My dad used to say, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” At the time, I thought my dear old dad was just so old that he heard it from Benjamin Franklin himself! But now that I have a little life experience of my own, I realize Dear Old Dad was actually right.
It took me a lot of years, credit card debt, and paying to have junk removed to understand just what that means. If I didn’t spend the money, I didn’t have to earn it. It was already mine. But I wasted a lot of money before learning how and why to be frugal.
Being frugal takes discipline, but you gain a host of benefits by reducing your expenses. Adopting a frugal lifestyle means less stress, less debt, less waste, more freedom, more generosity, and more sustainability. Being frugal is good for you, your family, and the environment.
In this article, we’ll talk about the benefits of being frugal. We’ll look at how you can save money, learn new skills, be more creative, and help others. But first, we’ll see how living a frugal life can reduce our stress.
If you are frugal, you’ll have the benefit of less stress.
A financial study examined on Finra explained that 60% of their survey participants felt stressed when they thought about their finances. But if you’re able to use your money as a tool to meet your needs, you’ll be a lot less stressed.
Confucius said it best when he said, “he who will not economize will have to agonize.” If you’re frugal, you won’t be stressing over where the money went. Instead, you’ll feel more at peace about your money when you are in control of where it goes.
When you are more frugal, you’ll probably have less debt.
Your friends might accuse you of being a tightwad, but you’ll be the one laughing when you don’t have debts. Living below your means by saving money, not wasting money or things, and not buying stuff you don’t need will keep you from spending frivolously and driving up credit card debt.
Even better, my friend paid off her student loans five years early. She made a budget and lived simply so she could stick to it. This disciplined lifestyle helped her have less debt faster.
You’ll get the thrill of the hunt when you are frugal.
My frugal friend just loves a great deal! She loves that exhilarating feeling that comes with hunting down – and finding – the best prices or a fantastic deal. It becomes like a game, chasing down deals on things you need so you can save money for other things. The thrill of the hunt makes a living a money-saving lifestyle a lot more fun.
You can share steals and deals with the ones you love.
My most frugal friend doesn’t need to keep the thrills all to herself. She loves to share deals with her family just as much as she loves to find them. When she heard I needed to save a few bucks purchasing gifts for my family, she got to work finding coupon codes and BOGO deals so I could stretch my budget even further.
She felt good knowing she helped me out and knowing that my kids would have a few more gifts, too. And I felt good because it showed she cared about my family. If sharing is caring, then sharing those exciting deals is a great way to do it.
You’ll create less waste when you live a more prudent life.
Although being frugal means buying less stuff another aspect of being frugal means wasting less stuff. These skills are great for the environment because there will be less waste going to the landfill. In addition, you’ll be more careful with the resources you have and less likely to waste money on new ones.
For example, if you make sure to finish up all your leftovers, instead of throwing them away, you’ll save money by not buying more food. You’ll also keep that food waste out of your local landfill. It’s a win-win for you and the environment.
Buying clothes at the local thrift store means saving those items from being tossed in the trash. You can donate your unwanted items and purchase new-to-you-items at a fraction of the cost. As a bonus, those thrift store jeans already have that broken-in feel. What’s not to love?
Being frugal means you won’t have to clean and organize as much.
We don’t realize how much time and energy our stuff takes. We have to organize it, clean it, put it away, or find places to put it. This is surprisingly a heavy mental and physical load.
But if you live frugally and have less clutter or fewer extra items in your home, you won’t need to spend as much time and energy taking care of it. For example, it’s easier to sanitize a clutter-free kitchen counter than to have to organize all the appliances, toss the junk mail, and move stuff around first.
Or maybe you’ll do less laundry by keeping a capsule wardrobe. A capsule wardrobe means you purchase just a few items that can be used in multiple ways. You’ll be able to mix and match the same pieces into various outfits. This means fewer clothes in your closet to wash, dry, and take care of, and you’ll never have the stress of worrying about what you’re going to wear.
To put it simply, if you buy less stuff, you’ll save money and effort managing all that stuff!
Being frugal means, you’ll learn new skills.
A frugal mom friend of mine learned how to hang drywall and install plumbing so she could add a bedroom suite to her basement. She saved thousands of dollars by sourcing inexpensive and used carpentry materials and by learning how and doing the work herself.
But you don’t have to go that far to be frugal. For example, you can learn to make pizza for much less than you pay for takeout. You can learn to hem your pants instead of paying a tailor. You can learn to make crafts to give instead of purchasing gifts, mow your yard instead of paying someone, or grow a garden and raise chickens instead of buying groceries.
You can learn or try so many new skills in your frugal lifestyle.
Frugality develops your creativity.
Instead of spending money on fancy party decorations, you’ll come up with creative ways to make your own. Or you’ll find the random food items in your pantry and create some fantastic new dish to feed your family. Perhaps you’ll take some leftover scrap wood and build a new shelf, a tv stand, or even a chair.
When you decide not to spend the extra cash, you’ll develop your creative thinking to use what you already have.
You’ll have more freedom when you are frugal.
Being in debt or living paycheck to paycheck is a heavy burden for many of us. We are locked into our jobs, locked into our homes, and we feel trapped by our bills. But when you live frugally, you save money, have less debt to hold you down, and more money in the bank to use as you wish.
You might have more freedom to take a vacation when you want to. You may have more freedom to change jobs or careers. You might have more freedom to move to another town, buy a different car, or take time off when you want. When you aren’t trapped by debt and heavy expenses, you are free to use your money how you want.
You can make more choices when you live a frugal lifestyle.
If you are saving money instead of spending money, you’ll have more freedom to make choices. For example, if your debt load is high and your savings are low, you might have difficulty purchasing a newer car when you need one. It might be challenging to get a loan if your debt to income ratio is too high.
But if you live frugally, you can save up cash for your next vehicle. In addition, you’ll have a lot more buying power – and more choices available to you – if you have a low debt load and cash for a down payment or even for the entire car purchase.
You or your partner might now have to work when you live a simpler lifestyle.
One parent might not have to work in some families if the family adopts a simpler, more frugal way of living. For example, eating at home instead of eating out can save a family of five $60 per meal or more! That’s a significant saving over time. In addition, adopting some frugal strategies might save enough cold hard cash that only one partner has to work.
The other partner is free to cook, raise children, homeschool, manage their health, or even spend their time volunteering to help others.
You can help others and be more generous when your finances are under control.
Nothing feels as good as giving to others in need. When you live a frugal lifestyle, you can also live a generous one.
If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you won’t have a lot of extra to help someone who is struggling. But if you live frugally, you’ll free up a lot of space in your budget to give to charities, help out a friend, or support your local church or food bank.
Frugal living teaches you impulse control.
Stores, shopping malls, and groceries know precisely how to encourage impulse buying. But when you live frugally, you’ll learn how to curb those impulse buys and only get what you need.
This practice of impulse control carries over into other aspects of our lives, too, like driving more safely, controlling our words, and even raising our kids.
Of course, when we don’t impulse buy, we are less likely to have things in our home that take up space that we don’t need.
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
This frugal mantra is ingrained in my thinking by a friend raised in the Mennonite community. And although I teased her about cutting the tops of the toothpaste tube so she could get the very last bit out, I admired her ability to stretch a dollar, make something last, or get by without. She knew how to be frugal.
Being frugal may get a bit of a bad reputation, but in reality, a frugal lifestyle has a lot of benefits for healthy, sustainable, stress-free living. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also have more freedom, choices, less debt, and a greater ability to help those around you.