation (**cough**).  Whatever it is, make sure the product is worth is and then banish guilt about it!

Ignore the clearance rack

Frugal people never shop regular clothes racks.  Instead, they scope out the stores with the best clearance – and they tend to be higher-end places, not discount stores.  My personal favorites are Kohl’s and Nordstrom Rack.  Just the weekend I scored 12 work separates, 7 pairs of mens sandals, and 3 pairs of women’s shoes for only $55.00.  And I’m talking nice clothes, ya’ll.  Also, as an FYI, Nordstrom Rack puts all of their bras 70% off January 1st – plus you get an additional 33% off the clearance price!

If you’re new to building a wardrobe on a budget, check out the 5 awesome tips found here, or my favorite source for fitted, quality pieces.

Pass up a side-hustle

Whether it’s blogging, adult-sitting, yard work, or a newspaper route, frugal people know the value of a side hustle, especially when the budget is tight.  Don’t shy away from work!

Here are some great ideas to make extra money:

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Drink Starbucks every day

Starbucks has a place, but frugal people know that it’s place is only on special occasions – especially considering you can brew your own coffee for roughly $0.25 a cup at home!  This goes for tea, shakes, sodas, and basically every other sugary drink whose price is jacked up.

Honestly, it’s common sense.

But with that being said, occasionally making a Starbucks run isn’t a bad thing.  When I need to get out of the house while I’m working, a coffee shop is a great place to work as long as I don’t go there super frequently.

Pay for Oil Changes

Frugal people know that secret shopping companies are always desperate for people to get their oil changed as a secret shop.  We do this, and we and our family haven’t paid for oil changes in years!  The company I use is called Bestmark.  You can apply to become a secret shopper here.

Ignore Cell Phone Savings

Frugal people know that Republic Wireless or Ting is the way to go for cellphone.  Of course, there’s also Google Fi + the myriad of other discount (but great quality) cell phone carriers that have popped up, catering to a generation of millennials who don’t have money to spend on a hugely expensive cell phone plan because they’re saddled with record levels of student loan debt.

Or, if you just want a plan that doesn’t have a contract, that offers amazing flexibility, and that has an unbeatable price, there’s no sense in spending a fortune for cell service.

{We have unlimited talk, text, and data, and STILL save $2,100 a year.  Here’s how}


Get guilted into expensive presents

Frugal people have no shame giving second-hand gifts.  Case in point: our daughter is getting a used pink power wheels four-wheeler for Christmas.  It was free to us and she will love it – what more do you need?  Your kids don’t need the world, they just need you!

The gifts that we DO buy are usually purchased throughout the year at rock-bottom prices, from this Amazon deals list, and then paid for with Swagbucks.  At home, I have a designated gift closet so as these crazy cheap gifts accumulate, I have storage space for them.

{How I Scored a $125 FREE Sam’s Gift Card Without Lifting a Finger}

Think a 72” vs. a 32” TV makes all the difference

There are probably some men who would differ with me on this, but anyone can see the screen of a 32″ TV the same as a 72″.  The picture won’t be blurry, and sound any worse – save your money!

Believe quality time must be expensive

If you remember nothing else, remember this: Frugal people know that Quality time doesn’t have to be expensive.  Frisbee golf, watching the sunset, movies on the couch at home, and many other activities aren’t expensive!  Plus, they allow for more bonding with your kids or spouse because you’re relaxed, not stressed.

{Here are 28 At-Home Dates That Aren’t Cheesy}

Frugal living means different things to everyone – to some it means sacrificing on groceries, and others have dietary restrictions, so to them frugal living means cutting costs in other areas, like gas, utilities, or cable bills!

So tell me, 

What does frugal living mean to you?

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  1. “Don’t pass up a good sale” ah that’s a difficult one. Certainly don’t pass up a offers for consumables you use regularly and will keep – dried pasta, tinned tomatoes, shampoo etc But I know too many people who are suckers for a shoe / clothes “bargain”. You have to ask yourself not do I want it and is it cheap, but do I actually need it? Of course if you don’t have any summer sandals then bagging them cheap when it’s snow is a good plan, but if last years are still OK, then don’t!


