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Frugal living, the new trend for clever people

Updated on March 26, 2013

Copyright: Novascotiamiss, 2011


What is frugalism?

Especially during the current economic crisis frugal living has gained popularity and is becoming widely accepted. While some of us are living frugally out of necessity, others are embracing this lifestyle simply because it makes more sense. After all, why should you pay more for less? With the household debt to income ratio rising to dangerous levels, people wake up and listen: Frugal living is not only for the poor, it’s for the clever! The way things are going, the Yuppies and the Joneses will soon be replaced by the Frugal. I wonder why nobody has come up with a hip term for a frugal person yet: Frugan, frugie, frugalitarian or frupel are just a few suggestions. While in the past frugality was connected to negative sounding words like stingy, penny pinching or even cheap, the tide has finally turned.

In a nutshell: Frugal people are well-informed consumers who use resources, time and money wisely with a no-frills approach. By avoiding unnecessary goods and services they reduce waste and have a positive impact on the environment as well as on their wallet.

Being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to live like a pauper in a mud hut. In the contrary. It simply means that you live well within or even below your means instead of keeping up with the extravagant lifestyle of the Joneses which, by the way, is financed and owned by the bank anyway! A frugal person lives on a budget rather than on credit and sometimes even manages to put something away for a rainy day. You won’t spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of Manolo Blahniks but you will spend a couple of hundred bucks on a pair of gore-tex hiking boots that will keep you warm and comfortable for years to come. Things have to be functional and of good quality rather than flashy. Cheap junk is out, which doesn’t mean that have to avoid the dollar shop altogether. There you may find every day household goods, birthday cards or certain foods a lot cheaper than in your average store. As long as it's the same quality, go for it! But you definitely won’t buy your child that one dollar toy made in China which will be kaputt before you even reach the car.

Reasons to join the frugal movement

  • Frugal people sleep better because they are less likely to have credit card debt
  • Frugal people are healthier because they watch what they eat and some even grow their own vegetables
  • Frugal people are less obese because they walk that extra mile rather than driving. After all it's a cheap workout and they wear comfortable shoes
  • Frugal people have a better family life because their kids will learn how to enjoy the simpler things in life from an early age
  • Frugal people’s children face a less scary future because they don’t have unrealistic expectations and they are not destined to impress their friends with an extravagant lifestyle
  • Frugal people are not scared of Christmas and birthdays because their family and friends won't tell them "I hate you", just because they didn't get the latest high-tech toy or designer clothes
  • Frugal people are good planners because they know that Christmas and birthdays come around every year but the specials might not be on then
  • Frugal people know exactly how much they own and what they owe, because they live on a budget
  • Frugal people are more practical because they fix things, rather than replacing them
  • Frugal people are less hesitant because they know exactly what they want
  • Frugal people are proud of who they are and not of what they have
  • Frugal people are tidy and take care of their things because most items were bought with hard-earned cash
  • Frugal people have real friends and not the kind that needs to be impressed
  • Frugal people are less stressed because they don’t have to keep up with the Joneses
  • Frugal people are more environment friendly because they hate waste and they know that leaving the lights on 24 hours a day will cost $$$
  • Frugal people are happier because they know how to appreciate the little things in life
  • Frugal people know how to treat themselves. They don’t do it often but then it’s special
  • Frugal people are flexible because they adapt their purchases according to what's on sale
  • Frugal people are patient. They don't buy the latest high-tech gadget when it comes out, they wait a few months and get it a lot cheaper
  • Frugal people retire earlier because they don’t owe the purchases of the last 20 years to the bank

Money doesn't make you happy and frugalism is not only for the poor

Now, while most of us are dreaming of winning the lottery, living in a big mansion, driving a Ferrari or owning a motor yacht that makes the Queen Mary look stupid, some of the world’s wealthiest men have realized that money and toys are not the secret to happiness. Despite the fact that they are multi billionaires, they don’t show off their wealth and they actually enjoy a frugal lifestyle. One more proof that frugalism isn’t only for the poor. Warren Buffet, Carlos Slim Helu, Ingvar Kamprad, Chuck Feeney and Frederik Meijer can teach us all a lesson. The following article is a real eye opener:

Cook your own meals
Cook your own meals | Source

Frugal lifestyle tips

  • Buy the things you need, not the things you want
  • Don't go shopping with an empty stomach
  • If you are an impulsive buyer leave your credit card at home
  • Choose a product according to practicality and not according to impressiveness. E.g. what’s the point of driving a Porsche if you can’t afford it and your 3 kids and the dog won’t fit in the back? Why have a high-speed car if you live in the snow belt and the maximum speed is 110 km/h. Also think of the resulting costs. E.g. the maintenance of your Porsche will be a lot more expensive and so will your insurance premiums. Apart from that, driving a fast car will likely result in speeding tickets
  • Think of the overall cost and not only the purchasing price (e.g. add all applicable taxes and if you pay off a credit card at 20% over the next 5 years, add at least another 100%). Cash is always best, you know exactly what you pay
  • Don’t fall for bargains. The 2 for 1 shoe deal only makes sense if you really need two pairs of shoes. Otherwise rather wait for an end of season sale
  • Don’t buy things just because they are cheap. Make sure they fit or that you have a use for them. If you can’t resist temptation, avoid sales and stay at home
  • Little things add up. If you don’t have time to read the three magazines that you have subscribed to, cancel them
  • Take out a library membership and loan movies, books and magazines
  • Read store flyers and ads to get the best bargains
  • Collect coupons. Even if it’s only a buck at the time, it will add up
  • Subscribe to discount newsletters such as groupon, teambuy, The Dollar Stretcher etc. to hear about great deals for car services and other things that you really need. Resist all other unnecessary temptations
  • Make your own cup of coffee and your lunch
  • Learn how to cook frugalicious meals. Great cook books are Jamie Oliver’s “food revolution” and “meals in minutes”. Involve your whole family. Cooking together is fun and very educational
  • Buy a freezer and freeze leftovers. A freezer will also allow you to buy perishables like meat, fish and frozen fruit and vegetables in bulk, when they are in season
  • Buy seasonal produce at the local farm store or even better, grow your own
  • Travel in low season and always check out the internet for the best deals
  • Don't go shopping just because you are bored. Rather go for a walk. It's free and good for you
  • Daily shopping will turn you into a shopaholic whereas occasional shopping will make you appreciative

Frugal lifestyle poll

What do you think about this article?

See results

How to feed a family of 7 on an annual income of $ 35'000 and live debt free


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    • Happymommy2520 profile image


      2 years ago from East Coast

      Love this hub. You are so true about frugal people. We are happier and less stressed! Very inspiring hub!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      My Site has Lots of Coupons you can use in Nova Scotia or all over Canada. I don't buy anything without a coupon

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I couldn't agree with you more. I love how you've put a positive spin on this lifestyle choice. It's a wonderful more concours way to live. Great hub!

    • ienjoythis profile image

      M Carnahan 

      6 years ago from Nevada

      GREAT HUB!! Frugality is all about filtering out the unnecessary and appreciating the meaningful.

      Thanks for the engaging article.

    • Jefferson Faudan profile image

      Jefferson Faudan 

      6 years ago

      as for the idea of "status", i think people who are more concerned about that notion aren't quite sure of what their achievements are... a person can be on a white fruit of the loom shirt and a pair of $4.99 shorts from Savers and breathe that "status" of an achiever/successful individual to people's perception... class can never be bought... it's in a person's aura... one may have all luxuries in life that money can afford, but still look tacky in it...

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Billy: Thanks for the compliments. Hope that the frugal movement will become the lifestyle choice of the future.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Obviously you are speaking my language with this great hub. Love the lists, and I love being a "well-informed consumer." Well done my friend!

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Jefferson: You are so absolutely right. Too many people are easily blinded by combo deals. Somebody recently bragged that his road service contract is a great deal, as they will tow him 5 times a year, free of charge. He is an ex mechanic and always keeps his car well maintained but he still believed that he got a great deal. The media is brainwashing us and especially people with low self-esteem are falling into their trap. The scary thing is that all these big marketing companies are targeting kids from toddler to teenager to shape them into becoming good consumers and the young generation is becoming more and more superficial, self-centered and obsessed with status symbols.

