Being frugal means different things to different people. We all have our own values and priorities. Therefore, how we save and spend our money differs. Nevertheless, a lot of frugal people have habits and practices in common. They may apply the habits in different ways, but they use some form of them. You can emulate these, adapting them to your own lifestyle, to begin saving more money today.
Here are seven popular frugal people habits and practices to consider adopting:
1. Frugal People Learn About Money
It’s easy to get overwhelmed by money. Whether it’s personal finance or macroeconomics, money can feel hard. However, frugal people persist in learning about it despite the challenges. They don’t let money overwhelm them. Instead, they educate themselves about all aspects of money. This is how frugal people know how to make the right decisions when it comes to saving money. In fact, a consistent financial education is one of the most important habits and practices of frugal people. You can learn more about money through books, podcasts, webinars, free local classes, discussions with friends, and many other sources.
2. Frugal People Understand Needs vs. Wants
At first glance, the difference between needs and wants seems obvious. We need food to eat. We want, but don’t need, a brand new juicer. However, when you start to study needs, you begin to see that it’s not always so obvious.
Exploring Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs helps you see that we have needs beyond just those for basic survival. Sometimes, we spend money on our wants because we are trying to meet one of those needs. For example, we may buy new clothing to fit in with a certain group of people because we need belonging. We don’t need new clothing, but we need belonging. Recognizing the underlying need, we can find a free or less expensive way to meet that need.
Learning to parse out your needs from your wants – and to make financial choices that satisfy your true underlying needs – is another one of the most important habits and practices of frugal people.
3. Frugal People Track Their Money
You have to know exactly what your money status is in order to be smart about it. Therefore, frugal people track their spending. Whether they use an app, a spreadsheet, or good old pen-and-paper, they’re always on top of their finances.
They know how much they earn, have saved, spend each month, and owe. They know their FICO score and the interest rate and rewards details of their credit cards. It’s not just that they budget (although that’s another of the habits and practices of frugal people); it’s that they keep abreast of their financial status at all times.
4. Frugal People Learn Money-Saving Skills
This is one of the most overlooked habits and practices of frugal people. However, nearly all people who live frugally embrace some form of it. They learn how to do things that they would otherwise have to pay a lot of money for someone else to do.
For example, some frugal people learn how to sew, so that they don’t have to buy new clothes as often. Other frugal people learn how to fix their own cars so that they don’t have to pay a mechanic. During the shutdown that happened as a result of COVID-19, many people learned to cut their own hair.
If you want to add more frugality into your life, ask yourself what skill you’re currently paying too much for that you could learn to do yourself instead.
5. Frugal People Use What They Have
Some frugal people are minimalists. Others stockpile food purchased at an extreme discount. What they have in common is that they’ll generally use what they have. In other words, one of the habits and practices of frugal people is to practice less waste. They get the most use out of an item possible. They don’t buy something new when something they already have will do just fine.
6. Frugal People Embrace Community
Of course, some frugal people are loners. But, overwhelmingly, frugal people are part of the community where they live. Most importantly, they take advantage of all of the amazing free and cheap resources that their community has to offer. They get books from the library instead of buying them from Amazon. They grow food in the community garden. They enjoy the nature trails and beaches, free days at museums, free outdoor concerts and other community-based activities. They use Facebook Marketplace, Nextdoor, Craigslist, and Freecycle to trade or get deals on products and services from their neighbors.
7. Frugal People Talk About Money
Many people have money hangups, emotions around money, and trouble communicating about money. That’s why money ends up being such a problem in so many relationships. Learning how to talk about money eases a lot of burdens. The more open and honest you are about money, the better you can usually deal with it. Start learning how to talk about money.
What do you think are the most important habits and practices of frugal people? Share in the comments.