Frugal Living

  • 20 Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

    Christmas is a wonderful holiday but the consumerism culture has taken much of the joy out of it and instead given us credit card bills, stress, and piles of junk. I’m not a fan of that so I try to give and receive meaningful and frugal gifts each year instead.

    In the video above I go through my favorite frugal gifts that I give over and over again. Many of these gifts include low waste wrapping so the whole gift is a present, which makes it even more frugal!

    If you are looking for even more frugal Christmas gift ideas, keep reading for my favorite frugal gifts!

    We all know Christmas has wrecked many budgets and it is a particularly hard time for some people to say no to spending. With emotions high and sales pressure up, many of us spend more than we planned.

    That’s why having frugal Christmas gifts on hand and ready to go is so important to keeping your Christmas budget in check!

    Frugal Christmas Gift Ideas

    If you’re doing your Christmas shopping and need a list of frugal but awesome gift ideas, look no further!

    1. Baked goods. Everyone loves baked goods during the holiday season so this is a frugal gift that is also a crowd-pleaser. You can make Christmas cookies or banana bread or any number of yummy edible gifts for very little money. Consumable Christmas gifts are a huge hit and many people appreciate not being given something that will contribute to clutter. This is a great option for any minimalists you know.
    2. Scrapbook. Make a scrapbook or a photo book showing your most fond memories with someone. You can do this very cheaply with supplies you have around or can get on clearance at craft stores. Print out some photos and it’s very frugal but meaningful. Adding sweet notes of memories and inside jokes will mean more than anything you can buy.
    3. Handmade Christmas ornaments.  You can make personalized Christmas ornaments for your friends and family for next to nothing. There are tons of great ideas on YouTube and Pinterest for ways you can cheaply DIY very nice looking items. Just because the supplies came from the Dollar Tree doesn’t mean this frugal gift can’t look expensive!
    4. Regifted items. Let’s be real, regifting is a great way to do frugal Christmas gifts! If you’ve gotten duplicate gifts or items you’ll never use then there is nothing wrong with giving it away the next Christmas. Make sure you don’t regift to the same person, but otherwise it’s fair game. Just because you can’t use it doesn’t mean someone else won’t!
    5. Recipe box. You can make a beautiful recipe box or buy an affordable one and fill it with blank recipe cards along with your favorite recipes. This can be especially sentimental if you collect family recipes or go with another meaningful theme. Go the extra mile to delight the gift recipient and make one of the meals to go along with it!
    6. Photo Collage. If you’re handy with Photoshop or Canva, you can create a photo collage/montage, print it out and frame it! You could also do this the old fashioned way with scissors and glue. It’s a great way to give a creative memory that can be done for hardly any money.
    7. Framed family picture. Take a picture of your family or kiddos, frame it, and give it as a gift! We do this every year for grandparents and they love it! It’s frugal but delightful for those who want photos renewed each year. You can get nice looking frames at many stores on clearance or just stop by a thrift store for one.
    8. Coupon Books. Sure it’s a corny gift idea, but a personalized coupon book can also be super fun! You can go with classic  favorite coupons as “back rub”, “dinner” or “clean the house”. Or spice things up with adult themed coupons or go super silly with practical jokes. There are lots of options for personalization here and none of the items in the book have to cost money to do! Most people would prefer experiences and time with you anyway.
    9. Family history. Put together a family history for someone with photos, written family histories, a family tree, a video and anything else you can think of that will bring their family history alive. This is an especially great gift you can give to siblings or a whole side of a family to knock out multiple gifts.
    10. Appreciation book. Use a blank journal to create a book about how much you appreciate the person! You can fill it up with reasons why you appreciate them, gratitude over their qualities, shared memories, and photos. If you can’t fill up a book, try doing this in a letter form and list as many things as you can.
    11. Your skills. Give the gift of service by offering up your skills as a gift. It won’t cost you anything but time. You can offer to cook a meal or offer your design services or tech support. If you don’t have any specific professional skills to offer, then offer up housesitting or babysitting.
    12. Groupon experience. Groupon offers frugal experiences perfect for gift giving. You can give a certificate for an experience like a massage, painting lesson, or outdoor adventure. Keep an eye out for a huge discount deal on something that you know will make a great gift for someone on your list.
    13. Card game kit. Buy a deck of cards, and a book of card game rules for different card games. You can have hours and hours of frugal fun once you learn multiple games you can play with one deck of cards. I loved playing card games on camping trips when I was younger and still love to pull out a deck of cards for good quality family time.
    14. Book gift pack.  Look through the books on your own shelf that you’ve already read and put together a gift pack of books that you loved. You can package the books in a cute way that makes them feel like a special gift of hand selected books. Write a note about why you loved each book and why you think the recipient will love the book as well.
    15. Breakfast gift box. Put together a cute morning breakfast gift basket with some cheap basics: pancake mix, syrup, and pancake mix-ins. These items don’t cost much but they are super handy to have on hand for most people.
    16. Picnic gift basket. Grab some Dollar Tree utensils, plates, and tablecloth and then wrap the items up with a blanket inside a basket. Write a note inviting the recipient to go on a picnic lunch with you once the weather is nice. You could also pack snacks into the picnic basket as an extra gift.
    17. Memory jar. Write down favorite memories of the person receiving the gift on small pieces of paper and add them to a decorated jar with instructions to open daily. This works best when you can get lots of sweet and funny memories!
    18. DIY Coasters. You can make coasters for a very small amount of money and the personalization of using photos special to the recipient makes this a meaningful gift. DIY coasters are very easy to make, cost hardly anything, and can be a great sentimental item to give people.
    19. DIY bath and body items. You can make sugar scrubs, face masks, body butters and natural skin care products from items you already likely have in your home like sugar and coconut oil. These are cheap to make but feel luxurious when you get to use them, so they make perfect gifts! My mom loves and requests my peppermint sugar scrub as a gift each year.
    20. Change jar savings kit.  This is an especially great gift for young children who are just starting to learn about money. Give a child a change jar or cool piggy bank and some starter change already in it.  Then you can teach them about saving and spending their own money later in the year!

