Would you like to have more money? Perhaps you want to be able to afford your dream car or holiday? Or be debt-free? Or maybe you just like the idea of having savings. One great way to have more money is to save money by living frugally. To be frugal doesn’t mean to be cheap. Frugality is the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourceful use of already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.
It’s the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the consumption of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance. Frugality can help you have more money and more freedom. During your journey to become frugal, you can connect with others that are living similarly for support, and for some, you may develop a better sense of yourself as you spend less and concentrate on what matters most to you.
What is frugal living?
What do you think of when you hear the term frugal living? You probably associate the word cheap with being frugal. But is this correct? Well, not really. To be frugal doesn’t mean to be cheap. Frugal living is really about prioritizing your spending. This means spending less on some things so you can spend more on others that are of more importance to you. For instance, if you can reduce the amount you spend by $20 a day you will be $7,300 a year better off.
Some examples of this include buying a cheaper home as this allows you to afford more vacations. You may choose to shop at smaller grocery stores as this allows you to save more for your retirement. You may put more into your retirement fund when you are young so you can retire at a younger age. People that live frugally often meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Minimalist: A frugal person is often minimalist. They don’t stockpile or buy more than they need.
- Simplicity: Frugal living will be different for everyone as everyone has different goals in life. This means frugal living tips can be used in different ways and not all tips will be used by everyone. To be frugal is usually a simple lifestyle that doesn’t require signing up for lots of different services.
- Environmentally friendly: Frugal living tips with a big impact include many ideas that are also environmentally friendly. Things such as buying second-hand items, walking instead of driving, reducing waste, and much more. A frugal lifestyle is often compatible with people that want to be more environmentally friendly.
- Values-based spending: Making the decision to live a frugal life means you are giving thought to how you are spending your money and your impact on the world. Sure, you may initially become frugal to save money, but the process will mean you become aware of your spending as you prioritize your spending.
Benefits of frugality
Frugal living is about prioritizing your spending. This means spending less on some things so you can spend more on others that are of more importance to you. Frugal living can enrich your life in a variety of ways. Whatever your goals in life are, here are the key benefits of living frugally.
The first benefit of becoming frugal is the freedom to live life your way. Cutting out wasteful spending means you can spend on other pursuits. Having savings means you can take time off work for that holiday you want. Whatever it is that is important to you, living frugally gives you the freedom to pursue that.
b. Enjoy your retirement
Saving for retirement is something many put off. However, to enjoy retirement it is vital to start saving as early as possible. A key part of living frugally is to save as much as you can, including for retirement. The benefit of this is that you can either retire at a younger age or enjoy having much more money to spend in your retirement. Perhaps you would like to do both! Planning and living frugally can help you achieve this goal.
c. Be content
When you live frugally you are no longer pursuing material things or comparing yourself with others. A big part of frugality is not spending on the latest gadget, cars, or designer clothes. That doesn’t mean you can never spend on those things, but rather it is carefully planned. You can enjoy a feeling of contentment as you no longer feel the need to keep up with others.
d. Savings and investments
A key benefit of living frugally are that you will spend less. Spending less means that you have more money to put into savings or investments. Over time your savings and investments grow giving you more opportunities to fulfill your life goals.
e. Less stress
When you don’t have savings and live paycheck to paycheck, any unexpected expense can potentially ruin you. Unexpected bills or medical emergencies could leave you homeless. Financial stress is a leading cause of divorce in the world. Frugal living can help avoid these issues as you build savings for emergencies and can afford everything you need.
f. Donate more
Remember what we said earlier. Being frugal isn’t the same as being cheap. A frugal person prioritizes spending, so nothing is wasted, and the maximum is saved or invested. For some people giving to charity is an important part of their life. Living a frugal life can give those of you that are so inclined more available money to support a charity of your choosing.
