Frugal Living 2022: Wealthier, Healthier & Happier (70+ Tips!)
Frugal living blogs made you feel like a failure
You suck at frugal living.
You don’t grow your veggies, stitch your clothes, build your furniture, or prepare your household detergents.
You barely have the time to get your life together and the frugal living blogs want you to do all this.
So, you’re not fit for frugal living, right?
Frugal living isn’t a one size fits all lifestyle.
You can live frugally and still:
- not worry about penny pinching all the time.
- go for international vacations.
- have fun with friends.
A wide range of people exist on the frugal living spectrum.
You need to find your own comfort zone.
What makes a person frugal?
Frugal living isn’t about being a cheapskate.
Simply stated: your time and money are precious. Use it wisely.
You can still go for that vacation or invest in that foreign language course.
But be mindful of your consumption and don’t waste money.
Before wondering about how to live cheap, start with the why
How will frugal living help you?
- Yes, more money in the bank would be awesome (who wouldn’t love that?).
- Yes, you could be free of clutter and gain more peace.
- Yes, you could retire early from your soul sucking job and travel the world.
Most people aspire for these things.
But we are unique individuals with our own values, priorities, and goals in life.
Think about why you would like to live frugally.
The points below could help find your reason:
How simple frugal living can set you free
Frugal living offers the freedom to:
- pursue your life goals
- change jobs
- retire early
- save for emergencies, big purchases, children’s education, vacations, etc
More time, money, and peace with one lifestyle change?
According to studies, Americans spend close to $1500 per month on non-essential items like eating out, subscriptions, streaming services, cables, and so on.
What if you looked into your spending habits and realized that some of them didn’t “spark joy”?
Americans devote around 2 hours a day doing online shopping. Regain a solid chunk of time by avoiding frivolous shopping.
Think of the stress of a debt burden, the pressure of keeping up with the Joneses, the numbness of running on the hedonic treadmill.
A simpler lifestyle brings a deeper sense of peace and purpose.
Want to be a happier family?
Studies show that families that enjoy group activities raise children with more social skills and higher self-esteem.
Instead of spending money on restaurants or movie theaters, opt for cheap outdoor activities like volunteering, hiking, dog walking, camping, or strawberry picking.
Sharing chores, decorating the house, or assembling furniture help bring you closer as a family.
Do you care for the environment?
Excessive consumerism is one of the biggest contributors of waste production.
In 2018, an average American generated around 4.9 pounds of solid waste per day out of which only a third is recycled or composted.
That makes over 7,100 pounds of waste per year for a family of four out of which around 4,770 pounds went to the landfills.
Buying less helps create a greener tomorrow.
Want to be more creative?
Instead of buying stuff, use your imagination to create.
Growing a garden in your balcony, creating decorations for the home, knitting a scarf for a family member, or writing poetry for a friend are great ways to demonstrate love while honing your artistic skills.
How to begin a frugal lifestyle?
A planned approach will help you build lasting frugal habits. Note down the following:
- Your “why” for wanting to save.
- How will frugal living help you with your one, five, and ten-year goals?
The key word that shapes a frugal lifestyle
Budget is the backbone of frugal living.
Budgeting gives structure to your spending habits.
Track every cent. Seeing actual values beside items will force you to take action.
Apps like You Need A Budget or an Excel sheet or even a physical journal would do.
Did you ever start a rigid diet only to give up after a day or two?
Like any good habits, a frugal lifestyle takes time to build.
Take small steps and gradually build up.
Remember, frugal living must come with a healthier body and a calmer mind.
What’s the point of having more money if you’re sick or stressed?
“Buy less” might not be the best frugal living idea for you
In her book, The Happiness Project, Gretchen Rubin talks about the overbuyers and the underbuyers.
While overbuyers are widely discussed because of their money wasting and hoarding habits, under buyers receive far less attention.
If you’re someone who doesn’t buy an extra tube of toothpaste or go without a specialized item (like a raincoat), then you could be an underbuyer.