    No matter which frugal gift you decide to give, remember that it is the thought that truly matters with the gift. Most sentimental and meaningful gifts are not expensive ones. They instead incorporate emotions, memories, and experiences.

    Remember that spending the most doesn’t necessarily mean the most! Having a frugal Christmas is a great way to keep your financial goals on track and still please those in your life!

  • 33 Money Saving Tips For A Frugal Christmas

    Having a debt-free, frugal Christmas doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the holidays but it does mean you’ll have an enjoyable holiday without feeling broke. 

    When you’re mindful and intentional about your spending during Christmas you can have a frugal season and enjoy everything the holidays are meant to be about. 

    There are many ways you can save money during Christmas and have a very frugal season. In the video above I share my favorite frugal living tips for the holiday season and Christmas gift giving specifically.

    Here are 33 more tips for you to have a frugal Christmas. If you’re wanting to save money on the holiday season, keep reading!

    1. Make a budget for your Christmas spending. Put a limit on your total spending for all things for the holiday season and commit to sticking to that dollar amount. Promise yourself that you won’t spend over the amount you’ve assigned to the holidays.
    2. Assign dollar amounts to each type of Christmas spending. Give yourself a firm budget for all the types of spending you might do. Going to buy decor? Set a strict budget. Buying Christmas presents? Give yourself a budget for gifts.
    3. Create a Christmas sinking fund in a high yield savings account and save up each paycheck in order to pay cash for Christmas. You’ll save less per paycheck if you start early but even a few paychecks before Christmas can make a difference.
    4. Make a commitment to a cash-only Christmas using only what you’ve saved in your sinking fund or can cash flow. Promise yourself you won’t be using credit to buy more than you can afford.
    5. Let everyone know you are committed to a cash only Christmas. Be open with all of your friends and family and let them know about your decision to have a frugal Christmas.
    6. Be prepared to say “no” when needed to additional spending when it is outside of your budget. If you can’t afford another holiday season excursion or special meal out, then be prepared to say no. Offer more frugal suggestions but be firm in your decision not to overspend.
    7. Manage your kids and family expectations by sharing what your budget is for gifts. If they are old enough, let your kids know what to expect based on the budget for the year. 
    8. Choose a “shop for the kids only” rule with extended family gatherings. Buying for adults is unnecessary in most cases and children opening gifts will provide joy and savings to everyone.
    9. Do a White Elephant or Yankee Swap with friends or extended family or choose a fun game to play like the Saran Wrap game. This can be a fun experience together instead of trading expensive gifts. 
    10. Give cookies or other baked goods and food items as presents. Most people love to get cookies or other delicious treats as gifts and all this takes is a bit of time and a small amount of money.
    11. Give a service or use a talent/skill/hobby as gifts instead of buying something. Use whatever you are naturally gifted at to offer as a gift. 
    12. DIY your gifts for friends and family. There are lots of cute DIY gifts on Pinterest that are easy and delightful to receive. 
    13. DIY your Christmas decorations by using what you already have or can scavenge outdoors and at thrift stores. Again, Pinterest and YouTube videos are your friend for DIY ideas! 
    14. Use a fake Christmas Tree this year and for many years to come instead of buying a new fresh tree each holiday season. With a fake tree you only have to spend once and can get them very inexpensively with coupons and sales.
    15. Set a dollar limit on gift swaps and gift exchanges. If you’re doing a white elephant or drawing names or anything in a group then make sure to set a max dollar amount for your spending. During the price setting you can help guide the conversation to keep the price reasonable. 
    16. Use the 4 gift rule for kids where they receive 4 gifts. 1 thing they want, 1 thing they need, 1 thing to wear, and 1 thing to read.
    17. Set aside a set amount of money for unplanned miscellaneous holiday expenses. Planning for the unexpected makes those unplanned expenses not strain your budget or cause any stress.
    18. Use coupons and sales to save money on your holiday meal shopping. During the holiday season many of the favorite items go on sale so use the opportunity to your advantage!
    19. Take advantage of your supermarket’s gift card promotions. You can buy gift cards at a discount or for major bonus fuel points. Combine that with a credit card cash back and Fetch rewards for even more savings and then give those cards as a gift or use them to save when buying other gifts.
    20. Use cash-back and reward apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, SavingStar and Shopkick. For everything you buy you can receive cash back which adds up and allows you to have even more money to spend on Christmas.
    21. For online shopping, use Ebates for cash back and find store discounts by using RetailMeNot, Coupon Cabin, and Coupon Sherpa. Install Camel Camel Camel to track prices for things you may want to buy on Amazon to get the best price.
    22. Sign up for stores’ email lists to get a discount and download store apps to get coupons and further discounts. Most stores will offer coupons within their apps. 
    23. Give gifts that meet a need and will be used throughout the year. For your family this is easy since you likely know what they need. If people ask what you want, request something you need and would buy anyway.
    24. Take advantage of post Christmas deals. Plan to buy yourself or your kids clothing after Christmas when clothing is deeply discounted for the season. Get all of your Christmas decor and wrapping paper for next year after Christmas when it’s 70-90% off.
    25. Gift coupons for future services or experiences. Things like making a family member dinner or giving parents a night of babysitting can be a wonderful gift to be redeemed in the future.
    26. Comparison shop before you purchase items to find the best prices. Take advantage of stores that have price-matching policies or lowest price guarantees to get the absolute best price on anything you want to buy.
    27. Consider buying used where you can or regifting things that you haven’t used. Not every gift has to be something new. Team up with family that’s also trying to be frugal and swap items the other will use. 
    28. Use daily deal opportunities to get gifts at a much better prices. You can use flash sale sites like Fab.com, and Zulily and also browse Amazon’s Today’s Deals, Black Friday Deals, and Outlet Deals
    29. Plan to use coupons and follow coupon sites like Living Rich with Coupons, Money Saving Mom, and Krazy Coupon Lady to find deals throughout the season. These sites are dedicated to finding coupons that will save you money. There are tons of sites and YouTube channels you can follow to find the best deals.
    30. Sign up for Amazon Prime’s free 30-day trial if you are not already a Prime member. You can take advantage of sales and free shipping during the holiday season. 
    31. Plan your meals outside of your holiday meal. Prepping your meals can keep your wallet and health together during the holidays and stop you from heading to an expensive restaurant. You can use a service like $5 Meal Plan to eliminate stress of meal planning.
    32. Find ways to earn extra money on the side to afford the Christmas spending you want. If you want to spend more without dipping into debt then you need to earn more money to cover the difference. You can offer skills or services like dog walking or just sell unwanted clutter around the house to earn money for Christmas.
    33. Skip gifts altogether for Christmas this year. Think about doing a special activity together as a family or volunteering instead of buying gifts to give each other.

