50 Practical Life Hacks to Save Money and Live Frugally

In today’s world, saving money has become more important than ever. With the rising cost of living, high inflation rates, and economic instability, many people are struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, there are many simple and effective life hacks that can help you cut back on expenses and save money. Whether you’re trying to pay off debt, save for a big purchase, or just build up your savings, these hacks can help you make your money go further.

In this list of life hacks to save money, we’ve compiled some of the most effective and actionable tips for reducing your expenses and keeping more money in your pocket. From groceries to entertainment, transportation to household items, these hacks cover a wide range of areas where you can make changes to save money. Some of these tips may be familiar, while others may be new to you. But all of them are designed to be practical, timely, and relevant to your life.

By implementing these life hacks, you can make a real difference in your finances. Even small changes can add up to big savings over time, and you may be surprised at how much you can save by making a few adjustments to your spending habits. So whether you’re just starting out on your journey to financial wellness or you’re a seasoned saver looking for new ideas, these life hacks can help you achieve your financial goals and make the most of your hard-earned money.

  1. Shop at discount grocery stores for groceries: Shopping at discount grocery stores can save you a lot of money on your grocery bill. These stores offer quality products at lower prices than traditional supermarkets.
  2. Use cashback and rewards credit cards to earn rewards on purchases: Credit cards that offer cashback or rewards points can be a great way to earn extra money on your purchases. Just be sure to pay off your balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
  3. Make your own coffee at home instead of buying it from a coffee shop: Buying coffee from a coffee shop can add up quickly. Making your own coffee at home is a simple way to save money and still enjoy your favorite beverage.
  4. Use a programmable thermostat to save money on heating and cooling costs: A programmable thermostat can help you save money on your energy bills by automatically adjusting the temperature when you’re not home.
  5. Shop for clothes at thrift stores or online secondhand stores: Thrift stores and online secondhand stores offer quality clothing at much lower prices than new clothing stores. You can find great deals on name-brand and designer clothing if you’re willing to do some digging.
  6. Cook meals in bulk and freeze leftovers for future meals: Cooking in bulk and freezing leftovers is a great way to save time and money on meals. You can also save money by using ingredients that are in season and buying in bulk.
  7. Use energy-efficient light bulbs to save on electricity costs: Energy-efficient light bulbs use less energy and last longer than traditional light bulbs. This can save you money on your electricity bill in the long run.
  8. Turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use: Turning off lights and unplugging electronics when they’re not in use can save you money on your electricity bill. It’s a simple habit that can add up to big savings over time.
  9. Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water: Buying bottled water can be expensive and bad for the environment. Using a reusable water bottle is a simple way to save money and reduce waste.
  10. Shop around for car insurance to find the best rates: Car insurance rates can vary widely, so it’s important to shop around and compare rates from different companies. You may be able to save a significant amount of money by switching to a different insurance provider.
  11. Use public transportation or bike instead of driving: Using public transportation or biking instead of driving can save you money on gas and car maintenance costs. It’s also better for the environment.
  12. Avoid using credit cards to avoid interest and fees: Credit card interest and fees can add up quickly and make it difficult to pay off your balance. Avoid using credit cards if possible, and if you do use them, pay off your balance in full each month.
  13. Use a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases: Making a shopping list before you go to the store can help you avoid impulse purchases and stick to your budget.
  14. Take advantage of free events and activities in your community for entertainment: Many communities offer free events and activities, such as concerts, festivals, and outdoor movies. Taking advantage of these free activities is a great way to save money on entertainment.
  15. Cut cable TV and stream shows and movies online instead: Cutting cable TV and streaming shows and movies online can save you a lot of money on your monthly entertainment costs.
  16. Make your own cleaning supplies instead of buying them: Making your own cleaning supplies is a simple and effective way to save money on household items.
  17. Avoid buying pre-packaged snacks and make your own instead: Pre-packaged snacks can be expensive and unhealthy. Making your own snacks at home is a great way to save money and eat healthier.
  18. Use grocery store loyalty programs to earn discounts and rewards: Many grocery stores offer loyalty programs that allow you to earn discounts and rewards on your purchases. Signing up for these programs can save you money on your grocery bill.
  19. Buy non-perishable items in bulk to save money: Buying non-perishable items in bulk can save you money in the long run. Just be sure to only buy what you need and use before it expires.
  20. Refinance your mortgage to save money on interest: Refinancing your mortgage can help you save money on interest and reduce your monthly mortgage payments. Be sure to shop around and compare rates from different lenders to find the best deal.
