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Living Frugally - Money Saving Lessons From My Mom

Updated on October 2, 2020
Chin chin profile image

Chin chin is a Christian stay-at-home mom with five children. She's been a Sunday School teacher for about 30 years now.


When it comes to living frugally, almost all the essential money saving lessons I have learned in life up to this point came from my mom. If she had not lived frugally by example, I may not have adopted much of what I practice in my own family today. Allow me to share with you what are these frugal living tips and lessons that have helped me in my personal finances as well.

Living Frugally Means Attitude

Living frugally first of all means Attitude. As Winston Churchill said "Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference." What kind of attitude should we have to be able to live frugally?

Be Content.

Being content with what we have is one key in living frugally. The reason why many people have problems with their finances is because they tend to want more and buy more. If they see their neighbors have a new TV, they feel that they also need to have the same.

I did not come from a rich family, but God provided what we needed. As a young child, my mom always tell us that we should be content with what we have. Whenever a meal is served, my siblings and I may complain about the food (especially if it was vegetables), but she tells us right away “Eat what is served. It is good that we have something to eat while others don't.”

I do not have all the fancy toys and clothes that other children have, at times I wish I had, but then, I learned to be content with what we have. As one Filipino proverb says, “Habang maiksi ang kumot, dapat matutong mamaluktot.” In English it means when the blanket is short, learn to curl up.

But godliness with contentment is great gain.~ 1 Timothy 6:6

Keep Life Simple.

How can life be simple when things today are becoming so complicated? Long time ago, the basic necessities are just food, clothing and shelter. Now, people can’t seem to live without mobile phones, computers or laptops, cable TV, a car and the like.

And to add to that dilemma is the fast turnover of things. You just bought a new mobile phone and in just a month or so there’s a newer model with better features. Then again, some popular celebrity starts promoting a new fashion statement.

If you would go with flow of this world, then you can never have a simple life. The key to simple living, I think, is knowing what you really need. To simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary. That is what my mom taught us from the very beginning. If we don’t need it, she won’t buy it.

Yeah, we have a little more than the basic necessities but we don’t have the biggest TV in our living room nor every latest gadget there is in the market. My mom (even my dad) never really cared much about fashion. So, she just buys us clothes when we need them and if it happens that the latest fashion looks good and modest enough, and then she buys it for us.

For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. ~ 1 Timothy 6:7-8


Living frugally means Smart Spending

Buy what you need for less.

My mom always buys where things are cheaper. I remember she would go to the Balintawak Market, a very big wet market in the Philippines. Early in the morning, suppliers of fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and poultry and other wet and dry goods bring their produce to Balintawak to sell to the market vendors. Most small retailers also buy from there since their wholesale prices are really cheaper. For clothes, shoes and bags, she would go to the flea markets in Divisoria or Baclaran.

My mom seemed like tireless when shopping. She would go from vendor to vendor and compare prices. Once she finds a vendor who sells at a fair price, she would go back to him when buying the same item. Another thing I admire about my mom is that she’s really good at getting a bargain. She doesn’t hesitate to ask the vendor to give her the lowest price possible. If she’s not satisfied with the price, she also doesn’t mind walking away.

I guess, for many nowadays, shopping in the supermarket or in the malls is the most convenient. It is still possible to buy what you need for less there. Watch out for special sales, save on coupons, compare prices and try to ask for a bargain if the seller would allow it.

Buy products with quality that lasts.

Buying cheaper products doesn’t mean that you would not care about the quality of the product. If something is worth a little more but the quality is guaranteed to last, then go for it.

I remember my sister who is really good at wearing out her school shoes. What my mom did was she bought her a pair that was really so durable. A school year has passed, then another and it still isn’t worn out. How my sister wished that it has already worn out so she could have a new pair.

Don’t compromise on the quality of the product. If you’re expecting to use a product more often and for a long time, then choose the best in terms of quality even if it is more expensive. Clothes, shoes, bags, appliances like washing machine, TV, electric fan are some items included in this category.

Piggy Bank. Image by Carlos Koblischek
Piggy Bank. Image by Carlos Koblischek | Source

Living frugally means Prudent Saving.

Conserve Resources.

In order to save money, we need to conserve our resources. What are some ways that we can do to save on our monthly bills and other expenses?

How to Save Money on Utility Bills

  • If you’re not using it, then turn it off. The reason why my parents chose to make all our windows very wide is so that the light shine through and that the room will be well-ventilated. So, we can turn off the light when it’s day and turn off the fan when it is quite cool. The same goes with the water consumption. Use a water cup when brushing our teeth and use a pail and dipper when taking a bath.
  • Do everything at one time. My mom hates it when we iron clothes a little today and a little tomorrow. We are able to conserve more energy when ironing all the clothes at one time. The same is true when washing clothes or even dishes. If you’re going to use the washing machine, better maximize the use of energy by putting in as much clothes as it can handle.