    Remember that ultimately the holiday season is not about buying things or spending money. If you’re religious then it is one of the holy days and if you’re not then it’s a time to spend with loved ones. Find the reason for celebrating Christmas beyond consumption and you’ll be able to keep it frugal with no problem.

    Remember that usually presents for Christmas are not life changing and you likely do not remember what you received last year. Focus on spending time with your loved ones and making memories together instead of items you’ll buy that will be quickly forgotten.

    Loved these frugal tips? Sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to the YouTube channel to get more frugal tips for saving money throughout the year!

    frugal christmas money saving tips
  • 25 Frugal Tips I’ve Learned From The Debt Free Community

    Being frugal isn’t my natural state but I’ve learned a lot of easy ways to be more frugal in life thanks to the debt free community (#debtfreecommunity) on YouTube and Instagram!

    I’ve learned so much and continue to stock up tips to implement in my life to make us spend less money and live a better feel with a strong financial future! Living more frugally allows us to hit our financial goals faster which improves our lives overall. Being frugal is a great tool to have in your financial toolkit.

    Here are the 25 frugal living tips I’ve learned that have helped save us money!

    1. Plan meals around what you have.

    Planning your meals around food you already have will help you save a lot of money in your food budget.

    You can save money from your grocery budget by first checking your pantry and fridge to see what you already have on hand. Make your weekly meal plan based on items you have for the base of your meals. This way you won’t be buying duplicates or items that don’t work with what you already have in stock.

    Shopping your pantry before you shop the grocery store will also help you save a ton of money by reducing food waste. You’ll be less likely to waste money by throwing away unused food if you regularly use your pantry to create meal plans.

    2. Learn to DIY things for free on YouTube.

    Even if you don’t consider yourself handy you are likely to be able to DIY many things you would otherwise spend money on hiring someone to do.

    You can learn how to fix almost anything thanks to YouTube and the content creators that share how-to videos. If you need to have something repaired, check to see if you can learn how to DIY the repair on YouTube.

    You’ll save a lot of money by using this technique and you will learn some new skills as well. We’ve managed to do small car repairs, fix plumbing issue, and more thanks to YouTube diy videos.

    3. Evaluate expenses based on hours worked.

    Many people fail to practice frugality on large purchases because they often have such emotional weight attached to them.

