Want to be rich one day?
Or at least want to be whatever version of “rich” that lets you spend your time the way you want to?
How freeing would that be?
What if I told you there was a way to be that free without having to win the lottery or wait until you save up a million bucks?
What if there were some simple strategies you could apply right away to feel rich and free?
Well, there are actually many strategies to do just that. And you don’t have to give up everything you love to get there.
All you have to do… is practice frugal living.
Frugal Living Defined: Nothing to do With Being Cheap
Frugal living isn’t what you think it is.
It has nothing to do with being cheap or cutting everything you possibly can out of your life to save a penny.
It’s merely the act of spending your dollars on things you value rather than wasting money on things you don’t. Frugal people decide what is most worth their money, and what isn’t, and then spend it accordingly.
What’s valuable to you might not be valuable to someone else. Therefore, one frugal person can have different spending habits than the next.
If you decide to live more frugally, your friends and family might initially consider you cheap. But in reality, you are just cutting excess spending on things you don’t care about, so you can have money to spend on things you do care about.
8 Benefits of Frugal Living Worth Getting Excited About
Speaking of things you care about, I’m sure you wouldn’t deny having at least some, if not all, of these benefits:
You’ll have more money for vacations.
Who doesn’t like more vacations?
When you practice frugal living, you will stop wasting money on things you don’t care about, freeing up cash for things you do. Like a vacation. And then another one. And why not one more if you value vacations?
You can retire earlier.
It’s no secret that retirement looks different now than it has in the past.
Many people choose to keep working in retirement, and some have no choice but to do so. Some semi-retire earlier, and some never retire at all.
Whatever retirement style you’re planning, being frugal will let you decide what it looks like over having the bank decide for you.
You’ll have more financial resilience in the event of a change of circumstances.
We all know we’re supposed to have an emergency fund. But who can realistically save up to 3-6 months of expenses?
Frugal people, that’s who.
Not only is 3-6 months of expenses typically lesser if you’re frugal, but you’ll also be able to aggressively sock money away for a plan B. If that’s one of your priorities.
You’ll be able to pay off your mortgage sooner.
If you already own your home, practicing frugal living will free up cash you can use to pay down your mortgage.
And if you don’t have a home yet but want one, you’ll find it easier to save up for a down payment when you’re not wasting money on crappy food every day.
You will have less stress about money.
This is a big one that isn’t as much exciting as it may be necessary.
Not having enough money (or feeling like you don’t have enough) can add a lot of stress to a person or relationship and even lead to mental health concerns.
When you’re living frugally, you know what you’ve got to work with. And you work with it worry-free, ignoring all the stress that comes with not having enough money.
You will be spending your money on things you enjoy.
If you’re one of those people who think living frugally means sacrificing every last bit of joy out of life, you’ll be surprised to learn that it’s quite the opposite.
When you decide what’s important and what isn’t, you’ll stop wasting money on things you don’t really care about. This’ll leave you with more money to spend on things you value.
You’ll actually be spending more money on things you enjoy instead of less.
You will stay out of debt.
I won’t get into how bad debt is for your finances since you already know it’s a worthless thing to collect. But know that frugal living will help you avoid ever accumulating debt (again).
As you decide what doesn’t matter to spend money on, you’ll stop the impulsive purchases that can get you in debt.
You will build wealth.
Guess what happens when you’re done paying off debt?
Your excess cash can go towards investments, turning that compound interest around in your favour.
Even if you don’t like the idea of investing. You’ll be able to save a lot more money than if you were constantly wasting it away on things that don’t matter to you.
Is Frugal Living Worth It?
Frugal living is totally worth it. I don’t think I’ve ever met a frugal person who says otherwise, myself included.
I could just be brainwashed, but I’m sure if you give it a try, you’ll see the benefits far outweigh any sacrifice.
Whether you want to take your family to Disney Land, or pay off a mountain of debt, when you reach that first big financial goal, you’ll be proud of yourself and want to keep on going.
And you’ll have your frugal lifestyle to thank for it.
Can Being Frugal Make You Rich?
Frugal living alone won’t make you rich. But adopting a frugal lifestyle is one of the first steps in getting there one day.
