Last Updated on 27th October 2020 by Emma
What is about frugal people that means they always seem to stay the course?
What are the frugal secrets they keep to themselves that they use to stay frugal and love their lives?
I mean, when you talk to people they make it sound so easy.
Just spend less than you earn and save the rest.
Well yes, but how does that work in reality?
And for how long? How do they keep that up, year in year out?
Because it’s probably quite easy to do in the short term, but really long term?
The thing is being frugal is definitely something you want to consider incorporating into your life.
If you can master the frugal life then what a difference it would make.
No more debt.
Money in the bank.
Financial freedom to choose how to live your life, how much to work or not to work.
The Best Kept Frugal Secrets
Frugal people do not have it any easier than you, so if they can do it, so can you.
And that is something you will want to keep at the forefront of your mind.
There is nothing special about these frugal secrets that you cannot choose to do for yourself.
All you have to do is choose.
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1. You Are Your Biggest Secret
Will it come as a surprise to you if I tell you that YOU are the best kept frugal secret? Because you are.
You are key to learning how to stay frugal and you are your own best friend when it comes to lasting success.
You are the decision maker in your life. You have to make many decisions every day, hard ones and easy ones.
You are the person who gets to choose whether to be frugal or not.
That can involve making decisions that seem hard or go against what others around you do.
But if you are single-minded enough to want to pursue the frugal way of life, no-one can stop you, only you.
To be the best frugal you, you need a strong and powerful frugal mindset.
You need to be willing to do things differently, to go without sometimes, or wait for longer than you would prefer.
You need to be happy with what you have and not constantly want more.
You need to have a really positive mental attitude towards being frugal, trying out new tricks and ideas and be continually interested in this lifestyle.
For more help on building your frugal mindset check these posts out:
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2. Understand The Future You
Who is the future you?
Do you know what you will want and need in the future?
I’m not talking in a couple of months or years time. I’m talking super long term.
You might not have bought your first home yet, but what does the future you want in terms of home costs?
Future you might not want to still have a mortgage when they are 60, so how can the today you help them achieve that?
The future you might not want to still be working at 65, so what do you need to do now in order to help you achieve that?
Many people right now focus on the here and now, living by the mantra of You Only Live Once.
I agree, you do, but you at 70 is still part of that equation so it pays to think about the whole of your life not just today and tomorrow.
It’s about paying yourself first, paying your future self first.
The frugal secret here is to think long term, seriously long term.
As well as day to day.
Where do you want to be in 25 years, what do you want to be doing, how much money do you want to have.
And work backwards from that. Never presume it’s all going to work out eventually, it only does if you plan for it.
3. Go Against The Grain
If you consider that frugal people do things differently then it means you will do so as well when you become frugal.
There is nothing wrong with doing things differently, after all we aren’t cookie cutter folk are we?
It takes courage to stand up and do things differently than others around you, but it is a price absolutely worth paying.
Live your life the way you want, not the way others want you to.
If you don’t want debt, don’t have debt (I encourage you to pay off debt as fast as possible as it’s an expense you could do without).
If you’ve decided that part of your frugal life is to live in a small house and not up-size as your income increases then do so.
Being willing to do things differently, to make changes to how you do things in order to achieve your goals is the frugal secret here.
Changes don’t get made for you, they get made by you.
When you want to achieve something you focus on doing what it takes in order to make it happen.
And that is key – being willing to do what it takes.
To go without at times if necessary, to wait longer than you would normally choose if necessary.
To do what it takes.
4. Keep A Low Expense Home
When you start out in life, your expenses are low because your income is low.
Your money problems often start a few years later once your income has increased and so has your lifestyle.
The secret to frugal living is to not automatically increase your spending as your income goes up.
Keeping your monthly bills nice and low over the long term allows you to save the extra money you earn.
That money can go towards the future you, financial goals and saving for big bills upfront rather than taking out loans.
I know when my husband and I took out our first mortgage the total of all our bills was approaching something like 80-85% of our income.
They certainly didn’t leave much wriggle room for savings, for fun money or even a lot of money for expensive food!
But when you continually focus on your bills, keeping them low, not taking on unnecessary additional bills then you are on your way to having a low expense home.
5. Love Your Budget
So, you’ve got your bills down low, you’re completely focused on living below your means, why do you need a budget?