  21. Use a budgeting app to track your expenses and find areas to cut back: A budgeting app can help you keep track of your expenses and find areas where you can cut back to save money.
  22. Buy generic brands instead of name brands for groceries and household items: Generic brands are often just as good as name brands, but they cost less. Buying generic brands is an easy way to save money on groceries and household items.
  23. Use a clothesline instead of a dryer to save on electricity costs: Drying clothes on a clothesline is a simple way to save money on your electricity bill. It’s also better for the environment.
  24. Shop for clothes at the end of the season for clearance sales: Shopping for clothes at the end of the season can save you a lot of money on clearance sales.
  25. Use a rewards program for gas purchases to earn discounts or free gas: Using a rewards program for gas purchases is a great way to earn discounts or even free gas.
  26. Take advantage of student discounts if you’re a student: Many retailers and service providers offer student discounts. Taking advantage of these discounts is a great way to save money while you’re in school.
  27. Sign up for free trials of subscription services and cancel before the trial period ends: Many subscription services offer free trials. Signing up for these free trials can be a great way to try out a service before committing to paying for it.
  28. Use a reusable shopping bag instead of buying plastic bags at the store: Using a reusable shopping bag is a simple way to save money and reduce waste.
  29. Buy used textbooks or rent them instead of buying new ones: Buying used textbooks or renting them can save you a lot of money on your college expenses.
  30. Use a cashback app for online shopping to earn cashback on purchases: Using a cashback app for online shopping is a great way to earn cashback on your purchases and save money.
  31. Avoid buying bottled drinks and make your own at home: Buying bottled drinks can be expensive and create unnecessary waste. Making your own drinks at home is a simple way to save money and reduce waste.
  32. Make your own laundry detergent instead of buying it: Making your own laundry detergent is an easy and effective way to save money on household items.
  33. Buy in-season produce to save money on groceries: Buying produce that is in season is often cheaper and fresher than produce that is out of season. Shopping at local farmers markets can also be a great way to save money on fresh produce.
  34. Cut your own hair instead of going to a salon: Cutting your own hair can save you a lot of money on salon expenses. There are many tutorials and guides available online to help you learn how to cut your own hair.
  35. Buy a used car instead of a new one to save money: Buying a used car is often much cheaper than buying a new one. Be sure to do your research and have the car inspected before you buy it.
  36. Use a low-flow showerhead to save on water costs: Using a low-flow showerhead is a great way to save money on your water bill. It can also help reduce water usage and conserve water.
  37. Shop for holiday decorations after the holiday for clearance sales: Shopping for holiday decorations after the holiday can save you a lot of money on clearance sales.
  38. Use a bicycle trailer to carry groceries and other items instead of driving: Using a bicycle trailer to carry groceries and other items is a great way to save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint.
  39. Shop for produce at local farmer markets to save money: Shopping for produce at local farmer markets is often cheaper and fresher than buying produce at a supermarket.
  40. Buy store brand medications instead of name brands: Store brand medications are often just as effective as name brands, but they cost less. Buying store brand medications is an easy way to save money on your healthcare expenses.
  41. Use a smart power strip to save energy and reduce electricity costs: A smart power strip can help you save money on your electricity bill by automatically turning off electronics when they’re not in use.
  42. Use a rain barrel to collect rainwater for watering plants and lawns: Using a rain barrel to collect rainwater is a great way to save money on your water bill and conserve water.
  43. Cut back on eating out and cook meals at home: Eating out can be expensive, but cooking meals at home is a great way to save money and eat healthier.
  44. Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out: Bringing your lunch to work can save you a lot of money on lunch expenses. It’s also a great way to eat healthier and control what you eat.
  45. Use public libraries for books and movies instead of buying them: Using public libraries for books and movies is a great way to save money on entertainment expenses.
  46. Take advantage of free trial gym memberships before committing to a long-term contract: Many gyms offer free trial memberships. Taking advantage of these free trials can be a great way to try out a gym before committing to a long-term contract. Don’t forget to cancel!
  47. Use a pressure cooker to cook meals quickly and efficiently: Using a pressure cooker is a great way to cook meals quickly and efficiently. It can also help you save money on your energy bill by using less electricity.
  48. Use a water filter instead of buying bottled water: Using a water filter is a simple way to save money and reduce waste. It’s also better for the environment.
  49. Buy second-hand furniture instead of new: Buying second-hand furniture is often much cheaper than buying new furniture. You can find great deals at thrift stores, yard sales, and online marketplaces.
  50. Use a slow cooker to make meals that will last for multiple days: Using a slow cooker to make meals that will last for multiple days is a great way to save time and money on meals. It’s also a great way to plan ahead and make sure you have healthy meals on hand.

