40+ Daily Frugal Living Tips


One of the ways we've accomplished our goal of working on our homestead full-time was to reduce our spending.  Significantly.  Part of making that happen has been to implement many frugal strategies.  

I was not brought up in a frugal household.  It was actually completely opposite of frugal.  Once I was on my own, I read about other's frugal habits and thought many of them were great ideas.  Taking the initiative to implement them and make them a habit of my own, however, proved to be more of a challenge than I'd anticipated.  I would say the problem was two-fold: 1. I didn't really understand my "why" and 2. I feared deprivation.

Once I wrapped my head around the fact that deprivation was not in any way a part of frugality and figured out my why (i.e. no debt, no longer living paycheck to paycheck, spending more on what we enjoyed rather than monthly bills, etc.) I began my journey.  It was years after I first explored frugality that I finally began to develop some of the strategies into habits out of necessity.  Once I was able to make it a part of my life, I was so disappointed that I hadn't made it a priority earlier!  Because I had been learning about living more consciously, it only made sense to learn about spending more consciously and being a good steward of what we had.  

When we made the jump into self-employment 4 years ago and decided to keep it a small homestead business, it was time to revisit our frugal ways and see where we could improve.  And since we anticipate this winter to be even leaner than winters in the past for our business, we are working at tightening our frugal belts just a bit more.

While you won't find any new or earth-shattering ideas here, I hope this list is helpful.  We still have plenty of room for improvement and I enjoy reading about others frugal ways to provide ideas and inspiration.  Because of this, I thought I would share some of ours in case any of you find it helpful as well.  

I would also love to hear from you, what types of daily frugal things do you do?

Some of our daily frugal strategies:

  •  I use dryer balls on the rare occasion that I use the dryer.  I also put a small dry towel in the dryer with the wet laundry.  These two things help reduce the time it takes to dry.
  •  I use white vinegar in the laundry for a fabric softener
  •  I hang our laundry to dry - outside when possible and inside on the days/months it's not possible
  •  I use less laundry detergent then is suggested (sometimes I use homemade and sometimes store-bought laundry detergent) and always add water when the container is "empty", shake it, and get more uses out of it
  • I wash our laundry in cold water

  •  we rarely eat out or get take-out - almost everything is made from scratch at home
  •  I keep a broth bag in the freezer - it's a freezer bag that I toss veggie ends and peels in.  Once it's fairly full I can boil it to make broth
  •  I water down dish soap
  •  we try to eat up all of our leftovers in some fashion (either re-purposed or just reheat) - anything we miss goes to the chickens or the compost
  •  I try to always zest all citrus (and then use in cooking) before disposing of the peels
  •  I save the bones from any meat purchased on the bones and use it to make stock
  •  we have a filter on our water so that we never have to purchase drinking water
  •  if we aren't able to eat fruit before it goes bad, into the freezer it goes and will be turned into a smoothie, crisp, muffin, or something else delicious
  •  I try to save my tea bags to use a second time - some work better than others
  •  I make my own cleaning products
  •  I wash out freezer bags, provided they were not used for raw meat, and reuse as many times as possible
  •  I save used aluminum foil for reuse (wiped down if needed)
  •  I sauté/cook all of my meals with water or veggie broth and not oil/butter and I use stock or broth for many of Jay's meals as well
  • we keep a fair amount of food in our pantries, and I rotate it frequently to avoid anything going bad - I also write with a sharpie on the front of jars/cans the expiration or best by date so I can see it easily
  • since switching to grocery shopping every 2 weeks, I've found I can reduce the monthly costs a bit more - as they say, the less times you visit the store the better off your wallet is!  This also challenges me to make do with what we have even more.
  • I've worked at finding the best ways to store fresh fruit and veg for keeping them longer.  It takes just a little effort after harvest or grocery shopping and is very much worth it!
  • I meal plan our dinners - saves time and money
  • I keep a freezer inventory for our 3 stand-alone freezers
  • speaking of freezers, I think organization is the key in making them work.  Not only inventory lists but bins/crates as well.  In our 1 upright freezer I use wire baskets on the shelves to hold like items (dairy, fruit, etc.) and in our 2 chest freezers I use old plastic milk crates (my husband found them) to store like items (poultry, beef, pork, greens, squash/corn, etc.).  Each holds 4 (2 bottom and 2 top) and are easy to remove allowing for me to find the food I'm looking for quickly.
  • I keep a stack of cloths in the kitchen to use instead of paper towels.  We have to use paper towels for our business, so I try hard to limit their usage the rest of the time.

