Living a frugal lifestyle – a means to build your wealth


Let me start by saying this could probably be the most unliked topic when people talk about living a frugal lifestyle. It is not an easy feat to do and most, if not all, feels uncomfortable doing this. Thrifty living is not high up on the list of priorities for people nowadays.

Age of high consumerism

sports car ferrariWe live in a time, now more than ever in the history of mankind, where high consumerism or consumption is actually celebrated and admired by the majority. If we think about this for a moment and perhaps even do a personal evaluation.

What do you feel when you purchase a brand new, top of the line, and the most latest mobile phone. Let’s say the latest Apple iPhone or the most powerful Samsung Galaxy S10 phone. (Yeah, yeah, I know I just made that up. The Samsung Galaxy S10 doesn’t exist yet at the time of this writing but I’m sure Samsung will eventually manufacture it sometime in the near future.)

Perhaps think about what you would feel when you purchase these items:

  • a brand new smart watch or even a luxury watch from a well-known brand
  • how about a 3 carat diamond eternity ring
  • let’s go even further, a brand new red sports car
  • or perhaps a tad bit higher a newly built 5 bedroom single detached home

I myself (and I’m sure my wife as well) would feel some sense of pride and satisfaction. I’m sure you will too, wouldn’t you? Majority of us would feel some sense of happiness for the purchase that we’ve made. Let me pose this question to you and would you kindly comment your answers below. What is that one thing that you aspire to have some day? Or perhaps you’re already working hard right now in order to achieve or purchase it?




Social Media celebrates high consumerism

How about let’s look at social media sites. What is it that we see majority of the people posting online? If someone buys a new car, a new gadget, a new watch, more often than not they will take a picture of it and post it proudly in social media. And then what happens next? People will start liking that post and even sharing them. Also, it is very likely that people will commend and congratulate them for the said purchase. This is the norm or the common trend these days.

I’m not saying that this is bad, but the question I have is, is it the best way to live?

I would bet, if there is any such study that even exist, that very few people ever aspire to living a frugal lifestyle. It is not something that most people really want. I wonder who among us are actually dreaming of living a simple frugal life?

Chasing for the next best thing

BoatNow give it a few months and likely a newer model or version of that thing that you just purchased comes out. Think about this for a second. How would you feel? More likely you’ll start wanting to get the newer model, wouldn’t you? Sometimes it may even make us feel incomplete when we don’t have the newest or the shiniest of these material things.

I think humanity has this sense within ourselves of trying to acquire the best and the brightest. We want to always have the next best thing. We can even say that it is a form of addiction. This is why we keep purchasing the latest new cellphone that comes out. Or after a couple of years, we trade in our still fully functioning vehicle, that we by the way purchased as new, for the latest model.

This is a vicious cycle. The society that we live in and the culture even promotes this way of life. There seems to be a whole in our hearts that we keep trying to fill in with the newest of stuff.

Unfortunately this is not a healthy lifestyle. It is unhealthy physically, emotionally, financially and I dare say spiritually.

Living a frugal lifestyle

I find it quite interesting that our culture and most of our societies no longer promote this way of life. You won’t find people celebrating their frugality. I would even dare say, that probably majority of those who are living a frugal lifestyle are probably forced due to their circumstances or social status within their community. It’s not a conscious and willing choice for the majority.

Living frugal lifestyle

But what if I tell you that living a frugal lifestyle is actually a far better way to live, would you agree?

Let me prove it to you.

Contentment is the key

Thrifty living can actually benefit you and your entire family if you think about it in the long term. Being contented with the “just enough” stuff that we have in life. Realizing that buying only those that we can afford and perhaps those cheaper brands can help our financial baseline.

We don’t need fancy clothes or thousand-dollar suits just to make us feel proud and happy. Learning to accept the simple things in life really would help you live a fuller happier life. Why do I and how can I say this?




As we all know, about 95% of the world’s population can be defined as the “not rich” people. A lot are even living under poverty. There’s only very few people in this world that are really really rich or for lack of a better word “filthy rich”. However, isn’t it quite interesting that most of us who are “not rich” aspire for the things that only the rich can afford to buy? Sometimes some people even become obsessed that could lead to depression in trying to pursue after these luxurious things.

