Finance, Save Money

17 Things Frugal People Don’t Do

Learning from frugal people is a great way to really start to understand where you can do better for your finances! Frugal people can teach you how to budget, how to save money, and how to make more money! #money #finance #frugal

Hello beautiful people! 

Over the years I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to learn about something you don’t know about is to learn from experts. Since I’ve been trying to build this blog on a budget (my blog only costs me $4/month) I’ve been looking toward the frugal blogging community for help. I’ve noticed a few thing that are very consistent that most self-proclaimed “frugal” people never do. 

#1 – Borrow Money

When you think about your life and your finances do you just assume you’re going to be borrowing money forever? Our society has normalized debt in the most insane ways. People think they can’t get a car without a loan and nobody thinks that it’s even possible to own a home without a mortgage. Debt is the norm and chances are you believe that debt is normal and that you’ll never escape it. 

Frugal people are always pushing toward paying cash for anything and everything they can. They cash flow school for their children, they save up the money for that new car, they’ll do just about anything to avoid having monthly payments. Frugal people hate paying interest. They know that interest rates are just throwing away money. They never use credit. 

#2 – Window Shop

Window shopping is the first thing I avoid when I know I don’t want to spend money. I find whenever I’m window shopping I’m convinced that I need that $20 fuzzy ponytail that I know I’ll never wear. I know that sometimes it’s super fun to just walk around the mall with your friends and talk and shop without buying. Chances are that you’ll leave with something.

Frugal people don’t shop unless they need something. If they know they’re going to be somewhere where they’ll be tempted to buy they’ll leave the wallet at home. Bring your ID just in case and your car keys and stop yourself from being tempted. 

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#3 – Pay Full Price 

I’ll never understand the thought process of a person who buys something without having some kind of discount, or rewards program. There are so many insane ways to get benefits back just from buying things (especially online).

There are two amazing services you should check out to save yourself a little bit of money. 

  • The first is Ebates! Ebates is the #1 way to get cash back on purchases you make online. All you have to do is click the link from ebates to your favourite websites before you shop and in a few days your cash back will show up on their website and you’ll be paid out. It’s 100% FREE and you should definitely check it out. 
  • The second is Honey, honey is a browser extension for your internet browser that searches the entire internet for coupon codes to save you money on your online purchases. I’ve saved over $100 this year from using Honey alone! 

#4 – Throw Away Anything That Isn’t Trash 

Frugal people are awesome for the environment because they not only cut down their consumption but they also reuse or recycle 90% of the things they no longer want. When you’re going through your closet and you make a giant donate pile, you should really take some time to reflect on your purchasing habits because why did you buy these things in the first place? Anyway, frugal people will never throw away clothing because they can turn those clothes into rags, pillows, doll clothes, or they’ll donate them.

Another thing that frugal people are great at doing is selling the things they don’t want/need and putting that money into their savings. Unless it’s completely broken there’s always a chance that someone will buy it. One mans trash is another mans treasure. 

#5 – Keep Cable 

What year is it? 2005? We are living in the future. Expensive full cable packages are a thing of the past. There is no reason to have a full cable package with over 100 channels that you’ve never even watched. These things are possibly over $100 a month when you can get Netflix with tons of great shows, able to watch on 4 screens at once for less than $15 a month.

You could have Netflix, Hulu, and HBO and pay less than traditional cable packages. 

#6 – Upgrade Their Phone Every Year 

I’m not going to lie to you, this used to be. Not every year, but I upgraded ever two years. The second my two-year contract was up I’d be on to the next iPhone. I got my very first phone at age 14, I’m now 23 and in the last 10 years, I’ve had 8 phones. That’s insanity.

Upgrading to a new phone when your current phone works just fine is never a good idea. I just had a phone finish a contract and my phone bill went from $102 a month (paying for my iPhone) to $45 a month (iPhone paid outright). Just by not upgrading I’m saving $50 a month until my phone breaks. If you want a new phone, save for it. You could have a sinking fund just for a phone upgrade just so make sure your monthly bill doesn’t go up. 

#7 – Skip Budgeting 

Frugal people are known for always budgeting every penny. They have a plan for their money and they know what they want their money to do. So many people who are in debt don’t realize how important a budget is to be able to understand and organize their finances! If you skip budgeting for even one month if can put you back years in your financial plan. 

The Zero-Based Budget is the perfect beginner budget because it has a plan for every dollar that comes in the door. Check out the website for a mobile or desktop version of their ridiculously easy to use budgeting software. 

#8 – Spend Emotionally  

I have been guilty of emotional spending. Sometimes when you’ve had a bad day or a bad week you think that spending a couple dollars on a new outfit will make you feel better. It can be a temporary band-aid for the problem but the high will go away so quickly. Frugal people know that the storm is going to pass and that the momentary joy they get from a purchase will not solve all their problems. It will only create a budget problem that they’ll have to solve later. 

