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33 Frugal Living Tips: Frugal Advice for a Richer Life

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Frugal living is a refreshing alternative to mass consumerism and materialistic consumption. The conscious choice to live life more simply and spend money more deliberately, however, isn’t necessarily the easiest journey. In order to adopt the lifestyle, it is essential to have the right mindset – and my frugal living tips can help! 

I’ve rounded up some of the best frugal living quotes that encourage embracing frugality as a lifestyle choice. Plus, I share my practical tips and valuable advice for strategies on how to adopt a more frugal life.

What is Frugal Living?

Before we jump to my list of quotes and tips, I want to answer the question: What does Frugal Living mean? At the core of it, Frugal Living means accepting the principles of simplicity, resourcefulness and – above all – mindful spending.

So, how is Frugal Living put into action? It involves making calculated financial decisions about where to spend and when to save – without sacrificing a happy and joyful life. 

Frugality is not to be confused with being cheap – as there are vast differences between being frugal and cheap. Being frugal is also not about deprivation; it’s the opposite. It’s about getting ahead with your finances and making more of your life by living on less.

Beginners who are looking for tips on how to be frugal should read my article, How To Become Frugal.

Why Live Frugally?

There are so many incredible benefits of frugality! Living a frugal lifestyle can result in less stress, zero debt and bigger savings. One of the greatest benefits of frugal living, however, is the freedom to enjoy a happy and fulfilled life.

Is Frugal Living Worth It?

Absolutely! Frugal living is 100% worth it in my opinion. By making intentional choices about your finances, you can much more easily reach your money goals.

How To Live a Frugal Life?

The transformation to living frugally doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to evolve and to create frugal living habits. Personally, I found that I had to change my relationship with money in order to truly adopt the Living Frugal lifestyle I wanted to achieve.

The tips and strategies that I share below showcase how you can embrace frugality without sacrificing happiness.

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Ready to get on board with the Frugality Lifestyle? My tips and advice will help to get you where you want to be!

#1 Know Where Your Money Goes

One of the top frugal tips is to get to know your money. How much is coming in? How much is going out? Where is it going?

You need a firm grasp on where you spend your money – and the best way to do that is with a budget. If you have never made a budget before, get started today with my tips on How To Make a Budget – and get a FREE Budget Template here.

#2 Live Within Your Means

Perhaps the most basic principle of daily Frugal Living is living within your means. In other words: Don’t spend more than you make.

This really hits the core of a budget living lifestyle. Spending more money than you make results in debt…and when you accrue debt, you are not getting ahead.

One of the best ways to ensure you are living within your means is to track your expenses daily. By calculating the money you spend every day, you can ensure you don’t overspend.

By the way, I like the simplicity of this quote, but the longer version brings a smile to my face: Live within your means and you will always be wealthy.

#3 Learn to Live on Less

Learning to live on less is a clear pathway to frugal and simple living. A good way to figure out what you can live on is to differentiate your needs from your wants.

Your needs are the nitty gritty basics – food to eat, shelter to live in, clothing to wear. Your wants are your desires – and they are things that you can live without.

In my experience, learning to live on less was a true revelation that less is, in fact, more. I found that I appreciated more and enjoyed more when I adapted to living on less.

#4 Make Frugality an Adventure, Not a Chore

Accepting being frugal as an adventure, rather than a task, is a super frugal living tip! The idea instills the positive mindset that is necessary for success.

In order to live frugally, you will likely need to make some adjustments in your mental approach. For example, rather than pouting that you ‘can’t do anything fun,’ challenge yourself to find cheap or free activities that are entertaining. Instead of bemoaning cancelling your gym pass, create a fun free fitness routine. As an alternative to using your car, find a less expensive way to get to work.

#5 Shopping is Not Entertainment

Every Beginners Guide to Living Frugally should address shopping as entertainment – because it is a detriment to the lifestyle, yet so accepted as part of our culture. Entertainment shopping (which is anytime you go to a store without a specific need) can severely hinder your path to a frugal life.  

If you struggle with shopping, use my tips for How To Stop Spending Money. Need to replace your shopping habit with a new hobby? Check out my list of Fun and Frugal Hobbies for some inspiration.

#6 Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make It Do or Do Without

A motto for many frugal lifestylers, ‘Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without’ touches on a few of the top frugal living hacks. The quote is one of the remaining frugal living tips from the Great Depression era – and it is pretty sound advice that’s applicable still today.