You won’t get rich just by being frugal, but you might feel rich since you’re in control of your money and spending it in ways you truly value. That’s kind of what rich people do anyways, right? Spend their money on things they value?
I think it’s safe to say a lot of rich people are also frugal. I’ll also assume that most self-made rich people got their start by being frugal.
So, if you want to be rich one day, step one is to become frugal.
How can I become frugal?
If you want to become frugal (and eventually rich), you need to change how you view money. It helps to think of money as the tool you use to build your financial freedom.
You don’t need to make all the money in the world. You just need to make the most of the money that you do make.
I’m not going to threaten you with a budget, but you do need to come up with some sort of plan for how you spend your money.
Since frugal living is more about aligning your spending with your values and less about managing every dollar, start by making a list of your core values. Then, stop spending on things that aren’t in line with those values or aren’t completely necessary.
As you come up with your list, notice what comes to mind first and what doesn’t come up at all.
Is spending time with your family/spouse/friends right up there with taking care of your physical/mental/spiritual health?
Did the baconator you had earlier today even make it onto your list?
See how there are things you spend money on that aren’t what you truly care about?
Commit yourself to pass on things you could care less about.
That’s how to become frugal.
10 Frugal Living Tips That Are Actually Worth Your Energy
Aside from spending your money on only the things you value, the other part of frugal living is saving money on things you have to pay for.
I recommend focusing on some big wins that’ll save you tens of thousands (maybe even hundreds of thousands) before you start splitting hairs over the smaller stuff.
Try out some of the tips below and see how they work for you. If you don’t like how it’s going, ditch it. Being frugal doesn’t mean selling your soul for some pennies.
1. Downsize Your Home (and get rid of your junk)
Now, this isn’t one of the tips you can “try out and see how you like it,” but it is the one that could save you the most money.
There’s a good chance you have some space in your home that just has a bunch of boxes in it or things you haven’t looked at in almost a decade.
Some of these things might be valuable to hold on to, but if you’re like me, you just curse when you trip over the “bag of junk.”
Where I’m going with this is that you likely have more space than you need. And if you move to a smaller home, you could save hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime by paying less for a home.
2. Drive Your Car ‘til The Wheels Fall Off
Well, not quite ‘cause if you get in an accident, your insurance premium goes up. So you’d lose your cost savings. But in reality, your next biggest expense is your car. Or cars. Or whatever type of vehicle you drive.
If you are buying a new vehicle every few years, stop.
If you are leasing, double stop.
If you are financing a used vehicle and replacing it with another used vehicle before the first loan is paid off, I’ll give you more credit than the last 2 lines but still, stop.
Those situations are a surefire way to waste a lot of money.
Pay your car off and set aside some of the money you used as payments for future repairs.
Keep your car for as long as it’s safe to drive and enjoy the surplus cash flow.
3. Beat The Dealerships at Their Own Game
When your car finally sees its last day, and you’re ready for a new (to you) one, shop around for a loan before you hit the dealerships to make sure you get the best interest rate possible.
Often when you finance at a dealership, they’ll give you a crappier interest rate than you actually qualify for. This is because the bank gives them more commissions for selling a higher interest rate loan.
I hate car dealerships.
This works when you are renewing your mortgage as well. Check around to see that you’re getting the best interest rate you can. Even 0.1% can save you hundreds in interest over your term.
4. Pay Off Your Damn Debt
And while we’re talking about interest, let me show you what a waste of money carrying a balance on your credit card is.
If you carry $5,000 on a credit card, it’s gonna cost you almost a grand a year in interest at standard rates.
Oh, you have a low-interest credit card? That’s great, but you’re still wasting money.
If you have it, pay it off. If you don’t, keep it that way.
5. Rent When It Makes Sense (or dollars)
No, this isn’t permission to lease a vehicle. And double no, leasing isn’t an alternative to “taking on debt” (car loans are technically debt).
What I’m talking about is renting something you are only going to use once rather than buying it outright.
You’ll save money and space not having to store it after you’re done with it.
