What is Frugal Living?

So you keep seeing all these pins on Pinterest about “Frugal Living Tips” or “How to Do XYZ Frugally” but what does this all really mean?  Does frugal living equal a boring life stuck to a budget with no money for fun?

No way!!  Living a frugal life doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself and sacrifice everything in the name of a buck.  Actually, it means living smarter by stretching the dollars you have to do the things that you want.  It’s about helping you live the life you want to live – even if you don’t have a lot of money.

Ready to give this frugal living thing a try?  Read on!

Get Creative!

One of my favorite things about frugal living is getting to use my creativity to do all the things we want without breaking the bank.  I love to learn and we are constantly learning how to do things ourselves that we otherwise would have to pay someone for.  How about learning how to change your oil, fix your clothes, or bake bread yourself?  Get the kiddos involved and you’ve got a family activity AND a money-saving one, too!

Sometimes I think it’s fun just to see how much we don’t spend on things, like seeing how little we can spend on groceries.  You can check out one of our grocery challenges here!  This even turns it into more of a game for us as we see what types of meals we can create out of either what we have or what little we can buy at the store for a certain amount of money.

Learn to Think Smarter

Once you have a budget in place and know how much money you spend in all categories, being frugal means using the money you have left after necessities smarter.  It’s choosing to use your money wisely and intentionally, not just buying on impulse or using the credit.  It is most definitely NOT depriving yourself all the time.  Want to indulge in something?  Save up for it or use that creativity to do what you want cheaper.

This is especially useful if you, like us, are working through paying off your debt to become debt-free.  You can check out our story here.  As you watch all the money you save from being frugal finally start to make a dent in that debt it gets so exciting and motivates you to live an even more frugal life.

Begin smarter with your money also means knowing when not to shop.  It means knowing when to wait for the right price and knowing when something is just out of your reach right now.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h Your Money Farther

Learn how to get the best deals for you money on everything you can and watch that money go farther than you ever thought possible.  If you aren’t used to hitting up thrift stores and yard sales, make them your friends.  Scour clearance sales and craigslist, shop with coupons and use ebates so you can get what you want at a price you can afford.

Living frugally can really help you live a better life.  Being intentional with our money has made us see that we really don’t need as much as we thought we did.  We have been slowly cleaning out “stuff” and have been gifting experiences over things, which has really added more joy to our lives.  In fact, frugal living has enabled us to save up enough money to take our family of four little boys AND our in-laws on a four night cruise this upcoming holiday season!

So being frugal definitely doesn’t mean you have to give up everything.  Vacationing is important to us for all the memories we are making with our kids, so it is a priority in our budget to save up for at least one nice trip a year.  Figure out what is important to you and live frugally to achieve the things you want.   Do you value freedom?  Private education?  A fully-funded emergency fund?  Stretch your dollars you have to spend to have money for the things you value.

The world is full of possibilities and living a frugal life can help you get more out of what you already have.

Don’t know where to start?  Check out more than 60 frugal living tips and start saving money today!