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Frugal living is one of my favorite ways to live. I think it’s because I love the idea of “not being wasteful”. Learning how to live frugally is a process. It’s a decision we have to make.
My mindset was to work and I never really thought about how that would work when I had my own family. Frugal living ideas never crossed my mind.
I made frugal living part of my life once I gave birth to my twin daughters. The reality of being a mother set in and I knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom.
Since I would no longer be working, my husband and I had to make some major cutbacks to make this happen.
Does Frugal Mean Cheap?
There are many definitions of what frugal living means. Now, don’t get frugal confused with “being cheap”. I’m sure you know someone who you consider “cheap”. I know, I do.
Cheap is when you buy low quality items because you don’t want to spend the money on quality items. The problem with that approach is, you end up buying more often because it low quality doesn’t last.
What Does Frugal Living Mean?
My favorite short meaning of frugal living is “not being wasteful”. There are other meanings like being sparing or economical.
In a nutshell, it’s really living within your means. You shouldn’t be spending more money than you bring in. You should be a good steward of what the Lord has given you. Learning the best ways to save money is a big part of this.
Being a good steward of what you have comes down to these 3 things:
- Reuse whatever you can.
- Get the most out of everything you spend money on.
- Be content with what you have. Don’t buy into the lie that money and possessions will make you happy.
What are the Benefits of Frugal Living?
Frugal living allows you to have control of your money. I personally don’t like having extra bills and extra obligations hanging over my head.
Being frugal allows you to get what you need and use the extra money you saved for things that you want. We love family vacations and being frugal allows us to have extra money to spend on vacations.
Is Frugal Living Worth It?
One thing I used to really struggle with was comparing my life to other people’s. It was stealing my joy and that is definitely not a healthy way to live.
Being intentional about living a frugal lifestyle is enjoyable. I actually feel better knowing that I got the best deal and I am being a good steward. Being smart about money doesn’t have to be a drag. Make your money work for you.
Frugal living is fun and it rubs off on people. I’ve been able to teach my husband and kids frugal living tips.
How to Start Living a Frugal Lifestyle
Frugal living may sound scary but it’s really not. I used to think it meant I could have nothing. This is false and I’m happy to report that we have everything we need to live a frugal lifestyle.
If you want to start living a frugal lifestyle then you need to make the decision to do that. There are sacrifices that you need to make but it’s worth it.
We have been a frugal family for several years. When we made the decision to live frugally, I did a ton of research and started adding frugal living tips into our routine to see what would work for us.
This takes time and you will find out what you can give up and where you are willing to bend. Many of us get into a routine and we don’t really think about what we do, it’s automatic.
Take some time to analyze your day and your spending. Ask yourself questions like “Do I really enjoy that?” and “Do I really need that?”. When we did this, we found that we were spending money on things we didn’t enjoy anymore.
Frugal Living Tips
I’ve narrowed this down to the best frugal living tips. Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. You may come across more frugal living ideas or frugal living tips on the web.
These are the ways that have personally shaped my frugal lifestyle and have changed my life. Hopefully, they will help you too!
1. Create a Good Budget
Knowing how much money you have will keep you from going into debt and spending what you don’t have. Don’t forget to set up your budget categories correctly.
2. Payoff Your Debt
Saving money is important but the first thing you should do is get your debt paid off. Debt will make you a slave. I’m not talking about mortgage debt here. I’m talking about credit card debt.
Credit card debt is the worst kind of debt with super high-interest rates. If you get rid of that debt, you will be able to save money to buy the things you want instead of using your credit cards.
If you have time and want to pay your debt off faster, consider these ways to earn extra money.
3. Learn How to Save Money
The key is to make the transition of saving money little by little. It’s easy to get burned out. I learned how to coupon and have saved thousands of dollars just from using coupons.
But that doesn’t mean coupons will work for you. There are still many more ways to save money that don’t involve coupons.
4. Find the Best Value
Things get run down and need to be replaced. This will never end. My advice to you is to find the best value when you are replacing those items.
Think of the value down the road. It’s so rewarding when you spend a little more on something that lasts a long time. For example, I try to buy quality jeans so they last longer.
In the long run, it saves me money because I don’t have to buy jeans every year because of their bad quality. This is obviously difficult for children because they are constantly growing. We often find good deals for kids by shopping for used clothing online.
5. Avoid Paying Full Price
Once you learn how to save money, you will start noticing that you can get things a lot cheaper than the full price. I first noticed this when I learned how to save money on groceries. I couldn’t believe the amount of money I was paying for a box of cereal.
There is always some sort of deal available. Sometimes you just need to “Google It”.
If you are shopping online or in-store make sure you earn cashback. That can help you avoid paying full price especially if you can’t find a deal.
6. Wait to Buy Until the Item is Fully Used
We have had our refrigerator for 10 years and it’s falling apart. Some of the shelves inside the fridge door have fallen off and it has some scratches on the stainless steel.
Overall, it works fine and looks fine. We are the only ones that really notice. I’m pushing it for another 2 years unless it stops working completely.
This to me is truly frugal living. Using it until it is fully used is allowing me to save money to buy a new one.
7. Do Repairs or Projects Yourself
This frugal living tip has helped us save thousands. You don’t have to be a mechanic to do your own car repairs. My husband is handy but he also scours the internet for fix-it videos or forums for advice before we bring the car in.
Three years ago we landscaped our yard and saved thousands doing it ourselves. It was so good, that it increased our property value.
Instead of buying a new mattress last summer, we found a video with a mattress hack that saved us hundreds! These are all great things to try and do yourself.
8. Entertain at Home
This frugal living idea is a big one for us. We are a family of 5 so things can get really expensive. We do treat ourselves once a month or so but other than that we try to entertain ourselves at home.
Getting rid of cable has been a blessing because now we have tons of movie options. We also play games like Jenga, card games, or download some free books online to read aloud. This not only saves money but also gives us quality family time.
9. Eat at Home
When we decided to live frugally, we stopped eating out as much. I create weekly meal plans and serve dinner 7 days a week. Don’t let that scare you, we usually have a leftovers night and a cereal or breakfast night.
The funny thing is, our food at home tastes way better now. I’m hardly satisfied when we do go out to eat. Right now we have our budget set to go out to eat after church on Sundays.
10. Buy in Bulk
If you haven’t noticed, buying in bulk can save you money. For example, my grocery store offers a cheaper price when you buy in bigger quantities.
Make sure you are checking the price per unit. That is a great way to find out what the better deal is.
11. Cut Back on Utilities
I never understood utility bill costs until I had to pay for them. Turning off lights, conserving water, and managing your heater and/or air conditioner can make a huge impact on your utility bills.
We live in the mountains and get snow. It gets really cold but we have found a comfortable temperature for our house during the winter is 60 degrees in the day and 64 degrees at night.
We also make a point of turning off lights and running water. It all adds up and has made an impact on our bill.
What are Your Frugal Living Ideas?
These are the best frugal living tips but I’d love to hear some of yours! Easing into a frugal lifestyle is the best way to make the transition. Being intentional about living frugally can really pay off.
If we didn’t decide to change our money habits, we wouldn’t be able to enjoy some of the things we have saved for.
Our kids appreciate everything we have. They understand that money is a responsibility. The important part for us to do as parents is to give them an example of what using money responsibly looks like.
Frugal living has helped us save thousands and I hope it helps you too!