Underbuyers run out of stuff at inconvenient times, they make unnecessary store runs, and risk not finding their needed items at the right time.
Surprisingly, under buyers also create clutter by hoarding useless things, thinking they will come handy some day.
Instead of buying less, under buyers need to buy more to save themselves trouble.
How can you be more frugal in 2022?
Below is a comprehensive list of frugal living ideas.
Not all these tips are for you (or me). Pick the ones that meet your needs and ignore the rest.
Remember: baby steps.
How to eat healthy while saving money: frugal living tips for the kitchen
- Best frugal living idea in the kitchen? Cook your food. It’s healthy and it saves you a tonne of money.
- Many frugal living experts ask you to eat cheap quality food to save money. Don’t compromise on your health to save a few bucks.
- Invest in good quality, nutritious food to lower your doctor’s bills and save money in the later years.
- Instead, avoid buying junk food. Grocery shop in a full stomach to dodge the temptation. Use coupons to save more.
- Better still, shop online. My husband and I recently discovered that we spend ˜50% less on groceries when we order online. The shelves of chocolates, snacks, and frozen pizzas can be better avoided when they’re not dangling in front of you.
- Cut down on meat consumption or better still, go vegan. Studies, books, and documentaries show the health benefits of a plant-based diet. Do consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet.
- Meal prep in advance or cook in batches and freeze it to eat over the week.
- Cook and freeze items like rice, pasta, or lentils to use in different recipes.
- Use leftover food to make creative dishes.
- Stock up on your pantry and freezer so there’s always something available to eat or cook.
- Store common ingredients for quick meals like bread, taco shells, noodles, salsa, and spices.
- Invest in an instant pot or slow cooker to cut down on cooking time while enjoying nutritious meals.
- Even if you eat out on special occasions, share appetizers or desserts.
- Do not spend extra on pre-cut veggies and fruits. If you’re pressed for time, cut them in bulk and store them in airtight containers or reusable ziploc bags.
- However, if pre-cut veggies and fruits increase your chances for eating healthy rather than junk, then go for it.
- Avoid buying name brand cereals, juices etc. if you get the same quality products in generic or store brand varieties.
- Cut down on soda and drink water instead. Your body will thank you.
- Invest in a cold pressed juicer to make healthy smoothies and juices.
- Don’t fall for the frugal tip of buying food in bulk unless you’re the type who’ll use all of that.
How to dress well without burning a hole in your pocket: frugal living ideas for the closet
- Opt for a capsule wardrobe. It’s economical and helps get rid of the analysis paralysis of what to wear every day. Items like a pair of denim, a white shirt, a well-fitted suit, or a black dress could be worn on most occasions.
- Buy multipurpose clothes or repurpose old clothes. It saves money and gives the impression of an expansive clothes collection.
- If you live in a cold place, then invest in one or two good coats, jackets, boots, sweaters, and gloves to wear outdoors.
- Learn how to sew to repair simple wear and tear. You could stitch and style your own clothes, too.
- The secret to long-lasting clothes is taking good care of them.
- Hand wash your delicate clothes in cold water.
- Hang clothes to dry rather than putting them in a dryer.
- If using a dryer, then invest in laundry balls. They save time, money, and energy by shortening the drying cycle while caring for clothes.
Hold your horses…before buying those big ticket items!
- Think long term when making decisions to buy items like houses or cars.
- Prioritize necessity over aesthetics.
- Purchase a second-hand car or become a one-car family.
- Take public transportation, if possible.
- Walk or bike short distances to get more exercise while caring for the environment.
- Opt for a smaller house or downsize to one. A small house requires less maintenance and upkeep.
- Choose a neighborhood that’s in sync with your lifestyle. For example, a place where people aren’t flashy and you (or the family) don’t feel compelled to keep up with the latest trends.
How to make your house a warm “home” without breaking the bank?