#9 – Eat Out More Than Once a Week 

I know, food in a restaurant is always more delicious than food at home. I can’t cook. I’d love to eat at restaurants every day. Unfortunately, this is the worst thing I can do for my wallet. Eating out just twice a week will blow my entire grocery budget for the week. Frugal people are aware that eating out costs around $20+ a person, and you can easily feed two people for less than that at home. It’s so important to not eat out more than once a week.

If you need to eat out once in a while, check out my post on how to save money at restaurants

#10 – Buy Too Much House

Buying a home can be a really emotional experience. You go to a bank and get preapproved for way more than you can actually afford and you just assume that it’s okay for you to use it all. Banks love to lend money because they get their interest and that’s how they make money. The bigger your loan, the longer you’ll be paying the bank money.

It’s so important to ensure that your monthly payment is not higher than 25% of your total take-home pay (after taxes). Being house poor is a real and horrible thing. You don’t want to ruin the rest of your life because you bought more home than you could afford. Frugal people take a real look at what they can afford and what they really need

#11 – Spend Money Every Day 

Frugal people are big fans of no-spend days, weekends, months. Being able to avoid spending any money really focuses you on whats important. Being able to spend time instead of money is a big plus! Spend more time with your loved ones instead of buying them presents and expensive adventures. 

Frugal people will often leave their wallet and cards at home and focus on the people they’re with and not on the things they could buy. When they do bring their wallet and see something they want, they’ll give themselves a time buffer before buying. 

#12 – Throw Away Left Overs 

Chances are when you made dinner last night you made too much, right? What did you do with the leftovers? I really hope the answer is you threw them in some Tupperware and ate them for lunch today! There are so many people who succeed at the first part, but end up throwing them away a few days later when they start going bad. 

You should make a plan to incorporate your dinner leftovers into your lunch schedule for the week. This will save you money both by not wasting food, but you’ll also not have to blow an extra $10 to buy lunch the next day! 

#13 – Pay Bank Fees 

Can you believe that it’s totally normal for people to throw away around $15 a month just for use of their own money? I personally started banking with the Canadian NO FEE bank Tangerine a few months ago and would never go back. It’s crazy to me that banks can charge people to use their own money when they are already charging crazy high-interest rates every day. If you want to learn more about Tangerine and how you can get a $25 just for signing up, check out this post! 

Frugal people hate throwing away their money and never pay bank fees. 

#14 – Pay Late Fees 

This goes right along with paying bank fees. Frugal people are always focused on their finances. They know exactly when their payments are due and how much they owe before they even get the bill. They know exactly where to send their money! 

Having all this knowledge means that they NEVER pay late fees. Late fees are just money down the drain. Never miss a payment! 

#15 – Ignore Clearance Racks 

Back when I was in high school and shopping with my friends (and my mother’s money) I used to ignore clearance racks because there was something in my brain that told me I was too good for them. I didn’t need discounts. I had mama’s money! Who was I kidding? There is no reason to think like this. Fashion is fast and people think that if it’s on clearance it can’t still be in style. How ridiculous is that? 

Frugal people know to check the clearance racks FIRST. You can honestly find awesome things in clearance racks, sometimes you’ll find a shirt that’s 75% off just because there’s a small tear or a string hanging. Grab a sewing kit and fix that crap and save yourself some money! 

#16 – Skip Free Events 

Why spend your hard earned money on an expensive night out when you can find tons of FREE entertainment in any city? There are so many free options for concerts, festivals, walks, bike rides, and so much more. Being frugal means you’re totally awesome and aware of these free events and know that you should take full advantage. 

#17 – Try to Live Someone Else’s Life

The final thing that frugal people don’t do is try and live someone else’s life. The key to being able to save money is to not focus on everybody else. You don’t know what their true financial situation is. They could have a $30,000 car, but a $29,000 car loan. Their awesome clothes could have been purchased entirely on credit. The truth is you never know what other people are experiencing and what kinds of negativity there is behind the facade they put on.

FOMO is a real problem in our society because of social media and it’s causing more people to go into debt because they see these perfect lives on Instagram. The truth is, people only post the best parts of their day. They would never post their credit card bill or their utility bill. They will post their beautiful clothes and beautiful car. You need to know that you are not alone. You can get out of debt and be happy without feeling like you’re missing out on something. 

Final Thoughts

Recently, I created a 5 day FREE email course to help you guys be more frugal and to change your lives! I really hope you sign up and enjoy the tips & tricks that are in the course! 

Want to be more frugal?

Hey! My name is Taylor O’Halloran and I’m a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I’m obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it.  I’m a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!

Taylor O'Halloran

Hey! My name is Taylor O'Halloran and I'm a huge fan of saving money any way I can.I'm obsessed with dogs and I love all kinds of cheese even though my stomach hates it.  I'm a recent university graduate who just wanted to do her own thing and see what happens! Follow me on the journey!


  1. This list is perfect for those want to practice frugality. It is good because it makes you be more cautious and smart on how you spend your money. Great article thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      thank you so much!

  2. Haha at the FOMO! But literally this is my mother to a tee! She’s always looking for a deal/steal. Haha good advice though!

