Who said you can’t be frugal and enjoy life? I initially stumbled upon frugality when I was trying to pay off debt and the concept sounded perfect to me – spend less on everyday expenses and put more money toward debt.
I essentially became frugal by necessity as I was living way above my means and unable to keep up financially.
Today, I’m definitely frugal by choice and have embraced the frugal lifestyle wholeheartedly. Being frugal is often misunderstood because the masses tend to think that frugal people are penny-pinching, eating rice and beans, and feeling deprived.
On the contrary, all the frugal people I know are out there truly living their best life.
What Frugality Provides
Frugality is not just about spending the least amount of money at all costs. Frugality is about being resourceful, appreciating what you have and living below your means. This allows you to avoid stressful financial situations like having excessive amounts of debt or even not being able to make ends meet.
As a result, frugal people are often able to free up additional money in their budget to do more of what they love. Personally, I love traveling, spending time with family, and the social aspect of dining out.
Being frugal allows me to do more of what I love and less of what I don’t like – all while saving money and improving my financial situation. If that’s not living your best life, I don’t know what is!
The best part about frugality is that it’s a lifestyle and you can live however you like. I asked over 20 people to share their top frugal ways to live your best life for encouragement. Check them out below and let me know which one is your favorite!
Find Free Entertainment and Recreation
“My wife and I are always on the lookout for free entertainment and recreation. Our latest foray is hiking. We had no idea how many amazing hiking trails there are right in our backyard! And of course, that hiking these beautiful trails brings no additional cost to us (beyond the tax dollars we pay already).
In fact, sometimes there’s nothing I’d rather do than go on a nice long Saturday morning hike — if that’s not living my best life, I don’t know what is!”
Travel on a Budget
“My wife and I take advantage of credit card sign up offers to offset the cost of travel. We time our sign-ups in a way that allows us to bunch together purchases that would satisfy the minimum spending requirements to receive the rewards and then use these to purchase airplane tickets, hotel stays, and other nice benefits which reduce the cost of travel. We love this opportunity for paying less to do something we greatly enjoy.”
– Riley Adams, CPA
Keep Your Smartphone, Lower the Service Plan
“Switching my cell phone plan to a low-cost provider. I switched to Republic Wireless almost 6 years ago from Verizon and after doing the math I have saved over $4,000 in that time. It’s frugal and allows me to spend or save that money for things that I value most.”
Eat Healthy Food Your Love + Improve the Environment
“About one year ago, I decided to become a vegetarian and eat almost only plant-based foods after reading some pretty scary stats about how much eating meat contributes to climate change. But this has had the added bonus of letting me seriously cut back on my grocery bill.
Having the majority of my groceries consist of beans and lentils may seem overly frugal to some, but I love the effect this has had on my food costs while also aligning with my desire to do what I can to help the environment. Although it definitely helps that some of the plant-based recipes out there are delicious!”
– Ann Bee
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Cut the Cord
A few years back I was happy to have a TV cable package with all French channels (my mother tongue) and I did not watch it that much, so I cut the cable chord (and unnecessary bills). So I currently have no TV subscription at home not necessarily out of penny-pinching, but I do not use it enough to make it a valuable recurring purchase.”
“Since 2012, I’ve lived without cable. Only until recently did my husband and I “splurge” with YouTube TV. Cutting the chord not only saves us money, but it allows me to have time to do other things. I’m able to read instead of watching television. Last year, I read 2-3 books per month—a far better investment for my life.
Additionally, my husband and I are able to spend more quality time together. Our nights consist of conversations and not necessarily a TV screen. Because we don’t have cable, we also only have one television in our home. I believe we’re absolutely living our best life without the added cost of cable.”
Sleep On It and Spend More Mindfully on What Matters
“Sleep over a possible purchase and think it through for a week or so. If it’s a want, then, you’d lose interest on purchasing that item after a few days. If you are still considering that purchase and it turns out it’s a need, find ways to lower the cost. You can search for coupons, alternatives, clearance, among others.
For me, knowing what is a need or a want helps me be frugal, save money, and or make the best money decisions I could make.”
“My wife and I prioritize where we want to spend our money, so we’re able to live frugally but still enjoy the things that are most important to us. We try to save as much as possible in the areas that aren’t as important.
For us, that means buying clothes at yard sales, not having cable TV, eating almost all of our meals at home, buying generic groceries, etc. The money we save allows us to have more for the things that matter the most to us, like travel and time together as a family.”
Use Cashback Apps to Save
“First, I use apps to save money and get cash back on purchases. For example, I use Trim to see if I can cut down from the monthly budget and I use rewards credit cards for purchases. I can then use rewards for other things like booking flight tickets or pay for fuel.”
Play Tourist In Your Own City
“One thing that I love to do is explore my own city or nearby ones, instead of taking trips out of state. For example, instead of traveling five hours from where I live for Memorial Day weekend, I decided to spend a day exploring City Park in New Orleans, which was really cheap. It only cost me about ten bucks in gas and I got to see some beautiful artwork!”
Keep Your Wardrobe Concise
“I pretty much wear the same pair of jeans every single day (both work and weekends). They’re durable, comfortable, and I don’t have to think about what to wear. I would probably do more damage to myself trying to pair my tops with new pairs of pants.”
