How to Embrace a Frugal Lifestyle

Prioritize what you enjoy

Young woman preparing home budget

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When you hear the word frugal, what do you think about? Often the first definition that comes to mind is someone who does not like to spend money. Many people associate the word frugal with the extreme cases of people who rarely spend money and make extreme sacrifices in order to protect their assets. In reality, being frugal is managing your resources and making careful, planned purchases. This means that a frugal person is careful with his money, but it does not mean that he does not do the things that he loves the most. It is important not to be too frugal.

The key to embracing a more frugal lifestyle is recognizing the areas where you may need to cut back and choosing the areas where you feel that you have earned the right to splurge a little bit more within reason. A frugal person recognizes that no matter how much she wants a certain item, if she can’t pay cash for it, then she can’t have it. She also looks ahead to see if this particular purchase is going to make it difficult to purchase groceries at the end of the month. She has mastered the basic financial skills so that she is in control of her money.

Frugal Living

When you decide to become more frugal it does not mean giving up everything you enjoy, rather it means prioritizing what you enjoy, and your financial goals and deciding which activities will have priority and what you will need to cut back on. You can have a large amount of discretionary income, and enjoy a wide variety of activities while still being frugal. The key is that you are working towards specific financial goals while you are doing those things. It also means carefully researching your purchases and activities and looking for the best deals on them. Being frugal usually means you have mastered the essential financial skills so that you can begin to build wealth. 

You can embrace a more frugal lifestyle without fully cutting out everything that you enjoy. For example if you are trying to tighten up your budget, but you feel that you need cable television in order to relax at the end of the day, you can cut back your cable package to one where you utilize all of the channels or you can decrease the amount you spend on eating out each month to compensate within your budget. Another option is to cut cable television and switch to streaming services providers that allow you to still enjoy television. Another example is if you love to travel, you can still travel, but you may spend more time looking for the best deals for airplane tickets and cruises. In both of these examples, you are taking the time to be more frugal without seriously hampering the lifestyle you want to maintain. You can also find the designer labels you want by shopping at consignment stores to find the items for less money.

Watch Your Spending

At the same time, it means that you should not be overspending or giving in to every indulgence that you want. It is important to practice moderation so that you have control of your finances. If you are spending on a whim on a regular basis, you are not practicing a frugal lifestyle. You need to be budgeting every month and planning for purchases such as new clothes, and fun expenses as a part of your regular budget. Being frugal does not mean giving up your fun, but you should definitely be planning it out and making sure that you can truly afford the things you want to do the most. You can also consider finding fun frugal activities that you enjoy without spending a ton of money. 

Live Within Your Means and Save up for the Future

You can adopt a more frugal lifestyle right now by choosing one thing you want to keep and two things you are willing to give up in order to do that. As you work to live within your means and save up for the future, you will be able to relax, and really enjoy life without all the financial worry. These things may help you adjust to a pay cut so you can take a less stressful job and improve your quality of life. You may want to take a frugal challenge to see how much you can save without cutting out the things you love the most.