Change doesn’t have to be big to be meaningful. In fact, adopting one new, simple frugal habit each week can make all the difference when it comes to saving money and reaching your financial goals.
Frugality is all about adopting easy, common-sense habits, which allow you to save money over time so you can spend money on the things that mean the most to you.
It’s all a matter of knowing what changes will help you gain the most traction on your goals, be that paying off your car or simply figuring out how to adjust your budget for huge jumps in the cost of food and utilities.
As we end 2022, it’s the perfect time to talk about our list of 52 frugal habits. It’s time for fresh inspiration for each week of the upcoming year.
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To see us discuss all the tips in this post in detail and give more helpful information, watch this video.
1. Set Saving and Spending Goals
This can be done any time of the year, but January is traditionally a time for “new year resolutions“. But, don’t make ambivalent resolutions.
Define your goals concretely and specifically. Then, give yourself a timeline for getting them done.
2. Track Your Progress on Reaching Your Goals
If you track your progress on reaching goals, studies show you are far more likely to reach them. Having a printable graphic which you color in each week or month will allow you to visually see your progress and help you stay on track.
Grab our free set of goal trackers.
3. Check Your Credit Report for Free
Finding errors as quickly as possible will allow you to not only get them corrected, but also protect yourself against fraudulent activity from those using your personal information.
Generally, in the US, you are allowed to request one, free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.
However, during the pandemic, those rules were loosened. Through December of 2023, you can request your report as often as once a week at no cost. Be aware that excessive checking of your report may show up as a “red flag” if you are currently seeking a line of credit. So, be careful when choosing when often you check your reports.
A quick internet search will reveal a whole host of credit report websites. Sadly, many are fraudulent. There is only one official website through which to request your credit reports. Go go annualcreditreport.com.
4. Set Mini-Budget Goals Every Quarter
Set specific goals to lower spending in three to four budget areas every quarter. Then, write three to six action steps, which are specific habits you will use over the next three months to reach that goal.
At the end of ninety days, evaluate your progress.
- Did you reach your goal?
- Did you consistently follow the action steps that you wrote?
- Did you lower your spending?
- How hard was it to stay on track?
The final step is to decide if you will keep the same goals for the next quarter or create any new goals for the next ninety days. By repeating this process regularly, you will find that you make more progress on goals and you stick to your plan.
5. Switch to a Cheaper Cell Phone Plan
I spent four years paying way too much for my cell phone service. My plan was $45 a month. A few months ago, I switched to Mint Mobile.
Here are five reasons I love Mint.
I’m getting more bars with 5G reception – in more places than I ever have before .
2. Switching Was Super Easy
I used their digital eSIM card. Our son, Daniel, had Mint Mobile ship him a free physical SIM card. Yet, we both were able to activate our phones and get everything set up in less than ten minutes.
3. Free Mobile Hotspot
Hotspot lets me supply internet to my computer no matter where I am. After all, there are some days I just need some fresh air, and with hotspot, the local park can be my “office” and a picnic table my “desk”.
4. The Low Price
You, seriously, can’t beat the price.
Our family chose the $15 a month plan and are super happy with it. We feel like we have plenty of data for streaming, plus, unlimited talk and text. But, if you feel like you need more data, Mint has several plans you can choose from.
5. Bundling our Bills
With the Mint Modern Family Plan no one is juggling separate bills. We can bundle it all on the same bill.
Special Mint Mobile Offer
I, seriously, could not believe it when I heard that Mint was going to offer this amazing deal!
We have partnered with Mint and now through January 15, 2023, you’ll get three free months when you buy any three month plan with Mint. You can get all the details, here.
(NOTE: Posts on Under the Median contain affiliate links. When you click on a link and make a purchase we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. To read our policies, click here.)
6. Ditch cable
At an average cost of over $100 a month, cable television is a huge money pit.
Consider subscribing to one premium service at a time, switching to a new one every four months to get a new crop of programs and movies to watch.
Streaming services Netflix or Disney Plus are both very reasonable. Amazon Prime comes with extra perks like free, 2-day shipping. Additionally, students and SNAP, Medicaid, or other qualifying government assistance get a discount on Amazon‘s Access program with proof of eligibility.
If you’d prefer a no-cost option, there are many free alternatives. Check out TubiTV, or Pluto, which may contain commercials, but are both free to use. Of course, you can borrow movies from your local library, as well.
7. Read More Books
When it comes to reading, it turns out that there are a lot of great reasons to read more.
- The average millionaire reads 6 hours each week.
- Reading engages the brain and improves long-term and short-term memory.
- Reading increases your vocabulary and knowledge base.
- It relaxes you and helps you sleep better at night.