That is a sad way to live your life.

Better way to live

If your spending habits are consciously within your income or far below your income that would actually leave more room for some excess money. There’s even a financial strategy where you pay yourself first and live off of what’s left. More often than not, it’s the reverse that’s happening. We spend our money and save whatever is left of it, if we’re even lucky that some would be left. Coz often times with this approach nothing gets left over.

What’s my point, why am I after having some excess money? These excess money that you keep are not intended for you to eventually spend it some time in the future for that luxury item that you dream of. Well not really quite yet.

Build your passive income

Build passive wealthI suggest that you use this excess money to invest it in building your passive income. Build a plethora of income generating vehicles that would put more money in your pocket.

  • You can invest them in stocks or mutual funds or ETF’s
  • or put it in rental property (especially when you’ve grown your wealth to a sizable amount)
  • start or build a business; some online businesses are easy and are pretty inexpensive to start; check out this amazing deal from Wealthy Affiliate here if you’re considering starting an online business

The point is make your excess money to work for you. Living a frugal lifestyle is basically your means to an end to building your wealth.

There is actually a comprehensive study done about the wealthy people in the United States. According to the study of these millionaires, it was actually found that majority of them are not really high spenders. Rather, they are living a frugal lifestyle and are very thrifty.

Millionaire Next Door

This book, “Millionaire Next Door” is the study that I am talking about. Authors Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko has surveyed hundreds if not thousands of millionaires in over two decades. Their findings were quite a surprise when they realized that these affluent or wealthy people are really not the high spenders we thought or expect they were.

Here are some common denominators that they’ve found:

  • Majority does not spend over a thousand dollars, actually a lot less, on their suits
  • Most of them do not purchase brand new nor even enter into a lease for a vehicle
  • A great deal of them has purchased their residential property and have lived in them for decades
  • At minimum 15% of their realized income are put into their passive investments
  • Majority of these affluent have their own business
  • They are mostly first generation self-made millionaires

As you can see, these people are living a simple frugal life. They don’t buy the next best or shiniest thing that comes out in the market. We can even say that they have found satisfaction in the simple things in life. And they get their joys out of making wealth or growing their business. They are hard-working people who make the most out of their income.

I encourage you to read this book. You can get this from Amazon here.

There’s a ton of wisdom to be learned from the affluent people. I’ve only touched the surface of the research that was done that was written in this book Millionaire Next Door. If you’re serious in wanting to get out of the rat race. If you have a strong desire to become financially free and not live from paycheck to paycheck. Then I strongly recommend getting this book.

Tips on living frugally

make your money work for youNow all I’ve said here so far would be a waste if I would not give you some tips on thrifty living. I have compiled an extensive list in here. I’m not saying to do all of them but I suggest try your best to practice most of them.

Then at the end of the day, any excess money that you save can be put into passive generating incomes. Or perhaps as earlier mentioned, make it a point to set aside your budget for building passive wealth first, then live off of the rest. And then if you still end up with excess money, then top it up to your wealth building account or business or project.

17 Ways to living a frugal lifestyle

Planning

  • Plan your budget – as the saying goes if you fail to plan then you’re planning to fail.
  • Stick to your plan with your groceries or meals. Try your best not to bend or deviate from it.
  • Use coupons and take advantage of discounts you can get from grocery stores and/or merchants.
  • Shop wisely and utilize price matching. Essentially this involves finding out discount or lower prices from other stores.

Food

  • Drastically lessen the number of times that you eat out at restaurants or fast foods.
  • Cutting your coffee routine with Starbucks or Blenz or McDonalds or wherever else you get your daily coffee. Home brew your own or get one of the instant coffee ones.
  • Buy in wholesale groceries or stores like Costco or Wholesale Club.
  • Practice and schedule scavenger hunt for food in your fridge or kitchen when you think you’ve got no food left. Often times you’ll be surprised there’s some more left hidden somewhere.
  • Cook big batches and just separate it out in portions then freeze them. You’ll only need heat it up when it’s time to eat them.

Cars / Vehicles

  • If purchasing a vehicle, buy a quality used one instead of brand new or leasing.
  • Take public transit when commuting to work. This can save you from consuming fuel with your vehicle especially with the rising gas prices these days.

