10 Life Changing Ideas For Living A Thrifty Lifestyle

Can you be happy living a thrifty lifestyle and find financial freedom?  I have come up with 10 ways that will have you cheering Big G, Little O – GO! GO! (Forever a cheerleader).  Thrifty does not mean total deprivation.  But if you are working on getting out of debt, you might need to lean into living a thrifty lifestyle a slight bit more.

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Why Would You Want to Live A Thrifty Lifestyle?

I think the question should be why would you not want to live a Thrifty lifestyle?  Every day you look around you hear people on the news talking about how personal debt has risen to phenomenal amounts. 

People are buying things they can’t afford.  People are putting their groceries on credit cards because they don’t have the money for food.  People are not sleeping at night because they can’t stop thinking about how they’re going to be able to afford their kid’s birthday present next week.

People all around you are broke.

I can give you an opportunity today – right now and show you where you can cut back on your spending.  I will give you 10 tips on how to slay living a thrifty lifestyle but the fact of the matter is you really need to be content with WHERE YOU ARE.

You need to be content with the kind of car you’re driving.  You need to be content with the fact that you’re vacation this year is going to be at home in the backyard with a hose instead of on some tropical beach someplace.

You need to be content with where you sit right now before any kind of debt freedom can happen for you.  The mindset needs to change before you can get your finances in order.



What Can Living A Frugal Life Do For Me?

Living this kind of lifestyle gives you the freedom to do the things that you want to do in your life. The ability to live your life like you truly want.  The ability to make all of your dreams come true.

But you have to be willing to make the sacrifices to do that. This means contentment as well as the deprivation of having what you want right at this minute.  It’s not forever.  Let me say that again.  It is not forever.

You’re going to have to wait.  Learning patience is such a good lesson in a thrifty lifestyle.  It’s going to require some work.   

Do you want to get out of debt?  Do you want to have money to travel?  How about the ability to pay for your grandchildren’s college (or preschool) education?

Consider the possibilities of what might happen when you adopt a thrifty lifestyle. You might find that this type of lifestyle is enjoyable for you.

Having a budget and knowing where your money is going is part of the plan.  You know how much you’re spending you know what you’re getting for your money.

You know that you’re investing in quality items for yourself and your home even if it means waiting for a great deal.


The Differences between Thrifty And Stingy

What is a thrifty person?

Thrifty really means one who is making wise choices with their money.  Using their money carefully and not wasting it rather than just spending for the sake of spending.

When you can combine being thrifty with happiness and freedom, its a recipe for a good life. 

Knowing what is most important to you whether it be security, debt payoff, an amazing retirement, or giving to those around you, living a thrifty lifestyle can lead you straight to those financial freedoms.

I was doing some research and I went to Facebook to ask what a thrifty person looked like.  here’s what I got.

A thrifty person:

  • has creative solutions to accomplish the goal of inexpensive without sacrificing quality or another important aspect.
  • is more active. It’s spending time fixing and mending to cut the expenses.s a positive term. It can be someone remaking clothes from things they got at Goodwill.  Or people who get old furniture and restore it.
  • being savvy with your money and time. Weighing out all options when making a decision and not just basing it off of price alone. Being creative and resourceful to get the most value out of everything. 
  • getting wants and needs as cheap as they can, a LOT of used products and shop sales for new items/food.
  • figures out how to make what they have with minimal money spent work- a kid’s Halloween costume for instance.
  • fixing things that can be fixed, shopping sales, buying second hand, not buying the new/shiny option every time there’s an opportunity.

What does a stingy person look like?

Stingy is truly negative in so many people’s eyes.  You may think of Scrooge from A Christmas Carol when you think of stingy.  Can someone be happy and stingy?

Here’s what people said about being stingy:

  • people who don’t see value in anything when it comes to someone else’s costs. Always trying to get a better deal but never giving a deal to someone else.
  • shorting people their fair amount.
  • values money over everything else.
  • takes only into account price and sacrifices all else.
  • hoarding money, money obsession, unwilling to spend reasonable amounts of money when needed and not allowing others in the family to spend. 



What Is The Difference Between Frugal and Thrifty?

