You need money in the bank, and you’re doing what you can to make it happen. You’ve stopped eating out, cut every unnecessary expense, and have even tried a money
saving tip or two …
Yet despite your efforts, all the tips you’ve found on “how to live frugally on one income” haven’t made an impact on your savings account. And now you’re jaded over the whole failed promise of frugal living…
You’ve come to the right place. We love frugal living and, like you, we love saving money without feeling like we had to give up everything. And after saving over $11k in 10 months on one income –averaging $3,300/month- we have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t.
This guide is not a roadmap to being “cheap”. Instead, you’re about to get 40+ practical (and easily achievable) ways to be smart with your money so that living frugally on one income comes naturally.
Let’s dive in…
How to Live Frugally On One Income (or 2): 40+ Simple Tips to Save Money
How To Live Frugally Table Of Contents
Food is the #1 place people overspend [source], and grocery stores know it. They use every tactic in the book to lure you into spending more money than you intended. (The candy is not in the checkout aisle for your convenience, people!) Take these tips, and use them to cut costs on food.
1. Save $5 Every Time You Visit the Grocery Store
$5.00 in 5 seconds? It’s possible with the Ibotta app.
Snap a picture of your receipt and immediately, your Ibotta account updates with free money, ready for you to redeem it in the form of an Amazon gift card, Visa gift
card, your favorite restaurant’s gift card, or PayPal cash.
So, if you like free money… Download the Ibotta App here (use this link and get an additional $10 after snapping a pic of your first receipt!)
Check out our Ibotta Tips and Tricks here (to put even more money in your pocket).
2. Your Favorite Foods Delivered To Your Door At 15% Off
Do you buy this stuff at the grocery store?
- Protein Powder
- Coffee/Keurig Pods
- Canned Beans
Why not get them delivered straight to your door… for 15% off!! If you have an Amazon Prime Account (if not, get a free 30-Day trial here), take advantage of their Subscribe-And-Save Program and save $100’s every month! Stick the food you want on next months delivery, and get everything on the list for 15% off. It’s some of the easiest money you’ll ever save.
3. Meal-Prep Delicious (and cheap!) Food.
Been thinking about meal-prepping but don’t know what to cook? Don’t waste your money on failed recipes that end up tasting horrible by day 3! Instead, Sign up for $5 meal planand get uber cheap meal-prep recipes sent straight to your inbox every Friday!
4. Eat More Meals At Home
Save hundreds, if not thousands, every month when you get into the habit of cooking your dinners at home. It’s a much healthier option for your family, and you can exchange those $80 meals in for something way more exciting…
5. Save 50% Off Your Meal When Eating Out.
When you tired from a long day at work and have decided to forgo cooking for the night, grab a coupon/deal from Groupon! We’re talking about 50% off your entire meal! Check that deal out below:
6. Save Hundreds At the Grocery Store By Making a Shopping List?
Want to know what’s killing your grocery budget? Impulse buys! Make a shopping list, and stick to it!
Plan out your meals for the week, write down everything you need to before heading to the grocery store, and you’ll find $100+ left over in your bank account every month.
7. Drink More Water
Water is cheap. Water is healthy. Water is filling. Need I say more? Replace those over-priced juices and sodas with water. Your wallet (and body) will thank you!
8. Save $100/Month On Water
Bottled water is a crime against humanity! It costs $100/month/person to drink the recommended amount of water from a bottle! Know how much it costs to put a filter under the sink? $3/month. So no more over-priced water bottles.
9. Save The Environment (And Your Wallet!): Buy In Bulk.
Why buy pasta in a cardboard box when you can help the environment and buy it in bulk! Stock up on pantry staples by utilizing the bulk foods section at your local grocery store and let’s keep this savings train a’chuggin’!
10. Save $10+ And Cut Your Own Fruit
While getting pre-chopped fruits is ultra-convenient, it’s also ultra-expensive. Instead, buy your fruits whole, take 10 minutes to chop them yourself, and voila!
You’ve just earned yourself a free trip to Starbucks.
11. Reinvent Leftovers
Do you hate eating leftovers? Why not reinvent them into a completely new meal! Get creative so no food goes to waste. And while you’re at it, invest in some good quality Tupperware (look at those reviews!) so that your leftovers stay fresh and tasty for days!
12. Prevention Is Always Cheaper Than A Cure. (Eat Healthy and Save $20K!)
Eat healthy and exercise! If you commit to a healthy lifestyle now, you will save $1000’s in hospital costs down the road! Besides, eating healthy while living frugally on one income can be easy!
Check out all of our tips to eat healthy on a budget here!
13. Keurig Coffee Made Cheap
I hate to break it to you, but drinking coffee from a Keurig is not as cost effective as brewing a pot the old fashion way. But I know, we all love our Keurigs so use these two tips to make your coffee extremely cheap.