        1 Create a straw box for cooking. You need a very large crate, put lots of straw in and create a nest for a casserole pot. Make your casserole upto the point where it goes into the oven, heat it on top of the stove until it is very hot, then place in the straw nest. Cover with a lot of straw and lid or cover with thick cardboard and leave for 12 to hours, while you are at work. The casserole will slow cook with residual and insulated heat, therefore saving on slow cooking fuel.

        2 When cooking rice, use a pan with a tight fitting lid. Wrap a tea towel around the entire lid. Boil the rice to a rollilng boil, switch off the heat, put the lid with tea towel on the pan and press well down until its jammed on. Do not look at it for 20 mins, and it will be cooked. Works with hard boiled eggs and pasta.

    • Correct.
      I taught my daughter while in HS to buy a Good Coat, pair of shoes & boots, a pretty good purse every YEAR OR SO, and then to shop Goodwill first, TJ Maxx last. Often we had to get the coat & shoes at TJ MAXX, but never paid full price for anything other than statements.
      I am 63 and learned to shop Goodwill in college. I needed a coat my Junior year & my friends took me to The Goodwill & I bought a GREAT coat for 4.00.
      My daughter is 35, modeled when she was young and can throw together an outfit that anyone would think cost a fortune.
      We also NEVER buy into trends. The only people that do are “snobby women”.
      Just the other day, my daughter came to visit with a purse she won at an event back in 2005. It’s back in style big time and on a date the other night, 3 women asked her where she got her purse.
      Also, as you get older it is easier to stay smartly dressed. I have several nice leather purses purchased at Goodwill that I have used each year for the past 10 years.
      ALSO…BUY QUALITY BASICS. I have a pair of BORN brown leather mini-boots that I bought around 2001. Guess what, they are still in style and show no visible wear at all.
      Also, Buy 1 car, have 1 car payment for 3 years, then drive it til it dies. Sock that payment away for another 3 years or more and you will be amazed at your leverage.
      I always made my lunch when I worked and maybe once in a blue moon went out to eat w. the other girls in the office at lunch.
      I worked closely w. 3 women who were envious of my extra 125.00 a month classification at the DOH. We did the same job, I just had a different degree. Every once in awhile I would hear this complaint.
      Finally, I told the one girl whom had inherited her 2 story house from her parents and didn’t have a house payment, “Well, Ginny, 1st you have to tell me what you spend my 950.00 monthly mortgage payment on, before you can complain to me anymore!” I made a house payment, took an annual vacation and more that they couldn’t seem to comprehend. Ginny spent tons of money on her kids, eatting out, impulse items and more. Somehow, she didn’t even have a good car to drive. That was one saving grace, she had an old toyota that she still drove. The 3 shut up after I made that point to them. To this day, that’s an amazing 1000.00 a month difference in the way I was raised to save, and they were raised to spend.

      • A few ways to use up less than desirable looking produce:
        1.Stir fry it
        2. Fried rice
        3.Put in soup or a stew
        4.Chop and freeze it to use in casseroles or homemade hot pockets.
        5.Use it in taco’s or fajita’s or sandwich spreads

        However I recommend using it more in cooked food. Also as long as it hasn’t gone totally bad.

      • If people to plan their meals for the week, and then make their shopping list so they don’t buy more than they will need for that week, nothing gets wasted. If you don’t over buy, you won’t overspend and there will be no waste! I always create enough meals around an amount of something that has a minimum, like a head of lettuce, or package of broccoli. When my clients are finding they toss more food than they eat – we fix that right away.

  2. I’m am over here in Japan Lol….because before starting to read your list I really thought in my mind that I most of the things were not going to relate to me. Well most of them do, so I can truly say now that I am frugal. I really believe that the word frugal still messes with my mind and I have a really hard time looking in the mirror and see it stare back at me. Thank you for the therapy…..Hi my name is Petrish and I am frugal.

