Live Frugally On One Income: 43 Simple Hacks
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. 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.
Save Money on Food
Food is the #1 place people overspend, and grocery stores know it. They use every tactic in the book to lure you into spending more money than you intended. Take these frugal living 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.
Ibotta is a free mobile app (iOS and Android) that pays you free money every single time you go grocery shopping!
Simply snap a picture of your grocery receipt and immediately, your Ibotta account updates with free money, ready for you to redeem it in the form of a free 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 and grab a free $20 gift card just for trying it out!
Want to hear even more ways Ibotta can save you money? Check out our Ibotta explainer video, here!
Ibotta has cash-back offers on grocery and restaurant delivery services:
– DoorDash– $2.50 Cash Back on your first order
– Instacart– 2% Cash Back
– Grubhub– 10% Cash Back for new customers, 2% Cash Back for existing.
– Blue Apron– $12.50 Cash Back for new subscribers
– Home Chef- $10 Cash Back for new subscribers
Related Post: Ibotta App Review
2. The *Easiest* Money You Will Ever Save (Plus grab a $1 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?
Download the Dosh App, connect your card, and start earning cash back rewards. What’s more? The Dosh App works automatically in the background at over 1,000+ locations (like Walmart)! Here’s just a peek at some the places YOU could be accumulating free cash from:
The only time you’ll have to open the App is to redeem that sweet moola you’ve been accumulating from using your card like normal.
COVID-19 Hack: As of 4/22/20, Dosh is offering 4% cash back at Safeway and 4% cash back at Vons when you order your groceries online. Create your free Dosh account here to earn easy money on groceries through the Dosh app, and grab a $1 welcome bonus! (Pro tip: use Dosh and Ibotta together to earn even more money)
Read more about the Dosh App in our honest (and in-depth) Dosh App Review.
3. Lower Your Bills
When was the last time you looked through your bank and credit card statements? Do it again, but only this time, intentionally search for expenses you can cut. Do you really need to pay for Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Disney+, and cable all at the same time? No! Buy one streaming services at a time, watch one to two shows at a time, and cancel your subscription. Get creative. Also check out these 3 services below; they are experts at lowering their client’s bills:
Lower Your Home and Auto Insurance Bills
Insurance companies are always telling you to, “switch and save.” But which insurance company will give you a better rate without compromising service?
Insurify compares home and auto insurance of the top insurance companies. Input your information, and Insurify will find you the best rate for the insurance coverage you need. What’s more, if Insurify feels you already have the best insurance, they’ll tell you. So whether you switch or not, you will leave Insurify knowing you have the best home insurance and auto insurance at the best price.
Compare home and auto insurance rates with Insurify, and then make the switch to lower your bills.
Lower Your Internet Bill (and more)
Trim is a group of bill negotiating experts who lower their customer’s internet, cable, phone, and medical bills. Simply get the app and you’re pretty much done. Trim will get to work lowering your bills. They’ll also cancel your old, unused subscriptions.
What’s more? If for some odd reason Trim can’t lower your bills, their service is free. When Trim does lower a bill, you keep 66% of your savings the first year and 100% of your savings every year after that.
Trim saved its users over $1,000,000 last month alone. Why not give it a shot? Literally, the worst thing that can happen is you don’t save money.
Lower Your Power Bill
Did you know your city has multiple electric providers? That means the secret to lowering your power bill is as simple as switching providers. Check out Electricityrates.com. Enter your zip code, compare the pricing in your area, switch to the provider with the best rate, and save! The switch is also seamless: there will be no interruption of power being supplied to your house. All you’re going to notice is a lower power bill.
4.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 plan and get uber cheap meal-prep recipes sent straight to your inbox every Friday!
You will be given one week’s worth of meal-prep recipes + a curated shopping list, and every meal is engineered to cost no more than $2/person!
5. 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 for food with way more flavor. In other words, try $5 Meal Plan for Free for 14 days. Your pallet won’t regret it.
6. Pay Down Credit Card Debt Sooner (Spend Less on Interest)
How much interest are you paying on your credit card debt? How much faster could you get out of debt if you had 0% interest?
Great News! Balance transfer credit cards and debt consolidation loans can help you lower your credit card interest rates down to 0% APR.
Balance Transfer Credit Cards
Balance transfer cards offer 0% APR for a period of time, usually between 12 to 18 months (actual rates depend on your credit score). That means for an entire year, nothing goes towards interest. Every cent you put toward debt actually pays down your debt. It’s encouraging! Without interest, or just a lower interest rate, debt isn’t as scary. It can be overcome.
