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What Does Living Frugal Mean

Updated on March 20, 2013

The Frugal Lifestyle Explained

Have you ever wondered what all the hub-bub is about in regards to living a frugal lifestyle (sometimes called living green) and wanted to know what it actually means to be frugal? Would the frugal lifestyle work for you? How does it all work?

In this article we will discuss not only what it means to be frugal, but also how to live the frugal lifestyle successfully and without feeling deprived.

The Definition of a Frugal Lifestyle

Wikipedia explains to us the following definition of the root word "Frugality" as being:

Frugality is the quality of being frugal, sparing, thrifty, prudent or economical in the use of consumable resources such as food, time or money, and avoiding waste, lavishness or extravagance.

In behavioral science, frugality has been defined as the tendency to acquire goods and services in a restrained manner, and resourceful use of already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal.

Broken down into everyday terminology, living frugal means to spend less and to utilize those goods and abilities we all already have on hand to accomplish a financial goal. But this type of lifestyle goes beyond this to also encompass strong pride in oneself in our abilities to provide the best life to our families and ourselves without spending more money than is normally used to accomplish this.

Do You Currently Live the Frugal Lifestyle:

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The Different Levels of Frugal

There are many different levels of frugal that people chose to accomplish their goals. Some choose to simply cut back on certain expenditures such as eating out, create a family budget, and limit the amount of money they spend on purchases to within that budget. Others choose to clip coupons, watch for sales on items they are going to need before purchases are made. Still others choose to learn new skills and try their hands at making various types of products at home normally purchased for their families such as cleaning supplies and personnel hygiene goods.

All of these types of strategies are good for saving money, it really all comes down to how invested you want to be in this lifestyle and how much time and energy you are going to put into it.


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Is It Really Worth It?

This question is only able to be answered by the individual making the decision on whether or not to live this way.

There are significant savings to be had in this type of lifestyle, but it isn't for everyone. It is time consuming and there are new skills that must be learned for each of the stages given above. It is a commitment and a chose that one has to make for themselves.

From this writers point of view, it is worth the work and effort. I have chosen the extreme lifestyle and have taught myself to not only live within a budget, clip coupons, watch for sales on items we need, dry our clothes on an outside clothes line instead of using a dryer when possible, but to also make many of our own products such as laundry soap, hand soap, cleaning supplies, hair spray, and other products that a traditional consumer would buy for themselves.

By doing these things myself, I have saved my family a great deal of money over time. As an example of this, let's look at how much cost difference there is in just my making my own laundry detergent.

  • Tide liquid original 2X 150 oz bottle (96 loads) will run you 20.46 (Wal-Mart) per container which is .21 per load.
  • My liquid detergent recipe (I've added a link to that recipe at the bottom of this article) costs me .71 to make 2 gallons which is roughly 64 loads with a cost of less than .01 PER LOAD - that's a .21 per load savings which equals 20.16 savings per bottle I would have had to buy.

With these types of savings, you can see that the money saved can really add up over time.

Some Tips For Getting Started

  • If you are wanting to start living a frugal lifestyle, I suggested you start out slow as it can be a little bit of a culture shock to try to do it all at once.
  • If you've never started to clip coupons, start and also watch the local papers for your areas grocery store sales. Stock up on those items and ask if the store has a double coupon day where your coupons will be honored for double their value.
  • Do a little research on the net and learn some new skills. Take one item such as laundry soap and learn how to make it on your own, then you can branch out from there to other products also.
  • Ask questions of others that live the lifestyle, we are always glad to help out newbies learning the art.
  • Use your imagination - look around you in your house and ask yourself if you could make things for yourself that you normally buy then do some research on how to do it and don't be afraid of failure. If it turns out bad - just toss it and tweak it up a little then try again.

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Final Thoughts

I think the hardest thing for me to live this lifestyle was the deprogramming I had to do within my own mind. Most of us have been brought up in the age of convenience purchases, which means that we have been taught all our lives to buy rather than make things. We have forgotten that our grandmothers and great-grand mothers never had this ability thus made things for themselves usually with better results and quality for their families.

As I have always said, "What was good enough for Grandma is good enough for me!"

Give the frugal lifestyle a try and if you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact me and I'll see what I can do to help.

I have several articles on here that are dedicated to making things at home and give easy, step-by-step instructions on how to do it. Try reading a few and find one that you think will work best for you and give it a try.

Here is one or two to get you started: How to Make Laundry Soap and Homemade Liquid Hand Soap.

© 2012 Laura Rash

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    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 23 months ago from New Zealand

      Interesting article, and yes we can all learn how to save and live without waste.

      It wasn't hard for me as that was the way I was brought up, living in World War 2 in the 1940s.

      Hope more readers take your advice and save on the landfill and wasted food.

      Happy 2016 to you and your family, farm life is great.