Unexpected events happen all the time. It could be a personal event such as losing your job or a medical issue. A world-changing event such as the financial crash of 2008 could happen again. Whatever the cause, as a frugal person you are in a much better position to withstand any financial shocks. Savings (emergency fund) can help cover bills and expenses for a period of time until you can recover.
h. Take bigger risks
A benefit of living frugally is that you have more available to invest. This means you could choose to invest in more high-risk strategies as you can absorb the shock should the investment fail. Any investment should be carefully considered and if making a high-risk investment make sure to get the best advice you can beforehand. However, if successful this could mean a bigger savings pot. You could consider putting a small portion of your savings in a high-risk fund and leave the rest in a fund that will earn steadily.
i. Have fun
Although living frugally may sound boring, it doesn’t have to be. Finding ways to save money, earn more, and achieving your goals can be a great source of pride and fun for many.
Best frugal living tips to save money
Frugal living isn’t about living cheaply, it’s about learning how to prioritize your spending. Making better choices with your hard-earned money. A frugal lifestyle can help you achieve some amazing life dreams such as being debt-free, traveling, or retiring earlier. Here are the tips on living frugally.
a. Budget for every coin
One of the first things you must do that is essential to being frugal, is to create a budget. The budget must consider every expenditure. Armed with this information you can prioritize how to distribute your income against bills, debt, and savings. Knowing exactly where your money is going is a great way to save money.
This is because you can identify things you are spending too much on or no longer need. By cutting wasteful spending you will have more money available to save, invest, or pay off debt. A budget planner is a great tool for living frugally as you can track expenses, watch debts go down, and savings increase. Here are some helpful tips when creating a budget:
- Include every expense you have, not just household bills but include how much you spend on hobbies, eating out, or entertainment.
- Once you have a list of every expense, see if there are any you could reduce or cut out completely.
- Don’t forget to include debt repayments and any contributions you make to savings or investment plans.
- Check your budget regularly, to be frugal you should check every month and see if savings can be made.
- To create a realistic budget be honest with yourself about spending.
- Don’t cut out all the fun stuff just to save money, it’s important to still enjoy yourself.
- It’s OK to change a budget, as your frugal lifestyle progresses the budget should change as you reduce spending and debt.
b. Save every cent
As you begin your journey to frugal living a good habit to get into is to save every spare cent. You may think it’s not worth the trouble but there are two great benefits to saving as much as you can no matter how small the amount. Over time you can build a sizable amount of savings, even when saving small amounts at a time. Just $1 a day would be $365 at the end of the year, and after 5 years that’s $1,825.
That’s not including any interest plus you would have more as you would eventually be saving much more than just $1 a day. Good habits are hard to break. This is a saying you may have heard before, but it is a good one to live by. Once you are in the habit of saving it becomes second nature. As you have more disposable income you will be inclined to automatically save more rather than spend it wastefully.
c. Use the 30-day money saving rule
The 30-day money-saving rule means putting the money you were going to spend impulsively into a savings account for 30 days. At the end of the 30 days if you still want the item, then go ahead and buy it. If not, leave the money in your savings account or use it for a better purpose such as paying off debt. At first, it will be hard, especially if you previously spent freely.
However, following this rule will help adjust your thinking towards spending. No longer getting the instant gratification from buying new things will help you learn to be content with what you already have. One day you won’t even have to follow the rule as your priorities have shifted and impulse buying is a distant memory. To start with try setting yourself little challenges.
This might be to follow the rule for 30 days for all purchases or starting with high limits and gradually reducing. Maybe purchases over $500 follow the rule, then the next month reduce that to $250. Building good habits takes time so be realistic and patient with yourself. Before you know it the desire to buy impulsively will be gone.
d. Always get cashback
Whenever cashback is available you should always claim it. Many bank accounts offer cashback when making purchases, many purchases offer cashback if certain criteria are met, and sometimes there are one-off cashback offers for a one-time purchase. If you can claim cashback, then you should always make sure to do so. Amounts may sometimes be small but over a year can add up to a large amount. The other way to get cashback on a regular basis is through dedicated cashback apps or sites.
e. Buy discounts
One great way to save money is through discounts. You may not know this, but you can buy discount codes from online marketplaces. Buying discount codes can add up to a large amount of money saved over the year plus there are codes available for nearly every purchase you could think of including travel, electronics, and beauty products.
