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The Art of being Frugal

Updated on September 11, 2013

The subject of frugality doesn’t go down well with many people, simply for the reason that it implies self denial and prolonged and imposed feelings of ‘doing without’. But let’s be clear, being frugal and being cheap are not the same thing. Being frugal calls for an overall lifestyle change, whether for the short or the long term, that factors in most aspects of living so that you get the most amount of value in all aspects of your life, while minimizing costs and by products.

However, a period of going back to basics and doing without is sometimes just what the doctor ordered in order to bring your life back to balance in a snap.

Maybe you need to tighten some corners in your life financially, or just prune and remove unnecessary presences in order to hear your own voice, maybe you would like to adopt a more frugal way of living in order to get in touch with your spirit and find out what it is that motivates you to make the decisions that you do.

If at any point in your life, you have considered being frugal but never really considered why or what the benefits are, here are a number of reasons that should help you get off the ground.

Money Saved

Down to basics, if you’re cutting down the amount of consumption that you go through with regards to money spent on groceries and other areas of your life, this is one of the first and most immediate ways in which you can effect change through frugality.

Find ways in which you can trim down your spending habits. Simple budgeting and introspection in the following areas of your life can do wonders when it comes to saving.

Examine the following areas of your life; look at:

  • Recreational spending
  • Eating out
  • Clothing
  • Clothing and credit card debt
  • Groceries
  • Internet access
  • Gym Memberships and exercise options

Being mindful and Listening to your own voice

Assuming that your period of frugality is one where you trim the excesses from your life, there will be far fewer distractions that you will have to face. In such times you will be able to be more mindful and start listening to your own voice. When so many different aspects of your life get trimmed down and you are living sparingly, expect your ‘stuff’ to come up. Yes, there will be feelings and emotions to deal with, but one of the most important things that you will go through in this time is that you will have the unequivocal value of getting to listen to your own voice.

  • What are your thoughts?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • What would you like to do in the near future?
  • Where do you wish to go, what places would you like to see?
  • Do you feel useful?

If you need a little more convincing as to why it is important to listen to your own voice and be mindful, have a look at these thoughts by Jon Kabat Zin.

Get Creative

Going out less, eating in more, reusing and repurposing items for use, calls on one very important personal resource: creativity!

A life of excess with too much convenience and ease on a daily basis can lead to the senses being dulled and a bit jaded.

Frugality or a mindset of being frugal offers the time to apply yourself and your mind in creative and resourceful ways to living a life that’s more economical and utilitarian.

  • Find crazy home improvement projects to help you around the house instead of always buying what you need from shops and catalogues. DIY spoon painting

A Trimmer Waistline

Now that your 3pm cupcake treat and your daily dash to your local froyo joint is a hazy memory there are fewer unnecessary excesses to indulge in. This can only mean that there’s more time and energy left over to devote to healthier eating choices, exercise and finding balance.

Find other ways aside from gym to help you on your way to fitness. Take walks, jog, unearth your old weights and equipment that you have hiding underneath the bed, or actually use the home gym system that usually collects dust.

Heightened Spirituality and Enjoyment

Where to from frugality?

The most important thing about adopting a frugal lifestyle whether you do it for the short or the long term is that it is not necessarily about deprivation. There is a higher purpose toward living a more frugal life, and it is for the betterment of your growth as a person.

The rewards frugal living include:

  • Peace of mind – Through being frugal; you are most likely living within your financial means. There is a peace of mind like no other that comes from being debt free - even if you aren’t debt free yet, but are moving toward that space.


  • Unexpected joy- You could, for example, find the free time for activities that you previously didn’t have the time for. Think volunteering, alternative and fun types of exercise like walks on the beach, dancing with your kids etc.


  • Unexpected returns - As stated earlier, frugal living isn’t just about what you take out it is also about uncovering the new and adding structures and systems that work for you. Every so often take stock of the items in your cupboards and bookshelves, have a yard sale and get rid of all the junk in your possession. You could very well earn little pockets of money that can be funneled toward settling debts or smaller more circumspect treats.


Take the time to introspect and examine your lifestyle, if you feel that you have really exhausted all avenues and ways in which to improve your life, why not try a period of frugality and see how it works for you.

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