lifestyle

Why you should be frugal with your money, not cheap


You can save money without being stingy (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

A big misconception about being frugal is that it’s someone being ‘cheap’. That you can’t spend any money or enjoy life as a frugal person.

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

There are many disparities between frugality and cheapness.

Being frugal shouldn’t be seen as a negative. It is being economical with money, and not wasteful of money or resources.

Being cheap, however, is more the reluctance of spending money, being ungenerous, and thinking that you get value by paying less.

So, hopefully you can see already that there’s a big difference between the two.

Being cheap can seem like a derogatory description of someone, whereas being frugal simply means you don’t waste money, not that you don’t spend it.

Being frugal may not be a term you would think to use to describe a millionaire, but the links between frugality and millionaires are stronger than you might think.

Many millionaires have a frugal mindset, and there’s a big link between being wealthy and spending less. There’s a reason that the most commonly driven car by millionaires in the US is a Toyota. Rather than wasting their millions on expensive things often wealthy would choose to buy second-hand cars or smaller residences so that they save money on things that devalue quickly.

There’s also a link between minimalism and being frugal. Once you start decluttering your life, the less you want to buy things that don’t serve you, meaning you spend less money.

That’s not to say frugal people don’t spend money at all. On the contrary, a frugal person is more likely to pay more for something that will stand the test of time or be more beneficial in the long run.

It’s about getting the best option for the money, not the cheapest option. Looking at the bigger picture rather than the quick wins.

Frugal people also spend time researching things and making sure they buy things for the best price available, whether that’s by searching for vouchers, buying second-hand or making sure they find available discounts.

Another habit of frugal people is that they are organised. Things like paying bills on time, meal planning or budgeting for an event in the future are all ways of saving money and being more intentional with spending.

When it comes to debt, frugal people rarely allow themselves to get into bad debt. They don’t see the value of something stripping them of their monthly income on repayments. Often, they would save up for something instead and only buy with cash rather than credit.

Being budget conscious doesn’t mean never spending money, it’s the opposite. It’s about being mindful and intentional about every penny you spend. Focusing on spending your money on the things that matter to you the most and what brings you joy.

Both frugal and cheap people want to save money, but it’s the way in which it’s done that is different. As everyone has a different income, people will have a different way of spending money.

It’s a process to get to a place financially where you have the choice whether you can be frugal over having to be cheap, and it’s a goal you can set to take yourself on that journey.

10 frugal tips to start you off:

  1. Sit on purchase decisions for 30 days if you can. Sleep on it at the very least.
  2. Set yourself a ‘fun’ budget each month to keep you motivated.
  3. Set up a savings account and pay yourself first each month.
  4. Use loyalty reward cards to stock up on points and convert into money off or free experiences.
  5. Buy reuseable products such as cotton pads, sandwich bags and sanitary products.
  6. Shop your fridge and freezer once a month for a week.
  7. Remember: Buying cheap often means buying twice. Work out what’s worth investing in.
  8. Make do and mend rather than replace.
  9. Do as many odd jobs as you can rather than paying someone to do it for you.
  10. And finally, and most importantly; spend less than you earn.

Further tips can be found on my YouTube channel and Instagram for daily money saving advice, tips and hacks for living your best life on a budget, and don’t forget to head over to my blog for your free budgeting trackers.

For more money-saving advice as well as chat about cash and alerts on deals and discounts, join Metro.co.uk’s Facebook group, Money Pot.


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