  3. I have to agree with all of this. We don’t need to live frugally, but I would much rather put money into savings than blow it on stuff. I’d rather have an awesome vacation every summer vs buying designer clothes at full price or paying $60+ a month for cable/satellite TV.

  4. These are all so good! Many of them we live by in our household (especially about cable tv and clearance racks!), and the oil change was a good tip, I’ll have to look into secret shopping for that, thanks!

  5. Shop hungry. Even if this means spending some money at a vending machine. Got done working out one day and was hungry and thirsty and had plans of stopping at Costco. Spent $2.50 at a vending machine for a Nutrigrain bar and a big bottle of water. Probably saved at least $30 in hunger shopping.

    Maintain delusions about my true habits. For instance: I bought a crap ton of Vias recently because even though coffee beans seem more frugal, the fact is that it’s often just one of us at home or at most two of us. We don’t generally get the beans used before they start tasting stale. Then we don’t really want to drink coffee at home… then… So even though they’re a little more expensive, by admitting how we really act, we save money in the end. Same thing with some convenience grocery products like pre-peeled boiled eggs and that tub of pre-chopped salad mix-ins they have a Trader Joe’s.

  6. I’m pretty sure that I’m about as frugal as you can be before you turn into one of those strange people who pick through other people’s trash for what they threw out. 21/21 over here! Great, great tips–and it’s so true about the eating out and Starbucks!

  7. These are great! I never go to Starbucks anymore, it’s delish but it’s a waste of money. I’ve changed my mind on leftovers, I use to not eat them. Then I thought, why it’s just food?! So now when I see something is about to expire I use it before it does.

  8. Great list! The clearance section is my favorite area of any store. And while frugal people don’t ignore sales, they also don’t assume that everything that’s on sale is a good deal. For groceries it’s important to know the best prices and the sales cycle, while for bigger purchases it’s important to shop around and price match.

  9. Slimy produce happens frequenly plus moldy breads. Our family cannot eat a whole loaf of the special breads we love and I often don’t get it in the freezer for another day. Food and eating out is our biggest drain. We still have cable and will continue to do so. Between news and sports…solid list.
    Have a good day. Linda

        • It really does! I grew up with my mom keeping the bread in the fridge and so I didn’t realize when I was on my own how fast bread molds on the counter. it does get a little drier, but I have never had a problem with it.

          • Lock n Lock makes a bread box that works wonderfully to keep bread in the fridge, without drying it out. Also, I love a multigrain/seeded bread that my family does not. So when I get home from the store I split it into fourths and freeze three of them. I the part I’m in the middle of using goes in the fridge so none of it goes to waste. Another thing that works with veggies that are a bit past their prime is to keep a gallon zip lock in the freezer and just toss them in. When the bag is full simmer the veggies for a yummy broth. You can freeze the broth in portions you will use.
            I think we are pretty frugal but will have to check into the oil change thing and cell phones. Thanks for the list!!!

  10. How/where do you find out about becoming an oil shopper? I would just search it, but I don’t trust most business “opportunities” I find on the internet! lol

    • Hi Hilary, I’ve added a link to Bestmark, the mystery shopping company I use! You’ll have to take a test, but it’s pretty basic, and definitely worth it or the oil changes!

  11. I have been hearing so much about Aldi and am bummed we don’t have them here. Nordstrom Rack is one of my favorites though! I also love the oil change tip. I have to say we probably waste too much paper. I do watch for sales at Office Max though. They just had a deal for a box of paper … 29.99 with a $20 gift card. Not too shabby;0)

  12. Starbucks was a big one for me!! I used to go every day, as did my husband. Sometimes we would even go TWICE in one day. It was absurd. We haven’t gone “regularly” since last summer and actually had it yesterday for the first time in months. Wow!! It sure was a treat, but it’s a huge expense I definitely DO NOT miss!!

