The Frugal Top 20 Tips!

Some time ago now I prevailed upon you all to send in your top thrifty and moneysaving tips and declared that I would compile a list of the best, which I have neglected to do until now. So I am about to put this right. Below you will find our very own Frugal Top 20!


1. Learn how to cook and stop wasting money on ready meals or takeaways! There are lots of good old fashioned recipe books which show you how to cook cheap stews and cheap cuts of meat, for example.

2. Plan your meals so no food goes wasted. Buy everything at the start of the week so you aren’t tempted to buy more from the supermarket.

3. Use up leftovers by taking them to work for lunch instead of buying sandwiches. And if you cook a chicken make sure you use everything. Have the leftovers cold the next day with a salad and boil up the carcass for soup or stock.

4. Which brings me onto the next tip. Invest in a big freezer! This will help you store any leftovers you don’t finish or veg from the garden. Graham suggests buying meat and veg in outdoor markets where the overheads aren’t as high, buying the meat in bulk and then freezing it in portions. Make lots of fresh soups and casseroles too and freeze them to make your own healthy ready meals.

5. Invest in a pressure cooker, says Therese, a single mum who works hard but still manages to eat healthily. She says they are ideal for cooking cheap cuts of meat and delicious stews and soups.

6. A little salt in a carton of milk helps to keep it fresher longer.

7. Fancy a night out? Get your friends to invite you round for dinner instead of going out for a meal.


8. Don’t throw items away that have a hole or are broken. Mend them! Unless they’re electrical items when it’s probably best to recycle them. Don’t endanger yourself.

9. The same goes for old junk cluttering up your home, says Kim. See if you can sell it on Amazon, Ebay or at a car boot sale. Not only will it claw you back a few quid, but you’ll keep it out of landfill. Ensure Ebay listings end on a Sunday or Monday night at 8-11pm because more people are online then. But beware of items getting lost in the post, and some sellers have complained of buyers messing them around.

10. Use Freecycle too, to source furniture or other items you need.

11. Consider getting a Skype or internet phone to save money on your phone bill.

12. Don’t waste money on expensive shower gels – soap is just as effective and cheaper!

13. If you’re spring cleaning, don’t buy pricey chemical cleaners. Use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, available in bulk containers from Boots. One reader swears by using washing up liquid and water to clean everything including windows. Toothpaste is good for cleaning the fridge, according to DarkRose. And if you need to freshen your carpet, sprinkle some talcum powder on it before you vacuum.

14. Fragrance your home using tumble dryer sheets from pound shops by placing them on top of radiators, says Tia.

15. Petrol is expensive now so don’t waste it. When you fill up, shake the hose when you finish. It’s only an eggcup’s worth but it all adds up!

16. Adopt frugal driving techniques like braking gradually and turning off the air conditioning to save on fuel too. Downsize to a more fuel-efficient car or sell it altogether and get on your bike! You’ll save a fortune and get fit.

17. Got a fancy do to go to but wardrobe looking tired? Instead of buying a new outfit, buy a party dress from a charity shop or borrow from a friend the same clothes size. Mix and match cheap accessories or borrow them too for a glamorous look. Ladies, the classic little black dress is ideal for this.

18. If you’re a frugal gardener, collect the seeds from your plants each year and replant them. And swap seeds or produce if you’re a vegetable grower with friends or other gardeners for variety.


19. Get back to basics, suggests Madeleine. Think about what life is all about. Is it really about spending lots of money to feel good? Or is it about enjoying good times with your friends, family and pets? Decide what you want out of it all.

20. Don’t get depressed if the small changes you’re making feel like small beer in the short term. Write them all down, says Dave, and when you tot up all the savings they’ll quickly add up and you can congratulate yourself on a frugal job well done!

Got any more frugal tips? Have I missed anything out? Leave a comment and let me know.


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31 Responses to The Frugal Top 20 Tips!

  1. Christine says:

    Two things:1. Set up a system to run a budget. It might be a red book and a calculator like two people I know, it might be an Excel spreadsheet like me. I learned from doing accounts manually to put the money in the bank in the balance column at the start of each month, to add payments as they came in, standing orders and direct debits on due dates and bills as they were paid and to keep a running tally of how much was in the bank. It can be a bit painful to do for the first month, but five minutes every day and after three months it will be force of habit. Keep all the receipts and try not to use a credit card. You will feel lots better when you know what is going on.2. Go round with people who are not high spenders and who have no more spare cash than you.

