Are you curious about what this frugal living thing is about and why it matters? For me, it about saving money on anything I can so I can spend money on things that bring me joy. A frugal lifestyle includes spending wisely, and within your means, and are prepared for a financial emergency. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy, because it’s not easy for everyone. It took me a few starts and stops before I was all-in with frugal living. Your changing your lifestyle and becoming more aware of how your spending affects your future financial security. If I could go back in time, I would tell my younger self to save at least $5 or $10 every paycheck, then as my income increased I would increase my saving proportionately.
You may be frugal by choice or frugal by necessity, either way I hope you will find some useful information to help you live a frugal lifestyle in real world.
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Frugal living is a deliberate and thoughtful way of living and spending smarter. Frugal Living says NO to Conspicuous Consumerism. I own and recommend the book Affluenza by John De Graaf and David Wann. Consider purchasing the Kindle edition, so you have it ready to read when you’re feeling a little spendy. Another great book that I own and enjoy is Your Money or Your Life by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin. The book was originally written in 1993 and updated in 2018. Another favorite of mine is The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager.
Establish Goals for a Frugal Lifestyle
Start thinking about why you want to live a frugal lifestyle and what it means to you. Do you desire to live a more minimalist lifestyle? Are you trying to save up for a major purchase? Maybe your just tired of consumerism and looking for joy in everyday life that doesn’t involve shopping? Are you worried about having enough in retirement? Defining your purpose is essential to keep you on your frugal pathway.
Review Monthly Bills
Reduce or eliminate any service that is unused and unnecessary. You need to start thinking about the difference between things you need and things you want. Make a list of all your monthly bills, including utilities, transportation cost, etc.. Review each bill to see if there is any room for reduction. The big ones to start with are the cable and cell phone services, beginning with those two bills you could potentially save $50 or more a month.
If you are hardcore about cutting the bills, cancel the cell service entirely and download a free voice and text app. You will need to be on Wi-Fi to call or text but so many places have free wi-fi it’s not that inconvenient. Remember 911 is always available even without cellular service. The FCC is an excellent resource for information about calling 911 on cells phone with or without cellular service.
A Few Words About Cable TV
Another classic money saver is cutting the cable cord and keep you home internet for streaming your favorite shows and movies. If your older this is a big change and I suggest try streaming for a month before cutting the cord. Some people just really enjoy channel surfing and the change would be to disruptive. Remember frugal living is not about deprivation, so if you enjoy cable, by all means keep it and maybe just reduce the package to a more reasonable monthly amount.
Try calling your cable company and ask for the same rates they offer new customers. If they think they will use you to a competitor, they may give you a reduced price to retain your business.
A Few Words about Transportation Cost
Shop around for a better car insurance rate, I saved $10 a month by calling my auto insurance company and telling them I found a better rate but wanted to give them a chance to match the premium and you know what, they did! Download the GasBuddy app to find the cheapest gas in your area. I started using the GasBuddy app when I joined a Vanpool at work, and the app is always up to date and reflects accurate pricing. By the way, if you can, I do recommend joining a Vanpool or start one up at work, they are wonderful and save me over $100 a month just in gas and reduces wear on my personal vehicle.
Tip: If your looking for a new job, inquire about available Vanpool programs. For more information on saving money on your daily commute please read my blog post “Save Money on Your Daily Commute“.
Continue Auditing Your Personal Finances Regularly
This type of financial audits can save you a $100 or more every month. Use your saving to pay off debt or start a long term saving account.
Stay Motivated and Proud of Your Frugal Lifestyle
It’s okay to have a little splurge now and again, what matters is what you do on a regular basis. Find a way to socialize without spending money. Stay motivated by reading books and blogs about living frugality, minimalism and simple living. Keep track of your how much money your saving and be proud of your new frugal lifestyle. Call yourself a tightwad, cheapskate, thrifty, prudent, or penny-pincher with pride.
Living a frugal and debt free life provides you with options and having options means you can design your life they way you want to live it. Being in debt and a slave to shopping, means you no longer have full control over your life and you need to make decisions to feed the debt beast first before your own happiness.
Frugal Living Tips Anyone Can Use
- minimize eating out and cook at home instead
- brown bag your lunch
- join a carpool or vanpool
- use coupons when available
- buy used instead of new when appropriate
- wait 24 hours before making a discretionary purchase
- ask yourself – is your purchase a need or a want – and answer honestly
- don’t compare your financial status to anyone else
- buy generic when the quality is comparable
- stop using credit cards and cash instead
- buy discounted gift cards
- shop garage sales and thrift stores
- don’t lose sight of your goal
- stay connected with other frugal friends
- know your spending triggers (mine is online shoe shopping)
- audit your bills on a regular basis
- in the word of kyle reese – stay frosty.