Hey, Freebs Nation! I thought that I would switch things up a little bit for this week's video and post. You know that I believe in my frugal living tips. I thought that it would be fun for you to actually SEE them in action since you've loved my “day in the life” posts! (Like my morning routine and night routine.)
*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.
This is going to be a two-part video series because Mama J got to talkin' and has so. many. things. to share with you! So get comfy and come see how we do the frugal living life in the Page household. Click to watch below or keep on reading for more! Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for new videos every Thursday!
Watch the video online HERE, or click and watch below:
Aren't those some great tips so far?! I know that you're just sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to see how the rest of our day goes… So I won't keep you waiting any longer!
And now, watch part 2 online HERE, or watch it below!
Those are some great frugal living tips, right? Now for the recap…
MAKE YOUR FRUGAL LIVING ADD UP
A lot of these tips that I'm going to show you today may seem very small and meaningless; and maybe if you were to only do one or two of these things, they would be. However, it's the $1, $5 and $10 decisions that you make on a daily or weekly basis that really add up! If you follow all of these frugal living tips that I'm sharing with you, then I can promise that you'll see a difference in the money that you're saving!
We were forced to live this way when our paychecks were irregular and we were in the midst of our financial disaster. But even now that we have regular paychecks and have been debt-free for a while, we STILL choose the frugal living way of life!
FRUGAL LIVING KITCHEN TIPS
So much of our time and money is spent on kitchen-related products, such as food. It's no joke that you can go into debt on food alone! The first and biggest frugal living tip is to come up with a budget for your family and stick to it, especially when it comes to groceries! My envelope budgeting method is so simple and it will definitely help you to get out of debt.
The second frugal kitchen tip is to become a master shelf cooker! If you have no idea what I'm talking about, then make sure that you check out THIS post for all the deets. The basic concept is to use what you have on hand first, then supplement with items from the grocery store. This will save you so much money and helps you to use up the food that you have on hand. Otherwise, it may expire and get thrown out.
WAYS TO BE FRUGAL WITH FOOD
Your world is about to get rocked with all of these frugal living tips. They're some of my best ones!
- Make ahead breakfasts – Prepare bulk breakfast foods on the weekends (get some great ideas HERE). This will give you healthy, cheaper foods to reach for on busy week mornings.
- Buy food in bulk – Just make sure that you check the price tag and are getting the best value! (Check out THIS post for more grocery shopping tips.)
- Transfer bulk food into smaller containers – If you don't eat a bulk item quickly (like cream cheese), then it could end up molding before you can finish it. Transfer it into a smaller food container that's more airtight and see how much longer your food will last!
- Pack lunches at home – While school lunches may not be that expensive, it can really add up at the end of the week. Have your kids pack their own lunches (get tips HERE) so they can help contribute to your family's frugal living!
- If it's in a wrapper, it's not for home – It's no secret that pre-wrapped foods are more expensive. Save those for when you're having to eat it out of the house. Otherwise, buy it in bulk and eat that while you're at home.
- Cut up your own fruit – It's so much cheaper to cut your fruit at home than to buy pre-cut fruit at the store (that goes for veggies, too). Have your kids cut up an apple before school using an apple slicer and add Fruit Fresh to keep it from getting brown. (Lemon juice works as well, but does make it sour.)
- Buy bagels in bulk and freeze – Bring your bagels home from the store, cut them in half, then freeze them in their bag or a freezer bag. Pull them out one half at a time and pop in the toaster while frozen!
- Buy meat on sale and freeze it – This is probably one of the key ways that I save money when it comes to groceries since meat can be so expensive. Buy it in bulk when it's on sale and freeze it in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
- Pre-cook meat and freeze – If you're going to the trouble to cook some meat for dinner, cook extra and freeze it in meal-sized portions for later use. It makes cooking at home a breeze and saves you from being tempted to order a pizza.
- Double and freeze meals – This is a great way to save both time and money. Double what you're making in a disposable pan and stick one in the freezer. (Check out how to prevent freezer burn HERE.) It will save you money for those nights that you really don't want to cook! You'll have a healthy, homemade meal that also saves you from spending any extra money.
- Make copycat restaurant food at home – If you have a favorite food item or drink that you can't get enough of, try out a copycat recipe at home! This is a great way to save money, especially if you already have the ingredients on hand.
- Pack hot food for meals in the car – Drive through restaurants can be so expensive, especially if you're hitting them up multiple times a week. Make your own meal before leaving so that you can still eat without having to pay big bucks for it. Grab a food thermos and store your hot food in there until you're ready to eat it. It'll still be hot and delicious!
