So many things can prevent us from living a frugal life. Everyone faces their own challenges, whether or not we know a big expense is coming or if it’s an unpleasant surprise. Unexpected bills can happen at any time. When life causes us to get into a financial mess, we need frugal living hacks to get back on track.

When we were younger, we often let our credit card debt get out of control. We sometimes had more than one card that was almost reaching the maximum allowance. Instead of knocking out the debt immediately, life circumstances (like car repairs or medical bills) would bring us into serious credit card debt. When that happened we had a little budget meeting. To get out of debt we would go on a caveman budget and pay down the card quickly.

Caveman Budget

We called it a caveman budget (similar to a caveman diet). Sometimes we would discontinue unnecessary services, such as cable, newspaper delivery, or magazines. We made the choice to avoid all dining out and events that were unnecessary. There were no clothing purchases or movie nights out. We cut spending to the bone. There were months that we even took a No-Spend month. And, we usually paid off the credit cards in a few short months.

We were a family that have moved numerous times. The first few moves were when we were younger and had stronger backs. We had all of our accumulated possessions plus my husband’s parent’s possessions. The belongings had not been gone through and we ended up having to move ourselves with two huge truckloads. This was very expensive and exhausting work.

By the time we reached middle age, my husband decided that he wasn’t moving all that stuff again. We weren’t using most of it and had to store it in our attic or a paid storage unit. This was a lot of extra work and expensive. We decided to de-clutter our belongings.

Credit Cards

De-Clutter Possessions

We started with the house and made four piles: things to keep, things to donate, things to recycle, and things to trash. As we found things to keep, we immediately boxed them up and labeled them. The things to be donated were placed in one pile. The trashed stuff went immediately into trash bags. Each week the trash was dragged out to the road, where it was picked up by the waste management.

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Our donation pile grew and grew. We had so much that we called our local thrift store to come and pick up everything at one time. We had them sign our itemized list, which made the donation tax deductible. Our recycle pile was also quite large. As we sorted our belongings, we already had boxes set up to divide the recycling into: cardboard, glass, plastic, and metal. My husband took all the stuff to a local recycling center.

Getting rid of many of our unneeded belongings made our next move so much lighter. We only moved with one truck, instead of two. We saved tons of money and knew that we had done our best with everything that we got rid of.


Make Do With Less

After getting rid of things that we didn’t need, our entire lives felt lighter. We had less junk, but also had less clothes, shoes, books, and knick-knacks. We didn’t miss all those other things, and made a choice to not buy lots of things we didn’t really need. It was much better to feel content with less. As we adapted to living with less stuff, we looked at new purchases differently.

We started trying to see how we could prevent future unnecessary purchases, by changing our thinking. Did we really need a new shiny object? Couldn’t we just use something we already had? As we looked around, we usually found that the new purchase wasn’t necessary. This really saved our budget!

Put A 24 Hour Hold On New Purchases

Many times when we browsed beautiful things on the internet, we’re tempted to just click and put that item into the cart. It’s also so tempting to just keep our credit card number in our favorite store’s online site. Before we knew it, we made too many purchases. Instead of making quick and unnecessary purchases, we decided to stop and think about it for 24 hours. If we talked it over and decided that we really needed it (and it was the best price available), then we would click purchase.

Frugal Living Hacks

These 4 Frugal-Living Hacks have helped me over the years to live a more frugal life. Making poor buying decisions is something that everyone can do. When that happens to you, don’t be so hard on yourself. Life happens! But, after that, remember these hacks and get back on track. What is your favorite Frugal Living Hack?

@2020, copyright Lisa Ehrman

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Lisa Ehrman
Lisa Ehrman
Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.

Lisa Ehrman

Lisa has been blogging since 2013, and loves sharing resources and ideas for living a simple life. To get free printables, bonus words, and more - sign up for the newsletter.


Hannah Chase · June 27, 2020 at 9:51 pm

These are great hacks. I like the idea of putting a 24 hour hold on new purchases. I have to try that.

    Lisa Ehrman · June 28, 2020 at 9:50 am

    Thanks, Hannah. It works for me (most of the time) πŸ™‚

Debbie P · June 28, 2020 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for the great hacks. I know first hand how much it stinks when you screw up your credit.

Amber Kolb · June 28, 2020 at 4:40 pm

I definitely want to work on decluttering and putting a hold on 24 hour purchases. Thanks for the tips and ideas!

Helen · June 30, 2020 at 11:39 am

These are some great tips that I can definitely put to use. The waiting 24 hours to purchase things would have to be my favorite.

    Lisa Ehrman · June 30, 2020 at 5:22 pm

    Thanks, I think it’s my favorite, too πŸ™‚

Sue E · June 30, 2020 at 10:57 pm

I understand stand these hacks first hand! Plus we are really good at doing without! With 4 daughters and 15 grandkids, it’s a must. We always try to teach them too.
Thank you for sharing!

