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I know. Frugal living and fun do not go together. Just the word frugal is kind of a bummer. But being frugal and thrifty can improve your financial life.
But, extremely frugal living now can go a long way to making fun more possible in your future. If you learn how to be thrifty, it can help you save enough money to invest, and well, make more money!
But if you are spending everything you have each month, you will never get ahead.
Or you may be in a position now where you don’t have enough to make it and need some thrifty living tips just to get by.
In any case, adopt a frugal and thrifty living strategy is not as difficult as it seems!
So, what Does it Mean to Be Thrifty and Frugal?
According to Mirriam-Webster, the word frugal actually means “using economy in the use of resources.” So, it is using or spending the least amount you can.
And to be thrifty means essentially the same thing as being frugal.
Thrifty living means living strictly in regards to how much money you spend.
The benefits of being thrifty can mean anything from being able to save enough money to buy your own house or go on your dream vacation.
To live frugally, you just need to follow some spend-thrift guidelines and make sure you are living below your means.
What are the Benefits of a Frugal Life?
Being thrifty carries with it many advantages. Believe it or not, it can actually help you get to a point where you don’t have to be as frugal.
As you continue to improve your finances, you can get more breathing room. You can save enough money to invest, or start a business and actually make more money.
Living paycheck to paycheck is not fun, and adopting a frugal lifestyle can help you avoid that.
Here are a few other benefits of living frugal and thrifty:
According to the APA, stress over money is a biggie in the lives of Americans. And we are all in survival mode right now! Especially with inflation on the rise.
Living a thrifty lifestyle can help you reduce the financial stress in your life.
Stress causes poor sleep. So if you can reduce stress by living frugal and thrifty, it stands to reason your sleep will improve.
Get out of debt
Did you know about 80% of Americans are in debt? But debt destroys your present and your financial future.
Adopting extreme frugal living tips like the ones below can help you get out of debt.
Improve your relationships
The number one reason couples fight and even divorce is money. So take that relationship stressor off the table by adopting a thrifty, frugal lifestyle.
Make Your Goals
What is your financial goal? To make more money? To start your own business?
Figure out where you want to be, write it down and adopt these frugal and thrifty living tips to help yourself get there.
Try these Tips to being Frugal and Thrifty:
You might be asking yourself “How can I live a thrifty lifestyle?”
It is not as hard as you think! Especially once you get in the habit. Try these thrifty living tips and get started today.
Yes this may make you feel like your Grandma but one of the easiest ways to live a frugal life is to use coupons. Paying full price for anything may mean you are throwing money away.
Make sure you sign up for whatever loyalty program your grocery store provides. Places like Kroger will let you load digital coupons to your code and use them. They also frequently offer weekly specials and savings so make sure you take advantage!
Before you buy anything online, make sure you search for coupons first! Here are some great couponing sites:
Automate your savings
One frugal and thrifty living tip you must adopt is to set your monthly savings up on auto-pilot.
Don’t give yourself a choice on saving money, make it automatic. Follow these tips on exactly how much you should save each month.
You can set up a portion of your paycheck each month to direct deposit into a savings account.
Or use a savings app like Simple or Acorns. What I like about the Acorns app is not only does it round up your change on purchases into savings, it actually invests that money for you. So while you are saving more money, you are also getting the opportunity to make more!
Get Free Stuff
Extremely frugal living means paying for as little as humanly possible. The ultimate way to save money is to not spend it!
And, it is possible. There is actually a lot of free stuff up for grabs out there.
Next Door is a website and app for neighborhoods. People will post items for free that they just want to get rid of. This also happens in neighborhood groups on Facebook.
You can get clothes, old tvs and more. And, for an added bonus see if you can resell these items on sites like eBay and turn a quick buck!
Pay Down Your Debt
Probably the number one rule of a thrifty lifestyle is to not have or create debt.
If you do have debt, focus all your efforts on getting rid of it. Pay off as much extra as you can each month. Debt means interest which is a huge waste of money.
