Frugal life hacks, or money saving tips, that MAY OR MAY NOT work for you — and I’ve got 200+ tidbits of them on a long list that follows. Now I doubt no single hack will work for you and the millions of Filipinos out there.
Frugal living does not necessarily mean being cheap. It is rather being economical — making big savings by minimizing waste, maximizing value for the hard-earned money, and giving more importance to things that matter most.
Read on and tell us in the comments which ones you’ve been doing already to save money and which ones you think will work for you. You might also want to share this article to your friends and followers — so click on the social icons and boom, share.
 Quit whatever vices or bad habits you may have such as smoking, drinking alcohol, overeating, and even excessive coffee intakes. Just saying, but as we all know, it’s not as easy as saying, ‘I quit.’
 Turn off all home appliances and lights when not in use or when you can comfortably work with them at the minimum. That glaring light may hinder productivity.
 Open the windows and allow natural ventilation and sunlight through while lights and fans are switched off. Of course, you’re familiar with Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
 Encourage kids and elders to do some fitness and recreational activities outside instead of staying inside and just watching TV all throughout the day. The clubhouse and the park are just a block away.
 Do the weekend cleaning and laundry yourself or with the family instead of getting some househelp services or going to the laundry shop. There’s a sense of accomplishment in doing them on your own.
 Consume water responsibly and with control by using a glass while brushing teeth and a dipper in flushing the toilet. Let’s be proud of using a ‘tabo.’
 Plan meals based on how many eat at home and how much each normally consumes. Some family members take dinner on their way home from work while others usually skip rice at night. Meal panning is a serious thing.
 Keep dinner leftovers in the fridge and reheat the next day or days or better recycle into innovative dishes. You can still make sisig out of the grilled bangus.
 Establish bedtime routines for kids especially during weeknights and discourage them from sleeping late at night with their gadgets. Tell them they won’t grow big without 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
 Plan your trips to the grocery or wet market by checking the pantry and the fridge and preparing a list of what to buy. And stick to that list, please.
 Consider buying meat, fish, and vegetables good for a week and other nonperishable goods for two to three weeks to avoid wastage. You may end up wasting food supplies by hoarding too much.
 Avoid buying cooking ingredients that are rarely used in large quantities or bulks, especially those that easily expire. You really don’t need bags of raisins and sunflower, do you?
 Divide meat and fish in small tubs and clear containers based on planned dishes and family consumptions and stock them in the fridge. Now you know how many meals you can prepare with them.
 Employ simple and proven tricks on how to make fruits and vegetables last long inside and out of the fridge. Others say, you wrap them in old newspapers.
 Schedule a one-day general house cleaning, most likely on weekends, to avoid wastage of water, detergents, and cleaning solutions. And tell the kids to go out to avoid nuisance.
 Avoid doing the dishes from time to time, only as necessary, to avoid wastage of water and dishwashing liquids. You don’t necessarily have to wash the dishes every time there’s something in the sink.
 Declutter every after three months or as often as necessary to identify what can be reduced, reused, and recycled. And get rid of the cobwebs and dust.
 Reuse grocery bags and plastic bags, even water refill galloon bags can be used as garbage bags. I though there’s already a ban on single-use plastics.
 Don’t just let small coins drop from your pocket and roll down under your bed or sofa, rather collect them in a dedicated jar. Kneel down the floor and look for them.
 Dispense toothpaste from its tube properly, as there is an efficient way to do that. Squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.
 Plan and strategize your cash withdrawals and money transfers to save on banking fees. You may not be doing it right if you still pay the transfer and withdrawal fees.
 Beat your fast food and junk food cravings and eat healthier home-cooked food at your trusted carinderia. It’s as convenient as turo here and turo there.
 Eat heavy meals, i.e., breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to skip snacks in between. Eat more rice, but be be careful enough if you’ve got diabetes.
 Pack lunch to work whenever you still have time to prepare in the morning or rather reheat the dinner leftovers and just order rice. It’s another hard thing to do though.
 Keep coins in your purse at all times, pay exact amounts for transportation fares, and avoid unwanted overpayments. You don’t want shouting that loud for you to be heard by the jeepney driver for your change.
