6 Fun Ways to be Frugal That Won’t Make You Feel Poor

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I am so tired of reading financial advice that tells me to give up my daily coffee or monthly mani/pedi in order to stretch my budget. I think most people know that when money is tight you have to cut out non-essential expenses. But, all this talk about a coffee and mani/pedi free life has given frugality a bad name. You can be frugal and still have fun. You can be careful with money and not be poor. After all, I think the best money advice is one that helps you be responsible while still enjoying life.

All this talk about a coffee and mani/pedi free life has given frugality a bad name. You can be frugal and still have fun. You can be careful with money and not be poor. Here are 6 ways to be frugal that won't make you feel poor...

6 ways to be frugal that won’t make you feel poor

1. Use the library

The library is a magical place where you can borrow books (including audio and ebooks), movies, music, magazines, newspapers, atlases and road maps for free. But, you might find some unexpected items as well. My library, also, has a selection of cake pans and musical instruments you can check out, and some libraries even have artwork you can borrow.

2. Get cash back when you shop

If you are going to make a purchase, you might as well get rewarded for doing it. My favorite cash back site is Ebates (get $10 when you use my referral link), which offers offers up to 20% cash back at more than 1,800 online stores. I just bought a pair of New Balance sneakers and was excited to see that I earned 10% cash back on my purchase. Ebates pays on a quarterly basis (minimum $5 for payout), and it’s a nice way to get a little mad money.

3. Sell your stuff

Depending on your personality, this tip may or may not seem fun to you; however, I like making money off things I no longer need. For clothing, I like to use Tradesy (get $20.00 off your first purchase of $50.00+ with my referral link and see my review here) and Poshmark (Sign up with AKALEISTAR to get $5 off your 1st order). The apps make it easy to snap pics and add details about what I’m selling, and both companies provide free shipping for sellers. For books, I usually use Amazon, and Ebay is for pretty much anything else.

4. Earn rewards with credit cards

Make sure your credit cards are earning a place in your wallet. Many cards now offer reward points or cash back on most purchases that can be redeemed for gift cards and travel miles. If you only charge what you can pay off every month, credit card rewards can be a great way to get more bang for your buck. Plus, this tip works great in combination with Ebates.

5. Try cooking most of your meals at home

I’m not one who loves to eat out. I enjoy spending time in the kitchen and don’t mind eating leftovers. If this isn’t you, don’t feel pressured to give up your dining out habit, but an occasional meal at home can be a good break for your wallet. If you need ideas, a one pan dinner can be a great place to start.

6. Rethink entertainment

I can’t shut up about what a great deal Moviepass is. For less than $10 a month, you can see a movie every 24 hours. It makes going to the movies much more affordable. If movies aren’t your thing, Living Social and Groupon are good ways to save on events happening around town. But, getting out of the house doesn’t have to cost you money. My area has a wonderful art museum that has no entrance fee, and in the summer, there is music in the park.

What are your favorites ways to be frugal?

P.S. If you like this post, you might, also, enjoy Unplug: Thoughts on Slowing Down!

As some of you know, I started a business with Chloe + Isabel, a jewelry + fashion lifestyle company based in New York City. My Online Boutique features my hand-picked selection of our products – I’d love to know what you think!


  1. Great advice- I have been selling on poshmark a lot lately and it really helps me feel like I am in my own control of making extra money. Love it! I also have a credit card that you get rewards points on- what do you use yours for most often? I wanted to use mine for travel but when I looked into it- you needed like an insane amount of points to get anything!

  2. I was so surprised by how much I saved just by using the library- it was over $1,000 just last year! I also love getting paid for shopping online (something I do regularly anyway!) and selling my stuff online- de-cluttering AND making money- double win! I had nearly stopped going to the movies because of how much it cost, but there are a lot of movies I’m interested in coming out this year, so I’m getting the Moviepass next month. These are great and easy tips to being frugal!

  3. Hi Ashley!

    My favorite tip is, use the library. It sounds simple, but there are so many people that don’t even think about using the library. I have several relatives who spend way too much at the bookstore simply because they don’t have a library account. It blows my mind!


  4. I actually can’t use the library because I simply can’t rent a book. If I read it, I have to buy it. But I do have a lot of clothes that I really don’t want anymore. I tend to donate them, but I have to see about selling the ones in good condition. And I also totally love Moviepass. I see at least two movies a month, so it works out in my favor.
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  5. These are great suggestions. My husband has gotten really good about seeking out credit card offers that give us cash back and have other perks. And now that we’ve joined a book club, visiting the library would definitely help us cut some costs. Right now we’re both buying our own new copies of these books so we can read at the same time and discuss. There are certainly smarter, more frugal ways we should go about this moving forward.

    And while I do consign my clothes with a local shop, if money got super tight, I could certainly make more selling them myself through Poshmark. It’s such an awesome and user-friendly app.

    Thanks for sharing your tips, and have a great weekend!

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  6. I always like to save money but it never works out as well as I like. I’m frugal on something and love splurging on others. I like the tips of cooking most of my meals at home, that always saves me tons of money. Have a great weekend Ashley 🙂

  7. A huge yes to using the library. I read over 100 books a year and try to get as many as I can from the library rather than purchasing them. It’s a huge money saver and if you use the library’s Hold system, you can plan ahead and reserve copies of new releases and not have to wait too long for them.

  8. These are all great tips! I practically live at the library and they pull up my account without having to use my card. (lol) I need to try poshmark and tradesy for clothing. I use craigslist, offerup and ebay for toys and hygiene items. I also live on survey sites where I can usually score about $30 a month. I’m also a serious coupon fanatic, and try everything I can to get deals. (lol) Thanks again, I always love hearing about deals and ways to save. Hugs…RO

  9. Love this post! You are so spot on about the coffee…I read that same one constantly too! I think cooking at home and/or packing a lunch is the best way to save $. I just came home from a week in Chicago and I packed a lunch so I wouldn’t have to eat out every single day. I still enjoyed one breakfast out and a couple of dinners, so I wasn’t deprived. And the best thing? I didn’t gain any weight on this vacation!
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  10. I feel the richest when I’m at the library! It’s nice to pick up almost as many books as you want and you get to take them home and grow your brain, and then come back and get more! It’s the best. I’m so glad my kids get just as excited to fill their arms with books as my husband and I do. 🙂

    I don’t Posh anymore because my Poshmark account was kids’ stuff, it did well, but not as good as adult stuff. Before I left Washington I gave all my PM store goodies away. My daughter still has hers tho, she’s an ambassador. 🙂