Does living frugally make you think of soggy leftovers and saying ‘no’ to every night out with friends? None of that sounds like fun, and I will be the first to say it. But that’s not what living frugally has to look like. There are easy ways you can incorporate frugality into your lifestyle to help you stay out of debt and move towards your financial goals without giving up adventures with your friends. Let’s dive into them below.
Easy Steps You Can Take to Start Living Frugally
This list is going to start with the little things and then build up to the more ‘extreme’ choices people can make when living frugally. So I suggest you also start small and work with what feels good for your life. There are no rules to living a frugal life. These are all choices you can make for yourself.
- When you cook, double the recipe so you have lunches for the next few days. (Just make sure it’s something that won’t be gross heated through in the microwave.)
- Do your grocery shopping at a few different stores to get the best deals on staples you regularly purchase
- Meal plan
- Remove any monthly subscriptions you can
- Shop around for any service, from car insurance to your hairstylist
- Want to wear something fancy or drive a Tesla. Don’t drop $$$. Rent it.
- Travel during the offseason
- Host a clothing exchange with friends
- Buy used
- Refuse to buy one-use items like water bottles
- Put expensive purchases on a waiting list for 72 hours
- Try to fix it yourself first
- Completely finish something you opened before buying again
- Utalize price matching
- Look for coupons
- Try a financial challenge
- Barter with your friends and family
- Negotiate your bills and interest rates
- Buy generic
- Take advantage of loyalty programs and points
- Patch your own clothes
- Make your own cleaning solution
- Adjust your thermostat to save money on energy bills
- Grow your own food
- Bake your own bread
- Try travel hacking
- Save up for your next big purchase
- Commute by public transportation or bike
- Consider moving locations (geoarbitrage)
Living Frugally Doesn’t Mean Being Cheap
Living frugally doesn’t mean you’re a cheapskate. In fact, not spending as much on certain items can help you invest that money which will elevate your financial position. Any step you take to live a more frugal life will help you save money, but in order to see the changes, you’ll need to be tracking your spending and keeping a budget. This combined with living frugally can boost your path to Financial Independence (or wherever your financial journey may take you).
It’s also important to be honest with your friends and family about your budget. Living frugally is not about keeping up with the Joneses. It is about routing your hard earned money towards your financial goals and what you value. If paying for deluxe mani and pedis every week is not for you, then be honest about it. If it sounds like the dream, then look at where you can cut in your spending to make it a doable weekly adventure.
Choosing to Live Frugally Is A Privilege
Frugal living is about making do with what you have and trying to save money where you can. For many individuals, this is their reality not a choice they can make to elevate their finances. It is easy to tout frugal living as the solution to debt or other financial struggles, but that would be short sighted and not include the privilege of choice. If you’re choosing to live a frugal life, keep in mind this is not a luxury for everyone.