Congratulations From Us at PlushBeds to the Following Frugal Bloggers, Who Take the Utmost Care in Educating the Rest of Us to Live Thrifty Lives!
Boy, are we pumped to be able to bring you the top 25 best frugal/thrifty living blogs for the coming year! These bloggers each come at frugal and thrifty living from a little different angle, but their stories are all quite inspiring. You are about to meet some folks who have some real “stick-to-it-ive-ness”. Their habits of not being wasteful and not living beyond their means take real discipline. Truth be told, many of them came from where a lot of the population stands today – that is, several of them were multiple thousands of dollars in debt before they decided “enough is enough”, and took the bull by the horns as it were to get their finances straightened out and get and stay out of debt. If they can do it, so can you!
In the following round up of fine money- and material-conscientious bloggers, what you WON’T be getting is a collection of coupons or product reviews. But instead, you WILL be getting principles to live by. You’ll come away with a handful of ideas that you can begin implementing in your very own household. What’s more, you may find a sprinkling here and there of amazing people who are on track to RETIRE EARLY. Is that what you want for yourself? It does take planning, and consistency, but pore over the blogs of these fine individuals and families, and you’ll discover that there is a way to do it, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. A common thread seems to be that you have to budget, and spend less than you take in. As well, making a good investment now that may cost more upfront, but be a much better investment in the long run, like a latex mattress. And, fear not, some of these bloggers even give you free tools with which to do it, and recommend some really neat apps that help it to become “automatic”. Like Digit, a free app that tracks your necessary expenses, and virtually “street sweeps” that extra change that you won’t miss into a savings account that will add up over time without you even having to think about it.
We’ve vetted the following bloggers, finding that, as Dave Ramsey would say, they live pretty darn close to his saying: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
Kristen Cross runs the blog, the Frugal Girl, with not only frugality in mind, but also green living, repurposing, and DIY as well (all things we have covered here on our blog). Of course, those things fall right in line with being frugal. Kristen calls her story “un-riveting”, inasmuch she wasn’t one of those spendthrifts (don’t left the thrift part of that word fool you, it means exactly the opposite of thrifty 🙂 ); instead, she has always followed the path of being conscious of her inflows and her outlays. And she’s perfectly content not to have some fantastic got-out-of-debt story. We think that makes lots of sense. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure 🙂 . Upon Kristen’s blog, besides her infectious smile that’s proof positive that she truly is living cheerfully, you’ll discover something simple, yet magical: her contentment. Hey, there must be something to this frugal thing – how many millions of people try to spend their way to contentment? Kristen has a lovely family to take care of, does it with poise and style, and she shares great inspiration for living simply.
Rachel Jonat is the amazing woman behind the minimalist mom, the mom who took the debt bull by the horns, wrestled it to the ground, and came up the victor, leaving a debt of $80,000 in the proverbial dust. These days, Rachel is Rich (find out just how exactly she did it, and more importantly her perspective in reaching this state). She and her family enjoy minimalism because it gives them more time, space, and money. Being a minimalist helped Rachel’s family make international moves, for one thing (if you don’t have a lot of stuff, moving can be much less stressful). Besides blogging about her philosophy of minimalism, Rachel is a published author of the book, Do Less, as well. Her book can be found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Urban Outfitters.
John Wedding is the “head hunter” behind the blog, MIGHTY BARGAIN HUNTER. John has been blogging since 2005 after he got his first taste of bargain hunting online. For a quick preview of what John shares on his blog, jump right into “Twenty-Five Ways I Save Money”. And, stick around long enough to find out which websites are giving cash-back rebates at your favorite stores (Thanks, John, for this handy reference 🙂 ). Do you need some “filters” put in place, or as John calls them, “roadblocks”, to keep you from spending more money than you should? Then read his “5 Spending Roadblocks to Save Money”. John has a myriad of categories for discussion on his blog, over 50 to be sure, which take into account every area of life and how it deals with being thrifty. He covers everything from saving and personal finance to yard sales to credit to real estate and retirement.