  • I make foaming hand soap using a recycled container, 1/4 container of liquid castile soap, a few drops of essential oil, and fill the rest with water
  • we make our own deodorant, shampoo bars, soap, salves, tinctures, facial products, lotion, balms, etc.
  • I let my gray hair grow out in 2019-2020, so no more paying for hair dye
  • I learned to cut my hair when we were in the 2020 lockdown, and I continue to do so
  • although my husband pays for his hair to be cut, I trim and maintain his beard and mustache for him

  • we close the curtains in the summer before the sun heats the house up
  • we open the windows and doors on (non-humid) summer mornings to bring the cool air in and then close them before the heat of the day begins
  • we try to combine our errands when using our vehicles
  • we keep our vehicles in good working condition - regular oil changes, etc. and keep them for as long as is possible (so far both current vehicles are 12 years old!)
  • we keep lights off in rooms we aren't in
  • we keep the thermostat low but comfortable (I am always colder than my husband, so I wear a thermal under my shirts throughout winter)
  • old clothing, towels, sheets, etc. becomes rags, plant ties, fabric for sewing projects, etc.  We do donate some as well.

  • we use rain barrels to catch rainwater.  Although we can't fulfill all of our watering needs with it, it sure helps.
  • we used to get our soil/compost for our raised beds free from our town.  I will not be doing that after this year because we had issues with the veggie plants in any beds where I used the free stuff to top dress.
  • we feed our ongoing compost piles any veggie scraps (after being boiled for broth), plant trimmings, garden harvest that have gone bad, leaves, grass clippings, etc.
  • my husband is great at saving random things to be given a new life later on.  I am not so good at this as I dislike clutter, but I'm getting better.  He's also amazing at remembering what he's saved and where it's at, which is critical to making this strategy work.
  • I grow as many veggies & herbs as I can for fresh eating and preserving.  I'm working at adding more fruit.
  • I save seeds although I need to improve on this

All of the little things add up!


  1. Lots of great ideas, and it sounds much like what I do. My vehicle is also 12 years old, and I plan to drive it as long as it's reliable. I was doing good sauteing with water or broth this summer, but it seems since it's gotten cooler, I've gone back to using more fats. You've inspired me to work on that. I've not made foaming hand soap, but do use a soap scrap and water blend at the sink in the bathroom. Our freezers regularly frustrate me, as over time, the organization goes by the wayside. I'll have to ponder what I can do to change that. There are baskets for some of it, but not all, and everything seems to get piled in, especially by my husband. I aspire for mine to be more like yours.

  2. Thanks so much Laurie! We are committed to driving our vehicles as long as possible too. Ah yes, the freezers....keeping them organized and inventoried really is key, isn't it? My husband never adds to or checks off the lists either so I have to re-inventory about twice a year. He does put stuff where it belongs though, so that's helpful! 😁

  3. My first "budget system" I was introduced to over 20 years ago and it completely changed the way I managed money, saved for new couches, car etc. I've always loved working out my pay distribution weeks, months in advance. I had the money thing sorted and a fantastic system. Fast forward some years and I came across Rhonda from Down to Earth and then gardening, chickens [and the influence of my parents in law's veggie garden] had me wanting more. We got 3 chickens and two small garden beds and started growing veggies. Some years later I got onto the home made cleaning products and I haven't bought washing powder for my laundry in over 10 years, I made my own really cheaply. I love cooking and make meals from scratch and baking etc. I was in the habit of buying some packet mixes for my home made meals [like devilled sausages or meals like that] then in 2019 I came across the sisters from Additive Free Lifestyle and those packet mixes went. I think over the years you learn and refine and grow into a lifestyle. I would however have loved to find Additive Free Lifestyle years earlier than I did and finding Rhonda at a time when I needed something to focus on in my life with the end of a toxic marriage. Little things gave me joy and the first ever tomato bush I grew was incredible and I used to take the kindy teachers fresh tomatoes in brown paper bags and they loved them. I no longer have chickens but loved having them for over 10 years.

  4. Kathy - I LOVE that you said "over the years you learn and refine and grow into a lifestyle. That's so true! Oh, I loved my first tomato bush as well. It was such a delicious experiment. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful overview!

  5. Thanks so much Staci for sharing your tips...and oh my, I have a truck that's 22 years old, ha, it keeps running (minus the air conditioning) so we hold on to them as long as we can. And, eyes rolling, much to the chagrin of some neighbors who drive new, fancier cars. Sigh...

