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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.
COVID-19 Hack: Since you’re cooking at home, you’re probably buying more groceries than ever. Ibotta saves you money on groceries nearly every grocery trip. Grab your receipt, snap a pic, and earn cash back. (You’ll get a $20 welcome bonus just for using the app.) Another tip if you’ve been having your grocers delivered: Ibotta will give you 2% cash back on your Insacart delivers. So you’ll save on the delivery fee, and you still get to take a picture of your receipt to earn more cash back.
So, if you like free money… Download the Ibotta App here and grab a free $20 gift card just for trying it out!
Need more information on this epic cash back app? Check out our exclusive Ibotta explainer animation video.👇
Update 03/26/20: 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:
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.
(2.5. Six Hacks to Save More Money)
Saving money is easy… once you know how to do it. If you’re living without the peace of mind of having lots of money in the bank, then you haven’t learned how to make saving money easy.
Our Free “Savings Account Accelerator” Workshop exercises 6 Money-Saving Hacks that not only teach you *how* to save money, but also how to save money faster than ever before. Don’t change your lifestyle to save money – use this free information to make saving money easy.
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 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!
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 for food with way more flavor. In other words, try $5 Meal Plan for Free for 14 days. Your pallet won’t regret it.
5. Rack Up Free Gift Cards for *Guilt Free* Shopping
Do you spend money on a credit and/or debit card? Want to earn free gift cards to continue spending *exactly* as you always do?
The Drop App is a free mobile app that hands out free gift cards for simply swiping your card (like normal) at their cash-black locations.
- No scanning receipts
- No need to open the app
- No need to buy “weird/random items” just to earn gift cards
After you download the app, and link a credit OR debit card, you can start racking up points on autopilot!
The average Drop user gets their 1st free gift card within the first month of downloading the app!
UPDATE 4/06/20: Drop just provided our readers with a FREE $5 Gift Card Promo Code! Here’s how to claim it:
- Step #1. Download the Free Drop App with our link here
- Step #2. Enter our Promo Code: BudgetingCouple to be eligible for the $5 Gift Card
- Step #3. Link your favorite debit or credit card to the app
- Step #4. Collect your $5 Gift Card! (and treat yourself to a Starbucks on us)
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.
Debt Consolidation Loans
Debt consolidation companies buy your debt. Instead of owing money to credit companies, you will owe money to the consolidation company but at a lower interest rate. Try Fiona’s Credit Card Debt Consolidation Loan Matching Service (it will have no effect on your credit score). Input your information, and Fiona will attempt to match you with a loan offers up to $100,000, with loan terms of 24-84 months, and APR ranges from 3.84% – 35.99% (based on creditworthiness).
Balance Transfer Card or Debt Consolidation Loan?
Choose the company that will lower your interest rate the most. Remember, no matter which way you go, if you can lower your interest rate, you will get out of debt faster while spending less money.
- Find a Balance Transfer Card here.
- Then get matched with a Debt Consolidation Loan by Fiona Here.
- Then choose the lowest interest rate option, and become debt free.
7. 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!
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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’!
11. 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
12. 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
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.
13. 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
14. Wikibuy from Capital One
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! Wikibuy makes it easy to find and apply coupon codes.
Wikibuy 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 Wikibuy to your Browser, your online orders are scanned against Wikibuy’s 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 Wikibuy Review Article.
15. 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
16. 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! )
17. 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!
181. 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).
19. 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!
20. 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!
21. 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
22. 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.
23. 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!
24. 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.
Or, check out a highly rated “cheap” cell phone company like Mint Mobile!
Mint Mobile’s prices are phenomenal starting at $15/month for unlimited talk & text, 4G LTE high speed Data, and nationwide coverage. Plus, they offer a generous 7-Day Risk Free Money Back Guarantee if you aren’t happy with their service!
25. 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 🙂
26. 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:
27. 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.
Related Post: How To *Easily Build Your Travel Savings: Have A Stress-Free/Debt-Free Vacay
28. 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.
You’re going to live much more comfortably AND saving $100s if not $1,000s in room costs!!
Sign up for a free Airbnb account today and grab a $40 credit towards your next vacation!!
29. Find The Cheapest Flights (Without Hidden Fees)
Only use trusted flight checkers when deal hunting for plane tickets. (Unless you like paying hidden fees…) The only site we’ve come to trust is: Momondo. With Momondo, you can compare prices between all airlines AND other travel websites!
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 with Groupon here!
31. 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:
32. 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.
33. 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.
Want to know which card would save YOU and you’re family the most?
> Check out the best cash-back credit cards of 2020 here (we use and LOVE #7)
34. 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!
35. 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:
36. 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 packages too!)
37. 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 when living on one income or two. (And according to this recent study, more than 1/3 of married couple with children are living on 1 income). 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.
38. 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.
No time to budget? Why not have someone budget for you… for free!
Enter, Charlie the money saving penguin. Charlie is a FREE messaging service that keeps track of your spending and runs your family’s budget for you! If you’ve struggled to stay consistent with “spending less” or saving money, Charlie is the key.
Charlie users save on average $80/week! Want to see if you’re above average?
39. 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).
40. 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!
*Wikibuy compensates us when you sign up for Wikibuy using the links we provided*
No Money in the Bank?
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A budgeting fanatic and a frugal living lover! We want to share our budgeting techniques because of how much they have improved every aspect of our life! We teach the ultimate way to budget so you can save tons of money, eliminate debt fast, and achieve guilt-free spending!