    Great post!! :)

  13. Weee, I guess I am super frugal, because I am doing most of these. My weak points is the produce, but I counter that by not buying very much at once, and the left overs when I mess up our meal planning.

    Other than that … I don’t use coupons when I don’t care about the product, I do buy longterm storable grocery in bulk when on offer, I always plan ahead with my sales purchases, we don’t have cable at all, I am a proud Aldi (or Lidl, same thing, different name) and clearance rack shopper, ignorer of vending machines, and I definitely splurge on worthy products.

    So proud of myself now! Thanks for the list ;-)

    Alex – Funky Jungle

  14. There are some great tips here! I do have to say though, being a secret shopper for oil changes may be one to be VERY cautious of. Your car is the 2nd biggest investment most people make in their lives, and whether you drive a Corvette or a Chevette having one good mechanic who knows your car inside and out can be the difference between preventative maintenance or a costly repair. Having the same shop service your vehicle means they have quicker access to your service record, which also helps them to spot potential problems, which will save you money in the long run because it saves you from disastrous major repairs or even having to purchase a new vehicle. Also, they will be less likely to up-sell unnecessary repairs.

  15. Love the list. One of the frugal (by happenstance) things we did was get to know our neighbors. We are fortunate to live in a great neighborhood for a younger family. We found out 1 neighbor is an Arborist, helped trim trees & stack wood for homemade cookies, another few neighbors have kids right between ours’ ages so we swap clothes on a regular basis. We check around the block before purchasing tools (first house) for a home project to borrow instead.

  16. Well, call me frugal! All your points were right on. Loved ’em all!

    Living this way is liberating. There is no feeling of deprivation. Instead, it’s a feeling of empowerment, of maximizing not only the nightly dollar, but life in general.

    Thanks for the great post.

  17. I would add a couple of items to your list.
    Smoking – a pack of cigarettes is now over $6 in my state depending on taxes. Most smokers I know of smoke at least 1 pack a day and some even smoke 3 a day. Yikes! That’s up to $126 a week.

    Tattoos – I have no first hand knowledge about their cost but I’ve read that a small one is $50. Seems like a total waste of money to me.

    • Smoking is a big one for a lot of people. I live in NY, name brand cigarettes are $9+. I smoked about a carton a week so $90 a week. Glad I don’t have that anymore.

      I disagree on the tattoos though. Yes, it is a money outlay but I think of it the same way I would art to hang on my wall. As long as it’s not taking you off the path to your goal, I don’t see that it’s any worse than anything else.

  18. Great list, I recently heard a co-worker that he was going for his “daily $5 donation at Starbucks.” I can’t believe he continued doing so even though he realizes how much money it’s costing him in the long run.

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  20. We get all of our movies from the Library for free. We do not have TV or Satellite, since there is no cable in our area. We make do with the Library.

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  24. i love to stop at Starbucks, but I have never paid for anything there. I do surveys in the evenings thru erewards.com and earn $25 gift cards and magazines and things. Even get my kids’ I tunes gift cards! Plus I never get more than a small coffee or green tea, so one gift card lasts forever.

  25. I follow most of these! However, the Starbucks one for me is slightly different – I usually go 2-3 times per week but I haven’t actually paid for it in 2+ years! My in-laws get me $50 gift card twice a year (Christmas & bday) and my hubby usually redeems our credit card points for a $50 gift card twice a year. I somehow make it last! With the rewards and mostly drinking less pricey drinks (I usually save the Venti Peppermint Mochas for when I redeem rewards!) I make my gift cards last!

    For the days that I drink coffee at home I use Starbucks kcups that I get on sale :-)

  26. This could be my list except we like to watch live sports so we have cable. But, you forgot to add fancy manicures and pedicures, and massages. Sure, they are a treat once in a while but I know people who do these things once a week!

    Also, frugal people buy used cars.