How to Save Money on Food

  • Eat at home. It is still much cheaper to eat at home compared to eating out. Home cooking will also ensure that you get the proper nutrients into your food. Of course, not every type of dish can be cooked at home. So, once in a while, it is still okay to eat out and relax.
  • Cook in bulk. This is especially helpful for working moms. Cook meals in bigger quantity then pack in meal sized portions then freeze. Cooking at one time conserves on fuel used for cooking because you’re able to spend less in reheating the food.
  • Buy items on sale. Well, you should not buy every item that is on sale, especially if it‘s not part of your budget. Just buy those which are really cost saving; those which you will certainly use; and those which you can use before the expiration date (Some items on sale are near expiration dates, so check it out).
  • First in, first out. Most wasted food products are those which we fail to eat because it’s not safe to eat anymore. So, be sure to serve and eat immediately leftovers. Put older grocery items in front of your storage area so you can be sure to use them first before those with later expiration dates. Label if you must with the date of purchase whatever food item you put in the fridge or freezer.

Be Resourceful.

It also helps to be a little resourceful to be able to save a little more. Three things I’ve seen my mom do in regards to this: Recycle, Do-it-yourself and Repair.


My mom definitely is a recycler. She doesn’t just throw away things she can reuse like bottles, boxes and plastic containers. She seemed to have another use in mind when it comes to these things. The only negative side to this is that sometimes it contributes to clutter at home.


If you can do it yourself, why not? You get to spend only on the cost of materials and save on the labor costs. My mom is so versatile when it comes to doing it herself. She sews our house curtains, our sofa covers and even our school uniforms. I still remember her teaching me how to sew the skirt of my school uniform when I was in high school.

Another do-it-yourself project that I think I copied from my mom is learning to do haircuts. Yes, I do the haircuts of my children and I think I do it better than my mom. I have 5 children so I’m saving a lot. I just don’t know until when they would allow me do their haircut.


My mom doesn’t just throw away things when she finds them to be broken. She looks for ways to repair them so she can save the money instead of buying a new one. To do the same, we’ve got to learn to sew buttons and mend tears. Learn to repair the sole of your shoes. Learn to experiment.

I had this headphone which was broken by a naughty boy. One of the hearing pieces was broken off. I checked if it was still functioning and it was. So, I checked to see if there’s a way to reattach the broken hearing piece. I was glad to have thought of using a soft wire (one that I got from the packaging of my son’s toy car) to reattach it and now I’m able to use it for some of my work.

There are still many other ideas which we can employ to live frugally but what I have shared are the essentials of what I learned from my Mom. Thank you, Mom. Feel free to share your frugal tips in the comments section as well.

© 2011 Chin chin


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    • Weber Collins profile image

      Weber Collins 

      21 months ago from New Orleans, Louisiana

      Amen! Being rich is as simple as loving what you have. No need for more and more...just be content with what is already around you!

    • bloggermelive profile image


      3 years ago from East Yorkshire, UK

      There are so many people all over the world that are forced to make a life under terrible conditions, and nobody knows what the future holds for our children and grandchildren. I enjoyed your article, makes some very sensible points.

      I signed up with hubpages some time back but have only just started contributing.

      Your article is very readable and topical. The age of excess is over and we should teach our children how to live contented lives. I agree that this sensible living should not be a process that should make us feel deprived.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      4 years ago from Philippines

      Raising up children is expensive, but I love my children. Thanks for the extra tips.

    • Jay C OBrien profile image

      Jay C OBrien 

      4 years ago from Houston, TX USA

      You have a pretty good list. Here are some more tips.

      1. Buy only used, not new cars.

      2. Drink tap water, not bottled water.

      3. Drink tea rather than soda.

      4. If your employer supplies food, eat it.

      5. Be creative with eggs, it is a good source of protein.

      6. Live with a roommate or at home. The more people living together the more saving. This is the single biggest saving plan.

      7. Children are expensive and take time from work.

    • Happymommy2520 profile image


      4 years ago from East Coast

      Great hub. Love the point you made about conserving energy. Voted up!

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      8 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks healthmom. We really should be frugal not just so we could have more but so that we could share or bless others as well.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great tips on saving money and being content with what we have. I enjoyed reading it! It seems at times the only focus is getting more and more and forgetting about family and the blessings we have been given!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      8 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Our moms knew how to do it, didn't they? I learned so much from my mom, too, and actually wrote a hub about it, too! I don't sew everything from curtains to clothing like she did, but I am pretty darn frugal. Love your hub! I love reading about frugal living and am always in search of new ideas.

    • kerlynb profile image


      9 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      "Keep Life Simple" - This is by far the best tip I've ever heard. I read about this same tip from the world's greatest billionaires and self-made millionaires. They all agree that we all have to live below our means and live only with necessities, not wants.

    • Perspycacious profile image

      Demas W Jasper 

      9 years ago from Today's America and The World Beyond

      A tip of the hat to these tips and the philosophy of 'waste not, want not."

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Welcome to HubPages, karenfmenor. I am glad you're liking HubPages. Yeah, sometimes we do forget to be frugal in exchange for convenience and self-gratification. So, we just need a little push and reminder. Have a nice day and Happy Holidays, too.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Hello Chin chin! This is my first time on HubPages but it won't be my last, thanks to you! I thought I knew everything about being frugal but sometimes we just need to be reminded of something we have been lazy about, or forgotten, or never considered. It was a great first experience for me. Thank you! I wish you the best and Happy Holidays! Karen

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks Pinkchic18. I agree with you that if you can save money, why not? As long as it is safe and helpful. Have a nice day!

