Living frugally helps you to reach your financial goals and peace of mind that comes with living a simpler and debt-free lifestyle. Let start by looking at a few frugal living tips.
Benefits of frugal living
Every time you choose to spend less on discretionary items and look for ways to save on the necessities, you are essentially saving money for those things in life that matter to you.
Are you curious about what this frugal lifestyle thing is about and why it matters? You most likely have read articles about tips on frugal living or the extreme ends of frugal life and thought yikes I could never do that. Maybe now you're ready to think about ways to incorporate a little frugality into your daily lifestyle.
For me, it's about saving money on anything I can so I can spend money on things that bring me joy. A frugal lifestyle includes spending wisely, spending within your means, and also being 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. You're changing your lifestyle and becoming more aware of your spending and how it 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 find these few tips on frugal living contain some useful information to help you on your journey to a more frugal lifestyle in the real world.
Frugal Lifestyle Motivation
Here are a few books that keep me motivated and focused on my frugal lifestyle choice. Most if not all of these books can be purchased used from Amazon, eBay, or from a local used bookstore. Brick and Mortar bookstores are almost extinct, so if you have one in your area please give them your business.
Frugal living is a deliberate and thoughtful way of living and spending smarter and says NO to Conspicuous Consumerism. These authors have some of the most practical tips on frugal living and philosophy you'll find anywhere.
I own and recommend these books:
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 and last but not least Playbook for Hard Times by Donna Friedman.
Do you have a favorite book on frugal living or on how to live debt-free life? Please share your suggestion in the comments section.
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.
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 costs, 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.
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.
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 Gas Buddy 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 you're 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 audit can save you $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.
You might enjoy my post 6 ways to Stop Spending
Living a frugal and debt free life provides you with options and having options means you can design your life the 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 ( if you want to continue using plastic only use a card that requires you to pay it off in full each month)
- 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. ( I'm a bit of a Terminator geek)
Growing up my Mom and Dad reused and mend everything, I never thought much of it other than, “why go to all that bother” I just assumed they were on the cheap side! As I got older, I realized it was because they both grew up during the Depression-era and knew the value of a dime, or nowadays a dollar and I've found a new appreciation for their frugal ways. Start small with these 3 simple frugal living tips.
Repair What You Own
I draw the line at mending socks, oddly enough my husband does precisely that!
Tiny holes turn into big holes and then it’s just too obvious and you end up tossing and buying new stuff. Rediscover the lost art of mending with a simple needle and thread, and you will preserve some of your favorite clothing items and save some cash at the same time. I've saved several cashmere sweaters by mending those tiny little holes.
Stains can also be removed sometimes, before sending the item to the trash pile. I have one cotton summer top that I've renewed at least 4 times by simply dabbing a bit of whitening toothpaste on the stain!
Thrifting Tips; Shopping for a Frugal Girl Wardrobe
Start a Tiny Garden
In today's busy world who has time or in many cases the space to garden, right. I was wasting money buying herbs for recipes because I only needed a few sprigs of this or that herb.
I set up a tabletop greenhouse on my partially sunny balcony and started growing a few fresh herbs in my mini herb garden. A tabletop greenhouse, a few pots and plants, and pair of herb snippers and I’m feeling like a real gardener.
I’m still researching which cherry or grape tomatoes might do well in a hanging pot and not need the usually full sun. If anyone has had luck with container tomatoes on a not so sunny balcony, please let me know.
If you want to plant a more extensive garden with the usual, tomatoes, carrots, squash or whatever your favorite veggies are, then do a google search for community gardens in your area.
I’m not a big fan using plastic to store food items so I save and reuse my glass containers and also found out that a small wide mouth mason jar has SO many uses. My empty San Pelligrino bottles serve as my daily take to work water bottle. My empty sour cream containers are perfect for storing small items that would otherwise end up scattered on the bottom of my kitchen junk drawer. Yes, I have a junk drawer, and mom had one, and my mom's mom, I can’t bear to break the tradition.
A Few Ideas To Reuse Empty Glass Jars
- Store Nail and Screws
- Ribbon or String Dispenser ( a favorite use)
- Store Cotton puffs
- Homemade Body Scrub
- Small Flower Vase
- Candle Holder ( a favorite use)
- The Classic Button Jar
- Store Emergency Matches
- Use as a Planter ( a favorite use)