- Use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save store to save 15% on every coffee pod
- Buy reusable podsand filters so you can brew any ground coffee with your Keurig
14. Clip Coupons 100X Faster
Hate clipping coupons? Why not get the smartphone alternative. Download your local grocery store’s App and have every available coupon on your smartphone, ready for you to redeem!
Just because you’re living frugally on one income doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with your hard-earned money. Especially when you know how NOT to pay full price for anything. But if you want to make the most of every paycheck, make sure you learn to budget. It’s the only way to have as much fun with your money as you responsibly can.
15. Get Paid to Shop at Your Favorite Clothing Stores Online
Need a one-stop-shop to stay updated on your favorite retailer’s coupon codes and current sales? AND get paid FREE CASH for shopping? Then you need Ebates.
Say you’re buying a new pair of jeans online from Express. Don’t pay full price! Use Ebates and get 2.5% back on your entire purchase. But the savings don’t end there. Ebates shows there’s an additional 20% off is available when you sign up for Express emails. Then Boom! You just saved 22.5% on your purchase thanks to Ebates.
16. Pop Some Tags At The Thrift Shop
Thrift stores are a gold mine for “Like New” and “Brand New” clothing items at 50-90% off! Mosey through your local thrift stores and start racking up those deals instead of “spendin’ $50 on a Gucci T-shirt”.
OR If you don’t want to waste hours sifting through bins full of flannel zebra jammies… Check out my next tip
17. Pop Some Tags (online)
Get Thrifty from the comfort of your couch with Poshmark! Search your favorite brand (Ex: Madewell Cardigan), grab your size, and capitalize on the deal of a century (then you too can be struttin’ and flossin’ and savin’ your money).
Sign up for a free Poshmark account (and make sure you type in the Invite Code: “budgetingcouple” to get a $5 credit! )
18. Make Room For More Clothes
Now that you’re a thrifting expert… why not sell your own? You didn’t ware that tank once last summer… SELL IT!
And use that money to update your wardrobe for the season!
19. All Hail The Sales Rack
Wanna know what happens when a store gets a fresh shipment of new clothes? The clothes that were just on display get shoved to the sales rack (for your bargain loving convenience)!
Start your shopping on the sales rack, and get more clothes for your money.
This section is your one stop shop for easily saving money on all those miscellaneous costs (you tend to forget about).
20. Save 15% On Toiletries AND Have Them Delivered To Your Door (and other necessities)
“Oh no, I’ve run out of toilet paper,” is not something you’ll ever have say again once you’ve stuck TP and all your other toiletry needs (toothpaste, floss, soap, you name it), onto your Amazon Subscribe and Save account.
These items will be delivered straight to your front door AND you’ll save 15%! Check out Amazon Subscribe and Save, and start saving 15% on the necessities!
21. The Easiest Money You Will Ever Make (Plus grab a $5 gift card today!)
Want to turn your debit card into a 1% cashback rewards card? Want to turn your 1% cashback credit card into a 2% cashback rewards card?
Read more about the Drop App in our honest (and in-depth) Drop App Review.
22. Save $100+/Month By Checking For Deals
Don’t just throw an item into your cart without figuring out how to get it for as cheap as possible.
Grocery shopping? Check Ibotta for any cash back deals.
Keep more money in your pocket and earn free gift cards while shopping!
23. Free Starbucks Anyone?
Why not make it a rule to only treat yourself to Starbucks when it’s free? Yeah, you can do that! And don’t worry, there’s plenty of ways to rack up free Starbucks gift cards like:
- Increase your cash back rewards on your debit/credit card with the Drop App (Free $5 for signing up here: with code FALL5)
- Take surveys with Harris Poll
- Do your regular online shopping (Ebates will pay you)
- Get cash back grocery shopping with Ibotta (Free $10 added to your account from using our link)
- Get cash back when online shopping with Ebates (Free $10 added to your account using this link)
- Browse the web
- 25+ other ways to rack up free gift cards
24. YouTube Is Your New Handy Man
When something breaks, look it up on YouTube! When living frugally on one income, it’s always good to know what can be fixed yourself and what truly needs a professional.
25. Save $10 at the Drug Store
Yea, Ibotta is the MVP when it comes to saving on groceries. But did you know they also dish out free cash for drug store shopping trip too!
26. Prepaid Cell Service
You’re overpaying for your cell phone plan. Call up your cell phone provider, right now, and ask them about their “Prepaid” options.
We did, and now pay $75/month for 20GB of data with AT&T.
27. DIY Home Improvement
DIY projects are your best friend when trying to live frugally on one income. Search through Pinterest for budget friendly and DIY renovation inspiration when updating your house!
And while you’re already on Pinterest, go ahead and give us a follow 🙂
28. Insulate Your Walls
Want to save $100s-$1000s on your electric/gas bill? Insulate your walls! This one-time price will save you tenfold.
You’ve been tricked. Living frugally does NOT mean never getting to travel. Once you have your budget set up, you’ll know the most you can responsibly spend on vacations (just another perk to budgeting). But if you want to make your dollar stretch even further on vacation… read on.