These 50 life hacks cover a variety of areas where you can make changes to save money. By implementing some of these hacks, you can stretch your budget and make your money go further. Remember, even small changes can add up to big savings over time, so give some of these ideas a try and see how much money you can save. From grocery shopping to entertainment, and transportation to household items, there are many ways to reduce your expenses and keep more money in your pocket.

By shopping at discount grocery stores and buying in bulk, you can save money on your weekly groceries. Avoiding pre-packaged snacks and making your own can save you money and be healthier. Making your own coffee at home instead of buying it from a coffee shop is another easy way to save money. Turning off lights and unplugging electronics when not in use can reduce your electricity costs. Finally, using a slow cooker or pressure cooker to cook meals can save you time and money.

By implementing even a few of these life hacks, you can make a significant impact on your finances. These tips are easy to adopt and can be tailored to fit your lifestyle and individual circumstances. Take control of your finances and start saving money today!

About the Author

Client Credit Report Authorization

You hereby authorize and instruct Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS, dba Money Fit by DRS) and/or its assigned agents to:
  • Obtain and review your credit report, and
  • Request verifications of your income and rental history, and any other information deemed necessary for improving your housing situation (for example, verifying your annual property tax obligations and homeowner’s insurance fees)
Your credit report will be obtained from a credit reporting agency chosen by DRS. You understand and agree that DRS intends to use the credit report evaluate your financial readiness to purchase or rent a home and/or to engage in post-purchase counseling activities and not to grant credit. You understand you may ask any questions pertaining to your credit report. However, while DRS will review the information with you, the company is not able to furnish you with a copy of your credit profile. You hereby authorize DRS to share your information from your credit report and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the entities listed below to help DRS determine your viable financial options.
  • Banks
  • Counseling Agencies
  • Debt Collectors
  • Landlords
  • Lenders
  • Mortgage Servicers
  • Property Management Companies
  • Public Housing Authorities
  • Social Service Agencies
Entities such as mortgage lenders and/or counseling agencies may contact your DRS counselor to evaluate the options for which you may be eligible. In connection with such evaluation, you authorize the credit reporting and/or financial agencies to release information and cooperate with your DRS counselor. No information will be discussed about you with entities not directly involved in your efforts to improve your housing situation. You hereby authorize the release of your information to program monitoring organizations of DRS, including but not limited to, Federal, State, and nonprofit partners for program review, monitoring, auditing, research, and/or oversight purposes. In addition, you authorize DRS to have your credit report pulled two additional times to conduct program evaluations. You also agree to keep DRS informed of any changes in address, telephone number, job status, marital status, or other conditions which may affect your eligibility for a program you have applied for or a counseling service that you are seeking. Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Client Privacy, Data Security, and Client Rights Policy

NOTE: This sheet is to inform new or returning clients about our services, records, fees, and limitations that may affect you as a consumer of our services. This form also discloses how we might release your information to other agencies and/or regulators. If you do not understand a statement, please ask a Debt Reduction Services (DRS) counselor for assistance.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. (DRS) has put into place policies and procedures to protect the security and confidentiality of your nonpublic personal information. This notice explains our online information practices and how we use and maintain your information to conduct our financial education and credit counseling sessions and to fulfill information and question requests. This privacy policy complies with federal laws and regulations.

To provide our financial education and credit counseling services, we collect nonpublic personal information about you as follows: 1) Information we receive from you, 2) Information about your transactions with us or others, and 3) Information we receive from your creditors or a consumer reporting agency. We do not share this information with outside parties.

We use non-identifying and aggregate information to better design our website and services, but we do not disclose anything that could be used to identify you as an individual.

