Frugal Living - What's the Secret?
By Steve Gillman - 2006
When most people think of being frugal, they think it means
being miserable, or giving up what they want. This is all wrong.
Frugality is simply the practice of choosing less expensive alternatives.
When you buy things for less, what do you get? You get more money
left over to buy more of what you want! Frugal living doesn't
have to mean being a scrooge or living without comfort.
Still, perhaps you don't like the idea of clipping coupons
and buying clothes at rummage sales. That's okay. It never was
the important part of truly frugal living. For maximum benefit,
frugality has to start with the big things, and if it never gets
down to the small items, you'll still be further ahead financially
than most people.
Frugal Living - Some Examples
1. Look through Sunday's paper for coupons and clip them out.
Make a list of things on sale that you can stock up on in order
to get your average cost down. Plan and run a route of four stores
in order to get everything where it is the cheapest. Total extra
time spent: three hours.
2. Use a pen and paper and determine what things you need
in a new house to be happy. Now list the cheapest homes that
meet your criteria. Make several phone calls and check out several
bank websites to get the interest rate down to 6.25% from the
6.75% you were expecting to pay. Total extra time spent: three
In example one, we'll assume you save $30 on your groceries
for your effort. Your frugality was worth about $10 per hour.
In the second example, we'll suppose you found a suitable home
for $20,000 less. Perhaps you only have to borrow $120,000 at
6.25% instead of $140,000 at 6.75%. Your payment would be $169
less per month, for a total savings of $60,900 over the thirty
years of the mortgage. In this case, your frugality made you
about $20,000 per hour.
You can see that it is the big stuff that makes the difference
in frugal living. On the other hand, sometimes the small stuff
is the big stuff, especially when it is repeated over and over.
This is why it makes sense to save money on groceries. They are
something you buy every week. How you do it is what's important
Suppose you don't want to clip coupons or spend time looking
at sales flyers. Let's face it; if it only saves you $10 per
hour of effort, you might be better off staying a few hours extra
at work and skip the hassle. On the other hand, you could invest
just an hour or two to figure out which store is cheapest for
the things you buy. Shop there, and buy more of the things you
use and like when they are on sale. You might still save $20
per week, with no additional investment of time. That's
a $1,000 per year!
Maybe you have read newsletters and magazines about saving
money. The more extreme ones have tips on things like how to
reuse plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Is it worth it to wash and
dry your zipper-close plastic bags? Perhaps, if you like that
sort of thing, and you make minimum wage at your job. For most
of us, however, it's better to spend the time analyzing big and
the recurring expenditures. This is the secret to frugality.
Gas Savings - 18 Ways to Spend Less
If you liked this page please let others know with one of
Want more ways to make and save money? Try my newsletter...
Full of useful information. Subscribe now...