Honestly, I like to use them interchangeably when I describe myself.  Frugal is one who uses their money sparingly or economical while thrifty is making wise choices. 

I am absolutely both and I think that’s ok.  Many feel like they are the same and others find differences.  Someone compared them by saying: thrifty is upcycling a used wedding dress. Frugal is getting married at the courthouse.

I thought that was really great.

Here are a few more thoughts on frugal vs thrifty:

  • think of frugal as passive. Cutting expenses, limiting frivolous costs etc… thrifty is much more active. It’s spending time fixing and mending to cut the expenses. 
  • thrifty is making stuff work, frugal is being selective of what you buy.
  • frugal is similar if not the same as thrifty.  Being smart with your money, shopping around, and “never pay full retail” when it comes to non-consumables.
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How Does A Cheap Person Act?

As thrifty and frugal are similar, so are stingy and cheap.  When I think of cheap, I think of someone who won’t spend money on others.  They won’t pick up the tab at lunch or buy a gift for their mom.  

Their actions are selfish.

According to Today.Com, there could be danger in being cheap. If the behavior goes to far, it could put your life and wellbeing in jepordy.

Some examples they give are:

  • not wanting to spend the money to go to the doctor when you are sick and need to.
  • neglecting necessary things in life like a dentist or repairs to your home.
  • worrying about money even though you have a savings set aside.
  • taking advantage of others to save money like not tipping your server.

My husband has been known to call me cheap and the word is thrown around often.

I saw on social media last week a woman who was talking about saving money at the grocery store.  She said she goes to Costco and normally goes with her children around lunchtime. 

Her children get to eat their lunch for free because of all the great samples and she puts the spoons they give away into a zip bag to take home. 

For her its a win/win/win.  She has fun with her children, she gets a free lunch, and she saves a little bit of the environment by reusing those plastic spoons.

Is she cheap?  I think not.  I think she is living that thrifty lifestyle.  And from her comments, I think that makes her happy.


How Can You Start Living A Thrifty Lifestyle?

Here are all of the tips I give to my friends and coaching clients when they ask how they can cut back on their spending in order to save money.  Embrace the frugality and start living the thrifty lifestyle!

1. Evaluate your food budget

When you are new to the thrifty lifestyle, I always suggest evaluating your food spending.  This not only pertains to the grocery but all food purchases:  coffee out, dinners, drive through bagels, and pizza delivery.  

Cutting back or cutting out dinner not prepared in the home is so frugal.  it’s healthier too.  And you don’t need to put on your adulting pants.

I have an eBook all about saving money at the grocery store.  Click this link: The Great Grocery Haul: Under $200 a month for a family of four.  


2. Use a cash-only system

It is a proven scientific fact that I spend more money when I am using my debit card then when I am using cash.  I have done the research.  In this article from Forbes, they have also done the research (or found the research). 

You simply have more control over your spending when you are limited by the amount of cash you have in your pocket.

Its how we live our lives around these parts.  Rarely do we use debit cards, no credit cards, or checks for that matter.  But we do thrive financially on a cash-only system. 

I have this great cash wallet system that I created with some scrapbooking paper and laminator. 

You can read more about the benefits of cash and get the template for free here: Cash Envelope Wallets That Will Make You Want To Use Cash


3. Never pay full price

Always shop for a bargain.  I was chatting with the cashier at Aldi last week about getting discounts.  When I needed to rent a portapotty 20 years ago for my wedding, I asked if I were to pay cash, would I get a discount. 

When my oldest son got married three years ago, I asked the tuxedo rental place if I paid cash, could I get a discount. 

Both places said yes.  When we needed a piece of sheetrock for a repair, we found a piece with a broken corner at Home Depot.  When I asked for a discount, we got it for $5. 

It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Here are more ways to be frugal: 43 Irresistible Frugal Hacks To Increase Your Savings


4. Save money first

I am thrifty, frugal, and sometimes cheap.  But no matter how much money I save on shampoo, I just can’t seem to save money in an account.  it’s the strangest thing. 

I don’t know where the disconnect is.  So I found a way around it.  Every payday, an undisclosed amount of money goes into an online savings account. Before I even see the account.

