Everyday Money Saving Tips for Frugal Living

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Personal Finance Tips and Tricks

tips for frugal living

Growing up in central NJ, I was the second of 4 children. My father was a high school chemistry teacher and had to take on after school jobs to increase his income. My stay-at-home mother was thrifty and always managed to stretch a dollar in our household to make ends meet. Many of her values are instilled in me but the most important is Never Pay Full Price. Her values were the inspiration behind this post focused on money saving tips for frugal living.

 As an example, my mom analyzed the shopping circulars, clipping coupons and noting sales at local supermarkets to plan the weekly household meals. She would then visit 3 to 4 supermarkets and only purchase the sale items. This method worked and she saved up for other household needs. Money wasn’t easy to come by and she did what she could to make it last and grow.

I don’t visit 3 supermarkets a week for grocery shopping but I always find ways to save.

Here’s the top tips for frugal living and ways to save:

Shop Around and Price Match

shop around and comparison shop

When I’m making a large purchase such as a TV, I do a lot of research and comparison shop. If I’m at a store and see something that I might want to purchase, I use my phone to comparison shop on the web. Typing a model number into google is an easy way for you to see what competitors are charging to see if you can find a better deal.

If you find a better deal, look at the store’s price match policy. Many stores price match, even to online retailers like Amazon.  


wait for a sale

If you’re not in a rush to buy a product, use a price tracker like camelcamelcamel to monitor the price of products and get an alert when the price drops. Camelcamelcamel might have a weird name but it is a powerful tool that lets you view the history of millions of Amazon products and get an alert when the price drops.


It doesn’t hurt to ask for a discount. Depending on the store, the merchant might give you a discount. If the store is a chain, the store associates might tell you about upcoming promotions and discounts

Earn Cash Back

earn cashback

Sites like Rakuten and Ibotta help you save money by providing coupons, promo codes, and cash back. Depending on the website’s business model, the website might split a commission it receives from using their link to a store while other websites make money on advertising and let customers keep the commission.

Rakuten gets commissions from stores when you purchase through a specific link and then shares part of the commission back. Just find the store on Rakuten.com and click the “Shop Now” link and shop like you normally would. Make sure you don’t block popups for this site as this could interfere with your cashback. You can also download the browser extension so you don’t miss a deal. Rakuten works both for online and instore. For instore purchases, you need to link the credit card you intend to use on your purchase and activate the deal on the Rakuten App. Sometimes, customers can get a pretty high percentage (10%+) cash back on purchases which can be combined with additional coupons and promo codes.   Also, depending on the promotion time, you can earn up to $25 in a referral bonus by your friends and family to sign up.

Ibotta also provides cashback from online and instore purchases. The website also has a browser extension so you don’t miss a deal. Ibotta also allows you to upload receipts to get cash back. The site partners with many online businesses and stores. Sign up and get $5 for your first receipt.

Credit Card Offers

credit card offers

Check your credit cards online account periodically for exclusive deals and promotions from your credit card provider.

American Express generally has partnerships with companies and constantly has money saving offers. The offers are constantly changing and you never know what you’re going to get – some deals are personalized to your account and spending habits. To take advantage of these deals, you need to log into your account and click and add the benefit to your card before making a purchase. You can’t do this after you made the purchase using your card. I’ve missed many deals because I didn’t check my account before making the purchase. In the past, American Express has supported local and small businesses on Small Business Saturday, usually the last Saturday in November following Thanksgiving. Some years American Express provided statement credit for shopping at a local small business.

Cash-back Credit Cards are another great way to save.

Depending on the credit card, you can earn 1-5% on what you spend as statement credit. This approach is pretty straightforward, you use your credit card and earn a percentage on each purchase. Some cards might have a flat 1-2% cash back but others might have rotating categories that may provide 5%+ cash back.

Check store circulars and clip manufacturer coupons

Depending on your location, you might get money saving coupons and sales circulars delivered to your door or mailbox.

You have to be dedicated to clipping coupons since it takes some work to hunt through the weekly paper, cut the coupons out, read the fine print, and then remember them when you go to the store.

Stock up on Sale items

When there is a sale, stock up. Don’t just get a 1 week or 30-day supply of what you need. If you are buying a non-perishable item or personal care product and you use it often, think about purchasing enough for many months to a year.

Deal Forums

There’s actually a community of people looking for great deals that share their findings on websites.

You have to adjust to the format of each of these sites. If you are looking for something in particular, use the search bar to see if there are any recent deals.