    I'm going to spend Sunday afternoon re-reading this and taking notes from your blog...I feel, unsettled, maybe that's a good word for it. Prices are so high on everything...I can't imagine how to work for myself and make it successful. Hubby lost his IT job in January, and has a contract job now, but it's not permanent, he's more relaxed about it than I am...my gray hairs are multiplying! That's why I'm hoping the cottage foods baking from home will be somewhat successful. Again, I'll re-read, but have you posted on how you made your business successful? I'm sure you have...again, Sunday afternoon I'll be sitting with pen & paper setting goals! Hugs, Mary.

    1. Thanks so much Mary! I'm sorry to hear about your husband's job loss. I certainly know a thing or two about gray hair from worrying....🙄 Happy to hear he has something that makes him feel a little bit secure anyway.

      Regarding our business, I did write this post: https://www.lifeatcobblehillfarm.com/2020/03/how-we-ditched-living-in-city-moved-to.html
      and it's a long one, so grab a cup of coffee or tea first. lol I am working on 2 posts based on the many questions we are asked: 1. How we started our bootstrapped business and 2. Tips for selling at farmer's markets and craft shows. I've written about the latter, but I have some ideas for an updated version.

      I hope the cottage foods does well for you! In the beginning if you request feedback, it will help you develop your line and eventually, you'll find your groove. With the feedback, I find it helps to have prompts to the questions so it's more specific. You know what they say, ask a general question, get a general answer!

      Hugs to you as well. Hope you're having a wonderful weekend!

  6. I grinned when you said you started cutting your own hair in 2020. I did as well and let myself go gray. I love that you have three freezers. Even though i cleaned mine out and reorganized my one freezer and the two freezer compartments of the fridges, I am now full and am going to be looking for any nook or cranny for my peppers. We had a much longer growing season than usual and the pepper harvest was abundant. I jokingly talked of getting another freezer. We make Costco runs infrequently so a freezer is so handy. I need room for homemade stock etc. Loved seeing your list.

    1. Thank you so much! Isn't cutting your own hair soooo handy? I thin mine myself too. And hooray for the gray! No more worrying about roots showing. 😄

      We've had our stand freezer for probably 15 years. We added a chest freezer when we started growing so much fruit and veggies and then the 2nd chest freezer when we decided it made sense to purchase meat in bulk for my husband. So now 1 freezer is all veg, 1 freezer is all meat, and the stand-up is fruit, veg, dairy, broth/stock, and an assortment of other things. It's hard to believe but they are all packed FULL right now! We feel blessed for that.

    2. So many of the points you raise are followed by us as well. Seems that great minds think alike, and all that. As my 19-year old orange Honda Element is my dream car, she will be the last car I drive. Hubbs has a green Element that is 20 years old. He is able to fix most things on them, so that helps.

      I need to start making my own veggie stock, as I can't find one at the store that doesn't contain tomatoes, and I never thought that even after I've made my broth, I can still feed the scraps to the worms. Yes, we have a worm bin that gives us castings for the garden.

      I make our own cleaners as well and purchase soap, lotion and lip balm from local farmers where we also get some of our organic produce. It feels good to support a local farm that is doing things well.

      The part-time work that I do pays for all of the chook needs, as well as the garden seeds, amendments and tools I might need. Nice to have that extra cushion.

      We scratch cook most everything, and eat better for it.
      There are SO many ways to be frugal and not feel deprived. Thrifty is not a four-letter word! ;0D

    3. Daisy - what a great idea to feed the veggie stock leftovers to the worms! I need to start a worm bin. I forget all about it until you mention it.

      Don't you love shopping at the farmers markets? It's so nice to be able to meet the people who make/grow/raise what you're purchasing.

      I completely agree that there are so many ways to be frugal and not feel deprived. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to figure that one out!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!

  7. I did not mean for my previous comment to be anonymous. My husband says no to a chest freezer, only stand ups. He says you can’t see things in a chest. I told him I could not see things in my stand up. Lol. Also, I have fallen in love with Souper Cubes. I have some recipes like a Rick Bayless Mexican Rice recipe that uses one cup of stock. If I was not careful the rest of the stock from a can or box went to waste which I hate. Now I have the one cup cubes that are perfectly suited to this recipe plus others that only call for small amounts of stock. This week I need to get out my Instant Pot and make some more of that stock.

    1. Hi Josephine - I previously was in agreement with your husband about the chest freezers. And then we got one....It's all about the organization with either type of freezers because you are soooo right - if it's not organized you won't find a thing.

      And YES to souper cubes!!! I use them all of the time and LOVE THEM!! 😊


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