The term “frugal living” is becoming increasingly popular with people wanting or needing to cut back and save cash on their everyday expenses. Being frugal is becoming so on trend and commonplace that I wanted to delve a little deeper into what being frugal actually means!
Frugal – A definition.
According to the Cambridge Dictionary Online:
Frugal: careful when using money or food, or (of a meal) cheap or small in amount:
a frugal lifestyle
a frugal meal of bread and soup
Now this all sounds pretty good to me and my money-saving mentality. In fact there are many ways in which I consider myself fairly frugal too.
The Cambridge Dictionary Online then go on to link these words with “frugal”:
This got me thinking, what do people conceive when they think about a frugal lifestyle? Is it really still such a negative word or is frugality making a comeback?
What frugal means to us.
For me, being frugal is about making cutbacks and thinking carefully about where we spend our money. It’s a positive way of taking control of what we’re spending and enables us to make our budget stretch that bit further. By doing this we can save money which we’ll either add to our savings, put towards family days out or, as we’re doing at the moment, save up for a holiday.
Jennifer from My Mummy’s Pennies:
For me, frugal living is getting the most I can out of things and reducing expenditure and waste. I live frugally in some aspects of life so I can afford little luxuries (such as family days out, eating out, holidays etc). My top tip for living frugally would be to always try to reuse or repurpose things when possible.
Wendy from Daisies and Pie has written a fab blog post about using up leftover food, a great way to kick-start your frugal lifestyle..
For me frugal living is making the most of what you have, trying not to waste things and being careful with what you buy.
The average UK household throws away just shy of £500 worth of food every year – that’s pretty shocking! By using your leftovers wisely, you could really slash that waste and make massive savings on your annual food bill.
Making the “frugal life” work for you…
Without a doubt, the majority of us want to save money. So how can we start to be more frugal?
One of the biggest weekly outgoings for most of us is the food shop. For us as a family of five this takes a big chunk of our weekly budget. I always budget so we know how much we have to spend on food and all the other necessities. This is a must if you want to take control of your finances, you can find out more about that here.
If you’re aiming to cut back your spending, you will need to plan your meals in advance. Once you’ve done this, write a list and STICK TO IT. This means you’re not overspending on impulse buys that you don’t really need.
Claire over at Big Family, Big Fun shares her tips on how she feeds her family of 7 without breaking the bank. No mean feat! Claire suggests that online shopping helps them to keep control of their food shopping budget. I completely agree with this. Although you may think it’s a waste of money to pay for delivery costs when you could walk or drive to the shop and back for less, I find that by ordering online I cut out the “impulse” items. You can save money on the delivery charge by purchasing a monthly pass. The fees for these vary between supermarkets and area. We currently pay £5 per month for an Asda delivery pass. This allows us as many deliveries as we want every month.
For Renee from Close Enough to Kiss, being frugal means making things last, using them to their full potential and thinking carefully about your purchases:
We live frugally by not being wasteful. Clothes are passed down, anything broken is mended (or at least we try before we renew). We buy pre-loved where we can. When we buy anything we think long and hard about quality and longevity of the product, we research to make sure we will get the longest possible time from something. We look after what we have and try to pass stuff on when we have finished with it, either to friends, family or charity.
Why live a frugal life?
There are many different levels of frugality and numerous reasons why someone might choose to cut back on spending.
For some people, cutting back on spending means they’re able to afford to go on holiday or treat the children to days out. For Katy over at Katy Kicker, being frugal is all about stretching your money further:
For me being frugal doesn’t mean going without, or scrimping. Instead it means making the most of your money, getting discounts, cutting back where you can buy also still enjoying yourself. If I want to buy something, and want to treat myself, then I look for ways to make that purchase more frugal; discount codes, vouchers, cash back websites etc.
Thinking carefully about how you spend your money can mean the difference between taking the kids to Wales for a week or not being able to afford it. Looking for discount codes and using cashback sites can really help you to get more for less.
For me, living a frugal life is about being sensible. Think about your purchases, plan ahead and try to minimise the impulse buys. You’ll be amazed how much money you can save!