Frugal Village by Rob Laidlaw is a wonderful blog chock full of interesting articles that are extremely on point and pertinent to individuals and families looking to give their finances a makeover. On Rob’s blog you find insightful articles like this one, Top Ten Most Expensive Habits of Americans, that help you identify where some of your waste may be. It’s a very practical blog, and shares things of this nature: School Shopping on a Shoestring. You’ll also get helpful lists that you can reference for things like inexpensive summer fun. There are so many more where these come from, as Frugal Village covers a lot of ground, and you won’t get caught up in trivialities on this blog. The site even includes a forum, with tons and tons of interaction from the community. All kinds of things can be perused and discussed here, so hop on it, and check it out!
NORTHERN CHEAPSKATE is run by Christina Brown, a blogger who learned that debt doesn’t have to be a way of life after their family finances took a hit from a series of unexpected home repairs, and subsequently hearing a radio interview about becoming debt-free in 5 years or less. These events became her financial tipping point, and with determination, she and her husband wiped out $19,000 in debt in a year. On her blog, Christina shares all kinds of skills for being frugal; everything from shopping tips to specific seasonal savings. She also shares the importance of an emergency fund before paying down debt, as well as budgeting with a fluctuating income, among other sound financial principles and skills. If you are a household living on one income, Christina’s NORTHERN CHEAPSKATE is the blog for you!
Kristia Ludwick of the blog Family Balance Sheet knows how to manage money. She managed millions in the corporate world prior to making the transition to being a SAHM (stay at home mother), so it just comes natural to her to manage her family finances. On her blog, Kristia shares not only money matters, but also home management instruction and insight, along with food ideas and recipes. DO NOT MISS this article on Kristia’s blog chronicling how she interviewed 16 families who collectively paid off over $1,000,000 in debt. The goal is to have a “needs only” month where you can find $1,000. There’s lots of excellent content to digest on Family Balance Sheet, so hop to it!
Pat Veretto gets creative on Pat Veretto’s Frugal Living Blog, showing that there are even uses for used pantyhose 🙂 . And, who thinks of this: saving seeds? Pat gets down to the granular level as it comes to being frugal. Frugality and thrift is not some obscure, mystical concept on her blog, it’s an everyday, what-can-we-do-with-what-we’ve-got kind of mentality that’s extremely practical. Pat even gets you thinking critically about preparing for a “Black Swan” event (vernacular in the financial world for a rare and unexpected economic meltdown). If you don’t know what you would do in the case of banks shutting down and you being unable to “consume” like you usually do, you might want to visit Pat’s blog, and find out what you can do to at least consider the possibility and take some steps to protect yourself. We love how down to earth this blog is. The layout of the blog doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some of the other blogs out there, but the meat of it is quite substantial and worth your time. You’ll get a lot out of it!
THE Dollar $TRETCHER.COM, started by Gary Foreman in 1996, is a fantastic resource for helping you to get the most out of your dollar. While that might sound cliché, you’ll actually find over 8,000 articles on the site, each with proven methods and techniques to help you get the most bang for your buck. Gary has the credentials to back up what he preaches, too. He’s been quoted by the most reputable of news outlets. The topics covered on the site include money, food, home and auto, lifestyle, baby boomer, family, 20 somethings, in critical condition, and frugal living. You’ll find a great number of great guest writers, and excellent articles linked out to in the world of finance as well. There is also a forum where you can interact, and don’t forget, you can always contact the editor of each post on the site to share your thoughts with the editor as well as ask questions of THE Dollar $TRETCHER.COM that will get answered via email.
J. Money is the mohawked man behind the blog, Budgets are $exy. J. keeps track of his net worth on his blog, thus the reason for his staying anonymous. His seriousness about money came after he and his fiancé bought a $360k town home (in 2007 at the housing market peak), which then promptly plummeted in value. Money then started to voraciously look to budget and get “seriouser and seriouser” about his finances. Today, his blog is his full time gig. He is completely free of the rat race. J. Money encourages you to join his Millionaire Club. And, he recommends some great tools to help you map it all out. Have you ever wanted to make just a little extra money on the side? J. has 62 detailed ideas for you here. And don’t forget to challenge everything as it comes to your finances – what you think is the “norm”, you might quite possibly be able to lower your expenses on without sacrificing your quality of life.
