When many people hear the words ‘frugal living’, they instantly associate it with being boring, unable to do anything, and staying at home not spending any money.
But this isn’t necessarily the case — living frugally does mean being careful with your money and not making every impulse purchase you get tempted by, but you can still have fun.
In this article, we take a look at why living frugally doesn’t mean having a dull existence.
You appreciate what you do have
Bigger isn’t always better, and you really don’t always need the latest tech or fashion trend. Living frugally helps you to have more appreciation for the things you already have. Instead of constantly buying new things, and having way more stuff than you actually need, you will find yourself getting a lot more use from the things you do own.
How much happiness and value is the latest smartphone really going to bring into your life when your current phone works perfectly well?
The more stuff you have, the more likely things are going to get lost and broken, and it’s easier to make a mess that needs clearing up — you can easily find yourself surrounded and overwhelmed by pointless things.
It’s not just about saving money though. Having less and buying fewer things means you avoid clutter, live more simply, and reduce stress. There’s less risk of debt, but you’re also going to spend less time thinking about things and possessions that really don’t add anything to your life.
It means you can be more reliable
Instead of living paycheck to paycheck, or always running out money towards the end of each month, living frugally means you can cut down on your outgoings and prioritise the things that really matter.
You can budget for events or purchases that are happening, and you don’t have to let yourself or other people down when you can’t afford to do something. Maybe you can’t do everything all the time, but you’ll have the money to plan for certain things that are important.
You can still have fun
Living frugally doesn’t mean you can’t spend any money ever. It just means being more careful about what you spend it on. You’ll learn to spend your money wisely on things that last or add real value to your life — with less time and money wasted on things that you’ll simply forget about in a week or two.
You can still go on holiday, make big purchases, and do things with friends and family. It’s just stopping spending money on unnecessary things so that you can afford those bigger, important things.
The important thing is to focus on essentials and the things that you really enjoy. Plus, you won’t be worried about spending money when you need to, because you know you haven’t spent it on pointless bits and pieces.
How to have fun when living frugally
The main question many people ask when it comes to frugal living is “how can you still have fun?”. Whether you’re saving for a house or you want to make a permanent change to frugal living, the idea of living without spending much money can feel difficult, and not exactly carefree.
Here are some of our ideas for frugal fun that have helped the team at Just Another Magazine when we’ve been saving up or reducing our outgoings for whatever reason:
Check out local charity shop
Many people will view shopping trips as a fun way to spend a day, and spend a lot of money in the process. But instead of heading out to a big shopping mall, go to your local charity shop or thrift store and see what preloved treasures you can find. You’ll spend far less money, you’ll probably find far more unique items, and buying things second-hand is a lot better for the environment as well.
Alternatively, look for second-hand pieces online — check out thredUP, which claims to be the world’s largest online thrift store. It’s also a good place to send your old clothes to be sold if you’re having a clear-out. The RealReal is another site to look at if you want to find pre-loved designer items with your frugal budget.
Cook group meals
Instead of going to a restaurant for a meal with your friends, invite people over and cook a meal together. Everyone will save money, you’ll probably be able to make something a lot healthier, and you’ll have a lot more fun cooking as a group.
Alternatively, why not host a potluck dinner and get everyone to bring over their favourite dish?
Save money eating out
If you do want to eat out every now and then, look out for offers and promotions that will save you money.
For example, some restaurants will offer lunchtime or early dinner deals, or you can sign up for their mailing list for discounts. Other places will have loyalty schemes, which give you some sort of offer if you go there multiple times, so it’s worthwhile doing a bit of research before you choose where to eat.
There are also a number of apps that can help save money when eating out such as Groupon.
Plan trips in advance
You can still go on big trips and holidays when you’re living frugally — you just have to plan them out well in advance and do some research to find the best prices.
Compare transport options and book train tickets or flights months ahead to keep the cost down. Use comparison sites to find hotel or accommodation deals, and set yourself a strict budget — you can use a travel budget app to keep track of what you’re spending.
Living frugally in no way means that you have to have a dull existence — it just means being more careful with your money and focusing on planning and budgeting.
While you won’t be able to do or buy everything all the time, you’ll be able to focus on the things that really matter and you actually enjoy in the long term.