- Buy extra food during sales – My rule of thumb for shopping sales is to buy one for now and two for later, as long as the budget allows. If your local store does case lot sales, take advantage of them! It's a great way to save money while slowly building a stockpile.
- Get every drop out of the can – This is a weird one, but I like to keep mini spatulas on hand. They help to get every drop out of the can of soup or beans that I'm cooking with.
- Flip containers upside down once opened – When I have large containers of sour cream or cottage cheese, I'll turn the containers upside down in the fridge once they've been opened. This helps to create a better airtight seal on the lid and helps it to last longer.
MORE FRUGAL KITCHEN TIPS
Here are some other ways that we are frugal in the kitchen.
- Reuse containers for freezer meals and leftovers – Old food containers from the store are great to freeze your leftovers in. They're also good to take food to people since you don't have to worry about them being returned.
- Reuse disposable cups, cutlery and baggies – Buy the heavy duty disposable cups, cutlery, and baggies. Then you can wash and reuse them a few times before you have to throw them away.
- Use grocery pickup to avoid impulse buys – Walmart grocery pickup (use that link and get $10 off your first order of $50 or more!) is my go-to way to save both time and money at the grocery store! It also helps me to stay within my grocery budget because I can see what the total is going to be.
- Use takeout napkins – Anytime we have leftover napkins from getting takeout, we save them and use them for dinner. If you're going to wipe your hands and throw it away anyways, you might as well use what you have!
UTILITIES AND FRUGAL LIVING
The electric bill can get real serious real fast in our house. There's so much square footage, multiple floors, and lots of windows. Here are our best frugal living tips for keeping our utilities in check.
- Isolate the heat – One way that we cut down our electric bill is to isolate the heat in our house. We'll use the fireplace or a space heater to heat a room if the whole house doesn't need forced heat.
- Turn off lights and shut doors – Turn off any lights that you don't need. If you can close a room off, then the heat or air will be trapped in there and keep it warmer or cooler.
- Turn off unnecessary forced heat/air – If you have multiple units in your house, make sure that they're not heating or cooling areas of your house that don't need it!
- Get smart thermostats – We had Vivint come and install smart thermostats in our house, which has saved us a ton of money! We have the house set up on a schedule. It automatically turns the thermostat up or down depending on what time of day it is. (If you want to learn more about Vivint, click that link and use the code FUNDBC for a Free Doorbell Cam!)
- Use blackout curtains for insulation – If your room has a lot of windows like our bedroom, then invest in some good blackout curtains and see what a difference that they make in your room! They really help to keep it cool in the summer.
- Sleep with good bedding and blankets – Our room can get really cold in the winter because of all the windows. Instead of cranking the heat up, we keep Beddy's zipper bedding (use the code JORDAN for 20% off!) on our bed. We also use a Beddy's blanket as an added layer of warmth.
BEING FRUGAL WITH CLOTHES
With 8 people in our house (going on 10, read about that HERE!), our clothes can get out of hand quickly. Use these frugal tips to save money while taking care of your clothes and making them last longer.
HOW TO WASH CLOTHES THE FRUGAL WAY
What? There's a frugal way to wash clothes? Yep!
- Use less detergent – I talk about this in more detail in my unconventional laundry post, but use less detergent than you think you need because you're likely using too much! I've started using laundry pods. They may be more expensive up front, but they last longer because I only need to use one pod per load of clothes.
- Stock up on laundry detergent when it's on sale – Use a quality liquid detergent for washing sweatshirts, jackets and blankets since they don't get washed as often and you want to keep them looking good. If you stock up on them when they're on sale, you'll save a good chunk of change.
- Use inexpensive detergent for old towels, sheets and blankets – For those items that need to get cleaned, but it doesn't matter if they have stains on them, use an inexpensive detergent so that you're not using your quality detergent on them.
- Tear dryer sheets in half – You don't need a full-sized dryer sheet, so stop using them that way! Tear them in half for each load and they'll last twice as long.
- Run full loads in the washer and dryer – Wait until you have a full load before you run your washing machine. It really helps to save on water, detergent and energy.
HOW TO BE FRUGAL WITH CLOTHES
Follow these tips and you'll be stretching your clothes longer than you could've thought possible!