    When you are considering a large purchase, it helps to put it into perspective by dividing the price by your hourly wage. You’ll find out how many hours you have to work to pay for that item which will likely give you a better idea of whether the purchase is worth it or not. Do you really want to work all those hours to buy that item?

    We often don’t think about how long we must work to pay for the items we purchase and this exercise can stop you from buying a number of items.

    4. Consider consuming more frugal friendly content.

    Have you considered how much the content you consume affects your spending habits?

    If you are constantly watching hauls and commercials and shows that encourage spending then you will likely want to spend more. Continually watching or reading content that encourages spending will make you want to spend more money.

    I found this true in my own life and had to limit the amount of YouTube haul videos I watched because I found myself wanting to buy items I didn’t really need. Swap out more frugal friendly content and skip ads so you will be more likely to stick with your frugal living goals.

    5. Use appliances singularly at off peak hours.

    Sometimes going against the crowd is a great way to be frugal and save money. This is definitely true with your electric usage!

    When you are trying to cut back on your utility bill you can do a number of things to reduce it like only using major appliances one at a time. You can also use these appliances – like the washing machine, dryer, dishwasher – during off peak hours when the rates for electricity are cheaper.

    If you don’t know when your off peak hours are then you can check with your utilities provider to find out when you would get reduced rates.

    6. Buy a smaller home.

    Frugal people generally don’t live in mansions filled to the brim with stuff in every room.

    Buying a smaller home can be a conscious decision to stay frugal. You will have less space to fill so you will naturally spend less money furnishing and won’t be tempted to overfill the space with items you don’t need.

    Our first home was a smaller home and we chose it because we knew we didn’t (and probably never will) need a 4,000+ sq ft house. Buying a smaller home saves you money in many ways from less furniture spending to fill it up to cheaper electricity bills keeping it cool.

    7. Declutter your house so you don’t lose things.

    Disorder and clutter leads to financial mistakes and disorganization.

    Often living in cluttered spaces or letting items build up over time makes it hard to remember what you actually even own. Have you ever been unable to find an item you swear you already bought but couldn’t… only to find the item after you bought a replacement? That’s a frugality fail my friends.

    Keeping things decluttered and minimal will allow you to find the things you need instead of accidentally buying duplicates because you can’t find what you need.

    8. Sign up for birthday freebies and discounts.

    Everyone loves getting free stuff on their birthday! I definitely love all the perks and freebies available on my birthday each year.

    Even if you don’t get birthday gifts any more you can still get free things thanks to many companies that offer birthday freebies. Even more companies offer birthday discounts, so sign up for the mailing lists of the companies and products you love the most to get these when your birthday rolls around each year.

    9. Inflate your tires properly.

    It might seem like a small thing, but keeping your tires properly inflated will save you a lot of money on gas because it improves your car’s gas usage.

    You’ll get the best possible miles per gallon out of your car with properly inflated tires, so make sure they stay inflated and immediately air them up when the light comes on. This is something that only takes a small amount of change to do. You can also buy an air compressor tire inflator and do it at home. We bought one for under $40 and have kept our tires inflated for years with the DIY method.

    10. Learn to sew and care for your clothing.

    Basic clothing care doesn’t take a lot of skill so learn but can ultimately save you a lot of money by taking care of your items.

    Learning how to do basic clothing care like sewing on buttons can save you time and money. This will help extend the life of your clothing and allow you to get more use out of each piece. You won’t have to replace clothing as often if you are able to do basic maintenance.

    11. Close off rooms you don’t use regularly.

    If you’ve bought a house much bigger than you need you can close off rooms you don’t use. This will save you money on furniture and home decor and it will also keep your utility bill down.

    We did this when we first bought our home and it save us a ton of money that first year! All you do is leave rooms empty and unfurnished and then shut the doors and vents! You don’t have to heat or cool the space you aren’t using regularly.

    12. Buy reusable food storage containers.

    Instead of using disposable food container products or even plastic tupperware that eventually gets thrown away, buy durable reusable food storage containers. This will likely cost more upfront but you will ultimately same more money in the long run.

    We purchased a set of glass food containers a while back and have been using them successfully since then. We haven’t had to buy new containers which has saved money!

    13. Order light ice or no ice in drinks.

    If you eat out and order drinks, ask for light ice or no ice at all. You’ll get more of the actual drink you want and it will still be cold enough to enjoy.

    Again, this might seem like a super small frugal tip, but that’s the beauty of all these tips. There is no item too small to save on!

    14. Use cashback apps on top of sales and coupons.

    Coupons are the bedrock of frugal living but cashback apps are the icing on the cask and my personal favorite way to shop frugally.

    The great thing about cashback apps is that you can stack them on top of store sales and regular coupons for additional savings. You can use as many money savings apps on one purchase as possible to make the products you buy as cheap as possible. I like to use Ibotta along with Fetch Rewards and others.