First, use it up and don’t let things go to waste (this is one of my favorite frugal food hacks!) Second, wear it out – as in, don’t buy new until what you have is no longer in working condition. Next, make do with what you already own (which is the same idea behind Live on Less). Finally, if you can’t afford it, do without it. It’s really as simple as that!

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#7 A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

One of the basic thrifty living tips, a penny saved is a penny earned is a solid reminder to save what you can…and that every cent counts.

Building up savings is at the very heart of being frugal. Saving money – whether for an emergency fund, a fun vacation or future retirement – is the part of frugality that gives you freedom.

Learn how to grow your savings with my tips for How To Save Money.

#8 Act Your Wage

The phrase, Act Your Wage, has a few different meanings, but in terms of how you spend your money, it implies that you should enjoy a lifestyle that corresponds with your income. If your income is $50,000 a year, don’t spend money like you make six figures. The math won’t add up and you will end up in debt.

Another way to say it (as money coach and author Dave Ramsey often does): Stop buying stuff you can’t afford, with money you don’t have, to impress people you don’t even like.

Part of living a frugal lifestyle is adopting frugal spending habits – which is simple enough to say, but much more difficult to put into practice. A good place to start is by organizing your finances – then make your budget, track your expenses and go from there!

#9 If You Live for Having it All, What You Have is Never Enough

The quote, “If You Live for Having it All, What You Have is Never Enough” is attributed to Vicki Robin, author of Your Money or Your Life (one of the best books on Frugal Living!) and avid promoter of Financial Independence. The quote is a bit of a punch in the gut…because we know, deep down, that it is absolutely true.

Wanting more can lead to a vicious cycle; the more you have, the more you want…and the more things you accumulate. Frugality isn’t just about having less, it’s about making room for more meaningful things in life.

Becoming satisfied with less stuff allows you to open yourself to the possibility of more life enjoyment. It’s the theory behind living a life of Frugal Minimalism – a lifestyle that I champion.

#10 Don’t Need It, Don’t Buy It

Quite simply, frugal living at its finest – if you don’t need something, then don’t spend your hard-earned money on it.

Of course, it is easier said than done (as is so much of the frugal lifestyle!), because temptation, tiredness and excitement can get the best of us. That is why I always recommend shopping with a list – especially at the grocery store.

When you are armed with your Budget Grocery List or your very specific $50 Grocery List, then you can better resist the impulse to buy things that you don’t actually need.

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#11 Never Go to the Grocery Store Hungry

Piggybacking off the above point, resolving not to shop hungry is a fantastic tip for thrifty living. This naturally relates to shopping for food – and is one of my top tips for Groceries on a Budget – but the same concept can be applied to any shopping quest.

If you are salivating over the new season’s hottest styles or craving the latest tech gadget, it’s not the best time to go shopping – as you will be more likely to make emotional purchases.

#12 As Your Income Increases, Don’t Inflate Your Lifestyle

Yearly raises, promotions that pay more money and a new job with a bigger salary are all reasons to celebrate – but it doesn’t mean you should elevate your lifestyle to match your new income.

When appraising the longevity of a frugal lifestyle, maintaining simplicity as your income increases can pay off in big ways. Instead of spending the money on a new car or bigger house, enjoy frugal minimalist living and stay on course with your current spending…and increase your savings.

By being frugal, saving money becomes second nature. Keep tucking away the extra income to help you meet your goals faster. That’s not to say you shouldn’t celebrate at all – just seek out cheap rewards rather than splashing out and upping your lifestyle.

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#13 Strive to be Debt Free

In my opinion, Rule #1 for How to Live Frugal is to eliminate your debt. There is nothing more suffocating than being squashed by a pile of unpaid balances.

In fact, carrying debt (other than a mortgage) counters most frugal living concepts. The benefits of being debt free are so astounding that it should be a top priority to take care of it as quickly as possible.

#14 Always Think Twice Before Paying Full Price

A key element to how to live frugally is being mindful with your money. Researching products, price comparing, finding coupons and hitting the pause button before making purchases are all excellent ways to make better buying decisions.

A great tip for Frugal Living for beginners is to always think twice before you buy anything. People who struggle with impulsive and spontaneous purchases might benefit from using Positive Money Affirmations to help strengthen their mindset.

#15 Do Not Save What is Left after Spending, but Spend What is Left after Saving

A Golden Rule of thrifty Frugal Living, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving” is a sound piece of advice from Warren Buffett. It highlights the importance of saving – and of making your savings a priority.

A good method to save intentionally is by setting up Sinking Funds. There are an endless number of Sinking Fund Categories – and by separating your savings, you can save money more intentionally.

