Our smallest habits are largely responsible for our greatest successes. I’ve found this to be true in so many areas of life—from marriage and spiritual growth, to health and money. So today I want to share some simple frugal habits that have made a huge impact on our savings goals!
Your spending habits have longterm effects. It’s not a single frugal habit that will help you reach your goals, but many frugal habits all working together.
For instance, if you swap your daily Starbucks habit for homemade coffee, you’ll save some money. But if you also start using less electricity, meal planning, enjoying free weekend activities, packing lunches, shopping only when you actually need something, and cooking more meals from scratch, your savings will exponentially increase!
Keep in mind that habits don’t magically form overnight. That would be nice, but they take time to cultivate. There are many different frugal habits you could adopt, but don’t let that overwhelm you—let it motivate you!
Start small and choose habits that work well with your lifestyle. Simply change one at a time and you’ll soon see the snowball effect taking place.
To help you get started, here are some frugal habits that have collectively saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
7 Frugal Habits That Will Save You Thousands
1. Using a Library Membership
Everybody knows that you can get books, audiobooks, and movies from your local library, but not everyone actually takes advantage of this great resource!
You can even register your library card with the Libby app and get free access to audiobooks and digital books! Plus, many libraries now offer additional services, such as library wifi hotspots that you can take with you on vacations and road trips!
Library memberships are especially helpful when you have kids. Kids are such sponges, and it’s expensive to adequately stock your own personal library.
Regular library visits give children more opportunities to learn and grow throughout each phase of their childhood.
Our library keeps an annual tally of how much money each member has saved by borrowing instead of buying. We’re just a few months into this year, and have already reached a several hundred dollar savings total!
Using your library membership is a frugal habit that can singlehandedly save you thousands of dollars over the years!
2. Budgeting Monthly
At the end of every month, Benj and I sit down together and budget for the upcoming month. We start by reviewing the previous month, analyzing any overspending, and course-correcting when necessary.
Budgeting monthly really helps to keep our spending in check and encourages us to put our money toward the things we truly care about.
Using a budgeting software like YNAB or EveryDollar can help you easily see exactly where your money is going. We use YNAB, and love the reports feature that allows us to view our spending trends.
When you know where your money’s going, you can make progress toward your big goals and dreams—which brings me to one of our most important frugal habits.
(If you’re looking for ways to make budgeting more fun, try some of our favorite ideas!)
3. Dreaming About the Future
During our monthly budget night, Benj and I also take some time to review our savings goals and plans for the future. It’s a good time to check in.
This frugal habit is crucial because it keeps us on track. When we’re excited about our savings goals, we’re far less likely to impulsively spend money. Instead, we’re motivated to put every extra dollar toward the things that matter most to us.
For instance, we hope to eventually own our home debt-free, travel extensively, give more, and become financially independent. These are big goals, and we know that we won’t reach them unless we maintain a frugal lifestyle.
I’m sure you have big dreams, too—though your priorities probably look different than ours! Reviewing your goals on a regular basis keeps them top of mind and helps you to make wise purchases.
Dreaming about the future is one of our more subtle frugal habits, but it’s the most influential.
4. Shopping Secondhand
Shopping secondhand is one of the more obvious frugal habits, but I’m going to mention it anyway.
I love a good deal, and I get a real thrill out of finding things we need on the cheap, so shopping secondhand is right up my alley!
Garage sales are my favorite way to find crazy-good, rock-bottom deals. We’ve found everything from kids’ clothing and baby gear, to a bike trainer and patio furniture for next to nothing!
Thrift stores, consignment shops, OfferUp, Facebook groups, Craigslist, and eBay are also great places to look for deals.
Garage sales and thrift stores can be hit-or-miss if you’re looking for something specific, but web apps are great for this because they’re searchable.
5. Getting Things for Free
As a culture, whenever we need something, we typically either run to the store or hit the “Buy Now” button on Amazon.
Instead, before you buy, try to think outside the box. Could you possibly find this item for free? It requires a mindset shift, but it can save you a good deal of money. Plus, it encourages stronger relationships with those around you.
Maybe your friend has tomatoes overflowing her garden, while you have zucchini taking over yours. Ask if she’d like to swap some vegetables!
If you see a neighbor’s apple tree with beautifully ripe fruit just going to waste, knock on the door and ask if he minds you picking a basketful.
Maybe you want to learn a skill that a friend, family member, or neighbor has. It could be anything—photography, bread baking, meal planning, knitting, gardening, painting, sewing, hand-lettering, flower arranging—the list is endless!
Ask if they’ll teach you what they know. People love sharing their knowledge and passion with others. Be sure to offer the gift of your time in return.
Borrowing is another excellent way to avoid spending money.
Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends if you can borrow something they own. Maybe you need a fancy dress for a special occasion. Or a baby swing for just 3 months. Or speakers for an event. Maybe you want to read good book that’s collecting dust on your friend’s shelf.
When you do borrow something, always return it in the same condition you received it. Otherwise, be sure to repair or replace it.
In addition to borrowing, be sure to check out group boards where people are giving away things for free!
Organizations like Freecycle and the Buy Nothing Project are committed to connecting people who have things to give away with people who could use those things.
The Buy Nothing Project utilizes Facebook groups, and is all about giving—there’s no bartering or selling allowed. The groups are hyper local so that you’re reaching out to people in your community.
Here’s what their website says about how it works:
Our rules are simple: “Post anything you’d like to give away, lend, or share amongst neighbors. Ask for anything you’d like to receive for free or borrow. Keep it legal. Keep it civil. No buying or selling, no trades or bartering, we’re strictly a gift economy.
Make sure that you’re willing to be generous with your own time, talents, and possessions. Generosity should be a two-way street!
6. Hanging Clothes to Dry
The cost of running the dryer can really add up over time, so I prefer hanging my clothes to dry. There are definitely things I don’t bother hanging up, but I try to run the dryer as little as possible.
Clothes also last longer when they air dry—more savings! Dryers are rough on clothing because the high heat causes fabrics to deteriorate more quickly. Air drying is a much gentler alternative.
Line-drying clothes in the warm sunshine is especially fast and helps to remove stains! I normally dry my laundry inside, but drying it outdoors is a great option if you have the space.
I’ve never seen anything remove baby stains like sun bleaching! It’s absolutely incredible. Sunny days work best, but even cloudy days can be effective.
One final tip: Try using wool dryer balls in lieu of dryer sheets. They save you money by shortening the drying time, and removing the cost of dryer sheets. Plus, they’re great at removing wrinkles. A set of wool dryer balls will last several years, so they’re a great investment!
7. Decluttering Regularly
You might be surprised by this frugal habit, but decluttering is actually an excellent way to help you save money. When you go through your house and pull out things you purchased but barely used, it stings!
Decluttering can be a tough process, especially when it comes to items like clothes with the tags still on, expensive kitchen gadgets, and electronic equipment that’s become outdated.
The things you once thought you couldn’t live without are now simply collecting dust and taking up space in your home. Believe me—I’ve been there! And I know it hurts.
Fortunately, the pain you feel while decluttering your perfectly-good-but-unneeded belongings goes a long way toward curbing future spending.
Decluttering is an eye-opening reality check!
Frugal Habits Add Up
Opportunities to save money are everywhere. In fact, you probably already have frugal habits in place that you haven’t even thought about!
Just keep adding them into your life one by one.
Remember, your seemingly small habits will help you make great strides toward your savings goals!
What are your favorite frugal habits?