 Buy basic grocery items such as coffee mix packs, common cooking ingredients such as vinegar, soy sauce, and oil, and other toiletries in bulks, maybe good for two to three weeks to enjoy discounts and savings. They’re just the essentials.
 Bring your own water bottle or tumbler whenever there are long trips, and fill your stomach before leaving home. Say no to bottled water.
 Plan your errands and cut multiple trips to save on transportation fares. You can run many of them in just half a day.
 Don’t book a GrabCar, rather take the public transportation whenever possible or if the destination is just around or maybe a familiar place. It’s an adventure exploring the city.
 Revisit all your subscriptions, identify the nonessentials, and let go of them. Yes, cancel them.
 Don’t hesitate to use your gift checks and coupons to get discounts on purchases. It’s not just you, and you don’t appear cheap as what you think.
 Track your expenses and identify what what can further be reduced or totally eliminated. It’s a basic approach to budgeting.
 Don’t easily give in to sales, promos, and limited offers as you may end up regretting about unnecessary purchases. You may spend PHP3,000 for something unimportant for a PHP300 discount, and that’s just unwise.
 Invest in durable and quality things, even if they are more expensive at times, as you may save more in the long run. You really need something durable.
 Prefer to pay in cash but maximize your credit card rewards whenever card payment is a wiser decision. Just decide wisely.
 Use your math skills to make wise and informed spending decisions and make small savings on them. Your maths will save the day.
 Organize a garage or yard sale in the neighborhood for things found after decluttering that are still functional and usable. Let them do the guiltless disposing for you.
 Sell pre-loved and unused clothes and other personal stuff to friends or through an online live selling. Many do this these days.
 Do some maintenance routines with the kitchen sink and house drainage to prevent costly plumber services in the future. Use some effective solution to unclog sluggish pipes.
 Use your parents’ or grandparents’ senior citizen IDs when dining out with them to enjoy some discounts on the total receipts. That’s 20 percent.
 Schedule you mobile data loadup and redeem points or rewards for this from time to time. Go for a longer and cheaper mobile data promo.
 Invest in a good, durable, and multipurpose backpack for travel and various purposes. You can even use it for work, for hiking, and many others.
 Borrow single-use tools and equipment from your neighbor or friends instead of buying them. You may need a special type of screwdriver just for once.
 Share your Netflix and Disney+ subscriptions with relatives, friends, and coworkers and split evenly the monthly bills. Good thing, they allow multiple users in a single account.
 Do some DIY minor house repairs on your own by learning some basic skills online. YouTube has all of these videos.
 Double the recipes or servings, freeze the other half, and reheat it some other time within the week. You can save time, effort, and gas for doing this.
 Cut down on meat — beef and pork — and add more fish and vegetables to your diet. There are lots of quick recipes that simple require sauteing.
 Buy in-season produce such as fruits and vegetables to enjoy them at minimal costs. You just need some creativity making your own varied recipes.
 Spend Friday nights with friends at home and split the expenses for food and alcoholic drinks instead of going to the bar. Potlucks are also a good idea.
 Return coke and beer bottles to the sari-sari store and claim your cash deposits, or just sell them away. Don’t just keep them behind the door until they break.
 Add more in-season vegetables and less meat to the dishes to keep a healthier diet and even save on food. Did I just mention it again?
 Rent out the garage or any space available if the house is just around the commercial area or whenever there’s a chance to earn extra from rent. Just prepare the terms and conditions.
 Use a broom and a dustpan instead of a vacuum for daily light cleaning of the floor. We all do it.
 Wash your car or bike on your own on weekends and save a little from not availing carwash services. I don’t know how much a carwash cost though as I don’t have a car.
 Learn to say ‘pass’ to your friends or coworkers who go clubbing or drinking at the bar most of the weeknights. They must be earning more than you do.
 Refuse to give another loan to a friend who hasn’t paid yet or has totally forgotten the previous one. I just had another article for this.
 Remind your friend or coworker about the borrowed cash, may it be just 100 or 20 pesos. Some people are just forgetful.
 Be in company with people who are just as financially responsible as you are and who don’t mind splitting the bills. Yes, be surrounded by these people.