    15. Use reusable dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.

    Instead of disposable dryer sheets you can buy dryer balls that are reusable. Both make your clothes fluffy soft but the dryer balls can be used over and over again. This saves you money in the long run by making a one time purchase versus buying dryer sheets over and over again.

    This worked out perfectly for us since the dryer balls I bought worked well and my husband hated dryer sheets in his laundry. We’ve actually tried two different types of dryer balls: spiky dryer balls and wool dryer balls. Both worked great!

    16. Save delivery packaging for future shipping.

    When you receive packages from places like Amazon, save the packaging! Find a safe place to store this packaging material for future shipping so you won’t have to buy it again.

    You can use the boxes or the padded envelopes for future shipments. This will save you from buying packing supplies at the post office. You could also use it as boxes to wrap for birthday gifts or frugal Christmas presents!

    17. Stock up on household items on sale.

    You’ve likely got a list of household items that you know you’ll eventually need to use. These things like furnace filters or laundry detergent are staples in running your household. Anything in your household that you need to use over and over again is a great candidate for buying in bulk when it goes on sale.

    When something you use often is on sale at a great price you can stock up and save yourself a lot of money for the future.

    18. Stretch laundry detergent with baking soda.

    This one was completely new to me entirely, but you can combine baking soda with your laundry detergent to stretch your detergent a bit further!

    It also makes your whites whiter and your brights brighter so you’ll save money and have nicer looking clothes! Baking soda is incredibly inexpensive and it will save you a lot of money.

    19. Buy used clothes on Ebay to update your wardrobe.

    Buying clothing second hand is an obvious frugal choice but buying clothes via Ebay in a lot can help you change out your whole wardrobe on a dime.I’ve bought used clothes often before but I love this tip for switching out your whole wardrobe by buying a “lot” on Ebay in a certain size!

    I’m actually planning to sell my own winter wardrobe this way. It’s a cheaper way to shake things up and get lots of new clothes in a frugal way.

    20. Use grocery story bags for dog poop.

    Let’s be honest: dog poop is gross and buying bags to pick it up is expensive.

    You can buy special bags with fragrances to pick up dog poop… or you can just reuse plastic grocery bags you get from the grocery store.

    (Let’s be honest, you can also skip both of these all together if you really love the earth).

    21. Dress for the weather to save on heat/air.

    If it’s cold outside, wear layers and keep the heat down. If it’s hot outside, wear less clothing and keep your temperature higher.

    Adjusting your clothing to the temperature rather than adjusting the temperature in your home will save you a lot of money. No matter the weather, dress for it and keep your house slightly off the “normal” temperature to save money on your utility bill.

    22. Eat less meat overall.

    Eating less meat each week can be very good for your body, your budget, and the earth. It’s a win, win, win.

    Buying less meat will lower your grocery bill so even a couple vegetarian plant-based meals each week will help you reduce your spending.

    23. Cut your own hair or go to a cosmetology school.

    Cutting your own hair can save a ton of money if you need it regularly. My husband learned how to cut his hair on YouTube and has been giving himself haircuts for years. He got so good he also gives his family haircuts!

    If you aren’t sure of your skills you can go to a cosmetology school where students will do the work and charge much less than a normal salon. I’ve done it and the savings is substantial over a high end salon.

    24. Shop based on unit price.

    Grocery stores design their stores to make you spend more money overall. This means you need to keep an eagle eye, and possibly a calculator, when you are shopping.

    Shop for everything based on the unit price instead of the item price. Often the smaller item with the lower price is a better deal than the large bulk buy based on the unit price.

    25. Use YouTube for workouts.

    You can use YouTube for almost anything, including getting fit! There are many different workouts on YouTube and there are channels dedicated to giving you free and ever-changing workouts, from yoga to HIIT to pilates.

    I love doing yoga videos from YouTube. My therapist actually recommended Yoga by Adrienne and I’ve loved doing her videos for free at home!

    Bonus: Have frugal friends around you!

    You tend to become like the people closest to you so surround yourself with budget conscious friends who want to support your frugality!

    Even if you aren’t planning to be frugal forever, it can truly help to put more frugal people in your life for a period of paying off debt for instance.

    I’m happy to be your frugal friend! I love thinking about ways to be more frugal in my own life and share posts about frugality like these:

    Enjoy more frugal living, friends!

  • 12 Frugal Beauty Tips | Beauty On A Budget

    Do you love beauty products and makeup but don’t want it to destroy your budget? Welcome to the beauty on a budget club! Today I’m sharing my frugal beauty tips and my own personal favorite budget beauty products as a collaboration with Cents and Purpose and Kate Kaden!

    Makeup and beauty is one area where I don’t spend much honestly and get very, very frugal. That’s honestly because this is not an area where I put a lot of my focus or care much about it. Most days I don’t even wear makeup, but I do love to have a quick easy makeup look and get dolled up for events.

    Favorite Frugal Beauty Products

    Below I’ve listed some of my favorite budget beauty products and my personal favorite makeup splurge item!

    Frugal Beauty Products I Love:

    Splurge Beauty Products I Love:

    Frugal Beauty Tips

    Some of these frugal beauty tips you have probably heard and others may be new. Take what you can use from this list and leave the rest. Finding what works for you and your preferences is the beauty of frugality and personal finance.

