How to practice Frugality: 11 simple ways to live more frugally

 How do you practice frugality? 

To help you live more frugally, we asked finance professionals and business leaders this question for their best advice. From buying used or refurbished items to cutting down on food spending, there are several practical steps to help you adopt a more frugal lifestyle.

Here are eleven simple ways to practice frugality: 

  • Buy Used or Refurbished Items
  • Understand the Time Value of Money
  • Spend Cash
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions
  • Adopt Eco-friendly Lifestyle
  • Understand the Time Value of Money
  • Sell Whatever you don’t Need
  • Invest in Things that Add Value to Your Life
  • Purchase Quality over Quantity
  • Live Within Budget
  • Develop a Habit of Prioritizing
  • Cut Down on Food Spending

Buy Used or Refurbished Items

You can pay a fraction of the price to buy used or refurbished items. From furniture to electronics, books, clothing, and more, you may be surprised how much treasure can be found online or in thrift stores.  A whole house or office could be furnished or decorated with used or refurbished items, and you’ll save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in the process.  Plus, the stock is always changing, so with each visit to a thrift store there’s always a chance to find something unique. You can also look out for neighborhood garage sales and online social media sales groups. –Brian Greenberg, Insurist

Spend Cash

I am a big fan of carrying cash. It’s easy to get into the habit of swiping your debit card for every purchase, but you can lose track of how much money you have if you’re not careful. That’s why I always prefer to withdraw fun money from the bank so I always know exactly how much I have to spend. This strategy really helps me to be more mindful of my purchases. Understanding frugality is a skill everyone should master. Jae Pak, Jae Pak MD Medical

Eliminate Unnecessary Subscriptions

Try to limit your subscriptions. For instance, if you have both Netflix and Hulu, perhaps you can decide to commit to just one of these, since they both have plenty of movie and TV show options. Consider the things that you do not really need to be spending money on. Once you eliminate these things, the money saved will add up. –Jared Hines, Acre Gold

Adopt Eco-friendly Lifestyle

I have found that adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle can really reduce expenditures. LED bulbs generate the same amount of light while using much less energy, and setting my thermostat lower has reduced both gas and electric bills in winter. It also never hurts to turn off lights whenever you’re not using them. As energy prices go up, an eco-friendly life can help ease some of your financial burden. —Candie Guay, Envida

Understand the Time Value of Money

Understanding the time value of money is key to practicing frugality. Money that is saved today can be worth more in the future because it has the potential to grow through investment. For example, if you save $100 per month, that money will have grown to over $27,000 over a period of 10 years if it was invested at a modest rate of return. Contrast that with spending $100 today, where you would have nothing left to show for it in 10 years. —Rick Elmore, Simply Noted

Sell Whatever you don’t Need

If you want to economize and be frugal, it’s good to sell whatever items you have lying around that you don’t need. The money you can make from items lying around the house can really add up and there are many good ways to make use of that extra fun money. If you have an extra kitchen appliance, sell it. If you have an old kayak in the garage, find out where people can purchase used sporting goods and sell it there. Even basic items you have set aside and left unopened (soaps, razors, plastic bags, etc.) can be sold. Drop that little bit of cash somewhere and save it for when you need it. —Alan Ahdoot, Adamson Ahdoot Law

Invest in Things that Add Value to your Life

I practice frugality, first and foremost, by taking inventory of what adds value and meaning to my life; this includes making conscious decisions to save money for these types of investments as opposed to spending a bit more frivolously, or on things that don’t actually contribute to my growth or happiness. This simple practice has significantly contributed not only to my ability to save money, but also my capacity to want fewer meaningless and material things. As one may expect, these ideas and practices have completely reframed the way I shop and live. With consistent practice, these habits can become second nature and therefore, life-changing. Minimalism and the long term effects of this attitude not only have the potential to improve your daily life, but to secure your future as well. —Gigi Ji, KOKOLU

Purchase Quality over Quantity

I practice frugality by purchasing items of quality, as opposed to quantity. For example, fast fashion is affordable and trendy. However, fast fashion is also of lower quality. I could purchase five shirts from a fast-fashion retailer for one shirt made out of quality material. Though at a higher price point, the shirt made of quality materials will last longer, stretching the ROI on my purchase. —Cesar Cruz, Sebastian Cruz Couture

Live Within Budget

Maintaining a budget is critical to financial success for most people. Even though I’m a financial planner, I’m not immune to the occasional impulsive purchase. But too many people allow these unplanned expenses to derail their financial goals. Just think of that friend with their collection of watches or purses who can’t seem to pay off their credit cards. 

A simple and effective tactic to squash the impulse is to temporarily resist that urge. It’s only a temporary delay, so you don’t feel like you’re depriving yourself. Sometimes delaying the gratification for a couple of weeks is actually rewarding in itself. Often the excitement and anticipation of owning that newest shiny object will wane after a few days. When it does, take that money and put it in savings or pay down some debt. You’ll soon begin feeling more gratification by progressing financially rather than regressing. —Jonathan Vander Werff, CFP®, My Financial Coach

Develop a Habit of Prioritizing

The easiest way to be frugal was to turn it into a habit. Automatize it as much as you can. For example, you can automate deposits to savings accounts. You can also have a list of things you want to spend on and have a budget, and always stick to it.
Frugality is not about just using your money for the bare necessities. It’s about being very intentional with your spending and learning to prioritize. That is the best part; you decide what matters most so you can build your own approach to frugality. —Corey Lewis, 1AND1 Life

Cut Down on Food Spending

The key to frugality is to identify areas in which you overspend. People don’t fully realize how much they spend on food and drink consumption. Even a daily cup of joe can cost someone more than $60 per month. Going out to lunch even three times per week can cost as much as $200 per month. When you take a deep dive into your monthly costs, you’ll be shocked at how much you spend on food. Meal planning is the best way to combat this. It may seem tedious, but you will save some serious money – literally hundreds of dollars per month if you follow a meal-planning program. Brew your own coffee and cook your own meals. You’ll wind up with a lot more in the bank. —Trevor Ford, Yotta

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