    • If you have kids something you can do is go to the dollar store to get those souvenirs. Lots of times they even have Disney and princess themed things or those glow sticks and necklaces that are sold. Then give them to your kiddos at or after the event.

  27. Love this list! For me it would be frugal people don’t buy everything new! A frugal person isn’t afraid to check out goodwill, salvation army, tag sales etc. when making a purchase.

  28. I am somewhat frugal and the two things I will fight you on are coffee and TV because they’re so important to my lifestyle. Getting a cup of coffee at a shop for a $1 comes with the benefits of wifi and good company. And given how hard I work, I want to come home and watch TV on a movie screen that mesmerizes the senses!

  29. Where I live the local churches twice a year do rummage sales in the spring and fall. I have found great deals at these brand new clothes and shoes with the tags still on them. A friend bought a big crockpot for a $1. Some of them do a bag sale ( whatever you can fit in a bag they give you for $1 or $3) and others offer things really, really cheap and the money goes to a good cause.

  30. I retired at 38. Being frugal to me is doing the major modern life disciplines myself.
    — Finances, investment, trading and accounting. These are most important as we life in a fiat currency system of capitalism.
    — Most Home maintenance excluding dangerous stuff like roofing. But I do the boiler and plumbing, drywall, and painting.
    — All car fluids maintenance. I learned on YouTube email to do engine oil, brakes, coolant, transmission and spark plugs. Do the fluids with basic hand tools and buckets regular as per the car manual and the car lasts 15+ years. Major mechanical stuff needs a garage lift, but is also not rocket science.
    — Cooking. Everyone must know basics of nutrition, economic food shopping, and one style of cooking.

    I’m not saying do dangerous, toxic, cost ineffective or equipment intensive stuff yourself. But these 4 areas are what every kid should have parents teach them.
    To me, these are the modern quadrivium that colleges should be teaching. The traditional liberal arts quadrivium won’t get you very far any more. This ain’t 16th century Europe any more.

  31. We drive older, paid-for cars (my truck is 16 years old with 250,000 miles on it), I do most of the routine (and a lot of not-so-routine) maintenance around the house and on our cars & truck. I have the shop, skills and natural talent. This has saved us a fortune over the years.

  32. Being frugal to me, means standing my ground even when a close friend constantly tells me to buy, buy, buy. I must add that my friend is in debt and gets worried when she has to pay for emergencies. I have tried telling her that I am frugal not cheap, and that she can also gain by being conscious of how she spends, but she is not interested. We are very good friends in everything but finances.

  33. Great post! I’ve heard so many good things about Aldi stores. I just wish there was one closer to me. I doubt any great deals they had would be worth the 47 mile trek for me. :(

  34. These are great. Personally, two of my biggest cash-saving discoveries were — ONE — bringing homemade lunches with me to work every day. Massively cheaper than eating out and I could guarantee quality! And — TWO — I started making all my own toiletries and whatnot. No, seriously. It started with soap, and once I realized how easy that actually was, I started making everything from shaving creams to lotions to deodorants and toothpastes. Best part? Once you realize that everything you’re buying from the drugstore is really the same 6 ingredients repackaged and resold to you over and over again, you turn into the world’s savviest shopper. You’re like, “If this body wash is only X, Y, and Z and that face wash is X, Y, and Z…. why am I buying two things??” Answer: marketing. Seriously. And now, not only am I saving money left and right, I’m noticeably healthier and feel better. It’s kinda win-win.

  35. Here’s a frugal take on leftovers: I am not a fan of leftovers. Even when I think I’ll eat it, I usually don’t. We’ve become better at it but I’ve also learned that I’m just NOT going to do it! Instead of keeping it and it goes bad in my fridge we’ve come up with something different. We live in the country and out here our animals live outside. We keep regular dog and cat food for them, but since we don’t eat leftovers much we DO give it to our animals. All scraps on the plates and left overs we know we won’t eat go to the animals. This DOES save money. Even though it doesn’t on OUR food bill it DOES make the dog and cat food that we buy last much longer. My MIL keeps chickens so much of their scraps go to the chickens who eat ANYTHING.

