Frugal Workshop Podcast #7 - 14 Frugal Principles Transcript

by - August 20, 2019

Good morning and welcome to the seventh podcast of the Frugal Workshop blog. I'm your host, Belinda Richardson and I want to welcome you and all of my readers from Frugal Workshop. I'm so glad you decided to join us.

Today’s topic is going to be about the Principles of Frugal Living

There are several basic principles to living the frugal life. Today I’m going to share 14 of those with you.  

The first one is to ...

1. Know What It Costs to Live

In order to know how much money you need to live on, you need to know what it costs you to live. Begin by saving your receipts for purchases and bills for one month and add everything together. 

Be sure to include those expenses that don’t occur each month like car insurance, license plates, property taxes, etc. Divide those amounts to find a monthly amount that you need to set aside each month for those expenses.
Once you have everything written down you’ll know how much it costs you to live every month. Now you can get down to the business of living a frugal life. 

This is the area where you can figure out how to cut down your monthly expenses and save money. 

You can search for whole categories of spending to eliminate. For example, living without a car can save a lot of money. You won’t have to spend money on gas, repairs, insurance, taxes, licenses, registration, cost of the car, etc.

This may require living close to town, your work, close to public transportation, and/or your willingness and ability to ride a bicycle. Just check our Mr. Money Mustache’s website for inspiration on this frugal tip. 

2. Live Beneath Your Means

This simply means to spend less than you earn. 

You want to live a good life without going into debt for it. Learn how to do that with less money. 

The young man who picks up our garbage and does light yard work for us works very hard. Not only does he have a full time job, but he also has several side hustles. He is only 22 years old and already owns two houses because he works so hard. We’ve had long talks where he’s given me great ideas on how to do things for less money. 

He is earning an honest living by honest work. If you find yourself wishing your had more money to make more purchases, and you are wisely not willing to go into debt to accomplish this, you can take a page out of his book. Pick up a few odd jobs or side hustles to cover the cost of those extra expenses. There’s nothing wrong with picking up an odd job to spring for a new iPhone. 

3. Use Resources Wisely

One principle of the frugal life should be to use your resources wisely and that includes food, time, and money.

Rather than going to the grocery store to pick up something specific for dinner, take a look at what’s in your pantry and try to come up with something using the ingredients on hand. I’ve come up with some great meals doing this!

Instead of watching TV, use your leisure time to learn new money saving skills. Learn how to bake bread, or make yogurt, or learn to change the oil in your car. There are plenty of resources online or in books, and nothing beats the power of self education. Although, this may be a principle you are already familiar with since you are listening to my podcast.

Don’t forget that money is a resource, and you can make it work for your by saving, investing, and stretching your dollars in any way you can. 

4. Save Money

Another principle of frugal living is to save money every month, even if it is just $5.00. As you learn to live better with less, you will be able to save more money every month. 

Learn how to delay personal gratification. Having money in the bank will mean more to you than the latest gadget. It will allow you to have some security in case something happens and you need a cushion to fall back on. 

As The Great Depression moves further back in history, I think we’ve forgotten some of the principles that came out of that. Our grandparents and great grandparents had to learn to live with little to no money and they were the founding members of frugal living. 

With today’s technology, instant gratification is a constant resource but that doesn’t mean we should feed into that, especially involving our money. If you see a new dress or electronic you want, rather than putting it on a credit card and having it instantly, save up your money for it. You may be surprised how much better it feels when you are able to buy it in cash, or it may even cause you to realize how much money it actually costs and you may change your mind about purchasing it at all. We don’t always realize in the moment what the true cost of something is. 

5. Get Out of & Avoid Debt

As previously mentioned, one way to avoid debt is to save up for those things you want. For example, If you want to buy a new computer, make payments to your savings account until you have enough money to pay cash. It’s what my daughter did when she needed to buy a new laptop this year. 

If your debts are causing you financial trouble, find a way to fix the problem and get out of debt. Generally, only carry long term debt for education and purchase of a house. Never carry debt for entertainment or frivolous consumer spending. Don't use credit cards, payday loans, or pawn shops to increase your expenditures for consumer items or entertainment. 

Every penny you borrow must be paid back with interest, and as your debt increases so do your payments. Meaning that the $50 dress your purchased in February might actually have cost you $62 if paid off this month.

Did you decide to go to college with student loans? Did you take the full amount they offered, so you could live on it too or did you accept only enough to pay for your classes and books? Borrowing the full amount will cost you more in interest in the long run. 

Consider working part time during college to have money to live on instead of borrowing money that won't be paid back for years with interest accruing.