    • Jefferson Faudan profile image

      Jefferson Faudan 

      6 years ago

      that's very true... if i may also add, once you can afford to buy almost too many of a certain item because you discovered ways around getting it at a cheaper price, it also doesn't mean that you have saved a lot, that instead ends up to hoarding which also is not practical since most of the times, if say, we purchase a certain item of 5 different colors of the same design since it's cheaper, most often than not, they always end up unused which also is impractical and the item loses its value.

      i love your hub and i hope a lot of people can find light in learning how to get what they want without being a victim of media hype.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Victoria: Thanks for your kind comment and welcome to the club of frugal people. Hope you will find lots enjoyment and fulfillment in the frugal lifestyle.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Jefferson: You are absolutely right, quality and value should come before quantity. Frugal people like me tend to appreciate things considerably more and longer as we don't buy all the latest gadgets and thoroughly analyze our purchases. I used to buy stuff on an almost daily basis, just because it was there and I thought it was a bargain. It didn't make me happy and I've become wiser over the years.

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Awesome. I love hubs on frugalness. This is a great one. I do many of these things and am always trying to find ways to do more. I'm glad I came across this hub!

    • Jefferson Faudan profile image

      Jefferson Faudan 

      6 years ago

      what most people do not understand is the happiness of finding treasures from wholesale prices, clearance stock prices and overstock prices... NEVER always join the bandwagon hype especially with gadgets on the other hand always choose to purchase something that comes with an ROI or an appreciating item i.e gold/silver or at least have a resale value overtime and get at least half of what you've spent or even more.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      4seaozons: Thanks for your comment - and happy coupon clipping. I'm not a very successful coupon clipper myself, as we don't subscripe to a newspaper. But I'm a flyer shopper and hunt for bargains every week. It has become one of my hobbies and each time I land a real bargain I'm very proud, apart from the fact that I save $$$. There's so much savings potential out there if people keep their eyes open and do some strategic shopping.

    • 4seazons profile image


      6 years ago from Queens

      Excellent Hub. I grew up on coupons but never caught the fever. Then, a few weeks ago a lady at the counter of a drugstore gave me a $3.00 off coupon for a soap dispenser. I'm now a coupon clipper! Thanks for all of the tips. I agree that once you get over how people think about you, the road to savings is smooth.

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Thanks to all of you for your comments. It shows that more and more people are discovering and following the frugal movement and they are actually having a lot of fun and satisfaction not just throwing money out of the window but rather spending it wisely. CyberShelly, thanks for sharing my article with your followers - much appreciated!

    • kadiesutherland profile image


      6 years ago from Oregon

      Excellent encouragement for frugal living. Your emphasis of the health benefits are one of a great many reasons for better spending habits. Great hub!

    • bankscottage profile image

      Mark Shulkosky 

      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Novascotiamiss, you do a great job of describing frugal people and have some great tips for people on how to be frugal. You are correct, many wealthy don't look wealthy beacuase they are frugal people. Don't tell anyone, I bought those goofy looking twisted light bulbs, not because I thought I was going to save the planet. I bought them because they are supposed to save money on my electric bill.

      But, for me, being frugal will not mean an early retirement. I may take a less stressful, lower paying, or part-time job, but I will work as long as I can. The income will help me stretch my retirement savings so I have less to worry about if something should come up in old age. Frugal people take responsibility for themselves. They don't expect others to do it for them.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 

      6 years ago from San Antonio, FL

      I didn't realize that this has become an actual movement - I think it's a move in the right direction. I firmly believe that the less people focus on possessions, the happier they are. Great hub, voted up!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 

      6 years ago

      An excellent take on Frugal Living, which I thoroughly enjoyed. You encapsulated the subject beautifully. Up, interesting, useful and shared with my followers

    • FrugalFatCouple profile image


      6 years ago from California

      We are part of the frugal movement. Great tips. We especially like what you said about 'frugal friends' - the kind that don't need to be impressed.

    • Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

      Tracy Lynn Conway 

      6 years ago from Virginia, USA

      Great tips and fun video. One way that I avoid impulse buying is when I get to the register to pay I reconsider all of the items in my shopping cart. Stores are designed to encourage impulse buying and it is hard to resist but giving yourself a chance to reconsider what you picked up can help. Consignment shopping takes a lot of time and effort to find what you need and is especially difficult if you have a teen daughter who is very particular. Also, I have found that used boys pants don't last the second time around, the knees get worn. I have three sons and now I buy only new top quality pants often with reinforced knees - live and learn. This is a great topic to write about and think about since it is a big part of living a conscious life.