f. Automate your monthly bill negotiation
Modern life is hectic and as part of that, you need to manage bills, subscriptions, and paying any other expenses. Many people overlook this as they are just too busy. This can result in paying thousands of dollars more a year than necessary. Imagine if someone else could do the work for you and you save money in the process. There are services that exist to help negotiate your bills and save you money.
g. Cancel unused subscriptions
Subscriptions are often a low amount between 5-10 dollars per month. For this reason, it is easy to forget about them. However, if you have ten subscriptions that could be $100 a month you are spending. It is unlikely that you need all these subscriptions. Make sure to act now to stop any wasteful spending.
h. Shop for bargains
Shopping for bargains is a must to successfully live frugally. You can save money on a huge range of products by shopping online. One more excellent benefit is the option to have your order delivered free of charge to your home. Not only do you save money on your purchases but also could save shipping costs too. Keep in mind that cheap isn’t always best.
Whereas, many items online are excellent and worth paying less for, things such as electronics may not be as reliable when paying less for them. As always being frugal isn’t about being cheap. It’s about making your money work for you and maximizing every financial decision. Sometimes you must pay more for a product that will last longer. In the long run, that saves you money.
i. Shop for food in a smart way
Food can be expensive, especially if you eat out a lot or order takeaways. Meal planning is an excellent way to start saving money. Planning and shopping for your meals in advance means you are prepared and hastily spending money on fast food. If you are interested in meal planning, then a great way to get started is with the $5 meal plan. This plan provides a month’s worth of meal plans including grocery lists for just $5 a month. Following this plan can save you time and money as you don’t have the hassle of trying to work out a meal plan yourself. Other ways to save money on food include:
- Cook at home.
- Meal plan.
- Stick to your grocery list – no impulse buying.
- Freeze extra or leftovers.
- Eat less meat or try to buy meat when it’s on sale and freeze for future use.
- Grow your own herbs or vegetables.
- Try generic versions, many are just as good as their brand name counterparts.
- Always check for coupons.
j. Don’t pay for beverage
Buying beverage every day can add up to quite a lot over the year. To be frugal you may think that you have to stop buying beverage altogether. You could do that and make your own coffee or tea at home.
k. Go to the gym online
Staying fit can be expensive if you belong to a gym. Also, being a member of a gym doesn’t mean you will go. Many sign up but soon stop going or go infrequently. A better idea and one that can save money, in the long run, is to go to the gym online. You can choose from a huge range of fitness programs to help lose weight, build muscle, or just stay fit. Using technology allows you to enjoy fitness programs that will benefit you from the comfort of your own home.
l. Don’t buy special occasion clothes
It is always tempting to buy a new outfit for a special occasion such as a wedding or christening. A frugal living tip with a big impact is moving away from buying clothes for every occasion. Instead, you can choose to rent clothes when you need them. Renting clothes means you are saving money on a purchase that would probably only be used once. It also helps the environment as fewer clothes are sent to landfill or left sitting in the closet. Enjoy designer clothes when you need them but not at designer prices.
m. Don’t pay for cable TV
Cable TV is expensive and these days probably unnecessary. You can use one of the many streaming services to enjoy all your favorite content. Many people signup for one or two to enjoy plenty of variety and still save a good amount of money compared to cable. One other tip is to share accounts. Make sure to follow the rules of the service but many allow the subscription to be watched on multiple screens.
n. Use freelance services for small gig jobs
Living frugally doesn’t just apply to your personal life. Many frugal living tips can be used in other aspects of life including your business. If you are trying to be frugal in your business as well and looking to make a big impact, freelance sites are a great place to get good quality at a fraction of the cost. Just find highly rated users with lots of feedback. You can find low-cost high-quality work for things including:
- Freelance writing
- Graphic design
- Translation services
o. Learn how to DIY
DIY isn’t something that everyone is naturally great at. If you haven’t tried before then you may feel overwhelmed at the thought of attempting any DIY. However, frugal living tips with a big impact include DIY. DIY can save you thousands of dollars over a year. Paying for parts, labor, and callout fees in the event of an emergency can get awfully expensive. Learning how to fix things yourself can save you so much money.
