14 Frugal Hacks to Transform Your Shopping Routine 

Sam Mire

Beautiful young parents and their cute little daughter are smiling while choosing school stationery in the supermarket. Mom is making notes in the list

You're never too rich to save money. If you're like us, you're not rich, which means you can't afford to pass up savings. The average 43-to- 57-year-old has more than $157,00 in debt, meaning every dollar saved is closer to debt-free freedom.

While the internet has downsides, open-source financial hacks are among its greatest gifts. We curated some of the most high-value, widely endorsed ways to build savings into your shopping routine. Take them, they're yours.

1. App-Based Coupons

Fast food apps
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Some people still swear by trimming coupons from the mail, and we don't knock it. An active coupon seeker is a more frugal shopper, and the 21st Century has afforded us several new-age couponing resources.

Several apps, including Ibotta, The Coupons App, and ShopSavvy, curate deals for your perusal. Browser extensions like Honey and Rakuten can refer you to deals when shopping online. 

2. Bargain Hunt at Discount Stores

family shopping at discount stores

Nobody knows where your outfit came from when you show up at the cocktail party. They probably don't even know what brand it is. It's time to get over any phobia of shopping at Big Lots! T.J. Maxx, Ross, and other stores sell the same stuff (mostly) at a fraction of the price. 

Of course, carefully examine or try on the goods and wear large shades so nobody recognizes you in the parking lot. That way, you'll save money, and nobody will be the wiser to your frugal ways.

3. Don't Be Too Good for Used

buy used items
credit: depositphotos

Certain items are worth buying new. However, those raised in well-to-do families or with certain stigmas about used products unnecessarily waste money.

Exercise equipment, tools, non-cloth furniture (be wary of bed bugs), specific tech, instruments, sports gear, and (of course) vehicles are among the items you can buy used without losing sleep.

4. Remove Makeup Affordably

Woman wearing makeup
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This one is for the ladies or the select percentage of guys who wear eyeliner. Sephora is making a killing selling overpriced makeup remover to its clientele when the more affordable alternative is already in your home.

Both coconut and olive oil can safely, effectively, and comparatively cheaply remove makeup. The average American woman will spend $300,000 on facial makeup alone in her lifetime, so savings are in order.

5. Measure Your Time Between Shopping Trips

Woman using mobile
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Like anyone who has tried intermittent fasting, struggled with substances, or tried to abstain from any other undesirable activity realizes, measuring time can be a valuable resource for harm reduction.

In this case, we're talking about saving money. If you monitor your shopping trips and set rigid boundaries about the frequency of your spending, you may be more likely to use the groceries in the pantry rather than impulse spending for wants (rather than needs).

6. Make Your Own Stock

lentil soup
Credit: Depositphotos

As convenient as canned stocks are, the genuinely frugal shopper will embrace the butcher's mentality of using every part of the animal. 

Leftover meat bones and loose vegetables are the foundational ingredients of a delicious and cost-effective stock for your next stew or soup. Toss these throwaway items (otherwise in the trash) in a pressure cooker, add water, and let it cook for several hours.

7. Go Nuts for Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil NewAfrica
credits: NewAfrica/depositphotos

Speaking of versatile, cost-effective products, let me introduce you to coconut oil if you're unfamiliar with it.

Coconut oil can cook your food, kill oral bacteria, lubricate your hair, serve as the basis for several desserts, and help your wounds heal. Think of all the products you buy that a few jars of natural coconut oil could replace.

8. Invest in Rags

Woman cleaning with rags
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Saving money while shopping is as much about what you don't buy as what you put in your cart. A cheap pack of two rolls of paper towels costs about $2.50, making them one of the most costly single-use products on the market. 

While there is a time and place for paper towels, invest in a large stock of reusable, highly absorbent rags. Replacing disposable paper with reusable cloth could save you a modest fortune, even if it eventually bankrupts the Brawny lumberjack. That's his  (or her) problem.

9. When It's BOGO, Go Big

Woman buying grocery
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Olive oil is buy one, get one free. You know you will need to use olive oil for the rest of your life, and you find out that an unopened bottle (stored properly) can last up to 24 months. Yet, you feel like a hoarder placing more than four bottles in your cart.

You're not a hoarder; even if you are, who cares? Bulk up while BOGO is available, whether it's olive oil, paper towels, or another item you'll need indefinitely. This is especially true as inflation continues to push future prices ever higher.

10. Forego Store-Bought Beverages

Credit: Amandalamsyah/Depositphotos

Sodas, energy drinks, and other beverages should be the first to go when eliminating items from the grocery list. Water indeed grows on you, and it looks good on you, too.

The average American household spent $850 on soda annually (way back in 2012). We have to assume beverage expenditures have only eaten more of their income as inflation has run out of control. Buy a nice coffee maker, learn to love water, and save some serious dough.

11. Avoid Specialized Products

credit: depositphotos

Vinegar is a prime example of a low-cost product that can stand in for several costlier, specialized alternatives. 

Before buying brand-name rust remover, odor buster, Windex, or mold remover, consider that vinegar can stand in admirably for each product. Baking soda is another dirt-cheap product with many uses, and we're sure several other similarly versatile products are out there.

12. Shop for Winter in the Summer (and Vice Versa)

Woman wearing Winter Coat
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In this economy, you can't afford to shop for your winter coat in the winter. Waiting to purchase your new swimsuits and Panama hat in the summer is a financial faux pas. 

Shopping off-season has long been a hack for the frugal, but it takes foresight and discipline. Fortunately, you're both forward-thinking and highly disciplined, so shop a season ahead and thank yourself later.

13. Try to Pay with Cash

Young man paying debt
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Paying with cash serves a couple of purposes. For one, it's proven that we are far less likely to spend beyond our means when handing physical cash to the cashier. Secondly, cash allows us to barter (if you're comfortable doing so) like we're on vacation in Latin America.

We might not have the option of using cash much longer, so take advantage of its benefits while you still can.

14. Selling Is a Lucrative Part of Shopping

Sell Unused items
Credit: Depositphotos

While our primary focus is on how to buy more cost-effectively, we should also address selling. 

Sites like ThredUp allow you to recoup some of the cost of clothes you won't (or can't) wear again. Apps like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace will enable you to list almost anything, and the market for old tables, dresses, and electronics might shock you. 

15 Items at the Grocery Store That Are Way Overpriced

Grocery Store Saving
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One of my favorite activities is shopping. I'm not a shopaholic, but the pleasure of picking up items my family needs and finding a great deal is real for me. However, I also love knowing how to get a good deal and when to steer clear of completely overpriced items. 

15 Items at the Grocery Store That Are Way Overpriced

12 Habits From Frugal People To Use While Grocery Shopping

grocery shopping
credit: depositphotos

Ever wish your grocery bill was a bit lighter? You're not alone. Many of us want to save money on groceries but often feel we can't without compromising quality – but what if there was a way? The secret may lie in adopting the habits of frugal people. These savvy shoppers have mastered spending less without sacrificing their needs. Intrigued?

12 Habits From Frugal People To Use While Grocery Shopping

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