The dictionary definition of the word frugal is to be “sparing or economical in regards to food or money.” Therefore, if you are a frugal person, you essentially like to live on less. You prefer to save money rather than spend it therefore, you will find ways of reducing your outgoings and try to find cheaper alternatives to everyday things. In this article, we are going to outline some of the misconceptions associated with frugality and delve deep into the dos and don’ts of living frugally.
What Does It Mean To Live Frugally?
Frugal living is to be extremely intentional with the money you spend. If done effectively, you focus on prioritizing the things that are most important to you. Therefore, you will reduce your spending in certain areas and focus on spending on things that are essential to you. For example, you might be a total tech geek and prefer to spend your money on gadgets, but you would rather buy cheap food and purchase thrifted clothing instead of spending lots of money on expensive designer clothes.
Living frugally does not necessarily mean never spending money. It means being intentional about the money that you do spend. In a sense, frugality is similar to minimalism. As a minimalist, you don’t necessarily need to live in a house with nothing in it however, you choose to focus on owning only the things that matter to you, instead of things that hold no meaning to you at all.
The Dos of Living Frugally
Let’s get into some of the dos of living frugally (and check out these sites for even more tips):
Get Rid of Monthly Subscriptions
Monthly subscriptions are killer when it comes to wasting money. Often, people sign up to these subscription plans and end up never using the product. For example, lots of people sign up for Netflix and never watch a single show. If you want to start living a frugal life, take a look at the subscription plans that you are already signed up to and cancel the plans that you rarely use.
This is a game-changer, there are so many price comparison websites out there currently and these can be utilized to help you keep your costs low. For example, if you are shopping for a new washing machine, use price comparison sites to search for the best price online.
Use Loyalty Cards/Programs
Loyalty card programs are designed to make you keep coming back to spend more. However, you can use them to your advantage, when you are doing your usual monthly shopping, make sure you use your loyalty card and build up your points. Some loyalty cards give you a discount when you spend more than a certain amount of money every time you shop, utilize these cards/programs to further reduce outgoings.
If you ever go to the market to purchase items such as furniture or clothes, always try and bargain and reduce the cost. The majority of the time, market sellers will be willing to reduce the cost if they want to bag the sale.
Go to the Thrift Store
Thrifting is a must! You can find brand new and nearly new items for a fraction of the cost from thrift stores or second-hand stores.
Shop During Sales
Shop during the sales, items are often drastically reduced during the sales, so make use of these discounts.
Sell Unwanted Items
Being frugal isn’t always about saving money or looking for the cheapest option, you can also earn extra money by selling unwanted items online.
Buy Unbranded Things Where You Can
Save money by purchasing unbranded items where you can. For example, the branded cereal is often double the price of the shop’s brand products. Try unbranded products and see which items are suitable for you.
Don’t Impulse Buy
Impulse buying is a surefire way to overspend. Have you ever been to the grocery store to pick up a few items and you end up buying a brand new makeup set or slippers that you simply don’t need? This is impulse buying, and it can throw you off living a frugal lifestyle quicker than you can say hello. Therefore, if you want to live frugally, avoid impulse buying, and focus on buying the items that matter to you most.
Find Restaurant Style Recipes Online
Do you like eating out? Living a frugal lifestyle does not mean you should totally skip out on restaurants, but if you really want to live a frugal lifestyle, you certainly can’t eat out every single day. Therefore, you will have to find ways of getting that restaurant experience from the comfort of your own home. The Internet is right there, use it and search for restaurant-style recipes that you can make at home.
Cut coupons and save money! You can save plenty of money by cutting coupons. Also, use sites like Groupon to save money on experiences and items such as clothes, shoes, makeup, and household items.
Being frugal does not necessarily mean that you have to be constantly avoiding spending money however, you should be mindful of what you do spend and plan out how you plan to spend your money, and what you plan to spend it on.
Don’ts of Living a Frugal Lifestyle
Here are some of the don’ts of living a frugal lifestyle:
Living frugally should mean that you avoid unnecessary spending and sometimes driving is not necessary. Yes, there are times when you absolutely must drive, but if you just need to go to the grocery store around the corner, save on the gas and just walk and get some exercise at the same time.
Pay Full Price
There will be times when you just have to pay full price but if there is an opportunity to bargain, do so by asking for a discount. Frugal people never want to pay full price, and rightly so.
Buy Everything Brand New
As a frugal person you should never buy everything brand new, consider thrifting some items such as furniture and clothing.
Focus on Brand Names
There are some items that you would certainly want to buy that are branded. If you want to live frugally, you should probably think about eliminating some of the branded stuff.
Frugal living should not involve last-minute shopping. This manner of shopping is a surefire way to overspend. Try shopping for important items in advance to avoid impulse buying or purchasing out of desperation.
Buy Bottled Water
Bottled water is another unnecessary purchase, you are better off buying a water filter to filter your faucet water instead.
Upgrade Cars and Other Things Often
As a die-hard frugal person, you certainly should not be caught upgrading your phone or car every single year.
Frugal lifestyle enthusiasts should try and avoid borrowing money at all costs. Borrowing money is one of the worst ways of stepping outside the frugal way of life.
Buy Things Just Because They are on Sale
Buying things you need during the sales is fine however, buying things that you don’t need just because they are on sale is not the best thing to do if you want to live frugally.
Have Empty Freezers
Frugal? Then your freezer should always be stacked with fully prepped meals, frozen vegetables, fruits, and meats.
Emotional shopping and frugal living certainly do not go hand in hand, when you go shopping, leave your emotions at the door.
Spoil Your Kids
Avoid spoiling your kids if you truly want to live a frugal lifestyle.
To conclude, living frugally doesn’t have to be boring and you don’t have to avoid buying nice things or going out once in a while. The essence of frugal living is focusing on what is important to you.
Instead of splurging on everything that takes your fancy, you live moderately in certain areas of your life and you spend money on things that really spark joy within your financial means. Living frugally means that you live within your means and you don’t overspend. Many people today live outside of their means and spend money they don’t have by using credit cards and other unnecessary credit facilities.
Everyone could benefit from thinking and living more frugally. The long standing effects frugality has – not only on your pocketbook but – on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being make this lifestyle change well worth the adjustment. This video “Why Everyone Should Be Frugal | The Truth About Frugality” by Next Level House says it best:
Happy frugal living to you all! :)