    You can find ways to be frugal and cut costs in areas that don’t matter as much so you can spend in other areas.

    My favorite frugal beauty tips:

    1. Drink lots of water. Drinking a lot of water will lead to better looking skin. You look better when you are well hydrated, I promise. The better you take care of your body overall with drinking water and eating healthy foods, the better your skin looks.
    2. Use a makeup primer! It makes your makeup look so much better in most cases and is a frugal way to make the makeup you do actually use look better. 
    3. Figure out what works for you and stick with it. You don’t have to try every new trend and product that comes out. People overspend and waste the most when constantly buying new products that end up not working for them. When you find a product you like, you can find ways to get it on sale.
    4. Shop sales and deals and use drugstore reward points. Makeup is always going on sale and many brands offer coupons. Only buy things when it’s a good price.
    5. Choose one splurge item, instead of spending heavy on everything. Pick one thing that is most important to you and buy the higher end item. For me this is a higher end foundation that works well with my skin type.
    6. Find ways to use one item in multiple ways. Can you also use a shimmer item for cheeks, lips and eyes? Can you use a brown eyeshadow for your eyeshadow and you’re eyebrows?  
    7. Always take care of your skin! Most of the basic skincare stuff doesn’t have to be expensive, you just have to make it a habit. Use a moisturizer during the day. Use retinol for anti aging at night. Again, give your skin what it needs. Always remove your makeup at night.
    8. Spend time improving your technique instead of buying more stuff. If you don’t know how to apply makeup well then the expensive items you buy still won’t look as good as the drugstore makeup another girl uses who has worked on applying it perfectly. 
    9. Remove advertising for beauty items where you can. Unfollow brands and send those newsletters to the trash or unsubscribe.
    10. Set a budget for your beauty spending. Figure out what your beauty budget includes: makeup, hair products, skin care and set a budget. This make be a separate category or it may be within your personal spending money like mine, but set a limit for yourself.
    11. Create a beauty sinking fund. You know I love sinking funds and for good reason – there is no guilt when spending on items it you have saved up for them. If you want that fancy foundation, start a beauty sinking fund and save up over a couple months and then buy it.
    12. Find bonus money to spend on beauty. Finding extra money for your budget makes things like beauty feel less budget busting. In my description box I share things like Rakuten, which sends me checks that I can use on beauty items outside of my budget! I also always use gift cards from birthdays or bonuses from work on beauty items! ➝  Try Rakuten for earning cash back on purchases to spend and get a $10 bonus.  

    Those are just some of my favorite ways to be frugal with makeup and beauty products! There are tons of other ways as well!

    Frugal Beauty Strategies To Save Money

    There are many other strategies for saving money on your beauty routines and skincare regime. Some of the strategies actually involve your mindset and approve to beauty.

    Take care of your whole body.

    Beauty begins with things that don’t cost any money at all and that’s taking care of your whole body. This includes doing things like getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, and eating healthy foods. These things make your skin look better and your overall beauty will shine!

    Spend where it matters.

    For an example: have the mindset to prioritize what matters. Decide what you really care about most in your beauty routine and splurge there. Then choose to spend less in other areas or cut them out all together.

    Use less product.

    If you want to get very frugal, you can water down things like shampoo or otherwise dilute beauty items to make them go further. This makes items last longer and gives you much more bang for your buck. Another option to use less is to actually use less products. You likely don’t need as many items as you think.

    Find ways to do it yourself.

    You might not be able to DIY every beauty or personal care item in your budget but there are many ways to diy personal care expenses to save money. Take a look at what you currently spend and decide where you might be able to DIY: could you do your nails at home? could you trim your own hair instead of going to the salon? could you make beauty products at home with less ingredients for less money?

    Learn what makes you feel beautiful.

    Sometimes what makes us feel beautiful matters more than anything we spend money on. Find the things that make you feel beautiful, whether that is fake eyelashes or facials or simply a lovely outfit that fits well. Prioritize those in your budget and day because when you feel beautiful you will also look beautiful!

    If you enjoy being frugal, check out some of these other posts about living a frugal life:

    Being beautiful and living a full life is possible while being frugal and staying on a budget.

  • 50 Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

    When you’re trying to live on a budget and save or pay down debt then it’s essential to cut spending in certain areas. Unfortunately cutting expenses generally gets a bad rap of not being fun.

    Since I still like to enjoy life and have fun, I’m created a list of 50 fun things to do instead of spending money.

    It’s great to have a list you can refer to when feeling bored, so you have something fun to do instead of thinking there is “nothing to do” without spending money.

    Today I’m sharing this list of things to do instead of spending money so those of you looking to cut down on spending can do the same.

    There are tons of fun things to do without spending money!