Lower your interest rate (maybe all the way down to 0% APR!). Find a secure Balance Transfer Card here.
7. Teach Your Children the Value of Hard Work and Saving Money with Greenlight
Want a simple solution to set your children on track for financial success? You can teach them the importance of careful spending, wise saving, generous giving, and the value of hard work with Greenlight, the debit card for kids and teens.
Greenlight is a secured debit card tied to a bank account that helps teach your children about being smart with their money. You can set limits on how much they have to spend, so they will have to think twice before wasting money on mindless purchases instead of saving for that Xbox.
You can teach them the value of hard work when you set up chores for them to do. After they complete the work, they get paid. You can teach them the importance of saving by giving them an incentive to do so with “parent-paid interest.” If they save so much, you will pay them interest. It’s a great motivator to get into the habit of saving while they are young.
The secured debit card is connected to a bank account, and you control how much to put on your children’s card (you can have up to five debit cards for one low, monthly fee). You can set limits on how much to spend at restaurants, at gas stations, and even how much they can withdraw from an ATM. Sign up for Greenlight today and get your first month free.
8. Save on Your Next Flight
Have you ever used a travel site in hopes of finding a cheap flight? They promise great prices, but they are so confusing to use. With technological advancements, you think finding a great deal on a flight would be easier.
Well, Scott’s Cheap Flights though the same thing, and they have delivered.
Simply sign up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, enter your local airport, and add 4-5 of your top vacation spots. Then, let Scott’s find you amazing deals.Every day, you will receive an email in your inbox with super cheap flights out of your home airport. Most deals are 40-90% off.
Sign up here to try out Scott’s Cheap Flights free for 14 days (you will even save 50% on a one-year membership)!
9. Be Frugal at the pump!
Check your car’s tire pressure. Have you ever ridden a bike with flat tires? It takes LOTS of effort. When your car’s tire pressure is low, it takes more energy (more gas) to move. Keep your tire’s PSI in check to save hundreds at the gas station.
Get Upside and Get Cash Back
We have all felt the pain at the pump. Whenever you fill your tank, it takes more money today than just a year ago.
But, you can do something about it right now and be frugal at the pump. Just download the Upside app (formerly GetUpside) and earn cash-back rewards at gas pumps, grocery stores, and appetizing restaurants.
After you install the Upside app, look for cash-back deals and exclusive offers from gas stations, grocers, and restaurants. The Upside app works at 45,000 locations across the United States. Unlike other cash-back apps, this one works at physical locations only.
When you are ready to get cash back, all it takes is a few taps. Open the app, check offers near you and claim your discount. Visit the establishment and after you finish paying with a linked debit or credit card, check in on the app and wait for the rewards.
You can get paid via PayPal, bank account, or gift card. Ready to start earning cash back at nearby stores? Install the Upside app and use the promo code AFF20 to grab a 20 cents-per-gallon sign-up bonus. Did we mention Upside is free?
10. Use a Credit Card (Everything Is 2% Off!)
“Do you have to go into debt when you use a credit card?” No, absolutely not. In fact, if you do go into debt, you’re using your credit card wrong.
Credit cards have rewards (cash back, miles, perks, etc.). When you swipe your card, you get a percentage back on your purchase: sometimes it’s a flat 2% cash back on everything. Sometimes it’s 3% cash back on groceries/restaurants, 2% cash back on gas, and 1% cash back on everything else. Certain travel cards will give you free checked baggage (that’s $100s in savings every flight).
So why are people afraid of credit cards? Because they have gone into credit card debt and got stuck paying interest. Know this, if you go into credit card debt, you will not make money; you will lose money. How do you not go into credit card debt? Pay off your entire statement balance at the end of every month. Don’t pay the minimum payment; pay the full statement balance. Do this and you will never go into credit card debt, you will never pay a late fee, and you will never pay a dime in interest.
In other words, every time you swipe your card, you make money. That’s why if you are in control of your spending and you know you won’t take on debt, you need to start using a credit card today. It’s really not that hard to earn over $1,000 in free money every year from your credit cards.
Credit Land is our favorite place to find a new credit cards because they gather the cards offering the most cash back.
Check out the top-ranked cash-back credit cards here (we use and LOVE #2)
And don’t forget to grab a separate travel card for your favorite airline (travel cards are massive cash back machines: free checked baggage, cash back on tickets, one free round-trip ticket every year, etc.)
11. 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 $1000s in hospital costs down the road! Besides, eating healthy while living frugally on one income can be easy!