Just make sure if you’re renting for an extended length of time, you will still come out ahead over buying it new (or used) and selling it when you’re done with it.
6. Do It Yourself
If you have the skills (or want to practice them), you can save a ton of cash by doing minor repairs or projects yourself.
There are certain things you shouldn’t do yourself, and if you’re in over your head, don’t even try. Chances are you’ll end up paying a pro more in the end to fix your mistakes.
But if you have some ambition, you can do tons of easy things without hiring it out.
7. Cook More, Waste Less
One of the most significant expenses you’ll deal with other than your home and transportation will be your grocery (or lack of) bill. If you have a family, then this can rack up fast.
And I’m sure unless you’re the fitness-freak type that you eat out a fair amount. Don’t worry, I’m guilty too (mmmm… baconator).
That being said, there are a couple of ways you can save on food.
The biggest would be to eat out less. You’re gonna save the most money by cutting the restaurants and eating food from the grocery store.
If you think that you can feed your family for less at McDonald’s than buying groceries, then you’re cooking the wrong things. Learn some new recipes and ditch that excuse.
And second, try to eat all the food you buy. Just picture your dollars being thrown in the garbage every time you don’t feel like eating leftovers.
Lastly, make sure you pack a lunch for work so don’t get stuck eating out. And try to stick to less processed foods.
8. Shop With a List, And Stick To It
Before you head out for groceries, make a list of what you need. Then, when you get there, only buy what’s on your list. This’ll help get away from impulse purchasing.
Bonus tip: Don’t grocery shop hungry. You’ll ignore the list and buy everything that looks tasty.
This works for shopping trips other than groceries…
Like when you go to a hardware store for some… hardware? And start justifying why you should buy the new mitre saw.
Because you can’t rent the mitre saw, right?
Because you’re going to be doing a lot of DIY now, right? So renting just doesn’t make any sense… right?
Maybe you shouldn’t go to hardware stores hungry either.
9. Check on Your Subscriptions
Have you ever thought about how many recurring payments you’re subscribed to?
Businesses love this payment model because their service is usually so affordable that we quickly sign up for it and easily forget about it coming out of our bank account every month.
Then we sign up for another.
And before you know it, you’re spending hundreds of dollars each month on things you aren’t thinking about paying for. Some of these you might not even be using.
Think about it. Personally, I’m paying every month for the following:
- Disney Plus
- Google Play Music
- iCloud Storage
- Quickbooks Self-Employed
- Welding Gas Cylinder Rentals
- GoDaddy Hosting
To be honest, there are probably some more that I can’t even think of right now. But I’m glad I re-did this exercise since it reminded me I need to cancel the gaming services I haven’t used in months.
10. Give Yourself an Allowance
This last one will help if you’re feeling like you’re doing a lot of scrimping and sacrificing.
Give yourself a certain amount of money every month that you can spend as you wish. Ramit calls this money guilt-free spending, which is exactly what it is.
You’ll have to come up with an amount that works for you. And I recommend taking it out in cash so when it’s used up, you aren’t guessing… or lying to yourself so you can spend more.
Simple Frugal Living: The 60 Second Guide
Here’s a simple way to live frugally without spending a lot of effort on money-saving ideas.
Any time you are about to make a purchase, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- Do I need this?
- Am I going to regret not buying this?
- Will this bring value to my life?
If you answer yes to any of the questions, then it is a purchase worth making. If it’s “no” across the board, then skip it and move on with your life.
How Do You Live a Frugal But Great Life?
A lot of people (who aren’t frugal) associate frugal living with not living. But as I said earlier, money is a tool to use to live the life you want.
When you decide to live frugally, you decide what is truly important to you and what you don’t care as much about.
You don’t scrimp on absolutely everything, just the things that don’t bring any real value to your life.
Once you spend your money only on things or experiences you care about, you increase the amount of value entering your life.
What isn’t great about a life of increasing value?
Now go put your new frugal living tactics in motion.
Come up with your spending plan.
Cut out the junk you don’t care about and align your spending with your core values.
Then, try some money-saving tricks and see what works for you.
Soon you’ll be saving money all over the place and have more cash to buy things or experiences that add real value to your life.