- Use a hand-me-down system – Clothes can be expensive, as we all know. But if you take care of them, then you can definitely get your money's worth! If your kids are close in age like ours, then come up with a system to keep up with who's clothes are whose. We use the dot system (read more on that HERE) and it allows me to see how many clothes or shoes each kid has. It has saved me from having to go out and buy new clothes for each kid every time they need the next size up.
- Rotate your seasonal clothes, shoes and bags – This will not only help to cut down on clutter in your closet, but it also allows you to go through everything that you own to decide if you wear it or if you should donate it. I flip my hangers around when I wear my clothes so that I'm easily able to see what has been worn and what hasn't when it comes time to switch out my clothes. It makes me feel like I'm getting a whole new wardrobe every 6 months and it really cuts down on my desire to go shopping for new things every season.
- Get a good deal when you buy clothes – I hardly ever pay full price when I do buy new clothes. Most of the time, my clothes are from TJMaxx, Ross or Amazon. If I do get them from anywhere else, it's always when they're on sale or an online store is having a deal.
HOW TO BE FRUGAL WITH EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES
Extracurricular activities can be so expensive! I've actually done a whole post on how we do extracurricular activities for our kids, so check that out HERE. But I'll go over a few ways of how we are able to keep up with our frugal living while also letting our kids do and try what they want.
- Keep your activities at the same locations – Usually, if you have multiple kids doing the same thing, such as dance, then you'll get a discount. The first sibling is full price, but then each subsequent sibling will be at a discounted rate.
- Pay up front – If you're able to save up throughout the year, then prepay for the whole season, costumes, or any other equipment that you may need. You can usually save some big bucks doing this!
- Use hand-me-down equipment – We pass down our extracurricular equipment from kid to kid. If we need to buy something that we don't have, we'll go to a second-hand store and buy used equipment to help save on costs.
- Use apps for music and voice lessons – Music and voice lessons can be so expensive, especially if you have multiple people doing it! We used to do piano lessons for our kids, but now we use Simply Piano on our iPad for piano lessons. Yousician is also a great app for other instruments and voice lessons and it has been great! We won't do this forever, but it's a great way to get them started and see what they like without breaking the bank.
OTHER WAYS TO BE FRUGAL
We have so many other small things that we do during the day to stay frugal in our house. Here are just a few more examples of that!
- Stay healthy and avoid medical bills – We take daily vitamins and extra Vitamin C every morning to help keep from getting sick. We all drink Emergen-C if a sick bug is going around to keep everyone from getting it.
- Temporary baby gate to avoid wall holes – Nobody should have to patch their wall after their baby grows up! Get a temporary baby gate that can easily go up and down with each kid. Buy one that will will last a long time and keep you from having to do any house repairs.
- Mix drugstore makeup with high end makeup – This helps you to stretch your budget a little further. There are some things that you can cheap out on, like mascara, that work just as well as the high end products. However, there are some things that are worth spending the money on, like foundation or eye shadow (click on that link and use the code JORDAN for 10% off)! To see a more detailed video of my 10 minute makeup routine, go HERE. And if you just want to see my favorite makeup products, you can find those HERE.
- Set up bills on autopay – This is a great way to make sure that you won't have to pay any late fees. You can schedule the day that the payments will end so that you don't overpay if it's something that isn't a continual fee. If you use a bank account or debit card, then you can also avoid paying a credit card processing fee.
- Pay for things in full up front – If you have the time to save the money to pay for something in full up front, do it! Depending on what you're paying for, you can usually get a discount for paying in full. If nothing else, you can skip the interest fees.
- Buy second-hand decor – You can find so many things that are in good, or even like-new, condition when you shop second-hand. Whether you're thrifting online (get some great tips HERE), in store, or at yard sales, don't be afraid of buying second-hand. You can really save some money!
- Buy holiday decor after the holiday – This is a GREAT way to save on holiday decorations! Wait until the holiday items go on sale and buy whatever fits in your budget. You can save some major money shopping this way.
- Fix things yourself – If it's possible, figure out how to fix things yourself rather than taking them to a shop or having a repairman come out to your house. It'll save you money and you'll learn a new skill.
THE BEST WAY TO LEARN OUR FRUGAL LIVING TIPS
If you need more help with your budget and learning all about how to really get into the frugal living life, don't forget about my Secret Sauce online budgeting program, Budget Boot Camp! It's a super fun video program that makes money easy to understand. All you need is a screen and you're set!
And don't forget, if you don't save AT LEAST what you paid for the program, I'll refund every dime. You've got nothing to lose! Use the code FCFBLOG to get an extra 10% off, because I love you 😉
Whew, well there you have it! Those are some of my family's best frugal living tips. Do you have any that you swear by? Let me know in the comments!