On top of knowing how to repair things, learning the best way to maintain everything can be a great way to help save money. You can apply DIY to your property, vehicles, and even people. Learn how to fix a leak, change tires on a car, or cut hair for a family member. Doing all these things and more will help to save money and be frugal. A great way to start learning the skills that you need is to use the internet.
One excellent site to start on is YouTube. If you’re already a dab hand at DIY then you could also put your skills to work and make some extra cash. You can use online tools that match freelance labor with local consumers to find immediate help with everyday tasks. Get started today and in no time at all, you can be saving money normally given to repairmen.
p. Get a side hustle
A side hustle is a great help for people wanting to enjoy a frugal life. Advancements in technology mean it is easier than ever to earn money from just about anywhere. Millions of people have side hustles that are earning a decent extra income. This could be doing all kinds of activities including freelancing, selling homemade items, or any number of other ideas made possible by technology. The good news is that most side hustles are extremely easy to get started.
All you have to do is choose what you want to do, sign up for the appropriate service, and start earning. Working full-time and having a side hustle can be challenging sometimes. However, if you choose the best side hustle for you and plan your time effectively, then it can be rewarding. Not just financially, but also for your mental health as the ability to build a frugal lifestyle helps you achieve your goals in life. Here are some great tips to help have a successful side hustle:
- Choose a side hustle that is right for you: The primary motive for a side hustle is the extra income. However, if you focus solely on that, then it may fail as you are not sufficiently interested. Think about the features of the side hustle such as choosing your own hours and location of work, whether it is something you are already qualified to do or something you will need training for. Keep these thoughts in mind as they will help you build a successful long-term side hustle.
- Building a side hustle: Now that you know what you want to do, the next step is to build a realistic schedule. You want a side hustle that fits around your current commitments and doesn’t interfere with your current employment. In some cases, a side hustle may be so successful it replaces your main job.
- Balancing a side hustle and full-time work: If you work full-time and have a side hustle, you could suffer from fatigue. Make sure to plan a good schedule with plenty of breaks. Also, make sure to have regular days off to allow yourself time to rest and relax.
Having a thoughtfully planned side hustle can be a great benefit to someone wanting to live a frugal lifestyle. The extra money can help you achieve your financial goals quicker such as paying off debt, building savings, or traveling. A successful side hustle also means you have a safety net should your full- time job be made redundant. For some people, a side-hustle can turn into a full-time job which means not just financial freedom, but freedom to live a lifestyle free from the 9-5 grind.
How to maintain the frugal mindset
Living frugally can be challenging at first but with persistence, you can see significant improvements to your lifestyle. How can you maintain a frugal mindset for a big impact? First, consider why you want to be frugal. What are your goals? Goals could include the ability to travel, being debt-free, retiring earlier, homeownership, or simply having savings in the bank. Maybe you want all of this. Living frugally means want to save as much of your money as possible. Why? To live out all the dreams you have for your life.
A great way to keep a frugal mindset is to always remember what your goals are and why you wanted to be frugal in the first place. Another helpful idea is to not be too hard on yourself. You won’t do everything on this list and that’s OK. Do what is right for you and what is realistic for your lifestyle. By following as many frugal living tips as you can, you will see great results and have the financial freedom to do whatever you want to do.
Being frugal won’t make you rich but it can certainly help towards it. To lead a frugal lifestyle start following the advice in this guide. Budget, pay off debt, follow the 30-day rule, save, invest, and spend as little as possible. Doing this will help you be frugal and build up your wealth to be used on whatever you desire. Frugal living is worthwhile for you personally and for the environment. Being frugal allows you to have more financial freedom to pursue other goals as your money isn’t wasted on unnecessary spending.
As you spend less, you also use much less. This can have a positive effect on the environment. A frugal lifestyle doesn’t have to be boring, embarrassing, or something you should keep a secret from friends or family. Living frugally means you are managing your money to a high degree with the goal of being debt-free and having financial freedom. It doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself from enjoying life.
Following the 30- day rule means you can still buy items you really want. Thanks to financial freedom you can travel, retire earlier, or take part in any other activity you desire. As you build a frugal lifestyle you will also realize there are many enjoyable activities that are free. Remember, frugality isn’t about being cheap, it’s about building a lifestyle that allows you to enjoy financial freedom.
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