Get Active with Friends
“Getting together with friends for a game of pickup soccer or basketball is one of the best ways I unwind on the weekend, and this hobby is great for a few reasons! Besides being absolutely free, this activity gives me the chance to enjoy the outdoors, get some exercise, and reconnect with friends on a regular basis. I highly recommend that frugal sports fans look into joining (or creating) local leagues or pickup groups with their friends or other sports fans!”
Eat Through Your Cabinets/Pantry
“I think one good frugal tactic is to look at your fridge and pantry and push back the grocery store visit until you use up all the items in there. It allows you to save money and get creative with recipes which leads to some fun in the kitchen. Plus it’ll prevent having to throw out stuff down the line when it’s past the expiration date or looking worse for wear when it comes to perishables.”
Turn Family Visits Into a Vacation
“I take super cheap 7-10 day vacations to see family across the country. I stay in their homes, borrow their cars, and eat a lot of home-cooked meals. I fly out mid-week to make airfare less expensive.”
In general, I spend less than $500 total which includes my round trip plane ticket, a couple of restaurant meals, and re-filling the gas tanks of borrowed cars. I get to spend precious time with family without busting my budget.
Share With Family
“Family is important to me. Spending time with my family is one of my values that enable me to live my best life. We share in a family plan for our cellphone services and streaming subscriptions. We are able to get the best tiers and lower cost for everyone. We keep connected and we get to chat about the shows we’ve watched online.”
Cut Down on Waste and Minimize
“My favorite frugal move that aligns with my values is to cut down on waste. Whether it’s simply not buying groceries that sit in the pantry and expire or making sure you get the most use out of household products, reducing how much goes out in your garbage is great for your wallet and the environment.”
“Becoming a minimalist has allowed me to allow focus on the other goals I want to achieve in life. Not only do I feel I am doing my small part in repairing the environment and it has also allowed me a sense of mental peace by eliminating the “keeping up with the Jones” mind frame.
As a recovering shopaholic, I now have a “capsule” closet that I am very proud of. This means that I only buy the necessary clothing articles I need to make the most out of my outfits. Another strategy I take is to only buy a new product if the old one is not functional, no excuses! So no new iPhone here for a long time, I’m still running on the model 6S!”
Another frugal way in which I live my best life is by pursuing cheap or even monetizable hobbies rather than more expensive ones like video games or whiskey. One example is my blog. What used to be my hobby is now my full-time job. When I work on it, I feel alive, and I also make money! It’s a frugal win-win!
Pack a Lunch
“One of the best ways I’ve found to save money is to make my own lunches for work. This one simple task literally saves me hundreds of dollars a month.”
Start a Garden and Grow Your Own Food
“We have a garden, freeze and can food, make our own broth, and cook almost every meal at home. Without these things, our food budget (and our health) could quickly get out of control.”
Indulge in Cheap Eats
“I like finding the cheapest places to eat out. Sure, the “frugalest” thing is usually cooking your own meals, but the neighborhood restaurants can often be cheap. I got myself a $5 meal at a local Mexican restaurant recently!”
“My husband and I keep a $6 DiGiorno “emergency pizza” in our freezer. When we have the urge for pizza, we pop it in the oven instead of spending $15+ for delivery. We get to give in to our cravings but spend much less on it. Win-win!”
Enjoy Your Home and Have Fun DIYing
We stay home, a lot. Many people in our lives don’t understand it. Staying home more often allows us to keep from spending frivolously and spending more time together as a family, especially while our children are still young! We also don’t pay people to do things we can do ourselves! We research online, ask a friend or watch YouTube to learn how to fix and maintain our cars before we consider paying someone else!”
Buy Secondhand and Help the Environment
“One way we are frugal is that we try to buy used or second hand when possible. My wife and I have two young kids and most of their clothes and toys are hand-me-downs or from a thrift store. I love the idea of reusing things instead of having them thrown in a landfill, and it allows us to spend our money elsewhere where we get value (like going out to eat – something that other people might cut to be more frugal).”
“Thrifting! Shopping secondhand stores has always been on my radar. I see it as a means to outfit my family and my home well without compromising quality. There has to be a goal when thrifting and it is to only secure quality items. Brand names are critical.
My 16-year-old daughter has embraced the habit. She hates the mall where she gets one item for $100. She far prefers a bag full of trendy clothes for $25. I also am far less stressed as a mom. If she loses or damages clothing I have no stress about it. Losing or damaging a $100 item would make me furious. Today if I would show you my closet. At least half of the items are from thrift stores or places like Ross, but no one would ever know. I dress like 7 figures but spend like dollars.”
Buy Used Cars and Choose Affordable Housing
“One of the most frugal things we do as a family is buying used cars that are well taken care of. Both of our cars have well over 100,000 miles on them and we do most of the regular maintenance on them like brakes and oil changes. This allows us to save a ton of money on depreciation, car insurance, and expensive repairs.
Another frugal lifestyle choice we make is living in a small affordable house. Our house is just over 1,200 square feet and our mortgage with taxes and insurance included is under $1,000. These two things alone allow us to max our investment accounts, travel more, and help create the life we have always dreamed of.”
Now, I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite frugal ways to live your best life? What are you looking forward to trying from this list?
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