- Buy generic toiletries and cleaning items instead of the brand name ones.
- Use Amazon to buy over-the-counter medicines.
- However, remember your health comes first. Don’t sacrifice quality for price.
- Use less toothpaste or shampoo than what’s advertised by the seller.
- Consume every bit of shampoo or toothpaste before opening a new one.
- Opt for multipurpose or natural household cleaning products. Versatile ingredients like a vinegar and baking soda combination can clean almost anything.
- Make your own cleaning products, if you’re so inclined.
- Get rid of the house phone.
- Cut off the cable lines. With a host of subscription services like Netflix, Hulu, Prime, what do you need cable for?
- Invest in energy saving or LED bulbs. They use less electricity, are better suited for the eyes, and are good for the environment.
- Declutter your house and get rid of excess junk. Give the items to goodwill or do a garage sale.
- Spend quality time with friends and family over board games or movie marathons with homemade snacks.
- Beautify the yard or balcony with glow in the dark plants, fairy lights, and old repurposed furniture. Use it for date nights, potlucks, or barbecues.
- Opt for off-season or local places to travel. Also consider staycation.
- Spend quality family time with hiking, camping, or trips to the library or the museum.
- If you’re a reader, then the public library is your friend. It saves money and offers the opportunity to meet like-minded people.
- Kindle unlimited or Prime reading subscriptions are other cheap ways to read more books.
Money doesn’t grow on trees — super frugal living tips even when you earn little
- Pay off your debts before starting to save. Debts are a burden on your resources.
- If your current income forces you to take on debt, then you could look for a side hustle.
- Subscribe to cashback apps and Chrome extensions such as Rakuten, Ibotta, and Dosh to save on purchases.
- Renegotiate your monthly phone, cable, and insurance bills. Call up your service providers to ask for the best rate or use an app like BillShark.
- Automate your monthly bill payments to avoid late fines.
- Invest spare money (as little as $5) through apps such as Acorn.
- Save money on expert advice by using services like Just Answer where experts are available 24/7. Pay anywhere between $5 to $90 depending on the field of expertise.
How to become a better person while also saving money?
- Opt for a zero-waste or no shopping day, week, or month.
- Quit smoking and drink socially, if at all.
- Stop using paper napkins and plastic cutlery.
- Preventative maintenance saves money. From servicing your car to eating healthy and exercising, find ways to maintain the health and longevity of your family and possessions.
- Invest in upskilling yourself. The more you learn, the better your prospects to earn more.
- Do a social media detox. The less you compare your life to others, the less stuff you buy.
Practice intermittent fasting. It’s healthy and saves money on food. However, our bodies are unique, so check with an expert first.
- Read books on financial savings to get more ideas on frugal living.
- If you have extra room or space, consider renting on AirBnB to earn some extra cash.
- Practice saying “no” more often. Avoid saying yes to activities or social events just to fit in.
- Do things that bring you real joy like pursuing a hobby, time out in nature, spending quality time with people/pets. You don’t need to spend cash to feel better.
Everyone can win at frugal living. What’s your excuse?
Look, not eating out every other day or not buying a tonne of junk could hurt at first.
But think about all the dreams you’d put on hold.
Only if you had a little bit of extra money for those.
And guess what, you can.
Frugal living is a mindset shift.
People went debt-free and retired early through frugal living.
They’d become more mindful and healthy.
You can, too.
Start today by canceling those extra subscriptions and by downloading a cashback app.
Take a break from eating out and have a potluck with friends.
Notice the difference in yourself and your bank account by the month end.
By the end of the year, you’re a healthier, calmer, and happier person with more money than ever before.
And by the time you know it, all those lifelong dreams are coming true.
This might be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
But once you begin to notice how frugal living is changing you for the better — making you a more intentional, peaceful, and wealthier person — trust me, you’ll be glad you took the plunge.
Do it for that future self.
You’ll fall in love with the person you become.
(Note: All the images are from Unsplash)