A lack of money is not a roadblock to reading good books.
Here’s a quick guide to finding free and low-cost reading.
- Your public library. (Don’t forget interloan library system).
- Overdrive is an app that connects with your local library.
- Volunteering to be a book reviewer can score you advance copies for free.
- Join a book rewards club and earn points just for reading and reviewing books. Collect points to redeem for free books and prizes.
- Used bookstores often feature a rack of free or very cheap titles. While you’re there, sell your books to used bookstore. Although they will sometimes offer cash, generally, they prefer to give you store credit which can be redeemed on future purchases.
- Ask friends to form a book exchange.
- Look for little free libraries. These often colorful, free-standing kiosks are filled with books. The general rule is to “take a book and leave a book.”
- Librivox allows you to read books on-line or download them to your book reader. They even have audio books.
- Project Gutenberg feature a huge array of classics and public domain books.
- If you have children in your family under the age of six, check out Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. They will send a new, free books to children until they reach their fifth birthday. There are no income requirements.
8. Create a List of Alternatives to Spending Money
We like to call this our “instead of” list. We post a handy reminder on the refrigerator of spending alternatives
For instance, if you are accustomed to grabbing a bite to eat at a restaurant and seeing a movie at the theater on Fridays, yo might add this to your list: “Instead of eating out, we will have homemade pizza and movie night on Friday evening”.
You will be amazed at how this simple list will help you stay on track and not overspend by eating out or going to the movies. As you come up with new ideas and money-saving strategies, add them to this list.
9. Do the “Ten Minute, Ten Percent Challenge”
This simple, quick exercise has saved us countless hundreds of dollars. It’s easy to do.
- Set a timer for ten minutes.
- Brainstorm ways that you can save money on each category of your budget.
- List them as you go.
- The goal is to reduce your spending by ten percent.
- When the timer goes off, implement the changes which you find most helpful.
10. Start a “Frugal Inspiration” List
Make a list of frugality tips and strategies that you would like to try. Put it on the fridge and keep a pen nearby. That way, whether you are listening to YouTube videos or reading an article on a money-saving website, you can quickly jot down ideas which appeal to you. This habit helps you avoid frustration days later, when you have forgotten what you heard.
Alternately, using a bulletin board or a blank piece of paper, create a display of inspirational quotes and photos of what frugality means to you. Add photos of your goals, like paying off your home or saving to buy a new car.
11. Eat out less often (or not at all)
The average American family of four spends $250 a month on eating out. That’s $3000 a year! Cutting back to visiting a restaurant once or twice a month will save you well over $1000 a year.
Check Out Our Videos for More Great Ideas
- 20 Easy Ways Frugal People Save Money Eating Out
- How to Beat Inflation with A Side Hustle
- How to Save Money on Soaring Electric Bills
- How to Keep Warm This Winter Without Raising the Thermostat
12. Learn a new hobby or skill
You can learn a lot without spending a penny. Try YouTube for “how to” videos. Coursera allows you to audit classes from world-class universities for free.
Udemy has a large range of paid classes. However, they also have a nice selection for free. I have paid for classes from Udemy. However, here’s a tip. If you’re interested in taking a class, they offer a discount to first time students and classes often go on sale at steep discounts. I watched a copywriting class, which dropped from over $200 to less than $30. When I signed up, I was able to apply the first time student discount coupon, dropping the cost even further.
13. Turn Your New Hobby into a Side Hustle
There are a lot of ways you can bring extra money into your home every month – and many side hustles don’t take a lot of time.
14. Ask About Sales and Discounts at Local Thrift Stores
Thrift stores commonly offer discounts to specific kinds of people. Educators, students, military personnel are examples. Remember, if you are over the age of 50, always ask about senior citizen days or a senior discount.
When shopping at thrift stores, you’ll also often find sales throughout the entire store. For instance, Fridays may be “half off day”, where a specific category of merchandise like: housewares, clothing, or seasonal decor will ring up at half price on that day only. Whenever you visit a store, ask if they have a flyer listing discounts for that month.
15. Make a List of Items You Need to Replace in the Next Year
When you have a list of items you need to replace over the next twelve months, it does three things:
- It reminds you to research makes, models, features, and discounts now, well in advance of needing to buy that item.
- It allows you do create a line on your budget to save money ahead of time for that replacement items.
- You’ll be well aware of the average cost. That way, if you find a great sale, you will will immediately be ready to negotiate the best deal .
