In this article I'm going to go over the best frugal living hacks to live on $1,500 per month.
If you’re anything like me, you probably wish there was more money in your bank account. I mean, who wouldn’t?
But saving can be hard when you’re living paycheck to paycheck and especially if you’ve recently lost your job, been furloughed or saw a decrease in hours/pay.
Luckily, hope is not lost! Ask any broke college student; you can do a lot with a little bit of money! All you need are frugal living hacks - and I've gathered 15 great ones right here for you.
You don’t need to be an expert accountant to know where, when, and how you can save a few dollars. You really just have to keep these frugal living hacks in mind every time you set out to make a purchase.
Here we go!
1. Use this digital savings app.
Use this frugal living hack to pay a bill or treat yourself to something special.
There are a bunch of apps out there that can help you automatically save money. One of our favorites is Digit!.
Once you connect your bank account to the app, Digit starts saving money for you every day, based on how much you have in your account. The more you have, the more the app will save for you.
However, you can also set your own savings limit, so Digit won’t take, say, more than $5 out of your account each day. You can also pause savings or start them again whenever you want.
Do this and BOOM! Your "rainy day fund" has $100 before you know it!
2. Use these cash back apps.
Use this frugal living hack and get paid for your everyday purchases.
Ibotta and Dosh are two apps that help you get cash back on most purchases you make!
This frugal living hack is especially helpful if you’re doing big shopping runs at store like Target or Walmart.?
Ibotta also has lots of deals for people who use meal delivery services.
3. Install a smart thermostat.
Smart thermostats that can be programmed to turn on/off at certain times of the day are incredibly helpful.
You can set them to turn way down of completely off when you aren’t home and then automatically kick back on when you get home.?
You’ll save on utilities with this frugal living hack because your heat and air conditioning won’t be on when it doesn’t need to be!
Here are the best smart thermostats on the market in 2020:
4. Check your phone plan.
You are most likely paying more than you have to on your cell phone plan.
This frugal living hack requires just one phone call to your cell phone carrier.
Call them and ask if you are on the best plan for your regular use. They'll look into your account and move you to a better plan.?
A small change in plan could net you $20 savings per month. I recently did this and found I was on an older "grandfathered" plan.
Their new plan cost $10 less and came with unlimited data. And I saved an additional $10 per month just for enrolling in autopay.
5. Switch carriers for crazy discounts.
There are a few major carriers all competing for your business. This means they all offer amazing deals for new customers.
If you have been with the same carrier forever, consider making a switch right now.
This isn't the 90's with horrible reception depending on what carrier you have and where you live. Most of the big cell phone companies have amazing coverage regardless of where you live.
Switching is especially beneficial if you want a new phone, as many will entice you with a free phone just for switching over.
6. Use store reward cards.
Most grocery stores have a loyalty program that saves you more than you would think! To get the best discounts, buy their store brand products.
I do this at Target with their store-owned brand items and they’re basically the same as name-brand.
Many retail stores have loyalty programs, too. If you do a lot of shopping at one particular store, see what kind of cash-back, coupons or deals you can get with their rewards program.
7. Buy in bulk when you spot a deal.
Buying in bulk means paying now and saving later! Once you start shopping around, you’ll realize that the price per unit starts to go down as the size goes up.
Plus, it's convenient to have an extra-large pack of toilet paper, laundry detergent and garbage bags around the house. But it's even better when you got these at a steep discount.
Do your shopping at a store like Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s and you’ll find yourself saving tons on these essential items.
Bulk buying is one of the best frugal living hacks in general. If you have the space to stock up on things you always use like beauty products, certain foods and cleaning supplies, stock it up!
8. Make your own cleaning supplies.
Not only are things like vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda great for cleaning many surfaces, they’re all-natural!
I love this frugal living tip because you can buy all of these products at the dollar store and they actually do wonders when cleaning!
This frugal living hack is useful especially if you have hard water – vinegar knocks residue right out!
9. Don’t be afraid of the dollar store.
Speaking of the dollar store, some companies will sell their surplus item to the dollar store so you can get the same quality stuff for a fraction of the price. Not to mention, a lot of dollar store products are similar quality to big box stores, anyway.
You can find a list of items you should buy at the dollar store here.
One of the best places to get to kitchenware is actually at the dollar store. Many of them have good quality cooking utensils, food storage containers, glassware, plates and bowls!?
If you’re unable to pay upfront for the bulk cost of things, the dollar store is also a great place to get everyday items like aluminum foil, garbage bags and toiletries.
10. Check your monthly subscriptions.
Are you still paying for a gym membership, but you haven’t been in six months? No judgement here, but it's best if you cancel that subscription.
The same applies for any other recurring service you don't really need.
Some memberships, like Amazon Prime, can help you eliminate other services you're currently subscribed to.
For example, Amazon has Prime Video, Prime Music, Amazon Photos and Prime Reading.
Plus, Amazon Prime lets you share your membership with one other person. So two people can split the membership fee - or you can get Amazon Prime free if someone you know has it.
11. Crowdsource your furniture, first.
One of the best ways to get free stuff is to ask your followers on social media! Don’t worry, it’s not as shady as it sounds.?
Often times, people have stuff that they’re looking to get rid of and you could be doing them a favor by taking it off their hands.
Throw up a status on Facebook asking if anyone has an XYZ they don’t need anymore.
12. Stick to happy hour - even for food.
While not going out at all would be the most frugal living hack of all, it’s still important to have a social life. Spending enough time with your friends doing social activities to keep you sane.?
But choose to have your fun during happy hour. You’ll be able to save money without skipping out on quality or friends.
If you can’t get out for the usual 5 o’clock happy hour, some places offer the same deals again around 10 PM to closing.
13. Reuse old containers for food storage.
Every time you throw away and old pasta jar or sour cream container, you’re throwing away a perfectly good food storage item!
If you use this frugal living hack, you very well may never have to buy a plastic storage container again.
Many restaurants use reusable plastic containers for their take-out food. Give them a wash and you’ll be fully stocked with food storage supplies (and it's much better for the environment).
14. Have fun with DIY projects.
Pinterest is a great resource for learning how to do things yourself.
If you find a hidden gem at a thrift store or on Craigslist, chances are Pinterest can guide you through upcycling that bad boy into a gorgeous new piece of home décor.
If you get really good at it, you might even be able to start your own business. Hello, passive income!
15. Use your cash-back credit cards.
As long as you’re able to make your monthly payments, utilize credit cards that give you a certain amount of cash back on purchases.
For example, shopping on Amazon with an Amazon credit card, give you 5% back to your Amazon account.
If you do a lot of shopping on Amazon already, this could be a great opportunity for you to get money back on each purchase and build up your credit score.
Once you’ve got the hang of one of these 15 frugal living hacks, try to implement the next one into your life until you’ve got all 15 down!?
You’ll be surprised how quickly you’ll be able to save money or allocate it in other places like your retirement account.