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If you've been a regular reader of Married (with Debt), you probably have realized that I don't talk a lot about frugal living and the millions of little ways to save money every day.

That's because I think you will get more mileage focusing on big savings like in your grocery budget or vehicles.

But that doesn't mean there aren't some small but easy changes you can consider if you need some extra room in your budget.

One of the main reasons I'm interested in personal finance is the psychological aspect of it. To be honest, most personal finance advice is pretty common sense. But, there are so many societal pressures pulling us away from these common sense frugal living ideas that they can be hard for some to implement.

Frugal living, if you find it hard, may be more about your thinking, not your doing.

Are you worried about how friends and family will perceive you?

Are you worried about looking cheap because you can't spend $50 a week on lunch with your work colleagues every day?

Frugal living isn't all about being cheap. In fact, I practice conscious spending, which means I'm a miser with my money when it comes to things I hate. It also means I spend lavishly on the things that make me happy, like travel.

Frugal living can empower you to get the most enjoyment out of the things you love, while turning off the spending in areas that aren't any fun.

Before we get to the list, let me say this: Even if you don't do any of the items on here, that is your choice. If you can make your monthly budget work, spend less than you earn, and do it while drinking gourmet coffee and weekly visits to the country club, more power and respect to you.

But if you are looking for some easy ways to save money that will add up, please read below.

READERS: If you have any frugal living tips to add, leave them in the comments and I'll add them if they make sense.

PF BLOGGERS: If you have written an article on any of these specific topics below, or have one to add, email me the tip number and your URL. If it's good, I'll link the tip to your post.


  1. Buy in bulk on groceries.
  2. Use your own photographs to frame and decorate.
  3. Eliminate your home phone.
  4. Always shop clearance. Never pay full price, espeically for clothes.
  5. Re-gift those gifts you will never use. Think of it as recycling.
  6. Eat at home with your family.
  7. If you go out to eat, find a place where kids eat free.
  8. Use your local library, which has more than just books.
  9. Use a weekly meal plan to prepare your grocery spending.
  10. Never grocery shop without a list.
  11. Don't wait until Christmas to shop.
  12. Water down your fruit juices, especially those that are extra sugary.
  13. Brown bag your lunches for work.
  14. When cooking dinner, make extra leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
  15. Don't feed your child school lunches. Brown bagging is healthier and cheaper.
  16. Shop at thrift stores for items you can repurpose (furniture, etc).
  17. Buy and sell on Craigslist, too.
  18. Use a programmable thermostat.
  19. Always search for promo codes or coupons before buying online.  Right now, for example, you can find discount codes from Macy's for up to 20% off your purchase.
  20. Make your own gifts and birthday cards and use funny pages from paper to wrap gifts.
  21. Buy a Sunday newspaper. The coupons will pay for the paper and then some.
  22. Use Netflix streaming instead of going to the video store.
  23. Take some time to price compare online the items you buy regularly like diapers.
  24. Have a day without meat each week. Saves money and is good for the planet.
  25. Make soups for meals. They can be frozen for an extra dinner later in the week.
  26. Make sure you are washing and drying FULL loads of laundry. Works for the dishwasher too.
  27. If you use hand-me-down toys, rotate them in and out to keep things interesting and new for your younger child.
  28. If you have the urge for new furniture, consider repainting the room, rearranging or repurposing used furniture instead.
  29. Buy all your insurance from one company.
  30. Have a shared birthday party for your child with another family member or school friend. Keep it simple.
  31. Shop up a size or two on clothing for kids when the prices are good, especially at the end of the season.
  32. Drink water. It is healthy and free.
  33. Buy generic, not name brand on household items. Same products at a much lower price.
  34. Think creatively when faced with high school expenses like Prom
  35. Don't be afraid of using coupons when eating out
  36. Make your own detergent (that stuff is expensive!) and other household cleaners.

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