    • Pinkchic18 profile image

      Sarah Carlsley 

      9 years ago from Minnesota

      The gift of learning to live frugally! This is how I grew up as well. Now my friends laugh at me when I save old butter containers as tupperware and such, but hey! Why not save the money? I think it's clever! Great tips, and very wise! :)

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      9 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks for the vote Marlobydesign. Yes, I am thankful to my mom for living frugally by example.

    • MarloByDesign profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Voted AWESOME - excellent points you have made! Thanks for sharing you ideas, and I want to thank your Mom for teaching you so well. My favorite? "Being content with what we have is one key in living frugally."

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      John2000, using coupon codes is also a good way to save. Thanks for mentioning that.

    • john2000 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great hub Chin. Money is really hard to earn now a days. I save my money by using coupon codes.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Sharing the sky, thanks for sharing your opinion and comment on my hub. I like what you said "Use less, waste less, live with less." It kind of summarized the concept of frugality in 7 words. God bless.

    • sharing the sky profile image

      sharing the sky 

      10 years ago from United States

      Great straightforward hub. Including your personal experiences growing up in a frugal household certainly add to this as well. I really liked how you started off with the definition of frugality and the Churchill quote about attitude.

      One thing I've learned is that being frugal doesn't necessary mean one is "poor" or "cheap" but rather that one chooses to use less, waste less and therefore, live with less. Although it's sometimes hard and takes commitment (that attitude again), I feel that this way of looking at frugality is actually more empowering than it is dispiriting in the long run and in the big picture of life. Just my opinion. Thanks.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      I understand what you mean Vivian when as a parent we find it hard to see our children not having what their friends have because we can't afford it. I guess, it's a lesson on frugality as well that we have to pass on to our children. We do have to trust God to learn the lessons on frugality well. God bless.

    • Vivian_Rose profile image


      10 years ago from Canada

      I really enjoyed reading your article. As a stay at home mom doing daycare to help suppliment the family income, I am always looking for ways to save, or idea's to use that I might not have otherwise. Our family was never very well off so it's not a big stretch for me to not have the newest of the new. But I did find that as I became a parent it was hard watching my friends being able to take their kids out on vacations, to the movies, that sort of thing. It's been a long lesson God has been trying to teach me in what you said in the beginning of your article: be content. If staying at home means I go without a lot of things, I'm ok with that now, because I get to be with my children while they are young.

      So, thanks again. God Bless.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks dawnqueen for additional input. We also buy items from the AS IS price section of IKEA here. The prices there are discounted because most of the items there were those put on display or a little damaged. You could still get some which are good buys.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I really like your article!I agree when it comes to buying items with better quality.I myself prefer a great Coach bag.But I go to the Coach Outlet and buy the latest deletes from the Full Price stores:)I have 2 Coach bags, my 1st one from 05 and my newest from 1/29/11 and I know they will outlast any cheaper bag...Thank's for your Frugal tips:)

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Hi Dennis. My dad is also quite frugal himself. Thanks for reading this hub.

    • Dennis Pace profile image

      Dennis Pace 

      10 years ago

      Excellent! I love to live frugal and free. My dad often said the best things in life are free.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks Jennifer for the link on finding local shopping deals.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      While I saw the tiphero ads page on the top, I found a very good tip about how to save on local shopping

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Ate Doris, I'm glad you dropped by. As you said the tips are very simple yet it all boils down to our willingness to do our part. You can do it, Ate, for more savings this 2011.

    • profile image

      doris macaraeg 

      10 years ago

      hi ate chin thanks for's a useful tips for a wife and mother,because i grow up with expending a lot i was spoiled by my dad.even when im working as a single before.i own my salary i will buy this and this what i want even i have 1 already in short i dont have savings at all.i hope i can make some of ur is very simple to think while im reading but sometimes its hard to do.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Brandonhart100, I know what you mean. My mom also likes to buy a lot of an item if they're really cheap. And you know what sometimes she earns off them by reselling them as well. Thanks for dropping by to read this hub.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Tamarajo, thanks for the additional input about having a garage sale. Making your own laundry soap and dishwasher detergent is also a good way to save and to earn since it can be made into a small business.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Thanks emdi. Glad you like it.

    • Tamarajo profile image


      10 years ago

      I appreciate the useful tips and suggestions. I am a frugal person myself and always looking for great ways to save. I also garage sale and make my own laundry soap and dish washer detergent.

    • emdi profile image


      10 years ago

      Nice hub. I like it.

    • Chin chin profile imageAUTHOR

      Chin chin 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      Hi, Trsmd. I believe learning good savings is one of the really important things I learned from her. It counts a lot especially now that I have my own family. Thanks for reading.

    • Trsmd profile image


      10 years ago from India

      you have learnt some good savings from your mom.. nice experience to share with us..


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