You hereby authorize DRS, when necessary, to share your nonpublic personal, financial, credit, and any information that you provided (including any computations and assessments produced) with the following entities in order to help DRS provide you with appropriate counseling or guide you to appropriate services: third parties such as government agencies, your lender(s), your creditor(s), and nonprofit housing-related and other financial agencies as permitted by law, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online. We limit access to your nonpublic personal information to our employees, contractors and agents who need such access to provide products or services to you or for other legitimate business purposes.

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. complies with the privacy requirements set forth in the HUD housing counseling agency handbook 7610.1 (05/2010), including the sections 2-2 Mc, 3-1 H(2), 3-3, 5-3 F, and Attachment A.5. At all times, we will comply with all additional laws and regulations to which we are subject regarding the collection, use, and disclosure of individually identifiable information.

  1. Services: DRS provides the following housing-related services: counseling that includes Homeless Assistance, Rental Topics, Pre-purchase/Homebuying, and Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase); Education courses that include Financial literacy (including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding use of credit), Predatory lending, loan scam or other fraud prevention, Fair housing, Rental topics, Pre-purchase homebuyer education, Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop (including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners), and other workshops not listed above.

Please refer to DebtReductionServices.org for details of our services.

  1. Limits: Our services are limited to our normal weekday business hours. We do not provide individual counseling or education services after hours or on weekends, although our education courses are available 24/7.
  2. Fees: We do not charge fees for our financial management counseling and education. However, if you use them, you may have to pay for our Debt Management Program, Student Loan Counseling, Bankruptcy Certificate Services or certain financial education courses (homebuyer education, rental topics, fair housing, predatory lending, and post-purchase-non-delinquency including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners).
  3. Records: We maintain records of the services you receive, including notes about your progress or other relevant information to your work with us. You have the right to access and view your records by making a request to your counselor.
  4. Confidentiality: We respect your privacy and offer our services in confidence with the understanding that we may share such information with auditors and government regulators. Certain laws or situations may also lead to disclosing confidential issues, such as those involving potential child abuse or neglect, threats to harm self or others, or court subpoenas.
  5. Refusal of Services: You have the right to refuse services without any penalty or loss.
  6. Disclosure of Policies and Practices: You will be provided our agency disclosure statement.
  7. Sharing of Information: Sometimes we will need to contact other agencies or we may need to share your information, including your records, with other agencies or with regulators. We will do this only if you sign this form that gives us permission except for limited reasons; please see # 5 above for examples of such situations.
  8. Other: You have the right to be treated with respect by our staff, and we expect the same from you in return. We encourage you to always ask questions if something is not clear. We also encouraged you to express your thoughts and advocate throughout our services.

You acknowledge that this authorization will remain in effect for the duration of time that DRS serves as your housing counselor or financial education provider. You also acknowledge that should you wish to terminate this authorization, you will notify DRS in writing.

Disclosure  Statement

NOTE: If you have an impairment, disability, language barrier, or otherwise require an alternative means of completing this form or accessing information about our counseling services, please communicate with your DRS representative about arranging alternative accommodations.