Steve Adcock is the man behind Think$aveRetire. If you can get into the mindset that driving a BMW is delayed retirement, you can follow Steve into early retirement. How about them apples 🙂 ? With Steve, the status symbol is the paid off mortgage rather than the Beamer and the wearing of the slickest threads and gidgin’ out with the latest gadgetry. Steve’s goal is to retire at 35 (next year), sell his stuff, and travel on a stipend of $30k yearly. The trouble with most of us, is that we have a difficult time lowering our standard of living. What we may not realize, what Steve has come to grips with, is that frugality and letting go is real freedom. On his blog, Steve teaches you how to think (the most important part about frugality, saving, and retiring early). A great quote from Steve: “Our minds, hell-bent on maximizing pleasure at all costs, trick our souls into thinking that the changes we are making are sacrifices. Our minds are telling us that we are depriving ourselves of things – things that we used to do, or stuff that we once had. It doesn’t much matter whether or not we truly took pleasure in these things.”
Jim Wang of WALLET HACKS has been blogging about personal finance and frugality for over 10 years, and has been featured in many major mainstream publications. Jim thinks of himself as a layman, and keeps things simple in his discussion of money and material things, so you can follow along and not be intimidated. Jim grew up living frugally because his family had to penny pinch in order to afford the expensive airline tickets to visit Taiwan. On WALLET HACKS, Jim will teach you to build money systems that work for the individual, live fully, save money, spend wisely, and pay down debt. He gives you a really solid foundation from which to build. If you hurry, you can save some bucks this holiday season, with a lesson from Jim on gift cards (get a 20% return on your money!).
Kristin Wong is the starlet that heads up the blog, BROKEPEDIA. On it, Kristin not only philosophizes about frugality, but she also give you concrete, palpable tips on how you can be frugal in the areas of food, shopping, travel, bills, entertainment, health, budgeting, and home & apartment. Learn from Kristin the spending to save rule for saving money. And, avoid the “Diderot Effect”. For those that like to see and hear the person behind the blog, Kristin does a great job of vlogging, too 🙂 . Kristin teaches you that being frugal isn’t an extremist activity, but rather it’s about cutting back on things you don’t care about, so you can spend money on the things you care about deeply. And, she really isn’t broke, either. Thrifty living has helped her to avoid that. That’s just being a little tongue-in-cheek. Kristin is also a freelancer, and contributes to LifeHacker, Bankrate, and NBC News.
Want to find out what the only free lunch in investing is? Or, to know everything that you ever needed to know about personal finance on the back of 5 business cards? The Simple Dollar was begun by Trent Hamm in 2006 after facing his own personal financial meltdown. Funny how weaknesses can become your strengths if you are willing to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, and take care of the problems you’ve gotten yourself into. The Simple Dollar is today one of the most popular personal finance blogs on the internet, garnering over a million visitors per month, and is all about getting out of debt, reigning in poor spending habits, and setting yourself up to be financially secure. Trent and the good folks at Soda (the current owners of the blog) want you to know that anyone can turn their financial life around. And, if you are a complete newbie to the frugal living scene, go through these 100 thrifty, money saving tips and pick out just 10 or 15 that you can commit to, which will take you a long way towards changing what your financial future has in store for you!
Dawn Cadwell is the owner of Frugal For Life, and although it is a blog that is no longer being regularly updated like the rest of the blogs on our list here, it definitely has real meat to it, and includes a variety of valuable articles chock full of pertinent information for being frugal. For those that aren’t really sure if they want to be frugal (or more frugal than they already are), Dawn shares 41 things that she has learned through being frugal. Browse through those for some inspiration, and see if the items listed are in line with your values. You may just come up with a reason or reasons why thrifty living is a good idea. Everyone would like to save money on their grocery bill (food is one of the major budgeting areas for every household). Find out 11 ways that Dawn saves on hers. Are you thinking about selling some of your unwanted stuff on eBay or Craigslist? Dawn shares her experiences of the pros and cons of each.
