Living frugally in today’s society can be difficult.
Things are expensive and most people are struggling to make ends meet.
Keeping up with friends often involves dinner or drinks at a bar or restaurant, and the rise of social media has us feeling pressured to have the newest phone, car, or luxury house.
Though it can be difficult, there is beauty in living frugally. Others make a decent amount of money but choose to save and invest rather than spending. Whatever your reason for living frugally, there are so many benefits and lessons to be learned.
What does it mean to live frugally?
The basis of living frugally means spending less than you earn. This may sound like common sense, but for many people, it can be difficult or feel impossible.
The cost of living in many areas is so high, and it may not always feel possible to spend less money or save. This is why so many people rely on their credit cards to pull them through times when they’re low on cash.
Most of us also know that spending money on ourselves can feel like a form of therapy, and therefore a lot of the time it can feel better to spend than to save.
Buying yourself something nice may make you feel good for a little while, but how many times have you bought something and then regretted it within a few days? Most of the time, we are buying things because they make us feel good, and not because we need them.
Lessons you learn when you live frugally
If you grew up in a family that was conservative about spending, then you know that there are a million ways to save money.
Maybe you saw your parents reusing the same margarine container to store leftovers for years and years, or you only had hand-me-down jeans until you were old enough to buy your clothes.
Every family has a different approach to frugality, and everyone has their reasons for wanting to save more and spend less.
If you did not grow up in a frugal household, you may be shocked by some of the money-saving techniques that you see your friends or family members doing.
Everyone has learned a few different lessons by being frugal.
If one thing is for sure, being frugal will teach you how to cook, and how to make a meal out of nothing.
If a big spender looks in the fridge and sees nothing, their first instinct may be to order takeout. But if a seasoned saving pro looks in that same fridge, they may see possibilities!
One of the best approaches to being frugal is to cook at home, and one of the best lessons that you learn from being frugal is how to make a meal out of limited ingredients.
This is not to say that you should avoid spending money on food, but there are many ways that you can eat a healthy, filling meal while on a budget.
You can also challenge yourself to get creative in the kitchen. If you want to commit to only grocery shopping once a week, you can challenge yourself to cook only using the ingredients you have on hand, even if you feel the urge to run out and buy new ingredients every time you are missing something!
Another lesson you will learn from being frugal is to invest in good clothes and wear them until they are unusable.
With fashion always changing, it can seem like you need to spend hundreds of dollars every season to keep up. This is a trap!
In reality, the best thing you can do is invest in some quality pieces that will last you for years. You don’t need to be the trendiest person on the block to look good and feel good in your clothes.
Select pieces of clothing that make you feel good and that are well made. Chances are, they will last you for years and save you money over time, rather than having to purchase new clothes every season because the cheapy, trendy clothing falls apart.
You may also learn how to revamp your clothing – with the help of a sewing machine and a little know-how, you could even turn your old clothing pieces into something new!
Clothing overhaul could become your new hobby, and it may save you hundreds over the years!
Though not everything can be fixed with duct tape, there are a lot of small home repairs and home improvement projects that you can likely do yourself without calling a professional.
These days, you can learn pretty much anything from YouTube. Some home improvement projects that come to mind that you can do on your own include anything related to gardening, painting your kitchen cabinets, or retiling your shower stall.
For anything structural or related to plumbing and electrical, it’s best to call a professional. But for little cosmetic things around the house, get creative!
Shop around for deals
You will be surprised how much money you can save when you shop around for deals.
Try to be flexible when it comes to shopping for groceries and home goods. When it comes to groceries, try to pick up what is on sale and build your menu around those items.
This may also lead to you being more creative, as mentioned above!
When it comes to home goods like paper towels and toilet paper, you can always try buying a generic brand. If you are particular about your TP, you can try to find a slightly better price at a bargain grocery store rather than a high-end grocery store.
Make use of free resources
When you want to save money, you can turn anything into entertainment.
Most communities offer at least a few free outings, such as parks, public beaches, or hikes. All of these things can be enjoyable and they’re often free.
If you want to catch up with friends or take your kids on a day out, look into free options near you.
It can feel difficult to entertain yourself or your family without spending money, but for the most part, any activity can be a great outing.
Be happy with what you have
This lesson is often a hard-learned one. It can be really difficult to feel content with your home, car, or technology when you constantly see people flaunting their luxury items on social media.
It can also be hard to remember that those people may be celebrities and bring home tons of disposable income.
In reality, we just can’t afford to keep up with new, luxury items all the time.
Be proud of what you have and what you have worked for. If you live in a small apartment but want to buy a home, be proud of yourself for having the independence to live in your apartment while you save! If you live in a modest house, take pride in the fact that you bought it on your own.
It is not always about having the newest or best, and you will be happier with yourself and your accomplishments when you practice being grateful for what you have.
If you grew up frugal, you probably already have learned a lot of these lessons, and living this way is probably second nature to you at this point.
If you did not grow up in a frugal home and being a saver rather than a spender is new to you—don’t give up! Saving can be hard, especially when it seems that we are programmed to spend.
Many valuable life lessons come from being frugal and the more ways you find to save, the better your financial health will be long term!