Program Disclosure Form

Disclosure to Client for HUD Housing Counseling Services

Debt Reduction Services, Inc. and its financial education arm, Money Fit by DRS, offer the following housing counseling and educational services related to housing, personal finance, and bankruptcy certificates to consumers:
  • Housing Education Courses: DRS offers many online self-guided education programs classified as Financial, Budgeting, and Credit Workshops (FBC), Fair Housing Pre-Purchase Education Workshops (FHW), Homelessness Prevention Workshops (HMW), Non-Delinquency Post Purchase Workshops (NDW), Predatory Lending Education Workshops (PLW), Pre-purchase Homebuyer Education Workshops (PPW), and Rental Housing Workshops (RHW). These courses help participants increase their knowledge of and skills in personal finance, including home affordability, budgeting, and understanding the use of credit, as well as predatory lending, loan scams, and other fraud prevention topics, fair housing, rental topics, pre-purchase homebuyer education, non-delinquency post-purchase topics including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners, homeless prevention workshop, and other workshops not listed above relating to personal finance and housing. Course details are found below under “Housing Workshops.”
  • Home Equity Conversation Mortgage (HECM) Counseling (RMC): Via telephone and virtual platforms, we offer the required HECM counseling nationwide in addition to in-person counseling in Boise, Idaho. We also offer in-home counseling options in thirty counties across southern Idaho for an additional fee to cover our travel and additional staff time costs.
  • Home Maintenance and Financial Management for Homeowners (Non-Delinquency Post-Purchase) (FBC): Clients receive counseling and materials on the proper maintenance of their home and mortgage refinancing. Clients can find help and resources by phone, in our Boise office, or virtually on all topics related to stabilizing their long-term homeownership.
  • Services for Homeless Counseling (HMC): Clients receive phone, virtual, or in-person (Boise) counseling to evaluate their current housing needs, identify barriers to and goals for housing stability, establish a path to self-sufficiency, and connect with emergency shelters, income-appropriate housing, and/or other community resources (e.g. mental healthcare, job training, transportation, etc.).
  • Pre-Purchase Counseling (PPC): Clients receive counseling through the entire homebuying process. Assistance may involve creating a sustainable household budget, understanding mortgage options, building their credit rating, and putting together a realistic action plan to set and achieve homeownership goals.  Additionally, clients will receive materials and resources about home inspections and other homeownership topics relevant to successfully maintaining a home.
  • Rental Housing Counseling (RHC): Via phone, in-person appointments (Boise, ID), or virtual platforms, clients receive housing counseling relevant to renting, including rent subsidies from HUD or other government and assistance programs. Topics can also address issues and concerns having to do with fair housing, landlord and tenant laws, lease terms, rent delinquency, household budgeting, and finding alternate housing.
DRS also offers the following services:
  • A Debt Management Program (DMP) for consumers struggling to pay their credit cards, collections, medical debts, personal loans, old utility bills, and past-due cell phone accounts;
  • The Budget Briefing and Debtor Education Certificates that are required during the Bankruptcy filing process;
  • A Student Loan Repayment Plan Counseling and application service.

Relationships with Industry Partners

Through such services, DRS has established financial relationships with hundreds of banks, credit unions, and creditors such as American Express, Bank of America, Barclays, Capital One, Chase, Citibank, Credit One, Discover, Synchrony, US Bank, USAA, Wells Fargo, and others.

No Client Obligation

The client is not obligated to receive, purchase or utilize any other services offered by DRS or its exclusive partners to receive financial education or housing counseling services. Alternatives: As a condition of our counseling services, in alignment with meeting our client services goals, and in compliance with HUD’s Housing Counseling Program requirements, we may provide information on alternative services, programs, and products available to you, if applicable and known by our staff. Alternative DMP services include negotiating better repayment terms directly with your individual creditors, paying your debts as agreed, or, in extreme cases, filing for personal bankruptcy. Alternative credit and education services can be found through MyMoney.gov or the Jump$tart Clearinghouse of online financial education resources. Housing counseling alternatives can be found through HUD at www.hud.gov/findacounselor.
Finally, you understand that you may revoke consent to these disclosures by notifying DRS in writing.

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).

Housing Counseling and Education Fee Schedule

 

Online Education Program Fees*

Homebuyer Education Course: $59 per participant

  • Self-paced course available here, our online housing counseling and education center. Certificates will be automatically generated upon completion of the course (approximately 6-8 hours)

RentalFair HousingPredatory Lending / HOEPAPost-Purchase (Non-delinquency post-purchase workshop, including home maintenance and/or financial management for homeowners) Online Workshops: $49 per participant

  • Approximately 1 hour each

Other Self-Guided Financial Literacy Webinars (e.g. creditbudgetinghomeless preventiondebt prevention): $0

One-on-one Counseling Fees*

Pre-purchase Homebuying Counseling, Rental Counseling, Post-purchase Ownership Maintenance and Financial Management: $75

  • Session by the hour

Reverse Mortgage/HECM Counseling with Required Certificate:

  • $200†

Credit Report Fee: Paid Directly by Client

*Fees for all but our online education courses and workshops can be paid online by debit card, credit card, or PayPal or in person by cash, check or money order to: “Debt Reduction Services, Inc.” Registration fees are non-refundable 24 hours or less before the start of an in-person course or workshop. Certificates are non-transferable

*Fees may be waived for households with income of 150% or less of that identified on the US Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines Page

†Home visit counseling is available in 30 southern Idaho counties for potential HECM borrowers at additional costs to cover our travel (IRS reimbursement rates apply) and staff time ($50 per hour or fraction there).