Others

  • When purchasing a home never maximize your pre-approved mortgage but rather decide what you’re comfortable paying monthly then go from there.
  • Save on energy. Be conscious with your energy consumption. Try to save by turning off lights in areas where there’s nobody there. Turn off or unplug appliances that are not in use.
  • Cut your cable TV. Nowadays you can find a lot of online-based or streaming media for a lot less than what you pay to your Cable TV provider.
  • Use Ebates.ca (if you’re from Canada) when shopping online so you get rebates with your purchases.
  • Find a better/lower mobile phone plan.
  • Practice fasting, it’s actually good for your health. You can make this as a routine and do this once every other week.

There you go. These are some ways to cut on your expenses. If you have other tips please do comment below I’d love to hear about them.

You can start with just one or two or even a handful. Then work your way until about two months and you’ll notice that it will become a habit. From there you can add another one from the list.

All of this should be done with the ultimate goal in mind of saving some cash and utilize it to build your passive income or wealth.


In conclusion

Final thoughts, obviously there are some other ways to add to your income whether it’s done actively or passively. However, I will talk about that in another blog as those are geared more towards generating wealth rather than thrifty living.

So in closing let me know your thoughts. Just to reiterate the questions I’ve asked here, what’s that one thing that you’re dying to buy the most? And secondly, if you have any other tips and ideas in living a simple frugal life, please do comment them below.

Have a wonderfully blessed and satisfied life!

Cheers!

 

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24 thoughts on “Living a frugal lifestyle – a means to build your wealth”

  1. Hi there,
    Really enjoyed this read – I need to take a hard look at my own spending patterns. You make some really good suggestion on how to save in day to day life
    cheers
    Karina

    1. Mark

      Glad you liked my blog. Living a frugal simple life does entail having to sit down and take a hard look at our financial status. It takes a lot of honesty and sometimes even courage to act on it. It’s not easy at first to let go of the comfort that we enjoy but obviously it comes at an expense. But once we get to discipline ourselves to identify what’s necessities from the “nice-to-have’s” then it gets easier.

  2. Frugality is way underrated these days. I blame all the commercials pushing us to buy buy buy and to keep up with the Jones’s. What more do we actually need than a meal in our belly, a roof over our head and clean water to drink?
    I always did rather like the off-grid, self build way of living, although laws and regulations make it very hard. Planning permission, licences and all that stuff.
    I also believe that living frugally (especially when it comes to diet) is beneficial to health. They say fasting often increases one’s lifespan a great deal. Living frugally is similar to fasting (when it comes to “luxury” foodstuffs).
    What I mean to say is that I would rather live on basics like beans on toast, coffee and tea with no milk or sugar, boiled potatoes instead of fried potatoes, etc, and have a longer lifespan because of eating healthier than to waste a lot of money eating more expensive, health-damaging foods.
    Call me Mr Thrifty! 👌
    Great post on frugality.

    1. Mark

      Thanks for the feedback and I completely agree with you Mr Thrifty! I also remember I read somewhere that fasting is indeed actually good for our health. Although I can’t remember now where I read it but there was a logical and science based explanation why it was really good for our health. Similarly, as you mentioned, in the way we consume it would be best to practice some “fasting” here and there.

      The other day, I was telling my wife how living a high consuming lifestyle actually begets more high consumption. We were talking about when you purchase a new vehicle for example, you’ll actually want to protect your new toy and buy more expensive insurance for it. You wanna make sure to always keep it shiny so you end up going for car washes more frequently that you’d normally used to. Thus it’s all a chain reaction.

      When we live frugally and spend less, we consume less and promotes better health and better finances. We contribute less to the deterioration of the world around us. It’s plainly a matter of choice which option we’ll take.

  3. search

    Hi,

    I like the way you described the article. Yes, we need to know how to control ourselves no matter what, in terms of your routine planning, in your daily life, your expenses or even shopping. 

    Eventually Talk is always easier than do, we have to action than just reading. I will bear in mind with your words and grab the chance to read the book – the millionaire Next Door.

