15+ Frugal Lifehacks For Saving A Pretty Penny

Everyone loves to save money...in theory.

But in practice, it can be tough to know when and where you should spend money, and when and where you can save a few bucks.

Take the uncertainty out of the equation and start saving now with these handy hints to help you get started on the path to frugality.

1. Don't buy soap, buy soap ingredients instead.

Purely Katie | Purely Katie

Making your own soaps and cleaning solutions is a great way to save cash around the house. Purely Katie shared her recipe for refreshing castile soap, which adds essential oils to a soap base. This is also a great hack because it's so customizable.

2. The most important number isn't the overall price.

Reddit | j-j-j-j

Most grocery stores include the unit price on food products (though they often hide it well). Use this price, rather than the overall sticker price, as your guide when grocery shopping. Even if the overall price is more, you can often save money in the long run. This tip comes from Redditor j-j-j-j.

3. No zipper? No problem.

Reddit | Reddit

Everyone's probably experienced the conundrum of losing the little pull tabs from zippers. When the garment or backpack is otherwise fine, it doesn't make sense to throw it out — so try attaching paracords, zip ties, ribbons, or whatever works to make the zippers usable again. This one comes from Reddit.

4. Give your towels a life cycle.

Ashley Hackshaw | Ashley Hackshaw

Even when a towel is too dirty for one task, it might be ideal for another. So try this one from Ashley Hackshaw: use hand towels in your washroom. Once they're dirty, hang them to dry. Once they're dry, soak them in a cleaning solution. Once they're soaked, use them to mop. Once they're dirty, you can finally wash them.

5. Filter air at the source.

Reddit | mkemmcgee

Sure, your furnace has an air filter, but all the nasty stuff in the air has to move through your entire heating system to get there. Redditor mkemmcgee shared this simple hack (just attach an air filter to the back of a box fan) for cleaning the air in high-traffic areas. This will save wear and tear on your HVAC system as well.

6. Get creative with gift cards.

Wikimedia Commons | Thomas photography

Here's one I'm surprised isn't common knowledge. Just about every retailer offers gift cards, right? Also, some people have gift cards they don't want, right? Head over to a gift card exchange website and find a card for a store that you shop at. You may end up paying pennies on the dollar buying stuff you needed anyway.

7. Don't buy into the Tide Pod racket.

Instructables | janabarnett

Assuming you want to continue wearing clean clothes, you'll never not need laundry detergent. Rather than buying the expensive stuff from the store, you can mix together your own recipe. Instructables user janabarnett shared instructions for making bulk detergent that'll save you money in the long run.

8. Dog toys don't need to be pretty.

Reddit | jadeblanket

I hate to break it to you, but your dog doesn't care how adorable their stuffed chew toys may be. Your dog only cares about how chewy it is. So, once a toy is on its last legs, don't throw it out. Save it and combine it with others to create a new Frankentoy. This tip from Redditor jadeblanket should help you save some change on new toys.

9. Who needs a Swiffer?

Reddit | [deleted]

This one really says it all. I've used this method with paper towels to mop up a spill, but hadn't thought about using it to Swiffer, as demonstrated by a Redditor. This looks like a great hack to keep your kids busy (and get you off your feet!).

10. Cheaper and more gourmet.

Reddit | Jenlcanoelle

If you like a sprinkle of Parmesan or any other hard cheese on your dinner, don't buy the big cylindrical container. Instead, buy the real stuff when it goes on sale, grate it up, and stash it in your freezer. This tip comes from Redditor Jenlcanoelle.

11. Here's a Kool way to clean.

The Krazy Coupon Lady | The Krazy Coupon Lady

It's always good to have a few packets of acidic (lemon, lime, or orange) Kool-Aid around. Why? These dirt-cheap packets are super effective when it comes to scrubbing away stains. The Krazy Coupon Lady suggests pouring them into your toilet bowl, then scrubbing away.

12. Where there's moving air, there's drying potential.

Reddit | pencil-pusher

Everyone knows that clothes dry faster if they're hung outside in a breeze, or inside near a fan. Reddit user pencil-pusher shared this image showing a way to hang clothes directly over the compressor unit of an air conditioner system. Warm temperatures plus moving air will help dry your stuff in a hurry.

13. Bed stands are overpriced. Make your own.

Instructables | BenjaminDover

Wood pallets, if you can find them, are durable and cheap. Bed stands are basic and expensive. See where I'm going with this? If you're kitting out a spare bedroom, or even need one for the master bedroom, Instructables user BenjaminDover posted step-by-step instructions on making this awesome DIY bed.

14. No one ever needs that much fragrance anyway.

Reddit | SneakZ

Perfumes and colognes are expensive items for something you're probably not wearing that much. Rather than paying obscene amounts for whatever Calvin Klein's pushing this season, find samples (especially during the holiday season). These tubes will give you enough fragrance for a one-time use. Thanks to Redditor SneakZ for this awesome tip.

15. Become a can fan.

Instructables | Paige Russell

If you're willing to add a new skill to your repertoire, canning food is truly the gift that keeps on giving (it's easy on your wallet, too). Dedicate a day each season to cut, sort and can seasonal fruits and veggies, stocking your cupboards in the process. Instructables user Paige Russell shared her technique for canning fruit.

16. Paper blinds are your friend.

Reddit | shaky_fakey

If you're renting, or just don't want to deal with the cost of mounting expensive permanent blinds, don't pin up a bedsheet just yet. Redditor shaky_fakey shows how inexpensive paper blinds do the job just fine. I've done this before — the blinds are a bit of a pain to pull up, but otherwise are just as good as the real thing.