    On a separate note, we also can produce from the garden. For me this simply took my time involvement. The garden belongs to my in-laws. We help throughout the season with the gardening then can use/eat/can as much as we want. We also got rid of cable a few years ago and went to using just Netflix and Amazon. Our most recent move placed us in a location that only gets satellite internet which meant our Netflix and amazon was no longer working. So we cut that out. The previous owners had a LARGE tv antennae placed so we get quite a few channels very clearly. Every week we take the kids to our local library and rent 8-10 videos. Right now, we pay nothing for tv. (still have Amazon for it’s prime benefits).

    For us there is no unnecessary eating out, we meal plan, grocery shop only every two weeks, shop at Aldi FIRST then Walmart (my grocery budget for a family of 6 is $400), we diy a lot. Our furnace stopped working in November. I called a number of places for their rates. We ended up talking with someone, determining it was the blower motor, buying a new one and my husband replaced it. (first time for everything!). Saved all that labor money just with some research (youtube videos saved the day!) and asking to talk to the right people. I feel like I’m just scratching the surface!!

    We’ve been married 11 1/2 years and we have four children. Before our oldest was born we ate out a LOT. (before our finances were in order) With children (multiple children), eating out just gets too expensive! I commend you for trying to reign that in :) and it’ll become easier as you have to spend more money in order to do so. Keep going! You guys are doing a great job!! We paid off $30,000 in CC debt in 4 1/2 years. (all that eating out for us!) We are now working on a loan of $6000 that we have paid down to half. Almost there!!!

  36. I splurge about once every 6 months at work and buy a soda from the vending machine. I have NEVER had cable etc, and you can tell that from both my kids marks in school (My daughter is in her first yr and has gotten scholarships and bursarys because of her marks!!) I buy and freeze but I don’t over buy and then have meat thats freezer burnt and has to be tossed out. Last time we went out to eat was to celebrate our 24th anniversary. Think that was it for 2014. We both get off work late (8:30pm) so I can’t see the point in going out for a meal that late at night. I also don’t go to Timmies for coffee and after going to a Starbucks in the US and waiting for 20 min for a coffee, yeah, forget it LOL. I think my best frugal shop was fleece pj bottoms bought in June for a buck each… between my daughter and I we grabbed 20 pairs and I was able to gift some for Christmas as well. Christmas presents are either items I’ve won or stuff I have bought mega on sale during the year as I can not afford to buy everything in Dec. For me, entertainment is entering contests (I’ve won two trips, cash , front load washer/dryer etc) and in Canada we pay no taxes on wins, so thats even better. I just got a cell phone this month to keep in contact with my husband when I do have to go grocery shopping in the city. I also invest $100/month into mutual funds in case of emergency (like if the furnace decided to go) And, yes, we own our own house ($435/month PIT, which is cheaper then renting in our area)

  37. So true! Frugal people don’t overspend, hence the frugal part. I find that people may think my husband and I are a little crazy but we save and live abundantly. We brew our own coffee, meal plan, coupon and have the goal to live debt free. If we can’t pay cash, our motto is don’t buy it! Thanks for the post!

  38. I do most of these and I consider myself pretty frugal. I do drink Starbucks a lot but I get coupons, rewards and free drinks from them so it’s worth it to me :)

  39. Great tips! Sadly I am guilty of so many. Like food, I am not big on leftovers. If there is something in my fridge for more than 2 days I toss it. One thing we did recently was get rid of Direct Tv. Wow, what a load off. It’s an adjustment not having many channels but we too have Amazon prime so we have been catching up on tv shows we haven’t seen in a long time.

  40. If you need clothes, you should check out the Goodwill or Consignment Shops! I’ve gotten tons of NICE clothes from consignment stores. I love them. You just have to accept sometimes it’s a hit and miss. Sometimes you’ll find great clothes that seem like they were made for you, and other times, you may not find anything. I’ve gotten name brand jeans for 2 dollars.