Live Within Your Means
This goes hand-in-hand with paying down your debt. Living the frugal life means living within your means and not buying anything on credit.
Only buy what you can pay for.
If you aren’t keeping track of your income and expenses each month in a budget you are not being frugal and thrifty!
Track every penny you spend and keep control with a detailed budget. Sticking to your budgeted expenses will help you be thrifty.
Cut the Cable
Wherever you can, cut out additional expenses. Cable and dish tv can cost as much as $200 a month. Cut that out of your life to save money.
You can opt for one streaming service like Netflix and spend $15 a month instead. There are so many money-saving options out there now when it comes to television.
Workout at Home
Living a frugal and thrifty lifestyle doesn’t mean neglecting your health.
But, there are still ways to do that more cheaply. Instead of spending $50-$100 a month on a gym membership, opt for home workouts instead.
There are tons of online workout videos you can follow instead and that cost you zero dollars!
Downsize Your Lifestyle to a Thrifty one
Another thrifty living tip is to use less instead of more. And of course it means spending less. If your lifestyle is living large, you may need to downsize some things.
For instance if you have a $600 a month car payment, you can certainly reduce that. Buy a used car with one lump sum and get rid of that monthly payment all together.
A car doesn’t have to be fancy to serve its purpose. And, it is an easy, often overlooked place to save a ton of money.
Is your house payment draining your bank account? Rent out that extra bedroom. Or if you want to make an extreme frugal living change, sell it and buy something much smaller.
Another way to save money is to have a staycation instead of a vacation. The money you save on plane tickets and hotel stays could go a long way!
Make More Money
One overlooked way to improve your frugal living skills is to actually make more money. The more money you have coming in, the easier it is to save, and saving more means living frugally.
Plus, an added bonus is that maybe you can add a little more to your entertainment budget without causing an issue. Making more money is always going to improve your financial situation.
And if you don’t want the regular hours of a part-time job, you can opt for a side hustle instead.
You can monetize one of your hobbies, start freelance work in your field, or start your own blog or website.
Driving for Uber of Lyft means you can do it as much or as little as you want, which makes it an ideal way to make extra money. Pick up a rider on your way to the grocery store and make your grocery shopping essentially free!
Finding ways to cancel out your expenditures is a thrifty living win.
Just Say No
Probably one of the hardest but most essential parts of the thrifty and frugal life. You have to learn to say no.
Before you purchase anything, make sure it is a need and not just a want. It is ok to buy for yourself sometimes of course, but try to say no more often than not.
You can be thrifty by just saying no.
stop eating out
Eating out is a huge waste of money. And, it can frequently add to your waistline!
Eating lunch out will likely cost you $12-15. By contrast, making a meal at home may be $2-3. Multiply that savings by day and you are looking at about $3,500 in savings a year! That could buy you a new car, or an amazing vacation.
You should also take a look at your pantry! You may have tons of unused food you can make use of to prevent spending.
Daily frugal living means looking at all the areas of your life where you can save, and food is definitely a daily expense.
Be Thrifty at the Grocery Store
Since food as we mentioned is a daily expense, we have more to say about that subject! Don’t let grocery shopping be a free-for-all.
Find ways to save on food. Use coupons, take advantage of offers from your grocery store and buy food items like beans and pasta that are cheap.
You can also get cash back on your shopping trips by using an app like iBotta. After every time you shop, you can basically get cash back!
sell unused items
Take a look at your closet and your garage. You may have hundreds of dollars in there in items you can sell!
The point is, turn your items into cold hard cash.
Do It Yourself
DIY has become a trend in categories like home decor. If you can do something yourself instead of hiring an expensive professional, the savings can be extreme.
Approach everything in your life with the thrifty, I can do it myself attitude. Not only will you save a lot of money, you might pick up some new creative skills.
Shop Sales and Clearance
If you do have to buy something, make sure you buy it on sale ore better yet, on clearance.
Keep an eye out for deals online and in stores. Wait until you see the item you want marked down.
