It’s 2023 and inflation is a beast. Most of us are trying our best to save on our electric bills, pinch our pennies and figure out how to save at the grocery store. Chances are, after all this effort you probably want a few less-stressful ways to save that don’t require a bunch of planning and effort.
Often, being frugal can feel like a slog and you don’t see the results of your hard work right away. If you’re trying to build momentum and pay off your debt, or just stave off getting any more- emotionally, you may benefit from some easy to save without really trying. Racking up a few satisfying experiences that save you money might just be the boost you need.
So, here are some fun ideas to get you started for some quick, frugal wins!
If you and your kids are always used to spending weekends at the stores, or going out for expensive activities- scaling back your lifestyle to save can be a real bummer. Each city offers cultural activities for free, every weekend and your local library is a treasure trove of free items to borrow!
Initially, when we as a family, wanted to scale back our entertainment costs- the idea of going to the free, public park instead of the trampoline park (which was about $20 per person) was a huge letdown. We felt like we were depriving our kids of fun, but honestly- we had succumbed to lifestyle creep.
We took a lesson from our favorite video games- treat your savings like a quest. Instead of saying you need to find free activities, which can be a bit sad, frame up your cost saving efforts as a side quest to try all the parks in your area, or do a story time at every library within driving distance.
You can even create a checklist where you or your kids can color in, or add stickers for every place you visit. Not bad!
Birthdays come but once a year, but if you have a larger family, or even some friends you can drag along, birthdays are the best days to get free stuff! Every year, we love to make it a quest to find free birthday stuff – from free ice cream to free coupons to use later.
Taking a day off from work to just go around and find your favorite freebies can make the day a bit better. Especially for most of us adults, who really have scaled back celebrating anyway, we can make it a bit more special for free!
I don’t even mess with Goodwill anymore. I find that the prices are outrageous for used items, and unfortunately- since my husband has worked with disadvantaged groups for work, he hasn’t seen a whole lot of good come from the jobs or programs Goodwill provides in local communities.
As such, we’ve decided that we would rather post our stuff that needs to go on Facebook Buy Nothing Groups. For larger items, we will list on Facebook Marketplace and sell items we aren’t using for our kids, and turn the cash around to buy items for the next stage.
Yes, sometimes it’s hard to wait for the right item to come up used, or even for free on Facebook, but it’s worth the wait.
We’ve found people have overwhelmingly been great on Facebook, either to get free stuff, or sell things. While we’ve seen some Zelle scams pop up, if you’re careful and know what to look for, you can avoid the most common “pay upfront” type scams.
Okay, so this one takes a bit of work, but boy is it satisfying! Every year, we go through our subscriptions and cancel everything we can.
We’ve found there’s been iPhone apps we no longer pay for, streaming services that just haven’t been hitting lately and subscription boxes that are about to re-up outside of the introductory rate that need to go. Taking 30 minutes to comb through your credit card statements or do an inventory of what you’re spending is key.
There are also services that will help you do this, but I find that I can easily identify what’s costing me money by looking around my home and can recall where my money is going!