No matter where your family stands financially, who doesn’t like to spend less money when they can? I love a good bargain, and I especially love finding money-saving tips for those everyday purchases, like groceries, that everyone needs to buy.
But let’s face it, the past few years have made it a lot harder for families to pay for those day-to-day expenses. From food to clothing to other kids’ stuff, supply-chain issues and runaway inflation have left many families scrambling with how to manage daily expenses. These frugal living tips may not score you massive savings everyday, but every little bit adds up – and over time, these best frugal living tips can help offset rising prices across the board.
And best of all, there are so many more ways to spend less money than there used to be! Saving money has gone so far beyond just clipping coupons out of the Sunday paper. So if you’re ready to learn how to spend less on everyday purchases, read on for my fave tips for how to manage daily expenses:
Originally published July 29. 2019; last updated February 2024.
Money-Saving Tips to Spend Less On Everyday Purchases
1. Spend Less Money on Food
There are so many ways you can trim your household budget when it comes to those everyday purchases you pick up along with the milk. (If you don’t yet HAVE a family budget, start here.) While many families no longer subscribe to their local newspaper, you might consider just getting the Sunday edition for the coupons, if you regularly use the brand-name items you’re most likely to find in the weekly Sunday circulars.
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There are also plenty of online couponing sites that some people swear by, though I personally haven’t had much luck with them. Many other mamas on tight budgets do strict budget-control by meal-planning each week (or even by the month), or using systems like cash in envelopes to limit their spending. Or you can follow those bloggers whose business involves promoting coupons and deals, such as Money Saving Mom.
My favorite ways to save money on food include these hacks:
- NEVER shop hungry! Always shop right AFTER you’ve had a decent meal, or at least a hearty snack. (The same goes for if you’re bringing your kids with you.)
- Shop – and plan meals, as much as possible – around what’s in season, what’s local, and/or what’s on sale. (There’s often a lot of overlap among these categories.) Browse the store’s sale flyer when you get to the store. Stock up on things you use regularly when they’re on sale, and you’ll never have to pay full-price for them again.
- Or make a trip once or twice a month to places where you can stock up on those regular-use items for less. In the summer, I do this with plain nonfat Greek yogurt and berries (what I eat for breakfast every morning) at Costco. In the winter, when I trade in my berry parfaits for morning oatmeal, I buy quick oats and other staples at a local discount supermarket that sells pantry staples in bulk packaging.
- Get dinner inspo from the clearance pile, where pricier items like meats are often up to 75% off.
- Sign up for your store’s discount card. If they have a pharmacy, you can often get additional cash off grocery bills by filling your prescriptions at the store pharmacy.
- And finally, learn how to stack coupons. In our area, we can usually only use one manufacturer’s coupon per item, but many of our local stores will double manufacturer’s coupons up to a certain amount. And you can stack manufacturer’s coupons with store coupons, meaning you can sometimes end up getting items for free (or for pennies)!
2. How to Spend Less Money on Kids’ Gear
There are so many ways you can keep your kids clothed, entertained, and equipped without paying full price! Which you prefer is up to you, and depends in part on where you live.
- If you’re in a more densely-populated area, you probably have tons of options to score stuff secondhand from neighbors. Craigslist, Freecycle, Amazon Marketplace, Facebook Marketplace, and local online Facebook yard sale/virtual yard sale groups are all easy ways to save money on kids’ necessities. So are tag sales, community bulletin boards/listservs, and “for sale” ad spaces at work.
- If you’re in a more rural area, you may need to plan your purchases more carefully to score the best deals. For example, watching Ebay or Amazon Warehouse Deals for those big-ticket items you know your kids will be needing for their sports/hobbies in a few months. I start with Amazon’s warehouse deals pretty much everytime I shop there, because I’d just as soon save a few bucks on someone else’s returned item, or something whose box got dented at the warehouse, instead of paying full price. Scoring warehouse deals is one of my all-time best tips on saving money for things you’re going to purchase anyway!
Best tips on saving money on kids’ stuff:
Hands-down, #1 is shopping at consignment sales. (Though I used to shop at thrift shops and consignment stores, too, and still do if I need something in a pinch. Like the next-size-up swimsuit for one of the girls, when it’s late July and all the retail stores have is their fall clothing lines!)
Not all consignment sales are created equal, but the biggest and best will have a HUGE assortment of everything your kids will need for the upcoming season – most gently-used, some brand-new – at a fraction of the regular retail price. It’s truly one-stop shopping for everything baby- and kid-related, up through elementary school age; tweens and teens are often more hit-and-miss. (You can check this online directory as well as this one to see what sales are within driving distance of where you live, and when they take place.)
My next favorite strategy is to shop for the next size(s) up at end-of-season clearance sales. Now that the girls are getting older, I’m starting to buy them more things new, especially things like bathing suits and quick-drying technical clothing for camping/hiking/etc. I can’t stand paying full price, though, so I plan ahead and buy one size up at end-of-season sales.
3. Frugal Tips for Living when Shopping Online
There are soooo many ways to save online, and not all of them revolve around waiting for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Prime Days
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First and foremost, you’re probably already on some email lists, where your fave merchants regularly send you sale alerts and online promo codes. Use them.
Not yet on their mailing lists? Sign up for a free email account just to collect “e-junk mail” (mine is an old Hotmail account!). That way, you can log in whenever you need a coupon or discount code, but you’re not cluttering up your regular inbox with all those promos when you don’t need them.
You can also open an incognito browser (unless you don’t mind seeing a gazillion ads for that merchant everywhere you go for the next month), and do a web search for “Promo Code [name of merchant].”
My personal fave tip to spend less money online:
The most popular of these is Rakuten (formerly called Ebates), which I’ve used for years. (Not yet a member? ✅Check it out here, and you can earn an extra $10 cash back bonus with your first purchase!)
I’ve earned over $600 in cash back from Ebates since I started using it in earnest a few years ago. Along the way, I’ve learned a bunch of tips and tricks to get the most cash back from this online-rebate machine.
More recently, I’ve tried a similar program called BeFrugal. It works about the same as Ebates, but I’ve noticed that its cash-back percentages at many popular online retailers are even higher than those Ebates offers! (Plus, they offer cash back at some of my favorite online merchants that aren’t part of the Ebates family.)
✅Browse the BeFrugal cash-back partners here, and earn an extra $10 cash back bonus the first time you buy with BeFrugal!
What are YOUR best ways to spend less money on everyday purchases?
Your turn! How does YOUR family save on those everyday purchases you know you’ll make anyway? What are your fave saving tips, whether shopping for food, kids’ stuff, or online? Let us know in the comments!
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