 Walk or bike if it’s just blocks away and don’t take a tricycle, unless you’re carrying something heavy. It’s a good exercise.
 Don’t easily give in to ‘kantyaw’ even if it’s your birthday, especially if you are running short on your budget. Just say, ‘Thank you.’
 Teach kids, even adults, in the family about the concepts of conscious spending, saving, and investing. Financial literacy should start at home.
 Take advantage of freebies and free trials at the malls without appearing desperate and greedy. It’s not being cheap.
 Take home those complimentary hotel toiletries, and use them for your travel kits. Don’t get caught though.
 Pay your monthly bills via payment channels that do not require additional service charges or convenience fees. Some even charge as high as PHP25.
 Take advantage of occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas to sell your homemade crafts and pastries. Grab the business opportunity and earn on the side.
 Make most celebrations such as birthdays and holidays exclusive to family members rather than inviting the whole neighborhood. There’s a time for a neighborhood party though.
 Celebrate special occasions exclusively with your family in a decent restaurant rather than making all expensive preparations at home. Plus, you’re dead tired at the end of the day.
 Implement a personal waiting period, at least days, to curb impulse shopping and spending. Maybe, 24 or 48 hours.
 Consider being creative and innovative by making meals out of available supplies in the pantry or fridge. Make some sotanghon soup.
 Repurpose your clothes hanging in the closet for another occasion rather than buying a new one for one-time wearing. Be a fashion designer for once.
 Think about whether you really need to buy a new smartphone, or it’s just because your friends got the latest models. So what if they have the latest iPhone?
 Replace light bulbs with those that provide the same brightness but lower electricity consumptions. Try LEDs.
 Spare no cents for fun and recreational activities such as board games, going to the park, or having a picnic. Initiate a Friday family game night.
 Cut down on your expensive coffee or milk tea addiction, and try brewing your own at home or find other healthier and cheaper alternatives. Coffee is life, I know.
 Identify the daily and recurring things or expenses that you can do and survive even without. Take a sit and just try.
 Cancel your gym membership and do fitness workouts at home while subscribed to your favorite YouTube channel for your gym instructor. We all did this doing the peak of the pandemic.
 Start a vertical and hydroponic gardening and grow your own vegetables event at the city and if there is available space. You can even sell your harvest.
 Consider downsizing to a more affordable yet equally comfortable living space. See if you can do this.
 Stay away from bad debts, but try making good debts to pursue rewarding and profitable ventures in the long run. Credit card debts can be good or bad. You decide.
 Exhaust all means and efforts to pay down debts and prevent debt interest to compound over time. You don’t always benefit from the compound interest.
 Look for more ways to earn on the side of a regular job, do part-time jobs, and employ effective time management. Check freelance websites.
 Opt for less expensive cuts of meat — pork, beef, and chicken — when buying at the wet market. Chicken ribs that are sold cheaper are really good for adobo.
 Eat out less and trim down your GrabFood or FoodPanda meal deliveries. Check you pantry for midnight snacks.
 Stock up on nonperishables such as canned goods, peanut butter, and others when they’re on a big sale. But don’t be a big hoarder.
 Remember your home economics class and pull out that needle and thread to stitch your ripped shorts or pants. Turn it inside out first and use the same thread color as the cloth.
 Try generic products and see if they offer the same or even more value and quality than the branded ones. You should not always be loyal to your brand.
 Challenge your cooking skills by trying a day of meatless meals in a week. You can have it on Mondays.
 Go to free entertainment and recreational local events and skip paying for movies and concerts. Join fiestas.
 Learn how to groom your pet dog or cat by yourself at home by watching a YouTube video. You know very well how behaved your pet is.
 Don’t use the dryer, and instead, use clothesline or hangers to dry up your clothes under the sun, especially during summer. You just need some space for this.
 Take advantage of post-holiday and clearance sales, maybe to buy gifts for the next holiday season. And wrap them also by yourself.
 Don’t avail mobile postpaid plans if you don’t run a super busy life with constant calls, texts, and online communications. That is if you don’t have any business.