Financial gurus always say to pay yourself first.  But if it’s not automated, it doesn’t happen.

Learn more about saving money: What Is The Most Challenging Part Of Saving Money?


5. Learn to cook

At 47 years old, I have a confession to make.  I am not a fan of cooking.  I’m just not.  But ya know what I am less of a fan of?  Wasting money on food.  So, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat each night, I cook. 

My meals are simple, healthy, and inexpensive.  Sometimes they are more complex like the chicken and dumplings my husband loves.  Sometimes they are quick and easy like baked lasagna with the oven ready noodles.  And sometimes, its soup and grilled cheese.

I like to have a good stockpile of items on hand for my quick and easy meals. There are always specific items in my pantry.

Check out the best items to have on hand in your pantry here: 37 Frugal Pantry Staples On A Small Budget

6. Buy used

Buying used is thrifty.  It is the first rule of living a thrifty lifestyle.  It should have been number one.  I especially enjoy buying used furniture like tables, chairs, and dressers. 

My beautiful oak dining table was bought used in November off of the Facebook marketplace for $100. 

I LOVE IT!  It’s solid and strong.  And it was exactly what I was looking for in that space.  I am on a hunt now for bedside tables.

Used furniture has more character and seems to be built better than most today.  If I were to buy that same quality brand new, I wouldn’t be able to afford food. 

7. Save money on utilities.

When I say utilities, I lump all of the things into this category including the typical electric and heating but also cable, internet, cell phone, and all those tv type subscriptions like Hulu, Disney, Netflix, and Starz (because Outlander…am I right?!?). 

There are ways to cut back on electricity usage that many don’t even realize.  All of our fancy electronic devices continue to use something called phantom power while they are plugged in.  Unplugging stuff is just one example.

Check out this to get all my secrets for saving money on utilities: 30 Ways to SLASH Your Utility Bills


8. Consider minimalism

These thrifty life hacks are not quick fixes to money troubles.  They are long term lifestyle choices.  Minimalism is a way of life that pairs quite well with frugal living. 

I really just like to consider my minimalism to be not having excess.  If I only need 14 pairs of socks, why would I own 30? 

The maximum amount of people we have for dinner would be 8.  I only need 8 plates.  If we have a larger gathering, I can get disposable or borrow some from someone else.

I am not talking about two spoons and three pairs of shoes.  I am talking about too much stuff.  Stop buying stuff you just don’t need.  If you spent $50 on 5 new shirts because they were 40% off but you didn’t need them, then you wasted $50.

I have more on frugalism vs minimalism.  Check this out: How To Best Decide On Frugalism Vs Minimalism


9. Learn to DIY

Yup.  Sew your own button.  Change your own oil.  If you can’t (or don’t want to) do t yourself, find someone who you can trade services with. 

If my oldest son and daughter in law let me babysit that perfect little granddaughter, I will fix the button on that jacket for them.  See what I did there?

Youtube is FILLED with videos on how to fix a car or bake bread.  Want to learn how to sew a curtain?  Curtains are EXPENSIVE!  How about change the battery in your remote car starter? 

Dealers charge $15 for that.  If you can’t find it on youtube, I bet there’s a blog about it.


10. Make more money

Living a thrifty lifestyle is about being smart with your money.  And sometimes its about having a little more.  If you are in a season of your life when you just need a few hundred dollars more a month, then its time for a side hustle.

If you are being as frugal as possible yet you just can’t make ends meet, it might be an income problem instead of an out-go problem.

Here are some great ideas about making more money. Ideas you might not have thought of before: How to Make More Money Legitimately 

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Final Thoughts On Living A Thrifty Lifestyle And Finding Financial Freedom

Living a thrifty lifestyle comes down to being content with where you are and what you have.  Being happy with other things besides the stuff around you can really change your mindset about the quality of life you are living.  

Included are 10 tips on how to live a more frugal lifestyle (if you are striving for that) and the differences in the positive and negative labels we put on people when it comes to personal finance.

Are you thrifty?  Frugal?  Stingy?  How about cheap?  Leave a comment below and tell me about your money personality.

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