What is frugality? Frugality is...

Frugal living

What is frugality?

Frugality is living below your means.

Frugality is walking or biking to grocery stores instead of driving.

Frugality is growing your own vegetables and herbs.

Frugality is buying long lasting memories and experiences instead of depreciating things.

Frugality is driving the car for many years instead of changing the car every other year.

Frugality is asking if you really need this item at least twice before purchasing.

Frugality is parking 2 streets away from the final destination for free instead of paying for $30 onsite parking fee.

Frugality is walking or biking to everywhere, whenever possible.

Frugality is spending less money yet still have the same life experience.

Frugality is spending on quality items, not cheap low quality items.

Frugality is looking after your health and eating nutritious meals.

Frugality is cooking your own food and being appreciative of where your food comes from.

Frugality is writing on both size of paper.

Frugality is knowing where and when to spend money to receive greatest values.

Frugality is recycling and using compost.

Frugality is turning off lights when not needed.

Frugality is wearing a sweater in wintertime instead of turning up the thermostat.

Frugality is using a drying rack instead of using a dryer for drying clothes.

Frugality is not caring what other people think about you.

Frugality is using clothe diapers.

Frugality is not comparing yourself to others around you.

Frugality is cutting cable.

Frugality is finding available free entertainment.

Frugality is not having or needing the greatest and latest in electronic gadgets.

Frugality is finding the right balance in life and understanding which items provide the greatest return to you.

Frugality is using local libraries for books.

Frugality is buying second hand items.

Frugality is fixing up things yourself.

Frugality is DIY as much as possible.

Frugality is enjoying what you have and not always chasing for the new shiny object.

Frugality is understanding tax system and becoming tax efficient.

Frugality is leanding a hand to others in need.

Frugality is being happy about your savings rate.

Frugality is using LED lights.

Frugality is conserving water.

Frugality is spending a day in the great outdoor without spending any money.

Frugality is simplifying your life and live happily.

Frugality is making an effort to consume less and optimizing your life.

Frugality is being creative and thinking about the end goals instead of limitations.

Frugality is being happy and content about what you have now.

Frugality is not judging what others do in their lifes. We all make our choices. Right or wrong, these choices are always right for us at the time.


I can probably go on for a while talking about what frugality is what what frugality means to me. What about you? What does frugality mean to you?

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  • Reply
    May 4, 2015 at 9:43 pm


    Excellent summary of the frugality and some very good tips, I liked this very much: ¨Frugality is not comparing yourself to others around you¨

    I found too many people that want to like this one or that one and which is not bringing any value but bring sadness as you probably cannot reach the same level.

    I would have added another one ¨Frugality is Happiness¨

    Cheers, RA50

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Hi RA50,

      When you compare yourself to others that's when it gets dangerous. That's when keeping up with the Joneses symptom starts.

      Great thought on Frugality is happiness. That's so true. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Fervent Finance
    May 5, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Great list! For me frugality is maximizing the efficiency of things, especially money. To be frugal I make sure to understand all things that could affect my wallet, and in-sourcing things which some people don't think twice about paying for.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Hi Fervent Finance,

      Doing things yourself instead of hiring someone or paying for it is definitely one way to be frugal. Good point all around.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:12 am

      Hi Andrew,

      You're right, frugal doesn't mean cheap. Being cheap is totally different than being frugal. Frugality is really knowing where to optimize your spending.

  • Reply
    M from theresvalue
    May 5, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    What a fantastic list. We try to do all of these, especially driving our 18yr old car and growing our own vegetables.


    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Hi M,

      Driving an old car and growing our own vegetables are great. We are just starting a garden at our new house and things are growing fast!

  • Reply
    FI Fighter
    May 5, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Great list, I agree with most every point. I would add:

    Frugality buys time, the most precious commodity we will ever own on this planet.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Hi FI Fighter,

      Excellent point and insight! Time is definitely something we do not own.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2015 at 3:45 am

    I find myself to abide by some of the 'items' on the list, while splurging on others. I am trying to find the right balance between a good lifestyle and also making as few financial mistakes as possible.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

      Hi Ramona,

      Finding the right balance is definitely very important. The right balance will be different from person to person.

  • Reply
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank
    May 6, 2015 at 3:57 am

    Lots of definitions of frugality. My favorite is "Frugality is being happy about your savings rate". I actually enjoyed reading each line, Tawcan.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Hi Jayson,

      Thanks for your words. It's always great to know that you're saving money. Don't compare your own savings rate to others. Rather you should look at other's savings rate as a source of encouragement for wanting to save more.

  • Reply
    Barry @ Moneywehave
    May 6, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Many people mistake being frugal for being cheap. I do a lot of the things on your list, but I'm not afraid to splurge a little too.

    • Reply
      May 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

      Hi Barry,

      It's definitely OK to splurge a little here and there, especially when it's for buying/gaining memorable experiences.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2015 at 11:44 am

    Great list Tawcan - I'm doing most of those but there are some that I'm not doing (and probably should) so there's still room for improvement in my frugality! Thanks for posting!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:32 pm

      Hi weenie,

      There's always room for improvement when it comes to frugality. 🙂

  • Reply
    May 6, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I got a few on your list! Yay! I also don't have a cellphone plan. $1K/yr, 15 yrs with interest reinvested ... $20-$40K savings.

    Frugality is living happily at the basic level. Happiness come from inside. We're going to take a road trip with summer and make multiple stops. Imagine flying with 12 cities for example for 2?? that could be $30K. Anyhow, it's all about choice.

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Hi Vivianne,

      Interesting that you don't have a cellphone plan but I do not think a cellphone plan would cost you $1k/year... that's $83.33/month which seems quite high to me. However good point on how quickly power of compound interest takes affect.

  • Reply
    Mr. FSF
    May 6, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Wow, guess we are very frugal based on that list!

    Nice list, seems to capture the true nature of "being frugal" quite well.

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:34 pm

      Hi Mr. FSF,

      That's great that you're very frugal. That's something to be proud of.

  • Reply
    Even Steven
    May 7, 2015 at 7:12 am

    I'm just happy to say I'm hitting up a pretty good number of these on your frugality list.

    I think this one goes unrecognized by frugal and non-frugal alike: "Frugality is spending on quality items, not cheap low quality items."

    This could be one of the most important in terms of long term savings and frugality. Paying extra money upfront for a quality items, your pay per use over time defeats the low quality item.

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Hi Even Steven,

      Buying high quality items will not only save you money in the long run, they will save you time as well. Time = money. Enough said. 🙂

  • Reply
    The Professor
    May 7, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I wish I could have a garden! But I live in a city apartment where I barely have room for a bed . . .

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Hi The Professor,

      Is it possible to have a small herb garden on your kitchen counter? That's a good start.

  • Reply
    May 7, 2015 at 11:29 am

    Frugality is the mother of prosperity. 🙂

    • Reply
      May 7, 2015 at 1:36 pm

      Good one Liquid! Totally agree.

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    April 25, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Love this!

    Very late to the party and you kinda caught this with some more specific ones but to generalise it again:

    Frugality is making the most out of the resources you have.

    • Reply
      April 26, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Good point on frugality. 🙂

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