  41. To our family, frugal living is living within your means, MAKING time to enjoy life on a daily basis without the need for spending a lot of money, and not complaining about it :).
    THAT is really hard some days especially for kids and young adults. We live in a “whoever dies with the most stuff wins” kind of world. I hope the frugal life we have established will become a part of our children’s lives {this year they turn 17,18,21, and 23}.
    The best thing the hubby and I established when the kids were VERY young was if they saw something in the store they really wanted, we asked them if they had the money for it. If not, then we would help them see how long it would take them to make this purchase. If they said yes, we helped them to see if it was a wise purchase or not. BUT, we did NOT always interfere when it was a not so great idea. THAT way they learned that some gimmicky kinds of things were NOT worth it in the long run.
    As they grew up, they almost always placed these words before a request to buy:
    I have money {on me or in the bank} for this, can I get it?
    As opposed to:
    Will you buy this for me?
    It made a HUGE difference in how they live now.
    GREAT article!!

  42. Great list Retired by 40. We are frugal but still do a few on that list from time to time. I suppose that means I now have to tell my wife we need to tighten that belt another notch! haha

    Enjoy the rest of your Father’s Day weekend! AFFJ

  43. Everytime I click on a Pinterest image these days I seem to end up at your blog!
    Love it though – so much handy information/tips that obviously resonate with me a lot right now!
    Kelsey x

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  47. I don’t wait until the Holidays to do my Christmas Shopping. My adult children love books, so I go to my local bookstore during the year and purchase books on sale. I take advantage of rewards programs and BOGO sales throughout the year, too. By Christmas I have a stash of gifts already tagged with their name and no major dent to my budget. I keep them stored in my closet and check their names off my Christmas List as I go. This eliminates impulse buys during the Holidays, too. The added benefit is that I get to enjoy the Holidays more, and have less stress. Oh yes and I buy during after Christmas sales all the Wrap, gift cards, stationary, ribbon, etc. only as much as I think I will need. These can get stored in a container in the garage with the lights and ornaments.

    • For sure! Some of the best deals can be found year-round, thought my personal favorite time to shop is after Christmas to mid-january – great tips & thanks for sharing!

  48. I wrote down 19 things that frugal people don’t do, then went over the list again, twice, but couldn’t find the 2 that I’m missing. Were there any hidden ones in the list’s descriptions?

  49. One way that I stretch our budget is shopping for food at a discount food store before going to the big grocery store with my shopping list. They take leftovers from the big stores or food that is close to/or past it’s expiration date and you can buy it for often less than half of the cost. Just look online to see if you have one in your town and check it out, don’t just automatically assume it is bad or junk food.

  50. Yes yes yes to all of this! I blog all about eating healthy on a budget and it’s so possible. But the hardest part is not letting fresh produce go to waste – that’s what’s actually expensive, not the food itself! And we always bring leftovers for lunch ($5 for a sandwich on the go is WAY too much!).

  51. Discovered your post via Pinterest. I did not know you could get free oil changes through being a secret shopper…what a great idea! Thanks for sharing!

  52. Don’t get your nails done. For special occasions I just paint them. Even on my wedding day.

    Don’t buy clothing at full price. I almost always shop on sale clothing. The beginning or end of a season is usually best for this.

    Don’t buy liquid soap. It’s more expensive and a bar lasts way longer.

    Don’t use plastic wrap and tin foil. I have some for when it’s necessary, but just invest in some plastic containers with lids for lunches and leftovers.

  53. awesome list! I think it’s great to also cook at home, buy a reusable water bottle, buy fashion from thrift here and there, diy instead of buy, and trade stuff with friends!

  54. Reducing food waste is on the top of my list for this year! It makes me feel guilty to throw out food, it’s not just bad for my budget it’s bad for the planet. Thanks for these tips!