Front Page deals are usually the most popular and usually the best recent deals. Users can log in, comment on deals, and participate in the community.

Think Differently About Entertainment

Entertainment can be an expensive part of your budget but you can be creative how you relax and unwind while reducing spending in this category.

Go to Matinees Movies

Some movies you have to see in theater but the movie theater can be very expensive. In NYC, an IMAX 3D movie can set you back $30+ per ticket. Check out discount nights or at most look to save some money off the ticket price by going to a matinee.

Borrow Books, DVDs, Blu-Rays, and Video Games at the Library

Before Netflix, people used to go to Blockbuster and video stores to rent movies and video games. Today, video stores are extinct but the library is actually a good free source for entertainment. My local library has a huge collection of movies and tv shows on DVD and Blu-Ray as well as audio books and video games! Instead of buying a $40-60 video game, try your library! Many libraries also offer e-books but quality and quantity may vary depending on where your library is.

Cut the Cord and Get Rid of Cable

One of the smartest moves I made was getting rid of cable and pocketed thousands over the years in savings. You can simply pay for internet and replicate the cable tv experience using SlingTV, YouTube TV, FuboTV, or Hulu Plus Live TV.  Be careful about subscribing to too many streaming services at once because the costs can quickly add up. One suggestion would be to rotate streaming services depending on what shows you want to binge instead of having access to everything at the same time.

Discount Stores

Since the recession in 2008, discount retailers have grown in popularity where you can find brand-name clothing, accessories, shoes, toys, and housewares for a significant savings.

These discount retailers include:

  • Marshalls
  • TJ Maxx
  • Home Goods
  • Ross: Dress for Less
  • Century 21
  • Burlington
  • Stein Mart
  • Factory Outlets including Gap, Banana Republic, J Crew, Guess

Look for coupons and promo codes

When shopping online, I always try to find a coupon code right before checking out to see if I can save even more.

I enjoy using the Honey browser extension which scours the internet looking for coupon codes at check-out with a single click. There are lots of opportunities to earn cash back including featured deals.

You can also search Google on your own to find coupon codes but be careful about going onto unreputable websites that can put viruses on your computer or phone.

Go Shopping at Thrift and Consignment shops

consignment shop

Thrift and consignment shops such as Goodwill and Salvation Army are a great place to snag a deal and significantly save off the retail price.

When I attended classes at New York University (NYU) and walked to school, I saw that the Greenwich Village New York City location of Goodwill had lots of foot traffic. One day, I took a look and saw that the location had tons of designer clothing that was barely worn. In addition to clothes, I saw Halloween costumes, shoes, toys, and games. All these items were lightly used and were in great condition. 

Each location has different inventory.

If you are just starting your career and don’t have much money, you can buy a Hugo Boss, Brooks Brothers, or other designer suit for under $100…and no one has to know where you bought it from!

Visit a Sample Sale (NYC/LA)

For folks in the NYC and LA area, many fashion designers host sample sales. Unless you are part of the fashion industry, you may not even know that these existed. Luxury and fashion designers from small boutiques to major global labels host in-person events where people can get 50-90% off retail. Search online for the sample sale calendar. RSVP or try to get there early as these events do get popular and sizes and quantities do run out.  I actually came across this discovery by sheer luck. I was walking around NYC and saw a very long line of people waiting outside of an unmarked building. Curiosity got the best of me and I was told it was a sample sale for 7 for All Mankind designer jeans. I joined the line and ended up getting a $200 pair of jeans for $30. Not bad.

Buy at the end of the season

After major holidays, stores have huge sales and put many holiday items on clearance to make room for new items. Places like CVS mark down items 50-90% after Halloween, Thanksgiving Christmas, and Easter. You can buy non-perishable items and decorations and save until the next holiday season.   

Save your Receipt

save your receipt

It’s good habit to save your receipt because if the price drops on something you purchased, many stores and even some credit cards can refund you the difference.


The everyday money saving tips for frugal living listed above are just some of the ways that you can save.

Comment below if you have any personal finance tips for frugal living that you follow.

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By Adam

Hey, I'm Adam. I started Wonder of Compounding in 2021 to help others learn about financial literacy and achieve their financial goals. I’m a lifelong student and eternal optimist with a passion for investing, technology and entrepreneurship. I’ve worked in the financial services industry for more than a decade. In 2008, I earned my Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology and in 2015, I received my MBA from New York University.

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