Melisa Goodwin heads up the blog, FRUGAL and THRIVING, and teaches you how to make more from less. One thing we picked up on from her blog is “Sometimes being frugal means spending more money to save money in the long run.” Such is the case with our latex mattresses 🙂 . Melisa is an Aussie living down under, and her blog has that unique perspective. But, the principles included on her blog are boundless and timeless. While some people spend money so other people can take care of their children by day, Melisa spends money to be able to take care of her own children 🙂 (by sacrificing having a second income). While she says she has never been cool, no not once, we think that’s a pretty cool choice that she has made. Besides money matters, Melisa sprinkles some frugal recipes and a bit of craftiness and DIY’ing as well as some green living and health topics on FRUGAL and THRIVING.
Leah Ingram of SUDDENLY FRUGAL became frugal out of necessity as a result of an economy turned sour. And, as you can probably tell by the title of her blog, it wasn’t a gradual transition 🙂 . Leah’s is about the only blog that we have included that has a substantial amount of couponing on it. But, it includes so much more. Leah will take you shopping, help you improve your home, and show and tell you about savings via video. Leah is also the author of a book that teaches you how to save $25K per year! Leah has partnered with many major brands to promote frugality and savings, has been on many major television programs, is the author of 14 books, and is a freelance writer.
Anna Newell Jones is the lady behind AND then WE SAVED, who paid off almost $24k in debt within 15 months! She did it through a “Spending Fast” (spending money only on essentials) initially, then later added a “Spending Diet” (allowing herself $100 for spending on nonessentials each month). On her blog, to help you in your everyday life, Anna gives you cheap and easy foods to make for under $5. She also gives you a printable carry-along card to help you in your decision-making regarding whether you should buy something or not. Looking to have fun, inexpensive dates with your significant other? Anna has you covered. Anna has been featured in multiple publications and on various media outlets, and even has a book due out the first part of 2016. She and her hubby are also building a tiny house, and they’re going to be on Tiny House Nation!
Shannyn Allan blogs about living frugally on FRUGAL Beautiful. Shannyn doesn’t equate living frugally with being a cheapskate. We enjoy the following profound quote from her blog: “Being frugal means you’ve worked hard to be resourceful- to free up cash to be more present in others lives, and of course, give them some presents and have the freedom to be present too.” A great definition of frugal, we think 🙂 . It’s not about being deprived! Shannyn lived on $800 per month during grad school, in Chicago no less. Are you ready to save $1,300 a year easily? Shannyn shows you how to do it with the Mason Jar Money Method. If you’re into apps, she can also show you how to automatically save $20k per year while still living paycheck to paycheck! Shannyn wants you to know it’s also within reason to be able to be frugally fashionable as well.
Lydia Senn takes it to the blogosphere and owns it on frugal, deb free life. Besides getting and staying out of debt and budgeting, Lydia teaches that the very next thing you should do as part of a frugal lifestyle is to start building your emergency fund. And, although Lydia doesn’t advocate clearing the shelves at the thrift store just to make a profit, she does give a mention about 7 different thrift store items that after you are done with, you can sell them to others for a little extra ca$h 🙂 . Lydia also points out a common trend among frugal living folks is the side hustle. There’s all kinds of things you can do that either other people don’t want to do and will pay you to do for them, or will find value in that you can turn into some extra money for paying down debt, socking away in savings, or using to pay for extra things.
Andrea Veros’ Frugally Sustainable is a frugal living blog with an “earthy” slant. Andrea has the utmost respect for nature’s goodness and all that it has to offer us. On her blog, you’ll be able to dive right into frugality, simplicity, natural health, traditional foods nutrition, motivation and inspiration, spirituality, up-cycling, recycling, and more. You’ll even get a taste of homesteading! Another uniqueness that Andrea’s blog adds to our collection here is her use of herbs and essential oils for natural healing. She also offers lots of really neat recipes for homemade cleaners and body care.
Edwin C. is the man behind the wizardry at the blog, FRUGAL WIZ. Edwin points out that due to technology, being frugal isn’t as time consuming as it once was, and it really is easy. In fact, the wizard of frugality also shares his top five apps for comparison shopping. Did you know that going green is a very legitimate way of saving money? Edwin claims that it will also make you look better. We know that green living and frugal living go hand in hand; check out our green savings calculator. Check out what Edwin is talking about when he references payments bursts to get your debt paid down quicker, too. FRUGAL WIZ has more money savings tips than you can shake a stick out, so get shaking 🙂 . And, don’t forget to take a gander at Edwin’s other money-saving blog, too: savethebills.com.