You can save a lot by being patient with your purchases.
Cut Your SPENDING
Have you ever noticed how much money you spend on special items like lattes? Things that make you feel good or are impulse buys?
Living a frugal and thrifty lifestyle means finding ways to cut the crap out of your life and stop spending money unnecessarily.
Make an expense sheet of all things you can remember spending money on in the last few months so you can see where it all goes.
This will help you find ways to cut costs and put your money to better use.
If you need some motivation check out this post: Why you Should Stop Spending Money on Starbucks and Start Saving for Your Dream Instead.
Find Free Entertainment
Entertainment expenditures can kill a budget. Whether it is going out to eat, to a concert or event the movies, spending money on fun does not equal thriftiness.
But, there are many ways to have fun that do not cost a dime! Go on a hike nearby or even camping.
Have a potluck neighborhood party! And use all your items already in the pantry of course.
Before you spend money, think of some free options to pass the time.
Buy Used Items
Everyone knows the tip about not buying new cars. That the second you drive it off the lot the value drips tremendously.
But the same thinking can be applied to anything you purchase. You don’t have to buy everything new.
You can be even more frugal and thrifty by buying things used. If you need a new computer, you can save hundreds by buying one off Facebook Marketplace or Ebay.
From ski supplies, to clothes, to cars- buying used instead of new is an ideal way to amp up your thriftiness.
Unusual Frugal Living Tips From The Great Depression
Nobody knows how to be frugal and thrifty better than the people who went through The Great Depression.
They had no choice but to live a frugal life and be thrifty. My grandparents did so many things that were extremely frugal because they had lived through that time.
Here are some extreme frugal living tips from The Great Depression:
Barter for Things Instead of Paying for Them
Extreme frugal living means not paying for things. Find ways to trade for what you need.
If you are a good photographer, use your skills as money and barter with people in exchange for other services or goods.
You might be able to get your car fixed for free or who knows what else!
Grow Your own food
The Great Depression era people foraged for food. They literally went out to look for fruit and nuts they could eat.
While this may not be a practical option in this day and age, you can start a vegetable garden to grow your own food.
Maybe growing your own food is an unusual frugal living tip, but it will also improve your health!
Extreme frugal and thrifty living means dropping your heat and just wearing lots of layers. You can save a lot of money each month by being aggressive with your HVAC and your utilities.
Recycle and Reuse
And I don’t mean recycle in the usual sense. In the depression times, people would make clothing out of flour sacks if they had to. They made toys from wood scraps.
They used ever thing they had to get what they needed if that makes sense! While you may not need to wear a potato sack as a cocktail dress, you can still adopt this attitude in your thriftiness.
Make it Yourself
During the tough times of the depression, if you needed something you just made it yourself. We already talked about DIY as a thrifty lifestyle tip, but it bears repeating!
Substitute expensive items
Back then there was no budget for meat. So people just didn’t eat that! They chose the cheapest food items possible, like beans, pasta and potatoes to live off of.
You can save a lot of money each month on your food budget with these tips.
Find alternate Transportation
Yes, this is an unusual frugal living tip, but if you really want to be aggressive you have to get a little crazy in your thrifty living choices.
During extreme times like the depression, people did not drive. They couldn’t afford cars or gas.
We all know the pain right now in 2022 of filling up the car with gas. Choosing to bus or bike to work might save you hundreds each month.
Plus, you could consider selling your car and investing the money instead. So that it makes you more money!
How to Be Frugal and Thrifty
All of the tips above should help you to be thrifty and give you a start to living a frugal life.
It is actually possible to be thrifty and not be miserable! You just have to start and be serious about it.
As the saying goes, a penny saved is a penny earned! Start using some of these frugal living tips today and boost your finances!
Next Frugal Living Posts:
My favorite budgeting and saving apps:
iBotta for special offers and cash back on groceries.
Acorns which takes your spare change from purchases and invests it for you to help you make even more money.
Personal Capital for money management. Get a money dashboard, free analysis and personalized wealth advice.