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Frugal Living Tips and Ideas

Mrunal Belvalkar Apr 23, 2019
A frugal lifestyle could be your first stepping stone towards efficient management of personal finances and putting some extra money in that piggy bank! Find out some frugal living tips and ideas mentioned here.
"We live in a greedy little world, that teaches every little boy and girl to earn as much as they can possibly, then turn around and spend it foolishly!"
- Shania Twain (Ka Ching)
Man has indeed become quite single-minded, as all that everyone seems to be thinking about these days is making money. What is more shameful is the amount of greed we have. For example, take this simple test: look around your room and make a list of things you bought because you needed them, and things you bought because you wanted them. Compare the lists.
There are a lot of things in life that require money. But everyone spends quite some money on things they don't really need. Choosing to live a frugal life could be your first step towards managing your finances and saving money. Being frugal does not mean being stingy - frugality involves efficient use of what you have, making the most of what you got.

Frugality - A Way of Life

Everyone spends money on a few common things, like food, clothing, medicines, etc. Frugality can be embraced in each of these expenses. Here are some tips on leading a frugal lifestyle - tips and tricks that you will find easy to adapt.


People spend a fortune on eating out. There are so many instances when we eat out simply for reasons like "I am feeling down", "I am bored", "I am craving a burger". A lot of the eating out that people indulge in is nothing more than a bout of emotional eating.
It is totally unnecessary, and totally avoidable as well. Yes once in a while the daily food you have can get a little too boring or monotonous. But eating out every single time that you feel 'bored' is plain silly. Another reason why food becomes expensive is because we insist on organic food. They are healthy, but also very costly.
So What To Do? - Cut down on the number of times you eat out. Choose restaurants wisely (some allow free entry for kids). Opt for water instead of cold drinks (water is free!). Prefer weekdays and lunch rather than weekends and dinner (the latter is more expensive). Also, why not grow your own organic veggies instead of buying them?


A capsule wardrobe would be the best move towards a frugal lifestyle. We spend a lot on buying all kinds of accessories to go with every outfit or dress that we purchase.
One new dress means making another shopping spree for the bag, shoes, shades and jewelry to go with it. And when we do not have enough cash? There's always a credit card!
Do you realize how vicious the circle is? Now realize that it is totally avoidable as well. The best thing to do is to categorize your purchases under 'wants' and 'needs', and totally skip out the 'wants'! Also set yourself a monthly shopping budget - and adhere to it vigilantly!
So What To Do? - Go for "store brands" rather than individual brand stores. Fast fashion brands are also a nice go-between option. Stick to affordable fashion. Make the most of Discount and Sale periods. Shop with a shopping list, and stick to the list!


First you buy a car. Then you spend money on gas every week. Then comes maintaining the car. That costs a fortune as well. You probably already have an iPod, but you still need a stereo deck in the car.
Then your kid grows up and is ready for college; and suddenly it is time to buy yet another car. So there is a car per head in the family.
Just calculate the amount of money you are dishing out on three cars, maintenance for each, and most importantly gas for each. Is it really worth it? Especially in today's world where nobody is doing much about the environment, and we have problems like pollution and global warming to take care of. Is it really, absolutely necessary?
So What To Do? - Car pool. Make group errands to the store. Switch to public transport wherever and whenever possible. Also why not bike around and set a trend? A bicycle will also be a good way of exercising. And your environment remains a little cleaner and greener. Think about it.


Yes everybody needs a little bit of fun and entertainment once in a while. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Agreed. But one doesn't have to watch every movie that is released, right?
Besides, not all of them are worth watching either, so you are saving yourself a lot of time as well, skip watching a few. Also watching a movie means buying popcorn, cold drinks, candy and all sorts of refreshments; which means spending a lot many extra bucks. Also, do you really only watch the movie and come back home without making a trip to any store?
So What To Do? - Catch movie reviews before deciding to watch one. Carry snacks instead of buying refreshments. Catch the weekday show rather than the weekend - so much cheaper, and there are greater chances of tickets being available on a weekday too! Also don't forget to carry some identification card to avail student discount and senior citizen discount.

Personal Gadgets

It isn't an alien scenario when a family of four has four laptops/tablets, four cell phones, four iPods, probably also four cameras, four media stations, and quite surely more than a single TV, PlayStation, music player... why? Why can't a house of four people have just one TV, one music player and one computer?
It is quite possible, if sharing and responsibility is embraced in the truest sense of the words and in every walk of life. Many a time we have more than one 'copy' of different gadgets when a family can function perfectly well with just one of each. So why not?
So What To Do? - If everybody has a cell phone, get rid of the landline telephone. One PlayStation can be shared by siblings. If everyone has an iPod, you do not need a separate music player. Computer, laptop, tablet - opt for any one (or at the most two, if absolutely necessary).

Some General Ideas for Frugal Living

✔ Get out of the habit of shopping with a credit card - you are spending money you don't possess, so it becomes hard to keep a track on the money.

✔ Make the most of coupons when shopping for groceries, fruits and veggies. It saves you enough money to buy a meal. Don't believe me? Why don't you try it out yourself?
✔ Save electricity! You are doing more than just saving money when you do so. Switch off computers, laptops, ACs and electrical appliances instead of keeping them on the power saver or stand-by mode.
✔ Save water! Wasting water is a huge moral crime, in my opinion. Turn the tap off when not in use (that includes the in-between steps of brushing your teeth, washing your hands, gardening, etc.).
✔ Get the habit of using consumables entirely before you go to buy new ones. This includes toiletries (like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, perfumes, colognes, deodorants, etc.) makeup products (like lipsticks, instant glow powders, creams, mascara, nail color, etc.) eatables (like cereals, jams, jelly, chocolates, cookies, chips, etc.) and a lot more things.
✔ Get rid of things you don't need. Donate it to an orphanage, hold a garage sale or sell at a flea market. It might even earn you some extra cash! (Strictly speaking, this may not be a part of 'frugal living' per se; but it sure is a good way to earn money, which can be put into a piggy bank. Extra cash is always welcome, isn't it?)
✔ Adopt a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits. A proper balanced diet coupled with good quality exercises means everybody is fit and does not fall sick often. You can save a lot of money spent on medication if you stay fit. It may seem ridiculous, but ponder over it long enough and it will make sense.
As you may have realized by now - frugality does not mean being stingy. It just means using the same hundred dollars a lot more efficiently, so that every dollar spent is worth it.
If you are still unconvinced about how much you can save by adopting a frugal lifestyle, here is a tip: Calculate your expenses over the next month, and switch to frugal living the following month. Put the money you save everyday into a piggy bank. At the end of the month, check how much you saved. The figure will surely make you want to live a frugal life!