16. Create an Account at Your Utility Company Website
With an on-line log-in, you can get a lot of information, which will help you lower your energy bills. Like:
- Monitor your personal, daily energy usage
- Get the estimated total of your upcoming bill
- Receive alerts from the utility company in the event of a power outage
- Set a “usage limit” which allows the utility company to send you a text if you go over your expected usage
17. Get Quotes on New Car and Home Insurance
Every six months, call around and get new quotes on insurance. While you have them on the phone, be sure to ask about any discounts you qualify to receive.
18. Switch to a Lower-Cost Internet Plan
When it comes to the internet, you may be paying a premium for services that you don’t really use. Be sure you know what is included with your plan and don’t be afraid to shop around or ask to switch to a lower-cost plan.
19. Turn Your Thermostat Up or Down
Statistically, you’ll save 1-3% for every degree you turn your heat down in winter and turn the air conditioning up in summer. We have tracked our savings and found it to be about two percent for every degree.
There are many ways that you can stay cool in summer and keep warm in winter without feeling like you need to balance sacrificing comfort or going broke. With the cost of heating and cooling going up, this savings is certainly worth considering adjusting your thermostat.
20. Wait 24-Hours Before Making a Major Purchase
Although salespeople may pressure you to make a snap decision, taking a day to think carefully about a purchase is not only a sound practice, it may also save you a lot of money. You may even find a better deal while you are waiting.
21. Create a Weekly Menu Plan
A weekly menu plan takes less than thirty minutes to create. When you plan meals around items which are on sale or you already had in the house, your monthly food bills will automatically drop. Plus, you’ll find yourself using the drive thru less, too.
22. Combine Errands and Optimize Gas Mileage
With the price of gas soaring, moving errands to one or two days a week makes good sense. Alternately, you might stop by stores on your way home from work, so that once you park the car in the drive, it stays there. Not only will you drop your gas bills, you’ll also save wear and tear on the car.
23. Don’t Pay Full Price
I love looking for ways to avoid paying full price. Before you buy, look for coupons. There are coupon sites which specialize in matching deals with available discounts and coupons to maximize your savings.
You might also consider money-saving apps and browser extensions. We like Honey and Rakuten. Honey will apply available coupons
24. Do a No-Spend Challenge.
When you deliberately decide to cut out all unnecessary spending for a period of time, you’ll get a quick influx of cash and change spending habits. It’s a double win!
25. Buy Generic or Store Brand Products
These products are often made with the same ingredients & facilities as name brand. For instance COSTCO’s brand of coffee uses Starbuck’s beans and Millville cereal from Aldi is milled by a name brand company at their facilities.
26. Stop Buying Bottled Water
A good quality re-fillable water bottle costs under $25. At that rate, it won’t take much time to earn back the amount you were previously spending on bottled water. Not to mention, you won’t be throwing plastic into landfills.
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27. Drink Water Instead of Soda
When it comes to beverages, it’s hard to beat the benefits of lots of plain water. Add lemon or lime juice if you need additional flavor in your water. You can get bottles of lemon or lime juice inexpensively at Dollar Tree or Big Lots.
28. Calculate the Cost of Monthly Subscriptions
To find the real cost of your monthly subscriptions, multiply by twelve. Often when you see the yearly cost in print, you’ll decide it isn’t worth the price you are paying.
29. Wash Your Own Car
Car washes are expensive, varying from $10 to over $100 for full service, depending on which services you pay for and how much of the washing and waxing you do yourself. Do your own waxing and detailing at home and you’ll save a lot of money. Plus, it doesn’t take as long as you would think to do a good job and get it done.
30. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Practicing thankfulness and being happy in simple pleasures will go a long way in helping you stop overspending in its tracks.
31. Use Your Local Library
Local libraries are paid for in property taxes. So, in a way, you’re already paying for their services. So, why not make use of them? You can borrow books and movies, take classes, join clubs, and more.
32. Grocery Shop Less Often
The more often you shop, on average the more you spend each month. So, staying out of the store will save you money.
33. Bulk Cook
Bulk cooking can seem overwhelming. So, if you can’t devote an entire day to this process, you can easily plan one, 4-hour session or even two, 2-hour cooking sessions each week. You’ll still save time in the kitchen and money on your food bills, without investing an entire day to cooking.
34. Get Rid of Extra Stuff
Two or three times a week, set a timer for 10 minutes and make a pile of items that you no longer need. Be sure to mark them to be discarded, donated, or sold. Then, be sure to follow through with your intentions.
We keep our proceeds from selling excess possessions in a special envelope and then apply it to a special goal or event. That helps us want to continue cleaning out and saving more money.
35. Automate Your Savings
You won’t spend money that you don’t see. Be sure to opt for electronic deposit of your paycheck and set up a system to pay yourself first each week. The money you pay yourself should be earmarked to go toward specific goals. That way, you won’t spend it and find yourself short on funds to pay for that next vacation or other event.
