5 Benefits of Frugalism: Saving Money to Improve Your Life


Frugalism is the practice of saving money, mostly by reducing expenses. Due to climate change, inflation, and other crises, frugalism has recently gained popularity. Many people use it to improve their financial situation or not to be so dependent on consumerist behaviors. Seen as a restrictive and rather negative lifestyle by some, others rather see the benefits of practicing frugality in their lives. This article is focused on the advantages of frugalism, but you can also read up on what happens when frugalism goes too far.

See also

Money to show the practice of frugalism

Financial Stability Due to Frugalism

The most obvious advantage of frugalism – and the reason why so many people get into frugalism in the first place – is that it can help you achieve financial stability. By reducing unnecessary expenses and focusing on saving, you can build up an emergency fund, pay off debt, and invest in your future. This financial stability can provide peace of mind and reduce stress.

Of course, the level of financial stability you can reach is linked largely to your income. Frugalism does not solve the inherent problem of income inequalities, but it can help you make more informed consumer decisions and get to know other alternatives to consumption without money, such as food sharing, free library shelves, and free markets that are there to exchange rather than to buy from each other.

In capitalist societies, we often see a link between a rise in income and increased consumption. Translated this means, we rather buy new stuff with our surplus of money than save it or reduce our working hours. Frugalism can break that link and can thus create new freedom.

Improved Relationships

Frugalism can also improve your relationships with others. How? By reducing your spending, you may be able to spend more time with loved ones, engage in free or low-cost activities together, and focus on experiences rather than material possessions. You for example need to work less if you need less money to actually live. Regarding activities together, you can get creative and do a lot more yourself.

Here are some free or cheap ideas for quality time with your friends, family, or your partner:

  • A walk in the park
  • Cooking together at home
  • Playing chess or other board games together
  • A weekend of camping and hiking
  • Joining a volunteer club and doing something good for society
  • Protesting for your rights, the rights of others, or a better world
  • Go to a museum or a small, local theatre
  • A picnic
  • A workout at home
  • Go biking/rollerblading/running together
  • Clean up a local forest/beach
  • Write and read poetry
  • Start a book club
  • Get into foraging
  • Draw each other
  • Write each other a love/appreciation letter
  • Spa day at home with self-made treatments

Additionally, frugality can lead to more mindful and intentional spending, which can improve communication and reduce conflicts related to finances. Especially in relationships with your partner, spending habits can be a big factor in conflicts. If you decide together that you want to live frugally, this might save you a lot of stress.

Environmental Impact of Frugalism

Frugalism can also have a positive environmental impact. By reducing your consumption, reusing and repairing items, and avoiding wasteful habits, you can minimize your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Many of the things that are cheap actually also contribute to a less wasteful lifestyle, such as food sharing (where you save food that is otherwise thrown away) or sharing and lending within a community. But be aware, that frugal does not automatically mean environmental-friendly! Some frugalists also resort to using non-sustainable products if they are cheaper, for example using plastic bags instead of biodegradable or paper bags.

In my opinion, frugalism should not be about saving every cent possible, but rather about making informed choices. For me that includes choosing sustainable options with the amount of money you have from not consuming unnecessary products.

Increased Creativity

Frugalism can also inspire creativity and innovation. By finding ways to save money and live more sustainably, you may discover new hobbies, skills, and resources. Naturally, if you want to live sustainably, you start repairing a lot more yourself, you find a second life for products you originally thought you could not use anymore, and you build a network out of people from repair cafés and more that live a similar lifestyle and can help you in your way to frugalism.

All this can lead to increased self-sufficiency and a sense of accomplishment. Regardless of how much impact a single person can make to change the values of a society or combat climate change, you have the certitude that you live according to your values: You know what is right for you and can see safety in knowing that you act that way as well. This can also help you to see the light with climate angst, all the bad news we see daily, and discussions with more conservative family members.

Personal Growth

Finally, frugalism can contribute to personal growth and development. By practicing self-discipline and avoiding impulsive purchases, you can cultivate a greater sense of self-control and intentionality. With each purchase, you can now really reflect on the value a product brings to you and if you could also get the product used instead of buying products impulsively. This self-control and intentionality will quickly influence other parts of your life as well. Here are some ways I noticed changes:

  • I noticed I am capable of a lot more than I thought I was. I seek out challenges a lot more actively now, knowing that I will be able to tackle them eventually.
  • I find a lot more pleasure in “consuming” things that I don’t need money for and that are not materialistic, such as art, music, knowledge etc.
  • I notice I am much more connected to nature.
  • I intentionally reduced my working hours in order to do volunteer work and give back to the community.

Additionally, frugality can lead to a greater appreciation for the things that truly matter in life, such as relationships, health, and personal growth. I personally spend most of my days somewhere between doing a lot of sports, educating myself, organizing myself in political organizations, protesting, and spending time with family and friends. Once again, you cannot totally escape the capitalist ideal of working for money and using that money for purchases – but I did notice I have a lot more time now that I have reduced my working hours.

The “Downside” of Frugalism

As a frugalist, you walk the line between consuming so little that your lifestyle actually suffers and being comfortable, and thus only frugal when the options are there. Where exactly that line is, depends on the person – what is frugal for me might be totally insane for another person, while some other people are totally happy living even more frugally than me.

To illustrate that line, I wrote down a few things from my personal life, where I decided to cut things out and where I decided not to do so:

  • I live in a room in a shared apartment even though I could also live alone if I worked more. While I have less privacy, this also gives me the company of amazing humans that I would have probably never met otherwise.
  • I do a lot of food sharing to keep my expenses for food low. This means sometimes eating the same meal every day for almost a week BUT I do add store-bought ingredients to those meals to ensure I get all my nutrition (I mostly need to add protein to those meals).
  • My goal with frugalism is, firstly, to escape materialist consumerism BUT I mostly spend the money otherwise – I currently invest in my education and in sports rather than actually investing or saving the money.

That being said, you can of course also go too far – a topic I wrote about in an article about the dark side of frugalism. Find out where the line is for you. It is okay if that line currently is very near to your comfort zone, as your limits might also shift during your journey. This is why it is important to reevaluate every now and then and set new goals.

Conclusion: It’s worth trying out frugalism

In conclusion, frugalism offers many benefits beyond simply saving money. By practicing frugality, you can achieve financial stability, improve relationships, reduce your environmental impact, increase creativity, and promote personal growth. While frugalism may not be for everyone, it is worth considering as a way to live a more intentional and fulfilling life. There are a lot of different motives behind frugalism and I am sure you could find a reason based on your values as well! If you’d like to try out living more frugally, you might be interested in these tips and strategies. But before you start living frugally, be aware that there are also dangers you should try to avoid.

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