Frugality As a Lifestyle

by Miranda Marquit · 2 comments

It is so easy to think of frugal living as something you do, rather than viewing frugality as a lifestyle. However, for frugality to truly become a lifestyle, you have to change the way you think about things. A truly frugal lifestyle is not something that you adopt during a recession, and then let go as soon as things start picking up. If you want to ensure financial freedom down the road, it is a good idea to keep your frugal living goals mostly intact when the economy starts to turn around.

Principles of a Frugal Lifestyle

There are some basic principles of a frugal lifestyle. As you shift your thinking from frugality as a temporary measure to help keep you solvent to a way of living a simpler, more financially secure life, here are some things to keep in mind about what it means to be frugal:

  • Reuse: Consider how different items can be reused. At the very least use something until it can’t be used anymore.
  • Do it yourself: Think about things that you can do on your own. From changing your own oil to growing your own food, there are plenty of things that you can do yourself — for less.
  • Make things on your own: While it may not be practical to make everything yourself, you might be surprised at what you can produce without going to the store, from different food staples to baby wipes to greeting cards to laundry detergent.
  • Conscious spending: Instead of buying everything you think you need or want, think about your purchases. Engage in conscious spending, and make an effort to explain to yourself why you think you need or want something.
  • Inexpensive, quality family activities: Part of a frugal lifestyle is recognizing that family time is precious and important. It means that you look for inexpensive ways to enjoy each other’s company. This can include family game nights at homes, outings in the park, camping, or planning staycations.
  • Avoiding debt: Debt saps your resources through interest, and enslaves you. There is no financial freedom when you are bogged down by debt. A frugal lifestyle requires that you save up for what you want, and pay with money that you already have (with a few exceptions), rather than using credit as a way to finance your lifestyle.

Treating Yourself

Of course, a frugal lifestyle doesn’t mean it has to be all denial. (Some would argue, though, that simpler living is rewarding itself, and doesn’t constitute a denial of anything.) You can treat yourself. However, frugality means that you plan for your more expensive enjoyments.

I love to travel. That means that I need to plan ahead when it comes to longer trips. While most of our travel centers on staying within a 200 or 300 miles of home, we do occasionally like to take larger trips. For such events, advance planning is required. In the past, we didn’t think twice about getting into debt for a fun trip. Now, though, we save up for the trip, and wait until we have enough money, rather than borrowing.

With a frugal lifestyle, it is possible to do most things that you want to do. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t spend money on the occasional extravagance. However, living frugally means that you plan ahead for such expenses, and that most of your habits revolve around sound money practices that reduce waste.

Bonus Tip:

You can seriously cut your Internet and TV costs. Find a Verizon FiOS promotion code here and you might be able to spend less every month.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cara May 31, 2012 at 7:26 am

What about bartering? It’s such a great concept, not only to make your lifestyle more frugal. You can get rid of old and unused stuff and get precious things you need in return. You recycle and it’s fun. It saves you tons of money and is good for the environment. Try, they also let you trade services and real estate.

lfp June 6, 2012 at 12:34 pm

What if the world lived “frugally” and didn’t use up so many resources? Wouldn’t it be wonderful? Several years ago (5) I heard Jane Goodall speak and tell the audience if everyone in the world wanted to live “like Americans” we’d need 4 planets. Go frugal, friends!

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