For some crazy reason, it seems that frugality is often associated with deprivation and being cheap. In my opinion, true frugality is anything but this. Frugality is about having more experiences. It’s about living more on a little less. Every since first discovering the world of personal finance blogging about 4 years ago, I’ve become totally fascinated by the power of frugality. It’s a lifestyle I’ve learned to embrace. Here are ten reasons I love living a frugal lifestyle:
1) I save money – I suppose this is the whole reason most people take interest in the idea of frugality in the first place. Part of being frugal is indeed learning how to save money. I’ve learned how to use coupons. How to buy used. How to save on groceries. It feels great to save money.
2) Helps me focus on my priorities – If you are going to commit to being frugal, it’s important to identify your motivation for embracing the lifestyle. Why am I willing to forgo a shopping trip to the mall? Oh yeah, because I’m trying to pay off my student loans by next year! Frugality inspires me to constantly evaluate the choices I’m making. Will this decision/purchase bring me closer to reaching my goals? What are my short-term and long-term goals?
3) Learn new skills – While trying to live frugally, I’ve picked up some new skills. I’m a pro at saving money while shopping. I’ve learned about how to use extra care bucks at CVS to score us free personal care items like toothpaste, deodorant and shampoo. I also save money on almost all of my online by using Ebates to earn cash-back.
4) Enjoy Splurging – This was an interesting (and unexpected) byproduct of frugality. Contrary to what some people might expect, we do still spend money. We buy cloths, entertainment and yes, we go out to eat. While we may not do these things as often as we used to (before we got serious about being frugal), I find that we enjoy splurging much more. We appreciate these experiences now that we don’t indulge all the time.
5) Finding New Entertainment – Maybe the title of this should really be re-discovering fun games. When was the last time you played a good card game or put together a puzzle? There are so many great ways to have fun without spending money. I’m always surprised by how much fun my husband and I have when we start playing card games.
6) Sustainability – I’m more conscious of our carbon foot print. We look for ways to reuse things before throwing them away. Re-purposing your stuff is a great way to save money. For example, I will re-use the same plastic zip-lock bag to bring crackers to work several times a week. When the bags can’t be used for food anymore, they are saved for future non-food use. Whenever a piece of clothing becomes too worn to wear, we cut it up into rags for house cleaning instead of throwing away.
7) Get Outside – Did you know that spending time outside can be a 100% free activity? It’s also good for your health. We spent much more time exploring bike paths and taking walks by the lake this summer. It was both fun and relaxing.
8) Less stuff – Now that we embrace frugality, we try not to buy unnecessary stuff. Doesn’t happen all the time, but we try. It turns out that there are a ton of benefits to owning less stuff. For starters, you’re saving money by buying less. You’ll space in your house and time cleaning and caring for your stuff. Less really is more.
9) New Recipes – In attempting to save money, we try to eat out less. Cooking from scratch can save a lot of money. We’ve tried making a lot of great food that we would normally just buy from the grocery store. We really enjoy making bread, pizza and pie crust, Chipotle burrito bowls, and desserts from scratch. We rarely purchase pre-made food or instant foods.
10) I live a richer life – Frugality is all about cutting the non-value adding crap out of your life and making room for what’s really important. We balance our long-term goals with having fun today and enjoying each moment. Our frugal lifestyle has taught us that you don’t need to spend money to be happy.