Living frugally is all about making the most of your money, however limited it may be. It means being intentional with your spending and making careful financial decisions.
If you’re a one income household, frugal living might be a necessity, rather than a choice, but either way, it doesn’t have to make life restrictive or boring.
There are lots of reasons you might be having to live frugally on one income. It could be that like us, you have children and one parent is staying at home to look after them, or on maternity leave, so you no longer have a second income source.
It could be due to job loss, illness, studying, caring, an accident or a number of reasons varying from family to family.
Whatever the reason, there are lots of ways to make living frugally on one income easier and more effective, to make the most of your money wherever you can.
5 Simple Tips For Living Frugally On One Income
1. Stick to a budget
The first and most vital step to managing finances effectively, whether that’s living on one income or ten, is budgeting. Without a budget, it’s hard to get a clear view of your overall finances, which makes it harder to make good financial decisions that keep all areas of your finances healthy.
Having a clear budget and being able to stick to it will help you know exactly what money you have and how you are spending it.
2. Cut down your grocery bill
One of the most effective ways to save money when you’re trying to live frugally on one income is to lower your grocery spend. It’s honestly one of the easiest ways to make big savings.
You can do this by:
- Meal planning
Planning out your meals in advance means you can write your shopping list according to exactly what you need. This should help both with spending less at the supermarket and cut down on any food waste.
- Buying in bulk
Particularly for non perishable items, buying in bulk can save a ton of money as it tends to work out much cheaper. If you have the space, bulk buying things such as toilet paper, tinned foods, larger bags of dried foods such as pasta, larger bottles and tubes of shampoo or toothpaste, will all lower the price. Combined across lots of items these savings add up!
Don’t be a brand snob. Swapping to lower priced, non branded items can really help to save money and is definitely worth a try. You’ll probably find that with a lot of products you really can’t tell the difference. With some items, such as medicines, there really is no difference at all beside the packaging, the ingredients are exactly the same.
- Changing supermarkets
If it’s practical to do so and you don’t shop there already, switching to a budget supermarket can make a massive difference. You might not find everything in Aldi or Lidl that you can get in an Asda, but for the majority of your grocery shopping the savings in price compared to some of the bigger supermarkets really do make it worthwhile.
3. Switch up your subscriptions
A good way to get a quick money win is to go through your subscriptions to see if there’s anywhere you could switch and save money. This includes your utilities such as electricity and gas, your internet and phone services, your TV subscriptions and any other regular outgoings such as a gym membership.
There are so many companies out there vying for your custom that there are always new customer deals available to be had. It’s worth using a price comparison tool to get a bunch of quotes to compare to your existing price.
If you want to give your existing provider a chance to keep you as a customer you can give them a call and tell them about the cheaper price you’ve found to see if they’ll match it for you, if not you can still cancel and sign yourself up for a better price.
You can do the same thing with your non essential subscriptions, though it’s worth considering whether they’re worth the money while living frugally on one income. Would you be happy without them?
For example do you really make the most of your TV licence or would a Netflix subscription for half the price do the job? Amazon Prime Video is another great option and you can even try it free to see if you like it first.
Could you take up some free exercise instead of paying to go to the gym?
Think about what compromises you’d be willing and happy to make to stretch your finances further.
4. Shop second hand
Buying second hand clothes is not only cheaper, it’s more eco friendly too – so you can feel good about saving money and being environmentally conscious at the same time. There are tons of places to source second hand clothes in great condition, you can try charity shops, selling apps such as Shpock and Depop, online marketplaces such as Gumtree and Ebay and even Facebook.
5. Check for deals or discounts
When you are shopping, always check for a discount code or coupon to see if you can shave a bit of the price before you pay. A great tool to use for this is Honey – it automatically searches and applies discounts to your online shopping baskets.
Shopping around rather than accepting the first price you see is a good money saving habit to have. It’s always worth checking cashback sites too before you buy, you might be leaving free money on the table!
More quick money saving wins to help with living frugally on one income:
- Eat at home rather than going out
- Only heat rooms you’re actually using
- Turn off lights as you leave a room
- Use supermarket cashback apps
- Always price check
- Stick to your shopping list
- Get cashback when you shop online