Eating healthy is easy with $5 Meal Plan (get your 14 day free trial)
As for exercising, here are two ways to make it fun:
1. Sweatcoin gives you free stuff for walking. This free app turns your steps into Sweatcoins. Spend that coin in their exclusive marketplace, and you literally get free stuff for staying healthy.
2. Care to make a wager? HealthyWage bets that you won’t lose weight. But if their wrong, you get paid (maybe $1,000+). A little money on the table could be the motivation you need to get healthy.
Check out all of our tips to eat healthy on a budget here!
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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’!
15. 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 pods and filters so you can brew any ground coffee with your Keurig
16. Clip Coupons 100X Faster
Hate clipping coupons? Why not get the smartphone alternative. Download your grocery store’s app for a collective list of coupons (all valid and ready to be redeemed) right on your smartphone!
Then stack your savings. Take a picture of your receipt with the Ibotta App for easy cash that can be directly deposited into your bank or be redeemed for free gift cards to your favorite store.
With Ibotta + the grocery store app, you’ll save significant money at the grocery store.
Related Post: Ibotta App Review: How to grab a free $20 Welcome Bonus
17. 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 to sign up for Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates).
Say you’re buying a new pair of jeans online from Express. Don’t pay full price! Use Rakuten and get 2.5% back on your entire purchase. But the savings don’t end there. Rakuten shows there’s an additional 20% off available when you sign up for the Express Newsletter. Then Boom! You just saved 22.5% on your purchase thanks to Rakuten.
So stop what you’re doing, and sign up for a free Rakuten account, right here (you’ll collect a free $10 welcome bonus)!
Related Post: Honest Ebates Review– How to save the most money with Rakuten
18. Capital One Shopping
It’s rare to find a promo-code that actually works at checkout, not to mention that the whole code-searching process can sometimes feel a bit sketchy. Good news! Capital one Shopping makes it easy to find and apply coupon codes.
Capital One Shopping holds a massive collection of coupon codes for practically every major retailer on the internet (we’re talking thousands of stores). Here’s how it works: after you add Capital One Shopping to your Browser, your online orders are scanned against their coupon database. If a coupon works, it gets applied to your order automatically.
It’s convenient, and, as you know, it feels great to save a little extra money right at the last second. This company does a lot of other cool money-saving stuff too, so if you want to learn more about them, check out our Capital One Shopping Review Article.
19. Pop Some Tags At The Thrift Shop
Thrift stores are a gold mine for “Like New” and “Brand New” clothing items going for 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
20. 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).
21. 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!
22. 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.
23. 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!
24. 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!
25. 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 Dosh App (And grab this Free $1 Starbucks gift card for signing up here)
- Do your regular online shopping (Ebates will pay you)
- Get cash back grocery shopping with Ibotta (Free $20 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)
Related Post: Starbucks Medicine Ball Recipe– A Healthy (Immunity-Boosting) Version
26. 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.
27. Save $20 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!
Next time you’re stocking up on shampoo, snap a picture of that receipt and load up your Ibotta account with free cash! Download the free Ibotta app (and don’t forget to grab your free $20 gift card)
28. 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 🙂
29. Insulate Your Walls
Want to save $100s-$1000s on your electric/gas bill? Insulate your walls! This one-time price will save you tenfold.
30. 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.
31. 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 $30 just for signing up for free accounts using our links! Here’s $10 for trying EBATES! And Here’s $20 for trying Ibotta.
32. 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.
33. 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!
34. 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 😉 ]
35. 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 (AKA: how to stop living paycheck to paycheck). Because as long as you can keep your income over your expenses, your savings must grow.
If you’re serious about building a substantial $20K savings, and not just looking for a few fun tricks to save a few extra dollars here and there… Learn to budget. Learn to spend your money the right way so that you can live within your means and start watching your savings grow every month.
36. 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).
37. 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.
Are you struggling with credit card debt? Check out our ultimate guide to paying off credit card debt fast. It includes every tip necessary to become debt free plus some options you haven’t even considered.
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!
Follow us on Pinterest for even more frugal living tips!
Want to save these frugal living tips for later? Pin it here!
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- Why Am I Poor?: + How To Fix It
Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop
The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.
We want to help you do both.
Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt.
What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:
- Hacks to lower your monthly bills
- Hacks to spend less on debt
- Hacks to start investing
- Hacks to increase your income by $20/month (with no extra effort)
This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.
Need help saving at your favorite stores? Check these out…
*Capital One Shopping compensates us when you get the Capital One Shopping extension using the links we provided*