Brian is the brains behind LAZY MAN AND MONEY, and a man with a unique perspective on life and finances. He goes by the 80/20 rule, which is that you get 80% of your work done in 20% of the time. An interesting article that helps to back up Brian’s philosophy on laziness (hint, if you’re lazy, you must at least be intelligent to make up for it), is linked to from Brian’s blog, and is found here. But, getting back to LAZY MAN AND MONEY, one of the uniquenesses of it is that Brian is somewhat of a consumer advocate, and he helps people to be more frugal by not becoming ensnared by scams. And, if you are looking for the lazy man’s way of fixing your finances fast, well, here it is. Brian’s blog covers all kinds of topics including: banking, budgeting, career, credit, debt, entrepreneurship, investing, taxes, real estate, insurance, spending, retirement, and estate planning. He has been featured in many of the nation’s top media outlets and financial publications.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention/introduce you to WISE BREAD. WISE BREAD was created by the team of Will Chen, Lynn Truong, and Gregory Go, and is one of the premier personal finance/frugal living blogs in the entire online world. It easily has the highest Alexa ranking of any of the blogs we’ve mentioned thus far, and thus the highest amount of monthly traffic. It might be easier to record what it does not contain than what it does 🙂 . But seriously, you can even learn how to make moonshine on WISE BREAD. What more could one want? 🙂 In addition to practical financial information, you’ll also get some great life hacks on the site. And, for their regularly updated listing of 100 top personal finance blogs, go here (it’s a bit more scientific and less biased than our scoring system). One of the greatest things about WISE BREAD is that it is a community of bloggers, so you are gleaning insight from more than just an individual.
Amy Suardi of Frugal Mama, is keen on the simpler, slower lifestyle, and has chosen to live on one income so that she can stay at home and take care of her beautiful family. Amy’s goals in being frugal are purposeful, being the following: to make space or time, help to discover talents, commune with nature, strengthen neighborhoods, and bring parents and kids closer together. Do you ever find yourself asking, “Where does all the money go?” Amy used to feel like it was all being sucked down a black hole; not anymore after she decided to track every penny of it with this simple printable chart she created. Learn from Amy the magic behind what committing every penny with pencil and paper will do for your finances. Another skill that Amy will teach you is how to plan, purge, and pack for your next move. A parting thought we picked up from Amy’s blog is that being frugal isn’t about never spending money and depriving ourselves, but rather about being careful with your money and time so that you can afford to allocate them where they will best serve you and your family.
Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods take to the blogosphere with Frugalwoods, where they document how in 2014 they saved 71 percent of their income (after 401k contributions) among many other things (by the way, they are currently at 82 percent income savings!). That type of extreme frugality is geared toward their goal of being retired at the age of 33 (they are both 31 now). Their ultimate goal after retiring is to move to the woods, where hiking and other outdoor activities are among their favorites. One of the most important things in living a frugal lifestyle is admittedly having a partner who is on board with you. Mr. and Mrs. Frugalwoods are kind enough to give us a behind the scenes look at their happy frugal marriage. This blog is a great way to learn about how not to get caught up in “lifestyle inflation”, and learn from a happy couple who truly respect each other.
We hope you take the time to visit each of the above blogs and take some steps towards becoming more frugal in your everyday life. It’s a wonderful way to go green. These fabulous bloggers have put a lot of effort into their beautiful blogs, and have really awesome content for you to digest!
*Note to the wonderful frugal living bloggers: If your picture doesn’t appear next to the write-up of your blog, it’s because we didn’t receive your permission yet. If you’d like your pic there, we certainly would too, just get back in touch with us to let us know 🙂 .
For each of our award winners, if you wish to place the Best Frugal Living Blog 2016 distinguishment upon your winning blog, you may pick it up below:
*Permission is granted to alter the size of this award if necessary to fit your blog format’s space constraints.