What some people call frugalism, or frugality, is the practice of being frugal. It is about living within your means and making your money go as far as it possibly can. In today’s difficult economy, and of necessity, people are turning their backs on the consumer economy to embrace the frugal lifestyle. Redundancies, job cuts, wage freezes mean most people do not have the ready money that they had before bankers brought economies all over the world to disaster. Everyone has re-learned the valuable lesson that buying things with money that you do not physically have leads to disaster and debt misery. Frugal living means living in the economical way that your forbears did.
Frugalism begins with deciding the difference between needs and wants and then only buying things that you need. Before the economic troubles, many people forgot the difference between wants and needs. You might need a mobile telephone for business or safety reasons. You might want the latest all singing, all dancing model, but what you need is a basic model on which you can make telephone calls and text messages.
Frugal people never buy things on a whim. They think carefully about each purchase, and about how they will use the item. For example, a frugal woman would never buy a blouse or cardigan on a whim; she would think about how many items already in her wardrobe would match the item she is considering.
Living frugally is not making false economies, but making sure that the money that you do spend is well spent. It does not always mean buying cheap. For example, if you needed a winter coat, you would not buy the most expensive coat or a cheap coat that would not last a winter, but you would look around carefully and get the best value for your money. You might look around for and see what is available, were you to find a serviceable woolen coat in a charity of thrift shop, you might buy that or you might find a consignment store selling best quality coats at bargain prices, or you might find an on line bargain.
Living frugally is what previous generations would call watching the pennies and putting a little aside for a rainy day. Even in very poor families, people saved regular small amounts of money. When you save regularly even if you can only afford a small amount, your money soon mounts up.
Frugal people watch their spending in all areas, even the grocery bill. Some cut coupons, others change to own or private labels rather than buying brand names, or buy some items in bulk. Frugal shoppers rarely buy expensive imported fruit and vegetables. Instead, they buy local fruit and vegetables in season when they are inexpensive. They may buy these in quantity and freeze or preserve them.
Utility bills are another area where frugal people make economies. Frugalists switch lights off in unoccupied rooms and never leave appliances on stand by. They insulate their homes and buy energy saving light bulbs.
In line with their economic life, frugal people do not throw things away willy-nilly. They consider first whether that item is still good for its original use, then whether they can use it for something else.
Frugal people may also grow their own fruit and vegetables. Frugal cooks will make jams, chutneys, conserves, pickles and other things from their fruit and vegetable gardens. When relatives, friends or neighbours, have a glut of fruit or vegetables, the frugal person will accept them gladly. Frugal people may forage berries from the hedgerows and turn them into jams, conserves, chutneys, pies or other items to feed the family.
Frugal cooks search out economic recipes for family dishes and for good ways to use leftovers. They never waste food. They have some very clever tricks to make humble dishes taste amazing. Frugal cooks do not buy convenience food because they know that it is expensive and they know that they can cook things much better than any convenience food.
Frugal people do not usually buy things on hire purchase or credit, they prefer to buy necessary items with money that they have. They usually have their savings fund to assist with emergencies, for example, if the washing machine suddenly needs replacing. Should circumstances force them to purchase something on credit, they will shop around for the best possible loan deal. They will also ensure there is no early repayment penalty on the loan, and repay the loan as quickly as possible, even if that means taking on another job to do so.
Frugalism, or frugality, is living well, within your means, and economically. Frugality is a lifestyle that many people are now embracing from necessity. Frugal living means making the very best use of your money. It involves rejecting the consumer message to buy things you do not need, and that will not make you happy for the sake of buying. Frugal living could not be further from consumer society; it is buying what you need rather than what you want, and with your own money rather than on credit. Frugal living is living better for less, and spending less than you earn. Many people are finding it a good way to live. If you feel it may be for you, there is much advice available on blogs where other frugal livers give tips, and on internet forums where you can consult others and find frugal tips.