  55. You have some great suggestions. :) I do many of these…and share your badness in things like letting the produce go bad and forgetting to eat leftovers until they are too old.

    We have recently started using our freezer more and have been buying meat and frozen fruit and vegetables on sale, which saves quite a bit.

    I guess the tip I would add…as a quilter…not a frugal hobby…I use my scraps. A Lot. I don’t throw away any fabric that is less than an inch square. I sew the scraps together and use them in quilts.

  56. This is an excellent list! My husband and I are working on a 5-year plan to pay off student loans, so this was very helpful! P.S. I totally agree about aldi. You cannot beat their prices.

  57. I live frugal and really agree with this list. Though, I have to say that sometimes my produce does go bad. Yikes! And I don’t always utilize my freezer space. But, any frugality is good I think. So, I’ll get there eventually!

  58. I am definitely a frugal person. I do all of these. Although we recently did start having satellite. It is my husband’s outlet to watch his beloved Men’s basketball from Duke. I am ok with it. We have been frugal for so long, it is nice to splurge some time. Thanks for sharing at Let’s Get Real Link Party.

  59. Great tips, Gretchen! I wouldn’t consider myself extremely frugal, but I’m wise with my money and these are great reminders on how to be even more so. I especially love the tip about utilizing the freezer. Indulging in take out is something that’s so easy to do, especially on weekends, but if we plan well enough, we tend to avoid and save the money instead! Thanks so much for sharing these great ideas on #shinebloghop!

  60. 22. Frugal People are more intelligent! They understand how to manage their life better and or well organized. At least in my case, the organization part, but the intelligent part is mere personal speculation. :)

  61. This post caught my eye because I have always considered myself frugal. I was raised by penny-pinching parents, so I come by it honestly. Sooo, throwing in my 2 cents….I do not do grocery store coupons even if it is for something on my list. Store brands are cheaper & taste just as good usually. I’ve tried using coupons over & over, and every time, I’m spending MORE than if I didn’t use them. The coupon usually requires you to buy 2-3 of something to get money off, so obviously I’m going to be spending more to meet the qualifications.

  62. In regards to paper, we rarely ever use any at all. My grocery list, for example, goes right into Google Keep on my phone. When the kids note something needs added, they put it up on my white board. Zero paper in the process. Scrap paper is completely unnecessary if you keep some white boards around. You can get locker sized white boards for $0.50 each at Walmart during school-supply season. I pull the magnets off of mine and keep several stacked in my work space. You can turn the insert backward in CD cases to use a CD case as a white board. We use socks with holes or socks missing a match as erasers. I take all of my notes and do all of my hand-written accounting on white boards. If I need to save something I write, I take a picture of it with my phone and erase my board. No paper needed. It takes me years to get through one pack of printer paper and I do not buy lined paper anymore at all and all that while homeschooling four children.

    Some other things that have been mentioned, we don’t use coupons because we don’t buy a lot of processed foods and that’s what coupons generally are for. Also, we tend to buy store brands for things like oatmeal. We shop at Goodwill or Walmart for most clothes. My daughter loves to wear fancy dresses on a regular basis, but I’m not willing to pay fancy dress money on her clothes when I can buy “normal” clothes for much less, so she is always browsing Goodwill for fancy dresses. She has a closet full of dresses that would have cost hundreds if not thousands bought new and each one cost $6.99 or less.

    We raise a lot of our own food and can a lot of our own food. Even a small garden can produce quite a lot. When meat is on sale, we buy a lot of it and put it in the freezer so I don’t have to buy it when it’s more expensive and I do this more after hurricane/storm season than before because I don’t want to lose a freezer full of food.

    The one thing we spend money on is shoes. It is not frugal to buy cheap shoes because they fall apart so quickly that you are always buying more shoes. Even $40 shoes are often junk that doesn’t last more than a month or two these days. Quality shoes that cost more money are far more frugal than cheap shoes.