    Things To Do Instead of Spending Money

    1. Invite friends over. The best way to spend time and not money? Invite friends over just to hang out and talk with each other! It’s great to catch up with friends and chat about your lives, futures, and fun topics too.
    2. Attend a free event. If you live in a major city or near a college there are probably free events happening all the time. Look online for community calendars and check at the local library for listings of free events. Check the local blogs or newspapers in your area for listings of free things to do during the weekends.
    3. Write a letter to a friend. Getting real mail is rare these days so it has become extra special because it is so rare. Make someone’s day by writing and mailing a letter. Sure the stamp will cost a minimal amount of money but writing the letter is a fun, free activity.
    4. Call your mom. No matter how old you are your mom (or other special person in your life) will always love to hear from you. Give her a call and tell her about your life or reminisce about good times. Just remember to say I love you!
    5. Write a letter to your representative. Ok so this might not be the most “fun” item on the list, but making a difference in the world makes you feel good. We all have causes we care about. Take the time to write a letter to your representative to voice your opinion on an issue. Plus it’s election time so this stuff matters!
    6. Read a blog. Want tons of free entertainment? Browse new posts and dig through the archives of a good blog for a few hours. There are thousands of blogs online with archives of free content on any topic you could possible imagine. Go find one you like and read through posts for a while.
    7. Write a blog post. Creating content can be fun! Write something for your own blog or another existing blog about a topic you are passionate about. You likely have something you can share about a topic that other people need to hear! Don’t have a blog yet? Start a blog NOW.
    8. Organize your things.  Go through a room and organize the items in it. Throw away old things you don’t need, straighten up things that are staying, and make things look nice and tidy.
    9. Organize your photos. Spend a little bit of time looking through your digital photos! Go through your iphoto library and organize everything. You probably have some photos you need to delete. You can take the opportunity to select photos for ordering prints the next time you are spending money.
    10. De-clutter your house. Work room through to get rid of extra clutter and errant items. Decluttering might sound like a chore, but a clean space can be life-changing and the process can be fun too.
    11. Sell your stuff on Craigslist. All that stuff you found during organizing and decluttering? Put it up on Craigslist for sale! This is a great free activity because it will actually earn you money that you can use for doing things later!
    12. Host a yard sale. Anything that doesn’t sell on Craigslist or is too small to be sold there can be offered up in a yard sale. You can advertise for free on sites like Craigslist and Facebook neighborhood groups. You can get rid of clutter and potentially make a few hundred dollars on the venture.
    13. Find free stuff. If you happen to need items rather than getting rid of them, sign up for curb alert groups and browse Craigslist and Freecycle for free items. You can also check Facebook neighborhood groups where people are trying to get rid of things and doing curb alerts of items they want to give away.
    14. Rearrange your furniture. Change up your living room by moving furniture around and trying new furniture configurations. Try something new in your space and see if you like it. This can be super fun and invigorating.
    15. Clean your house. Cleaning your house can make your environment better and save you money. Scrub the bathroom, floors, windows, everything. Make the house the cleanest it’s ever been, or at least in a while.
    16. Clean your car. Clean out all the junk that accumulates in a car and give it a nice wash inside and out. Make it look like a million bucks and you’ll feel like you have a brand new car without spending any money.
    17. Do some yard work. Getting outside can improve your mood and doing yard work can make your home more appealing. Cut your grass, trim the shrubs, rake the leaves. Manual labor is free and productive. You’ll be able to enjoy the landscaping for many months or years after!
    18. Make a to-do list. Making lists is free and useful! Make a list of all the things you need to do and have been putting off or make a list of all the things you want to do in the future. The things you want to do might cost money but making the list doesn’t!
    19. Tackle a nagging task. Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project) suggests this super tip for happiness. Tackle one of the pesky lingering tasks always on your to-do list and cross it off forever. Doing something you’ve been avoiding might sound boring or painful but it will lead to a boost in happiness.
    20. Go for a walk or run. Explore your neighborhood or a new part of town by foot. See things from a new perspective and get exercise. Running in different cities can be a fun and free way to see a new place.
    21. Go for a bike ride. Check out the trails or popular bike routes in your city. Ride your bike in a new area of along your favorite route for some exercise and fresh air.
    22. Go for a hike. Explore the nature near you by hiking in the woods. Hiking is a fun, free activity and every area has hiking trails even if it’s relatively flat. Look at your nearby parks and national forests for hiking locations.
    23. Try an at home exercise challenge. Look up an exercise challenge on Pinterest or another site and get to moving! Do the 100 pushups or 100 situps challenge. Or try to do a ton of burpees in a row. It’s free, fun, and challenging!
    24. Test out a new gym for free. Almost every gym out there offers a free trial period where you can go to the gym without spending any money or signing up for a contract. Test out a new gym and change up your work-out for the week. There are also lots of free workouts available in most communities that you can find and join in.
    25. Enjoy the sun. One of the nicest things to do on a sunny day is to spend time outside walking or laying out and enjoying the sun. Be sure to use sunscreen while you gloriously bask in the sun for free. This free activity will boost your vitamin D levels and improve your mood and health.