#16 Save More than You Spend

In addition to making savings a priority, one of the top tips for living frugally is to make it a habit of saving more money than you spend. This is an easy concept to understand, but it can be a little more difficult in reality.

First, you need to calculate how much you spend (which, in itself, may encourage you to start spending less and saving more). Then, make it one of your financial resolutions to commit to saving more than you spend.

It can also be advantageous to track your savings – as a visual reminder will help keep you motivated to reach your goal. Coming up with fun Savings Games – like saving all of your $5 bills – an be a fun way to jumpstart your savings, too!

#17 Invest When You Are Young

Saving and investing money are two of the top frugal living principles to live by. Starting investments when you are young, however, exponentially increases the compounding effects and leads to much greater returns.

Therefore, starting your investments at a young age hails as one of the best frugal living tips.

If you are new to investing – whatever your age – I recommend getting a good introduction to the concepts, which are wonderfully outlined in the book, The Simple Path to Wealth by JL Collins. It’s one of my favorite finance books for beginners!

#18 Learn to be Your Own Cook, Handyman and Lawncare Service

Learning new skills is one of the best frugal living ideas! Take the time to learn how to prepare delicious frugal meals at home (including cheap breakfasts, frugal lunches and inexpensive dinners!). Watch a video online to teach yourself how to fix things around the house. Get your hands dirty by taking care of your own landscaping and gardening. You can even get really creative and learn how to cut your own hair – it’s one of the ways to be extremely frugal.

Being more self-sufficient not only expands your horizons, but it can save a bundle of money.

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#19 Quality over Quantity

Part of living frugally is firmly recognizing the importance of quality over quantity. Quality is important in all aspects of a frugal life – from appliances to experiences to clothes.

Investing in a quality wardrobe – rather than one filled with cheap, trendy items that quickly get tossed – is one example (and one of my top Frugal Fashion Tips!).

Additionally, strive to invest in products that save you money in the long run – which can be anything from a smart thermostat to a set of good storage containers for meal planning prep.

#20 Don’t Try To Keep Up with The Joneses

One of the regularly touted Living Frugal tips is to stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. In other words, don’t spend money on status symbols – like clothes, jewelry or cars – that you can’t afford just because your friends, family, neighbors or co-workers are spending money on those things.

Just because they spend more money, doesn’t mean you should. And while they might ridicule your frugal life, they are probably swimming in debt – and even if they are not, you will be if you try to keep up with everyone else.

#21 The More You Own, The More It Owns You

People can start to lose their identity to the things that they own, which – let’s face it – is a pretty inauthentic way to live. Too much time, money, effort and emotion are spent maintaining things, rather than living live.

Therefore, one of the top Living Frugally tips is to let go of materialistic possessions. Clear out the clutter. Maintain a minimalist kitchen. Downsize your house. Get rid of the extra things that take up room in your life and steal your attention from more important matters…like actually living.

#22 Only Spend What You Can Afford to Pay in Cash

In a world of credit, online shopping and contactless payments, it is easier than ever to overspend your funds. Those adhering to simple frugal living, however, only spend money if they have the cash to pay for it.

That is not to say you can’t use credit cards (because they can earn you great rewards!) – but you need to have enough cash in your bank account to be able to pay off the balances in full when the bill comes.

In the digital age, keeping track of how much cash you actually have in the bank is pretty easy – but spenders who struggle to stay within boundaries might benefit from using a budget app.

#23 Invest in Yourself

One of the great tips for frugal living is to invest in yourself. You need to ensure you take care of yourself mentally, physically and monetarily. This can mean anything from contributing to a retirement fund to honing your skills for a work promotion to taking a much-needed frugal vacation.

As you invest in your future and own wellbeing, it is important to have a clear understanding of your money situation. Get to know your Money Numbers so that you are aware of where you stand and can detect places for improvement.

#24 Beware of Little Expenses; a Small Leak Will Sink a Great Ship

Benjamin Franklin lived frugally and shared many tips to living a frugal life – including the advice to ‘Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship.’

As you practice frugality, be extremely aware of small expenditures – because they most certainly add up. A daily $5-a-day coffee habit adds up to $1825 per year. Spending $20 on useless stuff at Target every Saturday equates to more than $1000 annually. Blowing $10 a day on weekday lunches costs a staggering $2600 for the year (which can be reason enough to stop eating out at restaurants and commit to brown bagging it!).

Pay attention to the little costs. They are sneaky and can make a dent in your otherwise sound budget.