    Cheers too 🙂

    1. Mark

      Thanks for the feedback! Yes it is truly easier said than done. I guess that’s why less and less people submit themselves in this kind of lifestyle of living frugally. It is easier to follow what everyone else is doing. However, doing what the majority are doing essentially puts you in the 95% of the population that are not affluent. Ultimately it’s our own personal choice that will determine whether we will be successful and wealthy or not.

  4. Ngonidzashe Manzwangani

    You are very true, many people don’t want to live withing the boundaries of their earnings, You will see a simple dude earning $700 per month, spending $2000 per month, renting a $500 cottage, his children going to a school where school fees are $500 per month and using a 2ltr petro car to go to work. Such people I think will need to read this article.

    Thank you so much, I had so many takeaways from your article

    1. Mark

      I’m glad you found this relevant. Thank you for the feedback. Please do share my article with friends. It’s a pleasure to really open people’s minds to the reality of our society and culture and perhaps redirect some if not most to a better path in life.

  5. Samson Oklobia

    I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am right now, just because of your post. The level of motivation you have dished out to me today is just enough to go out and make it work for myself. I will get this book you recommended, The Millionaire Next Door I hope to learn all the tricks I need to be successful in my business. Its amazing how the millionaires in the room look the simplest, it tells how humble they are and thats a character I am currently trying to build. Thanks a lot Mark, for the wonderful inspiration.

    1. Mark

      Glad I’ve inspired you Samson. I’ve really learned a lot from this book myself. My wife and I have been discussing this for days now on how we can adjust our lifestyle and live more frugally. I pray for all the best for you and your business! Keep pressing on.

  6. Otis Dube

    Oh yes it is true and I agree with you nowadays mankind we are stuck in the age of consumption perfect example about your made up samsung galaxy s10 phone yep samsung will definitely consider your idea in the future never the less it really feels great when one achieves attainment of your goals is absolutely self victory And the more you achieve that level that is when upgrade to next level meaning you indeed want more you wanna keep up not catching up like getting your self house upgrade to mansion and so on.You surely see the entertainment never stops as usually say let the flow keep going.

    Then again I agree with you when you mentioned,at the end of the day, any excess money that you save can be put into passive generating incomes. Or perhaps as earlier mentioned, make it a point to set aside your budget for building passive wealth first, then live off of the rest. And then if you still end up with excess money, then top it up to your wealth building account or business or project.

    On this note thank you good website you have and all the best.

    1. Mark

      Thanks Otis I appreciate the feedback and the confirmation. I am glad that you found this relevant. All I hope is to open people’s minds and hopefully redirect their paths to a far better one than being purely consumeristic (if that’s even a word). Hehehe!

  7. Dany

    The first time when I heard about living a frugal lifestyle was in the ‘The millionaire next door’ book. After reading the book, I understood how and what the current society is promoting. About paying you first, I find it in ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ book, and it took me a while to understand and apply it. I totally agree that we don’t need the latest model of whatever gadget, car and so on. We can happily live by enjoying the smallest and simplest things that are offered to us. As you said, the current society is built in consumerism, and the vast majority cannot keep with it.

    I can see in the neighborhood where we live that all the neighbors drive the same car model, have garden furniture and the same posh grills. We are modest and do not drive the same car models, and guess what, apart from ‘Hi’ there is no interaction.

    Thank you for this article. Many people should open their eyes and understand how society is built.

    1. Mark

      I’m glad you liked my post Dany. I myself have read both of those books and have found it really eye opening. I also like Robert Kiyosaki’s book, Rich Dad Poor Dad. His concept of how to get out of the rat race is very relevant to our time. It’s very difficult nowadays to really get ahead, not to mention to even be able to build your wealth, just by working for an employer. But we do live in an age where there’s plenty of opportunities available if someone is just willing to learn and take advantage of them.

      Rather than being driven along by high consumerism trends of society, wouldn’t it be better if we are riding those trends taking our piece of the pie and building our wealth instead.

  8. Emmy

    Wow! This was a very interesting read indeed.  Sometimes back I had read about frugality and living within the means but somehow it flew out of the window. I guess its related to this mentality that we lived frugal lives as we were growing up and now the attitude of I want a better live keeps showing up. I think I need to back to frugality and get into a passive saving lifestyle.  How do I balance between the desire to live a better life and live frugality and comfortably/

    1. Mark

      Thanks Emmy for the honesty. I guess that is indeed the million dollar question, how do we balance between desire for the best life has to offer and live frugally? I won’t claim to know all the right answer so let’s see what others would say about that. Although, I think one possible answer is contentment. How to reach that level of contentment that you are able to have a balance lifestyle? That’s another question to be answered. I’ll leave it at that for now.

