The Frugal Way of Life

Did you know that Warren Buffet lives a frugal lifestyle? The 4th richest man in the world who’s worth $98.5 billion chooses to live a less luxurious life! Another surprising fact is that he has been living in the same house that he bought in 1958. Now, if he can do it, why can’t we?

Sure, he’s worth billions and can still afford to live a lavish lifestyle, but there’s so much we can learn from this intriguing man besides investing.

What is Frugality?

One of the biggest financial problems we face is living above our means, as we spend more than what we make. Living frugally means you spend less than what you earn, and you use the difference to save, invest, and pay off your debt. It’s not about being stingy but more about being resourceful.

A frugal lifestyle opens opportunities for you, such as early retirement, working less, and saving more, or vice versa. You get to focus on the things you value most in this life.

Frugal living does not mean you’re cheap.

Instead, you’re paying less for similar quality items and not sacrificing comfort. This gets done by cutting costs, and the only way you can do this is by creating a frugal budget. Budgeting for a frugal way of life takes thought and is detailed, and needs repeated monthly reconciliation.

  • Budgeting for a frugal lifestyle requires consideration of your spending habits, where you focus more on saving as much as possible.
  • Being frugal is not a punishment but should instead be viewed as liberating.

So how do you go about living a frugal way of life?

#1: Think Twice Before You Buy

We all know it’s a bad idea to go grocery shopping on an empty stomach or impulse buy when we’re feeling emotional. Always give a second thought before making any purchases, and decide if this is a need or a want. Put it back if you do not need it.

It may seem easier said than done, but once you’re in the habit of separating your needs from your wants, it will get easier.

#2: Cut Down on Expenses

When you embark on a frugal lifestyle, one of the first things you need to do is reduce your expenses. After all, you want to save money! There are so many ways to cut down your expenses, including:

  • Cancel your Netflix, Hulu, and any other TV subscriptions you have. Keep the one you use the most, or better yet, ask friends and family if they can give you their login details to share their subscriptions with you.
  • Get rid of your gym membership, and instead do free workouts you can find online. There are so many other options that cost you nothing, such as walking or running, enjoying nature on a hike, or riding your bike.

Go through your budget and find ways to cut costs further. Cancel all the unnecessary subscriptions, cable tv, memberships, etc.

#3: Coupons

There are so many coupons available for you to use when you go out shopping. Every dollar you save will add up in the long run. If you’re interested to see just how much you save, keep a journal of each saving and add it up every month. By the end of the year, you’ll be surprised at how much you saved!

If you’re not sure where to get coupons, here’s some inspiration:

Be careful not to go spending all your money on items you don’t need or use merely because you have a coupon for it. Stick to your staples and what you use or eat, and you’ll walk out of the store feeling like you won the lottery!

#4: Buy Second-Hand

When you need something, especially if it’s electronic like a TV or printer for your office, ask your family and friends if they wish to get rid of theirs. You’ll be surprised who can help you, and it will cost you a lot less than buying brand new.

Another way to look for second-hand items is by bargain hunting at garage sales and thrift stores. There are so many quality items that people want to get rid of that might be what you desperately need. From clothes to shoes to a new bed, you can find it if you search correctly.

Online marketplaces can also be a great way of finding used items that are still in good condition. By purchasing second-hand, you not only save money, but you are saving the environment, too!

#5: Do it Yourself

Why buy a new table or bench when you can make it yourself? Whether you do it yourself from scratch or repurpose something used and old, DIY projects can benefit you. Not only are you acquiring new skills, but the satisfaction of making something yourself is euphoric.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, a Google search or a YouTube tutorial video can help you step by step in your new handy skills. Get your family to join you and make it a family project. You will enjoy the family bonding time, and your kids will walk away having learned a creative new craft.

#6: Buy in Bulk

To save on your grocery bill, consider buying in bulk for items such as toilet paper, soap, paper towels, etc. By buying in larger portions, the price per unit becomes lower than buying them in single units. You’ll also save yourself from having to make extra trips to the store when your items run out.

Plan by looking online for store promotions or sales and note where and what to buy. Remember to use your coupons when buying in bulk!

Prevent waste by cooking in bulk with all perishable foods. Store them in containers and freeze for a day when you’re not in the mood for cooking. You’ll save money and precious time.

#7: Transport Alternatives

The cost of fuel has been increasing yearly and becoming a significant expense for many people. It’s becoming more cost-effective to walk and bike to wherever you need to go. You get to save on gas while outside getting in a free workout. And the cherry on top? You don’t need to sit for hours in traffic!

Here are other ways to save on transport costs:

  • Public transport – If you’re not in the mood to walk or bike, consider taking the bus or any other type of public transportation. Busses are convenient when the weather isn’t favorable and cost-effective. If your city has rail services, then get a monthly ticket to use the train.
  • Carpool – Sharing transport costs to work and back with a colleague or friends can help you save money and maintenance costs to your car in the long run.

There are many options for you to try, so find what’s available in your city and keep adding to your savings!

#8: Meal Plan and Cook in Bulk

Not everyone likes meal planning, but living a frugal way of life consists of daily planning. Plan your lunch and dinners for the week, and do your weekly grocery store run with the items you need for the week only.

The night before, prepare your lunch for work and pack them into easy “on-the-go” bags. Set your coffee machine on a timer so that you can get your coffee fix before leaving your house and spending unnecessary money at a Starbucks.

Create a menu of what your dinners will look like for the week, and spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon meal prepping. It might sound like a chore, but once you’re in the habit, it will become more enjoyable. You will also come to realize that cooking after a long day at work can be exhausting, so having a pre-cooked homemade meal will make all the difference.

#9: 30-Days No-Spend Challenge

If you want to take your frugal living a step further beyond what you’re used to, then try the 30-day no-spend challenge. The challenge’s name speaks for itself – you will not spend a cent on anything that’s not necessary and that’s not in line with your budget.

Avoid spending at all costs, so no treating yourself to a bar of chocolate! This is a tough challenge, but doing it for 30 days can be liberating. It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep yourself from spending unnecessarily.

When the 30 days are over, recon your bank statement to see how much you saved. You’ll be surprised where your money goes when you don’t think about your spending habits.

If you like the idea of challenging yourself more often, consider doing a no-spend challenge one week a month. All these small habits will help you save more and set you up for living a frugal life that will help you reach a place of financial stability.

Keep it Simple

The frugal way of life can be challenging, but you can do it with the right plan in place. Keep it simple, and don’t overthink anything.

Frugality sets you up for financial freedom, living a life free of debt, and savings that keep growing. Don’t be afraid to fail, as nobody is perfect.

And keep looking to the great Warren Buffet – no matter how much money you have, you don’t need the luxury to enjoy living life!

Come to discuss that topic in our Facebook Group!
Jean-Maximilien is an expert in Canada and France about Loyalty programs, Credit cards and Travel. He is the Founding President of Milesopedia.

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