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Frugal Living and Loving It! 10 Simple Tips to Help You Save

Updated on October 22, 2013

I love frugal living. I know that’s an odd statement, but it’s true for me. Living simply and with less resonates with my soul, it helps me focus on the important things in life. If we had a family battle cry it would sound something like this, “What’s important? PEOPLE! What are we getting rid of? STUFF!” I like to think of myself as a frugal ninja.

Not everyone in my household shares my less is more philosophy. My husband adores technology and likes to be on the ground floor of anything Apple creates and my 12 year old daughter seems to feel happiest when she has a lot of stuff piled in the middle of her room, but they are slowly coming around. And as employment situations change for us I suspect that my husband will start celebrating that he's married someone who actually revels in making do with less.

So as we prepare to live on a lot less, I am sharing with you ten frugal living tips that I plan on using to help us get through this hard time.

Let's get swapping!
Let's get swapping! | Source

1. Swapping

I’m holding my first ever swap meet at my home in a few weeks and plan on writing a hub about it after. 10 friends bring 10 things and then we swap. We are focusing on women and children’s clothing, books, kitchen items etc. Anything that doesn’t get grabbed will be donated to a woman’s shelter.

2. Bartering

It falls in line with swapping, I will be bartering with goods and services instead of using money. I have already brokered a few deals. My daughter’s music teacher is willing to take babysitting in lieu of payment and I have some fitness equipment that is gathering dust that someone is willing to accept in lieu of payment for some house repairs.

3. Sharing

As grownups, we’ve forgotten the importance of sharing. We seem to think we all need to own two cars, the latest gaming system, fancy clothes and everything else under the sun. Well I’m opening up our share circle in the hopes that others will do the same. We have a tent trailer and I am offering it to friends and family this summer. In the next few weeks I will need a fancy outfit to wear to an event. Instead of buying one I am asking a well dressed friend to borrow an outfit. Share what you have and it will flow back to you.

Yum! | Source

4. Less Meat

In my younger days I was a happy vegetarian and then I married a total carnivore and adopted three total carnivores for children and I’ve slipped back into my meat habit myself. Well now it’s time to break out the vegetarian cookbooks. Meat is expensive, beans and tofu are not. We’ll be dropping down to three meat meals a week. We’ll be helping our pocket book, our health and our planet.

How hard could a garden like this be?
How hard could a garden like this be? | Source

5. Garden

I am preparing to grow as much of our own food as possible. I am a newbie at this so I’m expecting a lot of trial and error, but I have a few neighbors who are willing to share some of their gardening tips so long as I share some of the produce.


6. Potluck

Going out is not going to be an option for us for a while, but that doesn’t mean we can’t socialize. Potlucks are a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family and then you can divvy up the leftovers.

Goodbye old friend
Goodbye old friend | Source

7. Turn off the TV

My husband is a sports nut, but he’ll have to catch the highlights online or at a buddy’s house. Not only are we taking a hiatus from our satellite TV, we’re unplugging the darn thing. It’s massive and sucks up energy even when it’s not turned on. Phantom power no more.

Why do we still have this thing?
Why do we still have this thing? | Source

8. Goodbye Landline

I am not sure why we still have this, but it’s hitting the bricks too. We both have cell phones; if the power goes out we’ll plug them into the car or run across the street and use our 80 year old neighbors phone.

Hop In!
Hop In! | Source

9. Carpool

We already have dropped down to one vehicle, and now I’m carpooling to work as well. With the cost of gas being what it is, sharing the cost just makes sense.

Let the saving begin!
Let the saving begin! | Source

10. Secondhand, Thrift Stores, Garage Sales

Kids need a ridiculous amount of stuff. They are constantly growing and/or destroying things. Argghh! Fortunately I adore thrift stores and garage sales. Last year we found skates for all three girls and a bike in great condition for one of the twins all for under $50. New doesn’t mean better, it just means more money.

I like to think living through these lean times is teaching my kids lifetime survival skills. My mom always told me that the best insurance in life is living through difficult times so you know you can do it. And as I face a household income about to drop by 2/3 with a smile on my face and plan in place, I know she was right. How do you cut costs when the going gets tough?


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    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      I do have a lot of "stuff," but most of it comes from thrift stores, flea markets, or yard sales! I eat a lot of meatless meals, too. I enjoy living frugally and enjoyed reading your tips. Good for you! Voted up and more!

    • profile image

      squid4life 5 years ago

      no tv=no cable, movies or rentals

      no landline, but kept the phone, 911 is free service

      cook at home 2x a wk/ freeze, refrigerate the rest

      no microwave, or toaster oven,

      use the library and bought books for pennies at garage sales or free discarded from college :)

      drink coffee at home, still have wine on occasion

      gave up being a nightlife for some acres to preserve

      worked really hard, have zero debt

      paid cash for fixer-upper house=no mortgage

      garden means organic pesticide free veggies

      sold car=no insrnce pymnts=no gas bills

      use a propase stove, no ConEd bill

      low taxes on house, (500 yr) yay

      being self employed now means no sitter

      barter barter barter,

      game nights are now at my place, so less cooking and more friends to party with :)

      cloth napkins made by me, lol the list goes on.

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Ananceleste, I am so flattered by your comments. Take heart, there are a lot of us beavering together trying to live green frugal lives. we can band together here and support one another. Thanks for reading.

    • ananceleste profile image

      Anan Celeste 5 years ago from California

      I love your Hubs Thundermama! they are a gold mine of suggestions and a real inspiration for people like me, that is criticized for being eco-friendy and frugal.Voted up!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      Cleaning is a great contribution, I'm going to suggest that as a contribution option at my next potluck.

    • MichelleRobert profile image

      Michelle Robert 5 years ago from Down by the River

      Great article ThunderMama. I love living on less money and simplifying life.

      Our children are grown but we share meals with our son and DIL a few times a week. They come over and we take turns buying food and cooking. I don't like to cook so my contribution is to do the cleanup afterwards. It works out great for everyone.

    • profile image

      brokenwingsautism 6 years ago

      Good ideas. I had purchased new kitchen cabinets since mine were falling off the wall. Then I lost my job, so my dad and I spent 4 weeks installing them. It's amazing how much stuff is going into the recycle metal or garage sale piles instead of back into cabinets. Teaching my son that meat is now limited is work, but he has learned that vegetable soup is not only a tasty snack, but his school pants are getting loose.

    • Electro-Denizen profile image

      Charles 6 years ago from Wales, UK

      Thundermama takes a while. I became veggie twenty years ago, gravitated to being vegan a year ago, despite my criticism of veganism. But I feel better on this diet, so I eat my past words :-)

      As to no TV. No Way!!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Everything you mention we do or have done. Hooray for you and for embracing a much simpler lifestyle. Voted up!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 6 years ago from Canada

      Thanks ED, I think the two that will meat with the most resistance are the no tv and less meat. Wish me luck!

    • Electro-Denizen profile image

      Charles 6 years ago from Wales, UK

      This is great! We try to live this way too. Not always possible :-z I like these suggestions.