  9. Barry

    I’d feel fabulous if I’m able to purchase any of those items you listed 🙂

    I’m dreaming of owning a powerful musical studio because I’d go into music as a carrier pretty soon and would love to go internationally. This is one of major drive building a business online with Wealthy Affiliate. I joined in less than 4 months and I have made over $100. I never expected this money… I know this is just the beginning. I’m working hard to explode soon 🙂

    Wealthy Affiliate is the best family I’ve gotten Online.

    1. Mark

      One thing that stuck to me when I read the Millionaire Next Door book is this, there’s two ways to become wealthy: (1) you either go on offense and increase your income and/or (2) you go on defense which is live a simple frugal life that’s within your means. If we’re able to do the same, imagine increasing your level of income and at the same time still live frugally, that is a definite recipe for exponential growth and success.

      Thanks for sharing your dreams Barry. All the best!

  10. Love the first picture in this post.
    You got me motivated just their alone. Would love to be driving around a nice luxury car for a change. I do understand where you coming from. When I was working as a carpenter, for nearly a decade I was lucky enough to be working for a company that made high end homes, more like mini castles. One thing I remember seeing when I was in a lot of those waterfront estates where 2 things really. Nearly all the people had a tonne of windows, but nobody really had any curtains open. And I guess the other big thing was some the boats they owned. A few would not give any change of a million dollars. Not once did I seen anyone use them. They must of been working super long hours, as we started 7am and left 4pm usually. Guess my point it nice to have money but if you got no time to enjoy it what is the point.
    Sam Frederiksen

    1. Mark

      Very true Sam. If you get the chance to read the book Millionaire Next Door, those people who live in luxury homes and have other luxurious things (i.e. a boat as you have stated as an example) actually have to eventually spend more to maintain their home and their lifestyle. This in turn forces them to work even more in order to earn the income to pay for those expenses. I think pursing a life of luxury would just send you on a wild goose chase and will not really make you happy. As you have rightly pointed out, what’s the worth of having a lot of money but you’re not really enjoying life, then it’s all pointless. Once our time here on earth expires, we can bring none of these things in the grave of the afterlife.

  11. Chris

    thank you for this awesome post. You have highlighted some great ways to make some money. i would love to be able to grow a passive income. earn while you sleep!!! That sounds amazing! I love your tips on living frugally. I do a lot of this already but there were a few on there that I had never heard of before, but I will give them a try!!

    1. Mark

      I appreciate the feedback Chris! Kudos to you for already living fugal lifestyle. Like I said, we all have different picture of what living a simple frugal life looks like but there is always room for improvement. Just curious, which one among the list have you not heard of before, if you don’t mind sharing? 

  12. Jason

    My girlfriend and I are living very frugal these days to make sure certain things happen in the future for others. It’s hard and we don’t like it at times because this break or that and we know that buying the new most expensive thing will only set us back to the main goal. This simple frugal life is a better life then what both of us have come from in recent years, so we are happy. We cook together, we eat together, we sit at home on Friday nights snuggle up on the couch eat popcorn and watch a movie. We don’t have to keep up with the Jones’s we like our happy little frugal life, (again better than where we have been). The reason for the extra money is very personal to me and I know I’m not doing this alone, my brothers and sister are in on it as well (they don’t live as frugal but they can afford it). My aspiration to answer the original question is to see my parents off to go and see the Northern Lights anything more will go to buying a home, (maybe not where we currently live LOL N. Cali is $$$$). Thanks for the post I appreciated reading this and hope others are able to see the benefits of it.

    1. Mark

      I appreciate the feedback Jason and for sharing a little bit of your story. I agree, every person has different definition of what a frugal life for them will look like. The idea I presented here is we can use frugality in order to reach a goal and for your case being able to see your parents go see the Northern Lights and then some. I am glad to hear that you are happily living a frugal life with your girlfriend. Keep it up and let our lifestyle encourage others. Cheers!

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