    26. Gaze at the stars. This free night time activity involves a blanket, no lights, and your eyes. Go for a drive out in the country away from city lights and find a secluded place where you can just lay down and watch the big beautiful universe spin by you.
    27. Take a nap. Relax for a bit and let your body rest and recover from the daily grind it goes through. Naps as an adult can be glorious! They are also a free activity that your body likely needs as much as anything you could buy.
    28. Take a bath. Sure water isn’t truly 100% free, but you have to get clean anyway! Take a relaxing warm bath at home, play some music and enjoy the little luxuries.
    29. Try a new hairstyle. Create a list of hairstyles you would like to try out and attempt one. You can create a Pinterest board of ideas you’d like to try recreating and then test one out for free. It might take a few tries to get right so your time will be well spent creating a new look for yourself.
    30. Try a new outfit. Chances are you only wear a percentage of your closet and even that is worn in the same way. Try out some new looks with the clothes you already in your close. Take what you have and try new combinations and accessories for a different look. Shop your closet for free!
    31. Mend your clothes. You most likely have a pile of clothes to mend or hem that you’ll get to “sometime” in the future or things that don’t fit perfectly. Tackle the clothes that need a little TLC and restore your wardrobe to it’s glory days without going out and buying new things.
    32. Host a clothing swap. Host a party where friends come over and bring items they want to give up to get other items. You’ll all walk away with new clothes and accessories without spending any money. You all save money and get free new items to wear. It’s also super fun to try on new clothes with friends!
    33. Read a book. Curl up with a good book and you’ll have a free adventure that lasts for hour or days. Hit up your library or Amazon’s free ebooks list. Here’s the top 100 free ebooks on Amazon, and there are plenty of free ebooks out there that you can spend hours enjoying for free.
    34. Write something. Writing can be fun, creative, cathartic, and best of all it is free. Use your imagination and create a story or draft a blog post or jot down old memories. If you don’t like to write things other people can see, just journal!
    35. Write a list of reasons not to spend money. Write a list of reasons why you want to save rather and spend and put your future goals in writing. It will motivate you to do all the things on this list rather than spend money!
    36. Babysit. Sure teens use babysitting as a way to make money, but it’s also a nice gift you can give new parents. If you have a couple in your life with kids, offer to watch their kids for free as a sweet thing to do. It’s a great gift, kind thing to do, and also can be very fun!
    37. Make a card. Get crafty and use the materials around your house to make a card for an upcoming holiday or just because. You can even stockpile these and use them throughout the year and have a collection of handmade cards to give away during the holidays.
    38. Make gifts. Christmas is coming and birthdays go year round so there is almost always an occasion for gift giving. Check out easy DIY gift guides for ideas and use what you already have to make cute gifts for friends and family.
    39. Make a Pinterest pin. Most of us have a Pinterest account with hundreds of pinned ideas on it. Take the time to make one of those pins with the supplies you already own. You can search Pinterest based on things you already have so you don’t have to spend money.
    40. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. Take your camera or just your phone and complete a photo scavenger hunt around your area. You can make up your own list of items to find or borrow one from an existing website.
    41. Take a pantry recipe challenge. Challenge yourself to use what is in your pantry to create a new and exciting dinner for your family. There are many ways to use the items in your pantry that you might not have considered before.
    42. Create a meal plan. Write out your meals for the next week or month. Getting organized is free and will also save you money on groceries and eating out in the long run. Consider combining the meal plan with your pantry recipe challenge.
    43. Host a potluck. Make that new pantry dish or another that you have ingredients for and have others come over to provide the rest of the meal. Potlucks are always a fun and inexpensive way to get together with people.
    44. Watch a new show. You can check out the free shows on Hulu or most network channel websites. There are even shows and movies on YouTube you can watch as well. Pick a show and watch a new episode or two.
    45. Host a TV or movie marathon. Invite friends over and collectively pull together a marathon based on shows and movies you already own. Try to base it around a theme or genre for a more cohesive evening.
    46. Check your finances. Take a few hours and do a thorough review of your finances. Look at your spending levels, adjust your budget, and review your investment choices. Use Personal Capital or Mint.com to get an overview of your finances and make adjustments as necessary.
    47. Write out your future goals. Nothing is more motivating than dreaming. Take some time to dream about your life and write down the major things you want to achieve. Give yourself the free time to decide what you really want out of life. Figuring out your life goals might just inspire you to make a big change.
    48. Write a gratitude list. One thing I love to do when I’m feeling restless and wanting to spend/buy/consume is to make a list of what I already have. Listing out what you have and what you are grateful for reminds you that life is wonderful and you already have a lot. It also gives you something to do without spending money!
    49. Volunteer. Volunteering is free except for your time and it’s extremely rewarding. You can find volunteer positions online and select a nonprofit you really want to support in the long term.
    50. Leave positivity where you go. It’s free to offer a smile or leave a positive note in a library book. It’s free to help someone complete a task or get something they need. Look for ways during your day to impart kindness and happiness among those your cross.

    That’s a long list of free things to do instead of spending money!

    If you’re ever wondering what you can do with your time for free, then make sure you refer back to this list! Life is not all about the money and this list proves there are plenty of things you can do without spending any money.