Looking for more ideas?
- Learn how to save money fast by doing a spending freeze.
- Do you have your money organized in enough bank accounts? We have 7 of 'em!
- These are the top reasons that couples fight about money and how you can stop!
Happy frugal living, Freebs!
Thanks for the fantastic tips! I am the one who requested a video on baby proofing as I believe you must be a pro with soon to be 8 kids! I am most worried about top of stairs, not the downstairs that you show in the video about stair gate tip. Do you use the pressure mounted gate at the top of the stairs as well? They say you shouldn’t but can’t recall whether it is because hardware is more secure or whether because there’s a trip bar on the bottom. Please do a video on baby proofing and how you interview and select babysitters! Helicopter mom of 2 here?thank you!
Our kids are usually not left unattended at the top of the stairs when they are the age to need a gate. In a pinch, we’ve used a pressure mounted gate, but they don’t roam alone without us close by when we do. If you do need one at the top for long-term use, for proper safety, it should be bolted to the wall in a stud so that you don’t have to worry about it being pushed over.
What would the age of kids needing a gate be? My daughter just turned 2 and I am still using one. Would your kids be able to go downstairs safely by themselves at this age, even say when sleepy or looking for a drink at nighttime? Am I overprotective?
That’s really up to you since all kids develop differently and at different times! If they get up to look for a drink at night, maybe you could put a cup in the bathroom for them, or leave a water bottle in their room so that they don’t have to worry about going down the stairs?
You are an interesting person in your approach. My children have say toy cleaning supplies but I’ve never allowed them to help out for real, or baby dollies but I have never encouraged help with real infant! They are my babies for too long. You are different and it shows. I might have to actually allow her to go down the stairs carefully as I’m doing my very best to keep her away and she hasn’t mastered the skill. That’s why having “just 2” is so exhausting for me! No idea though how you do it?
My kids LOVE to help so much, so it’s easier for me to just let them help instead of trying to keep them away! The more they do something, the quicker they learn 😉 I feel you on 2 being exhausting! My older ones definitely help to keep up with my younger ones!
Your efforts make our family life frugal. We will try to adopt all tips as we already using discount or coupon from many websites like emucoupon.com for every single purchase. But how my kids adopt such habits like shop everything with discount, pack their own lunches many of these. Please share some tips how to implement this frugal life to our kids at early age.
Thank you for the invaluable information. I come from Africa though currently vacationing in USA. Another tip can save on gas and get to exercise is walking.
For laundry, a maximum load is more efficient because it saves on the detergent and electricity used.
Same goes for dish washers.
Great tips! Thank you for sharing.
Pretty much all these tips I learned from my mom growing up. She’d take us with her shopping and teach us how to read food labels. I don’t mean just a reading lesson – she explained to us how the ingredient are listed in order of the amount in the product, how to calculate price per unit to find the best bargain, and so on.
There’s a few tips you overlooked, or at least didn’t show in the video, and one major boo-boo:
1. Use powdered milk instead of liquid. You can mix up a day’s supply the night before, and refrigerate it. Not only is powered milk less expensive, it doesn’t go bad quickly. Nonfat is fine for cooking (you can mix it up and use it without refrigerating – you’re gonna be heating it up anyway, right?) If you don’t like nonfat milk, you have two options: mix evaporated milk in it (I haven’t tried that), or buy powdered whole milk. Walmart carries Nido Nestle, or you can order it on Amazon.
2. Reserve store-bought drinks for special occasions. If your tap water tastes okay, drink that. Otherwise, brew up a big pitcher of iced tea or iced coffee and keep it in the fridge. For the kids (adults too!), mix up a big pitcher of Kool-Ade, An additional advantage of all three of these beverages is that you can control the type and amount of sweetener that’s in it. Try to brew up at least a gallon at a time. If you don’t have a gallon pitcher, or it won’t fit in your fridge, buy a gallon jug of Hawaiian Punch (it’s not too healthy, but it’s cheap), drink the contents, then rinse out the jug and put your good stuff in it. Make sure you tighten down the lid firmly, and then you can store it on its side.
The Boo-boo: buying vitamin pills. Doctors and dieticians agree that if you’re eating a good quality balanced diet, you should be getting all the nutrients you need. Taking extra vitamins is just a waste of money, and can be dangerous. Talk to your doctor about what s/he recommends as a supplement, and take only those.