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#25 Control Your Money, Don’t Let It Control You

Money is a formidable force. You can either take control of your money…or you can let it control you.

When you rack up credit card debt and let the bill surprise you each month, you give your money control. On the other hand, when you make a plan, set spending limits and create savings, then you are at the helm.

Budgeting is one of the frugal living tips that has a big impact on how you control your money – and a personal budget is great if you are solo. If you are in a partnership and/or have kids, nailing down your family finances together is key!

#26 Spend on the Things That Matter

As I mentioned earlier, living on a frugal budget is not about depriving yourself and squirreling away every single cent you earn. The entire idea behind frugality is investing in things that bring lasting joy rather than temporary pleasure.

Spend your money where it matters – and counter the expenses by eliminating spending on things that are insignificant.

This not only applies to money you spend on yourself, but money you spend on gifts for family and friends. Rather than buying expensive presents, spend less money on more thoughtful but frugal gifts.

#27 Don’t Get Swayed by Every Sale

One of the things about being frugal is that saving money can become addictive – and sometimes it goes too far. Case in point: Buying something just because it is on sale.

If you reach the point that the money saved offers a bigger thrill than the item purchased, you have crossed the line from Frugal Simple Living to being wasteful with your money. Frugality is often a balancing act, so be aware of your tipping points.

#28 New Isn’t Necessarily Better

New is great…but buying used for less is even better. It’s one of the frugal and cheap living tips that is priceless.

When living a frugal life, don’t discount the deals you can get by buying second hand. Common items to buy used – like cars, clothes, tools, sports gear and furniture – can be purchased for a mere fraction of the price than brand new.

#29 You Don’t Need to Own to Appreciate

A great lesson of living frugal is that you don’t need to own things in order to appreciate them. You look, you admire…but you don’t desire owning it.

It’s a spectacular shift in the way of thinking. Rather than consuming (which takes money), you simply appreciate it (which brings joy).

#30 Stop Making Money Excuses

Want a grand piece of Frugal Living advice? Stop making excuses. Take responsibility for your money situation and your money habits – and then make the necessary changes so that you can reach your goals.

It is all too easy to come up with excuses of why you can’t achieve success. You don’t earn enough. You had a bad day. You will start saving tomorrow. You deserve it. But, here’s the honest truth: It’s not about how much you earn or the fact that you had a horrible day; it’s a lack of financial discipline.

So, stop coming up with reasons why you can’t and set you mind to what you can do…and do it today. Need a starting point? Use my Yearly Checklist of Frugal Hacks to kick off your journey into frugal living!

#31 Make Friends with Frugal People

The people you spend time with can heavily influence your money decisions – which can be good or bad, depending on who your friends are.

Avoid hanging with the All Flash No Cash crowd and those who exhibit unsavory frugal habits. Instead, make friends with people who are like-minded and have set their own monetary goals. It’s much easier to be frugal when you have frugal friends!

Okay…but what about your spouse? Getting your spouse to be more frugal is no easy task! Start slow, show (don’t tell) and see if you can get started with fun, free date night ideas!

#32 Frugality is Freedom

In terms of Frugal Living, freedom is a top reason why most people choose the lifestyle. When you make a choice to save money, rather than spend it, you are buying your freedom.

With a good budget in place, you are free to make choices about where to spend. With a solid Emergency Fund, you can freely deal with unexpected financial surprises. With money in the bank, you have the freedom and confidence to walk away from an unsatisfying job.

Living frugally offers something that money can’t buy. Frugality is a lifestyle of options, flexibility and self-assuredness – and you can’t really put a price tag on that!

#33 The Secret to Getting Ahead is Getting Started

Sound advice from Mark Twain, the secret to getting ahead is getting started – and there is no better time than right now!

Getting started with living a thrifty lifestyle requires some effort and changes to your current routine. The best way to begin is by setting financial goals. Once you know what it is that you want to accomplish financially, complete your budget to find out where you are (get the free budget worksheet here!), so that you can map out exactly where you want to be in the future.

More Frugal Living Tips

In this Guide to Frugal Living, I have shared some of my best money advice for frugal beginners. If you are interested in more of my tips on Frugal Living, I share heaps of information – including everything from Extreme Frugal Living tips to my favorite frugal meals to tips on how to reach your finance goals.

Find my top tips about dollars and cents on my Budget and Goals blog page. For advice on how to save money on food, head to my Frugal Food page.

Interested in more of my Life and Entertainment Tips? I round them all up on the Frugal Lifestyle page!

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