Recently, I’ve noticed that people are either 100% all in for frugal living or they think frugal people are crazy. I feel like the world frugal has gotten a bad reputation recently and I’d really like to squash that!

A lot of people seem to view frugal living as taking things a little too far when in reality, that’s just not true. Frugal living is just a lifestyle, and it works really well for so many people! And honestly, the word means something different for everyone.

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Why Live Frugally?

Let’s talk first about what frugal living means to me. Frugal living is a choice. It’s a choice to be more conscious of where money goes, so I can afford the things I actually want.

There’s a common misconception about frugality, a ton of people think that being frugal = being cheap and that’s just not the case. The key to frugal living is just being more conscious of where your money is being spent and which means you’re able to save more money!

Frugal living gives you the option of doing exactly what you want, without having to care about what other people think. I find not giving a crap about what other people think about your lifestyle is a big deal when it comes to committing to frugal life. If you’re constantly worrying about what other people think, you’ll never be a frugal fanatic!

5 Frugal Living Tips for Beginners

#1 – Make a Plan for EVERY Penny

Budget. Budget. Budget. I swear if you’re a regular reader of Not Quite an Adult (which you totally should be…) you’re probably sick of hearing me talk about the importance of budgeting, but i’ll never stop. Budgeting is the best tip for personal finance!

If you’ve never created a budget and you’re not sure where to start, my favourite beginner budget is called the Zero-Based Budget. It’s super straight forward and doesn’t make things too complicated.

Budgeting really gets a bad reputation sometimes because people think it’s only for cheap people or people who are in tons of debt. Budget can and should be for everyone. If you are able to cut out $500 of unnecessary expenses each month with a budget, you can move them to a new line in your budget which ensures good things happen to your money!

#2 – Use Cash Envelopes

One of the best ways to be more conscious about where you’re putting your money is to use the cash envelope system. Why does using cash make you more conscious? Well, when you aren’t able to pull out a debit or credit card you really have to think about whether or not you really need every item in your cart because you don’t have the option to go over budget.

Tons of frugal people pay for everything with cash and are able to save so much more money than the average person because they aren’t making any frivolous purchases that weren’t part of their plan! This also stops them from wasting a ton of food because they can’t over purchases on groceries. The money you save from using cash goes straight to whatever you truly want!

#3 – Buy Only What You REALLY Need

A huge issue with people these days is that we can’t actually tell the difference between what we want, and what we actually need. We constantly confuse our wants with our needs and spend money on things that aren’t necessary for survival.

The best thing you can do to start living frugally is to realize that your wants can wait. If the main thing you want right now is a new pair of $200 shoes, you can wait until you’ve saved the cash for them. There are so many things that you buy every week that you’ve probably convinced yourself are necessities but you should stop buying these items!

I highly suggest that you go get a pen and piece of paper and write down everything you legitimately can’t live without. I mean, you couldn’t make it to tomorrow if you don’t have them. Things like food, heat, housing, water, etc. Start out by only spending money on these things and seeing how much extra money you have at the end of the month.

#4 – Say NO More Often

Being frugal really means taking a step back from your life and thinking about the decisions you’ve made in the past. Chances are you’ve spent a lot of money going to events and dinners that you didn’t want to go to, with people you didn’t really want to see. Being able to say no to invitations is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to learn.

Obviously, when someone invites you somewhere they’re being nice and wanting to see you! But they don’t realize that a lot of the time, we either don’t want to go or we can’t afford it. People won’t be that offended if you say no more often, they’ll just start to realize where your priorities are.

#5 – Make More

Making more means two totally different things when it comes to frugal living:

  1. Making more money (duh!)
  2. Making more of what you consume

Making more money isn’t as hard as it sounds. We live in what’s called a “gig economy” where there are a ton of jobs that can be picked up for a few hours (or even a few minutes) and you can make extra money that way!

Making more of what you consume is a hard thing to get into because it’s just so much easier to just go and buy everything! Unfortunately, the products we use every day are filled with harmful chemicals that aren’t actually good for us at all! It’s a whole lot cheaper to make these products at home. Pinterest is a great source for these kinds of things because it’s the home of all things DIY!

Final Thoughts

Being frugal doesn’t have to be the worst thing to ever happen to you. It can really change your life for the better and allow you to be so much more free! Take these 5 beginner frugal living tips and really try to implement a few into your life and see what happens!

Let me know in the comments if you have any other awesome frugal living tips to share with us!