12 quick ways to be frugal

At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here’s an explanation for

Frugality isn’t just about saving money, it’s about designing your life to optimize happiness and cut through the clutter. My goal for this post is to get you thinking.

In many things, your choice is between spending money or time. You either pay for convenience or take the time to do it yourself. The tips below are just a few ways to live a life with less clutter and more happiness.

Here are 12 frugal things you can do right now:

  1. Make your money more INTEREST-ing. Go to Bankrate.com and see if you can get a better interest rate on your savings. Choose a goal you can get excited about and start saving.
  2. Clear out the nasty in your home. Open up your medicine cabinet, fridge or pantry. (Just tackle one for today.) Get rid of anything that’s expired or unused. If you are aware of what needs replacing, keep an eye out for coupons to save money.
  3. Save money on your phone bill. Log on to your cellphone provider’s website and enter your company’s or school’s email address to see if you qualify for a student or corporate discount.
  4. Set up a budget. Log onto Bankrate and set up a budget in just a few minutes.
  5. Get inspired with financial ear candy. Download a financial podcast to increase your money knowledge. Examples include Money Girl, Planet Money and Smart Passive Income. Scour iTunes for more great, free topics.
  6. Dream big for free. Go to Day Zero and set up your life’s “bucket list.” Studies have shown people are more financially aware when they have tangible goals.
  7. Back up stuff without buying hardware. Register with Dropbox.com and ensure all of your important files are backed up. (It’s free.)
  8. Make some money by selling clutter. Look over at your bookshelf or DVD collection and list five things on Amazon or eBay to sell.
  9. Check your credit report. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to make sure your records are accurate and up-to-date. (It’s free.)
  10. Go to your library. Brushing up on new skills doesn’t have to be expensive, and neither does entertainment. You already pay for your local library and community center, so check out free books, DVDs, CDs and classes.
  11. Become more financially savvy each day. Sign up for email updates from your bank or favorite financial blogs that give you easy daily inspiration to manage your money.
  12. Take the next step toward your goals. Take the plunge and sign up for a dating site, weight loss tracker, brainstorming forum or exercise website. Many sites offer free videos, worksheets or tools to help you kick-start your goals without spending a penny.

Shannyn Allan is a blogger at FrugalBeautiful.com who writes about fitness, finance and fashion to help you live a frugal and beautiful life. Find her on Twitter @FrugalBeautiful.