36. Make a List of Ways You Can Have Fun for Free
Google “free events in my area” and you’ll soon find a huge number of activities which you can attend for no cost. Make a list and then each week pick one of these free activities to do with others.
37. Cut Up Worn Out Clothing or Towels
It’s easy to create cleaning rags out of worn out clothing or towels. Keep these handy as an alternative to using paper towels.
38. Inventory Your Pantry and Freezer
Many of us head to the store each week without knowing what we already have a home. In the event of unexpected sickness or inclement weather which closes down roadways, it’s a good idea to have a fully stocked freezer and an organized pantry. Yet, that does little good if you don’t know what’s in it.
Make up-to-date inventory of food. Eating what you have on hand helps you save money on your grocery bills.
39. Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can mean savings of 15-35%. But, you always need to do the math first, to make sure buying a large quantity really is the best deal. Much of your savings will depend on where you are able to source your bulk goods. Also, take into consideration the size of your family. If food rots before you use it, it’s not a good deal.
40. Eat Meat Less Often
With the cost of meat soaring, it makes sense to use it sparingly or as flavoring in recipes. Add two or three meat-free evening meals to your weekly menu to help you save money. Being vegetarian or vegan is not only good for your health, it’s also healthy for your wallet.
42. Eat Leftovers
Leftovers are misunderstood. Seen by some as “boring”, they can actually become the creative base for a brand new meal. For instance, you can add leftovers to soup or roll them up in a tortilla. Of course, you could also take them for lunch or freeze them for later use.
43. Cook with Lower Wattage Appliances
The cost of electricity increased substantially in 2022. This left many wondering which kitchen appliances used the least energy. You can save time and money in the kitchen by centering your cooking on appliances which use less energy.
44. Lower the Temperature on Your Water Heater
The factory setting of water heaters is generally 140° (60° C). This is too hot, especially if you have young children in your home. By lowering the temperature to 120° (49° C) you’ll save 8-10% on your final bill.
45. Cut the Cost of Doing Laundry
Cutting the cost of doing laundry is very easy. Although not an exhaustive list begin by washing your clothes in cold water. Secondly, wash only full loads. Finally, line dry your clothing, rather than using and electric or gas dryer.
46. Ask for a Cash Discount and Negotiate Prices
Don’t be afraid to ask if a merchant will give you a discount for paying in cash, especially if your purchase is a large one. The worst they can say is, “No”, but they might just say, “Yes”.
47. Ask About Price Matching
Look up price matching policies for any chain store on-line, before shopping in person. It’s a little more difficult to obtain a price match from smaller merchants. However, it pays to ask if the price tag represents their best price. Bring along any competitor ads or have the competitor price ready to bring up on your phone.
48. Cut Out Expensive Habits
We all know smoking and drinking are expensive, but so are eating out and home delivered meal kits. Take time to evaluate your habits and decide if they are worth the price you are paying. It’s a sure fire way to stop wasting money.
49. Avoid Situations and Places which Trigger You to Overspend
It’s healthy to set limits and boundaries around your time and money. That may mean saying, “No” to certain social situations or events. However, rather than declining every invitation, carefully choose how many and which ones you will accept each month.
50. Calculate Your Net Worth
This number compares your assets (what you own) to your debts (what you owe). I calculate our net worth each year in January. You’ll find it a handy and quick method to see if you are making progress on reaching our goals or paying off debt.
51. Calculate the Cost of Owning and Using an Item Over Time
Sometimes buying cheapest isn’t the most frugal choice. A quality-made product will last longer and often comes with a better warranty than less expensive versions. Also, take into consideration the cost of maintenance and replacement parts. If these are proprietary, that means that you’ll always need to go back to the manufacturer for new parts – and pay whatever price they are charging.
52. Trade, Borrow, or Barter for What You Need
Make a list of skills you have or items you own which can be bartered.
Get a Printable PDF eBook of This Post
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4 thoughts on “52 Easy Weekly Frugal Habits for 2023”
What a great resource!
This goes on my Frugal Pinterest Board 🙂
Lynn, I’m so glad you found it helpful! Thanks for sharing it to Pinterest.
I love tip number 7. We make use of our library. Our library offers Hoopla. We get to choose 15 free titles a month from videos, ebooks, and audiobooks. We also use Bookbub for free and low cost ebooks. If we want an actual copy of a book we use paperbackswap, an online book trading site.
Hi, Missy. We’ve used Hoopla, too, It’s amazing to me how much our library offers. I was unaware of paperbackswap. I’ll have to check it out. Our favorite local used bookstore always has a big display of books out for free. It’s so much fun to stop by and check out the freebies when we’re in the neighborhood.