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      you should be like your mama! haha

  3. This is a great list. I love the items you picked. I’m going to have to try some of these for sure.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Preet says:

    I am a frugal person too and while reading this this makes me think that I am really a frugal person Lol

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      hahaha, at least it can reaffirm your frugality!

    2. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Hahaha I wish I was more frugal

  5. These are all great tips. My family does not eat out very often. We seldom do even once a month. It helps cut down our spendings a lot.

  6. Geraline Batarra says:

    I am a frugal person but not 100%. I actually do some of the lists most especially if it’s necessary.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      sometimes it is necessary and there is nothing we can do!

  7. As a frugal gal myself I agree with ALL of these! Love the one about borrowing money that is so true! We are too smart for that!

  8. Elizabeth O says:

    This was a really interesting article indeed and I definitely learned a few things that I can adapt to be more frugal myself. I really enjoyed reading this.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      thanks so much!

  9. Esme Sy says:

    I just realized that though I’m not full-frugal, I can definitely relate to a lot here in terms of being practical. Paying full price is just subjective though, sometimes the situation really calls for it and there aren’t any workarounds unless sacrificing time and gas isn’t a problem. I would say, finding the fairest price of them all is the winning bet.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Very true!

  10. I 100% need to NOT eat out more than one a week, as not only is it a waste of money but it also isn’t very healthy.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Exactly! Stopping eating out is good for every part of your life!

  11. This list is excellent as a check off for those who want to practice frugality in there living. It brings mindfulness into there every day practice and how they are exercising their dollars.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:


  12. I needed the window shopping tip! Definitely at least leave the wallet at home, and take note of what you find to make a more informed decision later. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Window shopping always turns into real shopping …

  13. I try to eat out once or twice a week during the weekends. During the weekdays I would prepare my own healthy food as I think it is less oily and more healthy and fresher ingredients. Eating out can be waste of time and expensive for me.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      That’s the way to do it!

  14. Looks like I’m quite frugal since I don’t do anything on this list… okay, maybe the occasional window shopping. But, but, but, I now have a higher emotional EQ (lol) and can resist the urge to buy on impulse most of the time. 🙂

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Haha! Great work 🙂

  15. This list really does affirm that I am doing ok at being frugal. I only do one or two of these things and not all the time!

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      I wish I was as good as you ? I’m guilty of these things too

  16. You have included so many useful suggestions. I am a minimalist so hate wasting food or purchasing unnecessarily, but you have really highlighted some useful points.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Thank you!

  17. Yeah, getting rid of cable is definitely a way to save money – especially with the internet these days, however. I don’t love searching for TV shows that much so cable tends to make that part of life easier.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Haha it’s worth the savings to spend a couple minutes searching

  18. Ashley says:

    I actually love to window shop but I’m really good about avoiding impulse buys. Instead, I take a lot of pictures of things I feel like I could reproduce myself as an easy DIY. I get a lot of inspiration that way and don’t have to shell out $ to do it.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Ou! That’s an awesome way to do things. Most of the stuff we buy can be produce for waaaaay less than store value

  19. Some good tips for all the things I shouldn’t do! Thanks for highlighting!

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Thanks for reading!

  20. So the upgrade thing…Spot on, in fact I downgraded my phone. Because I wanted a more durable phone, so I went back to a flip phone, it has survived the toilet, my daughter giving it several baths, amazing drops and so much more. When I had a smart phone I was always having to get a new one. We recently also rid of cable, and i thought I would miss so much. But I don’t miss a thing about it.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      I don’t miss cable either! Isn’t it crazy that cable was in EVERY home 10 years ago?

  21. An interesting article, the notion of what people never do. I did not think about it. It was interesting to read.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Thank you !

  22. These tips are for the disciplined mind. One thing I practice is not buying clothes at full price. My husband has drummed into my head that I should not borrow money and I am working on emotional spending. Thanks for these reminders.

  23. I do absolutely LOVE the 50-30-20 rule! Great read.. Frugal or not!

  24. This is really the way many of us should be. I am the opposite. When reading your article it really made me think to be more frugal.

  25. Seriously the last one is is important! Don’t try to live someone else’s life!

    xoxo Christie

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      It’s so important for people to know that they aren’t everybody else! Thanks for reading!

  26. I’m clearly more frugal than I thought. I have a lot of these habits already. I must plead guilty to having a larger house than I need, But I do love it.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      If you’re able to keep costs down in other parts of your life, having a big house may not be the worst thing!

  27. Good advice. It’s too easy to get into debt or to worry that you’re missing out. It’s much better to save a little and spend it on things that really matter.

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      Exactly! Save for things you really need and avoid instant gratification

  28. Love the last sentence: “Don’t let FOMO ruin your life”. That sentence can go past financials and into our own well being and ideas of happiness. Loved this list and can definitely make a few changed myself!

    1. Taylor O'Halloran says:

      FOMO is a real budget killer! It’s key to not ignore it!

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