Have you ever wondered if frugal living is worth it? Absolutely! Here’s how!
Whether your bills are more than your income, or you’re just looking for some ways to cut your expenses, you may have wondered about ways to save money and frugal living. The truth is, that saving money has gotten a bad reputation. Many people look down on frugal living, when in reality it is just a way to live more affordably.
Is Frugal Living Actually Worth it?
While we haven’t always, our family does live frugally and since we started, we won’t go back. We’ve experienced how much better our quality of life can be when we find ways to save money, and there is no reason for us to go back to paying full price.
In our opinion, is frugal living worth it? A million times yes is my answer. My husband and I have saved tens of thousands of dollars by living frugally, using coupons and finding other ways to save money. Here is how it has made a difference for our family.
You realize you don’t have to pay full price
When I first started using coupons over a decade ago, my husband was so mortified that he went and hid while I was checking out. He was embarrassed that I was using coupons even though we made a good income and didn’t have to. Then the first time he actually watched me use coupons however, something happened.
I was purchasing 3 infant toys. One for our son and 2 for our nephews. My purchase was $30 before coupons and less than $1 afterwards. My husband’s mind was blown and he couldn’t believe we scored 3 of a hot baby toy for pennies. From there he was hooked and has been helping me save money ever since.
You can save a lot of money
Since I started living frugally and saving money, we’ve cut our grocery bill by at least 50%. This is for a family of 4 with two teenagers and two pets. I pay less for our monthly groceries, pet food and essentials than many individuals who live alone.
When I pull out coupons at a cash register, I can hear the people behind me sigh. They’ve even told me that using coupons isn’t worth it. Then, they watch as I’ve saved 30%, 50%, 75% and more. I’ve had people who were angry about an extra minute or two wait congratulate me and ask me how they can start saving money.
Groceries aren’t the only way to save, and our family has applied frugal living to nearly every aspect of our life. We’ve also found other ways to save, slicing our cell phone bill in half, cutting our car insurance and more. Apps like Trim can help you find ways to cut some of the bills for your family.
Even things like gas for your car can have ways to save. We participate in a local fuel saver program with our local grocery store chain and are able to save at the pump with points we earn purchasing groceries (with coupons of course). There have been many times we’ve gotten our fuel for half price or even free because of these savings.
You learn that you were overpaying for most items
If you are not currently living frugally, chances are that you are paying way too much for most of the things you purchase. If a quick click on an app like Honey could save you 30% on the new shoes you’re buying, or 25% on that new patio furniture, why wouldn’t you do it?
By using apps to save money, a quick check on my phone or click on my browser when shopping online can provide substantial savings. Why pay full price when you don’t have to?
You can survive emergencies
Do you have an emergency fund? If your car needed $4000 in repairs, you had to replace your furnace or hot water heater, or you had to have $1000 in dental work, would you be able to do it without going into debt?
By spending only what we need, we are not only able to save enough money for emergencies, but also have been able to handle nearly everything that life has thrown our way, including the pandemic. My husband and I have been able to handle over a dozen job layoffs in the years we’ve been together. Frugal living has helped us still be able to have everything that our family has needed and handle emergencies when they happen.
Need help getting started on building an emergency fund? Check out my tips on how to save $5000 in 6 months.
You can afford to help others
Our frugal lifestyle not only helps us afford to do more on our budget, but it also helps us share with others. Not only do we share our savings with family and friends, we are also able to make donations to the local food pantry with freebies that we score using money saving apps and to have the budget to donate to other charities. One of my favorite deals I’ve done ever was when I purchased over 300 bags of cereal for less than a penny a piece. I was able to take it all to our local small town food pantry who was thrilled to have so many items to assist local families.
Do you know what happens when you don’t spend all your money on expenses? You have money to do things! While my family lives frugally, we also live well. We dine out in restaurants, we go out to concerts and movies, we also travel and go to many amazing places. My husband and I are able to afford these things because we are able to save money on things like our cell phone, our groceries, and other expenses. We are able to then use some of these savings to enjoy good things in life.
That being said, when we do splurge, we still look for ways to save. We earn gift cards from money saving apps like Ibotta that we use for our adventures. We purchase discounted tickets and promotions and watch for travel deals on various sites. When I was planning our Disney World vacation, I asked the travel agent about available savings. She chuckled and said that people who coupon don’t go to Disney. Little did she know that coupons paid for that trip and many more.
Overall, is frugal living worth it? I guess the real answer is are you willing to do the work to get the rewards? While it does take some time and planning, it is possible to pay significantly less than most on things we need. These savings can then be used to build your savings, grow an emergency fund and even save for college or retirement. You can also use these savings for other things you need, as well as some indulgences.
Want to get started saving money for your family? Check out our money saving articles.
Kim Ritter is a frugal living expert, blogger and mom of two from small-town Iowa. What began as an effort to help her family save a few dollars a month has now transformed into a full-time passion to help other parents money. Visit her online at twokidsandacoupon.com and follow her on Twitter at @2kidsandacoupon for more ways your family can have fun on a budget.