 Turn off the kitchen faucet while you’re scrubbing dishes and utensils with dishwashing liquid and sponge. You’re not in a free flowing river.
 Check online for ingredients, formulas, and procedures for creating homemade air fresheners. Lemons, salt, and Downy do the trick.
 Try traditional and home remedies for minor cough, colds, and sore throat. If it persists, consult with the doctor.
 Unplug appliances when not in use, when about to take a sleep, and when leaving the house. Just unplug.
 Make your own convenience foods, sauces, and dips. Commercially available ones are just expensive.
 Get into traditional food preservations such as grated unripe papaya pickles, salted fish, and kimchi. Our grandparents had these before the fridges.
 Use washable rags or towels from old shirts and avoid using disposable paper towels. Anyway, we don’t use paper towels that much.
 Cut down on coke and soft drinks and switch to regular water intake. That’s eight glasses of water a day.
 Acknowledge your wants, but learn to want less. Yes, something psychological right?
 Buy and use a pressure cooker to tenderize meat and save time and energy from hours of doing it with just a gas or electric stove. Don’t be afraid of the noise though.
 Regulate or don’t use the air conditioning unit at all during cold months. We even turn off the electric fans.
 Rent or live within a walking distance from all amenities such as the grocery, wet market, train station, and school. So, you can just walk and not run your errands. Kidding.
 Pay off your credit card balance in full every statement month. Don’t pay just the minimum if you can.
 Keep your appliances clean to enjoy efficiency and extend their life. It’s also what Meralco says.
 Take your broken electric fan to an electronics repair shop for once or twice before you decide to dispose it. There must still be a shop nearby.
 Shop around for medical and dental procedures which are not emergencies in nature. You don’t know how much you can save for doing the price canvass.
 Use washable cloth diapers instead of disposable ones for your baby. That is also if you have time to wash and wash.
 Strive to look for an honest and skilled repairman for home repairs and a mechanic for your car repairs. You friend or coworker may have someone to refer.
 Dispute bills and items on credit card statements that you think are errors or overcharged. It’s just your right to do so.
 Buy a new appliance if the broken unit has been repaired already for like three or four times. Set a retirement period for your appliances.
 Tenderize meat on a charcoal stove if you don’t have a pressure cooker to save on cooking gas or electricity. I see my neighbor doing this on weekends.
 Buy office or school shoes from brands that are personally proven in terms of quality, comfort, and durability. I have my office shoes for like 5 years already. I wear it five days a week.
 Try to haggle with the sellers over the prices of products you think should be lower in terms of value. You will realize that they have their base price and still earn a profit.
 Ask the wet market vendor if you can pay just the round-off amount and spare you some coins from the actual cost. ‘Tawad na lang’ as we normally say.
 Soak the mung beans overnight or use a pressure cooker to reduce the cooking time which normally takes around 40 minutes on the stovetop. Just overnight; otherwise, you’ll have the sprout beans.
 Remove frozen meat from the fridge way ahead of cooking and let it just sit in the sink. Don’t force defrost it under a running faucet water.
 Plan big purchases, e.g., home appliances, and check for possible sales and discounts. Better make it on holidays.
 Avoid buying at convenient stores because items sold there cost more compared to those at the groceries and markets, unless it’s past midnight already.
 Buy energy-efficient appliances and help in saving the planet. Yes, do something for the planet this time.
 Enroll your bank accounts online and make even check deposits without going to the bank. Still a naysayer?
 Take fuel efficiency a priority factor over appearance when buying a car. I just hope I can afford a car already.
 Take advantage of student discounts when taking a public transportation or where they are applicable. That’s 20 percent!
 Don’t be gullible and avoid falling a victim to various online and offline fraud and scams. Check the common credit card scams here.
 Explore more affordable hobbies while learning new skills that can be profitable in the future. Think long term.
 Check the expiration dates when buying bread and other consumables with very short shelf life. They mostly come with just a few days.
 Don’t bring kids to the grocery to shop efficiently and stick to the prepared list. Or better yet, teach them how to behave.
 Keep your eyes on the cashier monitor to ensure that there are no errors and double scanning of the same items. They’re just human beings. Sometimes, they make mistakes.