29. Stay In A House Not A Hotel (+ $40 credit)
Leave that 1 bed/1 bath hotel room in your rear view mirror and instead enjoy the comforts of having an entire house (kitchen included) all to yourself when you book with Airbnb.
30. Find The Cheapest Flights (Without Hidden Fees)
Only use trusted flight checkers when deal hunting for plane tickets. (Unless you like paying hidden fees…) Here’s a few we’ve come to trust:
- Kiwi– Cheap flights plus guaranteed flight protection from flight delays, cancellations, and schedule changes!
- Momondo– Get comparisons between all airlines AND other travel websites!
- Skyscanner– A leader in travel price comparison!
31. All-Inclusive Hotels Are Frugal Friendly
This may seem like an oxymoron, but all-inclusive resorts can align perfectly with a frugal living lifestyle (even on one income). Especially when you’re booking them with Groupon! For just $99/night (the average cost of a hotel room), you can live in luxery with the all inclusive package. Get your room plus:
- Free Meals At- Buffets, Cafes, Poolside, Steak Houses
- Free Room Service
- Free Drinks by the pool
- Free Scuba lessons
- Free Nightclub entrance (plus drinks)
- Free Golf
- Free VIP Pools
All included in that $99/night fee! Find your next stress-free, all-inclusive vacation spot with Groupon here!
32. Drop the Hidden Hotel Fees.
Just like with flights, steer clear of those hidden-fee-ridden hotel price checkers! (if you like keeping money in your pocket). A couple of our favorites:
33. Cash Back On Travel Costs Is Available
There are FREE money making opportunities on just about every vacation expense: flights, rental cars, hotel stays, vacation packages, and more!
Just check out the “travel section” on both Ebates and Ibotta. And for an added bonus, make sure you grab a FREE $20 just for signing up for free accounts using our links! Here’s $10 for trying EBATES! And Here’s $10 for trying Ibotta.
34. Everything Is 2% Off!
Use Credit cards! They are the easiest ways to save money for traveling while living frugally. But be wary: you should only start using credit cards once you are in complete control of your finances.
No need to get yourself into unnecessary credit card debt. If you want 2% off everything, make sure you get on a budget first to keep yourself from accidently spending more than you earn.
35. Travel On The Off-Season
Want a resort all to yourself while also saving money? Book your next vacay during an off season.
Psst… Hawaii is still warm in the winter.
When you’re searching for tips on how to live frugally on one income, you don’t expect to find anything that supports fun entertainment. Let’s fix that. Because you DESERVE to enjoy your time off from work!
36. Save $150/month and Cut Cable (But Still Enjoy Your Favorite Shows)
Stop paying astronomical prices to watch shows live, watch them at your own convenience for a fraction of the price! Our favorite TV alternatives:
37. Get Discounts On Local Entertainment
When you’re bored at home (and can’t take another Hulu binge sesh) check out Groupon’s “Things To Do” category for discounts and coupons on countless activities in your area! (They have coupons for spa and beauty packagestoo!)
38. Get a Library Card!
Do you like free stuff? Then take advantage of your local library!! Check out CDs, DVDs, books (obvi), and even Kindle books… It’s Fo’ FREE! [ 10 points if you can name that movie 😉 ]
Spending less money is not the key to building a savings. If you’ve ever lived on the bare minimum before, you know, first hand, how unreasonable it is to stick to it long term. If you really want to build a savings, one that grows every month without fail, you must learn to spend your money correctly.
39. Learn The Correct Way To Spend Your Money
There’s no faster way to build a savings than with budget. And no, a budget isn’t a tactic devised to make you live on the bare minimum. It’s a tool to help you keep your income over your expenses. Because as long as you can keep your income over your expenses, your savings must grow.
Need a little help?
Sign up for our free 4-day Personal Finance Workshop. We’ll show you how powerful (and fun!) your money can be when you know how to spend it the right way.
40. Save Time and Money With Auto-Pay
Ever gotten stuck with a massive $40 late fee because you forgot to pay a bill? Us too. With e-billing, it’s easy to forget about a bill in your email. Don’t let this happen to you again. Stick every bill possible on autopay, and let your bills pay themselves automatically.
Boom, no more late fees (and you saved a bunch of time not having to pay those bills yourself).
41. Save $1000+ When You Pay Off Your Debt.
Interest payments are bleeding you dry. Even a small debt can cost you thousands extra in interest payments (Money you didn’t even borrow!) But the faster you pay down your debts, the more interest you get to keep in your wallet.
Plus, how much easier would the rest of your bills be if you didn’t have to put $700+ towards your debts every month. If you’ve ever considered tackling your debt to experience freedom of being debt-free, let us show you how to make paying down debt incredibly easy.
Alright, those are by far the easiest ways to live frugally on one income.
As long as you know how to spend your money correctly, these money saving strategies will help you live your life frugally without feeling like your living cheap.
If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or tips I missed, we’d love to hear it below!
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Co-Founder, Budgeting Couple
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