Ask the Readers: Favorite Frugal Tip?

A tongue twister to start off my Saturday post, try saying favorite frugal tip 10 times fast.  So, my question this Saturday is what is your favorite frugal tip?  How do you save money day in and day out?

I've written about a bunch of my favorite tips such as:

I'm interested in hearing the little things that you do to save money. 

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FT is the founder and editor of Million Dollar Journey (est. 2006). Through various financial strategies outlined on this site, he grew his net worth from $200,000 in 2006 to $1,000,000 by 2014. You can read more about him here.
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11 years ago

All these tips are really good but I think there’s a fine line between being frugal and wasting a lot of time and energy (time IS money, right?) making spreadsheets and scanning coupon pages. I wouldn’t stress out about Walmart food prices and coupons (usually for unhealthy food, I notice). Consider the nutrtional value of Walmart stock and compare your savings to your medical expenses later in life when you’ve ruined your health to save a few bucks. Skimp on cable, lattes, or designer clothing not food.

So Fresh So Clean
12 years ago

Go to the dollar store and memorize everything they offer. Do this every 6 months.

Case in Point: I usually spend $2.95 on padded mail envelopes at the post office. The dollar store sells three of these for… one dollar. Since I use four of these every year, that saves me about $10.

12 years ago

We love PC Financial too, switched to them 3 years ago; used to bank with CIBC (hated having to keep $2,000 in the chequing account to eliminate fees), so in a way we’re still with them, albeit without branch services! I hardly go into a branch anyway.

Pay for my home and auto insurance premiums with the PC Mastercard (so even more points, but ALWAYS pay balance in full each month); no extra admin fee by the insurance co. Use their PC bags for groceries, so extra 50 points each bag. The points really add up quickly when you use those bags, leading to more free groceries!

And yes, brown bagging lunch.

Our daughter wears mostly hand-me-downs, we’re lucky to have a friend with a few daughters! Some of the clothes we get are even brand new ones with tags on (too many gifts i guess!). For our son, I try to buy at the end of the season or buy used clothing.

For bigger ticket items, we think long-term, and tend to buy stuff of better quality, no point buying cheaper stuff that break down 6 months later.

12 years ago

I agree with the previous poster who said PC Financial.

10 years of NO FEES and lots of free groceries.

Then when we converted our home and auto insurance to PC, we saved over $315 a year!

I sound like a commercial but over 10 years that’s $1550 saves on bank fees. (We were paying $12.95 a month for unlimited checking at CIBC.) and $1890 saving so far on our insurance (switched 6 years ago) for a total of $3440 in savings with NO lifestyle change. That and we’ve cashed in over $900 in free groceries so far! We love PC banking.

13 years ago

I like best the brown bag your lunch. By this you know what you eat and save while watching your health.

13 years ago

Great reading and tips.
My wife and I have worked hard to reduce costs over the past three years. Like many tips already mentioned here’s what we’ve done:
1) Sold one car and drive a small fuel efficient car – Yaris.
2) Shop at costco and safeway on 1st Tuesday of the month.
3) Cook volumes and brown bag and freeze.
4) Morning coffee at home.
5) Eat many small meals throughout the day so when we do eat out, we often share one order.
6) Eliminated cable TV – a waste of cash and time IMO
7) Use the library or amazon all the time
8) Use Thrift stores and hand me downs
9) Spartan household: we didn’t have much stuff to begin with but over time we kept asking ourselves what things we really needed and wanted and found ourselves getting rid of tons of stuff. We don’t shop for stuff unless we feel we need it.
10) Patio veggie garden in the summer.
11) Cloth diapers for the little one.
12) Keep track of ALL expenses.
13) Small ‘home’ with small mortgage and utilities.
14) Lights out, down with brown – mellow with yellow.
15) Water and vinegar for cleaning products.
16) Cold wash cycle and hang dry.
17) Bought a home gym and eliminated drive to gym and membership costs (plus waiting for weights and machines!)
18) Air miles.
19) Short or shared shower, not bath.
20) We don’t celebrate Christmas in the mass consumer way most people do.
21) Never buy bottled water – use filters and our own kanteens.


13 years ago

I would brown bag my lunch too. I am very thankful that my current job is very very close to my current residence so I could eat at home for lunch. I would also eat out as little as possible.
Never go grocery shopping hungry. Always shop with a list in order to minimize the amount of impulse purchases.
Never buy the latest tech gadgets. If you want to be “cool” then you are asking for it :-)

14 years ago

Realize that many people shop for fun. They don’t wear the clothes that they buy as much as you might think. We go to a large goodwill store that has long racks of clothes for men, women and children, organized according to colour. I have seen leather jackets, good quality suits and shirts, wedding gowns, special dresses that had been worn to weddings and clothing for children and babies that had hardly been worn. A few items still have price tags on them. Puzzles and games are only 99c, you just have to check to see that all the pieces are there. Now that retro is in, teenagers have been going to thrift shops to put together a look.

When my girls were young I shopped at garage sales for clothing, books, toys and equipment. We were both students and were relieved to get clothes for $1 or less per outfit. You have to be careful,particularly with things like cribs because safety standards change. Those were the things we bought new.

As for eating less meat, I am well-read on the topic of nutrition and make sure we have plenty of quality protein. Zinc and B-12 are more of an issue when you cut out meat entirely, which we haven’t done. For many people, eating less meat would be a positive change. We know many healthy vegetarians; however,there are things to know before making a switch in that direction.

We are also taking advantage of inexpensive produce right now, both from the store and also from the garden. We have a community garden plot at a local church and it is amazing how much you can grow in just a small plot. I save by growing most of my vegetables from seed.

Rod Payne
14 years ago

Let’s not forget yard sales, either. I’m picky, but I have found some nice items there. Earlier this summer, I found 4 large Xmas themed mugs like you’d see in fancy coffee stores. I think they’re 14 ounce size. 5 cents each, unused. We also picked up some French Onion soup dishes – I think 4 for $2.00. The list goes on……

However, the greatest of all is freecycle. If you don’t know what it is, look it up and join. In summary, it is an online community devoted to reducing the amount of “stuff” that goes to the landfill. Alternatively, it’s a free online flea market. I replaced an old window in my house earlier this year. The old window was highly unlikely to make it to someone else’s house, even though it was unhurt. I refused to pay our local advertising rates for a classified ad to sell it, so I listed it on freecycle. A guy who was building a shed called, came and took it. Everyone wins.