When people think of frugal living, they often think of the worst of it. They assume that you’re a person who is struggling financially. But the truth is, frugal living doesn’t have to be like that.
While the word frugal is often misunderstood as a negative one, there are many ways to be frugal and benefits. People choose to be frugal for many different reasons, not just financial.
Frugal is often misunderstood, but it doesn’t mean sacrificing quality. Instead, think about choosing to be frugal in ways that add value to your life and your future.
Let’s plunge into understanding what it actually means to be frugal. Plus, check out our other posts, frugal living tips, to get started!
What does frugal living really mean?
Every penny counts…
How frugal are you?
The key to financial freedom is being frugal. Living frugally and spending less than you make gives you more money over time. You are saving money for the future. A way to build wealth is by living frugally. It gives you more money to save money and then invest it in the future.
Avoid buying things you don’t need or spending less on something you do need, and you can save money. You can find the benefits of being frugal here. The best way to live a simple, sustainable lifestyle is with less waste and less energy.
Is frugal living worth it?
Yes, Yes, Yes, You bet, it’s worth it! ! I would recommend you go for it! If you are tired of letting money have control over your life, frugal living is definitely worth it.
Of course, there are some sacrifices along the way, but they can add up to more significant benefits down the road.
A frugal life means living within your means. To do this, you must be aware of your priorities and live accordingly. Frugal living is not difficult if you keep your priorities in mind, the bigger picture, and why it’s worth it.
Spend less money on something, and you can put that money towards things that matter to you. For example, maybe you have your FIRE method plan for early retirement. And the high point is that you get to decide what matters to you most.
How do you start living a frugal lifestyle?
Small steps… There are many different ways to start your frugal living journey.
It’s not a one size fits all lifestyle, so don’t try to make it fit; there are many different frugal tips and tricks. Assess how frugal are you and what you could change? Find the balance that works out the best for you and your family.
You can start with a tiny step every day, or you can get all fancy and try to do it all at once. We have our own “frugal living” tips, tricks and ideas that we like to use, but we also find that when it comes to living a frugal life, it’s very much about the mindset of each individual and moving away from materialism.
How frugal are you?
How frugal are you? Could you be saving money somewhere that you had not thought of?
Frugal living tips
Budgeting – Creating a budget that you can stick to is fundamental to financial success. Budgeting definitely isn’t fun but a critical piece of the frugal puzzle. Budgets allow you to prioritise things that matter to you and your future. It also allows you to cut out things that don’t matter or are part of the bigger picture.
Never impulse buy an item, save for it, and know you really want or need the item. Realise it is the best value and offers everything you want, so not a wasteful investment. Remember there is nothing wrong with occasionally treating yourself to things you like but be mindful of the bigger picture and plans you are working towards.
Frugal Food Tips
Food is an area where planning is essential to keep yourself on budget. You might be shocked how much money you could save with a little bit of planning and time in the kitchen.
Meal planning – Meal planning is essential to plan your meals (breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner), create a shopping list for that plan, and then cook and eat at home. Not knowing what you are eating and not having the ingredients can lead to temptation on buying fast food from the shops or takeaways, which can burn a hole in your carefully planned budget.
You might be pleasantly surprised how much this can save you.
Tips: Eat before you go to the shops, so you are not driven to buy additional things you don’t need just because you fancy it because you are hungry.
Tips: Take lunch to work rather than grab a sandwich from the shop, which can add up fast.
Batch Cooking – This saves both money and time. Life can get hectic, and after a long day at work, it can be hard to muster the energy to cook dinner.
Bulk batch cooking allows you to work with items on offer in the supermarket that week and create several additional portions to freeze for another meal. You are reducing food waste and making your very own ready meals at a fraction of the cost.
Batch cooking allows you to simply take meals out of the freezer and heat them, saving you time, money and waste generated from takeaway meals.
Tip: Look at offers in the supermarket and create meals from those ingredients to increase savings.
Tip: Homemade food is much better for your health and waistline.
Leftovers – We sometimes forget about what you can turn leftover into or how cooking a little extra can give you an additional meal the next day without too much effort. You are getting two meals out of one! Leftovers can provide an extra meal in a week.
Food Stock Control – Know what you have in your cupboards, pantry and fridge. Don’t let things spoil, and think about what you can use to save one of the weekly trips to the supermarket.
Discount codes and coupons – Look for offers and use coupons towards your shopping bill. These savings can quickly add up! If buying online, look for discount codes to help reduce costs.
Tip: Look for BOGOF offers on store cupboard essentials but don’t let it encourage you to buy things you don’t need.
Bulk Buying – Bulk buying food items can save money
Branded Foods – Branded foods can be expensive, and other options are often available, so consider changing. First, compare the ingredients list to check you are getting like for like and then a taste test.
Tip: Cheaper brands can have cheaper bulking ingredients, oils, sugars and salt, so checking the ingredients can help you understand more.
Secondhand, Upcycled and Reuse
Frugality should never be measured by how cheap you can buy something or because you have coupons or penny-pinch.