 Keep you car clean from clutter or whatsoever that may add undesirable weight to the vehicle and consume more energy. Make it a habit.
 Prefer carpooling over going on a convoy when going far places or just road trips with family, friends, and coworkers. That saves a lot and makes less road traffic.
 Take advantage of discounts, vouchers, and free shipping upon paying through e-commerce in-house wallets such as ShopeePay and Lazada Wallet. They even offer bills payments with cashbacks.
 Don’t grab the incredible offer right away, rather check social media and web reviews first to avoid getting scammed. Yes and again, reviews can save you.
 Don’t throw away bones and vegetable scraps that can be made repurposed into soups and stocks. Some people like me just love soups
 Iron large batches of clothes, or maybe office uniforms, at one time to avoid constant reheating of the iron and high energy consumption. It’s not a good routine ironing clothes early in the morning before going to work.
 Wash fruits and vegetables in a basin and reuse water for nourishing the plants outside. We don’t know if we still have enough supply of water for the future.
 Buy second-hand noncritical items and tools which work just as efficiently as the brand new. This doesn’t apply to all things though. You don’t buy second-hand underwear.
 Grab your grocery items from the back shelf to have the ones with later expiration dates. I don’t know, but people just know this trick.
 Compare price tags of items under the same category and even the individual item tag against the bundle. Do the math.
 Insist refunds or ask for replacements for expired products or those beyond expected quality, even at the sari-sari store. You deserve better.
 Pay your monthly bills on time to avoid overdue penalties and try paying them even without the statements. You can pay your Manila Water bill with just the contract account number.
 Set the electric stove to high mode and turn it down to simmer. You may also take advantage of the still hot electric stove to reheat leftover food.
 Skip the costly hotel accommodations and check out cheaper options at Airbnb.
 Don’t rely on the photos and descriptions when shopping online, rather check the reviews. Again and again, read product reviews.
 Use natural and readily available cleaners at home such as baking soda, white vinegar, and lemon. Sometimes, you really need to be a chemist.
 Collect rainwater in drums and reserve it for cleaning the vehicles and garage and watering the garden. Rain is a blessing.
 Cancel your cable plan as most TV shows these days are also streamed online, and especially if you prefer to just watch on Netflix.
 Decline broadband upgrade offers if there is no need for an added speed as usually they do the automatic free upgrades after a few months without you knowing. You’ll just be surprised.
 Keep your credit cards locked from the apps to avoid fraudulent transactions and unlock only when needed. Doing this is just a click away.
 Put your computer into sleep mode rather than screensaver mode or better yet, shut it down when not in use.
 Buy refrigerator and aircon units with higher Energy Efficiency Ratio. Check the tags and consult with the experts.
 Choose the appropriate size of a rice cooker fit for the consumption of the family. Bigger rice cookers consume more energy.
 Watch TV together at the living or common area instead of having multiple TVs on in different rooms. It’s a good family bonding.
 Try DIY homemade natural skin care alternatives to costly commercially available products, especially if you don’t have that overly sensitive skin.
 Don’t leave your phones plugged in overnight. Manage your charging routines.
 Dress for the weather and stay comfortable while using air conditioning units and electric fans to a minimum.
 Figure out what best budgeting technique works for you. You might want to consider trying the popular envelope method.
 Use only the ATMs of your bank to avoid high withdrawal fees. ATM fees with other banks may range between PHP10 to PHP18.
 Set a spending limit on gifts. You list the ones who will receive gifts and how much each will receive.
 Don’t skimp on preventive health care such as routine dental checkups, especially if you have the company health card, to prevent worst and costly procedures in the future.
 Don’t overuse laundry detergents. You might event want to consider cutting use in half.
 Spend extra or unexpected income wisely, or better yet, just add it to your savings.
 Categorize your expenses into fixed and variable costs, and do serious cutting down on variable costs.
 Designate a no-spend day once a month, except the fixed costs. Well, that sound really interesting!
 Turn off mobile notifications and unsubscribe to emails that just want you to spend money. Now, they don’t bother you with their promos.
 Consider opening a savings account with a neobank that offers higher interest rates and more convenience. Check the list of neobanks operating in the Philippines here.
