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Be Frugal: Top 3 Areas to Save Big Money

Updated on January 12, 2019
LloydDawson profile image

Lloyd is always on the lookout for ways to save money and be more efficient.


1. Save on Housing

Don't we all wish we lived in a castle? Castles are in just about every fairy tale and medieval story. I always wanted a place with a draw bridge. While most of us don't live in a castle, some of us could cut back our spending when it comes to housing.

Housing is the most expensive budget item for the majority of people. I know I spend more money on a mortgage, property tax, maintenance and other home related items than anything else. Where else could you make the biggest impact when being frugal than your home?

Try moving to a smaller house, or perhaps moving into an apartment or condo if you don't need a lot of space. Maybe even move in with other people to cut costs down.

A quick example, a 3 bedroom back-split home with a single car garage might cost you $450,000. If you put 20% down ($90,000), your mortgage could be $1600 per month for 25 years. That's a pretty good chunk of change and that kind of down payment is huge.

A 3 bedroom semi-detached house in the same area might cost $300,000. If you put 20% down ($60,000), your mortgage could be $1200 per month. Wow, $400 per month right there, not including property taxes. Don't forget, you didn't have to save up another $30,000 for a down payment!

Why not move to a smaller city where the cost of a house is cheaper. The house own in a smaller city would have cost me an additional $1 million in a major city only an hour away.

If you cannot move, for whatever reason, have you looked into getting a cheaper mortgage interest rate? Sometimes people just stay with the same company because it is easier, but they could end up saving thousands if they shop around. The examples in the tables below show that with just a .5% difference in your rate, you can save over $30,000 in interest alone.

If you have the space, have you ever thought about renting a room or your basement? If you live near a college or university, this could be easy money.

Mortgage Examples

(click column header to sort results)
Mortgage Amount  
Amortization (Years)  
Monthly Payment  

Interest Rate Examples

Mortgage Amount
Interest Rate
Interest Paid

2. Save on Transportation

Transportation is an important part of life, and it is also an expensive one. There are many things that go along with owning a vehicle besides the vehicle itself.

The big expenses involved include car loan, auto insurance, gas, maintenance, repairs, licensing, etc. And nothing is getting cheaper when it comes to vehicle ownership. But there are some things you can do to save big money when it comes to transportation.

  • Buy Used: Buying a used car instead of a brand new car is pretty much a no-brainer. New cars depreciate so quickly it's crazy. Buying a car that is 3 or 4 years old can save you thousand of dollars.
  • Used Car Insurance: Mostly, when you buy a used car that is thousands of dollars cheaper than a new car, your insurance will also be cheaper.
  • Shop Around for Insurance: The internet makes it very easy to shop around for better priced insurance. This can also save you a few hundred dollars depending on your situation.
  • Repairs: Sometimes repairs can be put off or eliminated altogether by taking care of your vehicle and spending a little money up from on regular maintenance.
  • Gasoline: Proper maintenance and tire pressure, as well as driving responsibly, can save you some decent coin on fuel costs. There are several mobile apps out there that track gas prices all over so you can find the best deal.
  • Drive Less: Driving less or combining trips to be more efficient, and even car pooling can save you money on gasoline as well as wear and tear on your vehicle.
  • Fuel Efficient: Buying the right size vehicle for your daily needs instead of that big truck can save you hundreds of dollars a year on fuel costs. You could even rent a truck when you need it and still be ahead of the game.
  • Take the Bus: Taking public transportation can save you some big money, especially if you give up owning a car altogether. I could be saving thousands of dollars a year if I took the busy everywhere!
  • Bike or Walk: I can walk to our local grocery store in 10 minutes, so I don't always have to drive. Taking my bike would be even faster. I can add better health to the money I'm saving.


3. Save on Food

Food is another area where we spend a lot of money each month, and eating is a necessity. Most people do spend more money on food than they really need to. I'm not saying starve yourself, but there are a few ways in which you can save a few bucks and still enjoy yourself.

  • Stop Eating Out: This is a big one. I know I used to eat out way too often. I would almost always buy breakfast because I was running late or slept in. Occasionally I was too lazy to make my lunch so I would head to the fast food joint again. After a while I got smart (for my finances and my health) and started bringing my meals to work. I bet you at my worst, I was spending at least $400 per month on eating out for just breakfast and lunch.
  • Save on Groceries: We save on groceries by looking through the flyers and making a list before we head to the store. You can also use coupons and a lot of grocery stores will price match. Once again, there are several mobile apps out there to help save money like the Flipp app.
  • Buy Better Food: Why not save some money and do 1 or 2 meatless meals per week. While you are at it, stop buying those convenience foods. Processed foods are also bad for you health.
  • Budget: My family has set a budget for the amount we spend on groceries every week. When we run out of money, no more groceries until the next week. How is that for an incentive to pay attention to what you buy?
  • Bulk Stores: We shop at Costco on a weekly basis and save money over the regular grocery store on certain items.
  • Cook in Bulk: Making a bigger batch will result in leftovers that can be taken for lunch. Why not make a batch of chili or something similar. Depending on the ingredients you choose, for $15 or $20 you could make one meal that could consist of 10 or more servings.

More Ideas Coming Soon

I will provide more tips in a future article on living frugal and saving money.

Share your ideas on saving money when it comes to housing, transportation and food.

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