  2. sharron says:

    if you have children and have to take them to the shops and places you spend cash … learn to say NO
    they are fond of spending it but they dont earn it !
    1 weekly treat of a small pack of sweets or 1 comic or a bag of popcorn with a dvd on a saturday morning is plenty for my bunch , they were taught from the first steps they took that no means no and 1 treat is all you get, now the oldest aged 14 quite agrees with the 1 treat rule and i dont hear .. " mommy may we have?" at the tills from any of them …( ages 14 / 6 / 1 )

  3. rik says:

    I think Madeleine\’s right, (no.19), to me this is the most important tip of all. Money isn\’t everything and never will be, people just need to realise it.

  4. David says:

    Great ideas but cooking from fresh, which we do as often as possible. means using a cooker / oven a lot of the time which is very expensive due to escalating electric charges, microwaving is suitable for some but not all.

  5. Paul says:

    When I was child I desperately wanted one of the new transistor radios. My father said that if I saved up half of the money he would let me have the other half. I earned the half by paper rounds and leaflet delivering. I eventually saved enough and dad true to his word gave me the other half. I still have the radio because it taught me to realsie the value of things. Many parent just but children things when they ask for them and the child learns nothing from that.They certainly do not learn the value of money

  6. Jennifer says:

    I always turn plastic containers e.g. washing up liquid, shampoo etc. upside down when almost empty.  Also cut the end off tubes containing handcream etc.  It\’s amazing how much extra you can get from this simple act. 

  7. andrew says:

    seems obvious, but not in the list is to car share your journey to/from work. only needs a bit of flexability in times and can be organized from say an add in the local shop window. half your fuel bill!

  8. Jayne says:

    A really cheap and healthy idea for a fruit drink is to make up different batches of herbal tea ie blackcurrant or raspberrywhen brewed and cooled add sparkling water or lemonade and it is a really refreshing drink that is also low in additivesto, you could even use green teas in this method ie with peppermint and just add ice, enjoy

  9. alan says:

    try dialling 0800 before making any phone calls

  10. Unknown says:

    A pressure cooker is great, but a slow cooker is a must especially for casseroles with cheap cuts of meat and also for the joints (SAVES A FORTUNE COMPARED WITH ROASTING CONVENTIONALLY)

  11. mark says:

     instead off going abroad for a holiday consider camping in this country , i know its wet but
    it can be fun , and your helping the english countryside

  12. Shirley says:

    When cooking use a set of steamer pans so you only use one rig to cook on not three Plus you get healther steamed veg.

  13. Amy says:

    Well, reading all these comments has made me feel really depressed.Was just thinking last night, is this all life has to offer?!?The cost of living has got so bad in this country we are having to resort to THIS.This isn\’t living it\’s existing.

  14. Inky says:

    Amy – My thoughts exactly How bleak if life has come to this……………
    Seems it\’s always back to the working class that have to learn to cut back , made to worry about the effects on environment if they dare to travel , feel guilty if they don\’t put in the recycle bin their ketchup bottle . I doubt david & victoria beckham or any of the other  extravagant overpaid rich, will be reading this frugal tips on blog…. How sad it all is

  15. lisa says:

    all this is well and good advice but with the price of everything going up all the time, we recycle everyday my kids do know the value of money, also we replace material stuff only when it is beyond economical repair. we no longer shop at Morrisons we shop at lidl,  now so we spend half as mutch money. we don,t drink don,t smoke don,t go out to pubs only make necessary car journeys. only buy things we need eg food clothing, etc so what do you suggest i do go back and live in the stone age lol   

  16. Local says:

    I agree with Amy, this year I have gone from £50k to £0 as my job has gone to Poland, I like to enjoy life not exist it.

  17. debra says:

    get a penny pot where at the end of the week you put all of your spare change……soon adds up
    even if youve got a really small plot of land try growng your own veggies etc
    i avoid the larger supermarkets and use smaller shops for different products,check out your local market, or farm stores.
    Charity shops are great for clothing and you can always alter or customise items,vintage clothing is really fashionable now

  18. Dave Butler says:

    Learn to do basic DIY & car maintenance: labour costs usually dwarf the costs of materials. For example, replacing a broken (and therefore not warranted) sealed double glazing unit: sealed unit £45 and a fairly easy removal and replacement of glazing beads. DIY cost, therefore: £45. If the same unit was fitted by the window supplier, the quote was £135.

  19. Kerri says:

    When doing your supermarket shop, don\’t be a slave to brands. Think about what you are going to use the item for and try \’downbranding\’ by one level, so for instance if you always buy Heinz beans, try a tin of supermarket own label instead. Chances are you won\’t be able to tell the difference, except for the amount of change left over! Don\’t get me wrong, I don\’t mean buy everything from the basic/value range as this can be false economy but spend your money wisely. Its always worth buying good cuts of meat or fish as the very basic brands tend to have a lot of water added, but its well worth spending a bit of time to compare ingredients – for example I always buy the basic/value tinned tomatoes, comparing the ingredients with the more expensive brands, guess what, they both contain… yes, chopped tomatoes and water! I have also noticed that some of the  lower priced ranges have less salt/suger/additives and floavourings added. Yes, this does mean they might have less taste than the higher priced brand you are used to but you can add your own flavourings, that way at least you know what you are putting in. Also, are you a slave to BOGOF offers but tend to throw the free one away? Why not split these with a friend/neighbour? That way you only have what you need and you have halved the price. I did this with some strawberries recently, I would never have eaten two punnets before the second went off so my friend had one and we split the cost. Happy shopping!

