8 Frugal Living Hacks to Skyrocket Savings

by Tanya January 17, 2021

If there’s one attitude about money that Millennials really admire, it’s FIRE.

FIRE stands for Financial Independence Retire Early.

And for a generation of super savers, FIRE results in total financial independence – often well before the ripe old age of 40 ?

But how can these super savers put away so much money?

Don’t they have living expenses? What if they lose their job? In short, what are the secrets of super savers, and how can you join them if you’re just starting out with frugal living?

Here are the frugal living hacks you need to know to get on board with the FIRE movement today.

1. Save money on food

You can skip spending money on just about everything but food.

Trips to the grocery store account for between $165 and $345 of monthly spending per person in a household, according to Fox Business. That’s quite a big gap – so how can you fall on the lower side of that range?

By adopting the food shopping habits of people who lived through the Great Depression, such as:

• Minimise eating out. This is the cardinal rule of saving money on food, and yes, it includes eliminating trips out for coffee and lunch.

• Grow herbs and vegetables at home, which is surprisingly easy.

• Cut back on meat consumption. But when you must, cook a whole chicken. You’ll get multiple meals out of one bird, and it’s also better for the environment.

• Eat all of your leftovers – they make great next-day lunches, and you can give leftover protein a little more excitement by preparing a fresh vegetable side dish.

• Always buy produce when it’s in season (and on sale).

• Plan meals ahead of time to avoid impulse buys at the grocery store.

2. Save money at home

Heating, cooling, repairs, and furnishings are just a few of the expenses we face around the house.

Luckily, there are easy ways to save at home:

• Learn common household repairs on YouTube, like how to install weatherstripping around drafty windows.

• Turn down your heat two degrees in winter and air conditioning up two degrees in summer, and use a digital thermostat to ensure consistency and accuracy.

• Spruce up old furniture with a fresh coat of paint, and source used what you can’t fix on a reseller marketplace like Facebook.

• Turn off lights and unplug unused appliances to battle energy drain.

• Cancel your cable and home phone subscriptions and rely on internet TV and your cell phone instead.

3. Save on clothing, shoes, and beauty products

It’s easy to waste money on clothes, shoes, and the like, but no one wants to look cheap. Luckily, our friends from the 1930s have more practical tips to share:

• Don’t throw out makeup or hygiene products until they’re completely gone – you won’t believe how much toothpaste is left in that tube or how much longer you can keep spritzing that nearly-empty perfume bottle!

• Buy vintage – websites like TheRealReal are a godsend for finding authentic, low-priced, beautifully crafted, and ethically made designer clothing that lasts and lasts.

• Sell what you don’t need on eBay or Facebook marketplace.

4. Get the best interest rates

At one point or another, most of us will have a loan –  a home, auto or a student loan.

Interest charges can take a hefty chunk out of your future savings, so if you must borrow, make sure you can do that as cheaply as possible. Here’s how:

• Keep your credit score high by always paying loan statement balances in full and on time.

• Put down as big of a down payment as possible when buying a house or a car.

• Keep credit card balances below 10% of your total available credit.

5. Never overpay in fees

Need to send money to China or anywhere else? Did you know that banks are secretly overcharging you on international payments?

Banks may show a much smaller transaction fee or even “0 commission”, but then they give you a bad exchange rate to make extra profits and you’ll end up losing much more money there.

I recommend to call your bank and ask them about their current exchange rate and then compare it to AirWallex or Transferwise.

These online money transfer companies are on a mission to make transferring money fair and transparent by using the real exchange rate (like the one you see on Google).

There are no sneaky hidden charges and you pay the lowest possible fee, which is clearly shown upfront.

6. Save on travel and dining out

Rewards programs do pay off when it comes to travel and dining out. With disciplined credit card spending and repayment habits, you can enjoy a little fun on your credit card company’s dime.

Browser add-ons are also great ways to save! To get the most out of rewards programs:

• Carefully investigate credit card offers to make sure they align with your spending habits. If you never dine out, for example, applying for a card that rewards you for dining out doesn’t make sense.

• Install free browser add-ons to earn rewards on spending you’re already doing.

• Always pay credit cards on time and in full. Otherwise, late fees and interest charges will soon outweigh the value of your earned rewards.

7. Spend less on education

Tuition can cost a fortune.

But fiercely competitive Millennials know education is a critical driver of future success at work. 

However, aside from scholarships, how can you spend less on a high-quality education?

• Spend less on interest by maintaining excellent credit.

• Apply for post-grad scholarships that pay off student debt.

• Study at a cheaper school for the first two years and then transfer to the costlier school later.

• Live at home or off-campus while studying.

• Borrow books from the library or fellow students or price them online before buying.

8. Save during the holidays

Finally, any savings advice list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning holiday spending. To cut back this holiday season, try:

• Send free digital holiday cards over email.

• Pick names out of a hat instead of buying for everyone.

• Give homemade gifts.

• Host a potluck holiday instead of making every dish yourself.

Once the holidays are over, it’s time for the New Year. And that means you can set new goals for 2021 that will get you even closer to financial independence.

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The first Millennial blogger in the UK. Twitter @_luckyattitude

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