Every penny that you spend on something you don't really need is a choice you are making. Do you want to stay in debt or do you want to live debt free? The choice is up to you.  

6. Buy Second Hand

Another principle of the frugal lifestyle is to buy second hand. Always shop the second hand market first when you need to buy something. Shop at flea markets, yard & garage sales, pawn shops, and thrift stores. 

Only then, when you cannot find what you need in the second hand market should you consider buying something new. And even then make sure you pay for it with cash you've saved up and not on credit. 

Also, if you must purchase something new, price shop! Don’t purchase from the first place you find your item. Take a look at many places to find the best price, and always take a look for coupon codes if your purchasing online.

7. Cook from Scratch

Another principle of frugal living is to cook from scratch as much as possible. This is one of the best ways to save money. And when you do cook, use everything you can. Save those butter wrappers to grease pans in baking, use the chicken carcass or vegetable scraps to make broth, use stock leftover from cooking meats to start other meals like soup, stew, or another dish altogether. 

Save as much money as you can on food. Look and search out those places where you can find food cheaper. Always keep looking for new places to save yourself the most money. Make your own jam, jelly, preserves, and yogurt. 

8. Grow Some of Your Own Food
Growing some of your own food, if done correctly, will give you the potential to save money on your grocery bill. It is entirely possible to spend a lot of money on a vegetable garden. The secret to saving money with a vegetable garden is to minimize spending while maximizing yield. 

Amy Dacyczyn has several pages in her book dedicated to this topic, so do your research first and learn how to garden while saving money  at the same time. 

9. Preserve Your Own Food

Canning your own food, like growing your own food, if done correctly, will help you save money on your grocery bill. Jars can be bought new, which will be part of the initial start up cost, will be used year after year and can be considered an investment. Jars can also be found inexpensively at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. 

Again, Amy Dacyczyn has pages dedicated to this topic, so do your research first and learn how to preserve your own food while saving money  at the same time. 

10. Keep a Well Stocked Pantry

Another principle of frugal living is to keep a well stocked pantry. This means to fill your pantry with food that you are able to purchase at the lowest possible price. Keep a price book in order to know what the lowest price is for your family. Stocking up when the price is right on food and non-food items you and your family use will provide security against rising grocery prices. 

Another principle is to understand the consequences of your financial choices. Make sure you pay for your necessities first before you spend money on anything that is non-essential. Pay the rent or mortgage, pay the utility bills, insurance, gas for cars to get to work, and food. Paying for necessities first will give you peace of mind over your financial life. 

11. Do It Yourself

Skills such as changing the oil in your car, mowing your own lawn, cutting your own hair or your dog’s fur, sewing & mending will save you a lot of money over the years. 

12. Take Care of What You Own

Cleaning the filters in your refrigerator and air conditioner will ensure that they work more efficiently and will last longer than those that are poorly maintained. 

Becky from Becky’s Homestead has a YouTube video on how to remove a window air conditioning unit and clean and wash it well in your own yard. I will include a link to her video in the resources for this podcast. 

Taking care of your leather shoes with polish or balsam will make them last longer. Also, avoid overcharging your electronics, this will not only save electricity, but will help your electronics last longer.  

13.  Ignore Advertising

 Advertising encourages people to spend money they may not have for products they may not need. You should only use advertising to compare prices. Educate yourself on the tricks of advertisers and learn to ignore them.

14. Teach your Children These Principles

Children who are taught by their parents to embrace instant gratification, to spend money frivolously, to find meaning in the right clothes or the perfect car will be at a serious disadvantage in the years to come. 

Hopefully by teaching your children these frugal principles, they won’t  succumb to poor financial choices that may hurt them in the long run. 

Principles of Frugal Living

1. Know What It Cost You to Live
2. Live Beneath Your Means 
3. Use Resources Wisely
4.  Save Money
5. Get Out of & Avoid Debt
6. Buy Second Hand
7. Cook from Scratch
8. Grow Your Own Food
9. Reserve Your Own Food
10. Keep a Well Stocked Pantry
11. Do It Yourself
12. Take Care of What You Own
13. Ignore Advertising
14. Teach your Children these Principles

In Conclusion


There are a lot of principles on frugal living and I there are plenty more that I’ve not discussed here today. We will discuss more of this in a future podcast. I hope that this information has been helpful to you and I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to listen.

Resources Used In This Podcast

Becky’s Homestead
How to Clean A Window Air Conditioner The Easy Way

Mr. Money Mustache
Get Rich with Bikes

Belinda
~ Living within our Means ~
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