  20. Deborah says:

    Yep, this is depressing me too.  I\’ve been left in a load of debt thanks to a lousy ex running off and dumping me with my house, bills etc.  It seems like all I ever do is work, pay bills and worry about how I\’m going to afford to buy food for the coming week.  Nights in or out are a thing in the long-distant past.  All the frugal tips in the world don\’t help if, after all the important stuff like rent and bills are covered, nothing is left over.  Cost of living has to come down otherwise more and more people are going to find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water.
    This is definitely not a life for me; it\’s a pretty miserable existence 😦

  21. piper says:

    Hey there – please don\’t feel depressed!  Saving cash can be quite liberating and enjoyable when you realise you don\’t need to shop aimlessly for clothes etc. at the weekends for something to do, and then get depressed because you\’ve spent money you don\’t have.
    You can take pleasure in saving the money up for something special.
    Although in your case Anon it sounds like a necessity rather than a choice. Sorry to hear about your ex. What a nightmare. Can\’t you pursue him to get the money back? Or is it too difficult and expensive to do so?

  22. Kerri says:

    It certainly isn\’t fun when you are left wondering whethe you can buy food for the week. Anon, is there anything you can do about the debts and expenses you have been left with? There are a lot of organisations that can offer advise, don\’t feel you are alone. You may have to make some difficult decisions in the short term but they will be worth it to get your finances, and ultimatly your standard of living back on the right track.
    On a slightly more general track, Piper, I totally agree with you, saving cash can be enjoyable. I work right in the town centre and spent many a lunch hour looking through the same old shops buying stuff I didn\’t really need. Now I have taken up sports 3 out of 5 lunctimes, and also in the evening. some activites are free and others are £2 – £3 a go. Although this does add up, I\’m not ready to commit to a full on gym membership yet. Although this means I am still spending in the week, its far less than what it used to be plus i am getting fit. £5-£10 a week to improve my health instead of £15-£20 on a top or something else i don\’t need seems worth it for me.

  23. Lisa says:

    When shopping or out on the town, take the minimum amount of cash and leave your bank cards at home, at least you won\’t be tempted to use the plastic or visit the ATM.

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  25. rik says:

    mmm…Do you think the comment below might just, possibly, be a bit of an advert? Lol. Never mind, the link didn\’t work anyway!

  26. Swann says:

    If you like to go out for a drink and socialise consider joining a community association if there is one in your neighbourhood. The prices of drinks are very much cheaper than in a bar or pub, you get to meet your neighbours and there are clubs that you can join, ranging from photography to dancing at no extra cost. If you live nearby there will be no travelling costs either.
    The membership fees of the club near us is £12 year.

  27. piper says:

    That\’s a good idea about the social club. Unfortunately our local one shut down before we had a chance to try it out.
    Apologies for this annoying spam I keep getting. Takes me ages to delete it all!

  28. Kerri says:

    when buying toiletries or other \’essential\’ but non-perisable items – try to take advantage of the BOGOF offers or 2 for £x on items you normally buy, then you have some in stock. Of course, there is no need to spend a fortune buying a shelf full of shower gel that you don\’t use/need, be sensible and strike a balance.

  29. Julie says:

    I have just installed a washing line in the Entry – I\’m fed up of using the tumble dryer in JULY or trying to dodge the showers at the weekend or having loads of wet washing hanging round the house, this way it doesn\’t matter if its raining, it only cost £2.50 for the line, a cleat and a couple of sturdy hooks.

  30. Kerri says:

    I have just re-discovered the fruit and veg stall at my local market (which is actually right outside Tesco\’s) A few weeks ago I bought a peach and a nectarine for 49p each in the said Tesco\’s (deciding that I was throwing too much fruit away and I\’d stick to what I needed to buy). The next day the peach had already gone off. Grrr.
    Anyway, I popeed over to the market stall for some Cherries the following week – which is usually the only thing I buy from there, to find them selling 5 x nectarines for £1 or 10 x peaches for £2 (I guess they\’d have sold me 5 peaches for £1 as well) and the quality was 110 times better than Tesco\’s.
    Basically, my market stally was 50% cheaper for fruit and veg than tescos\’ with tons more selection too.

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