Being Frugal To Pay Off Debt - 21 Frugal Living Tips

being frugal to pay off debt

Who doesn’t have debt in this day and age? Of course, there are all kinds of debt ranging from a mortgage that most people have, through to bank loans, credit card balances, and overdrafts.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be mortgage-free? The goal in our house is to pay off the mortgage ASAP.

One of the ways we are doing this is to reign in everyday spending as much as possible without it becoming miserable for us.

My grandmother used to say ‘look after your pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ and I think this is so true.

If you are serious about paying off debt, I assume you are already doing the obvious, like for example not buying a new car, not taking an expensive holiday and so on.

In this post, I’m going to help you save the pennies because, in the long run, they all add up to a lot of pounds or dollars in the end.

First off, here are two things you should do first.

  1. Make a budget
  2. Aim to pay off the worst of your debt first, in other words, the debt with the highest interest rate

Next, I’m going to take you through all the frugal habits we use to help us pay off debt all the more quickly.

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being frugal to pay off debt save on your grocery bill

Saving on your grocery bill

Cook at home to save money

If you want to save money and pay off debt my number one tip would be to always home cook. Not only can you save money by eating out less, but you might also find you eat more healthily too.

If you can make the effort to prepare your lunch at home you will find that over time you will save a lot of cash by not buying your sandwich.

Cooking ideas from Penny:

Use a slow cooker

I love my slow cooker because it means that not only can I make a delicious meal ahead, but also I can use cheap cuts of meat. If you don’t have a slow cooker (or crockpot) you can buy them very cheaply online. I have probably the cheapest you can buy and it does the job perfectly. Slow cookers use a much smaller amount of energy when compared to an oven.

Avoid food waste

I find the easiest way to make sure I don’t waste food is to make a meal plan. From a meal plan, you can make your shopping list. That way you only buy what you need for the week. Nothing more.

Buy your food as cheaply as possible

I have loads of posts on this blog to help you save on your groceries.

ecoegg pros and cons

Household savings

Make and mend

Learning to do simple DIY tasks around the house, can save an incredible amount of money compared to hiring help.

We have been able to fix a lot of things in our house by just watching Youtube videos. We have learned how to lay a patio, render a wall, even simple plastering jobs have been done with the help of a video.

Dry your clothes outside

If you have a garden consider drying your clothes outside instead of using an expensive tumble dryer.

Wash your clothes in cold water

Turn down the temperature on your washing machine, and if you have a cold option, try that too. I find that cold is just as good at cleaning clothes as a warm wash. I found that whites need a warm wash, but the rest can be cold no problem.

Avoid expensive cleaners

You could spend a lot on cleaners if you wanted to! Cleaners can have several jobs.

Take washing up liquid, for example, we use it to clean the bathroom as well as the dishes.

I love microfiber cloths because they are truly multipurpose. You can do so much with them including dusting, washing up, drying up, polishing, cleaning work surfaces, cleaning windows, washing the car and more!

Did you know you could use homemade detergent to clean your microfiber cloths?

Never buy new

We bought our last washing machine second-hand for the first time ever and saved big. Usually, we buy white goods from new, but after the last one packed up well before expected, we thought we might as well get one second-hand this time.

I found a machine on eBay that was only three months old. We saved at least one third on the price of a new one. It has been working perfectly for 18 months now. Fingers crossed it carries on for many more years.

Use less water

Choose showers over baths because showers use less water than baths. Conserve the water you use in your shower by:

  • Turning off the water while you lather up
  • Catching the cold water (before the water warms up) in a bucket and use it to water your garden.
  • Switching your showerhead to one with a lower flow rate (which doesn’t reduce the pressure).

Turn down the heating

Turning down your heating thermostat even by just one degree can make a big difference to your heating bill for the year.

woman running

Ditch your gym and keep fit for free

If you have expensive gym membership consider some alternatives if you can. There are lots of ways you can get fit on a budget without having to shell out a monthly fee. Youtube has thousands of free and good quality work out videos. You could do a new one every day and never get bored.

Walking and running are both cheap too. All you need is a pair of gym trainers and you are all set to get started.

Miss the social side of the gym? Get a running buddy or join a running club.

Buy fewer clothes

How many clothes do you really need? If you think you have nothing to wear, why not do what I did and go through your wardrobe? You might well find things you had forgotten about.

Fed up with your wardrobe? How about circling your clothing instead and get new clothes for free?

Avoid using the car

As well as helping you get fit avoiding using the car can save on your wallet too, not to mention the environment, wear and tear on your car. The list is long.

Better still, get rid of the car altogether if you can.

Find a side hustle

Is your budget telling you that you need to earn more to meet your goals? One option is to ask your boss for a raise. Another option is to have a second income that you can earn in your spare time.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Become a virtual assistant
  • Start a blog
  • Sell goods on eBay
  • Rent out your spare room
  • Deliver for Amazon
  • Put an advert on your car

Start a blog

Starting your own blog is something you can do with relatively little expense. don’t expect this to be a get rich quick option. It takes time before you start to earn money from your blog.

Once your blog becomes established you can monetize it with ads or affiliations such as Amazon and it can start to earn money for you.

I recommend this guide to get you on the right track for your new blog.

being frugal to pay off debt - ask for a raise

Ask your boss for a raise

If you don’t ask you don’t get! It can’t hurt to ask your boss for more money. Before you do so, make sure that you are prepared to make your case. Explain with practical examples, how you are performing above your paygrade.

A good time to demonstrate your worth to your company is at your annual review.

Live simply

My final tip is to just live simply!

Do you really need that new car or an expensive holiday? You can just as easily get around in a cheaper car. Memorable holidays can be created with much less money too.

Do you really need to eat out so many times during the week?

It’s a fine balance saving money without sacrificing your happiness. If you find yourself becoming fed up or even depressed, then it’s time to tweak things a little bit. It’s far better to make tweaks than give up altogether.

Think of the big picture.


Penny | SparklingPenny

Hi, I'm Penny. A busy mum of two boys and one dog, with the aim to enjoy life to the full.