    Lisa Ehrman · July 1, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Congratulations on all the grandchildren! It’s wonderful that you’re passing on your priceless lessons πŸ™‚

Sara Zielinski · July 1, 2020 at 12:44 pm

These are great frugal hacks

KariLorr · July 1, 2020 at 1:22 pm

I strongly believe in waiting at least 24 hours before purchasing something. It has helped me a lot.

Jodi Hunter · July 12, 2020 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for the tips, we are having to be super frugal right now.

    Lisa Ehrman · July 13, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Glad to be helpful, Jodi πŸ™‚ Stay safe.

deb pelletier · July 14, 2020 at 9:47 pm

Some great ideas, I declutter at lease once a year.

    Lisa Ehrman · July 15, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Thanks, Deb. It sure feels good when it’s done!

Calvin · July 16, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Re thinking strategies over the summer is more important than ever, thanks for the hacks.

    Lisa Ehrman · July 16, 2020 at 1:46 pm

    You’re welcome. Glad to offer helpful posts πŸ™‚

Thomas Gibson · August 2, 2020 at 11:23 pm

I really appreciate articles like this. We have to all become more frugal in order to survive the economic fallout soon to come.

Christina S · August 6, 2020 at 2:37 pm

Thanks for these, I need to be more and more frugal these days. money is tight!

    Lisa Ehrman · August 6, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I’m so very happy that it’s helpful πŸ™‚

monique s · August 9, 2020 at 7:49 am

I love the 24 hour hold on new purchases. A great way to avoid impulse buys

    Lisa Ehrman · August 9, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks! Yes, it helps me to not purchase for emotional reasons.

Betty Curran · August 15, 2020 at 9:06 pm

I’ve been using the 24 hour hold for quite some time but it hasn’t always worked out well. There have been times when I’ve waited more than24 hours and suddenly I’ve decided I have to have that item today and have ended up paying more for it. It’s still a good idea though.

    Lisa Ehrman · August 16, 2020 at 11:44 am

    Paying more for something is not the outcome anyone wants πŸ™

Julie Barrett · September 20, 2020 at 9:45 am

Such great tips! I also try to live with less and purge regularly.

    Lisa Ehrman · September 20, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Thanks, Julie! It seems to be the best way πŸ™‚

Shannon · October 6, 2020 at 12:47 pm

Thanks for all of these great hacks. I like the 24 hour hold on new purchases.

Suzanne Greene · October 6, 2020 at 3:41 pm

These are some really great hacks, I can see how they would save lots of money.

megan allen · November 13, 2020 at 10:25 am

Yes these are all great tips! Especially make do with less! Thanks for sharing!

Natalie · November 16, 2020 at 2:56 pm

I am in serious need of decluttering! Sometimes I get overwhelmed with how to go through everything.

    Lisa Ehrman · November 16, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    Clutter just seems to appear, doesn’t it? It’s hard to keep up!

megan allen · December 23, 2020 at 1:38 pm

I am definitely a frugal liver! Thanks for these helpful tips! Love reading your advice!

Cheryl Everitt · January 17, 2021 at 6:45 pm

I guess you could say we are on the caveman budget. Cutting our budget has been really hard, but it is getting better.

Kari B · April 10, 2021 at 8:54 am

I’m working on decluttering my possessions for a move. Hoping it will make for a cheaper and easier move.

Sarah L · April 16, 2021 at 9:38 pm

I firmly believe in the 24 hour rule before making a purchase. I usually make myself wait at least a couple of days.

gloria patterson · July 1, 2021 at 6:05 pm

these are great ideal/hacks and a lot of them I have done. We have so much stuff in our lives that we don’t use or need any more. When I moved in to a senior high rise I got rid of so much stuff. I called in a charity to pick it all up in box truck. And I never missed any of the stuff.

Lauryn R · August 13, 2021 at 10:59 am

These are great hacks for saving money, thank you so much for sharing! Every year I go through our stuff and donate sell what we no longer need.

Melanie B · December 15, 2021 at 2:47 pm

Great hacks to live by! It’s liberating to declutter and get rid of stuff you no longer need; donating to the less fortunate is always a good thing.

Nancy · March 14, 2022 at 8:29 pm

I personally appreciate the bare-boned K.I.S.S. principle when it comes to “simply” better living.

Brittany Gilley · April 4, 2022 at 2:33 pm

thanks for these great tips

Sarah Pearce · April 13, 2022 at 12:38 pm

These are great. Now I need to train my brain to learn to live by them.

gloria patterson · April 18, 2022 at 2:48 pm

Thi9s is a lot of good information for people…. My favorite Make Do With Less

I live in a senior high rise 106 apartments. There are people here that have closet full of boxes that they have not opened in YEARS. Twice a month I go through and find stuff that I don’t sue or want and take it down to our giveaway table. I am all for LESS

gloria patterson · April 23, 2022 at 12:54 pm

All of this is very good information. I am a big fan of Make Do With Less What does anyone need a dozen pair of sandals or sneakers. I am for less is more and ever week I try to add to my donate bag

Calvin · May 11, 2022 at 9:07 am

I can relate, our recycle pile is huge too, especially since covid.

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