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The Pursuit of Frugality

Updated on March 31, 2017

Saving Money on Food

Food is something we all need. All animals except for human beings basically live for two things: food and reproduction. There is no way to skip food if you want to continue to live. Here are some tips on spending less on food:

  1. Clip coupons and buy what is on sale. This adds up quickly.
  2. Drink coffee or tea provided by work, rather than buy a venti premium latte.
  3. Drink tap water, not bottled waters.
  4. Know what to buy at your wholesale club like Costco or BJs. Know the value and do not be the person who gets sucked in by the 20 pound bag of Skittles.
  5. Eat at home. An occasional night dining is okay, but if you want to spend less, cook at home.
  6. Eat healthy legumes like beans and lentils and learn how to cook them with flavor.
  7. If there is food provided at work for free, then gorge yourself. But beware of being branded as the office pig. Everyone has one, so be discreet about it.
  8. Get creative with eggs. They are a healthy, cheap source of protein.

Saving Money on Clothes

If you want to earn a high income at a respectable job, you can't look like a slob. However, that doesn't mean you have to pay full price at Nordstrom for your wardrobe. However, there are some stores where you can get high quality, designer clothing at great, low prices. Here are some suggestions from personal experience:

  • Marshall's and TJ Maxx. You can get great clothes for a fraction of the retail price. They also sell lots of accessories such as luggage and stuff for your computer and phone.
  • Nordstrom Rack / Off Saks Fifth Avenue. These stores sell top-end brands which are out of season at Nordstrom / Saks. Women freak out over the shoes, so if you are a lady who has a shoe obsession, a trip to these stores may drain your wallet. Otherwise, you can save money on top shelf clothing here.
  • Walmart and Target have the best prices on underwear and socks. They carry great brands for great prices. Casual wear also comes on the cheap here.
  • Goodwill. You can get dirt cheap donated clothes and such here. Don't rule it out since it can save you some serious cash.
  • Hand-me-downs. This is helpful if you have growing kids. Maybe your friends and family have some lightly used clothes. It can't hurt to ask, right?

Saving Money on Cars

Cars are a purchase that make you zero money. From day one, they lose value. In fact, you take a massive haircut as soon as you drive the car off of the lot. The solution is to buy a quality used car. Look at Hondas or Toyotas and do your research online about the value and reviews of the year and model. Then look for for good deals. See if the seller will give it to you cheaper if you pay in cash. Unless you are a car guru, you should have a mechanic take a look under the hood before you pull the trigger on the purchase.

Amazon and eBay

Whether you're looking for books, shoes, or gifts, look first on these online retailers. If you want to pick up some reading materials, consider buying used books for a fraction of the price. If you want $700 shoes, look on eBay for pairs with unnoticeable defects which sell for 30% of the retail price. Amazon also has a great selection of generic electronics and electronic accessories listed for a tiny fraction of the new name brand prices.

Pay Yourself First

This is a phrase often heard. But the basic idea is important: set aside a portion, any portion of your income for the future. In my experience, the most effect way is to arrange an automatic transfer out of your paycheck every pay period. It should go into your savings or some sort of investment account. This way, there is no thinking involved. The money goes there and stays there!


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