    • Free2writ3 profile image


      6 years ago from Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania

      Wow, I am definitely going to try out these tips; thanks for sharing.

    • Oilersmyth profile image


      6 years ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

      Exactly! In fact, I read yesterday on my local news website that if you want to appreciate something, only do it once in a while!

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Thanks folks for all your comments. A recent experience just confirmed that absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder. While on a holiday in South Africa (the cake capital of the world) we went for coffee and cake almost every day. After approx. a week of this we actually struggled to finish our cake. It almost became a bind and was no longer a pleasure. We realized that if you eat or drink or do something special every now and then, then you really appreciate it. That's the secret why frugal people are happier than all these big spenders.

    • Oilersmyth profile image


      6 years ago from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

      This post is pure guidance. I will surely consider a lifestyle like this. People today are too focused on the "wants". We rarely think about the needs! There are too many pros about living a frugal life. It's good for the emotional, financial, and physical health. I'll keep your post for future reference!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      6 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      You have totally captured the meaning of frugality. It doesn't mean cheap; it means smart and thrifty! Beautiful hub!

    • cookies4breakfast profile image


      7 years ago from coastal North Carolina

      What an insightful hub! Thank you for sharing. This is a lifestyle my husband and I have embraced, and we've found that the folks who made fun of us a year ago are now sharing their frugal stories with pride.

    • megni profile image


      7 years ago

      An excellent article. It is heart warming to know that a great many Hub writers are frugal in their habits. I happly join their ranks. Thanks for sharing.

    • stephaniedas profile image

      Stephanie Das 

      7 years ago from Miami, US

      This is so great! I am bookmarking it, and I'm thinking of printing it out to remind me what is really important in life!

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      GirlGone Splendid. Good for you. This means you'll be frutired!

    • GirlGoneSplendid profile image


      7 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Great read! Frugal living today means retirement for me!

    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Windclimber. Thanks for your praise. Us frugies have to stick together despite the fact that if we were all frugal, the economy would probably go broke. But then, what's the point in having a high debt to income ratio that nobody can ever pay back. Rather frugal and sleeping well than a rich appearance and sleepless nights...

    • Windclimber profile image


      7 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Hello, fellow Frugie! I like the tone of your hub and how you show that being frugal is about being wise and not about being cheap or miserly. The best definition I've ever heard for self-discipline is that it is simply remembering what you want the most.

      (Voted you up and useful.)

    • SanneL profile image


      7 years ago from Sweden

      I'm a hip frugie, and I'm proud of it. Furthermore, I sleep well and grow my own vegetables.

      Wonderful hub!

      Voted up and useful.

    • alezafree profile image

      A Freeman 

      7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This is one of the best articles I've read on HubPages or any other site in a very long time. This really puts things into perspective and opened my eyes to some bad habits I need to break. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

    • claptona profile image

      John D Wilson 

      7 years ago from Earth

      Good article Nova,

      All people have to do is change the way they think about things, and that alone will save them hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

      Well done.


    • novascotiamiss profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Nova Scotia, Canada

      Chaplin, Tamara & Superhero. Thank you for your compliments, I'm flattered. I wrote this article because I wanted to make people more aware that buying unneeded stuff on credit, simply to impress others is not the way to go. I've been frugal for most of my life and I've always had much more than others. People ask me, how I can lead this kind of lifestyle on so little. They don't realize that they could do the same if they didn't throw money out of the window. Tamara, thanks for your tip re. the Dollar Stretcher. I wasn't aware of this organization and I am impressed by their website.

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 

      7 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      You should consider writing for The Dollar Stretcher, a frugal living newsletter.

    • ChaplinSpeaks profile image

      Sarah Johnson 

      7 years ago from Charleston, South Carolina

      This is an awesome Hub! You are so right that being frugal is no longer a negative attribute. Clever, not cheap - that is good news. I like the term "frugie" - maybe it will catch on. Voted UP.


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