Because you do, you always do.
Your budget is your ticket to the power of information. Knowing your numbers, good and bad helps you to make the right money decisions.
Love your budget, nurture it, play with it so you know your numbers inside and out and you only need to glance at it to know exactly where you are.
Frugal Secrets To Live Simply And Cheaply
Living simply and cheaply is the backbone of frugal living.
It’s not about being cheap, more about getting a great price for the things that you buy.
The key to learning how to live simply and cheaply is to focus on doing your own thing and not go by what others say you should do.
6. Always Question The Price
Everything has a price, whether it’s monetary or otherwise. But prices can be a very flexible thing.
One of the frugal secrets that can help you continually save money is to always question your bills.
Always look to see where you can cut them down a bit.
Companies want your business and they usually have competitors, so use this to your advantage.
Negotiate when it comes to bill renewal time.
Check out their competitors and see who can give you the best price.
You don’t owe a company any loyalty, the same as they don’t show you loyalty by offering discounts for new customers but not existing ones.
7. Go For Half
Companies want you to not only buy their products but to do so regularly.
So do not take as gospel the dosage/amount instructions on the products you buy.
Products like shampoo, washing powder, cleaning products all have dosage instructions that you would do well to question and work out your own amount.
I have found through trial and error that using half the recommended amount is plenty for almost every product I use.
By using just half the recommended amount you are halving the cost of that product because it’s going to last twice as long as the manufacturer thinks it should.
8. Love Home Cooking
Truth be told I don’t think this is particularly secret.
I think you probably already know that not only is good old home cooked meals cheaper than eating out, they usually taste better than something pre-prepared.
The more you cook at home, the better your skills will get. The better your cooking skills, the more tasty meals you will make.
It’s a win:win.
And of course, the truly frugal people will focus on making low cost meals to keep their grocery spending down low.
9. Become An Expert Gift Maker
Gifts for birthdays, holidays and other special times can add up over the course of a year.
To the point where you probably need a separate sinking fund to ensure you have enough money put by for them.
The frugal secret here is not to buy gifts but to make them.
Making gifts takes longer than wrapping them, but perhaps not longer than it would to seek out an appropriate gift and travel to the store to purchase it.
Homemade gifts can be personalized for the recipient and are completely individual.
And of course you make gifts according to your budget.
10. Make It A Game
This is something so many people are not aware of.
Being frugal is a game!
The secret here is to enjoy the things you do to save money.
Enjoy getting money off your bills by challenging your existing company.
Enjoy finding a cheaper alternative to something you usually buy.
Get a sense of accomplishment when you realize you only need half the amount of washing powder to get your clothes clean.
Being frugal when you have to be is a challenge, because you need to cut back.
Turn it on it’s head and enjoy the challenge, gain a sense of achievement when you cut a bill down by 5%.
When frugal living is fun, it’s something you actively want to continue to do.
Why Extreme Frugal Living Works
Extreme frugal living isn’t for everyone and I do not advocate it across the board.
But when you are having such fun being frugal, you may well want to take it up a level.
And that level is trying some of the more extreme frugal living tips that you find.
There are many different levels of extreme as well so what might seem extreme to you might be pretty mainstream for me.
For instance, I know from a friend in the US that growing your own food is considered fairly extreme.
Whereas in the UK we have a thriving allotment culture and many people grow at least some vegetables in their garden or on a balcony.
By going extreme you ramp up your savings to another level.
But you do need to be comfortable with what you are doing.
I would never advocate anyone to follow tips that don’t sit right with you.
For example, I think we would all agree that eating roadkill is pretty extreme.
Sure you can save money by not having to buy protein, but for me I think perhaps you can save money in a different way that feels less extreme?
Like eating less protein instead.
Best Frugal Secrets For Today
Your success in living frugally both now and in the future is all about you.
You have control over what you want to do, what you are prepared to do and whether you enjoy doing these things or not.
There are hundreds of frugal living tips out there that are about not buying or not doing but the frugal secrets you need to remember are more about you.
How you think, how you approach things.
Need Help On Your Frugal Journey?
Are you interested in being more frugal, more deliberate with your money and making your money stretch further?
Then why not sign up for my free email course where you learn how to build strong frugal foundations.