6 Ways to Be Frugal Without Using Coupons

6 Ways to Be Frugal Without Using Coupons

In sort of a continuation of my post Why I’m Not an Extreme Couponer, I though I’d follow up with some of my ideas to save money without using coupons!  After all, I personally think coupon usage is a very small aspect of frugal living.

Use Less

You know how many household products, such as laundry detergent, give you guidelines on how much product you should use each time?  Well, I rebel and always use less product than what is recommended 🙂  After all, in the case of laundry detergent, it’s actually the washing motion that cleans the clothing, for the most part.  While I was in Africa (years ago) I never once saw laundry being done with Tide, let alone a washing machine!

Use Alternatives

There’s usually a cheaper alternative for most high priced items out there.  For example, Jet-Dry.  I use vinegar in the place of Jet-Dry and my dishes come out sparkling!  Another thing I do is use cottage cheese in place of Ricotta cheese in recipes like lasagna.  Cottage cheese is a much cheaper alternative and contains a lot of protein!

Shop Less

I’ve been finding myself shopping a bit more than usual lately.  Mostly because I’m trying to pick up the baby necessities I know we’ll need when we bring the baby home from the hospital. (diapers, wipes, etc.)  But do you know what else I’m discovering with my more frequent shopping?  I’m spending quite a bit more money on things that I think might be useful.  Spur of the moment purchases.  The fact is, the less shopping you do, the less stuff you’ll discover that you “need”, therefore, you’ll be spending less money.

Make More

I have completely stopped buying cleaning products.   I know I can get cleaning products really cheap by using coupons, but I’m just not comfortable with the toxins involved and the fact that I’m still paying taxes and the difference the coupons don’t cover.  I LOVE the natural cleaning kit I created.  Saves me a bundle and it’s fun!

Same goes for meals.  The more you make at home, the more you’ll save, even if you “splurge” on some ingredients!

I always find it very satisfying when I create something at home that I know I could have spent a fortune on at a store!

Evaluate and Make Changes

From time to time, evaluate the services you make use of regularly (phones, TV, internet, etc.) to see if there are any changes you could make to lower your bills.  If you want to hit a financial goal much faster, consider cancelling a service in its entirety to get you there.  If you’re paying an outrageous interest rate on a credit card, call up your credit card company to negotiate a lower interest rate.  If you’re spending a billion dollars on gas each month, assess how you do your errands/get to work to see if there are any changes you could make to lower your cost.

Swap with friends/family

Someone you know usually has something you need that they would be happy to let you borrow.  I do this all the time with my Mom.  She has mini muffin tins that I like to use, while I have a mini loaf pan that she likes to use, so we just swap!  We’ve been doing a lot of this in regards to the baby stuff we need.  My sister in law sent along all her newborn clothes so we hardly have to buy any clothes for the first little while!  What I like most about this frugal technique is that we won’t be storing very much long term since it will go back to the person it’s borrowed from when they need it again!  Perfect for me and my desire to have less stuff in my home!

What are your favourite ways to be frugal without using coupons?


  1. When you do have to buy things, buy them second hand whenever possible. Shop at garage sales or thrift stores for children’s clothing like Changeroo.ca.

  2. Great tips! I never thought about swapping the ricotta with cream cheese in casserole type recipes – and I’ve shied away from these recipes because of how expensive cheese can be. Keep up the great work – I always look forward to your posts!

  3. I love your post(s) on not being an extreme couponer! Another way we saved BIG money – I guess it would fall under the “use less” category – with our daughter was “infant potty training” or “elimination communication”. While we didn’t start at the very beginning…we started when she was 6 months old and saved a small fortune on diapers. Plus, we we became more “in tune” with her schedule. (We would have very few diaper “malfunctions” or diaper “blow outs”.) Also, I only used baby wipes for going out. I just bought a bunch of small facecloths and used them (I throw them in the wash with the other baby items). Better for the environment, better on her skin and we still use them to wipe up after meal time messes! 🙂

  4. I use my vacuum sealer to reseal bags in my pantry and this keeps every thing fresh and allows me to buy in bulk with out things going stale or having to dish out to buy expensive containers. It saves me so much and in so many ways that I even wrote a blog about it. I also like to do DIY projects when I can re-purposing things to reduce waste and save me from having to buy new.

  5. These are some great tips! I recently re-evaluated my phone bill & called my service provider to cancel our land line. I was put through a customer loyalty rep and they lowered my bill & let me keep the land line – sometimes it pays to ask for a discount 🙂

  6. I like to cook extra when making dinner, almost double then what we need, I then pack all the extra up into small lunch containers and my husband gets to have yummy HOT lunches for dinner. I also, like to dice up chicken or meat and add to dishes, I feel that I get stretch meat a lot farther since it is sooo expensive. Or another thing I like to do in regards to meat is I boil it in it’s seasoning and then shred it… We love to eat Mexican so this works really well for us. With three chicken breasts I can usually make 2 dinners and have some for 2 lunches too… And the best part is, is that you’d never realize you are getting less meat.

    Another thing that I have just started is making my own laundry detergent! You’d be surprised how easy it is! And it works out to be about $0.02 per load!! I have done a lot of price comparing when it comes to this and for full priced laundry detergent it’s usually around $0.25 and at the cheapest I have seen around $0.08 per load… That is anywhere from 4x to 22x more expensive than making it yourself. The batches are so big that you don’t have to make it often either.

    In regards to my daughter’s clothing, I try to by her used clothes or I buy most of her clothes off the sales rack.

    I have also started making my own hand and body soaps… it really cuts a lot of costs.

    And like most everyone else that commented I coupon, and I too do it as a hobby I love finding out how much I have saved at the end of a shopping trip. I also buy A LOT of something when it is on sale to last me a while.

  7. While I enjoy coupon, I try to treat at as a hobby. I work, I earn good money. My co-workers have asked me why I coupon, but I just describe it as a hobby. Some people make model airplane or bake, I coupon. But even before that, I have always loved my life as minimalistically as possible. I drive a beater of a car, but it just haven’t died, so til the mechanic tels me I need to, I’m driving it into the ground ( 2500 5 years ago with some regular little fixes has been great). I do creative cooking with what we have on hand. I do not consider shopping as a recreation, and I’m trying to teach my kids, “people matter, not stuff”. I kijiji for extra money and to find deals. I pass along children clothes, and accept Anything that is offered. I’m not brand picky. I make my own coffee and take it to work. I pack lunches 95% of the time. And all in all, I have found that lack of planning is a huge cause of peoples expenses. ( and god forbide I say laziness). That’s not to say that we Never run out of milk, but I do have a stash of soy milk downstairs in case of cereal emergencies.

  8. I make my own bread/bagels, etc which helps cuts down on cost, a lot.
    I use way less laundry detergent then they say is necessary. I buy ECOS and therefore only buy maybe 1 container a year and there’s no real need for bounce sheets.
    I use vinegar in my dishwasher instead of jet dry.
    These are just a few ways that I can think of.

  9. I follow your blog and on facebook, and I really agree with this! I use vinegar for so many things! I like how you included this in addition to couponing as a foundation for saving money. I love couponing, but I will admit that alot of the coupons do relate to things I wouldn’t normally buy-ie, unnecessary cleaning products. I suppose this in part, is why the companies make the coupons. Anyways, I enjoyed this 🙂

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