Frugality isn’t about buying the cheapest products quite the opposite. It’s about identifying priorities and spending less on items you feel are less important so having more available for the essential things with actual value.
The biggest lesson is to understand the difference between – Wants versus Needs. Shop when you need to, not as a hobby.
Used over New – Charity shops, thrift stores, eBay and recycling centres, to name but a few ways you can pick up some great items at a fraction of the cost of buying new. Even better, enabling reducing waste.
We are not saying to buy new; we are saying to think about your needs and what value it adds to your life.
Sell Unwanted Items – Items can clutter your life and add no value anymore, but these can be sold to generate additional cash. Unwanted clothes, children toys and books could be turned into money quite simply.
Think Before Purchase – Impulse buying is never a good idea; however great the offer looks. Think about following the rule where you must think about it overnight and go back the next day if you decide you need the item. That little bit of time can make you think if you need it or not!
Repair and Repurposed – We all have far too many clothes, and sorting through, you might find some hidden treasures hiding at the back. Think if you need them, could you sell them or how you could change or add to the item so you would happily wear them again. Think hard about spending unnecessary money on things you don’t need.
Tip: Don’t throw your favourite trousers out if you could do a quick repair. Patch a hole with a funky piece of fabric.
Frugal Travel Tips
Travelling around can cost a lot of money.
Gym membership – Exercise at home instead of paying for a costly gym membership. Walk to the shops, go for a run in the park, and look at exercise classes on youtube.
Walk or Cycle – Walk or cycle whenever you can to save on running a car and get some FREE exercise.
Cars – are expensive and have ongoing expenses, so think about running costs such as fuel, insurance, and repairs.
Trains – Train travel can be expensive, but you can get travel cards and book in advance to get better prices for your trip.
Shared Car – Share ownership with a friend or join a car-sharing club.
Hiring a Car – Many companies offer car hire for minutes, hourly, daily, weekly car hire.
Frugal Home Tips
Utility and Energy Bills –
Consider a power consumption monitor to help you monitor your household appliances’ energy.
Heating – Heating a home can be costly.
Bulk buy heating oil, cost, logs in the summer months when cheaper.
Seal drafts, insulation
Energy Efficient Bulbs – Low power energy-efficient LED bulbs cost a fraction of the running cost of a standard bulb, so replacing them cost offer you future savings.
Home Insurance – Always compare prices. There are comparison sites
DIY – Paying someone to do small DIY tasks can be expensive. Consider learning some basic DIY skills to make easy home repairs.
Efficient Appliances – Old appliances can be costly to run and inefficient. When looking for a device, always consider running costs warranty over a brand.
Alternative Energy – Many alternative energy options can save you money but often need a significant investment upfront.
Repairing vs Replacing – Repairing can save money if you can get the part and depend on the cost of paying someone to fix the item if you can not do it yourself. Always consider repairing before buying a replacement, saving money and waste.
Frugality To Financial Freedom –
Savings Goals – Budgeting is essential and automating payments into savings, pension and household bills.
Investing – Consider selling items you no longer need and invest the money in some way.
Retirement – Do you want to retire early consider FIRE Method.
Avoid Debt – Debt is a drain on resources and mental health. Avoid getting into debt and including credit cards.
Avoid Credit – Credit cards generally have high-interest rates and can a bad things but you can also use it to save money if you pay off every month. Credit cards can be a way of saving as well. Yes really. Credit cards often offer air miles, vouchers or cashback for using the card. This can be a great way to get some money back as long as you clear the balance every month.
Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to be boring there are so many ways to enjoy leisure time without costing a fortune. Frugal entertainment ideas
Date Nights – Cook at home, a movie and a cheap bottle of wine. Maybe an evening walk, picnic or playing a board game. Date nights don’t need to be expensive restaurant or a movie out.
Picnics – Pack up a picnic as its really cheap and either go to a local picnic site or even stay in your own backyard if you prefer. My family always loved a carpet picnic.
Beach – If you live close to a beach it can be a great day out as long as you take a picnic or BBQ with you.
Movie Night – Pop some popcorn and enjoy a great evening as a family on your own couch.
Games Night – Playing board games or even computer games. New games can be picked up cheaply secondhand and give a you a few great games nights.
Walking – Take a walk. Plan a walk to somewhere new so its an adventure.
Additional Income / Passive Income
Part-time job – Pick up a part-time job make sure you will enjoy it as it can be draining and requires dedication but will make savings grow very fast. Think about working in a place that serves food as they may offer free food to eat and to take home leftovers.
Passive Income – Passive incomes feel like the holy grail but there are many options that suit your situation. Example share you knowledge by creating a ebook or create a course. Create a blog on a subject your are passionate about and add affiliate advertising.
Grow your own – This can dramatically reduce food costs as well as offering a hobby and it’s also fun too! Frugal living tips like this may seem impossible but however small area you have you can grow things in pots or vertically.
I hope we have helped you to identify how frugal are you and given you many tips on frugality to save yourself additional costs to enable you to achieve what you really want in life.