Frugal Definition

The word frugal means using only as much money, food, or other resources as necessary. Those who live a frugal lifestyle save their money and use it sparingly, which helps them spend less than typical people and often save a lot more.

What Does It Mean To Be a Frugal Person?

A frugal person doesn’t waste money. They are cautious about how much they spend on things in life and look to save as much as they can. 

Frugal people are not cheap, however. A cheap person might penny-pinch on everything in their life, but a frugal person might spend a lot of money on a specific hobby that brings them great joy while not spending much of anything on things that do not add to their life.

A frugal person also understands that paying more for quality makes sense if that item lasts a long time versus if they bought a cheap item that only lasts a short period. 

Take the example of a washing machine. A frugal person might pay twice as much for a washer that will last three times as long as the cheaper model. That’s because the frugal person knows that this is a much better value long term.

How To Live Frugally

Frugality is a mindset and lifestyle for those who are frugal, and here are some quick frugal tips for living this type of lifestyle.

Cancel Unused Subscriptions

Subscriptions can eat up your money; therefore, canceling those that are not used or underused makes sense. 

You can identify subscriptions that you don’t use by checking your credit card and bank statements. Look for recurring charges and ask yourself if you still want or need the things you’re being charged for.

Lower Your Cable, Internet, & Phone Bills By Up To 30%

Sign up for Trim and get your bills negotiated automatically. Trim will also identify any subscriptions you may no longer be using to help you save even more money.

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Oftentimes you can find things you’re paying for that you may have forgotten about or that you really don’t care about anymore and therefore can cancel.

You can use the app Trim to help you identify these subscriptions automatically. Trim is mostly free because you only pay a small portion of the money Trim saves you.

Negotiate Cable, Internet, Phone, and Insurance Bills

You may be paying too much for your cable, internet, phone, and insurance bills. 

For cable, you can downgrade your package, cancel premium channels, or ditch cable altogether and switch to a streaming service that has what you enjoy watching.

You can save on internet service by downgrading your speed if you’re not frequently downloading to your speed’s full capacity. 

Mobile phone plans can also be downgraded if you don’t use all of your data each month, and mobile phone providers generally show you your data usage, so you can pick the right plan and not simply always use an unlimited plan if you have one.

Here are two simple ways to save money:

  • Trim: Sign up for Trim and let Trim lower your cable, internet, and phone bills by up to 30%, identify and cancel unused subscriptions, and negotiate your interest rates. Trim is mostly free in that you only pay a small portion of what Trim saves you.
  • The Zebra: Head over to The Zebra, a free insurance comparison website. Shop auto, home, renters, life, and business insurance all in one spot. You could save hundreds per year in just a few minutes.

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Buy Things on Sale

Frugal people know the value of waiting for something to be on sale. Different times of year are popular for sales at major retailers. Some include:

  • Back to school 
  • Labor Day 
  • Summer sales
  • After New Year’s Day 
  • President’s Day

Shopping at key times of the year can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars, depending on what you’re buying each year.

Of course, you can also save on things like groceries by shopping for groceries when your local grocery store is running a sale. You can use discount apps, cash back apps, and coupons to push your savings level higher.

Shop at Second-Hand Stores

Consignment shops are one way to live frugally as you can often get high-quality second-hand goods for considerably less money than if you had purchased them new.

According to, secondhand goods are often up to 50% cheaper. Considering the average American spends $1,497 per month on unnecessary items, you may save quite a lot of money shopping for things at a discount.

Get Into DIY 

Going DIY means doing things yourself rather than employing someone. This could be fixing things around your house, decorating, changing your own oil, making your own gifts, and so on.

When you employ a DIY lifestyle, you can potentially save thousands of dollars on major projects like renovations and hundreds of dollars on smaller things such as cleaning products and making gifts, given time.

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Don’t Spend Money To Look Rich

Many Americans overspend because they want to impress their friends. Social media is a popular place to show off flashy new cars, designer clothes, big travel expenses, and more, but what you don’t see when you’re scrolling is the full financial picture and how much debt your friends may be sinking into living that lifestyle.

Resist the temptation to look rich by keeping your nest egg protected. Continue to save and invest your money and reserve your spending for things that you need.

It’s fine to treat you and your family to nice things here and there, but to live frugally, you’ll want to focus on saving money and not trying to look rich.

Find Low-Cost Things To Do

While it may feel like that you have to spend a lot of money on extravagant outings and vacations to have a good time, there are many low-cost things you can do to enjoy life, and when you focus on these things for entertainment, you’ll grow your savings that much faster.

In fact, if you spend most of your entertainment budget on low-cost things and invest your money smartly, then the power of compound interest may help you retire years earlier than those around you who are the same age.

Live Well Below Your Means

Frugal people go out of their way to maximize their savings rate so that they are more financially secure. Part of this is by saving money and not spending on things they don’t need. Other frugal people will look to increase their income to make it easier to live comfortably.

Living below your means is when you spend less than you make, and as you spend significantly less than you make, you’ll continue to grow your wealth.

How To Be Frugal But Not Cheap

Here are three ideas to keep in mind when determining the difference between frugal and cheap.

Do Things You Enjoy, Skip What You Don’t Need

Frugal people do things that they enjoy and skip out on everything else. 

On the other hand, Cheap people might skip on something they enjoy simply not to spend any money.

Buy Quality On Sale, Not Cheap Items Because They’re Cheap

Frugal people understand that quality products last longer and provide a greater value. They’ll seek the best deals to buy these high-quality items.

Cheap people seek the lowest price with no regard for quality. Because of this, a cheap person might have to place something more frequently because they’re always buying low-quality at the lowest price.

Cheap People May Be Cheap at the Expense of Others

Frugal people may not order a large meal at a restaurant, but they will tip well for great service and may tip extra for extraordinary service.

Cheap people, on the other hand, may tip minimally at a restaurant as a means to save money, even if the service is exceptional.

What Is The Opposite of Being Frugal?

The opposite of being frugal is being lavish or extravagant. Lavish and extravagant people might buy expensive cars and big houses, travel around the world, wear designer clothes, and pay little heed to how much they’re spending.

Benefits of Being Frugal

There are several benefits to being frugal, and we’ll cover four big ones below.

Avoid Debt

Frugal people can avoid debt for the most part as they’re more aware of their spending habits and only spend money on what they need or on specific things that bring them joy.

Because of this, frugal individuals generally have a higher savings rate and pay their credit cards off each month. They may use a budget and track their spending to stay on top of their finances.

Potentially Retire Earlier

Considering frugal people generally have a higher savings rate, they may be able to retire earlier as well if they invest their money intelligently. As a frugal person has more to put aside, their money can grow more with compound interest.

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Can Be More Financially Secure

With less debt and more money put away, a frugal person is more financially secure. They may have less financial stress and may feel more confident about upcoming financial decisions. Their financial goals may be more clear as well.

What Frugal Billionaire Eats Almost Every Breakfast At McDonald’s?

Warren Buffet is the billionaire who eats almost every breakfast at McDonald’s. He stops at McDonald’s almost every morning on his way to the office. He orders one of three meals.

  • Two sausage patties
  • Egg and cheese
  • Bacon, egg, and cheese

Warren Buffet, in an interview, was asked why he chooses to eat at McDonald’s and not at an expensive restaurant. In response, Buffet said that the meals at McDonald’s tasted better.

Buffet reports that he tells his wife which sandwich he wants in the morning, and she’ll put the money in a cup in his car. 

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