 Repurpose your old and overused furniture items. Hard wood is expensive these days.
 Mow your own lawn, do the gardening yourself, and forgo the expensive landscaping services. You may have that green thumb you’re not aware of.
 Purchase an appliance such as an Instant Pot 7-in-1 that comes handy and multipurpose. You can cook almost everything with it.
 Barter services with neighbors or friends, e.g., you walk their dog in exchange for mowing your lawn. Make friends in the neighborhood
 Use rewards credit card for gas to earn cashbacks and get discounts. Learn about credit card rewards here.
 Use your built-in Samsung Notes to track and monitor your daily expenses. I am doing this actually.
 Discuss the family budget and expenses over a common time, e.g., a family dinner. Involve the whole family in frugal living.
 Try some viral savings challenges to make saving money even more fun. Yes, not just for budgeting.
 Prepare and make dedicated savings for big occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. Just plan ahead for the expected
 Eat at restaurants where kids eat for free or just enjoy some discounts. I don’t know which restaurants though, maybe Jollibee.
 Buy second-hand ‘pambahay’ clothes for kids as they grow up really fast. Yes, they do.
 Stay out of the mall or simply ignore stores while making errands. Pretend you don’t see them.
 Make manicures and pedicures a special weekend bonding with siblings. My two sisters do this kind of bonding at home.
 Cancel your daily broadsheet or tabloid subscription and subscribe to online news portals. Anyway, you can recycle the newspapers.
 Set up an auto-debit arrangement for savings or for a small investment. I believe COL Financial has this feature.
 Advertise and sell your e-products and services online. Earn with your extra time.
 Share your e-commerce ‘budols’ on social media or in a vlog and earn commissions through affiliate marketing. You might want to consider Lazada Affiliate Marketing program.
 Skip souvenir shops and take photos instead while travelling. You don’t want to carry a heavy baggage after all.
 Maximize the use and value of things and services you spend money on. You pay for it, remember.
 Keep receipts especially of big purchases for sometime to make returns should there be issues after a few days or weeks.
 Check product warranties and don’t hesitate to avail them for replacements, repairs, and parts.
 Buy supplies for kids for the next school year ahead by months. You don’t want going to a crowded bookstore.
 Think about that tiny winning chance before gambling your money away to lottery tickets. Still there’s a chance.
 Make sure you have an emergency fund that can easily be withdrawn anytime needed, i.e., equivalent to at least 6 months of living expenses. Remember, it’s just for emergency purposes.
 Don’t let the kids leave the fridge door open or even checking what’s inside from time to time. Tell them, it’s just the same.
 Wash and reuse empty jars, tubs, and even plastic bags. Don’t just throw them away.
 Drain and use up the product completely, e.g., toothpaste, soap, and shampoo, before opening another.
 Don’t use too much water or shower when taking a bath. Turn it off when using a soap.
 Don’t ignore simple faucet leaks. Fixt them.
 Use a bidet or dipper, instead of disposable toilet paper. Again, we have the ‘tabo.’
 Plan and find ways on how to travel cheaply. You might want to bring your own snacks or skip some expensive tours.
 Travel during off-peak season and enjoy the same sights and experience. The cheapest time to travel is when people don’t.
 Consider becoming a one-car family and sell other cars away. I don’t think many have three or four cars in the garage.
 Go paperless and save money on printouts. Try embracing the digital.
 Keep your fridge full to cut down on energy consumptions. Stock with water jugs if possible.
 Invest in a durable and rechargeable razor for shaving. Don’t buy single-use disposable blades.
 Take appetizers at home before dining out, and desserts at home afterward. Just eat out for the main course.
 Take online surveys to earn extra cash in your free time. Participate. Your perceptions matter.
 Wear your jeans, sweaters, and shorts a few times before you wash them. Just hang them around, maybe behind the door.
 Stay at home as much as possible on weekends. You’ve got the laundry and house cleaning.
 Get the kids involved in household chores and weekend cleaning. Teach them while still young.
 Shop garage sales for old toys.
 Unleash your creativity and re-dye your old faded jeans. You might want to tie-dye your stained shirts as well. That’s just cool!
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